Tagged life

I am From Train Tracks and Busy Streets

by Vivian


I am from train tracks and busy streets.

From motorcycles rides through the city and instant noodles,
The tofu on the streets that caused a round stomach – a baby so pure and so innocent.

I am from red velvet slippers and jumping rope in the courtyard.
From the big, mean girls who never let anyone play with their toys,
Their leader climbing up the stairs to the yellow slide after me, anger – infused face.

The slow-motion face plant as I hit the ground, leading to the broken arm in a cast.

I am from middle school “glo-ups” and makeup bags.
There’s always a first time for everything, baby girl not so innocent anymore.

From highlights to lipsticks, eye-shadow to contour.
The first pebble of insecurity, now towering like mountains.

I am from the stress tearing me apart between good grades or popularity.

“You need to do better. Universities look at this, you know?”
“Be cute, be hard to get, be confident. But watch out for Mackenzie.”
Those small little slip – ups that seem like the end of the world but actually aren’t.

I am from Gingham, Juno, and Lark.

The perfect filter – maybe X – Pro Valencia – or how ‘bout Skyline? Nah, #Nofilter.

Having to capture the perfect meal, posing with the perfect body, living the perfect Instagram life.

The staged smile on the girl holding plastic flowers pretending to be happy. No, no! I don’t want to be her!

I am from Grey’s Anatomy and Disney movies.
To grow up and help the needy, to cure diseases, to advise medicine.
To escape with the rose, flee with two glass slippers, and not kiss the frog.

Wanting to be my own woman, to do something better for the world, without Prince Charming.

I am from the fascinating world of medicine.
To witness the very first breath to the last dying breath, not just once, but a million.

That “tears and smiles” moment in life when joy and pain are seen together, holding hands.

To experience a miracle of a lifetime, or to mourn beside a deathbed.

I am from greatness and failure.
I still have a lot to learn, with many mistakes and failure along the way.

Embarking on a journey to find the meaning of life, every moment leading from:

I am from train tracks and busy streets.


Hear my Thoughts

by Swesuny

This piece was inspired by the current social and political climate in the writer’s hometown and abroad, in the United States. 


It saddened me to see others look for faults in the other people,
It saddened me to see others misjudge the other people,
It saddened me to see others consider themselves higher – above the other people.
It saddened me to see others use their ability to degrade other people,
It saddened me to know others manipulate the information to sabotage other people,
It saddened me to look at those who are in authority using their powers to disgrace other people.
It saddened me seeing others so full of themselves and forgetting their manners,
It saddened me – things I have noticed and seen around my surroundings,
It saddened me that they can’t be more ethical and virtuous human beings.
A human being that has a good heart ready to accept individual uniqueness,
A human being that has an eye open to see every possibility,
A human being that has ears ready to listen to every person’s concerns,
And a human being that has a hand to help without expecting anything in return.
I hope we can spread love and acceptance, not hate.

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A Society Cannot Stand Without Its Missing Piece

by Vivian


He asked me what we overlooked.

I told him love. The passionate one. The one that makes your skin crawl. Love that takes you to the edge of the universe and beyond.

I was in love once. I might be again.

He asked me if I’ve ever been in love. I told him yes. The “till death do us part” type of love. The blissfully falling type of love. Love that gives the butterflies in your stomach a permanent home.

I was in love once. I will never be again.

He asked me what it felt like. I told him, everything. The crazy, and high thrill. The ecstatic and melancholy, doleful and crestfallen love. Love that you think you understand – you don’t – but you do.

I was in love once. I might be again.

He asked me if I love him. I told him it’s just imaginary. The affair during the marriage that seemed so wrong but so right. The love of a wife, but not of a husband.

I was in love once. I will never be again.


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What is Anthropology to Anthropologists?

by 罗子禾

At a social event that took place not so long ago, I met a group of anthropologists, some of whom recently received their PhD’s. I have always thought that scientists are a strange bunch. They tend to not place so much value on monetary gains in life.

Instead, they spend their time digging up true and important assertions that further our understanding of the world around us and help us develop tech that makes life easier and more interesting.

However, they are exactly like the rest of us. They have coffee, go see their family, pay their bills, go hang out with friends, etc. I wanted to understand their life choices a little bit better. So, I asked them what anthropology was to each of them, and here are their answers…


The quiet and polite PhD candidate:
Whatever anthropology is, it’s attractive to me because of its depth. As a cultural anthropologist, I believe that everything, every behavior is reasonable or legitimate in its home environment. I’m not speaking of ethics here. I believe that stealing is morally wrong, but I get more attracted to the stories of why people do what they do. There’s always a reason, and that reason is almost always interesting to me.

The youngest PhD candidate at the table:
Anthropology taught me tolerance. The world is a big place and every one of us grows up only in a little corner of it. We are all accustomed to our own sets of traditions and norms, which are often regional. Anthropology is the thing that helps me rise above my own prejudices and faulty preconceptions.

The PhD graduate with a nice smile:
Anthropology is a way of thinking. It’s a set of rules and skills that helps me delve deeper when I think about things.

The extremely sociable PhD graduate:
Anthropology is a lifestyle. It’s a tool for me to understand other people better, including people around me. It’s that part of my life where I can unleash my passion for knowledge and scrutiny. As an anthropologist, I think critically about myself, especially about my values. Critical thinking at this level helps me jump out of traditions or social constructs and design my own way of life. Anthropology is my soul-searching journey.

The old professor:
When I was just starting my post-graduate education, I went against my sponsor’s wish and gave up economics to throw myself into anthropology. I did that because upon arriving in Japan, where I received my PhD, I was suddenly exposed to a whole new world. Unlike China at the time, a lot of people in Japan were bursting, no, imploding with original thought and the associated passion. Left wing extremists would hijack planes to go to North Korea and set up their resistance against the government. I just said to myself, how can I be an economist now that I’ve seen this? I want to understand it, explain it. Anthropology is what helps me understand and explain.

The poetic PhD candidate:
Anthropology is like a romantic partner. Don’t you guys think so? Anthropology, or rather, the idea of anthropology is quite romantic. There is an undeniable attraction between the field and the people studying it. Anthropology brings me ups and downs. It’s exactly like a life partner.

The new chair of the department:
Anthropology kind of became my identity at some point. Even though my job is 9 to 5, I don’t stop being an anthropologist after work. I may not have any work to do, but I’ll think about stuff. Once I started being an anthropologist, I became an anthropologist every second of every day. It’s an identity, or at least a lifestyle.

The composed PhD candidate:
Anthropology is a way to understand the world. It’s one of the fields of study that gives you fresh and interesting ways to think about the fundamental questions in life. Why am I here? What’s it all for? At the same time, anthropology, for me, is the platform that helps me get acquainted with other branches of science.

The happy PhD graduate:
Anthropology is that thing that helps me to come to terms with the coexistence of opposing thoughts and perspectives. What’s more, it’s also a path to change the public’s opinion or to convince people of things that I believe to be true or right.


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Drifting Away

by Tylia L. Flores


Sitting here in my wheelchair,

Staring at our pictures on the wall,

Thinking about how much we’ve changed.

Drifting away like a boat out at sea,

I guess that’s what happens when you start to love young,

people change and their paths begin to change.

It’s hard for me to see you as the same

‘Cause I know we’re drifting away from what we used to be.

I don’t want to say goodbye but the more I look at you

The  more and more I know it’s that time,

‘Cause we’re drifting and things are changing  

And I can’t hang on anymore…


Summer Daze, Summer Haze

by Vivian


The sun blasts through the window.

Hazy rays of light illuminating

Through the translucent pink curtains.

Specks of light fall through green leaves and little eyelids.

Little legs run through fresh-cut greens.

Silky grass grazes through little toes and tickles little armpits.

The warm air kisses the tips of little foreheads and flat noses.

“Weeeeee,” yells Prince Charming as he slides down the yellow slide

That will take him to the Fire-Breathing Dragon:

A test he must past before he can rescue Princess Peach.

“Cha-Ching” goes the lemonade stand. “Splish-Splash” in the pool all day long.

And in one blink of an eye, the little legs run off to school for the first time, ever.

 

The sun blasts through the window,

Leaking through magenta curtains –

The ones with glitter and girly assortments.

Shadows cast on boy-band-covered walls,

Revealing the horrid of a mess from yesterday’s first make-up run

Dirty, brown makeup wipes on the dresser and uncleaned brushes.

Strips of light shine through the window on to hot pink Hannah Montana sheets.

The active legs run down the stairs into the backyard,

Glittery pink eyelids squinting underneath a lavender hat that reads:

I LOVE JUSTIN BEIBER

Walking down aisles of clothes, trying on new dresses that rumple-rumple with every move.

Flick, flick goes the red nail brush,

Coating manicured fingernails and pedicured toenails.

And in one blink of an eye, the adolescent legs run off to high school for the first time, ever.

 

The sun glares through the white curtains –

The ones with the floral décor.

Its disgusting brightness pierces through the tired eyes of a restless teenager.

And on the counter are polaroid pictures of friends,

Scratched out faces of frenemies, and encircled hearts of cute boys.

A bracelet catches light and shines like gold,

Bestowing promises of love and life.

As backpacks swing onto broad shoulders

And aching arms from yesterday’s rowing practice

Carry heavy books to summer classes,

The hours pass by like centuries, a voice speaking at the front of the class.

Something about Ernest Rutherford? Or was it “Earn this rusted Ford?”

“Ring-Ring,” goes the bell as the teenagers throw their papers,

“Crunch, wrinkle,” deep into the black hole at the bottom of their backpacks.

Was it the beautiful summer air that warmed all these stolen moments?

From the stolen kiss from a boy who said, “I love you,”

To the Lana del Ray sing-alongs.

And in one blink of an eye, they throw their caps into the air,

First time to be whisked away to new dorms and the Land of No Parents, ever.

 

The sun glares through the blinds, white and monotone.

Slightly bent, but not that broken from last Friday night.

The half empty beer bottle sits beside an e-invitation, as they laugh in pity at

The pile of returned grades beside a break-up note.

Rays of light illuminate from the curtains with the floral designs and

The familiarity hits of waking up in that old room with boy-band-covered walls.

Old memories of the warm summer air that used to kiss little foreheads and flat noses.

The warm air peaked its head out from behind the tree of leaves

Ran to greet its old friend, kissed the tip of a familiar forehead.

Once again, what lasted for only one blink ended,

As the suitcases rolled to the airport, belts got buckled,

And grumpy grown-ups got whisked away to Adult-Land.

The first time they’d wished to go back to the time of translucent pink curtains, ever.


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Kylie and Leafy Co.

The following article is about Kylie, a six-year-old girl who owns her own business. She’s an energetic, and unforgettable child whose interests are multifaceted. She has a red belt in Martial Arts and is a gardener and animal lover. She’s an outward-facing child, always on the look-out for new adventures. She’s also on the Autism spectrum, which presents both external and internal challenges.


Kylie’s mom explained some of these challenges to me:

 Kylie perceives the world very differently than others and is very in tune with her surroundings. Everyday noises, lights, sounds, tastes and textures can throw her body into uncontrollable meltdowns. She is currently in many different therapies to help her physically and mentally move through everyday life.

The name of Kylie’s business is Leafy Co and is completely her design. Kylie’s mom described the story behind Leafy Co.

The name came from her love of leaves. Most individuals who are on the spectrum have certain things that they collect. Hers in particular consist of sticks, rocks, and leaves. We find them everywhere. She finds them beautiful.

Soon after Kylie was identified as being on the spectrum, her family explored different creative outlets that would show off her strengths. When she was asked what she wanted to do, Kylie decided that she’d like to put her favorite pictures on t-shirts. If that isn’t amazing enough, Kylie and her best friend are planning a sister company called Bestie Beads. As the name suggests, they will be selling beads they’ve made together. An influential marketing company has picked up Kylie’s inspiring story as well.

Leafy Co. sells graphic t-shirts in all sizes. T-shirts are made upon order. Kylie does the designing, and pressing. Therefore, each shirt is unique. However, the differences between shirts won’t be too noticeable. The designs Kylie makes are inspired by her environment, which makes the t-shirts even more interesting. The designs are abstract and creative. Currently, their business page is on Instagram.

I asked Kylie’s mom what Kylie’s favorite part of being a business person is. She apparently said, “Being the boss!”

Kylie’s mom further explained: She takes great pride in being able to say she runs her own business. Overtime her shirts have flooded the area around us. The smile that comes from seeing her t-shirts on others is irreplaceable. Being a little different from her peers took away a lot of her self-confidence in the last few years. This business has shown her that she is important and her self confidence has gone through the roof. 

The most important aspect of Kylie’s business is the message she wants to send to everyone: Autism children feel and see differently, but they just want acceptance, and love.

Leafy Co. is a great opportunity for everyone to see that children like Kylie are not broken, they’re unique. Just like everyone else, they have their strengths and weaknesses. So, Leafy Co. aspires to enlighten people.

Kylie’s main goal is to gain more followers on Instagram, create at least 10 new designs, and start Bestie Beads. Her Instagram has a faithful following already!

I asked if Kylie or her mom had any advice for children seeking to open their own businesses. Kylie’s mom had a lot to say about it:

Any child has the potential to be an entrepreneur. As a parent I see this journey as one that Kylie can look back on and know that her parents always believed in her. She will know that she can do anything she sets her mind to. As an entrepreneur at six, she has an incredible business mind. Knowing how to cater to a customer, and working to make her business as personal as possible. What will she be doing at 18?

I asked if Leafy Co. has a motto.

Before answering, Kylie’s mom reminisced on the time Kylie was identified as being on the Spectrum. She described how all of the members of her family gathered together – some cried, some dwelled on it. In that moment, she realized that the news was not something to be sad about. On the contrary, she realized it should be celebrated. She explained how Kylie had always been a highly intelligent, silly kid. The news just gave them answers, and helped them map out a road for the future.

In light of their story, Leafy Co.’s motto is: “See the beauty, instead of the label.”

Visit their Instagram, @leafy_business_co.