After a spontaneous trip to Mr. Boba, Stephanie and I went to Ralphs this evening. What was supposed to be a quick stop to buy toilet paper turned into a grocery run. As we browsed the deli section, our wedding song, “Stolen” by Dashboard Confessional played over the loudspeaker.

We stopped what we were doing. Looked into each other’s eyes. With a warm embrace, we slow-danced at Ralphs.

She said, “We’re in the middle of the grocery store…”

“You’re at the center of my heart,” I said.

She scoffed, rolling her eyes.

And this is why I love her.

Saturday was the first time Eddy and I actually sat down together to write a piece since our wedding. Inspired by the happiness of friends and their growing families, this weekend reminded me that it truly does take a village.

EVERYDAY HAPPY
Dedicated to Arianna, Francis, Aurora, and Fenix.

Smile. Laugh. B.
There are an estimated 42 muscles in the face on a good day
Everyone has more or less but we have the most muscles here. Right here.
The old saying goes: It takes 40 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, so why tire ourselves?
Breathe and live.
If strength is family, then family isn’t about the workout
Family is working it out
With presence, nonsense
And finishing each other’s sentence… Ces.

Family is plates of food stacked on tables ready to fill hungry bellies.
Family is a warm towel after getting caught in the rain.
Family is photo albums of arms over shoulders.
Family is a reminiscent song from your past in the daunting present.
Family is an invitation to a party.

Family is generations.
Is a tree (generations)
Is roots (generations)
Is the earth that grounds it. (generations)

Family is there even when you don’t need it.
Family is the umbrella on a sunny day.
Family is the ice when you’re boiling tea.
Family is the blanket when it’s 100 degrees.
Family is the phone call at 1 in the morning.
The phone call to make sure you’re eating.
The phone call that tells you to get your flu shot.
The phone call just because.

Family is always, every day, reflected on our faces
From childhood to neighborhood
B. Laugh. Smile.
Everyday. Happy.

Don’t you hate it when you plan to write and don’t end up writing?

That’s happened to me numerous times after my first post. I wanted to write about my first Lakers game against my Warriors (Didn’t get to see Kobe though), eating ube pancakes, first KmB and SJ meetings, the start of my second semester, coming back to work, APAAC (Full recap), first USC Women’s Basketball game against Stanford, and other highlights.

During my Xanga days in the early 2000s, I would write a catch-up post summarizing everything in my head. Realistically, that’s not going to happen. But I have some photos!

 

029 001 005 003 004 005
003 006

001 002

Perhaps I will write a #ThrowbackThursday in the future. I’m sure I will revisit my first Lakers game, which was supposed to be my first and final time seeing Kobe Bryant play basketball. Mark my words, I will watch him play before this season ends. I saw Michael Jordan play in 2003. Crossing my fingers, the hope is that I will have the opportunity to do the same with #24. Although I hated him as #8 with a passion growing up, basketball is basketball. My first love. Respect is given where respect is due. I must give it up for one of the greatest and most clutch players of the game.

Coming back to speed with this weekend: Writing and performing our original poem for Arianna, Francis, Rory, and Fenix, and recording a persona poem about a Filipino-American WWII veteran, I really miss creating. It’s been so long that I’ve been away from spoken word. I promise, more poetry will be in my life.

Today, the Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference reminded me: The youth will lead the revolution.

APAAC 2016

I am very proud to be an alum of UC Irvine.

Hello world!

This is Eddy.

Three days before New Years Day, I was hanging out with Steph, Janice, and Sean at this dumplings restaurant in Koreatown. I used to be very serious when it came to new year’s resolutions. Often, I ruminated about “realistic” goals to accomplish for the following year. This time around, I hadn’t thought about it all. When the question asked was “What are your new year’s resolutions?,” I wasn’t prepared to answer.

I thought about what I lacked or had less of in 2015. That was sleep. I hadn’t recorded the exact numbers, but I estimate that I slept at an average of 3-4 hours per night. What am I doing up so late?

Work. If not work, thinking about work. If not thinking about work, thinking about why I am not thinking about work.

In 2015, I was the Resident Host of Sunday Jump and Chairperson of KmB, Pro-People Youth. I curated shows and led political campaigns fighting for Filipino-American veterans and Pilipin@ Studies. Of course, I married Steph. I entered my first semester at USC for my Masters of Social Work. I held my full-time position as a behavior therapist (to keep my benefits and pay the bills). I performed at open mics, colleges, and community venues with Steph as Steady. It was a busy year. I sacrificed sleep to keep it going.

When Steph and I went to Las Vegas for a relaxing vacation, it caught up with me. I didn’t want to leave the hotel room. I felt paralyzed on the bed with barely enough energy to change the TV channel. My immune system weakened and I eventually got sick. A year worth of work hit me.

Today, I am feeling better. Although, I have a dry cough and my nose is still runny. I want to rest. For 2016, I want to prioritize self-care. That means quality time with my wife (not anything related to work since we are in a lot of the same circles). That means 7-8 hours of sleep. That means taking a breath and closing my eyes. That means self-affirmations. That means making time for family and friends. Self-care is the theme for my 2016 because it’s necessary.

Since I have been traveling recently to Las Vegas and the Bay Area for the holiday season, this analogy to flight safety is perfect. Taken from a page of Lady Basco, I must put on my oxygen mask first before assisting others with theirs. That is, I cannot help others when I also need help. Take care of me so I’ll be able to continue the work for family, friends, and community.

Now that this is written here as the first post of 2016 and my very first blog post ever, I ask whoever is reading this for accountability. I will do my very best to follow through with self-care. However, if I look exhausted and even if I don’t look tired (because most likely I will be hiding it), check-in with me. You can ask, “How are you doing?” and I promise to answer honestly. Not “Good” or “All right.” I will practice transparency and be a better husband, son, brother, friend, kasama, and ally. Thank YOU in advance.

I am READY for this upcoming year and the challenges that I know await. Let’s do this.

At the Line Hotel after midnight on 1/1/16

I want to feel your dynamite stick hands in mine
Together we make fireworks
Light me up bright orange
The way the sunset streaks across the horizon
I am the earth, you are the sun
Whose fingertips stretch for one last touch before you have to leave
You are that slice of citrus wedged between smiling lips after a hearty meal
The in-between not quite yellow not quite red
A state of everything in moderation
A contrast to my violent tsunami inconsistencies
Sit in the palm of my hand, my firefly
Can I hold you forever?