As you can see I am broken and I'm in search of glue that will take all the broken pieces and make me whole again.
Cause you see it's taken 33 years of wearing down and tearing away and open wounds and broken bones and cracked toenails and wounded hearts to get to this very place
In 33 years I have witnessed more violations than I can count
Penises as weapons
Hands that push heads down until choked throats can no longer speak
Men who forget to ask for permission
who appear perfect until the very moment of orgasm
who call and say I’ll be there
but never show
Leaving two little girls to wait curbside clutching their backpacks melting in the hot sun
Men filled with clenched fist fulls of broken promises
men with 1 foot in and 1 foot out
men who leave
out the door
The very first one was when I was only three
Men who know nothing else but what they've been taught
So the vicious cycle keeps spinning
comes this resignation of the female form
So we have been building this wall made up of cinderblocks mortared with blood and cum and spit and tears and muffled screams and “no!” and all the times I couldn't muster the courage to say “please leave me alone!!!!”
I know that I am not alone because ME TOO has been written a million trillion times across their backs in black ink sharpie, tarnished
That wall is so high it touches the sky and blocks the suns rays no longer warming closed eyes and soft skin across furrowed brow
I see how the corners of her lips where laugh lines once lived have now morphed into tightly pursed lips
Where did she go? Nobody knows
Nobody knows what's behind that wall because it has been too long
but I know because I can see into that tiny window that there are these tender little beating hearts
yearning to be seen
yearning to be fed
yearning to be heard
yearning for a connection
yearning for respect
Whats The point of all that yearning when no one is willing to start knocking Down the cinderblocks with sledgehammers one at a time while yelling I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry for all the harm that I have cause
I'm sorry for all the harm that he has caused
I'm sorry for all the men in my lineage who could have caused harm
and then I’m left to wonder if sorry is even enough
I wonder when the fuck they would begin to wake up and listen and look directly into her eyes and say I'm sorry because you deserve nothing less than to be treated like goddess and I will kiss your feet and I will roll out the red carpet I will serve you hand because you are divine and you are God you are beautiful
And then I remember it is I who have let him in
flung open the doors too readily
loved and trusted full heartedly
forgiven too easily
forgotten too soon
but the violations reside in this broken body
and it never forgets
there is no surrender
until the story is told
As you can see that I'm broken, I stand before you broken and in acknowledgment that I inherit the words
the voice somewhere in this broken body
that reminds me of how to become whole again
As you can see that I am broken
At times it begins with I can no longer be silent
I can no longer sleep
It begins with 4 AM words Voice dictated onto a page
Listen And wake the fuck up
I am not Angry I'm livid
A fire has been lit under me and I will stop at nothing
And I will not apologize
And it begins with these very words
These words are the glue to our feminine
to our future
and to becoming whole again.
When I look in the mirror at my own face. I study it with a furrowed brow. Only noticing blemishes, pock marks, scars, pimples. wrinkles, discoloration, and age. People like to flatter me and say “wowl you look so young for 33”. And my immediate internal response is “that’s funny cause I feel like I’m 66”. Looks can be deceiving ya know.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I remember the day I showed up at a new school in a new town with a short bowl cut. I was scared shitless and what made it worse, everyone thought I was the new boy in school. It was terrifying. I also remember all the other kids spreading the rumor that our 6th grade teacher Mr. Kensington was having an affair with the Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Jaden. I wear the cruelty of kids on my face.
When I look in the mirror at my own face, I see scars left behind from my 1st grade bout of chicken pox. The crater left on my upper lip and the other to the right of my short fat nose. I can’t remember when the mole appeared on my nose. It tries so damn hard to be a mole but it isn’t quite because although it is raised, it is the wrong color. This mole is having an identity crisis. And as the only asian girl in an entire white school, so was I.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I see dark circles under my eyes. 20 years of central california allergies has taken a toll on these eyes. Child onset psoriasis has taken a toll on these eyes. These tired eyes that can see depth and into souls but look worn like a rag hung out to dry on the backyard line. I see eyes but they are darker in color, the crescent moons more crescent these days.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I see thick bulbous puckered lips. The ones that whisper into ears in dark candlelit rooms. The ones that yelp out in pain. The ones that suck. The ones that yell. The ones that sing off key. The same ones my old roommate referred to as “DSLs”. What’s that, I asked?” “Dick sucking lips”, he responded with a grin. Which felt weird cause my lips look like my dad’s. Thick and swollen and lay flat against my round face when I smile, just like his.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I am reminded of the many years I spent every morning putting on my game face. Thick lines of black eye liner on my upper lid, apple red lipstick, rose colored blush and way too much foundation, caked on to disguise my blemishes. I don’t wear make up anymore except the occasional eye liner for a special occasion. I don’t miss it. I show up just raw, eye bags and pock marks and all. I don’t have to worry about it running down my face when I cry anymore. And there is no more deception, “here I am!” my face exclaims. I show up as I am and there is no more hiding.
When I approach the blank page I go blank.
Except that I have so much to say.
I’ve witnessed too much injustice to just sit here and be silent.
Where do I even begin?
I have to remember that the weight doesn’t have to fall just on my shoulders.
When I close my eyes the thing that I want to share most is that our world needs more activation.
During this time of year I am hearing everyone gripe about the pressure of having to buy shit for Christmas.
I mean, how much more SHIT do we actually need?
Why not take all that money and time and energy and put it towards some good.
Call up the local food bank and donate food or time or lend a hand to serve a hot meal to someone who needs it.
There’s no reason to contribute to the evil empire of consumerism and capitalism any further.
Turn black friday into black dress day and go out and dance.
Dance out your toxins, your sins, let loose your monkey mind and let it doe the waltz with your inner child.
Discharge that shit.
Turn cyber Monday into meditation Monday.
Sit and be still.
Put off your to-do list until tomorrow.
Take your puppy into the forest and down the gulch and jump in some salt water with nothing else on but goggles and fins.
Get naked in the sea.
Turn giving Tuesday into something you do not just on one day a year but everyday.
Give, give in some way everyday even if it’s just a smile or a conversation or ride to a hitch hiker.
Stop looking at your damn phone all the time.
Your neck is craning and aching from all that looking down.
By the time you’re 40 you’re gonna need a neck brace to keep your head on your shoulders.
Stop swiping left and swiping right, instead start skipping through the jungle and listen to the bird song with your whole being.
Stop wasting time scrolling through Facebook
and Instagram longing for another life
Create your life.
Sign up for a class in something you would never imagine doing.
Go free diving.
Learn to spin pottery on a wheel.
Join the collective underground and go into the trenches until you unveil your deeper voice.
Take your hands and rough them up.
In the garden, climbing a tree, or embedded in pastry dough.
Go into a prison and offer your heart.
Offer your wisdom.
Shed some light into the dark.
The world needs more candles lit and sage burned and bonfires and skinny dipping and cliff diving and singing in the shower.
So go. Activate.
Stop staring at your blank page.
Get your soles of your feet on the ground
And make some shit happen.
DO IT NOW.
I am the lilikoi vine. I am an invasive species. I strangle all other life form in my path. I bear sweet tasting fruit and drop them to the ground once I’m ready to let them go. I am relentless. Nothing, nobody can stop me from spreading in all directions. Climbing, strangling, reaching. grasping, letting go, it is a vicious cycle. I am the insatiable lilikoi vine.
I the pointy tip of forest pines. I am rooted deep into the Earth. I am always reaching for the sky but can never quite touch it no matter how hard I try. I am the reason pine sol smells the way it does. I let the wind threaten to topple me over and fall but yet never let it. I will tip to the left and tip to the right but I default to straight up reaching reaching arms outstretched hugging the whole sky as if it was all mine and only mine.
I am the tailbone. Aged, sore, felt most at the end of a long day. I throb and ache and shout out for her to fucking stop already. I beg for him to apply pressure. I plead for her to work her magic on me with the souls of her feet. I know she can feel me and I know she knows I am asking her to slow down but yet she can’t. It’s not in her nature and I am just the lone tailbone so who am to dictate the pace at which she moves?
I am the tip of a cracked finger nail. Clickity clack I type on plastic squares with letters on them for hours on end. I am broken because she writes words of her brokenness with leaking ink pens and electronic devices hot to the touch. She seeks solace in the swipe left and swipe right like a fucked up metronomic meditation. She spells out her anger and sadness and magic with me and I have no say. She uses me as her weapon, her love sling, her hammock filled with songs and fantasy and desires and shadows and wonderings on the subject of death.
I am dried up mud caked at the bottom of her shoe. I slosh around when it rains and I get stuck when it dries. I am brittle, I crack. I’m not meant to be loved or desired. I am nothing more than a temporary stepping place. I dissipate in the wind, turning into nothing as I float through the ether. I am microscopic particles of Earth.
I am the jingle in the bell of her collar. I’m only activated when she’s moving. Prancing on sand, frolicking in the forest, hopping over streams. I ding in the key of C # minor and I am pleasing to the ear. I am a reminder of her presence. I do not speak but I sing with every movement and I am essential to her existence.
I am the dancing flame of a candle lit on her altar. I am the scent of toasted coconut and fig tree. My single flame lights up the entire room. As soon as her eyes adjust she can see everything. Every stitch in the hem of her dress. Every wrinkle at the corners of her lips. With this light she navigates her thought patterns but ends up in a maze wandering around for lifetimes without ever finding the cheese.
I'm spending my 34th birthday in Hong Kong, to trace the roots of my ancestral lineage. I am filled with the desire to meet and commune with all the women of my ancestry. I want to hear their stories with their own voices, their prayers, their wishes, their resentments, hear about all their coulda woulda shoulda shouldn’t haves. I want to see their faces. How their single eyelid, flat nosed, puckered lip profiles match mine. They didn’t have FB back then so it’s not so simple to type in a name into a search box and scroll through years of photos and posts of them. I want to put my finger down and scroll up until I reach 100 years past and meet my great great grandmother, unfiltered, no editing, just raw. I want to see the way her thick wild black hair frames her face and the way she scrunches her nose and laughs when she’s nervous at social gatherings. How her cheeks flush when meeting an attractive boy and whether or not she believed her soul belonged in the remote mountain villages of Guang Zhou, the bamboo forest, and out in the middle of the sea. I want to see how many of these women manifested their wildest dreams or succumbed to the status quo and drowned their livelihood in patriarchal obligation and responsibility to the family name—WONG. I want to see the way Cantonese rolls off their hungry tongues licking up the talons of the single winged dove flying over rooftops blessing each soul with a ca-caaaaaa letting them know they are on the right path. I want to hold the hands of these women, interlace fingers and see how mine fits right into the glove of theirs, and how brown eyes could get so brown that you can jump into the pupils and meet at the depth of soul where the center of the earth meets roots of trees and molten lava and moist red mud—the kind that gets trapped under toe nails and embedded inside the soles of feet for generation to generation until shoes are invented. I want to see the women who walked barefoot on wooden planks to the long tail fishing boats of Lantau Island where stilted houses stand on concrete pylons and wooden 2x4s with peeling paint, cracked windows, threatening the oncoming storms to refuse to collapse. I want to mack on steamed shrimp dumplings and steaming hot bowls of shark fin soup and stir fried bird’s nest crispy noodles with carrots cut out to look like flowers and strips of beef marinated in pork fat and watch our bellies grow with food babies and kin so that we might teach them the lesson of the enriched life of the heritage of Tsois and Wongs, and Shins, and Chungs, and whatever the hell else name they wanted to call us for we could not be put in boxes and labeled because the soul of these women surpasses time, space, and identity.
Last night, I died.
And I felt it all.
The pain, the sadness, the grief, the halting of breath, and heart without beat.
A warm body turned cold.
Rigormortis setting into the tips of my fingers and toes stiff.
I remember feeling lost.
I remember feeling the void.
I remember thinking, omg, this is crazy.
I think about where they would take me.
Poking and prodding?
Cutting away skin and breaking ribs to get to the heart.
What was the condition of her heart?
Was it full or deflated?
In my death I think about how my name and my identity and humanness would be taken away.
How I would go from Jazzy, to “It” or the “body”.
I wonder what I would look like.
What facial expression would I make.
What would I wear?
Shoes or slippers?
Freshly showered or would there be dirt caked under my nails?
How many battle scars left behind on my shins and elbows.
How my last breath would feel.
A last Inhale, and then a last exhale.
Then I thought about all the phone calls
And the voicemails
And the shocked faces.
And the “oh! poor thing!”
With sympathy cards
Bouquets of flowers
Letters and photos laying at the altar.
The soups and casseroles and envelops of red money drenched in tears.
And then I thought about my funeral.
What I don’t want.
I don’t want a casket or chemicals and embalming shit to fill my body.
I want to be returned to the ground, in ashes or as a tree.
I want to be wrapped in nothing more than burlap sack and flowers from Hawaii.
I want noone to be burdened by my death because that shit is whack
Take the money and backpack through southeast Asian and bring my spirit along
Take the money and buy a boat and sail from SF to Hawaii
Take the money and sign up for a detox and yoga retreat in Bali
Turn me into an engraving on a bench at a beach or a park.
Or name a star a million miles away after me.
And let me know if that star can be seen with the naked eye even on a full moon night.
Make a slideshow from all the FB photos.
Show images of shit eating grins and endless adventures and waterfalls and jungle hikes and motorscootering across Thailand and teaching yoga in prisons and letters to my homies and and all the cuts and bruises and gashes requiring first aid kits.
I want to hear stories.
All the stories.
The embarrassing ones.
The ones that remind everyone of my darkest shadows and flaws.
The ones I can’t remember.
The ones that spoke to legacy and memory and impact and someone who loved so fucking hard that she died doing so.
I want to hear from them.
I want to hear from my family.
And the Collective.
What would they all say?
What stories would emerge?
I hope they’d talk about my work.
The importance of social work in the world.
Of going into homes, prisons, hospitals.
What kind of legacy did Jazzy leave behind?
I want everyone to feel and laugh and cry all at the same time.
Last night I died.
Really, I did.
I was left to ponder all the questions
Who would adopt Mochi in my absence?
Who would fly to Hawaii to clean up my things?
What secrets would they find?
Who would read all my pieces or journals and secret notes scattered throughout notebooks?
Who would be shocked?
Who would be pleased?
Who would be offended?
Who would be disappointed?
Who would take my place in my home?
Who would drive my car?
Or take my paddle board and promise the ongoing pursuit of adventures?
Who would tell them all that I want them to have a big party?
A big giant celebration of LIFE?
And since I never got to have a wedding or a 50th or 90th birthday party
I want this party to be barefooted
On a warm summer night
A fire pit
I want there to be the most yummy food they have ever feasted on.
In a lush garden or on the beach or upcountry overlooking the entire island.
And fuck, how about a bounce house and a waterslide?
I want everyone to wear vibrant colors of the rainbow.
I want there to be cake and ice cream and Mark’s cookies and a table full of candy.
I want there to be sushi
And dim sum, and bowls of ramen, and fresh mochi ice cream from Bubbies.
And everyone to get buzzed on tall glasses of sangria
And trip out on magic mushrooms
And practice yoga imagining my hands on their lower back in childs
Caressing their scalps in savasana
I want someone to roll a fatty to pass around the table
Massages in the shade under a big oak tree
At my funeral I want everyone to feel free to sing and play music on every type of instrument imaginable and hold ceremony like open mic meets a witchy church.
I’d want everyone to paddle out to sea, spread petals of orchids and roses and bless the ocean with life and vibrancy and richness and gratitude.
I want them to speak of generosity and humility.
My yoga classes and my humor.
My mistakes and my failures.
My accomplishments and all the times I reached the finish line and cried.
I want them to speak of grace and love and a big open heart.
I want them to speak of courage and thoughtfulness and the sound of my laugh.
So yeah, last night I died.
And it was painful and beautiful and in my wake it appears as though I left a deep imprint on many hearts and left a legacy behind that won’t be forgotten for many generations to come.