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

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.