Dream for my Birth Mother

I close my eyes and I see her. She’s so crystal clear, I almost reach out to touch her.

I dream that she is as elaborate a storyteller as I am. So when people ask, I might say I get it from her. And when that first book gets accepted I can dedicate it to her.

I dream that she is beautiful. Not the immediately obvious beauty. The sort of beauty that shines through to the right sort of people. And graceful. And people would gasp when she walks by. I know that that isn’t a gene I inherited, but it is what I dream for her.

I dream that she has long, full locks of black hair, and is the sort of woman who might do anything she pleases with it. And if she ever saw me she’d say, “you have my hair,” with a smile, and I might learn to love it yet.

I dream she has long, beautiful, delicate fingers, and anything she touches, with a little work, turns to gold. And perhaps her favorite things to do are make music, and write stories. Bedtime stories for the family I hope she has.

And though I know I am the product of an affair, I would not hate her. I am old enough yet to know the power of love. Its blinding intoxication. Because I know in the end she loves me still.

And I dream that when she first saw me she brushed a lock of hair behind her ears, and reached to me with those beautiful hands, and as she told me stories, I gazed back at that beautiful face and saw someone I’d see each time I closed my eyes and dreamed.

High School Monologue

I guess we both knew this day would come. There was no point in trying to stop it. And now I look around this huge house that you built 30 years ago for us, and I can’t help feeling alone. I admit that 62 years together is a long time and well… well I’m disappointed to see that this is where it ends.

What am I going to do with that old raggedy chair you always sat in? You would never let me throw it away or fix it. And now it’s just sitting there in the middle of the room with no one to sit in it… and you know it doesn’t even match anything!

And I never got to tell you, but that cup you always drank your Sunday coffee in… Well, I accidentally dropped it while washing it a few days ago. I guess I would have told you sooner or later… Tomorrow is Sunday after all.

Who am I going to watch movies with? I mean… I know you never really liked sitting with me for that long and staring at a television screen. You always fell asleep before the beginning credits were over. I suppose when I really think about it, I was watching the movies alone anyway… But you were with me at least.

Eheh… From here I can hear that leaky faucet. It’s been leaking for two years now. I suppose you won’t be fixing it like you said you would. I remember when I couldn’t stand to hear the sound of water dripping into the sink. You promised me you would “fix it tomorrow” for two years. And frankly, you and I both know I don’t know how to fix things. I don’t even know what a philip’s head is, or whatever it’s called is.

Believe it or not, but I haven’t even thought of how I am going to tell our kids. You were always the one to think of things to say. They adored you too. What should I do? Should I just call them up and tell them? Should I call them up and make conversation and then just… slip it to them? Oh, I just can’t think without you here!

There are so many things I know I should have said before you left, but then I guess there always are. You and I shared a long journey together and now I must start one of my own. It’s going to be pretty hard getting used to this old house alone. Maybe I’ll have the kids come visit me more often. I’d really like that… Just look at this picture of us… Those were the days when we were young, but we can’t go back. If I could just say one thing though… it’d be that… I’m really going to miss you.

Dear Me of 2005

It took me a little longer to find this letter. Like 16 years, but I finally did. I successfully graduated high school. I even graduated college, thought it was a struggle. Advice: Don’t do what people expect you to do. Failing will only slow you down. And here’s the truth, I miss the ocean every day.

I’ll describe myself because I still don’t keep a diary. Right now, my addictions are Beer, Icecream, and Pie. Especially Beer Floats, and Pie Milkshakes. I loved dyeing my hair this deep burgundy colour, and wearing dark purple contacts. But when I turned 34, I stopped. I still listen to Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Stones. On and on. I still have all those jackets, cuz I stopped growing a long time ago. And I still don’t wear them. I wear a lot of converse, and leather ankle boots. I stopped painting my nails years ago. Now it’s glue ons. Still liking guys, but have had enough heartbreak that I have now been comfortably single for near half a decade.

Kendra and I are still friends, but our souls have since travelled different roads. She is now engaged and has bought a house. I bounce from apartment to apartment with my two cats, and yes, two tortoises. You probably never really thought you’d have tortoises. They’re pretty great though.

Since graduating from high school life has been tough. I was finally diagnosed with depression and graduating from college became a struggle. But I currently work in a psych unit, and you were right; even though life seems bad, there are people whose lives are worse.

At age 30, I had a midlife crisis. I know, “30” isn’t midlife, but it happened. Everything got confusing, and I became extremely emotionally troubled, and I lost sight of who I am. I don’t know if I got over it, but I do think I have become who I am meant to be. I am unapologetically Me. And through all the struggles, you will get here. You never give up. It took until now to realize, but: Love your parents, they have given you everything and more. Love the boys you are with, because all the heartbreak will build you up stronger. And believe in yourself, because you are smart, and thoughtful, and caring. You are incredible without having to announce it to the world. Try not to let others make you feel like less. Because people will do that. They will try to bring you down to feel better about themselves.

Keep watching Korean Dramas, they become huge.

Keep writing, even when it feels hard, because it is how you relate to the world.

And keep being curious, funny to say, but you actually do like learning.

And yes, my handwriting has gotten worse. I continue to write with pen and paper because believe it or not, but phones have become smart. They do everything. And Robots have taken over the world.

Dear Me of 2009(ish)

Where does one begin when writing to their future self? Right now it is 2005 and I will be graduating in a matter of weeks. At this moment I actually feel good about it. I am ready to move on. I’m sure though, that you felt sadness only a few years ago. I hope that now you only miss the ocean.

Next I suppose, I should describe myself to paint a picture of how much you’ve changed, because I know how you refuse to keep a diary anymore. Right now my addictions are gum and chapstick. I’m going through a phase of dying my hair red and letting it fade to blonde… I listen to a lot of old and metal music. Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Stones. On and on. I still have a strange jacket obsession, yet never wear them. I wear jeans and as of this year actually started wearing sneakers instead of my boots all the time. My nails are the base of my creativity. Um… still liking guys and making friends with girls who steal those guys.

Speaking of friends, Kendra and I are soul sisters. We are how many miles away from each other and still are running down parallel paths. At the moment we’re both Samurai. (I hope she isn’t still going out with Uriah.) What else?

Well, I suppose I could say that this year really made me realize something important. That even though your life may be bad, to the point where you think you’re at your very lowest, there are always people whose lives are worse. Hopefully someday more people will come to realize that by the time you read this again.

I can’t really think of what else I might need to tell myself.

“It’s only a game,” “There are plenty of other fish in the sea,” “All you need is love,” “Don’t strive for conformity,” “110% is more than enough,” “They can’t tell,” “Guys really don’t understand,” and “It’s all a matter of opinion and theirs doesn’t count.”

I guess this is all really just common sense and I can only assume that that grows with age. I should hope. And I should hope that by then you have fully realized that all the Asians you see have paid a lot of money to look the way they do. So just remember, you look great and will only get better looking for about 20 more years! And remember also that your heart does effect what you see. That guy whom you love to look at… you may not, given enough time. It only takes one little action to change the way you see someone. Someone who makes you feel bad about yourself isn’t someone you want to be with. And as I said before, I can really only hope that you have already come to realize this.

Here’s one, I have a problem with (now) so my advice is remember this one well, – No One is worth compromising your identity for. Your identity is the base of your existence and without that then who are you? Be yourself and don’t be afraid of that.

I feel as though I am talking too much about things to remember. Really, I wrote this to account for how much I have changed in 4 years.

That one time in High School when I wrote a scene for Trainspotting…

Ah wis sittin wi Sick Boy in his flat. Ah fix a nice yin in the sights ay Sick Boy’s old .22 air rifle oot in the park. VPLs. Visible Pany Lines in sight. Oh yes. Ah wis looking fir the VLPs. Sick Boy wis lookin fir the dugs. He hated dugs fir some reason. Ah’m no exactly sure what it is that Sick Boy hates so much about dugs cept their shitein all over the park.

– Ye have entered the scopes, ma little pretty. Ah mutter, – Visible Panty Lines in view. Oh yes. Brilliant. Ah wis enjoyin masel when Sick Boy snatched the rifle from ma hands nearly takin ma nose wi it.

– Get tae fuck! Ye cunt! Ah rubbed ma nose as ah jumped up from the windae sill.

– Quick! Get doon! He pulled me back doon. – Ah see yin. It’s a bloody brilliant yin. Ah kin just see it all now. He allowed a moment of silence while he invisioned the kill. – Oh man. Ah think ah bucked that chicky he’s wi. Oh yes. Very nice…

– What?! Ah snatched the rifle from his hands. Ah scoped oot the chicky he’s talkin aboot. Her back is tae us. Ah’m sure Sick Boy has bucked her though. He’s bucked half the continent. Then she turns tae us n ah see her face. It’s wee Janet. Sick Boy dinnae buck her. Ah did!

Ah remember it too. She wis a good yin. She wis the only yin to walk oot on me. It wis probably because ay ma red hair. Ah eywis ken that red heid ay mine wis a curse.

– What do ye think ay black hair fer us? Ah asked Sick Boy whae wis tryin tae see her n the dug withoot his rifle scope.

– Ah think ye’ll look like a fuckin buftie. Have ye gone radge? He says, takin the rifle back.

– Get tae fuck. Ah dinnae care what ye think anyway. Ah says, goin tae find a beer.

Pictures in the Fire

Going through a box of my old childrens books. Yes, I have kept some of my favorite childrens books. For why, I’m not sure. I am sentimental about books. And I honestly haven’t laid eyes on them for quite some time. It’s weird, seeing them with 30 year old eyes. They nibble at my heart and I smile, handle them carefully, despite grubby, child fingerprints and worn pages. And then I come to one I know I have seen, but have no memory of. A vague cover. Just a painting of a young girl, staring into the fire. A simple title across the top. The book feels strange. It, in fact, isn’t even mine. There is an inscription on the front cover for my brother. And as I flip through the sparse pages, there are various paintings, next to words. A brief scan of the text tells me this isn’t a childrens book. I flip back to the front cover, as there is nothing on the back, to find the story behind this book. The text is the last will and testament of a man who died a pauper. It was found in his coat pocket. In it he bequeaths humanity all the beauty and wonder of the world. And for a few moments after I had finished reading it, I couldn’t hear my heartbeat, because it had stopped. It was absolutely, poetically beautiful. In a way, my eyes might not have understood had they been younger. I have not experienced something so soul shakingly beautiful in a long time…

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms are a love song to Spring. Not the Cherry Blossoms of Asia, that drift and fall like snow. These are American Cherry Blossoms. Appearing over night. Freckles of pinks and whites on the branches of dead trees. Stubbornly showing up after the first warm day, as if to say, “it’s time for the world to wake back up.”

Tootsie

Facebook Memories can bring up some of the best memories. Funny pictures, awesome trips, happy days… But it can also bring up some of the worst times. Times you have shared, to vent, to feel less alone, to let people know. Although, 12 years ago I’m sure I didn’t have half as many “friends” as I do now. Perhaps a handful of mates from college. Most of whom are probably no longer listed as “friend.”
But 12 years ago, at this time, I put down my cat Tootsie. I have no recollection of where the heck I came up with that name. I was very young. I remember them, her and her sister Peanut, living in a large box next to the fireplace. Like true sisters, they hated eachother. I remember peeking over the edge of the box, they were so small.
Peanut was my brothers, a calico who became fat. Tootsie was all mine, a sleek all black angel. She learned to climb the slippery black ladder of my bunk bed to be near me. She would bite at my arm when I was having a teenage meltdown, to make me stop and breathe. She loved potato chips and would bat at my face to get one. She was my most precious angel.
And I remember 12 years ago. I remember her becoming sick. We took her to the vet and afterwards she seemed better. My parents and I had planned a trip over New Years, and they were considering canceling it. But I threw a fit. I wanted to do this trip. I needed to do this trip. Admittedly, I simply wanted the brief opportunity to be with a boy I’d met last time I was there, in the spring. We had begun a long distance relationship and I hadn’t seen him face to face since. My parents didn’t think it was a good idea, to leave Tootsie, but in the end relented.
When we returned I was so excited to see Tootsie. I swept her up in my arms, and I instantly realized she had gotten worse. Much worse. Her eyes barely registered me, and my parents knew that we had to put her down.
My sweetest angel. I had been so selfish in leaving her when she was sick. For a boy. And the guilt and heartbreak has never left me.
I don’t have pictures desplayed in my home of family or friends. I simply never have. Except one. A picture of Tootsie, guarding my pen and notebook.

I don’t want it to seem as though my current cat Thumbs will never compare. I love him just as fiercly. He, with his buck teeth and huge paws. He, with his hatred of all fish except cheddar blasted goldfish. He, with his open and unabashed love for all those who are most important to me.

I was young and selfish 12 years ago. My heart was wounded. But I have grown since. I have developed a sense of priorities, and patience, and an appreciation for the fragility of life. And Facebook helps remind me of that every year.

Raven and the Box of Daylight

White Raven, a trickster

“Raven decides that he will try to do something about the darkness, for himself and for the world. As he follows the Nass River, he encounters the Fishermen of the Night..”

“Raven knows he will not be welcome in his raven form and devises a plan to transform himself into a tiny speck of dirt. His plan is to float down the river into the drinking ladle of the Daughter of the Nobleman at the Head of the Nass River. That is how he will sneak into the Clan House.. Raven is ingested by her and she becomes pregnant..
Raven is born in human form.
Raven grows into a precocious and precious human boy..”

Three carved boxes containing grandfather’s most prized possessions: the stars, the moon, and the daylight. Raven asks for the boxes and is told he cannot have them. He cries and cries for the boxes and eventually his grandfather relents. He gives his grandson the boxes, which he immediately opens. The stars, moon, and daylight, slip through the smoke hole in the Clan House and take their places in the sky..”

“As the stars fill the sky, and the moon takes its place, light begins to fill the Earth. When the sun takes its place in the sky, bringing daylight to the world, it is frightening for all those who have been in darkness. The people are able to see the world around them for the first time and are startled. Those wearing animal regalia run to the woods and become The Animal People. Those wearing bird rigalia jump into the sky and become The Winged People. Those wearing the water animal rigalia become The Water People. Those who remain strong (and stubborn) become Human People..”

(Taken from a Tlingit culture exhibition in the Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass. Based on an old Tlingit story. Glass art by Preston Singletary. )

…When the night begins to win over the day.

When the air begins to grasp at your skin.

When the trees start to turn, growing gold, then crimson, as if infected.

Then drop their leaves as if seeking to blanket the Earth, keep her warm, keep her safe.

Safe from the ghosts that slowly drift in the dew light, from the shadows that yawn and stretch in the twilight…

What Did I Do During my Covid Summer?

I stayed at home and fed my mind, and began to lose hope for the human race. I read books. I read books about pandemics, written in the early 1900’s. And I learned that in this time of pandemic nothing has changed. Man chooses not to believe in or see the pandemic until it is right in front of them, then becomes self absorbed, caring only for themselves and their own well being, not the welfare of their neighbor. And the virus always spreads before modern medicine can intervene, or the world ends.

I also read a lot of books about racism. Books from African-American perspectives, from Asian-American perspectives, and even a book from White-American’s perspective.

When this pandemic broke out across our nation, Asian-Americans were faced with an astronomical increase in racism against them. Asians of any nationality were automatically assumed to be Chinese and being blamed for the Corona Virus reaching America. The racism towards Asian-Americans did not stop just at threats, it also became extremely violent. One man stabbed an entire Asian-American family. Children in schools were being physically assaulted, one child, beaten so badly, was rushed to the emergency room. One elderly woman was knocked down by a group of men and set on fire. Gun shop owners noted a drastic increase in gun sales to Asian-Americans.

And it is not the first time American fear has given rise to extreme racism towards a specific racial group. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, American-Muslims faced something similar. But these are examples of American extreme racism that not a lot of Americans are even aware is happening.

Racism is our epidemic and I don’t honestly think it is something that will be cured. Our nation is young, but it was built on white superiority. It is in the bones of our country. People of colour are labeled “disadvantaged” simply for the colour of their skin, despite education and upbringing. Regardless of a white person’s education and upbringing. America’s structure and systems are built to keep white advantage. You drive down a street with nice houses and manicured lawns, and you automatically assume that it is a neighborhood filled with white families. You drive down a street that is poorly kept with small houses, and who do you assume lives there? Disadvantaged people. These are the images we have been raised to conjure in our heads, it is an automatic, unconscious response. America keeps people of colour down.

I have also been reading a little about the ’92 L.A. Riots. The timing felt appropriate after the death of George Floyd earlier this year, and the riots that ensued after. The L.A. Riots began on April 29th of ’92 after the four police officers who used excessive force and beat Rodney King while arresting him, were all acquitted. During the riots, much of the violence and destruction was aimed towards L.A. Koreatown and the Koreans living there. During this time many Koreans went out and bought guns. Although it was a gun that probably brought about a majority of the animosity African-Americans felt towards the Koreans, when a Korean shop owner shot and killed a young African-American girl trying to buy some orange juice. She was let off with an unjustly light sentence.

27 years prior, in 1965 the Watts Rebellion occurred after the arrest of Marquette Frye, an African-American man, escalated into a fight. The outrage over the police brutality in arresting an African-American incited a six day riot in L.A.

28 years after the L.A. Riots, the death of George Floyd by the police incited more rioting. Nearly 30 years between each incident and nothing has changed.

More current, I just read that the police officer responsible for the death of George Floyd posted bail and is now walking free until his trial, set for March of next year.

Though I know that extreme racism against African-Americans has always been going on, it has not been something I have personally seen much of. I honestly had no idea that “I can’t breathe” was a slogan used by the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of Eric Garner by police in 2014. Since then there have been other African-Americans to plead with police officers, “I can’t breathe,” while being forcibly restrained, and in turn died.

This year has been particularly difficult for America. While I had tried to convince myself that we have always been progressing towards a better, stronger country, this year in particular, of the last four, has proved to me that we haven’t. I admit that when Covid landed in our country, I was one of the ignorant ones who believed we would bust it within months. Four years ago, when Trump ran for president, I was one of the ignorant ones who believed our country couldn’t be stupid enough to actually elect him. I have always placed my misguided faith in this country and its people.

And now here we are again.

Honestly, KEEP America Great? Are you kidding me? Is this really the America he set out to make? The only thing I can say is that at least in the past four years we haven’t found ourselves in the middle of World War III. But instead, we are at war with ourselves. Our nation is fractured.
This year we have all been faced with this pandemic, this indiscriminate virus that will attack anybody. And yet, the cases of infection keep rising. Why do you think that is?

So, what did I do this Covid Summer? I stayed home and fed my mind.

I met a girl today. Another Asian adoptee. I caught her crying at one point because someone had assumed she was Japanese, and if not Japanese, she had to be Chinese. She is neither. While crying, she suddenly yelled, “Why does it matter what race I am?!” And in that moment, I knew exactly how she felt. I have been feeling it alot lately. And while I find my heart grow angry and break whenever someone tells me to “get over it,” I also realize people being racially ignorant towards me is never going to go away. After reading White Fragility, I realize just how White this country is. It is in the very BONES of this country. It is in the way our systems are set up. This country was built on White Superiority. Simultaneously, I am reading The Primal Wound, a book about the trauma of adoption. The idea that no matter what, an adopted child will suffer trauma from it, whether small or large. Whatever your situation, a child has spent 9 months growing in their mother and in essence, forming a very unique bond. Good or bad, early or late, being taken away from the woman who gave birth to you is a trauma. And it can develop into alot of other issues if not treated carefully.
I guess I felt alot of emotions today. I felt angry with this girl. I felt sad. I felt sympathy. And I felt protective.
I suppose it nurtures my desire to move on with my education and career. I want to help people exactly like this. I want them to know that in this country that is White, and cold, and ridiculously blind to Asians, that they are not alone.

Graduate Admission Essay to the School of Social Work


At the end of my 6th grade year, my whole class was told to vote for the peer they felt safest going to if they needed help. At the beginning of my 7th grade year, we received the results. A small group of my peers and I had been voted as most trustworthy. We were initiated into a group designed for the purpose of helping our peers. It was the first extracurricular activity I was involved in when I was younger and my first step on the journey of helping others. We were called the Peer Helpers. We met after school, we went on retreats, we even traveled to other cities, honing our skills in being a safe source of support for our peers. I think it was the first time I understood and experienced what it was like to really help people. 
My first job as a caregiver was working with developmentally disabled adults in foster home settings about 10 years ago. This job was my first opportunity working in a psych setting with individuals. It was surprisingly difficult, yet satisfying work. I spent 6-8 hours daily working with the adults I supported, living their lives alongside them. I shared in their daily difficulties, challenges, and joys. As a member of the Support Staff Team I helped the residents cook their meals, do their laundry, and assisted them with their Activities of Daily Living and took them to doctors appointments. But it was also emotionally and physically demanding work and sometimes violent work. I was bitten so hard in the arm that I bled, I had a metal patio chair thrown at me, and I was smashed in the head with a TV remote.
After a year and a half in Adult Foster care, I moved on and began working in nursing home settings. The residents were much more medically fragile. I learned to interact and support people with a softer touch. The residents were physically weak, sometimes unable to walk on their own. I learned to become a positive influence, their strength, their legs. The work was rewarding and the residents so thankful for the help and full of life. Not the sort of life a younger person possesses, but rather, the experiences from the years of life they had lived. They had stories and histories within them that I had only a fraction of within myself. But there was also a profound amount of loss. I spent hours on end with the people I cared for, often more time than their own families. I cared for them, shared in their lives and stories and came to love them, in my own way. For a few, I was there at their bedside as they passed.
I eventually moved on to get my CNA2 license and I began working in the hospital. It was a small hospital with four units. The Acute Care of the Elderly, the Rehab unit, a small Emergency Department, and a Psych unit. I trained and rotated through all the units. I learned the intricacies of working in the fast pace setting of the Emergency Department and the grueling patience of working on the Rehab unit. But after 2 years of floating between the four units my heart took me to the Psych unit full time and I’ve been there for 5 years now. It was here, on the Psych unit, that I found myself working with a very diverse and vulnerable population with a range of mental health and behavioral diagnoses. I learned to practice both empathy and cultural sensitivity.
As a CNA on the Psych unit, I am front line staff. I generally spend the most time with the patients and get to know them best. I am the first one who sees them begin to struggle and need some extra help. It is my role on the care team to update the nurses and advocate for the patient’s needs. It is my responsibility to inform the nurses of what is going on and help identify the patient’s need and find something for them; a medication, a visit from a counselor or social worker, or just to talk. Currently, that is the limit of what I can do for the patients. I am a witness, an advocate, a companion through their struggle and then I say goodbye.
The Behavioral Health Unit is designed to be a short stay unit. Most patients only stay about a week. As I have learned, the unit is to stabilize symptoms, not cure the patients. People come in at their worst, we help them feel safe, restart their medications, and get their feet back under them again. It is a hard concept for me, as my need to help drives me to want to do so much more for them. I know that there are not enough resources out there for our patients once they leave our care. There are so few places people suffering from mental illness can go for help and feel safe. There is so little awareness about mental health issues that most people don’t really think or talk about it at all. I want to assist with more awareness and education for the mental health population. I want to educate them on their diagnoses, help them to identify what their warning signs are, explain to them what their medications are for, what they do and why they should take them. My desire to help, my need to do more and see that the best outcome has been reached is what drives me to want to move in to the field of Social Work.
I was adopted as an infant from South Korea. I don’t know much about the situation, but I do know that my birth mother wanted me. I was born at home, not in a hospital, and the Korean name I arrived with was given to me by her. I whole heartedly believe that she gave me up for adoption so that I could have a better future. So that I could be here, now. My adoption was extremely important for me. I was given an opportunity with parents and experiences that have shaped the person I am today. 
The thing about adoption is that while it is a great, beneficial, and wonderful thing, it is also emotionally traumatic for an adoptee. Many adoptees grow to develop mental and behavioral issues. Attachment disorders, identity issues, depression and guilt issues are common among adoptees. Guilt over feeling that something was wrong with them and that is why they were given up. Guilt that the desire and need to explore their origins will somehow hurt their adopted parents feelings. Finally, guilt over having these mental and emotional feelings when adoption is supposed to be such a positive and joyous thing. 
I see some of these issues in myself now that I am older, despite having a birth mother who loved me and having adopted parents who gave me everything. And while I have been able to recognize and address some of these issues, perhaps due to my undergraduate background in Psychology, many adoptees might not be so lucky. Many adoptees will continue to suffer in silence because of the guilt they feel and the stigma that they should simply feel happy and grateful. Because of this unheard internal struggle, there is an increased rate of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as suicide attempts among adoptees. Adopted children will attempt suicide 4 times more than nonadopted children. I want to be someone who can bring comfort and education to adoptees. I want to be a voice for those too scared to use their own.
I see the core values of Social Work and feel that they align closely with my own values. This helps to confirm within me that this is the right path for me. I have had the desire to help people within me since I was very young. I want to help starving children in Africa, I want to help all the injured veterans get their benefits, I want to help lost children find loving homes, I want to save the world! But mostly, I want to become a Social Worker because I think it is the best way that I can do my part to make the world a better place here and now.
The world is a big place, with a diverse population with a diverse set of problems. I know there will be rough times in which I am faced with situations I may never have imagined I’d be faced with. I know there will be times in which my own beliefs will be challenged. I also know there will be times when I am unsure of what direction to move forward or how to help. My greatest desire is to do what is best for the client I am working with. Admittance into your Social Work program will help educate and expand my tools in doing what is right, what is best for each individual, our communities, and the world.

Lost in all the wonderous moments of the day, blown like dust along the dry desert road, and gone from here in ways only distant clouds could know…

My Downstairs Neighbors

I have been standing at the stove for some 20 minutes, staring out the window. What I am cooking, I don’t even know, and it probably doesn’t matter..
The upright piano was leaning on the ramp of the Uhaul. Next to it, the small, dark haired female sat, feet over the side of the truck bed, elbows on knees, chin in hands. To the other side, a tall man with shaggy hair, hands on knees looking defeated. They have been attempting, single handedly, to push the baby grand piano up the ramp into the Uhaul..
Maybe it started when I first walked past their front door. Right as I approached to pass, it opened and I was immediately engulfed in a cloud of weed smoke. My nostrils burned and my eyes began to water. After that, I noticed the same concentrated stench would creep through the vents and in the open windows of my apartment like The Fog. The worst being in my bathroom, so strong was the smell that my guests often suspected me of taking up the drug for recreational purposes.
Too often the ghostly odour was accompanied by the most extreme lung hacking from downstairs. So weak was the insulation between our apartments, I could often be woken from slumber by the coughing fits. The lung hacking was then always followed by the thick sounds of vomiting.
My glorious Sunday mornings, languidly waking to a fresh new day, suddenly interrupted by the hack hack hack, puuuuuuuuke from downstairs.
But I think worse than that, was the music. Nearly always poorly played, electric toned keyboard music. And though it could be done, I struggled to pull a familiar tune from the clash of notes played. Never once did I hear any notes played on the very real piano I had no idea they were in possession of.
Occasionally at night, as I would just be settling into bed, I could suddenly hear off key singing from directly below me. As though in an attempt to haunt me from my well deserved slumber. The singing was usually accompanied by their joint giggling.
The brief respites came when they would play tasteful, easy jazz on the stereo. From Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald type tunes for hours on end. But nightmare became reality when they began what sounded like the beginnings of a garage band. No sooner would I return home from a hard day of work, that the click click click, of the drum sticks would start.
Thankfully this phase did not last long..
And oddly, I recall a radio story I had once heard about a woman so wildly enthralled and equally appalled by her new neighbors across the street. Unabashedly, open curtain type neighbors. They had pushed their bed up against the window. She couldn’t believe it, and yet, she couldn’t stop watching them. She became a member of their lives via her obsessive voyeurism. Them being intimate, them eating breakfast together, everything. They were young, and beautiful, and in love.
Then one day she realized she hadn’t seen them in a while. Then when they came back, they looked very different. The woman looked heavier, the man thinner, weaker. He was bald. It took them a while to realize this was the same young, beautiful couple as before. The bed that had been pushed against the window, was replaced by a hospital bed.
It is strange how your first impressions can be one thing, when all the while there is a different story playing out in real life.
And for a moment, I can see it..
A young woman who grew up wanting to create music. A young man, in love, follows her to music school. They pack up grandma’s baby grand piano and the keyboard she’s had since childhood, and move to a small, 1 bedroom, downstairs apartment close to campus. Close enough for her to walk to school each morning, and back each afternoon.
It is difficult studies, but she works hard. Mornings he is left alone. He wakes with horrible nausea. The only thing that settles him is marijuana. He smokes it until he is taken by severe coughing fits. He coughs so hard some mornings he eventually vomits. He smokes religiously to feel stable. Until she returns home to tell him about her day, to play him the music she is studying in class.
Most days he feels strong, young. But when he has had a really hard day, she will sing him to bed. She sings off key, but he still loves it.
This is not the real story. They are simply weed smoking college kids. Each day I would exit my car next to theirs. Inside dangled old concert passes from the rear view mirror, the cup holder with its never changing large soda cup from Sarku, full of cigarette butts. Car that hardly ever went anywhere.
Until now..
I must have lost focus, because I look up and the piano is successfully ensconced within the Uhaul truck. This is when it really dons on me, my downstairs neighbors are finally moving..