To the Clown

Some kids grow up as clowns.
If you knew a “Class Clown” growing up, here’s what you probably remember: A kid with witty, sarcastic remarks who could sometimes be more than just a little obnoxious, nonetheless, generally liked.
Here’s what you never knew about the clowns: they had and they still have something to say.

Humor is a shield. Humor allows the expression of opinions without possession because people think clowns

Nobody understands the clowns. Clowns are insightful and when they share that insight, they are clowned, just as the name implies.

I would like to send this message to all the clowns:

You are important. You have something to say. And if you have the opportunity to start all over, I hope you find the courage to do so. You deserve a shot at being taken seriously, and may God grant you the strength to take it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advice to a high school student

When you’re a freshman, you feel small. There are so many of your “peers” doing so many adult-like things. You hear things.

“Hey, do you want to go out after school?”
“Naw man, I work.”

“Let’s go out tonight.
I treat, you drive?”

“Working? Driving? I’m in high school, and those are things my parents do!”

High school isn’t as tough as it sounds if you’re surfaced. A surfaced high school student doesn’t dig deep and over think. You’ll find that “being surfaced” is actually a pretty great way to get through high school, with a price.

Do you think a lot? How great are you at living? Can you put down your phone for more than ten minutes? Can you look at the moon and stars for hours without tweeting about its beauty?

High school isn’t exactly like the movies. In the shooting of a high school film, a director simply writes from the eyes of teenagers.

This is the truth about high school: You probably won’t get beat up and shoved into a locker and left to suffocate. The worst kind of physical contact is likely to be a shoulder shove in the hallway, which really isn’t anything to take personally. If you’re quiet, kids will not make snide remarks at you in class. Unless you leave it laying around, your belongings won’t get stolen. Your books won’t get slapped out of your hands. You won’t be thrown off a table and into a trash can, although you might be told to move.

If you aren’t a surfaced human being, this is what it will feel like: You will suffocate from the paranoia of judgement from your peers. A shove on the shoulder will make you feel inferior in all aspects. When you answer a question in class, your peers won’t say “nerd,” but you will imagine the words “show-off” and “annoying” popping up in your classmates’ heads. You’ll feel like school has stripped you of your identity. You’ll feel subjugated. You don’t have to, but you will feel the need to fit in: to wear the shoes half the school is wearing, to join the sports your friends are in, to get the grades your classmates have.

I’ll be honest: You’ll feel stupid. You’ll feel out of place. Some teachers are great, but others are not. The math homework will feel impossible; it’ll be annoying. That English essay is fine, but as you read it over and over, all you can think are the words “generic”. Your parents will still ask for your help at home. You won’t get enough sleep. You’ll waste time on your social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook because “likes” and “Favorites” make you feel good about yourself, and at this age, where else do you find self-esteem?
You’ll spend time trying impress the pretty kids, be it subtle or blatant. You’ll watch your grades fall. You’ll act cool with it, but years later, you’ll see how much your parents have to pay for college because you “didn’t feel like” doing that work that could’ve earned you a better scholarship. You’ll be dying to make your life appear interesting, and IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH.

At this age, in order to cope, you will have to love yourself. It’s hard, right? How do I love myself when no one else finds me lovable?

Here’s a little something about myself: I grew up on an island about 32 miles long and 8 miles wide. Population? 200,000. I’m probably related to half of them. This world has nearly 8 billion people, and I’m going to judge how lovable I am from people who all live within 32 miles? Will these people be going into your grave with you? No.

You’re worth loving. It’s tough, okay, it is. In high school, if you spend time alone, you’re regarded as a freak. So what? Chances are if you work hard enough, you’ll be out of that place in a few years, and all the people who have regarded you as a freak? You won’t even remember their name. You are stuck with you for the rest of your life, so grow. Love. Nurture. Excel. You deserve it.

Posted in Opinions | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cultural Resistance


“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
– Morrie, Tuesdays with Morrie

Stop what you’re doing and actually, deeply read this and think about it:

Recall your childhood.
What did you believe in?
Did you believe in saving the world? Did you believe of prevention of animal abuse? Reform of immigration? Finding cures for sicknesses?

Recall the time in your life when you had to choose a career or a job because you were getting kind of old to be so dependent on somebody else.
Did you apply for a minimum wage and save while helping your providers pay the bills? Did you go to school? Did you look for a career without many requirements right then and there? What did you settle for?

Now think about where you are.

My adult readers, I think you’re flushing with nostalgia.
For my adolescent readers, I think this made you nervous.
For my young readers who haven’t begun the future train of thought, I bet you’re confused.

I constructed a life plan when I was a kid. I wanted to work part-time and help my parents pay the bills throughout high school. I wanted to go to a good East Coast school. I wanted to serve my country as a soldier. I wanted to serve my community as a teacher. I wanted to serve the future generations some knowledge and insight by dedicating myself to writing.

What happened? Reality hit. How could I balance both work and school? If I wanted to make more than twenty bucks a day, I’d have to work until 9pm or 10pm, when after school, I’d be too exhausted to do school work. If I messed up school, my shot at a good college was out the window, but what would I do after college or during college without any work experience? I could serve my country then serve my community, but who’s to say I won’t lose myself in battle and never be able to make use of a college degree? And how will I ever support a family on a public school teacher’s salary, especially in the district I’m from? Writers don’t make much, so I need a job, but who has the energy to put a book together when there are double shifts?

So where am I? I’m in the USA. The USA: where though it’s difficult to make someone of yourself, you can be absolutely whoever you want to be if you’re strong enough.

I could quit all my jobs and take a boat out to the middle of the ocean. I can speak my mind. I can be homeless and move around tirelessly to prove my point. I could resist this culture, but what do I do instead?

I wake up. I put on make-up, something I was totally against as a kid, but if it’ll get me hired at my thirteenth, fourteenth job interview, who’s it gonna hurt? The market for minimum wage jobs can also be a tough one. I get my student loans in order and prepare to spend my life working to pay it off. I intern at places to earn experience, but it takes all my time, money, and energy. I look for the safest job I can find because I absolutely need my money, my comfort. I need this comfortable culture.

The desire for this culture is the tightest pair of handcuffs I’ve worn.

I hope that one day I’ll have the strength to resist it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Shop Couples



Let’s go back two weeks.

I am sitting in one of Guam’s coffee and tea shops. I order some food. I order tea. I go back to my seat and open my laptop.
I look across the top of my laptop screen at the tabs open in my Internet browser: a college website, WordPress, Gmail, New York Times, and an informational website about the SATs.

Five minutes later, a middle-aged couple walks in and heads toward a table diagonal to my seat. I try not to stare, but something about this couple catches my attention.

I listen when I hear the female whisper, “That is a beautiful view,” as she sits in the seat with her back to its beauty.

Her partner speaks up, “I’ll sit here. You sit across from me and enjoy your view.”

She smiles as she gets up and sits in the chair he pulled out for her.

I listen to their words.

Her mouth releases stories implying that she’s new to Guam. She hasn’t been here forever. She stops frequently to think of the correct English word to insert into her sentence.

The man across from her doesn’t say much, but he nods and smiles. The man is at the register ordering, and I hear him. He speaks unbroken English. I go back to my seat.

Their crepes arrive. The woman jokes, “Should I take a picture?” Both laugh. She continues, “Ah, a picture, some people are too much.”

I linger on those words: too much.

I look around the rest of the shop: teenagers on phones, workers on laptops, tourists watching TV shows on their iPads, the occasional reader… and I stop and look across of me. There is no person across from me. I am not interacting. I have a laptop, and I am sitting there looking busy; however, next to this couple, I feel like insignificant.

I snap back to the couple. I notice them again, engaged deeply in a conversation which fills that very second with significance. The couple has comfortable silences. They are not rushing. They are not on their phones. They simply sit across from each other, eat, listen, talk, engage. They feel invincible, they feel alive — I feel their liveliness radiating off of them.

I evaluate my position. I am sitting alone because I don’t want to be around people. I haven’t had a good conversation like that in a while. I am consumed with life’s luxuries, but I am not happy. I have brought with me $1,000 worth of electronic devices yet the people next to me, as they sit there deviceless, are happy. They look more content than I ever have, and all they’ve brought to the coffee shop is the company of another.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


1038“Goodbyes, they often come in waves.” – Jarod Kintz

Although unsure of the exact meaning, this falls over like a wave.

When I hear goodbye, I imagine the waves of the beach of my home crashing onto my feet and splashing the rocks and wetting part of my clothes — hitting me. If I sit in the ocean and a wave comes through, I am dragged with it, and I am changed.

And if I sit there and refuse, the wave washes over me. I am still change.

As Kintz said, goodbyes come in waves, and those waves, like goodbyes, have changed me, and will lead to an inevitable change.

You have to move with it. When someone says goodbye, you have to allow it. You can try to break a wave, but is that what’s best?

As more waves hit one after another, so does another’s absence — hitting randomly, sometimes lightly and sometimes powerfully, always continuously.

And waves, when I see someone wave goodbye, a world within this world leaves. And when someone waves, a world within this world enters until it’s time to say goodbye. The cycle continues.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A letter to my eighth-grade self

Dear eighth grader,

It’s me, and I’m going to tell you some of the most important information you’ve ever heard.

You’re young. You have not screwed up your life, no matter how many classes you’ve failed, friends you’ve lost, or relationships you’ve ended. You didn’t even begin high school yet, so don’t worry.

If anybody tells you to grow up and not have fun, they’re wrong; and if anybody tells you not to grow up and just have fun, they’re also wrong.

Growing up does not have to be a boring thing. Your development through your teenage years is important, and if growing up means breaking off relationships that don’t grow you, then so be it. If growing up means realizing the importance of your education, so be it. If growing up means knowing what you want out of life, so be it.

Some days, school will overwhelm you, and if you want to play sick and stay home, do it, but make those days count. Rest and use it to your academic advantage. Get so much rest you wake up ready and prepared to face school the next day.

Make the school days count. Teachers will hand out busy work, but all work related to education has some significance to it. If your teacher won’t tell you what it is, find it. Nothing in this world will be handed to you, even if it seems like it is. Busy work will just be busy work if you make it busy work.

Read a lot of books. Don’t just read from one genre. Expand. Read some classics. Read some romance, some horror, some non-fiction, some fiction, some religion.

Write. Start a blog. Write short stories. Write letters to your friends. Write for your school website, school newspaper, local newspaper. Write a novel. Pour your heart and soul into your school writing assignments.

Dig deep. Why so surfaced? Why scratch the surface when you can plumb? Why not give meaning to everything? Life is beautiful when absolutely anything and everything has meaning.

Say thank you, and tip your waiters, baggers, bust boys $1. It’s not much, but you don’t have much, you’re eighth grade: share what you do have. Hold the door open and don’t expect to hear a thank you because half the time, you won’t. Pick up something that someone else drops and hand it to them. When you’re up at 5AM on Sundays, climb on the roof, watch the sun rise. Look at clouds. Talk to mom. Call your dad. Not around? Call a friend. E-mail a teacher. Talk to people. Gain perspectives. Expand your horizons.¬†Swim when you go to the beach. Smile at the people you walk by on your way to your restaurant table. There is nothing wrong with being nice.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable. You might get hurt, but you’ll learn. Nothing comes without a lesson. Open up. Share your stories. Let them change the people around you. Let them change you.

Look for colleges. Request information. Four years will fly by. Take the SATs as soon as you can. It’s better to be three days early than a minute too late. Look for internships. Look for educational opportunities. Start clubs. Can’t find opportunities? Make them. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t. Write essays. Apply for every scholarship out there. You’re a unique individual and there are tons of scholarships; there’s something out there for you.

Your classmates have been watching you, and if you’ve always been a star, they’ll want to be the moon. Even your closest friends will desire to outshine you. When your classmates push, you’ll fall. Not all teachers are excellent, some will think you are dumb. Some teachers will believe you copy work. Don’t let that get to you. A good educator is an open-minded one. Any teacher who makes you feel less than ambitious isn’t a good one. It’s not them, it’s you. Learn how to study independently and stay true to who you are.


Wish I’d Heard These Words Before

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Day I Put You Before Myself

To no other I held higher regard,
To no other I demanded respect,
To no other I desired love,
Than myself… in retrospect.

One day, under galaxies we spoke,
You sparked a fire in my heart,
You transformed my blood into gasoline,
Sparks hit nerves as darts.

The thought of us was always there,
on my notebooks I had written
an ocean-deep love and faith
of all the things on you I was smitten.

I want to shift the continents.
I want to drain the sea.
It took me years to open myself
to a boy who couldn’t love me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment