Again

my flight is in 4.5 hours.

I was feeling kinda up and down all week, I think being away from home so long made me go through some strange new experiences and emotions that was buried somewhere in me.

I’ve been gone a month.

Kafkaesque

There are times when I get this inexplicable sinking feeling in my stomach for reasons unknown to myself. The closest description of the feeling I can think of is this: it's as if I've committed a crime while I was asleep or unconscious. This feeling usually comes at night, or before I embark on a big trip. I try to avoid it, but sometimes it just comes, and will not leave. It lingers and nags at me like unfinished work and clutters my inner thinking systems. Suddenly, I am a protagonist in a Kafka novel, carrying the sentence of a great  unbeknownst crime. In a way, I think it's good; it helps me live responsibly in order to have a clean conscience as much as possible to avoid any further self-inflicted emotional complications. Yes, my reasons for benevolence is selfish. 

But anyway, I hate this feeling. I don't want it. I'm not saying I want to be a sociopath. It's just exhausting. 

Murakami on the Shore

(While I was on a mini holiday on the beach in Shimoda, I finally cracked open some overdue summer reading.)

“I’ve always been conscientious about my work, and I’ve never had any major problems with my clients. I’m proud of this, as a professional. I’m happy with my private life, too. I have a lot of friends, and have stayed healthy up till now. I’m enjoying life. But still these days I’ve often wondered, Who in the world am I? And very seriously at that. If you took away my career ... and the happy environment I’m living in, and threw me out into the world, with no explanation, and with everything stripped away—what in the world would I be?”

An Independent Organ, Haruki Murakami

From Stockholm, Saturday, August 18 2018

Growing up in America (my family moved here from Seoul, S. Korea when I was 10), I really didn’t have anyone in the US to look up to as a role model. I loved James Iha, but he was more of an elusive, quiet rockstar. I didn’t know too much about him and there wasn’t much information out there, anyway. Maybe Lucy Liu? But she played a specific type (cold-hearted, sexy dominatrix type in Ally McBeal) that my pre-teen mind couldn’t wrap my head over. From the top of my head I can’t think of more than 5 Asian-American actors that were more than a very minor character, Mortal Combat fighter, or Yellow Power Ranger.

When I began my career as a model, it wasn’t easy. There was a certain beauty that was celebrated as an Asian beauty in the Western world, and my face didn’t match that convention. My first model agent in California told me I would work best as a “cool, edgy” Asian, partially because of my penchant for indie music and alt-culture, but mainly because I didn’t have what he thought was a traditional beauty.

Making a name in fashion or entertainment industry is more difficult than ‘threading through an eye of a thin needle’ (celebrating my Korean heritage with a Korean aphorism here), and the fact that I am an outlying minority placed me in a quandary of either “not being Asian enough” or “being a specific token Asian.” One of the reasons why I bleached my hair was to break away from being typecasted...thankfully it suited me and I was able to go on to successfully work as a model.

 Two of the largest accomplishments in my careers are about breakthroughs in regards to my ethnic background. One is becoming the first Asian-American model to be a global ambassador of L’OrĂ©al Paris. The other is being on the cover of Allure. The editor in chief, Michelle Lee, said that it was the first time since 2000 to have a full Asian heritage woman on the cover. Here we are 18 years after. And in the world of Hollywood, here we are, since 25 years ago when Joy Luck Club premiered, with Crazy Rich Asians.

At the end of the day, I understand my job is to look a certain way to attract and compel an audience, thus my superficial traits are scrutinized and categorized. But I do appreciate that in mainstream American/Western culture and in this industry a larger welcome mat has been placed for Asians and Asian Americans with diverse backgrounds and styles.

Revenge II

Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong, putteth the law out of office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon. And Solomon, I am sure, saith, It is the glory of a man, to pass by an offence. That which is past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do, with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labor in past matters. There is no man doth a wrong, for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honor, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry with a man, for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong, merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other. The most tolerable sort of revenge, is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed, the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is still before hand, and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous, the party should know, whence it cometh. This is the more generous. For the delight seemeth to be, not so much in doing the hurt, as in making the party repent. But base and crafty cowards, are like the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus, duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable; You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies; but you never read, that we are commanded to forgive our friends. But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: Shall we (saith he) take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil also? And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal, and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Caesar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private revenges, it is not so.

Nay rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches; who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate.

– Sir Francis Bacon