Thursday, December 30, 2004

Happy Almost New Year!

Note: You've probably already received this in your email, but I thought I'd post the letter anyway.

My dear loved ones…

Warning: I'm gonna get smushie on you...big surprise. This is what you get for being in my inner circle, sucka...and there is nothing you can do about it. ;-)

Happy Almost 2005! May it be filled with love, laugher, joy, growth, and the realization of all your potential. As most of you know, I have the annoying habit of being far too philosophical, contemplative, and analytical…it's gotten me into lots 'o trouble in the past. But why change now?!

The beginning of the new year always excites me. Rilke wrote… "Let us now welcome the new year…Oh! the possibilities." The possibilities indeed! What does 2005 hold for us? None of us know…and that is the amazing thing…none of us know! The potential for abundant joy and excitement is limitless. Many of us are in the midst of significant life changes…new jobs, new loves, new births, new homes, re-evaluated dreams, re-evaluated expectations, rediscovered talents, rediscovered friendships…and the burden of all things new and changing can really weigh us down and dull us from the potential and joy of what these changes can bring. Personally, 2004 brought A LOT of change for me, and I know that sometimes I felt consumed by the change process…consumed by the enormity of it all…I felt tossed…a piece of flotsom whirling in an unforgiving sea. I found myself having to repeatedly step back and observe my life from the vantage point of a third party to truly appreciate the enormous gift all these changes brought to my life…the added texture and depth of my life. I mean…really…how many people can say they got stuck in a water buffalo traffic jam in Yellowstone National Park, went snow-shoeing in Tahoe, swam in the Great Salt Lake, watched Radiohead perform live at 1 in the morning in the middle of a polo field in the California desert, or visited the SPAM MUSEUM within a 13 month time frame!!! Feel sorry for my grandchildren...they'll be hearing these stories on a near constant basis when I'm old and forgetful. I guess what I'm saying (and I'm saying this more for myself than for you) is…be not afraid to take risk in 2005…be not afraid of the potential for failure…be not afraid of falling…because you won't…or maybe you will…but who knows where that falling will take you…Live on the boundaries of your life and explore how you can expand those boundaries…Don't be afraid to live boldly…the world needs more bold livers (as opposed to bold kidneys or bladders or pituitary glands…bad joke…sorry.)

I've never been a person for new years resolutions…it's not that they don't work…they do sometimes…but there is something confining about them…something prescribed, negative, fabricated and superficial. I don't set new years resolutions. However, I do set new year hopes…Hopes are optimistic and well-wishing. So, what are some of my hopes for 2005?

> I hope I get to hug you this year and play with you.
> I hope you and I laugh together.
> I hope you have a moment when you are so nervous that your stomach ties up into a knot, your face gets flushed, and you lose your ability to speak English.
> I hope you get to sit back and fall asleep watching a movie under a warm comforter.
> I hope someone cooks you a warm meal from scratch.
> I hope you and I get an opportunity to help someone less fortunate.
> I hope you and I have an opportunity to feel pain and realize that it is an aspect of life that we can't avoid. I hope we learn to fully embrace the heartache and then learn to let it go.
> I hope you get caught in a warm summer shower.
> I hope you have an opportunity to live in your body fully…feeling the pounding of your heart, the rush of blood through your legs, the tingle of wind on your skin, and the wet of your mouth.
> I hope you are enraptured by music…consumed by its celebration, consumed by its universiality.
> I hope you laugh with a loved one until tears come to your eyes and you gasp for breath.
> I hope you get an opportunity to create…create art, create a report, create love, create music, create connections, create a robot, create friendships.
> I hope you get to express yourself…realizing the strength of your voice and your intelligence.
> I hope you feel connected…connected to people, to earth, to me, to a nice bowl of chili, to weather.
> I hope you have a moment to get angry and disgusted…to the point that you are compelled to revolt, to riot, to seek change.
> I hope you eat a whole chocolate bar in one sitting...a nice big chocolate bar with a high cocoa content...marshmallows and graham crackers are optional but oh so delightful!

Above all, I hope you have a full year of experience…experience that you can't wait to share with others.

Thank you for enriching my life. Thank you for the experiences you shared with me in 2004. Thank you for being a friend. I love you. I hope I get to see you this year and hug you and laugh with you...Yeah, that's right, I mean a problem with that.

With all my love,

Bo Young

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Few Things

There are few things more magical then:

Walking through Manhattan, late at night, during Christmas weekend when the streets are barren and empty, holding someone's hand, and the snow falling silently around you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I don't even know you...

What is happening to this country? In a recent survey conducted by researchers at Cornell Univery, 44% of Americans surveyed favored restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. The survey also found that Republicans and those that described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing civil liberties.

What ever happend to learning from our mistakes? Ummm...anyone ever heard of the Holocaust...or the Japanese Internment Camps? The study is revealing for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it speaks to the pervasive nature of racism in this country. Just because the KKK doesn't openly wander around terrorizing communities doesn't mean that the sentiments that fueled its original formation no longer exist. If the survey is any indication, racism is a live and ready to stick out its little ugly, deformed face. Secondly, the findings speak volumes about how short-sighted and self-involved Americans are. When American can't even be bothered to extend equitable civil liberties to its own citizens, how can the global community expect us to design foreign policy that is inclusive rather than isolationist?

This should be a huge warning sign for all of you civil liberties loving, tree-hugging, believers of equality and social justice. The country is becoming a scary place. We have to be one our toes to ensure that our civil liberties are not slowly chipped away. The gay rights movement, the pro-choice movement, environmentalism...all contribute to the safe-guarding of our civil liberties. We have to ensure that a dialogue of descent continues in the public forum. We can't just shut off the TV when something upsetting occurs. We have to exercise our voice and say things that aren't always pretty. We have to rage at times...and I'm not talking about raging in anger and fear and misguided aggression...a la faux-metal grunge testotaronie Ozzefest attendees...I'm talking about raging for social change...raging out of a place of compassion and hope. Raging for not only the safety of my Muslim-American friends but for my own safety. Some of you think I'm joking when I talk about my precarious position as a Korean-American; how I worry that I'm next on the list of "enemies against America." But think about it. What if Kim Jung-Il of North Korea was behind 9-11? It's not that big a leap of logic.

Back in elementary school, when I was first introduced to the events of the Holocaust, I remember thinking "But how could the German people allow such horrid things to happen? Didn't they try to stop it?" Yeah...I get a feeling that the slippery slope we as a country are heading down is not all that dissimilar from the ride taken by the German people.

So, the question then is, WHAT DO WE DO?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year! May you find special blessings this day. Today, when the darkness arrives earlier than any other day, it is a reminder that goodness lives. Tomorrow the day will be just a little longer, and then the next day will be even longer still.

Darkness brings great potential...the potential to go inward and reflect, to envision, to map, to explore a space hidden from the sun. It is the space where we set our intentions.

Go home today, take a relaxing long shower, cook up a big bowl of stew or chili, snuggle up to a loved one (if one is handy) or under a big comforter, turn on some good music (my current fave right now is Dean Martin - Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano!), take some time to close your eyes and think...or not, go to bed early and wake up tomorrow knowing that the sun is wait for you to announce your intentions and plans.

And if that doesn't work...there's always a big pint of Ben and Jerry's in the fridge to tide you over (well, at least at my place!) Ha!

Monday, December 20, 2004

This Woman

I wrote this about two years ago. I thought I'd share. Some of you have seen earlier versions of it. This Woman is you...Yes, you!

This Woman

This woman has learned to speak. With a voice sonorous and sexual she impregnates you with her dialogue.

This woman has learned to write. In prose that intoxicates even the alcoholic she reveals the luxury of the feminine.

This woman has learned to dance. She becomes liquid human; arms, legs, torso - all nebulous and precise.

This woman has learned to sing. Hear the stories of her ancestors in the melody, the dreams of her children in the harmony.

This woman has learned to walk. Barefoot and slow. Each step a prayer of reverence to the earth and to herself.

This woman has learned to cry. Without judgment each tear becomes her validity.

This woman has learned to weld. Constructing the broken shards into a being more exquisite.

This woman has learned to lay naked next to you, windows thrown open exposing the honesty of her belly and breasts.

The woman has learned to pray. Finding humility in the asking and the receiving.

This woman has learned to revolt. No apologies are offered, none are expected.

This woman has learned to be still, the mist rolls over her sun burnt body and she remembers the sweetness of your kiss.

This woman has learned to effort without damage, living with the knowledge of her own strength.

This woman has learned to give birth to her hope, to her promise, and to her child.

This woman has learned to play, laughing at the letting go and bowing down to kiss the feet of her beloved.

This woman has learned to be valid, realizing that her worth is not contingent on the width of her thigh, the shape of her nose, or the capacity of her logic.

This woman has learned to influence, and those she cannot reach with her hands she will reach with her voice, and those she cannot reach with her voice, she will reach with her mind, and those she cannot reach with her mind she will reach with her heart, and those she cannot reach with her heart she will reach with all the good intentions of her mother’s prayers.

When someone pays you a compliment...

Just smile and say "Thank you".

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What is this?

I think I'm going crazy...actually, I'm pretty sure I'm going crazy.
But in the most delightful way.
I'm happy...astonishingly happy.
I've never experienced this before...
It's amazing.
I feel welcome and invited
Accepted and whole.
I think I'm starting to understand.
And I have no fear...
It's bliss.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More momma wisdom

You be the judge:

Scene: Dinner table, my mother is watching Korean soap operas and I'm shelling and eating peanuts.

Mom: Oh, your lawyer called me today. (Note to reader: This would be the very FObish first generation lawyer that is working on my apartment purchase.)
Me: He called you? What for?
Mom: He wanted to know if you were single or dating anyone?
Me: He called you? Isn't he married?
Mom: Oh, he wasn't calling for himself, he was calling for his brother-in-law?
Me: Not interested.
Mom: You haven't even heard me out.
Me: Not interested.
Mom: But he's a dentist...practically a doctor.
Me: Not interested.
Mom: But you haven't even seen a picture of him.
Me: Have you?
Mom: No, but he's a dentist...and Korean...and he's not too old.
Me: Was he born here?
Mom: Well...not exactly.
Me: When did he come?
Mom: I think in this twenties.
Me: ...
Mom: Apparantely the lawyer was really impressed with you...he said you were pretty and smart and well spoken.
Me: Still not interested.
Mom: And his brother-in-law is now very interested in you too. They think it is very impressive that a woman of your age would be taking on the responsibility of buying an apartment.
Me: Still not interested.
Mom: I bet the lawyer would waive his fees if you went out on a date with his brother-in-law.
Me: Thanks you are prostituting me out for free legal services. (Note to reader: Although at $1750 in fees, I'd be a pretty expensive and ritzy prostitute.)
Mom: But he wants to meet you...when was the last time a guy wanted to meet you?
Me: Thanks for the encouragement.
Mom: Aigu! (Korean mother sound) What am I going to do with you?

At this point I took my peanuts and headed into the basement. Yeah, I really need to close on the apartment and move out ASAP. I found my Mom snooping through my purse the other day. I suspect she was looking for a business card and trying to steal my email address. Ah, thank god my parents are computer illiterate.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sleep Deprivation Causes Obesity!

How unhappy was I when I learned this little fact.

It's been such a crazy week for me. As some of you might know (especially those that have the great distinction of being a former roommate), I occassionally deal with bouts of insomnia. It's not debilitating and usually passes after a week or so, but it's still pretty miserable when I hit day 4 of no sleep. I've been having issues sleeping since last friday night. I'd say I'm averaging about 2 - 3 hours of sleep per night for the last 6 nights.

It's hard to predict when the insomnia will hit and when it'll leave but boy alive it blazes a trail of inefficiency and confusion when it strikes. I've been trying to pull together an application for a writing scholarship (don't ask) all week long. The deadline is this friday. I've amassed all the necessary writing samples but I haven't been able to complete the required essays - "What makes your work Asian American literature?" and "At a recent Workshop reading, a young woman raised her hand during the Q&A and said that she was tired of reading creative work about going home or eating dinner with a sad family. How would you respond to her if you were the author giving the reading?" The only answer I've come up with for the first question is 1) Because I'm Asian American...don't even ask what I've come up with for the second question.

The thing about being sleep deprived is that it zaps any creativity I might have and it also makes me irresponsible. The ironic thing is that I do most of my best creative stuff at 3 in the morning. Well...that's not entirely true. I do most of my best visual creative stuff at 3 in the morning. For some strange reason 10AM - noon is my best writing time. Weird.'s hoping I'll get some good sleep tonight. A sleepy, grumpy Bo is no fun to hang out with. However, bashful, doc, happy, dopey, and sneezy Bo are great fun!