A Proposition: Twitter Music Exchange

This idea was borne from a conversation about music block – a phase where you realize that you’re growing tired of the same songs repeating on your music player, be it your iPod or even the radio.  If you’re like me, you don’t listen to the radio so you don’t know what’s out there, nowadays.  If you’re like me, you pick your music from those random moments you actually hear a “new” song that catches you in an instant.  If you’re like me, you rely on your friends to save you from this stalemate of the same old, same old.

This is what I propose to get out of this stalemate: a music exchange.  Better yet, this is also an offer to get to know people through music.

The plan’s simple – each person in the exchange makes a CD of music.  Each CD will be a “soundtrack” of that person’s life.  Use songs to describe moments in your life, like waking up or lessons learned; songs that somehow give a little bit of insight into who you are.  After making the CD, you send it to someone in the exchange. They send theirs to someone else. Every two weeks, we just pass the CDs around until you eventually end up hearing everyone’s soundtrack.

If there are 17 songs per CD, and 10 people sign up, that’s 153 (potentially) new songs for you to listen to. More people, more songs. And believe me – not everyone listens to the same music so you’re bound to find a gem somewhere in there.

Anyone interested?  Comment here or @ me on Twitter. And I’ll figure out the logistics after I get a head-count.

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Stained with Red

Will this scar? Will this stain?
Triumph marked by the thought
– the regret? – of a mistake made.

Will it burrow? Or will it fade?
Price of the struggle left on skin
hasn’t washed away.

Am I scarred? Am I stained –
stained with this remnant of red?

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A Fault

Somehow, two decades have passed since I moved to the United States (for good). Twenty years. How did that happen?  That’s first grade through high school, four years of college, two years of hanging around, and two years of law school.  And in all that time, I have not been able to become fluent in Korean.

Yes, that bothers me.

My earliest childhood memories are ones of growing up in Korea.  Memories of how my cousins tormented me.  Picking strawberries in the fields behind school.  Catching dragonflies.  Learning piano.  Playing GI Joes with my best friend. Bits of memories that don’t all flow together, but somehow seem whole.

When I was six, my father was sent to the United States, and my mother and I obligatorily followed.  I left my family and came to live in a place where I had to learn most of the (new) language and forget the old one.  And I can’t seem to get back the fluency of Korean now that I am older.

My mother’s sister (yes, my aunt, I’m aware of how that works) is in town. And by “in town,” I mean the same ZIP code.  My first reaction to my mother’s suggestion that I meet her while she’s still here was, “NO!”  Not because I don’t WANT to see her, or anyone from my mother’s side of the family. It’s because I am ashamed that I can’t talk to her.

I can understand well enough (probably the vocabulary equivalent to that known by a 10 year old), but I just get a mental block when I want to reply. I can’t parse together a sentence. I blanked on how to say how old I was now. I get intimidated in Korean restaurants, for somethings sake.

My parents have told me not to worry about it. But I do worry about it. And it doesn’t help much that Korea is one of those “shame-based” countries.  It reflects poorly on me that I can’t speak my native tongue.

It feels like a part of me is missing because I can’t re-connect with the family that dominate my early life memories. I can’t joke about how I used to tattle on my cousin for sucking his thumb. Or how my uncles used to play card games on my blanket. Or how I thought my aunt was the prettiest woman in the world. Or how much they mean to me, even after twenty years away from them.

Teh Awesome

It’s hard being awesome. I don’t mean to say that in a pretentious, snobby way as in, “I know that I am awesome, it’s tough being me.”  But more in the way of: I forget that I am awesome and forget to BE awesome.

How many of us berate ourselves for our shortcomings on a daily basis?  I used to look in the mirror and pinpoint (to myself) all the flaws I saw. When I screw up, even if it is something small and completely fixed, I still think about it months afterwards.  I repeat those mistakes in my mind constantly, and it’s easy to get caught in the trap of self-degredation.  I forget that I am awesome.

So, when I saw it’s hard being awesome, it is more that I start to believe that I am not awesome …

Yes, I will stop using the word “awesome” now.

I was hit by a very big metaphorical truck a couple weeks ago.  The core of the issue was the fact that I am always trying to please my friends, always trying to give them something in order to keep them as friends.  I’ve done this since I was a child. I saw friendship as “What can I give this person so they will like me?”  Growing up as a military brat and moving every four years, I had to “learn” how to make friends fast, and the fastest way of doing so is exchanging something of value.

I remember trying to bribe the neighborhood kids with bubblegum when I was in first grade. As if bubblegum was treasure …

It never really occurred to me that my true friends don’t NEED anything from me, other than just being a good friend in return.  When I got hit by that truck, I finally got it.  My friends are my friends because of me (and my awesomeness*). It was the wake-up call I needed.

After this experience, I just started to affirm how good of a person I actually am.  It’s easy to complain, and it’s easy to hate myself. What’s really hard, the actual challenge worth pursuing, is being nice to myself and to be confident about my abilities.

&—— // ———

I used to hate pictures of myself.  I missed chronicling a good chunk of my time in high school because I could not stand looking at me.  I was fine with being always behind the camera.

But now, I’m beginning to see that it’s all just my perception. The way I look to myself is totally dependent on how I am feeling about myself.  When I feel ugly, I will not like what I see in pictures, or even in the mirror.

If I feel great, well … then it gives me enough bravery to include two photos of myself in one blog posts.

This is me, and I’m awesome**.

&—— // ———

*I had to.
** I really had to then, too.