The Cure to Insomnia

I have insomnia.

My doctor told me to exercise in the morning instead of the evening as I do now. He noted that exercising in the evening makes me pumped and excited. He told me, “sleep a little earlier, wake up early, workout, then go about your day.”

I put that to practice last Friday.

I woke up at 5:50 in the morning, 7 minutes before my alarm at 5:57am. I fell back asleep, dreamt through multiple lifetimes, and woke up 5 minutes later – still before my alarm.

Waking up wasn’t that hard. Because of the insomnia, I wake up every hour or so. I wake up with every creak of the stairs. I wake up with a car crawling by. I wake up to the birds, the crickets, the wind. So no, waking up wasn’t difficult.

The sun was just peeking out the horizon. The skies were still a dark blue grey.

Friday was legs and butt day. I loaded up my usual workout videos: Tone It Up and Blogilates. It was a little harder to pull through certain moves, like the single-legged deadlift and bridge butt-ups. My heart felt heavier and my body wouldn’t follow. But I did it. I finished a full 40 minutes of early morning workout.

The hardest part was getting over the mindset of, I’m gonna have to wake up before the sun and sweat balls before commuting an hour and a half to work. The second hardest part was getting myself to bed before 10pm. The last hardest thing will be doing this every single morning from this day forward.

Morning people, what’s the trick? How do you stick to the schedule?


The End

A scroll mounted on a white wall. I touched it and it rolled open. It revealed a long knife with a purple handle. The glowing engraving read:

The end is in one month.

My own blood-curdling scream woke me up.

I dreamt of my grandmother the night before. In my dream, she was growing young. Her hair was cut short. A pixie cut. She wore my duster coat. “You look stunning 할머니,” I told her.

What will end in one month? The summer? My insomnia? Our world?

I’m afraid of what it means. I’m afraid that my prophecy dream will come true.

I Died

I had a dream.

I had a dream that I was looking at Dennis and he was staring back at me. I smiled and he smiled back. The sun was shining down on us and the summer air smelled sweet.

Time was slow.

Then a little slower.

I noticed a police officer behind Dennis speed walking towards me. He reached for the gun to his side as he looked at a distance behind me. His eyes widened.

S l o w e r .

Dennis looked over my shoulder. He dropped his smile. His hand quivered over my body, trying to cover me. I thought I saw a sweat drip off the tip of his nose.

S  l  o  w  e  r  .

I looked over his shoulder at the police officer. His hands were already wrapped around his gun. He pointed to a target behind me and yelled something I could not understand. Slowly, ever so slowly, I turned my head to w a t c h  t h e  b  u  l  l  e  t   f  l   y   .

I heard a loud crack over my head. I felt a shocking sensation running down my spine. Then, nothing at all. I opened my mouth to scream, but could only scream of silence. Everything went to black and I opened my eyes to the dawn of my room.

This is not the first time I’ve experienced my own death in a dream. I die every year. I have drowned at sea. I have fallen off a waterfall. Asphyxiation. Loss of blood.

I am an existentialist romantic. I can’t stop thinking about all the romantic ways Death will sweep me off my feet.

This will surely be my demise.

Interviews give me the Heebie Jeebies

I was interviewed for the 4th time today. I wish I could say that it gets better, it gets easier, you get used to selling yourself to others.

Not at all.

My palms still get sweaty. My heart beats out of my chest when I enter the building. My stomach still drops to the ground as I await my scheduled time. My clothes don’t fit on me and I feel like an awkward version of myself.

Do I have makeup smeared on my face? Is my hair in place? Did I shake that person’s hand? Why are they staring into my soul?

How do you do it?

I Want To Quit

“I’m not a quitter” I sigh as I exhale cigarette smoke from between my lips. I’m obviously hooked on cigarettes. I’m hooked on working at my job. Although I don’t get paid enough for the amount of work I do, I dedicate any hour of the week because I have a sense of responsibility and duty to the organization (thought: is that another definition for push-over?)

It’s abuse, the way we are treated. It’s as if we owe the organization our lives. As if we had been begging for water and they had saved us. As if we had signed up for a full-time job on a part-time pay. As if working in a religious setting took away our freedom of speech. I can go into juicy details about where I work, but I’m not about to become an embarrassing headline.

I don’t know how to quit, because I care about the individuals I oversee. If I quit, who will care for them? Will they care for my individuals as much as I do? Will they care enough to think of the future and plan ahead? Will they care enough to go out of their way to accommodate these individuals? Will they care enough to study their background and culture and to connect with them on a personal level?

That’s my humble thinking.

In reality, I can’t quit because I don’t have anything else to fall back on. No past employers, family-owned businesses, or friend-knows-somebody deals. What sucks the most is that I don’t have the motivation to look anywhere else. My heart and mind has been fully invested at where I work now.

It’s a toxic cycle, and I really must quit.

I Lied to my Mother

When you lie to a loved one, you’re only weighing yourself down.

I lied to my mother about my whereabouts, because if I told her the truth she would definitely and immediately bring me to church to be cleansed and prayed for. I lied because she would disapprove. I lied because I wanted a vacation without her citing Bible verses about romance and sin. I lied to keep her off my back. There, I said it. I lied so she wouldn’t nag me.

It’s causing me more pain than I thought it would. She texted me, “enjoy your vacation and be safe.” She thinks I’m at a beach in the South. I’m not. I’m still in the Northeast, feeling guiltier and guiltier by the minute. She genuinely wished me well, and I had lied to her.  She trusted me and I lied. She sent love my way, and instead of embracing it I claimed to be suffocated by it.

My mother – she’s my greatest role model. She raised us by herself in this foreign land when we first moved here. Although she was an English teacher back at home, it was barely conversational. This country welcomed us with racism and hardship, but she strived to rise above it. She pushed us to follow our talent and passions, putting us through dance classes, art and music lessons. She made our teenage years feel normal through our poverty. She was diligent in furthering her education. She is the bravest woman I know.

My mother is also traditionally Korean and very Christian. In terms of romance, there would be no holding hands, no kissing, no touching. She has specific requirements for my romantic interests – must be Christian, must be older than me, must not chase after money, must come from a harsh background, must be intelligent but not too much (because then he would be hard to understand), and preferably Korean. No traveling too much, because home is my base, home is where I should be when the sun sets. No sleepovers, no staying out after midnight, limit the number of days I venture into the city. Most of the time, I don’t abide by these rules. It breaks her.

I didn’t need to lie, but I did. It hurts. But I’m too free spirited and nomad-minded to stay inside, to stay in one place as she wishes me to. I wish I could be the daughter my mother envisioned, but also cross off goals and dreams off my bucket list.

I won’t do it again.

I’ve Never Lost a Loved One

I don’t know how to deal with death.

I’ve never experienced death of a close one before. My grandfather passed away last year, but I only met him once, when I was 5 years old. I only knew him as my mother’s father.

Recently, a girl I once knew passed away. First of all, we disliked each other when I was a freshman back in 2009. Second, my interactions with her didn’t last long. We probably spoke for a couple months in 2010, and that was it. So when I found out she was gone, it surprised me that I felt emotions. I was sad and angry that she was taken so violently. I barely knew her, yet I was shocked that someone I once knew was gone. If this is what it feels like losing an acquaintance, I wonder how painful it must feel to lose a loved one.

A day after hearing the news, I pushed it into the back of my mind. She is gone, in a horrific and tragic way, don’t think about it. It worked until the Facebook posts began popping up. I pushed that aside too, choosing to ignore reading the status and not click on an article. I’ve never dealt with death before, and I didn’t know how to handle it.

I remember her as a strong girl with an attitude. I remember she wanted to fight me one night, because I was being carelessly intoxicated and crossed the line with a boy in a relationship. People had to hide me in a room because she was calling for me, screaming about punching me in the face. I was scared of her ever since then. I remember asking her about it months later, when we became oddly closer. She said she was ashamed of my actions while holding the title as a Korean. She said Koreans have to act with dignity and honor, and I tainted it. I had no idea if she was bullshitting, but it was better than “I hate you” so I took it. That was the last time I spoke to her. There is no, maybe I’ll run into her one day. That was definitely the last time.

Social media is still loud with stories of her. I’m reminded of how she is gone, how she will never return to this world, how she left us defensively when she was so fiery and fierce in life. What happened to her was more than unjust, and I pray for her justice. You can read her story and help her out here. 

If I feel this confused and shocked about an individual who briefly passed by my life, how will I react when I lose a loved one?