Rare Woman

July 8, 2018

You are very kind and strong and smart, she tells me. But I think you should wear makeup more often so other people might take the time to notice these good qualities too. She miscommunicates, stroking my eyelid with bronze dust, but I know what she means. Who we seem is who we are to the impatient people of two-second handshakes. So my mother is honest about her femininity as an advantage. It’s her own way. She powders my cheek gently.

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Circles (Re: Pi Day and Stephen Hawking)

March 17, 2018

Alternate Title: The Sin of Absent Infinity

I imagine a year as a circle in my head. In my elementary school, we used to do a very specific activity to illustrate anything to do with time on an annual scale. We would all sit around month labels that were placed in a large circle, like this:

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January 20, 2018

Excerpts from my journal over winter break.

December 18, 2017.
Hey! I’m spending this Christmas in a small community called Caroveni, about 20 minutes (by moto) outside a city called Villarrica, or “el centro.” I came here one summer in high school on a service exchange trip. I’m back now just to visit and travel around. Five years ago, I made some friends and little sisters. Every day that summer, we’d climb trees and eat pomelos and play soccer and sing in Spanish. I was happy, and I never had sisters before, and here all of a sudden I had like nine. So I told them I’d come back. A lot’s changed, and we’re all older now.

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Sky Chatting

November 4, 2017

Back when I was afraid of falling asleep by myself, shadows of trees would rock against my bedroom ceiling. I did not want to close my eyes, so I would concentrate on its drywall texture. It was a map of unexplored geography. In the shadows, I imagined the stencils of kingdoms until I was dizzy from concentrating on the ceiling. I would turn away from the dark shapes and try to sleep, but restless nausea met the fear of closing my eyes.

We lived in Federal Way, Washington, back when “federal” was not in my vocabulary. There was a two-bedroom townhouse for you, me, and Robert. Every night, you and Robert went to sleep in the master bedroom. I went alone to my dark, drywall sky. I was afraid to close my eyes. I would go to your room to escape shadowy kingdoms. I could finally fall asleep next to you.

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Curiosity is Inheritable, and I Wonder What’s After Pluto

October 6, 2017

I’m seven years-old and sitting with Mom and RJ, my little brother, at our dinner table. We’re not talking, just eating quietly. Well, they’re eating. I’m picking at the rice in my bowl with chopsticks. The Chinese calendar on the wall behind Mom says 2004. Her eyes droop a little. She toggles between full-time receptionist and full-time mom, barely sleeping, barely keeping up. I’m the smuggest, moodiest kid in the second grade. RJ’s a two year-old who won’t stop kicking the leg of the dinner table.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Mom fussed with him to stop a while ago, but she’s since given up. We eat to the rhythm of RJ’s kicking. Thud. Well, they’re eating. I’m picking at my rice. Thud. I’m seven, an odd age and at odds with the world. Thud. I stare at one lone grain of rice on the side of my bowl. It looks just like all the other ones in my bowl—none of which I want. Thud. I’m not hungry. Thud.
Then Mom asks me a question.

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As Flower as Fiction

September 25, 2017

Drawing is freestyling. I won’t draw exactly what I see, because that’s really hard. I’ll mimic its style, how I see the overall shape, how the light generally falls. But the actual, specific outlines—those details I forego.

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On Food (This Side of Rice)

April 7, 2017

As a college student, it’s pretty funny how often food is on my mind. Where is my next meal coming from? Do I have time to shop and prepare? How long do leftovers last for? For my entire life, I’ve taken well-made food and cuisine for granted. It was just something my parents put in front of me.

Recently, I’ve realized this: there are few things better than a good meal and spending time in the kitchen. Meals are a hearty and happy and robust demonstration of human life. We cook, we share, we enjoy. We finish.

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February 18, 2017

“What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are –underneath the year that makes you eleven.”

Sandra Cisneros

I turned 20 on Monday. I’d like to thank God for keeping my dumbass alive for this long, as well as these tidbits of insight I’ve picked up over two decades…

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A Digital Feng Shui

January 13, 2017

(Alternate Title: My Design Manifesto)

When I was a kid, I was really into creating my dream house in my head. I could vividly picture each room, each turn, the physical space between railings, how tall the walls were. I wanted to make the space comfortable, easy-to-navigate, easy to make home. Spacious, but not overwhelming. I wanted the patterns to be cozy. Quirky enough, alive, and fun, because home is where you smile. I wanted the light to be warm. The floors to be wide, the doors to be open.

Recently in November, I moved into my new(est) two-story apartment near USC. If I could imagine the complete opposite of my childhood dream house, this would be it. A narrow kitchen, no dining room table, gray paneling. Gray floors. My six housemates and I take turns to move around. Conversations are always hard. Dialogue occurs in a monologue space. When we eat dinner, for example, someone sits on the couch, someone sits at the counter, and someone stands at the stairs. Someone is always facing someone’s back. It’s awkward.

The Element

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August 24, 2016

During my freshman year at USC, I didn’t venture out into the city much. My off-campus adventures in Los Angeles involved closing my eyes and taking the metro to 7th Street and Figueroa to shop at Target. I went to L.A. Live twice, I think, and did anyone really actually live east of Little Tokyo?

This summer, though, I’ve realized that East LA is really actually not a myth, as well as a lot of other things about Los Angeles. I took classes this summer on campus, and in between that and work, I’ve learned that this city is vast, beautiful, and not only its first impression. To document and illustrate my experiences, I created a brief chapbook that I want to share with you called Postcards.


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Hello World!

July 26, 2016

Last week, I moved out of my sublease after wrapping up summer classes and freshman year of college for good. Now that I’m away from campus (finally) and able to breathe air untainted by the certain, distinct smells of South Central Los Angeles, I want to give an introspective account of college thus far.

Last August, I came to the University of Southern California as one of 22 students in the Iovine and Young Academy. ~*The Academy*~, as we have dubbed it (out of both love and mockery), is a new major funded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre for students talented in the arts, technology, and business of innovation. By that I mean I am literally earning a “Bachelors of Science in The Arts, Technology, and Business of Innovation.”


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