Beginner’s heart

People have been asking me what I’ve learned in my three-year LA adventure, and I’ve answered part of it in my latest podcast episode: Let’s talk about shame.

And yet, that only covers the tip of the iceberg. Another thing I’ve noticed the change in me is more tolerence in others.

Patience isn’t my strongest suit and I tend to judge others too quickly especially when they demonstrate certain things that prick at my pet peeves.

And yet, as I’ve learned during my last few months leading up to my journey back home, I noticed the new height I could reach if I open my heart beyond the good and the beautiful.

Sometimes what seems to be the bad, the fugly, the waste-of-my-time have the cliche silver linings that I hadn’t thought about before. Like one time-consuming writer workshop led to a bunch of meetings and new friends.

Even when people promise me something I desired which they haven’t yet delivered, I keep my faith instead of writing them off, or defriend them like I used to. Yep, guilty as charged.

And maybe, this is how we as adults develop new friendships and explore new ideas and experience.

Next time when the wind blows again, instead of asking:

Where the fuck are you taking me?

Try this:

Sure. Surprise me!

As for now, I’m heading off to the hospital for another round of IV for my unrelenting pneumonia pal, where I may do some more people watching.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

The hardest goodbye

“Have you told your parents that you were sad to leave here?”

As I sobbed, my friend probed.

“No.”

“Why not?”

I didn’t give an answer. But I had one: How can you be sad when you are going to reunite with your family and friends back in your hometown after three years without one single visit?!

I felt only if I left on my own terms, I would feel better.

But the more I’ve lived, the less things are done utterly on my terms.

“Just accept it.” My friend kept on going.

To be utterly frank, right now I don’t feel an ounce of joy going back.

Home is always here. But my dream? How long would that last when the bubble bursts and now I’m stark naked in front of my parents’ porch asking them to let me in.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents are overjoyed to have me back. So am I to see them as often as I want.

When I’m back home, I know I would be safe. I would sleep well and eat fine. I can have not a worry should I choose to…

But right now, this suffocating feeling is crushing down on my chest. I’m dying the speed of the reality.

It’s past one. And I’m still wide awake.

It’s Saturday the 13th. By 14th noon, I’ll be forced to delete the last line of code I’ve written here in L.A. by catching the flight before Homeland Security catches me. Would anyone remember me, my existance, two months from now, two years from now?

Shanghai has written me off its menu. Now would it let me back in?

 

I’ve been single-looping Lady GaGa’s Always Remember Us This Way from her latest movie A Star Was Born; a film I went two days ago, at the end of which I sobbed till I throbbed.

It’s buried in my soul
Like California gold
You found the light in me that I couldn’t find

You look at me and babe I wanna catch on fire
So when I’m all choked up and I can’t find the words
Every time we say goodbye baby it hurts

When the sun goes down
And the band won’t play
I’ll always remember us this way

The hardest goodbye
Thus far
But I’m not even home yet
And yet
Why am I mourning
Why am I crying

It hurts like a bitch.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

RBYZ: Lovin’ LA (#007)

Your host YZ works on her au avoir to the city she didn’t care for and now the city she calls her second home…

My guest this week is myself, again. 

Ye shameless self-promoter. I hear you.

I do it for two reasons.

  • First of all, I wasn’t able to edit a full interview this last week because I was ‘party too hard.’ [Translation: Those who know me know that I don’t usually party. So it’s a joke. You can laugh now. Or don’t.] Truth is, I just felt too restless to be able to do my guest justice.
  • Secondly, I realized that by next Tuesday, I will be in Shanghai. So I gotta say somethin’. And it’d better to now.

Then the natural woman in me got emotional. I broke down sobbing for more than a few times when the clock was ticking and I was determined to air by 00:00, Oct 9.

And I made it!

My thick nasal voice gave myself away. But I’m proud to be sharing my raw emotions  with all of you people out there. Nobody said rock bottom is all soft and fluffy.

Jerry Seinfeld famously said that he couldn’t understand people who write books/blogs because you can’t get a reaction from your readers right away. Instead, you find people approach you about the book you wrote five fucking years ago.

“It changed my life.” And you went, “Where the fuck are you five years ago?” Indeed, writers can use more encouragement like that.

But truthfully, I just want to pause my crazy life being the collateral damange to Trump’s trade war with China as I deal with the Shanghai Customs and say:

A gigantic THANK YOU to y’all, especially to the City of Angels for your sunshine and friendship.

And most of all, to the people I’ve met who are now officially my friends and families!

 

Next week Tuesday, I’ll be rockin’ this podcast back in my hometown Shanghai.
Well, my Shanghai cat Michael may try to tank my taping.
Let’s see how that would go.

Michael in 2015

One more thing, don’t you think you can get rid of me this easily. In the name of Terminator, I’ll be back. 

Most important, remember to VOTE.

 

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

A round of drinks

Not on me. My tabs were taken care of through and through.

Even after I told my friends that I just landed a rewriting gig.

“Don’t you dare.” One friend said.

A group of us UCLA old-timers remnisented about our orientation day at the UCLA Film School from three years ago, what we still remember to this day…

I pointed out the obvious fact that the four of us met as a group on that very day and have remained friends since.

They asked me what I would miss most about LA, what I migth expect in Shanghai…

I said, “Who would have thought that I could meet people like you and call you my friends, you creative minds? And who would know my own people back home might judge me because I’m not the me they know from three years ago?”

Most of my friends here tonight are and/or can write comedies, so everyone was laughing, or fake-crying at best.

“You’re one of the nicest coolest person I’ve met in LA.” I was told at the end of our gathering.

“Really?” My eyeballs were buldging out, as if someone just said, “Look, UFO!”

I heard my friend repeating the fact that I’m a nice kind person ‘dryly,’ as if it’s so obvious that everyone knows.

A thoughtful friend ordered a cake with a candle.

“Make a wish.” She encouraged.

“It’s her birthday?”

“No. Dummy.”

Before I blew off the candle, I said a little prayer. And it has something to do with LA. I will just leave at that.

Here are some photos from my UCLA Film School’s orientation day back in the fall of 2015.

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I’m so proud that I have met you, the kindest, wittiest people I’ve met out here. Angels are in L.A. after all.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

The rest is history

I just saw off my friends, the couple who let me stay at their apartment for my last month here in LA.

By the time they are back in mid-Nov, I’ll be long gone.

They’re going to East Coast for a long business trip. They wanted me to stay longer so I could say goodbye to them after they are back.

I couldn’t.

Barbara, my friend back in shanghai is leaving for Australia in early November. My student visa may be shaky since I’m not enrolling for any classes. I have to go even though I don’t want to.

Sitting in my friends’ spacious living room, now even more spacious without the two of them and their dawg, I tried to do my daily meditation. I couldn’t. Something stuffed in my chest. My breath has been shallow for the last few weeks for all kinds of reasons.

Today there is something more.

I first met the husband at Trader Joe’s when we were in the queue. I asked him about the LA June Gloom weather. That extended to an half-hour conversation outside the grocery shop until his wife called asking where {on earth} he was.

And the rest is history.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

 

 

 

My

Brutal honesty

My friend had been waiting for me downstairs. It was 11:40.

“How long have you been waiting?”

“Ten minutes.”

Shit. Here is my pet peeve: I can’t bear having people waiting for me.

“Didn’t I say text me when you are here?”

“I texted you when I was five minutes away.”

I bit my tongue and I knew I should stop right there. But I couldn’t. I lost it.

“I got your text about an hour ago about getting dim sum. And you were giving me less an hour when I just got out of the gym. I was at the grocery store. To be honest, I feel ambushed. But I don’t want to reschedule.”

“Didn’t we say we were meeting today for dim sum?”

“Yeah. I thought we were sticking with the original plan. 1 o’clock. I was waiting for your call last night to confirm.”

“If you weren’t sure. Why didn’t you call?”

“I was editing my podcast.”

“Okay.”

“Which I’m sure you haven’t listened.”

“No, I haven’t yet.”

“Then don’t promise that you would as I quote, ‘I’m gonna listen to it today.’ blah blah blah. Now it’s a week later.”

“You just have to win this, don’t you?”

“Just be honest.”

“I have a million of other things to do today. And I’m not feeling particularly well. Why don’t I just drop you off back to your place?”

He was not joking. I stopped.

When we were on the freeway, he asked, “So you feel overwhelmed. Why?”

I thought he wanted to listen. Big mistake. By the time I realized it, he was off the ramp and into the street.

“Where are we heading?”

“I’m taking you home.”

“Are you fucking serious?”

“Just because I haven’t listened to your podcast doesn’t mean I have to ruin my day being around you berating me.”

The car was still moving, but I unhooked the seat belt. “Pull off. I’ll call a Lyft.”

“No.”

I started crying, “When was the last time I ever stood on you? Never. Do you hear? I never reschedule. You know why? Because I don’t want to. Because I know every meeting now means one less before I’m out of your hair forever. If you don’t want to listen to my podcast, don’t say you will. It’s not a fucking assignment and I’m not grading it later.”

“No. It is.”

“If it brings you no joy, don’t do it. Please. I’m not some needy kid screaming for your attention. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Give me some clarity. That’s all.”

“I pity the man that you’ll marry.”

Me too.

 

Full disclosure: The tears paid off. We had dim sum. Several hours later, he called and said he enjoyed my interview.

I rubbed my chest. It still hurt.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. A psychologist is my guest for this week’s podcast.
You may find it interesting if you’re wondering these things:
a) Is it too late to pivot?
b) How does a psychologist deal with her life crises and rock bottoms?
c) I want to try counseling, does it mean I’m abnormal?
d) What does it take to be a psychologist?
e) all the above.

Zzz

I woke up this morning with a splash of sunshine on my face. Traffic started to pick up down on the street. Eight floors down.

I opened my eyes. This is not my apartment. Sitting up, I realized that I was at my friends’ place, their spacious apartment.

For the first time, they didn’t have to drop me off. They helped me make the bed.

And I knew that the next morning I didn’t have to pack all of my stuff by a certain time and leave. At least for the next month.

“If we are up, you don’t have to. You’ve had a rough couple of weeks.”

I nodded.

“I’m going to make you some All-American breakfast tomorrow. Some maple chicken breakfast sausages. Scrambled eggs. Avocados.”

I beamed.

We were watching The Informant! It was past 10 pm. My lower eyelids were rioting against my upper ones.

“May I have a shot of espresso?”

“No. You’re going to bed. You’re wiped out.”

“But I want to finish this movie with you guys.”

“You’re wiped out.”

For the first time in a month, I fell asleep before 11. It felt good. The Zzz.

I felt relaxed when I got up even though my bones were cracking. The monthlong tension.

I would need more rest to set things straight. Now it looks I can get there.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

Breakfast!
Breakfast!