“You can be anything you want to be—a doctor or a lawyer.”
My father was a math man, a mad man; definitely not a family man.
I was a dreamer, an idealist; a girl tormented with wanderlust and impatience.
By 16 I had discovered that treading water was difficult when I was already fifty feet below.
When [she] attempted suicide, I promised myself to never let go of the dreams
I held so desperately against my chest,
of the maps I hid,
and of the moleskin notebook.
I just knew I didn’t want to be like [him]—
gambling life away, not under casino lights,
but under piles of financial strife.
I strove to travel until the earth flipped through my hands like
pages in my notebook,
I strove to ask the questions wiped away by the tissues
we had long since thrown away.
While he reminisced about all the times when his life was too close to perfection,
destruction was the only choice,
I dreamt about piecing my life together
using strings of words and syntax.
I dreamt about telling the stories people were too afraid to voice.
In rainy San Francisco,
I believed wounds could be healed with some blankets and a book,
or at least avoided with some rain boots and a sweater.
What mattered most to me was that in the center of San Francisco Bay,
there was a void filled with the ache of the human condition—
an ache that could be expressed only through the scratch of pen on paper,
an ache that echoed from Paris to Beijing.
I knew the world was not perfect.
I knew of its injustices,
of its misogyny and racism.
I knew of its fear,
of its imperfect love and its pain.
But to stand in my way was to stand on the shore of a beach
without being pushed by the current—
I promised to seek truth, I promised to seek justice,
I promised to seek wisdom.
I yearned to avoid provisional effects;
I knew the chances were slim.
But slim chances were the ones worth taking.
So with paper and a pen, I set off to write again—
because reality was always my idealism in action.
I didn’t care much for bandages anyway
I never cared much for ointments and creams.
Healing begins with words.
And loving begins with writing.
It is my job to make my world whole,
to string together the pieces of heartbreak silence couldn’t express.