getting back on the horse.

When I moved back home to live with my parents at the age of 24 in the spring of 2013, I had already decided on a limited number of items in which to pour my time. I knew for certain that I wanted to get a job in sales, and to do business.

Now, just over two years later, I have no productive business. I failed to fail. I did end up getting a sales job, working new car sales at Jeff Haas Mazda for nearly half a year. Though I did learn a few lessons from that experience, it was ultimately a poor use of time. I came back home depleted on a near-daily basis.

When I did find work again, this time through Craigslist, I fell victim to the same habits that had kept me from moving forward in the first place.

I’ve made efforts at self-mastery through consistent exercise and scheduling since coming back to Houston. Still, I indulged myself to excess.

This time, things will be different. Why?

Purpose. I’ve identified it. That thing that will get me to look forward to getting out of bed in the morning, and occasionally keeps me working late into the night.

Go Back to Your Country (Belated Happy Father’s Day)

The thought has crossed my mind before, at times provoked by a stranger’s pointed remark.

I remind myself at those times of the struggles that my father overcame in order to have the fortune to come to America. Make no mistake: my mother must have cut many ties as well, but my father is responsible for our Americanness. Their feelings of otherness must have been at least as strong as those that I have experienced, for they came to this country with just enough English language ability to get by.

Yet get by they did: my father earned two degrees from the University of Tulsa, enabling him to work alongside some of the brightest in the oil and gas industry. His earning power meant that mom could devote all of her time to rearing me, Alice, and Justin. I try to bite my tongue when my father uses the wrong pronoun in conversation (sometimes referring to a man as she, or a girl as he, often while the object of this pronoun is still present).

Unlike my parents, I never struggled with language. I may not have engaged with every fool looking for a fight, but I understood their every word. My father, aware of the limitations within his command of English, may have considered communication skills to be a sticking point in career advancement for himself and others like him. I’m positive that this contributed to my mom’s insistence that we master English, and her reluctance to teach us Chinese. More likely, my father and his peers had butted heads with the Bamboo Ceiling.

The America that I live in now is a place where Asian men remain emasculated and othered. In spite of my growing awareness, I won’t leave the US. My reasons are as follows:

Because this is the country of my birth, the country whose passport I hold. The country where I work, pay my taxes, and live. The country where my paternal grandfather was buried.

I have great love for this country, but I also have beef with it. See, within the Statue of Liberty is a plaque bearing the text of Emma Lazarus’ 1883 poem, The New Colossus. The best-known verse, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” speaks of America’s values, bringing to mind thoughts of Winthrop’s “city upon a hill.” Yet in the information age, I am reminded time and time again of our collective loss of right to the moral high-ground.

Although the option to leave this country remains attractive, I won’t leave until I see the day that all men are treated as equals. “Where freedom is real, equality is the passion of the masses.” When the day comes that true equality exists, perhaps I will see no compelling reason to leave. Until then, I will enjoy the freedom that comes with being here, while fighting alongside my brothers in arms for a fair existence.

Don’t stop now.

Sitting here at my desk, and I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment as I see the long list of entries that are here now.

At the beginning, I wasn’t sure where I’d go with my writing. I began by chronicling my days and feelings, eventually adding to it the fruits of creative thought and inquiry. I made plans, and took time to expound on particular thoughts when the mood struck.

Photography enriched the story by helping me to relive destinations, people, things. The results of my dabbling so far, I still intend to share.

I want to draw some lessons from this trickle of output that I’ve produced over the last ten years, so that the next ten can be dimensions deeper and more fulfilling. It will take work, but everything worthwhile does.