for the last time…

No, Icurrently do not have plans to attend medical school.

No, I currently do not have plans to apply to medical school for this round of applications.

No, I have not entirely ruled out the possibility of applying to and then attending medical school, should I be accepted.

No, I am not mad or upset that you asked or were curious about my post-graduate plans.

Yes, I am planning on one day making some sort of contribution to the advancement and enrichment of society and utilizing the myriad skills and lessons I learned while attending my ultra-expensive university. It would also be great to give back to the family and friends who have given so much of themselves to me.

But no, I do not have every single aspect of my entire life planned out at this very moment.

No, I am not sorry for failing to conform to whatever expectations you built around my career when you first met me and you learned my plans and you became familiar with my talents.

Yes, I am somewhat lost.

But no, I will not apologize for letting that happen. I learned so much about myself in college and I’m actually really proud of the way that I challenged myself to strive for something beyond what I was used to, beyond what I planned for myself, beyond what you may have planned for me. 

Yes, I’m a little scared.

But yes, I am trying to figure some things out. 

Yes, I believe in myself and my abilities.

Yes, I think I’m strong enough to make it through. I hope you do too.

And yes, I am always appreciative your support and your friendship.

(P.S. Yes, I took the MCAT. And I killed that shit.)

On change.

Things change. This is not a new idea. This is something that happens all the time, in a variety of places, in a variety of ways. Change can be great. It can be terrible. But it happens, undeniably, inevitably, and all that we can hope for is that we have the capability to adapt to that change, to adjust our patterns of behavior so as to best deal with the revolutions that occur around us. If we strive for a return to a prior state, well, I guess that’s perfectly acceptable, but the wheels of time are rarely forgiving of that attitude. Openness to change…it lends itself to the possibility of failure, to be sure, but it also ensures that we take any risks at all, that we make any progress at all. And in our youth, I think that willingness to fail, to explore new ways to do things, that openness to just try, is invaluable in helping us carve out what sort of goals we would ultimately want to accomplish for ourselves throughout our lifetime. Exploration is risk, but ships were not built to sit safely in the harbor. This openness to vulnerability is what has enabled me to post these thoughts on the internet at all, let alone live safely and healthily in this country as a gay Asian-American man.

I have had the sincere pleasure of being a member of one of the most forward-thinking organizations at my university. It is an organization that was founded on the tenets of activism, integrity and enthusiasm—a belief that people who follow the ambitious passions in their hearts and trust in their informed judgments can persevere to effect change in their communities, maybe even the world. I love that within this organization, I have not only been able to meet some of the most kind-hearted and inspiring people I have met in my entire life, but that I have also been able to collaborate and conversate with a collective of like-minded individuals who believe in the power of effective leadership in addressing the issues and problems that we face as a generation—as the human race.

I guess what I’m having the most difficulty contending with in regards to this organization, which I treasure quite dearly, is the deeply institutionalized resistance to change—or even just trying out something new—that I feel has characterized the organization ever since it emerged from the glorious, hallowed period of its inception. As a relatively new member of the organization, I have felt—and often been told explicitly—that I have missed the so-called “golden days” of the organization, that I never got a chance to experience the truest, purest form of the culture that the organization once used to have. I have seen the incoming members fall prey to the same sort of condescending legends—many of us have been made to feel as if we are steadily moving further away from the organization as it once was, at its absolute best. We are constantly comparing our experiences with the organization with the experiences we feel cheated out of. We are embittered, discouraged, and disillusioned while the members of the old guard look out upon the organization and lament about the way things once were.

But ultimately, I think we are wrong in feeling this way. I hope I may be so bold as to say that the golden days are yet to come.

We say that we must adhere to standards established by those before us, that without those standards, we have nothing, that we are undeserving of respect and legitimacy. I contest that, given the youth of this organization, and quite frankly, a disconnect from the national council that claims its jurisdiction over us, we have full license to revisit and revise these standards as we see fit. The nature of our organization, the very idea of it, is such that it thrives upon the diversity of the leaders that it is meant to empower and the ideas and hopes that those leaders may have. To expect all future members of the organization to fall in line perfectly with our own ideas is short-sighted, and personally, hazardous to us as leaders striving for positive change. We must entrust ourselves with the ability and the responsibilty to maintain those standards that, throughout time, remain applicable and relevant to our organization. We must not be afraid to abandon those principles which we have tested and seen fail or have simply become replaced by more pertinent values and standards. And throughout this formative period, we must continually have the unabashed freedom to discuss and explore the role and purpose of our organization in our campus community, in our development as leaders, and in our lives as a whole. It is always remarkable to see the profound loyalty to the organization that our members have, but I want to entreat them to wonder if they truly love the organization and believe in all that it could be, or if they solely love the organization as it existed in 2009.

Lastly, to the leaders of this organization, I want to encourage them to keep facing their challenges with their heads held high, and I want them to know that their efforts to work with this group of energetic and diverse leaders have not gone unseen. I applaud their endeavors to spearhead new projects and goals, and I caution them to not let themselves be trapped under the foot of dogma. Their work will undoubtedly leave its mark on the foundation of this organization, which, as we’ve seen tonight, is still being constructed, maybe even envisioned. And considering we’ve only been around for three years, I think that’s totally fine. But we all have to do what we can to help build upon that foundation and, hopefully, emerge as a family after all is said and done.

my actual response to the question: “may you stay forever young?”

see: booker t. washington, sigmund freud

Hope gave birth to three children.

            The first of these children, a boy, loved his mother very much. As an infant, he eagerly drank from his mother’s teat, and grew to be very strong and determined, with a virtuous compassion and understanding for others. He observed many injustices in the world and was optimistic in his power and the ability of others to address them, and so, while it was painful, he left home, having had his fill of his mother’s milk. He went out into the world, observed the inequalities suffered by minority populations at the hands of the majority, and worked hard to educate the minority so that one day, they might achieve full representation and equality with the majority. In his efforts, the son faced many trials at the hands of the discriminatory majority that tested him greatly, but ultimately helped him to grow. In spite of his struggles, he remained optimistic that the minority and majority populations would one day live in harmony. He failed often, but brought himself up from these failures with a steadfast determination to move forward in his fight for equality. He saw challenges as opportunities, rather than roadblocks. And every so often, he would return to his mother and be nurtured by her love and care. Hope herself felt very enlivened and invigorated by the accomplishments of her first-born son, whether they were small or large. Finally, years after he had left home, the son died in his weeping mother’s arms, satisfied with his life’s work and believing in the possibility for progress to his final breath.

            Hope then gave birth to a second child, a daughter. As an infant, this child hated the taste of her mother’s milk. Once she was old enough, the poorly nourished daughter fled her home and also went out into the world. Hope was devastated by this abandonment. Now free from her home, this child lacked the sort of faith that her elder brother had had in his struggle to obtain full equality. Instead, the child only saw people suffering from deeply institutionalized oppression that pervaded nearly every aspect of society. She saw people embroiled in miserable struggles to repress, sublimate, and project their unconscious desires while being crushed by the foot of societal rules and the pressures of mass conformity. Achieving equality, economically or politically, appeared to be a futile form of appeasement to the daughter. Thus, she scoffed at her brother’s work, seeing his achievements as short-term remedies that attempted to address or rationalize the symptoms of discontent and ultimately ignored the underlying cause: widespread, abject repression of desire. Hope’s heart grew very heavy with sadness and disillusionment when she learned of her daughter’s pessimism. Many years later, the estranged daughter died far away from home, having never seen her mother again and embittered about the future of human existence to her last breath.

            Hope gave birth to one more child, another son. This child greedily suckled for many years from his mother’s breast. Always filled with his mother’s milk, he was optimistic that all would be right in the world, and that all of the evils faced by people—inequality, discrimination, violence, repression, mindless conformity—would eventually resolve themselves. Thus, he never went out into the world. Out of his brimming optimism in the capabilities of others, or perhaps out of fear, he never bothered or cared to leave home, and so he remained a child in his mother’s home. While he never encountered the dark oppression that burdened his older sister, he also never felt the joy or the pride his brother experienced out of triumph over hardships. While Hope nurtured and loved the hungry child, she herself became very weak, lacking the nourishment she had received from the fruit of her firstborn’s accomplishments and exhausted from having to continually feed her younger son. Eventually, the child could sense his mother’s debilitation, and decided that he had had his fill of his mother’s milk. He left his home and pursued greater equality for all, just like his brother had once done. He began to age, lived a long life full of challenges, failures, and successes, and died in his weeping mother’s arms.

            Hope gave birth to many more children. Some turned away from her, never believing in the possibility for progress. Some loved her greatly and worked tirelessly to stem the evils that they perceived in the world. And others tried to hold onto her for as long as they could without ever trying to do something about the injustices they observed, but eventually she had to let them go, because Hope alone could not sustain them forever.

i dunno…i guess it got me a good grade

The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.
— from the ruling on prop. 8, which decided today that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in california

maybe…just have fun.

i have no idea what i want to do with my life!

hmmmmm

do you know??

a staying-in story.

the coming-out was quick. when it happened, there were a few breathless moments that seemed painfully extended, but once the words were said, it was pretty much over. both my friends and family respectfully and graciously acknowledged it, asked a few questions, and then i was free.

it was the staying-in that felt like it lasted forever.

the realization that i was gay came gradually; i didn’t just wake up one day and suddenly have homosexual urges. from perhaps the age of nine or ten, i would see handsome men in films or on the television and feel a little mesmerized, or i would coyly gaze at a cute boy for a little longer than i expected i would. these longing looks were quickly averted before they could be noticed. with time, the frequency and length of these stares would increase, and the intensity of the feelings in my chest would manifest itself in the clenching of my teeth.

i learned to mask these feelings. my parents and older siblings would tease me about my friends who were girls, asking if i were interested in any of them, and i would casually drop names of a few classmates who had pleasant features that i found reasonably, but not heart-thumpingly, attractive. my family’s hopes for my future; my brothers’ machismo; my mother’s religious beliefs—all of these were what i perceived as rational, if unfortunate, reasons for me to stay in the closet.

i came to realize that my family’s hopes were my own. they wished for me to grow up to marry a nice girl, and i desperately hoped and prayed for the same thing. it wasn’t so much that i grew up thinking being gay was wrong, but rather that being straight was right. it’s not that the fairytales and disney cartoons i worshipped show gays being violently punished for their misbehavior, but rather that straight people, the princes and their glowing maidens, are rewarded with happy endings in glorious palaces and castles. i felt powerless to rewrite those stories for myself.

so, to achieve my fairytale ending, it became necessary to lie. saying it that way makes it sound like i was on a mission, and in a way, i was. dating a girl was a goal for me, something to add to my list of to-dos on my road to a life acceptable by my standards and those of the people whom i cared for the most. i regrettably deceived girls into thinking i was interested in them, not out of malice, but because i wanted so badly to actually be interested  in them. eventually, the person  i lied to the most was myself. i consciously and foolishly told myself that these excruciating desires to be with men would cleanly resolve themselves once i found a girl that i could feel truly passionate about; that nothing else would matter once i found my own princess who would gladly inhabit a palace or a castle with me. thankfully, my attempts to build relationships with girls all failed—although back then, i was thoroughly ashamed and disappointed in myself for failing as a man, at least from my limited perspective. to this day, i still feel terrible about the girls to whom i swore such deep commitment, and yet failed to even feign interest in; about the indisputable fact that i lied to them so intimately and for so long.

it’s almost funny how relatively quickly i transitioned from thinking that i would have to hide my sexuality for the rest of my life to looking forward to living with it happily and publicly. within the span of sophomore and junior years of college, i decided that i wanted to come out, actually followed through with it, and went on my first date with a guy. surely, there were lots of cultural factors; the rise of queer eye for the straight guy, the release of brokeback mountain, the proud announcement of lance bass.  the film milk was particularly instrumental; it’s probably the reason why i’m writing this in the first place. admittedly, alcohol also made it a lot easier for me to finally verbalize that i was gay.

perhaps the most rewarding part of coming out—and i can’t really say if it was a cause, or the result—wasn’t that i could finally love men openly, but that i could finally, truly love myself for the person that i really was. when i think of the shame and the guilt or the fear and the sadness, i also reflect on how much happier and more confident and hopeful i feel than i ever did before. for me, peering deep into the closet has been just as valuable as the moment when i finally stepped out of it.

and i guess that’s where the fairytale begins.

via brooklynmutt.com

via brooklynmutt.com

i don’t know why…

…i continue to feel surprised every time someone in my life shows me how much he/she cares. i’m so thankful to be surrounded by such devoted, considerate, and loving people. you all deserve to know my gratitude, and i’m going to work much harder at expressing it.

RIP, ugly betty :(

it’s so disappointing that this cancellation comes after the hopeful announcement that the show would be moved from the friday night death damnation slot to wednesday night. but given the rather ugly quality of the past two seasons, i think it’s time to let go.

as a tearful goodbye, i’ve posted one of my favorite moments from season two, maybe from the whole series. ugly betty may be done, but amanda is FOREVER.

la la la la laaaaaaaaa