What Not to do – by my Father

Fathers-daySo I’m not visiting my father today

Now before any of you criticize me for not being a good son, let me explain.

The relationship between my father and I is distant at best – even though he’s always been physically there in my life.

There was a lot of bitterness and coldness – something most sons of absent and “terrible” fathers often have for them.

However, now at 30 years I’m come to realize and internalize many things (one of which is forgiveness) I’m come to appreciate the things that my father taught me – both the good and bad.

The topic of my father and I deserves several posts, but I think I’ll save that for later.

Lessons

  1. Courage – or rather the lack of it. My father though he had a stable job (insurance agent), he never showed any signs of standing up for himself. In fact among his siblings, he has the unflattering reputation of being meek and cowardly. Looking back, I had this unfavorable trait growing up and throughout my 20s. Now I’ve come to accept this trait and realize that only by accepting this part of me can I built to foundations of being a brave man that I see myself to be.
  2. It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one’s real character. I grew up in a world where misogyny was the normal. It was veiled, and you had to be a keen observer of body and language and culture to notice it, but it was there. My father was no exception. In between general disinterest in family life, no desire to improve himself, and low self confidence; he often treated my mother as little more than his maid – and continues to do so some 30 years into the marriage. Speaking of marriage…
  3. Marrying the right spouse. Or rather who NOT to marry. My recent relationship has shown me that I automatically go for relationships that mirror that of my parents – an unhealthy one to put it nicely. If I don’t consciously go after relationships that are healthy and that the woman is comfortable in her skin (among many other things), I won’t have a shot at a healthy life (forget happiness, just being healthy is good enough).
  4. Follow your dreams or ELSE you will live your life full of regret. My father, I get the impression, didn’t take a lot of risks – thus settled for a life of mediocrity. which by the time I was a teenager turned into a life of regret. Which then of course he later responded by numbing himself out. He gave up on his dreams to take on the role of father and husband – a role where he was never happy and was constantly reminded of his past mistakes.

With a marriage that drains him daily and a life of regret that he carries with him. He is the perfect example of what NOT to do.

Poem – There’s No Rest for the Wicked

This is my first poem published here. Have some fun:

There’s no rest for the wicked
There’s no other word for it
It’s like this huge pit
that you just can’t forget it. 

You know you fought for it
The battle that you’re fighting isn’t a good fit
But you’re still gonna go for it

Because  you’re full of grit
You don’ have time to sit
Daily using your Beast Mode Kit
Where you’ll be popping haters like a zit

You bet that they will run an audit
and will try to get you to suck it
But you are the shit
and will put them in their own crypt. 

batman

The Grey Area of Dating

bench-e1422974904205-1024x684Never have I been so stumped – yet so deep (pun intended) – in this dating situation.

Dated a girl exclusively for about 8 months, and out of the blue decided that ” having a future with her wasn’t what I had imagined” one night after drinking.

Talk about me being smooth.

Long story short; that was a month ago and I convinced her that we should “just date” instead of being a couple.

Honestly, it was a long time coming – after our 6 month anniversary I decided (without telling her) to not have as physical contact as usual because it was distracting me.

Little did I know that it was the right choice: connecting the dots, I realized that personality wise she had a lot in common with my mother than I was comfortable with.

Is that grounds for a breakup? In this day and age of one-night stands and hookups and sustained relationship is considered a gem.

Part of me doesn’t want to break up – the “one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” mentality. Or was it “don’t throw away a good thing”

But the other part realizes that having someone who has the personality of someone that people routinely avoid isn’t the most healthy of relationships anyway.

I can do a laundry list of the qualities that I’ve found not very pleasing – but the issue isn’t that she’s unfaithful or spiteful or a b*tch…

It’s that I’ve realized I appreciate – and dare I say need –  someone who is emotionally grounded, emotionally strong, and confident in their (current) place in their life.

True, my luck with women has been more or less good. But you want to make the most out of any experience, yes?

My Family’s Legacy of Misogyny

clever-writer-memeIn honor of International Women’s Day yesterday, I’m coming out with a bit of a confession of my own.

I grew up in a world filled misogyny – on both sides of the family. My uncles on my father’s side in particular were the ones that I heard from the most.

Not all of them mind you (I had 7), but looking back there was the unspoken resentment toward’s women. I guess this was a family thing.

One example – whom I’ll call Uncle B, flew to China when I was in elementary school specifically to find a wife. Naturally said wife was probably from a middle class family (earning less than $10k/yr USD) and didn’t know English.

Basically he was her only connection to the outside world when he brought her to the states. Fast forward about a decade and they (un)fortunately divorced. I say that with parenthesis when what happened in the next few years.

Long story short, she managed to open a few Chinese buffets in the area where she had lived and even went down to LA to open a few more.

As for her ex-husband (my uncle)? He now has not worked for the past decade. From what I know he lives survives off of the divorce payments that his wife pays yearly while caring for their now 18 year old son.

So what happened? I don’t know – but what I do know is his attitude towards his ex-wife and women in general.

A misogynist – a thorough, “stereotypical” misogynist

Back then I didn’t mind it – in fact I felt it wasn’t my place to question his words. Now looking back I realized that he is sorry excuse of a man

…Placing the blame of his problems on his financially more successful wife while not seeking any job for the fear of degrading his “sense of worth”. By the way, he often blames others for his problems regardless of gender. He’s also an unapologetic racist (his wisdom could be shared on a different day).

It’s said that say that quite a few men on both sides of my family exhibit this outlook – hell even some of the women hold this view of themselves.

End rant

International Women’s Day

…brought to you by the women of Avatar.

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. With that said. I present to you the women/ladies of Avatar:The Last Airbender and its sequel, the Legend of Korra.

I can’t think of a better positive representation of women than both shows. So without further ado, here they are:

 

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This is just for shits and giggles. I honestly thought about my Aikido sensei when I saw this, since he likes daughters. 

A Serious Case of Entitlement

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I was doing this the whole time!

With the trappings of living with your parents, comes the cage and enticement of entitlement.

Last year, I quit my 2 month job at Whole Foods and left for what I had thought to be a lucrative job being a merchandizer for Levi’s Jeans. It turns out that position only lasted 2 months.

Basically I had forgotten to ask if the position was permanent.

Now after 2 months of earning $500/month I’m finally going back into the job pool…working at Whole Foods.

As they say; when you make a mistake – just dust off and move on!

 

The Martial Arts of Avatar: The Future

Now I’ve always been a martial arts fan…especially when it comes to Avatar.

In Legend of Korra (sequel to the original series), some styles were “modernized” to reflect the fast-paced, 1930s steampunk-isa feel of a world 70 years after the original series.

What if Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino were to update each of the martial arts that represented the bending arts in the (now dead) plans for a sequel? Especially one that will most likely take place in a period of space travel.

Well never fear, for Avatar Andrew is here! Here are my predictions if that were to happen.

Taekwondo/Hapkido for firebending
Fire has always been the symbol literally and figuratively of “attack, attack, attack”. So it makes sense that say in the confines of a space ship, a fire bender has the potential to be highly destructive since a fire bender’s power comes of the individual’s chi. 
Taekwondo

Hapkido

Wing Chun/Systema for water bending
Tai Chi is a “soft style” martial art, using internal power vs. the raw power of say Shaolin or TKD. So if water bending were to evolve in the future of Avatar, I’d say Wing Chun or even Systema. You’re confined in a small ship and water is precious, even unavailable. You have to be quick, fast and decisive with your movements to quickly finish your opponent(s) off.
Wing Chun:

Systema:

Muay Thai – earthbending/metalbending
Earth bending in LOK went through a lot of change from ATLA. Out were the stands of Hung Gar and in were the quicker footwork, waterbending – like movement of Republic City. I surmise that in the confines of a spaceship, earthbenders are going to be energy efficient and direct to the point – like Muay Thai.

Aikido – airbending
Why not my very own martial art for my brethren’s Avatar Aang’s original style. Martial art that is circular? Check. One that emphasizes peace and harmony? Check. One that puts emphasis on nonviolence? Check. 3 traits of an Airbender already down. I see why not!

The Founder of Aikido at various demonstrations

The Martial Arts of Avatar

One of the greatest things about the cartoon series is that the creators based the fictional powers of “bending” on real life martial arts. Having trained in Aikido for 7 years, anything that realistically portrays martial arts in the media is always a pleasure.

Note that Sifu Kisu was the chief martial arts advisor for Avatar: The Last Airbender tv series.

Northern Shaoling Kung Fu – Firebending

Hung Gar Kung Fu – Earthbending

Bagua Zhang – Airbending

Tai Chi Chuan – Waterbending

…and something extra
Southern Praying Mantis – Toph’s Earthbending (because Toph deserves her own recognition).

Banishment with Multiple Silver Linings

So it’s a wonderful twist of fate that I made my greatest Aikido discovery… after I was kicked out.

You heard that right, I got kicked out – in August of last year.

kickassia___banishment_by_polymorphicgirl
I’m the guy on the left being a badass, with my tail in-between my legs while meekly mooning them. 

Long story short: 
I had hit a plateau in my training in August. At the time I had grown tired of hearing my two sensei infer to me repeatedly that was I was too mental. Plus I realized that I was too “soft” in my movement – too limp and “no energy”.

One day I realized that I moved better outside of the dojo than I was on the mat. I had a pep in my step outside of the dojo and I was much more “settled” outside of the dojo than in.

Which is great right? Well to me it was weird.
– How could I be moving better outside of the dojo than in?
– Why was I always tired and lethargic before, during, and after training?
– Why was I NOT down whenever I wasn’t training? 

The second question was the real reason I decided that perhaps my training needed some much needed boast.

So then I thought to myself – Why don’t I bring the energy that I have outside the dojo, inside? –  So it wouldn’t hurt right?

I was wrong apparently

4 years ago I ran into hot water because of my flirtatious ways and lack of social awareness. I was then asked to leave then for a few months (when turned into 8) and then allowed back. Before I had consciously decided to try bringing this new attitude to the mat I asked myself if those same people who sent me off 4 years ago would have forgiven me by now and had forgotten the incident.

Around the last week of August of last year, my sensei pulls me aside after class one day and informs me that there were some members of the dojo that felt that I made the same transgressions that I did years ago. The conclusion being that they felt that my presence was not welcomed any more and that they wished to have me leave.

Oh fuck, not this again.

It has been about 5 months since that incident and I haven’t set foot inside my home dojo since that time, nor have I set foot in a dojo. One good thing: while I’m still technically a member of the dojo, I can’t train with the rest of the crew for reasons above. If I do train, I have to adhere to a set of rules that were agreed upon between myself and my sensei.

Do I deny the accusations brought forth to me? No, not at all – social graces has always been a weak spot for me and thus I’ve dedicated myself to continual improvement in that area. But what I do accuse my accusers of is of not confronting me personally – and instead having the work around my back and have the situation blowing up in my face.

~

Okay, so what’s the silver lining that I speak of?  Well, it’s this: I finally got what I wanted out of my training Aikido.

Well, what is it you ask? I had found myself.

That’s right! I finally feel that I’m comfortable in my skin – this is big because I’ve always been very “out of body”. Some people call this “always in the head”. Grounded, centered? Whatever, it only took 7 long-ass years of training!

But you know what? I think if it wasn’t for my banishment, I wouldn’t be this confident in myself in the first place. Along with this confidence, I finally solved the problem regarding my social graces!

But of course, all of this came at the cost of my being ousted from dojo. Was it worth it? I don’t know. My sensei has been surprisingly supportive of me, even saying that my absence is a way of “protecting me” from the other yudansha (I bought him a bottle of Italian wine as a thank you). We’re arranging a meeting with my accusers at the moment, though with all the judgement that this going around, even if these confrontations were to end on a happy note, I will be taking my martial arts training else where.

I think the only other loses were my waistline and my job situation (unrelated).