Friday, July 29, 2011

A Secret Letter

This is a letter that I'm writing to my sister-in-law.  She doesn't know about it and I won't show it to her until many years have passed.  I'll show it to her one day when she needs a smile the most.


My lovely sister-in-law
Taken on the day me and my dad got into the fight
Before we even knew there would be a fight
June 17, 2007


Dear sister-in-law,

Do you remember when we first met?  I was a junior in high school.
I was so young, always learning, and imperfect as can be.

My younger brother and I had finished school for the day and my older brother was picking us up.  The car pulled up next to us and there you sat in the passenger seat. 

We giggled at the sight of you
Because it looked like you could barely fit.
Because we were cruel.
Because we were still so young and learning.

We tried to calm ourselves down - before you could notice - as we got into the car.  I had a bag of delicious cookies that I had been eating but I stopped eating them; the sight of your fat arms made me sick and I was ready to throw up.

This is when we first met.  Do you remember?

Then you moved in with us a couple weeks later.  I noticed that you were somewhat lazy and didn't help much around the house.  You constantly picked fights with my older brother when he didn't do things your way.  You also smoked cigarettes regularly even though you had asthma, diabetes, and morbid obesity.  I tried to look past your flaws, because I wanted to believe that you were more than what you appeared to be.  A year passed and I was still searching for something that would prove to the world that you're not such a bad person. 

Then the fight happened.  Do you remember?

It happened a couple weeks after I came out to my dad.  The three of us - me, you, and my dad - were headed home from the beach.  My dad was criticizing my driving skills and ettiquete.  He said I was a rude person.  I had no idea why he was so angry at me and I told him I was trying my best.  Out of nowhere he started yelling at me about how being gay is wrong.  I quickly realized that the real reason behind his anger was because he was upset about me being gay.  His anger continued to escalate and he hit me while I was driving.

Do you remember?  You said you were scared.  I was too.

We arrived home and my siblings saw the tears in my eyes. 
They were silent and let me have my peace. 

But you...

You became my hero that day when you came to my side.
You asked if I was okay and gave me comfort.

I have wholeheartedly forgiven my dad.
And I can forget about what he did that day.
But I will never forget about what you did that day.

It is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

After that day we became very close friends and side-by-side we slowly learned to become better people from each other.  I've watched you morph into a more positive person.  You've become more warm and more kind to others.

You have helped me learn that I need to be more accepting of other people if I want them to be accepting of who I am.  I know people give you nasty looks for being overweight.  Do you remember when we were eating at Jack-In-The-Box and those people kept staring at you?  At times like those, I'll gladly be by your side to comfort you.

I can't wait to have our next chocolate milk party.

Sincerely, Justy


Another picture we took on that day
Damn that shave ice tasted good


p.s. The two of us enjoyed throwing what we call "chocolate milk parties".  They usually happened late at night when everyone else was sleeping.  The two of us would drink as much chocolate milk as we wanted.  We would bang our mugs together and toast and laugh about how silly we were being.  Sometimes we would have cookies too.

She's in Texas right now with my older brother (he's stationed there for the army) so we haven't had a chocolate milk party in a while.  It's been about four months since I've seen her.


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Drowning Feeling

Most of the time my dad and I get along just fine - I'm the closest to him out of all my siblings - but every so often he drowns me in his disapproval of homosexuality.  At times like those I feel like I'm not good enough to be his son.  This poem is about that drowning feeling that I was reminded of when he recently expressed overwhelming anger over something I had done.
 

August 28, 2010


The fury engulfing thy face
They haunt thee to no end
Enraged with poise to kill
With power unwilling to bend

  Fright exists in peril and danger
Situation fills with madness
Where lies thy heart
When thou stab thee into sadness

Imperfection embedded in thee
Yet perfection is what thou seeks
Acceptance is the word
Yet criticism fills thy cheeks

Exhaustively swimming in defeat
As thy anger boils over
Homosexuality sinks thee deep
As thy hate takes thee under

---

The fury engulfing your face
They haunt me to no end
Enraged with poise to kill
With power unwilling to bend

  Fright exists in peril and danger
Situation fills with madness
Where lies your heart
When you stab me into sadness

Imperfection embedded in me
Yet perfection is what you seek
Acceptance is the word
Yet criticism fills your cheeks

Exhaustively swimming in defeat
As your anger boils over
Homosexuality sinks me deep
As your hate takes me under



p.s.  These "Feeling" posts are meant to show people what it feels like sometimes to be gay.  I'm sure there are millions out there who can relate to these posts and others who can learn from them.

Other "Feeling" posts include:
The Uneasy Feeling


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Monday, July 25, 2011

Jordan Bites and The Hole of Empty Feelings

After the much-welcomed response to my narrative The Giant Wave, I have decided to dive into a world of fiction and launch a series of children stories about a kid explorer named Jordan Bites.  The energetic, bright Jordan Bites enjoys going on adventures where he overcomes obstacles, breaks through barriers, and comes out a hero... just in time to make it home for dinner!  Each Jordan Bites story will be loosely inspired by events that have happened to me in real life and become metaphors for the trials and tribulations of my life. 

I now present to you the story of Jordan Bites and the Hole of Empty Feelings.

Jordan Bites walking through the meadow
Colored pencil on paper
 July 24, 2011

---


Jordan Bites was venturing through a vast, bright-green meadow. 

This land was foreign to the young fella; he's never wandered so far from home.  He was mildly afraid of the rare mini-monsters that roamed the far reaches of the wilderness, but he was a bravely-curious kid and ready for new experiences. 

It was the perfect summer's day.  The luscious grass swayed side to side with the calm, relaxing breeze.  Yellow butterflies luminescently danced in the air as the sunlight majestically beamed down from the light-blue sky above.  Jordan closed his eyes for a moment to feel the sunlight's warmth on his face. 

He was innocently unaware of what was about to happen.

Without warning, Jordan's foot struck an ancient, well-preserved log that had occupied this space for centuries and he began to violently topple over.  Instinctively, Jordan braced himself for the impact.  For a split second he felt the green, luscious grass as it gently and lightly brushed against his skin.  Jordan wholeheartedly expected to slam into the hard ground beneath the grass but instead he felt...

Empty air?

A giant hole had been hidden by the overgrown grass and Jordan was quickly slipping into it.  He tried grabbing at the grass - it was his last hope - but the soft grass quickly uprooted and he hopelessly fell into the hole.

"AHHHHH!" yelled Jordan. 

Gravity seized control of the young man's body and he was falling into the unknown, going deeper and deeper until...

Plop! 

Jordan had landed on some kind of... bed?  Jordan felt it with his fingers.  He instantly knew what it was as it gently tangled around his fingers; it was dead grass.  They still felt soft, just like the ones he had felt in the meadow.  Maybe they were enchanted with a spell of some kind.  The thought quickly drifted from Jordan's mind as reality set in.

A sinister darkness was surrounding him.

Jordan's heart began to pound rapidly.  A wave of air rushed over his skin and he suddenly felt cold.  Above him - about twenty feet up -  he could slightly make out the hole that he had fallen through.  The meadow's overgrown grass was covering most of the hole and a very weak beam of light was meekly penetrating into the darkness.

"HELP!" yelled Jordan. 

After a minute of yelling profusely, he gave up.  It was pointless; he was audible to no one.  Everything in the darkness fell to silence. 

Jordan suddenly felt very lonely.  He was usually okay with being alone - he was a lone wolf by heart - but this loneliness frightened him.  He took a seat on the soft grass as his eyes began to water.  He had fallen into a deep hole and saw no path to freedom.  He was a hostage, a young soldier locked away and held captive in an underground dungeon.

Jordan thought about what would become of him as he wiped the tears from his eyes.  He was scared; mini-monsters could be living here.  Jordan shivered as he felt another wave of air rush over his skin. 

"That's strange," he thought.  Jordan looked up at the hole again; it was still covered by grass.  So where was the wind coming from?  Jordan thought about this for a second when it occured to him that...

There must be another opening somewhere!

Jordan sprang to his feet.  A wave of hope began coursing through his body.  He waited patiently for the next rush of air.  After a few seconds it came and tickled him.

Brr.  It felt cold.

The wind had playfully poked Jordan on the left side of his body.  He turned to the left and began to carefully march forward.  Jordan stopped after a few steps to concentrate on the breeze again.  Maybe - with fingers crossed - the wind will lead him to a way out.  It was worth the try.

Jordan blindly and cautiously navigated through the darkness using the direction of the breeze.  After a few steps he could no longer feel the soft, dead grass beneath his feet.  He kept his arms extended in front of him in fear of bumping his head into something, but there was nothing there to feel.  It was as if the only thing that existed here were darkness.

Jordan wished this empty feeling would disappear.

It was strange, but he swore that he could hear the wind whispering in his ear.  It was speaking to him and saying, "Follow me.  I know the way out."  Jordan wondered that maybe it was common for people to fall into this dark hole.  Maybe the wind was enchanted to help lead the estray back into the light.

The determined boy continued to stumble through the dark for what seemed like hours.  Jordan was now feeling increasingly thirsty, and he was beginning to hallucinate about white dancing doves ahead of him.  The dreadful darkness felt everlasting, but Jordan continued to hope that freedom was waiting to embrace him just around the corner.

Wait!  Was that light far-off in the distance?

Jordan began sprinting toward it.  He thought he had been hallucinating.  Was this it?  Was he finally going to escape the darkness?  The source of light was inching closer and closer until finally...

Jordan broke through a small opening on a hillside and stood there, panting and out of breath.  He was standing in another meadow.  The sunlight was majestically beaming down from the sky above and Jordan could feel its warmth on his face once again.  He felt the cool, relaxing breeze lightly touch his skin as it spoke to him one last time.

"Congratulations, you're free."

Jordan broke into a sprint; it was a sprint of happiness.
He couldn't wait to get back home. 


---



I hope you guys enjoyed the story. 
It was inspired by my fall to promiscuity and my escape from it.

Playful way of depicting the promiscuous person I saw in myself
Original photo taken on April 4, 2011 

A year and a half ago I became a promiscuous person.

Just like Jordan Bites, I had wandered off.  I had fallen into a deep hole and couldn't see a way out.  The sunlight - my hope - barely reached into that hole.  I was lost, but my heart (in the story, the wind) showed me that there was a way out.   Looking back now, I'm glad I decided to fight for a way out of the darkness just like the way Jordan Bites did in the story.  

Now I feel as if I am joyously sprinting away from the darkness.

Most importantly, I hope you guys enjoyed the story.  I thought of the name "Jordan Bites" one day and thought it would be neat to use it in some sort of children's story.  Making up the first Jordan Bites adventure was fun and the story turned out better than I thought it would.  I look forward to sharing another Jordan Bites story with you guys in the future.



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Thursday, July 21, 2011

"The Island Guy" Timeline

This is a timeline
A record of my posts
Organized according to when each story
Happened in my life

  -    -    -    -    -  -  - -  -  -  -  -  - - - --- - - -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    -    -    -   

The red links are my personal favorites.

The five links with asterisk symbols (*) next to them are my five most recent posts (the more asterisks, the more recent they are).
  -    -    -    -    -  -  - -  -  -  -  -  - - - --- - - -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    -    -    -    -


Childhood


High School



College

2011

2012
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts That I Update


Blog Milestones

Random
- Me 


 -    -    -    -    -  -  - -  -  -  -  -  - - - --- - - -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -    -    -    -    -


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sketch of a Tree

I was about to go to sleep, but something just happened that made me smile. 
As a result, I am here on my laptop writing about it 
and drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows.  Mmmm.






I really want to post this before going to bed.
Here's what happened...


Earlier yesterday I saw my younger brother's white board lying around.  Written on it were a couple of words that nearly took up all the space.  I saw - however - that there was just enough space in the upper right-hand corner for me to make a quick sketch.  In less than two minutes I had sketched a tree. 

I stared at it for a while.  "Not bad for a sketch," I thought to myself.  I left the white board lying around and forgot all about it.

Throughout the rest of the day, my younger brother dished out a couple mildly-mean remarks at me.  He does that sometimes.  Apparently I'm a fat person, lazy and ugly, etc.  Maybe he just enjoys kidding around and means nothing by his criticisms, but it is difficult to tell sometimes.  It bothers me, because I want him to look up to me, not look down on me. 

I was just about to go to sleep when I saw the white board next to my younger brother's bed.  He had erased everything on it...

Except for my sketch.

A smile spread across my face when I saw that.  I quickly found my camera and snapped a picture of it.  This sketch is worth remembering.

Maybe my little brother looks up to me after all.


The little sketch I made on my younger brother's white board.


 
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

White-Sand Beach

Here's a collecton of pictures that I've taken over the years at the same beach where me and my family built the wall of sand (read my previous post  The Giant Wave). 

I'll add more pictures to this post as I take more pictures at this beach. 
It's one of my favorite places to take photos : )

In the far distance - about 200 meters from where I am - is where we built the wall of sand.


 
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Giant Wave

My dad is a veteran fisherman and enjoys going on day-long fishing trips to his favorite beaches.  When me and my siblings were kids - I have an older brother, an older sister, and a younger brother - he would often bring us along.   These fishing trips were simply fun.  No stress involved.  Just pack a cooler full of snacks and drinks and we were good to go.  This is the story of what happened at the beach one day...


Our troubles were melting away.

My dad was leisurely fishing on the beach as us kids played to our hearts' content.  The four of us ran lightly through the sand, carefree and wild with jubilation.  We had conquered the deserted stretch of beach and we ruled the land. 

The waves were particularly strong on this day.  They roared and taunted us, daring us to get a little wet and a little messy.  We graciously accepted the challenge and began to build a wall of sand near the water's edge.  Our wish was to shut out the waves, hold them hostage in the sea, and prevent them from reaching beyond our barricade.

The waves, however, were enraged by our intentions and refused to be held by prison walls. They began to unleash unforgiving power on to our wall.  The water boiled in the ocean, shot like fireballs onto the shore, and hurdled into our blockade.  We felt the ground shaking beneath our feet.  I used to be scared of the waters at times like these; they looked ready to eat me alive.

The four of us became comrades in this battle against the sea.  We frantically assembled a much-needed defense.  My older brother and I vigorously threw sand into heaping piles.  My sister and younger brother swiftly patted down the sand and shaped the blockade into a solid, shielding C-shape.  We had to hurry; the tide was quickly rising.

The waves had rapidly evolved into ghastly, terrorizing monsters.  They lurked in the sea before rushing forward to swallow our wall.  The waves devoured chunks at a time and greedily came back to gobble more.  The blockade was hopelessly falling victim to the brutality.

My siblings and I were struggling to keep the wall up. 

Out of the corner of my eye I saw my dad walking toward us, carrying his fishing gear and smiling.  I thought he would laugh at us and keep walking in search of fish.  Suddenly - to our shock and delight! - my dad abandoned his fishing gear, ran over, and started to help us build the wall. 

A smile spread across my face.

The five of us did our best to keep the wall up, but eventually a giant wave came and demolished the whole thing.  Our clothes were soaked with water and covered with sand.  The battle had been fun and entertaining though and we laughed like hyenas afterwards.  The five of us had lost the fight, but we had each other and that was all that seemed to matter in the world.

"C'mon guys!  Let's go home," my dad said with a smile.
Together we headed home as the sleepy sun began to set.



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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

One small step for this blog:
Acquiring a thousand views!
Check it out : )


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stars and Starfishes

Two days ago, I had taken and edited the picture below.  My plan: simply post the picture of me sitting down and staring at the star - yes, the smiling one - and see what people thought of it haha.  I thought it would be fun.

After editing the picture, I was sitting down and staring at the star.  Suddenly I remembered a particular story about a starfish.  Just a little over a year ago, I had read a book - "The Power in You" by Wally Amos - which contained a short story about a starfish.  After reading the story, I rushed to go write it down in my journal. 

I opened my journal today - it's been a while since I've done that - and reread the story.  Just like when I read it the first time a year ago, the story made me smile.  I hope it makes you smile too.
   
   "The Starfish"
Author Unknown

As the old man walked down a Spanish beach at dawn, he saw ahead of him what he thought to be a dancer.  The young man was running across the sand rhythmically bending down to pick up a stranded starfish and throw it far into the sea.  The old man gazed in wonder as the young soul again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water.  The old man approached him and asked why he spent so much energy doing what seemed a waste of time.  The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.

"But there must be thousands of miles of beach and millions of starfish.  How can your effort make any difference?"

The young man looked down at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea said, "It makes a difference to this one."

I've read this to my dad, my older sister, and my sister-in-law.  They all smiled when I read the last sentence. 

It's a short and simple story, yet magically holds a handful of meaningful messages.  I take to heart the message that you just have to start with one - one step, one person, one action - to make a difference and that, afterall, really is the difference.

I wonder... what does the story mean to you?



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Friday, July 8, 2011

What Makes A Man

The drawing below was made by a guy I know very well.  When we were eleven years old, he confessed to me that he was gay.  He trusted me - the only person he trusted at the time - and trusted that I wouldn't tell anyone unless he was ready to come out of the closet.  As we entered college, he would tell me that he was still insecure with himself.

My friend believes that he's not the best at expressing himself - I agree - so he found an outlet for his insecurities: art.  He drew this picture and I was surprised by his drawing ability.  They say that when a person creates a piece of art, it is a self-portrait of themselves.  In this case it is true.  I see him when I look at this picture.

I made up a story to go with his drawing and I hope you enjoy it.

"What Makes A Man"
Colored pencils on paper
2009


The city was alive. 
People were crossing sidewalks, driving fancy cars, and wearing expensive business suits as they rushed to work and other places. 

A teenage guy sat there on the sidewalk, not in a rush like everyone else.  He wanted everything to stay still for a moment as he thought silently to himself.  What does it take to become a man?  Who does he want to be and what path did he want to take in life?

The young fella was practically invisible to the crowd around him, but he was used to it.  He knew the roles he played:  the lone wolf that nobody understood, the underdog that people overlooked, the middle child that never gets the attention.  Maybe all of this was true, but he didn't want these things to stop him from choosing who he wanted to become.  After all, isn't life supposed to be about choices?

Outwardly, he kept himself poised.  A warrior ready to take on the world.  The idea of exposing his weaknesses to the world was not his idea of fun, so he kept them hidden.  If you looked into his eyes, however, you would see a gentle sadness hidden there.  Even his sister has told him, "When you smile, I still see sadness in your eyes." 

The boy's sad eyes were caused by a constant inner struggle to become comfortable with his sexuality.  For this reason, he didn't mind being invisible to people at that moment.  At least they were oblivious to his insecurity of being a homosexual.

Slowly and surely, the boy finally stood up.  He still wasn't sure where he was going, but he realized that staying still was no way to get anywhere.  He took a step into the crowd and disappeared.


Now that you have read the story
you might have a few questions

You might be wondering,
"What ever happened to the guy in the story?"
I'll tell you if you just ask
but first keep reading.

Maybe you're wondering,
"Is this a true story?"
I'll gladly answer if you just ask
but first keep reading

Now you must be wondering,
"What is the purpose of this silly epilogue?"
I'll gladly give you the reason
but first keep reading

because I have to tell you something.

The guy who drew that picture has a blog and


 his blog...


well...


It's right here.



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Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Lighthearted Poem

I decided to work part time as a math tutor at the University of Hawaii Manoa during the spring semester of 2011.  Not only did helping others with math feel rewarding, I knew that it would prove useful in the future as a civil engineer major.  This is a poem of what happened during work one day...


He walked into the tutor room gracefully
Almost as if he glided
I never heard his footsteps
Nor did I feel the vibration of the ground

No one took notice
No one looked up as he made his way to his seat
No one except me

I nervously walked over and asked if he needed help
He looked up at me with kind eyes and said yes
I planted myself into a seat next to him
With an eagerness that shouted my joy

Sharing my knowledge with him was delightful
I was the accomplished wizard
And he the bright apprentice
His natural charm was irresistible
And I was captivated by his spell

Every now and then
I would allow myself to gaze at him
His handsome smile was enough to light up the room
His voice was enough to keep someone warm on a cold night
His caring eyes were enough to make anyone feel special

As our time together came to an end
My hand softly touched his hand
And his hand embraced mines
Our last and final embrace
Before we parted ways