Saturday, July 20, 2013

Year Two.

Year Two. It’s been a strange world, two years without dad by my side. Fleeting memories cause a long, labored sigh filled with every emotion in the spectrum triggered by everything that we’ve been through, that we went through. Everything still reminds me of him, many of which in the happiest of ways, our fruit and the natural world for example. I spent Year One in a deep, introspective mourning while publicly sharing many of my sorrowful thoughts because keeping them inside seemed too lonely to bare. One thing that struck me today was not having someone I could talk to without feeling like I was wasting their time. He’d listen intently on how I saved a dollar, he doesn’t make fun of my roundabout way of storytelling. It didn’t matter what we talked about, just the sheer enjoyment of sitting next to him was enough for me. I just realized that is one thing that has been lacking — sitting next to someone for the sake of sitting next to him or her.

But out of the darkness, choices emerge. I choose no longer to look down. I choose no longer to suffer. These choices are more than words on a screen, they’re made very actively with heartfelt determination.

“I am not a disgrace. I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!” — Batman: The Animated Series

It’s been a new world. Year Two opened with a grand inadvertent adventure, all because I chose to adventure instead of stay inside. I thought about myself for once relative to those around me instead of the other way around. Like a new pup, I slowly started to sniff out and paw at the intriguing and fascinatingly ordinary things that the kids my age were already accustomed to.

Year Three will continue to progress. I’m throwing myself out there, getting into situations where I’m (safely) out of my comfort zone and nervous, the way I have been actively doing for the last three or four weeks.

It’s exciting, I’m nervous, but the best part is everything is new and I feel great.

Friday, June 28, 2013

To Breathe is To Live

“So, son, how does it feel not to have a worry in the world?” - Jor-El to toddler Kal

I started watching Superman: The Animated Series from the beginning. Jor-El has learned that Braniac has been keeping a secret from the people of Krypton as Braniac backs up itself to save itself from the destruction of Krypton. Now Clark is learning how to fly. Now he’s a reporter at the Daily Planet.

In celebration of Father's Day and in honor of my Super Dad, Mom and I watched Man of Steel. I wonder if anyone else was as choked up as I was throughout the film. Dad would have loved it. Ever since watching Man of Steel, ever since meeting a new super friend, I’ve been itching to watch this from the beginning. It’s my fondest memory of Superman, because we watched a lot of it together.

This past Father’s Day was the second of its kind without him by my side. I still have the “Super Dad” present bag that I got him for Father’s day two years ago. The present wasn’t the best, a new pillow, some T-shirts, and maybe some socks, but it was the bag that made it special, super.
I’ve been thinking about him a lot since then, and I think of him often when I’m thinking of life-changing goals or possible plans for the future. Every so often I’m struck with flashbacks of me taking care of him. These are moments when I naturally take a deep breath in (mostly so I don’t pass out), the air tasting sweet in my lungs reminding me that we must breathe to live. Even so, every moment we were together, as difficult as it was, was when my heart was at its calmest. I don't remember the last time my heart was at this state, except when...
Luckily, I laugh with happy memories a thousand times more than I cry with the difficult ones.

I think I’m looking for something, searching for something, most likely within myself. It’s a feeling I can’t shake. I need to strive for something and focus my attention on attaining whatever this goal may be. Knowing this, I can try to figure it out little by little, as I finish this animated series one episode at a time.

Sunday, July 31, 2011, 2:15am — All that can be done is to breathe.

Some moments are tougher than others. I have had more difficult moments in the past month than I've had in my entire life. Sometimes these moments fade, other times they linger. The sole thing getting me through these most difficult of moments is my love for him, my love for my wonderful dad. He really is the best dad that life could have matched me with. I picture the little robots cycling through the infinite moms, dads, and children toy machine capsules and coming across our winning combination.

Life's lesson seems to be that it will get worse before it gets better. It may get way worse before it gets better, YEARS worse before it may get better. I will be challenging myself on top of the challenges and obstacles that will be waiting for me ahead.

All that can be done is to breathe, wholeheartedly, and focused, with no worries or regrets.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Winter Forest of Paper Trees

I'm taking it easy tonight. As the world parties throughout the night to welcome the new year, I have actively decided, for once, to take the one night I try to celebrate to finish up some projects. I do so wholeheartedly, with a sincere promise to myself to make up for it with some fun and mischief in 2013.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

With that said, here is my winter forest of paper paisley trees, my first creative project shared beyond my living room and into my digital garden. I cut the trees by hand, tracing three (out of many) tree cut-out designs. The trees were then glued onto tabs in folded 6.5" x 4.5" safari-themed card stock to create...

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...pop-up Christmas cards! Last year, I created Christmas cards in tribute of dad, this year I went crazy and made my crazy idea come to life. This was my first pop-up project, and now that I've wrapped my mind around the basic idea, I can build on my new tangible creations instead of just dreaming about the concept.

I'm celebrating the remainder of the night with a champagne glass of hot jasmine green tea.

May the night be kind to all.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Garden of Solitude

You and me, Dad. Adventurers.

Dad and I were adventurers in our own garden. He kept a garden of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers where we’d spend hours at a time planting, watering, harvesting, and discovering. The garden grew as I grew, turning into a jungle where we’d play, seek refuge in the shade under the canopy of trees, and listen to the breeze against the leaves. He taught me the valuable importance of life with every drop of water and the warmth of the sun, perseverance through the removal of each difficult weed, and joy with each newfound plant, fruit, and rosebud. Our urban garden brought with it visitors both regular and peculiar. We listened to the songs of the birds, watched as mice scurried across the way, and drove off meddling squirrels and, at one time, drove off a hen that snuck into the house in an attempt to lay eggs on his comfy bed. (She came into our suburban city home like she owned the place, she’d never even been inside before when she ran in, rounded the corner, and jumped onto his bed.)

We developed a unique language that no one else understood that changed based on what animals we imitated, the basis of it being that we spoke with our hearts. He had such a love for animals and nature and I’m so glad I had a chance to share in it all with him. We always talked about traveling the world, but the comfort of home seemed to bring the best out of us.


I created this digital garden blog over a year ago after my dear father’s passing. Now my Garden of Solitude exists both in this digital realm as well as in our physical reality. The plan was to use this space hidden in plain sight as a place I could come to seek refuge in my thoughts, work through the whirlwind of emotions I was sure I’d face in the year of mourning following his passing, document and make sense of my journey through one of the most difficult periods of my life, then come out of it all with a new vision of life and with it a new way to express myself creatively.

This Garden of Solitude emerged as my personal reimagined fortress similar to that of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. The Fortress of Solitude, Superman’s secret hideaway hidden far from his home in Smallville (and later Metropolis), is where Clark goes to seek refuge, train, meditate, sort out his thoughts, learn about his Kryptonian roots, and honor his Kryptonian parents. (He even speaks to his Kryptonian father’s spirit within the Fortress in certain series). In Superman: The Animated Series, Clark also keeps an animal sanctuary of orphaned alien lifeforms in his Fortress. I’d like to consider my garden as a sanctuary for weary animal (and online) travelers, but the squirrels tend to overstay their welcome.

A year and some months have passed since my father left this world, and I went through this difficult, strange time without much documented reflection. I do, however, have some notes and thoughts I’ve jotted down along the way that I plan on sharing here before I look to the future of ideas and stories yet to unfold.


Thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to love this life, to water the plants to grow healthy and strong. Thank you for hugging me tight and for throwing me up high like I knew how to fly. It's thanks to you that I have the wonder and excitement for adventure. Wherever I go in this world, I’ll always remember that I had your hand in helping me grow. Having you was like having Superman by my side, and you’ll always be with me like I’ll always be with you.


It’s been nearly 500 days since I last held his hand. <3

Here’s to adventure.