how to fix the “waiting for cache” error

Hey. May I introduce myself?

 

I’m wrong 95% of the time. 

I’m not fluid like poetry is,

Or predictable–like when you can tell what a poem might sound like from just the first line.

I’m scant rhyme 

if it was human. 

 

The cache of people to compare ourselves to is running low. 

In the bottom of today’s morning coffee, 

I hope you find the words:

“you are not you because you are never the same. every alarm you snoozed 

and lego you stepped on and 

person you left on read and 

co-worker you rolled your eyes at and 

crush you broke up with and 

free Costco sample you ate 

brings out the vibrant colors that make you different. 

your wavelength marches to its own spectrum. you are different. 

you are nobody else but yourself.”

 

cache cleared.

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dear warrior,

loneliness gnaws at your mind 

ghosts of friends you took for granted 

spook the trail of your bloody footprints 

that lead to the monster under your bed 

it sharpens its fangs on your stress

tell her why you hurt her  

watching you flaunt your different skins broke her

she couldn’t keep up with the valleys of your mood

in a dark well of nothingness

you did a great job at hiding 

your self-worth 

but she knows everything

your weakness absorbing the temporary  

your strength building its permanence

tired yet?

Hate is an alcoholic. 

hungover again,

it stumbles through the dreams 

of people whose human-ness doesn’t look like what it means, 

masked and abandoned 

by people who’ve forgotten that they bleed,

that they sleep

while their sister  

is trapped in lies, 

in insecurities that tell her how to live her life. 

she hides

in i-don’t-knows and who-am-is and should-i-even-trys, 

guided by mistrust,  

followed by the pain inside. 

maybe today you’re

hearing homeless heartbeats in radio waves, 

counting people who were killed, who didn’t get to count their days, 

or reading texts like “pray and stay safe.” 

are nations just artists that

color a race, 

sketch a religion,

smear blood on its face,

paint its false characteristics 

with outdated statistics,

and don’t own up to the deaths that live 

because of “mental illness”?

issues call themselves Anonymous, hide behind their names, 

jump out from their shadows,

and scare us from change

while we’re scared of the things that seem to stay the same. 

Journalists and poets claim 

their craft will heal what’s numb,

but first I’ll learn to feel again, 

then wake up.

Something to be thankful for

He curled his tiny fingers around my own. Yawning quietly, he slightly opened his large brown eyes, catching glimpses of his new home. I stroked his soft head with its light sheath of black hair. Innocent and pure, he had an entire journey ahead of him. And I was witnessing its very inception that rainy October night.

With each passing year, my younger brother proved to be funny and strong. Despite his playful demeanor, he has always surprised me with his grit. Whether it was learning to take the wobbly steps, getting up after every fall to walk, or hurling the basketball multiple times to shoot it in the basket, I saw this human so new to the world trying hard to attain goals. At an age where I could decipher true grit from instant gratification, has been the most substantial gift I have ever received.

Humans are born to struggle in the face of difficulty and are also equipped with a survival instinct that pushes us to overcome those difficulties. Surprisingly, humans are naturally apt to persevere and overcome challenges, however, self-doubt, insecurity, and a fear of failure are factors that are an organic consequence of growing up in a society that is rigid in setting standards for success or failures.

Our accomplishments as a society today are no doubt commendable, but somewhere somehow we have lost the touch with who we are and what we are capable of. We have forgotten that the survival instinct is innate to us. We are born with the power to develop any skill we set our minds to. Our predecessors, in an attempt to provide us with the best, more so, to keep us from making the mistakes they did, actually rip us from the opportunity to learn from our failures.  Rather than seeing failures as opportunities for growth, I find that guardians, mentors, parents, and even teachers protect us from making mistakes. An unintended consequence of adapting such a mindset is the urge in us to find the easy way out of problems. We do not want to make the effort to solve a problem. Rather than making choices where the chances of failure are as high as chances of success, we are caught up in finding resources that guarantee success.

An outcome of such a narrow focus on “perceived success” is a vicious cycle where we want to mimic our predecessors because it guarantees a result that is perceived successful but leaves us deprived of experiencing true accomplishment. In other words, we follow the path set for us but we want different results. We learn what we are taught with utmost sincerity only to find that we have to change and improvise at every step of the way. We are never prepared, never satisfied of what we do, and fall short of meeting our expectations of ourselves.

Without having my brother unfold his life in front of me at a stage where I was mature enough to compare him and me; what humans were meant for and what they turn out to be, has been an experience that is and will remain close to my heart.

Windows

Our windows were only a couple of feet away from each other, separated by an old wooden fence that was tall enough to allow either one of us to catch a glimpse of a ceiling or the shadow of our heads.

My window was usually open during the day, blinds pulled aside to reveal a net that kept flies and moths from entering my room. Sounds drifted their way in and out as they pleased—sneezes, quarrels, and laughter.

The only thing I really knew her by was her sharp directions at her dog to stay quiet or the conversations from her poolside when her friends came over. And then, one afternoon, I saw from behind my netted window through hers, a figure reach up towards a ceiling fan to open it. So there was a face to the sounds, but still no name, no other way of identifying her. Who else lived in that house besides her and the dogs, I wondered.

She had loud guests over the day my brother and I were pointlessly arguing.

“I don’t care if they hear,” I had shouted angrily. But now I always find myself wondering–what does she hear? See? Think?

From what I heard across our fence, her summer was mostly silent, except for the 4th of July party. Her summer was covered by the same morning and night, except for the evenings when fairy lights glistened through her flower trellis and floodlights spread on my backyard lawn.

My summer was loud, when my siblings and I quarreled or joked, and then broken by silence when we absorbed ourselves in books. My summer was the corner table in the room, then the living room, and then the corner table again because my mom taped bed sheets onto the glass backyard door to block out the intense heat, cooling the space inside. My summer was 2 days in Arizona and then back to the corner table, where I did summer homework. With each hurriedly written answer, wrong question,  and wasted second, the sun set and the night fell. The same sky that she saw through her own window.

Would I want to see my life through her window? Was her perspective of my life over-exaggerated, underwhelming, or just right?

Right now, I’m not sure what I want her to see through that window. She only sees what she hears–my silence when I’m not in the room, or my exasperated sighs when I’m studying in the room. All my struggles and ambitions go unnoticed by her. If I was crying, she would hear the sobs, but she would never know the reason why. For some reason, I want her to know everything, to understand me and why I was crying–I got so many questions wrong–or why I was laughing–funny Youtube videos. But she can’t know that, and it’s frustrating.

In some ways, a window is good. If there was no window, she would have stopped me from procrastinating with a condescending look, humiliation pushing me back into my tasks. She would have stopped me and my brother from fighting, embarrassing us and causing us to lock in our frustration. But because of the window, she’s powerless, yet powerful because she could see and hear everything, and perceive it the way she wants, and never see it the way I want her to: the truth.

Most of us are in a constant need to be understood. Yet society has, over time, made it seem wrong to speak up and openly communicate our thoughts and emotions. In fact, it almost encourages us to always be happy-go-lucky, always strong and resilient, because, according to society, what other people think of you matters a lot. But sometimes it’s okay to let your guard down and change your perspective. You don’t always have to view yourself or others through one lens, your lens. I don’t always have to keep that window there. Maybe she and I shouldn’t have to look through the same window every day. 

21

Hope is not the thing with feathers. It isn’t delicate,

Light, or

Airy.

Hope is the mountain that was moved by fear.

Hope doesn’t perch in your soul.

Once it finds a benign tree, the branch snaps,

And hope falls, falls.

It’s picked up by an innocent–

Played with, caressed by childish touch–

Cared for and loved–

Until one day it’s left carelessly by the riverbed like Heidi–

On a journey of its own.

Hope doesn’t sing tunes.

Her whispers are the sound of wind chimes–

The wind–

Howls–

And no one can hear the newspaper rustle and tear

Because Hope shrieks.

As the wind howls,

She screams.

 

I’ve felt hope.

It gnawed at me once.

I’ve hoped, almost as much as I’ve loved and laughed,

But not as much as I’ve lived.

Trust me–none of us have.

We’ve lived for eras, centuries, decades, years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds.

We’ve lived through revolution and renaissance, dictatorship and democracy, war and peace.

Damn, we’re living now.

 

But hope has lived through it all.

When we perished, it coarsed through the roots of empires,

Glittering beads in the government’s gargled poison,

And into our inflated economies.

Hope has been through it all.

It’s with us now,

In my very blunt pencil lead

(becoming more blunt with each passing second after 2:47 A.M.),

Like my faith in God,

It spikes–but it’s with me.

And I’m not letting go.

If You’re In a Slump

I’ve been an avid writer since a very young age. It has been my way of expressing how I was feeling–whether the emotion be happy, angry, or nervous. You can ask the painters who were forced to repaint the walls of our old house because they were covered with my hurriedly-written entries. They read some pretty deep thoughts from an eight year-old.

Anyone who is a writer like me knows how comforting it feels to write about events that irked you or made you happy. And you probably also knows what it feels like to run out of inspiration. Personally, I have been in this state for the past couple of months. I used to always come up with stories, and I remember being so excited to write them down, and hopefully one day see them published. Maybe it was the pressure of school and the lack of time, but I soon found myself in a slump. I simply did not know what to write about.

Now it’s summer, and this season screams artsy pictures and writing inspiration. I think it’s safe to say that I am back into my avid writing state. I’ve decided to share some of my tips with you if you’re also in a slump.

 

  • Read more than you write. Read books that are written in the genre you’re hoping to write more in. If you want to start writing more adventurous stories, read fictional books like Harry Potter or The House of the Scorpion. The writing style of these authors will become part of your language as you write, and the small events that happen in the story may give rise to bigger plotlines in your head.

 

  • Get out of your bed. Usually, the best compositions come from real life experiences. Go to the beach or on a roadtrip. The scenery might spark some inspiration for settings of possible stories that you may write. If you don’t have the time to venture on long trips, spend a couple hours with your friends. As long as you’re getting fresh air, meeting new people, and reconnecting with old friends, you will definitely come up with new stuff to blog about or new stories to write.

 

  • Be up-to-date with local or global events. Events that happened with your friends, in your community, or somewhere else in the world leave a lot of space for opinions. If you really don’t know what to write about, just share your opinion! After all, writing is a form of self-expression, and what better way to share this than putting your opinion on different issues out there.

 

  • Ask other people what you should write about. If worst comes to worst, just ask. There are two ways you can go with writing–writing for your own pleasure or writing to appeal to an audience. Getting to know what people want to read more about will give you a jumpstart. If you’re working by other’s guidelines, it will pressure you to stop procrastinating and get writing.

 

  • Give yourself time. My last tip is to just remain calm. Remind yourself that it is okay if you’re not writing for a couple months. Know that you’re not the only one who is suffering from a lack of inspiration. You need to give yourself the time to go through different things in your life and feel as many emotions as you can. Then, you can gather those experiences and feelings and craft a work of art you can be proud of.

These are my 5 tips to any of you who are running dry of inspiration. I hope that this helps you and comforts you. Good luck in your future writing endeavors 🙂

 

Does Cosmetic Surgery Promote Self-Love?

How many times have you come across a headline along the lines of “Check Out the Before and After Pics of Her Face!”. One of the major headlines constantly seen in the entertainment industry is about the cosmetic surgery that a celebrity has undergone, and these articles are usually the ones that receive the most attention. The youth today are influenced by these famous figures and feel compelled by the idea of surgically modifying their face or body to achieve an ideal standard of beauty as dictated by society. Many argue that cosmetic surgery is an immoral or even demonic way of becoming “beautiful”. However, I believe that it promotes self-confidence because it makes individuals feel secure in themselves. He or she feels that they have achieved something they thought they could never have–beauty.

Just to be clear, I am not claiming that any insecure person should immediately turn to cosmetic surgery as a solution. I am only justifying the motive that patients of cosmetic surgery have when they go into their surgeon’s office. In fact, it is not their fault that they feel insecure. Unreasonable standards set by society long ago, such as skinny waist or symmetrical face, have imprinted themselves into people’s minds since a young age, and they grew up knowing that that was real beauty. If anything, cosmetic surgery has been more helpful than harmful, because it has given people what they wanted, or more justly put, what they think they needed.

Instead of pointing fingers at celebrities for altering their faces with surgery, think about why they must have done it. In the midst of their glamorous lifestyle, they themselves must adapt to the definition of “beauty” to appeal to the rest of the world. Cosmetic surgery helped many people overcome their insecurities, and, as a result, made them more happy. If cosmetic surgery is really something we want less of in today’s day, then we should be spreading a positive message about what real beauty is–it radiates from within.

To Glorify a Legend

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” This quote by the widely acclaimed and well respected Harper Lee conveys the true meaning of courage. The word, courage, has incredible depth and much perception. I’ve written countless essays in which the main idea was this very quality, but it could mean so many things–eating something you’ve never tried before, skydiving, or climbing Mount Whitney. Lee’s perspective on courage, in my opinion, captures its meaning wholly. Life hurls the most unexpected at the most unconventional times, and one should be prepared to face it no matter the consequences. As a writer, I understand the fear of confronting yourself in order to write out brutally honest words. Then, if you’re brave enough, you share it with the world. Writing is an intimidating yet beautiful art–layers of who you are as a person are peeled away, revealing your reality to yourself and to the people you’ve shared your work with. Harper Lee and other incredible artists were brave enough to let the world  criticize, admire, and hate their work. The motivations and goals of such artists may have been completely subjective, but they all had one common accomplishment–they opened up doors for future content creators to fully realize their potential and have the courage to share their creations. When an artist can accomplish that, I believe he or she is a true hero.

Harper Lee is one of the most insightful authors I’ve ever known. Her masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, emulates perfectly a racist society seen through the eyes of a twelve year old. Having read this in sixth grade, when I wasn’t fully educated on the history or current events concerning racism, I fully came to understand that black people were treated unfairly for a lot longer than I thought. Four years later, reflecting back on this book, I sense that Lee was perhaps trying to point to a deeper message than racism or prejudice towards the lower class. By revealing the perception a young girl has on sensitive, crucial issues, Lee showcases the importance of giving attention to the thoughts of the youth. Had we read the book through an elder’s perspective, or even Cornelia, the black maid, we would probably have seen the typical thoughts of someone who obviously despises racism and would do anything to delete it from existence. However, comprehending the story through a youth’s eyes reveals the mindset of every little boy and girl when they are first introduced to the reality of a highly judgmental society. Showing the world a different point of view on a topic that to this day is the highlight of political debate and outrage portrays Lee’s courage in pointing out society’s flaws in a time when it was uncommon for a woman to do so.

I believe that everyone has an identity when they are born, and throughout their lifetime, they must fulfill it. That fulfilled identity is the only thing they take with them when they leave. The world comes up with a notion of who they must have been throughout their lifetime, and that becomes the new, theoretical identity. No one, except maybe Lee’s closest family and friends, can fully know what kind of goals she had in mind, what motivations she had to do the things she did, or whether the kind of person she is perceived as now is how she wanted to be perceived. She has taken that identity with her. However, the perception  I have of Harper Lee is that she is a hero, rescuing those that were afraid to share and pursue their passions. Through her actions, she has inspired people across the world to not only create content for their own satisfaction, but also to implement a healthy mindset and hope into future generations. By reaching out to the hearts of millions, Lee has established herself as a true legendary artist.

Being Alone

I am a self-proclaimed and proud extrovert. I love being around my friends and even making new ones. Personally, I find comfort in knowing that there are people around me who care about what I have to say. It’s human nature.

I must admit, though, that I get jealous of those introverts sometimes. They manage to remain calm under pressure, and they find security in being alone. It seems to me that society has  a rather twisted image on the “loners.” They use it as a way to mock the unsocial people. Of course, sociopaths are pretty creepy. But categorizing the introverts as such people is not fair. Introverts still have friends and a social life; they are just more comfortable being with themselves. This is something that I wish I could have.

I get anxious when I am alone at some event or even at school. As I said earlier, being around my friends gives me that sense of belonging. One thing I learned, however, is that, as much I’d love to, I can not control people. At some point, I, like many others I’m sure, have tried to see if I had psychic abilities. Reading other people’s minds is something we would all jump at to have if we had the choice. However, we unfortunately have to resort to reading body language or other tell-tale signs to see what the person is thinking. And that too is not always convenient.

There is no way that I could change people or force them to be with me at all times. There have been many times when I found myself alone. Several times, I encountered the fear of being thrown into an apparently dark pit of loneliness. When I found myself in there, however, the atmosphere was cool and comforting. I had the chance to ask myself questions I would usually ask friends or acquaintances. By the end of my stay with Loneliness, I made another friend with myself.

There is nothing wrong with being alone. In fact, solitude gives you a time to reflect on decisions you’ve made you weren’t so proud of, goals you’ve fulfilled that make you joyful, or losses you experienced that tore your world apart. After all, the most important friend you can ever make is you.

Yes, introverts are pretty awesome, and I don’t think we should associate them with the dark, creepy people. You have the always accessible privilege of remaining alone and pinpointing and strengthening your weaknesses.  Give it a try.