Monday, December 31, 2012

oh silent night: a huge blog post for hugely awesome friends and holidays

foreword: i tried to keep the following thoughts and emotions in one paragraph (LOL, what a joke on my part). then i started writing and it kept going and i decided, imma just write dis for myself. i think these next paragraphs were written more to for me--not for me to read, but for me to write.

POST SCRIPT IN THE FOREWORD. after writing all this i have decided this makes no sense and you shouldn't read it because i think it's dumb. but at least you have some photos if you don't read it. heck i dont even know if you're reading this.


cousins, brothers, sisters. aunts, uncles, grandparents. relative seems to piece family back into place when it's the holidays. no matter what the cost, nothing stops family from getting together during "the most wonderful time of year." thanksgiving gets close to winning the award for best family-gatherer, but christmas gets me out of school for like friggin 4 weeks. thanksgiving? 2 days--the winner is obvious.

despite the obvi ness of family getting together during the holy holidays, for me, it's always been a rough ride. it's just the four of us--my brother, my mom, dad, and me. but we're all somewhere else. we're all up to something at different parts of the world. this year, i felt the distance, but more than the distance, i felt the brokenness that lies between the cracks that have always existed in our four piece puzzle.

after getting lost in translation with japanese stewardesses of Japanese Airlines, i traveled across continents to find myself planted in a christmas that was missing someone. whenever i go to korea, he's always there. whenever i pass customs and stroll my luggage out of the airport, he's always there. or at least he's supposed to be. but he wasn't. well, i guess it's more accurate to say that he was there for a second, he picked me up at the airport and put me down and then he left my mom and me. alone. in a quiet home. no tree. no promise. just broken expectations of what family means to me. of what i thought home was supposed to be.

on the day of christmas, mom and i sat around and listened to my "AHHHHHH" playlist (i.e. christmas playlist, because christmas is worthy of screaming AHHHH) on spotify while trying to find some decent american films on demand via korean tv--no success. i didnt mind nor really notice him not being there until i called him. hey its a holly jolly day so i should call my pops even if he is dumb and not home on christmas, or so i thought. i dial his cell to face a redundant obnoxious ring. that's when his absence began to burn. 

underlying that situation, is my mom. she's in a very keen, sensitive, complicated and not happy state. her hurt hit me when she broke it down--erin, the house is so empty, her voice fragile, as unsteady and as thin as seran wrap. and while i sat and listened to her telling me what's happening with our family, while as i listened to a situation so real, i felt a sense of quiet like some haunting heatwave--except it was cold, like the chill i imagine it'd feel in an old abandoned haunted house. like in that one poem, not a thing was stirring not even a mouse? it was kind of like that--i felt the houses' silence, the vacancy of a family. the sad truth that was our state of a "merry christmas." the emptiness makes a home here, it stays and haunts, quietly whispering devastation through the my mother's veins, seeping in like some awful nyc humidity.

while i realized our situation--i will spare you and myself of the logistics, i tasted what it was like for many people, many quiet people, who don't actually have a merry christmas. who don't actually get to instagram a festive family photo. who don't actually have friends to tag in their facebook photos for holiday polaroids and camera photos. the emptiness pierces. to the experience-ee it is a quiet fog, but as my mom relayed those words to me, the situation's sudden overbearing nature was miserable and sharp. i can't even say i tasted this emptiness because i know i can't feel what my mom feels. a white man can't become a black man. a student can't become her teacher. a daughter can't become her mom. but the emptiness was right there before me and it hurt to see it and to know that it was so real.


i thought about that emptiness that some feel during the holidays. nobody to share a gift with. or maybe somebody, but then the list ends there. merry christmas, to nobody and nothing. i remembered a contrasting experience related to silence/emptiness after a shindig i held a few weeks ago. after some friends and i pasted scraps of paper together to make holiday cards and after we consumed apple cider and chocolate wafers and verde salsa and after many smiles and happy feet walked in and out the doors of my humble soho abode, a mist of a feeling came over me. i sunk into a silence from the absence of my friends who had once illuminated my night.

the small space was full of such laughter that even initiated crying--laughs on me. a corner of camera posing, a dollop of shouting at our cards for not being perfect and living up to our artistic dreams ("where is MINTY MOOSE"), a brief revisit to ol' degrassi. my not so capacious space was jammed with joyful noises, enough so to inspire an RA to tell us to shut up before quiet hours--of all rooms mine... LOL, they dun know me.

then after all that, when we finally got tired from camera posing, and finally acknowledged that our cards cant be perfect, and finally finished talking about degrassi, i sunk into the quiet and finished the night: i moved the mosaics of scrap paper from awkward table crevices. i whipped out my laptop. i updated my facebook photo to one from the night's collection of many poses. i wrote some of what youre reading write now in my tumblr journal as i always do when i feel moody. then i closed my laptop. all was silent. everything and everyone had gone.

despite the banter, car horns, obnoxious drunken discussion--i.e. the downtown soundtrack that invites itself into my room to make it so characteristically citylike, despite all that, for that moment, i realized how quiet my room actually was.

but in that silence there was an unheard din--the beautiful melody that is friendship. i realized how awesome the evening was, for me. i realized--yet again--how lucky i am to have friends like these. there was maybe 10 people that passed in and out those doors that evening, not too many, and yet each one meaning so much and breathing so much life.

in that silence, i felt warmth. as i walked around my room i felt the laughs and excitement and smiles that wandered the same space. yes, it was silent, but my room wasn't empty.

in that silence, i felt life. i felt joy because that is the scent of friendship. as a few true friends study abroad next semester and judging from my dynamic check-in-history (born in jersey, lived in south korea, lived in seattle, now in nyc--had to move all da time errywhere, thus less stable friends), i'm never sure who my 'best friends 4 lyfe' are. i feel inseparable with some people. i think they're awesome. we've got to be friends ten years from now.' and yet who knows. i always think i do, but looking back, i know nothing.

in that silence, i felt the present. i didn't feel worried about friends not getting along with others even if they're new. somehow my friends are awesome in the way that they can be awesome with new people since they are all awesome. do you understand?! it's magic. it's an open heart. in these moments i didn't worry about anything because i knew they were all my friends, not the cream of the crop of my favorite clique-y groups or whatever. it was all about the moment. IT WAS A CIRCLE OF LIFE

in that silence, it felt like a postcard or a polaroid. i felt reality from a few moments ago and i was soaking it in. the moments were musky in my head because they weren't happening in front of my face, yet, thinking in that silence, i felt everything. i felt love. i felt the silence unwrap itself into life, into the present, into friendship.

i can never thank god enough for the people that he has placed in my life. and i have come to terms with the fact that many of these people, i will not be in regular contact with 10 years from now. 1 year from now. or next month. or ever. but in that silence i felt a gratitude for the fact that i have these friends that i do today.

in that silence, i knew the warmth that lingered invisibly in my room might fade. in the same way, these friends may not even see me again, but i also knew that in the chaos that exists beyond my quiet space, in the chaos that is the city, in the chaos that is the noise of facebook and in the chaos that is the way of life, in the chaos is joy, a hushed peace and happiness. and that is what makes the holidays. that is what makes every day a bit more worth while. and that is what makes up for the emptiness.

merry christmas. and thank you for being my friend today.

(and if you're not, then, thanks for...reading!....?) 

photos and gifs--that's right GIFS--from the night (oh that merry x-mas sign is cute ikr. well i guess i'll laud myself some praise for creating it. actually no that's really vain. well, too late, just did. don't even know if you can laud somebody but i just lauded.)


photobombing per usual

trying to recreate brooklyn fierceness

for added hip points, put a filter on it. 

EVEN THOUGHT CHRISTMAS WAS A FEW DAYS AGO. MERRY CHRISTMAS. AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. like i said, the holidays are about them universal themes like joy, happiness, warmth and all that jazz, so why should we only be excited to say celebrate the season during the month of december? celebrate christmas all year round. #ErinsTwoCents #ErinsFiftyCents

song of the moment/the night
merry x-mas - dragonette