Saturday, January 31, 2015

It's the weekend!

And I am determined to not stay hibernating inside my apartment the entire time.
"She was damaged, and acknowledged it freely."

From the book Behind the Beautiful Forevers written by Katherine Boo. Page 72.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Comparing the timeline of your life to others is completely useless.
It's all in how it's captured.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"When I first started, I was helping with production. Because it was such a small company at that time, everybody had to do everything. Aside from me, there was a production manager, and a woman that cut all the samples by hand. When it came to shipping, even Anna was putting boxes together. After Anna did her first fashion show in fall 1991, the company got much bigger and Anna realized she needed to hire more people. She also realized that she needed somebody to help just her, so in 1992 she made me her assistant."

From the January 22, 2015 article from The Daily Front Row titled The Assistant Files, Vol. 62: Thomas Miller, Anna Sui.

Congrats to you, Thomas!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday night at home.

"Look, Joe. If people thought about all the things that could happen, they'd never do anything."

Said by the character Corporal Joe Allen's father from the movie The Clock.
"Don't forget to thank me, baby. Don't forget to thank your Cookie on this historic occasion." 

Said by the character Cookie on the show Empire. Pilot episode.
It's funny that as I was just contemplating about if I should do this certain thing tomorrow, "A Gentleman's Honor" by Philip Glass starts playing from my music on random. It's like the right choice was so easy to see, but I was being lazy.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The solution to my extreme overthinking problem is to just not think about it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It's going to be a good year.
The past week or so has been really cold in NYC. It makes walking the city by foot pretty much impossible, and I long for warm sunny weather.

About a year ago, I got on the subway one evening to go to this bar alone where some friends were throwing a party. Last winter was pretty brutal too in terms of the cold, and I remember this day being particularly miserable as well.

As I gripped a pole and stood in the shaky subway while it pulled out of Union Square, I noticed a friend named Anna Margaret sitting nearby bundled-up in many layers and with a bag of takeout food. We knew each other from working together at a restaurant in the East Village, and I probably hadn't seen her in close to 4 years. I immediately said hi, and it was so great to catch up with her for a bit. Then I told her that if she had no plans, she should come with me to where I was going because the people at the bar throwing the party had also worked at the same restaurant as us, so we all were friends.

That's when she responded with, "Tae, I'm old and cold," and proceeded to tell me about how excited she was go to home with her dinner in hand and stay inside in the comfort of warmth. Now, Anna Margaret is not someone I consider actually old because we're the same age. But when she said that to me, I completely understood what she meant and wished her a good night.

What she said, "old and cold," has really stuck with me since. I find it popping into my head a lot more nowadays. And in this winter's current New York deep freeze, I too feel too damn "old and cold" to do the many things I once really enjoyed.

Below are some pictures from my time living in Bangkok that I never posted. They were all taken while I was on the backseat of a motorcycle-taxi (motosai), and it brings me a little warmth to think about my days in tropical weather when this was the way I traveled around town.

"This is the number one rule for your set,
In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets."

From the song Regrets by Jay Z.
This is not my life. It's my story.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Trippy like it's 1968 inside of 80 Wooster Street.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

I'm ready for you, 2015!

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope the upcoming year brings you many laughs and much happiness.

I spent my New Year's Eve at my apartment with my sister. It was just the two of us with her dog and my roommate's dog. Being at home and not outside in the chaos of massive crowds and drunken revelers was exactly what I needed. A busy holiday season of drinking and going out officially had me weary by the time New Year's Eve came around, and the absolute last thing on my mind was being at some busy bar or restaurant.

This past holiday season was a lot of fun though. I got to go out frequently for holiday related stuff, so the time just flew by.

Attending Christmas at my aunt's house in Ridgefield, New Jersey with my relatives was one of the highlights. My grandmother has officially moved to my aunt's house there after living in Alaska for many decades. She had recently come with an aunt and uncle from Anchorage who escorted here, so this past Christmas was extra special for my entire clan that lives in the Tri-State area. It's great to have my grandma so close by now, and I for sure will be trying to go visit her whenever I can. Getting any time with her on Christmas was hard because there were people everywhere with so much going on, but I'm hoping that visiting on weekends will allow me to have a bit more quiet time with her. I still think about when I was living in Seoul a few years ago, and my grandma was in Korea visiting. Because she stayed longer than all of my other relatives who had been visiting with her, I had the privilege of getting my grandma to the airport on the day of her flight back. We rode the airport bus together from Seoul, which was more than an hour away from Incheon International Airport. I stored her luggage and we grabbed seats on the bus that were a few rows behind the bus driver. We chatted about family stuff during the entire ride, and then ate together at the airport one last time. I hadn't seen my grandma for some years at that point, so having been able to spend time with her in Korea was really fantastic. I can still remember seeing her off into security, and feeling sad I'd be far away from her again.

Something I realized this past holiday season is that being around my large and extended family makes me happy. I spent so many years away from my relatives and was trying to figure my life out, that it became easy to think in my head that I was different from all of them and didn't belong. This is of course solely due to my sexuality, and not in part from anything that my relatives have ever done or said to me. I just thought that it was easier for me to exclude myself in order to not give anyone a chance to ask me questions about my love life or other personal topics. And with that, I would be saving all of us any awkwardness where some things might just be better left unsaid. But all of that was so incorrect, and now I can just see how wrong my entire approach was. The thing is, my father and his many brothers are all strong in a certain way that pretty much defines our family. That pressure of living up to the type of men they were really had a large impact on me since I was a kid. I knew I was different, and just never thought that I fit the mold. Being gay---or even any sort of man that deviated from the type of men in my family---was not anything that seemed to cross anyone in my family's minds, except for me. With that insecurity, I just felt like an anomaly as I got older and avoiding holiday gatherings in my 20's became really easy. Whether it was because I had to work or was living far away, I thought me not being there was doing everyone a favor.

A lot of my issues about being around relatives were internal and came from within myself. Back then I just wasn't ready to be around them for a lot of reasons. But man, now, it feels good to  spend time with them again. The biggest lesson I've learned from all of this is that no matter what crazy thoughts I might've came up with to convince myself I was different and would never be accepted by them, those were all in my head. I mean sure, there could be some who end up feeling whatever negative way about me, which is totally fine. But that hasn't happened yet, and I shouldn't have lived my life like it had.

Now, whenever I'm surrounded by my family and relatives, it is undeniable to me that they are my blood, and that we're all so alike. And that they love and accept my as my father's son, a nephew and as a cousin. I do have my own place amongst my large extended family, and nothing can or will ever change that.

Living away and avoiding my family for so long gave me a large period of time to forget a lot of the small details I've always known about them. And returning with a clearer head and feeling like I'm in a much better place has allowed me to once again notice all these details, on top of discovering so many new ones. These moments happen most with my parents. Little light-bulbs will go off in my head when I notice something about them and realize that a good amount of my natural behavior is dead-on with theirs. The same thing goes for all my aunts, uncles and cousins. All of us spent so much of our lives spending time with each other, especially during the holidays (always with the freshest sashimi and lots of alcohol). And it's nice to feel as an adult that many of us and our dynamics have not changed at all. When with them, I find myself having moments where I get completely lost in whatever I'm doing, and I can just be my carefree 13 year-old self again and not have to think about it. There are still parts of me that have never changed, and letting loose with some of my cousins is what helped realize that.

It's a nice feeling, to be able to get lost in things. To be able to only think about one thing and not feel distracted. I can remember a time when I just said and did things in whatever way felt most natural and authentically me. My life always used to be like that at one point, and I only realize that now because I am looking at things from a place that is different. At some point things shifted, and it's shame that has changed me. Shame in so many shapes and forms. Shame that came from ignorance. Shame masked as neurosis. Shame in the form of unnecessary baggage from regrettable decisions in the past. Shame that has also resulted in things I am proud of because it's who I am. Being able to realize all that is has been such a blessing. And that's not to say that shame is the only thing that defines me. That shouldn't be mistaken as things that are completely unrelated. We all have different reactions to things. Sometimes we forget that what feels authentically right to each of us is something only we ourselves can ever understand.

Starting this upcoming year, among many things, working on my shame is definitely something I want to focus on. Things don't happen overnight and that's completely fine. But now that the on button has been pressed, it makes a big difference.