For many American families, the holidays are a time to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. For some families the traditions look a little different because of the different holidays celebrated. Whatever the case may be, the holidays are a time where families get together. But it’s not just the immediate family. This includes the extended family and anyone else who is considered a part of the family. It’s one of the times during the year when everyone gets to see everyone again and catch up. Sometimes there’s a lot of good feelings, other times there are some not so good feelings. There might even be a few inside jokes here and there. But for the Ye family, it’s not like that.
I’m not sure how many American families go through the holidays like this, but I’m sure my family isn’t the only one. I have a big family, especially on my father’s side. In this way we are no different from many American families out there. We just don’t get to see everybody every year because most of the extended family is in China. So while everyone else gets together at Grandma’s or whatever, we get together at home, at my parents’ house. The immediate family was my dad, my mom, and me. Now it’s just me and my mom. Yes, I lost my dad in 2018 and just a few days ago on the 3rd, I lost my cat. She was a part of my immediate family in the sense that I loved her like a family member. I believe pets really do become a part of the family and losing her was one of the hardest things I just went through in my life. I know I sound dramatic, but I don’t care. She is my first cat I have lost this way and things will never be the same going forward. But her story is for another time.
I am lucky I still have my mom. She keeps in touch with her side of the family on a regular basis because she loves her sisters to death (excuse the diction here) and wants to keep tabs on Grandpa. However, like my cat story, right now I’m not going to get into why we don’t really keep in touch with my dad’s side of the family, especially now that he’s gone. So it’s just the two of us. We are a small family, but we have the flexibility to do whatever we want. We don’t have to follow any traditions and there are no awkward uncles to face.
This past Christmas Mom and I went to see the new “Little Women” movie that came out that day starring Emma Watson and Meryl Streep. It has always been this way, but we noticed the movie theater is one of the few places that stays open on Christmas Day and therefore one of the only places you can buy food should you not have food at home. We immediately thought you could spend the whole day at the movies on Christmas Day if you wanted. I’m going to remember that in case I ever need it. We don’t really have any traditions. I think at the beginning, we did – with decorations and dinner parties and presents and even cards. Remember those? Then my cat would always play with the Christmas tree until the whole thing got knocked over. Then I went away to college so we started taking family vacations every year around Christmas break since there were no family friends nearby anymore. Then two Christmases ago he was gone and Mom and I haven’t found a new routine yet.
The holidays don’t feel like anything different compared to what many families in America experience. It’s just the two of us. No travelling, unless we decide to go on vacation. No traditions because I’m too old for presents and Mom and I both don’t like getting a lot of “stuff.” We’d rather spend time together and gain experiences instead. So really the holidays equals a big question mark for us at the moment.
What a shock it is when you find out an actor wasn’t acting in a movie like he is in real. But it’s a good kind of shock because that means he’s a talented actor to be able to play a character so different from who he is as a person. This is especially true if he’s convincing on screen. Now I’m no movie expert, but I don’t see how there exists certain criteria you use to measure an actor’s greatness on screen. An actor’s greatness is measured by the number of viewers crying at the end. An actor’s greatness is measured by the number of empty popcorn tubs. An actor’s greatness can be discovered in viewers’ reactions. An actor’s greatness is seen through how many lives are touched. An actor’s greatness is reported by the media. But as I look over my definitions of an actor’s greatness I notice a couple using numbers, suggesting that an actor’s greatness can be measured like weight or height. Maybe it’s not so much the actor, but the quality of the movie in those cases that is actually measured. And maybe there’s the Oscars and ratings online and stars and all that jazz, but I really think an actor’s greatness is just a feeling, something you just know to be true. No numbers, no words. An actor’s greatness is simply felt.
Hilary Duff is not exactly mesmerizing like Lindsay Lohan. But her Greta character really pulled me in. I don’t remember ever being as obvious as her when I was 16, but once again, I can relate to how she feels in a world “According to Greta.” I think Greta works for Hilary Duff because she’s so opposite of Lizzie McGuire and you don’t expect Hilary Duff to play someone like Greta. When you have low expectations, results turn out better. I didn’t expect her to play someone so troubled she wants to kill herself, so when she did it well, I really appreciated her performance as the work of art it was. Her clothes, her hair, her make-up, and her attitude all came together nicely to play a convincing suicidal girl. There was more to her character than just a girl contemplating ending her life. Those thoughts rarely come from nothing. When you find out more about her life, you begin to get inside her head, but at the same time feel bad for her. It’s funny both Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff ended up in movies with moms and grandmoms who send unruly daughters away to deal with their rebellious teenaged girls. Greta writes in a notebook and I immediately gravitate towards anyone who does that. Her thoughts she shares makes her accessible in a way you can understand her. The story itself delivers a good message: suicide affects those around you the most. People can only try to save you so much. If you kill yourself you hurt the people who love you the most. In the end only you can save you. Besides worrying about you, the people that love you have a lot of their own troubles to worry about. It’s not necessary to make others prove to you that they care about you by risking their lives to save you. Oh, and one more thing. If I had Greta as my waitress, I would request to be seated in her section every time as well.
My history of art professor taught me the meaning of mesmerized. The word came from a guy named Mesmer and right now I cannot think of exactly what she said he did, but it looks like his name has something to do with the spelling. There was also a painting she showed us with some guy who had a look on his face like he was in a trance or something. That’s the kind of feeling I get about Lindsay Lohan. I think ever since I saw her in “The Parent Trap,” I have been at least a little bit fascinated with her. It may have something to do with her being born exactly one day after me. It doesn’t matter. What matters is I can relate to her and she is talented. She is a talented actress and not such a bad singer as well. “Georgia Rule” was made during a time in my life when I really needed a story like it and I was mesmerized watching Lindsay Lohan’s performance. I’m not going to say I can relate to everything in this story. There’s no way. But the biggest thing I can relate to is Rachel’s need to rebel at her age. Her grandmother reminds me of my mother, and for that matter, Asian mothers in general. At her age I would not have had the lady balls to try to seduce the local vet, perform oral sex on someone else’s boyfriend, let alone someone else’s Mormon boyfriend, and go through child molestation by my stepfather. I feel for Rachel even though I have never gone through the same trauma. She is like all of us—someone who wants to be understood and loved by someone she can do the same for right back. To be honest, I don’t think I could have done what she did at any age, but because of the kind of broken girl she was playing, I can see why she did what she did. It doesn’t excuse her behavior, but by the end of the movie I think I’m in love with Georgia’s granddaughter as well.
Sometimes I feel like a silent loudspeaker. It’s like my thoughts and actions are being broadcast on some big screen somewhere that everybody knows except for me and everyone who is around me acts like they know nothing. Oh, wait…that’s like the Truman Show. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie, but I get the gist of it and I remember really liking it. It’s one of the few Jim Carrey movies I like. It’s sad though because every time I think of Jim Carrey, which is not very often, I think of depression. I think he has been diagnosed with clinical depression at some point and it made me sad to think a lot of comedians are going through this or have gone through this. It’s like you can’t be really funny without having gone through a lot of unpleasant experiences, some downright shitty.
Maybe we are all on our individual Truman Show and different shows collide. And that’s how black holes form. Or hurricanes and earthquakes happen. But I think I feel this way because people are way too judgmental. It just takes one look for me to know someone is judging me. Usually it’s something I share about myself with them. When I get that judgy vibe coming from them, it doesn’t encourage me to keep sharing. Or it makes me want to edit what I say in real-time. If I notice myself starting to do that with someone, that’s the beginning of me knowing I won’t be close friends with this person. In the best case scenario it’ll just take me a little longer to become good friends with this person. The funny thing is, people are quick to judge without knowing the whole picture. We can’t help it. It’s kind of in our DNA. We go for the worst in people. Let’s be curious thinkers instead of Negative Nancies.
Halfway through college I was Job. I didn’t want to see anyone. I didn’t want to wear my glasses in front of anyone. I didn’t want to speak to anyone. I didn’t want to wear colors, only black and white and gray. It’s funny how I dressed according to what I learned from watching “A Cinderella Story” and listening to the commentary because twirling around in my downward spiral is what I thought defined me in the moment so I thought I needed to “dress the part.” What I’m talking about is, in the commentary of that movie, she says Sam dressed in colors when she gained her confidence back, but in gray and blue when she became really insecure after being made fun of for who she was. So I started doing this when I felt really down on life.
Then you said you thought of me when we were discussing Job in class and I was like, “you knew me in college?!” But I quickly realized you were referring to something else about me that is related to the story of Job. I can’t remember it now and not being able to remember what exactly that was frustrates me. It’s not something I usually do—share something really personal about myself with someone I just met.
Whenever you share something really personal about yourself to someone, that person takes a part of you with them. At least it feels that way. If you never see them again, it’s like that piece of you goes with them and you’ll never be able to take it back, like a sent text message. If you do see them again, you know they hold onto a secret side of you that could be unleashed unintentionally to other people you may not want to know about it. And that’s dangerous to know.
So it’s a new year again, huh? Have I ever talked about how chick flicks are porn for women? This idea came to me from someone I used to know. He lives in Seattle now, and the story of how I almost became a pastor’s wife is for another time. Anyway, the reason why he would say chick flicks are porn for women is simply because of expectation vs. reality. You know, that video trend on YouTube where people compare, for example, what they expect to happen on a sick day vs. what actually happens on a sick day. Just like porn is an unrealistic expectation of what sex with a woman is really like for men, chick flicks is an unrealistic expectation of what a healthy relationship with a man is really like for women. I think what my Seattle friend was getting at is it is just as unhealthy for women to binge watch chick flicks as it is for men to binge watch porn. Men and women cannot live up to the expectations presented in these videos so it is unhealthy for both genders to keep filling their brains with certain ideal images when these desires will never be fulfilled.
I see his point, but I still think comparing chick flicks to porn is a little extreme. I don’t know why really, I just think this example is a bit too much. Plus I think nowadays you can learn valuable relationship lessons from chick flicks that you may not have been able to before, from the hopeless romantic ones. There are ones that teach you if you like someone, you have to go for it instead of waiting around for them to notice you. Some teach you that being there for someone when they really need you is all a relationship is. Still others teach you taking time to be single can be really good for you instead of relationship hopping.
You know that part in “Going the Distance” when Drew Barrymore’s character tells Justin Long’s character her timeline is off? Yeah, that’s me. And I know I’m probably not the only one out there going through a crooked life timeline, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I do, however, feel comfort in knowing that when I get through this stage of my life, I’ll be able to help those who get stuck feeling this way through sharing my experiences. But that’s such a remote comfort it almost seems absurd to even have this kind of comfort exist in the world. Maybe I just made it up?
(Well, just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, a crooked life timeline a la “Going the Distance” style is, in one example, being a 31-year-old intern.)
On a side note, it makes me sad to think some people have so much potential to become someone outstanding, but because other people are so jealous, they do everything they can in their power to tear that person down before that person has realized their full potential. In some cases, this leads to a crooked life timeline, but of course, no path is ever taken without at least partial influence coming from the walker himself. After all, it is the walker who chose the path in the end, regardless of who influenced their decision to go down that path.
(Sorry guys, this isn’t my most optimistic post, but I just had to share. Sharing is caring. ;))