It was January 29th, and the year was 1999. I was sixteen at the time, and there was a giant “Publish” button staring at me. My heart was jumping out of my chest, so I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, clicked the button, and exhale. Within a minute my website went live, along with my first online journal entry.
“…I was very mad throughout the day until I went to a supermarket, and saw 2 really (really) good looking men, European accent, WOW! My mood changed sooo fast!!” it read.
Poorly written and embarrasingly hormonal, but just like that, I finally came out to myself — I’m gay.
Years later I found myself feeling the same way, this time with the Ingredients of Fear. The idea of opening up to talking about my darkest fears is a powerful one, but the actual process of doing so is also incredibly scary and probably really dumb. So there I was, with the giant “Publish” button back and staring right in front of me, daring me to click on it…
Ever since my family emigrated to the US when I was ten, I’ve been trained to be constantly on the move. From going to middle school on the opposite side of the city, to college in Rochester, to working in Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, I’d find myself in a different part of the world every few years. I always looked so restless from the outside looking in, like those people who would rush to the front of the plane the second it hit the tarmac. Yeah, I hate them too.
The good thing about moving so often is that you get to hit the big red reset button every single time to restart your life. Like a witness protection program I’m sent to a different city again and again, every time with the opportunity to be anyone I want to be.
But growing up as a nomad also created this mindset that I could just pack up and evict myself every time an opportunity knocked at my door, even when that opportunity was really an excuse for me to take the easier way out.
I’ve changed jobs, wiped my computers, changed my email addresses, and even moved to the other side of the world just so I could look away from the face of fear. Instead of dealing with my problems head on, I’d just run away and try to restart my life over with a clean slate.
IT’S BEEN so long since I last wrote something here. Since finishing my #100w100d project last December, I was hoping to take a quick step back and look at where I should proceed from there.
I gave myself a few weeks off to jot down everything I would want to do this year, but what was shown before me at the end of the process was intimidating and daunting. It’s one thing to take up a good challenge so I can grow, but I fear — and I always fear — that my ability can’t surmount to my insatiable ambition. As hungry as I may be to grow, I was also nervous that committing to myself would mean biting off more than I can chew.
Day 100: We’ve finally reached the finish line for this 100 words for 100 days project. With exactly 10,000 words, this has been an exercise of endurance as well as a way to fine tune my writing. 100 days doesn’t seem like a long time until you’re twenty days in and your insecurity begin to set in: What if you run out of things to write about? What if your writing sucks? What if this become yet another abandoned project?
Yet none of that mattered because here we are. Everything is done and gone, and the only question is: what’s next?
Day 91: There’s this gradual revelation throughout this 100 words for 100 days project to learn more about poetry. There have been challenging occasions to limit my message to exactly 100 words, similar to how a tweet is restricted to 140 characters. Everything has to be as concise as can be; there’s this unexplainable beauty underneath its frankness.
Poetry has this perfect balance between imagination and expression. Every word counts, yet what’s not being said is just as important as the negative space of any piece of art.
Like a boy, I’m equally nervous and excited to make my introduction to you.
Day 74: I second guess myself a lot. There’s been plenty of time when I’ve written something, may it be a blog post or a work email, only to re-read them over and over again. Are my words used as effectively to get my points across? What if people don’t agree with me?
Worst still, this habit has only been exacerbated by this #100w100d project. Confining to exactly 100 words, it’s challenging to compress my thoughts into a brief abstract, leaving out plenty of room for ambiguity and misunderstanding.
Hopefully, this exercise can help me toward getting it right the first time.