I am, so I can.

I’ve been feeling very philosophical lately, thinking of my purpose in life and what not. After several existential crises, something came to me; I am, so I can. This just means, as a human being — or merely as a figure who exists — I can! I can do physical activity, follow my passions, and do good in the world. But, even if I was a human vegetable, stuck in a coma, someone with different abilities, or even a child, I can do just the same. Though these exceptions are not often included when others philosophize about human life, this gives all beings possibility. If I — or anyone — was placed into those frames, we would still be able to give others overwhelming emotion, hope, faith, etcetera. Even people that are deceased, but still live through memory, can do the same. Their spirit lives on to move their loved ones. “I am, so I can” is much bigger than being able to do something, it gives our lives a purpose — that we aren’t a waste and meant to wander around this Earth until we meet our demise. You are, so you can, just by being you. As humans, we are given so much potential — from producing carbon dioxide for the circle of life, to creating, to inspiring peers, neighbors, and even enemies. There’s a greatness in all of us — we just have to be willing to give this gift to others. I hope I gave you a little faith in yourself today.

Much love & peace.

Emily Chih-ming Jay

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Ship.

Man overboard I am
I sought to keep living

 

There was a ship that kept sinking
A ship I worked on
I used to not have the tools to keep it afloat
I used to not know how to keep it afloat
Over some time I would learn how to use my tools
But the band aids would come off the holes
The holes stayed there
My ship remained under attack
Water didn’t give it life, it’d sink it
My ship would spit it out, but staying in water kept me afloat yelling SOS
My ship in turn was hurting me, endangering my life
It was time to rip of the band aids
And let my ship sink
It has been sinking all these years
My tools or not knowing how to use my tools weren’t the problem
Putting my life in danger was
So I ripped off the bands that covered the holes of my sinking ship
Currents took my ship
It twirled & danced into a violence
An alien, unfit for the demands of the sea
But, here I am
Swimming, alive in the ocean
I thought I could not survive out here without my ship
A ship
A multi-holed ship
A ship that could not be fixed & carried me to a violent, deep sea
But I’m the one who stayed on the ship after the bridge past the dock burned on top of us
My ship was not meant for the ocean
The ocean gives life while the ship continuously sank
It brought me in peril & made me fear the sea
How could I survive without my ship?
My ship brought me to the violence & life-taking currents in the deep ocean, sinking more & more, mile by mile
I felt like a failure because I couldn’t fix my ship that lead me out here in danger
The ocean is suppose to give life to the Earth
In the midst of jeopardy, I sought to keep living
I sent myself off into the sea
On an alien, unfit for the demands of it
My ship
I miss my ship
I miss the hope it gave me
I hate how it put me in danger
I hate how overtime
I forgot about my two arms & two legs
I forgot about my ability to survive in the sea
The ocean gives life to the Earth
It won’t hurt, I am fit for the sea
Man overboard I am
I sought to keep living

No time for (body) drama: an unapology

The weight you carry on this Earth is something that’ll never change.

I’m 20 years old, 5’2″ (on a good day), and 140 lbs. My friends say my weight is all muscle, but I know it’s not. I haven’t worked out in a month from being sick, caught up in the midst of midterms, and from giving up on the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) after only doing it for three weeks. I am taking five classes this semester at UC Berkeley, working as an intern at the SF district attorney’s office, and — so what — I like pouring copious amounts of half & half into my English breakfast tea every morning! I can’t make time for my M-F 7 AM gym sessions like I used to. In everything that has been going right or makes me feel accomplished, at the end of each day, when I return home from school, I continuously keep biting my self-esteem in the ass.

“If only you had abs again.”

“You’d look better with a bigger booty.”

“What happened to working for the thigh gap?”

I’ve been lacking the compassion to validate myself that I am trying my best. I learned recently that not only does the media engrain into our minds to believe that Eurocentric, symmetrical features is what makes a woman beautiful, but that privilege plays a big part as well. The privilege of time and money to go to the gym, grocery shopping, meal prep play a significant role into our health, which I never realized before until recently. I’m not happy with the way I look, and I am not trying to make excuses for it, but I think it is important that I (& so many other people!) give my-/them- selves a break. Although working on personal fitness is super important to the human body as a whole, it is important to keep our motivations in check.

Working out isn’t worth it if you’re trying to impress that guy/girl or transform your already beautiful body into something else. While I was working on just looking good for the progress pictures of BBG, I failed to nurture my body and give it the love it deserves from food and rest. The spirit of exercising should root from the love of one’s self. Never forget to love yourself, because that’s truly the only constant we have in our lives. We may change in thoughts, shapes, and values overtime, but the weight you carry on this Earth is something that’ll never change. We are all so important and, thus, worthy of our self love. Being “pretty” isn’t a requirement to live a happy life, but being true to ourselves is.

Contact me for questions, comments, or even if you just want to spark up a conversation. I know this isn’t the most articulate and inspirational blog post ever, but I hope it can inspire you nonetheless to believe in your intrinsic value. Peace & love.

P.S. Thank you for being human, and genuinely beautiful while at that.

Being the person your dog thinks you are.

Many tears (of joy) were shed in the making of this post.

The saying, “Be the person your dog thinks you are,” has been my “slogan” shall we say throughout my online writing career. It really speaks to who I am and how I think we should all live our lives. But what does it really mean to live our to how our dog thinks of us? I haven’t even really thought about how my dogs, past and present, would think of me actually, but this article strives to do just that!

Let’s do some reflection:

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Clockwise starting from bottom right: Jasmine, Lambchop, & Summer, 2004

Jasmine: She was our first dog & as a toddler, she’d let me get on her back & pretend she was my trusty steed. She was gentle, patient, & so kind, and put up with me being a total imaginative goofball.

Lambchop: When he got really old, I renamed him “Mr. Choppers,” and Mr. Choppers Lambchop became. He was with us for 12 years. I met him at Fort Funston at the age of 3 — he makes me believe in love at first sight because that was what he was to us. He probably thought of me as an affectionate, always-down-to-cuddle little girl.

Summer: I’ve had the Summer Bummer since I was 7 years old. We basically grew up together, as she is now an “ancient dog,” as my mother would say, of 13 years of age. She has seen me be the upmost playful as a child, mature into the 20 year old I am today, and still carries a deep love for me, as she still waits outside my door in the morning for me to wake up. She’s seen me through all my emotions & behaviors, and I will always be the little girl that picked her up from the airport in her eyes.

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Wilbur, 2016

Wilbur: Wilbur is my buddy! We take so many photos together, go on long walks on the beach, & he lets me lay on his 112 lb. body! He’s soooo cuddly & I’m pretty sure he’s very confused about whether he’s a small terrier like Summer Bummer, or a human. As you can tell, he’s the silliest guy with a huge personality with an even bigger heart. He party fouls every time my friends come over, but that’s okay — he’s easy to forgive, always. He definitely really appreciates how much I care for him.

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Toby, 2003

Toby: Wilbur may be my buddy, but I will always have the deepest doggy love for Toby. He was my first best friend. When I was bullied in elementary school, I would always look forward returning from my long, strenuous school days to play with him in our backyard. We’d play “detective” all afternoon and sleep together all night. We did everything together — he was my afternoon snack time & adventure buddy! He’d relieve me from my anxieties & make me the happiest little girl. When he passed away, I was scared he wouldn’t make it to Heaven since he was a dog. But when my pastor at the time reassured me that all dogs got to Heaven, I knew immediately I could be at peace & Toby was at even greater peace. He was my first heartbreak that took me a long time to “get over,” and I still cry every time I think about him.

I don’t mean to sound like a crazy dog lady, but being the person my dogs think I am means a lot to me. It means being my true silly, adventurous, imaginative, affectionate, loving, caring, most genuine self 24/7! From the loss of three dogs in the course of my life, this has only taught me to cherish all of my loved ones (I like humans too, actually) in the finite time we have together and to always strive to build my relationships. Dogs, I strongly believe, only think the best of their human companions & love them unconditionally. We should all live our lives with an open heart and “wag,” in the human ways we can, for joy constantly. There is so much to live for & appreciate & just love about life! Don’t be afraid to be yourself, my friends, and be your best, true self while at that.

Peace & love,

Emily

Reclaiming “Chih-ming”

So I went through a phase where I told everyone my name was “Emily Jean”…

When I was a little girl, I told my mother to change my middle name. She said, “Okay, we’ll call you Emily Jean after your aunt.” This brought a great, obnoxious relief for me.

At the time, I was attending a (primarily) white, Evangelical Christian school. Around the age of 8, my classmates started asking each other questions simply out of curiosity, as many 8 years olds do. My least favorite  question — but of course the most common one — was, “What’s your middle name?”

I would bashfully, anxiously say, “Chih-ming,” each time.

And I would get a “Chih-ming?!” every time…

My classmates never heard of such a name or even realized that some people even had non-American names in the United States. In the mindset of an 8 year old, since fitting in with the group was everything, I felt embarrassed being stuck with a name like “Chih-ming” and did whatever it took to change it… even if it meant getting my mom to tell people my middle name was “Jean” instead.

Being called “Emily Jean,” however, didn’t change the fact of me being half Chinese, or give me the ability to become full white overnight by any means. If anything, being “Emily Jean” gave a free pass to hide my heritage as a Chinese-American and mask to the world that I was “white” and could thus fit in with my fair skin, brunette hair, and petite figure.

I went on for almost 10 years with that “Emily Jean” mindset.

But I’m not Emily Jean anymore. My name is Emily Chih-ming Jay. “Chih-ming” is Cantonese for “wisdom” and “enlightenment.” I may not act the wisest and I would not say I have achieved enlightenment at all, but these are promises I live to fulfill for my parents. “Chih-ming” is not only a beautiful name, but works as a reminder of the two values I should prioritize and live my life by. Reclaiming “Emily Chih-ming” helps me demonstrate myself as a proud Chinese-American, and just the person I seek to become.

Watch me grow (as a 20 year old) in both wisdom and enlightenment through this blog. Comment and/or contact me anytime. Peace and love, folks.