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The Fuel

Dreaming of a gratifying sleep

I saw a kitchen, and I cooked a home made meal. It was potato salad and bologna sandwiches, with three little kids around the table next to the sink. The space was tight, with a staircase across from the sink, and the kids were getting ready to put on the galoshes and coats. Princess Diana was next to me, and she fixed the sandwiches and told me, "Don't forget to drink the teas, it's the best thing in Winters."

 

I couldn't touch my own hands and I felt as an invisible spirit, but I saw my feet and white cotton long pajama. "Could I go with you?" I asked her. She said, "It's a field trip and you're to stay inside this house, and rest. Drink the tea, Diana. Don't forget," said Princess Diana. I loved the sound of her voice, soft and demure, lulling me to sleep. She told me that the children were hers, and she was their nanny, and the streets outside were cobbled stones with tall houses with slim spaces and old architecture. "But this is not Great Britain. It's somewhere else, and you won't know until later when I come back."

 

I slept with my head on the table, but left my handkerchief on the kitchen counter. My spirit came out of my body, and my hair was very long, with highlights, much the way it was now. The tea must be infused with valerian, and I didn't mind. The children were laughing outside as I softly overheard. "Have a good time while you are sleeping, Diana. Each night, and sleep comfortably even by yourself. It is the greatest gift," I heard her yelled outside of the door. I was still asleep with my head on the table, but my spirit watched the whole scene. 

 

The morning alarm went off, and I woke up from my dreamy state and had to go to work. I won't know what the dream meant, but it was peaceful and I loved it.

 

Just write.

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Silence no more.

As I jotted down memories of my triumphs and progress, I also remembered the struggles I went through. As an immigrant, I knew five other Indonesian immigrant women whom I met at random and from my close communities, who were assaulted and silenced. They only had visas and awaited their green cards, and I was only a U.S. Citizen for a year at the time. But, I was assaulted the first time when I had a green card as well. The second time I was assaulted, and I suspected they were connected, I was told "welcome to America," by the detective who took my case and told me that "it's not that I don't believe you, you had no evidence against this nice man." Both men who assaulted me were American citizens, priviledged and from well known families.

 

I wondered how many immigrant women were silenced because they were not U.S. Citizens and how many of them didn't receive any resources. I recalled applying for Medi-Cal twice because the first time, I was rejected and I believed it was because of my skin color. As an Asian woman, the system conglomerates all Asian races as one and the discrimination towards us because of the model minority myth gave the social services system a bias against me. I was not only silenced, I was ignored and told that based on my race, I didn't deserve the help.

 

I began to notice how the system became more discriminatory towards me, because I was an Indonesian immigrant, and because I was newly naturalized. I felt I was used as a weapon for the social problem of the United States to resolve the inequality in poverty through furthering my demise by the system. The way the police department handled my case, showed me that they could careless if I had died because I was Asian and Asians were not supposed to be raped; so they denied my case and closed it. The same went with disability and mental health services, as I applied twice and only got the mental health services and not the disability. If I was an immigrant of another race, would I have gotten the resources? This was California, where it was supposed to be more diverse. I felt as a sacrifice to even out the statistics to gratify other minority groups, and so did my fellow Indonesian immigrant survivors. I realized that there were more of us who were survivors who were silenced as sexual assault became more and more common in the United States and around the world.

 

The statistics often lied, because there were more Asians than truly reported. I knew from personal experience, but why did the system silenced us?

 

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Just loving it.

I always managed to find help, because I cared about my life. As I wrote these blogs, I found help although there was a realization of how many people might read it and judge me. It was daunting at first, and it took all of me to be courageous. Perhaps people might label me deranged or mentally inept, but my triumphs came in the actions of writing, the expression of the depth of my heart and I believed that through it, there was hope. For each time I found conflict, I found help, and I shared them through this blog, to let those labels diminished and let others empathized through me.

 

As I wrote each blog, I also breathed in calm and peace, as I surrendered my journey in writing, giving power to change the mindset of those who disliked the issues I wrote about. It was to trade my sorrow, for the sake of enlightenment and compassion. It wasn't a contract, with services rendered each time, but hopefully the healing and grounded feelings came with each blog. 

A woman might be gratified by it or a man might found identity through survivorhood. Whatever the form, I was grateful through writing it. It gave me rest for at least 15 minutes through creative writing, as I lend a helping hand to the world.

 

One day, a person might stumble upon these blogs and found it interesting and helpful, giving him/her thorough fuel for life and literature. One day, it might be someone who was broken just like I was or just as you were before you became a rockstar. In essence, it was a choice worthwhile the effort, not only for the sake of writing, but also for the sake of love and humanity.

 

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Dark forces

Jolts woke me up at two in the morning and the presence of Shiva loomed over me. I shook under my blankets, fearful of more tremors from persecutions in my past. A name came up, a man who took me to a bar and left me as fresh meat in the front lounge as he walked to the backroom and met his "friends." I was afraid this morning, and was reminded of how demanding he was towards me that night.

 

Every instant of my life, I thought of what I should write on strange days and strange moments. This was one I didn't know how to explain, only expressed in few words to confine my embarrassment that would spiral down to frustrations later. Spiritual warfare was my first thought, but my second was discouragement and failures. I felt the dark presence pulling me to surrender my life, to forget my goals to write my books, and to give up on true love and to withdraw from society. The dark kept pulling me as I felt my chest became heavy and every short breath I took had a oxygen cap never allowing a full breath into my chest cavity. I didn't know what to call it, but I felt it and it kept pulling me lower and lower as if a force was pushing me down to the grave.

 

I took myself out of bed and turned off my alarm because it never went off. I turned on the lights and took myself to work for my graveyard shift. I thought of them, the people who wanted my death because I was a survivor, and the persecutions replayed inside my brain. Could I transform these energies into something positive? I wasn't sure, but I knew that if the devil wanted my demise, I was up to something holy, beautiful, helpful to the world, loving, fruitful, and benevolent. 

 

Since I was young, these dark spirits lingered above me, always pushing, bullying, demanding, abusing and labeling. These dark spirits were real human beings, and also memories of the past. The thoughts of how I would help those who were hurt through my writing, my blog, and my testimony might be the cause of their hate. But, they were not in the room with me, nor in the car, nor in my life, and I had nothing to lose. I had the right, and it was mine alone. Whatever dark spirits from whatever presence or religion, it didn't matter. What mattered was my belief, my decision to pursue my dreams and those evil presence had nothing to do with me, it was those jilted men.

 

I sometimes wished I knew dark magic, or even white magic, and during Hallow's Eve, I would cast a spell upon their souls to be cast out to hell and to never come back. My rational brain, although distraught and hurt, never once wanted to harm their lives the way they hurt me. God avenged for me, perhaps not this instant, but I knew He will. For now, I took myself to the Psalms again and the Romans again, and the Corinthians again. The battle was never ending, and all I hoped for was for me to be given grace and mercy in due time, for I fought this battle long and hard, even while injured and broken inside.

 

My spirit kept going, anticipating glory down the road. I believed.

 

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Kamala Harris

The roaring fires of the West covered the hills with ashes as clouds during the deadly global pandemic. Hurricane and thunders swept the East as death took more than a million lives. She came after a defeated run and a grim outlook on the majority.

 

Poised and calm, she took her chance with the legendary underdog from the incumbent. With her, hopes of an era for dignity for women worldwide was brought home. Her life as a working woman who married later in her age, showed a walk imperfect yet perfectly compassionate for me. Women were the backbone of the world, and she proved the right to be a part of the whole.

As I worked my shift as the working class and survivor, for once I felt at ease with her in office, because I knew my human right was represented. Memories of my struggles as an object of racism, sexualization of my rights through assaults and trauma from violence, lingered inside my mind but I knew ignorance towards the cause won't be normalized with a female in the Oval Office. 

Through centuries of the United States of America, now a woman was second in command with the world's power. Her presence gave little girls and women in this world the drive for more and the justice for equality and representation. 

As I wept when my Dad cried from missing his family as he was recovering from the stroke, I told him of the progress this country made during his lifetime. He looked to me and smiled, because he was happy there was a positive change in the world.

 

The courage she gave during a tumultuous time, deserved our respect as she willingly served her country. Her leadership of empathy as she fought for democracy proved America had an open mindset with integrity and decency. 

As the world will heal from loss of lives and community, she will be loved. As second in command, and a step forward to a global change. 

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Schwinn conversations

His orange and brown striped beanie was snug on his head as he stepped his left foot forward facing the merchandise. He straightened his arms forward pretending to ride something. He vroomed with his lips pursed as if he was riding a motorcycle. He turned his head to the left and saw me. He stopped and fixed his beanie. 

 

"I like this," he said, pointing to the little two wheeler with training wheels with suspension brakes and tilted wheels.

 

"That's a bicycle," I said. "It's a Schwinn."

 

"Yeah. I like it," he said. 

 

"I never had a Schwinn, but I bet it's fun," I told him and smiled.

 

"I don't need this stuff," he said, pointing to the training wheels.

 

"Who taught you how to ride a bicycle?" I asked him.

 

"My Dad. He can do everything. But, my Mom said it's not true," he replied.

 

"Depending on what he does for a living, maybe he can do everything," I said.

 

"MOM! What does Dad do?" he shouted to the next aisle. I was scared I might have gotten myself in trouble with his Mom.

 

"He's a Tax Attorney, Brian, why?" his Mom said.

 

I became skeptical of whether Brian's Dad really could do everything.

 

"He's a tax attorney," said Brian, and smiled at me.

 

"He can do his own taxes," I said, and shrugged my shoulders, although I wasn't sure he really could do everything.

 

"I think he can do anything," said Brian. I overheard his Mom saying, "He really can't, honey. I do everything," she said.

 

"Mom!" Brian whined. "Can I have this bike?"

 

I started leaving to the next aisle, because I might have gotten into a little private family discussion.

 

"Mom, I want this bike so Dad doesn't have to ride alone," said Brian.

 

I smiled, because I think Brian misses his Dad when his Dad goes cycling to the mountains. 

 

"Your Dad can do everything," I whispered to Brian.

 

"Mom, I want this bicycle," yelled Brian. His Mom walked to the bicycle aisle with her cart, and said, "I wanted to get your arts and crafts stuff."

 

I left the aisle, because I might have gotten Brian and his family in trouble. 

 

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The love of language

I thought of the protestations of my dreams, and how to go about them. Faith was the start from it, but there were setbacks accrued from wrong friendships and bad choices. Sometimes I lacked confidence, and the drive for those goals dwindled down because of the negative words of a few monsters in my past.

 

However the distraught, I seemed to return to my love of language. Turning catacombs inside my nightmares into honeycombs inside my mind. Transforming doleful prose into sparks of enlightenment and clever opinions that were fun to read and critique. My morning meditations came with outlines and donuts of scenes eatable to my empty pages.

 

My love for languages began with Bahasa Indonesia and English as my second language. The promethean spirit inside me awoke with stories and journeys of fantasy, folktales, dramatics and thrillers, and I never stopped.

 

I knew that with the setbacks, years must develop and I needed patience for the waiting game. But, the love kept transforming and evolving, then growing and revolutionizing. It was difficult for me to contain, thus this blog. Perhaps too personal, but what writer skipped characterization and conflict? I had to ignore the criticisms, for the sake of my mental health, but I won't stop writing.

 

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Giuseppe Baptiste, the violinist

The crowd stood towards the middle of the lawn where Giuseppe Baptiste was getting ready in the center and Pearsons Rockfield sat on a bench beside him. Giuseppe Baptiste had his violin and began to pluck his strings, rehearsing the first few notes. The crowd became silent as I looked around with Karina, Rambo and my Father.

 

Giuseppe Baptiste played the first few notes again, and swayed his torso as he strung the notes high to perform his abstract composition. He strung low notes and screeched high tones as the crowd ooohh-ed and aaahh-ed. I had no idea what sort of recital this was, but it was not normal.

 

"What the hell is he playing? Does he know how to play?" I asked Karina.

 

"I think it's supposed to be some kind of music?" said Karina.

 

"The man is playing dissonance and its hurting my ears!" said Rambo.

 

The crowd clapped as they were probably the only people in all of Denver who were fans of Giuseppe Baptiste and Pearsons Rockfield.

 

"He's nuts!" I said. "Its all a whole bunch of screeches and plucking!"

 

Giuseppe Baptiste plucked the strings of his violin and stroked another high and low notes that sounded like a dying cat howling. 

 

"This is crazy, he's not a violinist," said my Father. "I thought he was supposed to be mesmerizing?"

 

Giuseppe Baptiste raised his arms with his bow and violin and jumped off the ground in circles, then resumed his screeches of high and low notes, giving me a headache.

 

"I'm never going to another one of his performance. This is horrendous!" I said. 

 

"We still have to stay to speak to him about what happened with Karina," said Rambo.

 

"Are you sure he's sane? He looks and acts like a crazy monkey," said Karina. 

 

Pearsons Rockfield clapped his hands, but the whole performance was not the sort of music that needed clapping. I was utterly confused. I've never seen a most horrible performance and the sad thing was, the crowd kept Oooh-ing and Aaah-ing, and it drove me nuts.

 

"I can't handle it anymore!" I said, closing my ears. "He's horrible!"

 

Giuseppe Baptiste broke a string and kept playing with his bow looking torn out of its horse hairs. He looked like a mad man.

 

"This can't be music in any universe, can it?" asked Karina.

 

Rambo cried because the sound was just too much to handle. He wiped his tears and said, "Something was wrong with his childhood, and I'm sorry."

 

"I want this to be over now," said my Father. 

 

Giuseppe Baptiste kept stringing his violin and Pearsons Rockfield kept clapping, and it was just the first number.

 

"How many songs was he supposed to play?" asked my Father.

 

"I don't know," I said. 

 

"We're going to die listening to this," said Karina. Boris and Betina began to cry and my Father pushed the stroller away from the lawn. I stood in the middle of the lawn closing my ears. 

 

This was not a good morning.

 

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A Canon

Sometimes I fear the dark. The constant blackness and void of contour for my opened eyes while needing aid for my sight. Reminded me of the blurry vision from the suffocation and the forceful push to my jaw that silenced me. At night I hid under the soft cotton sheets and blankets suffused in fear as it shook my legs and torso. When I cried, I placed my arms in front of my face afraid of any sounds I would make that would awaken my Mom and might cause her anxiety. Sometimes I fear the dark.

 

I projected my life over and over, hoping for a different vision. Afraid that by 50 or 60, I would see another month or two in the hospital, waiting in the pill line for medication only to find myself indolent for the rest of my life. Living institutionalized because I was my enemy's greatest threat for my mere existence and my love for language. I cycled back to the start of the visionary board and sketched another scene in complete opposite of my fears. I projected my life over and over, this time truly with a different vision. I was happily married with a loving husband and a boy or a girl with us, having breakfast of waffles with strawberries jam spread. Again, I projected my life over and over, hoping for a different vision, and this time with a different concept. Nothing expected or hoped manifested, but I surrendered to the unknown, in stability and peace, living with constant prayers. 

 

Prayers kept me alive during all of those times aforementioned. Not because everything I prayed happened, but for every prayer, I exhaled a breath of fresh air to begin again with more acceptance. Although some prayers felt the same and the struggles felt the same, I kept doing so for the spirit of endurance and stamina for life. Dear God letters written out and Psalms out of the heart in millions of pages I could attest to, because I saw life as a faithful journey. Prayers kept me alive during all those times aforementioned.  

 

Who was I to foretell the future? The greatest plan ever might unfold, and I might own a puppy too. What adventures would I prevent by fearing the future? The professing of my faith would benefit more without tears. Wonderful and blissful romance might grace my life in the future, but it won't be fully beautiful if I still feared the dark. Moon and stars harmonized in the dark would serve me better as a reminder than the fears of clenched jaw. I will keep trying to be, to live, to stay, because...who was I to foretell the future?

 

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Return on investment

There is reward in my graveyard shift, a constant beacon during the early morning dawn, pushing me to grit and drive.

Nothing is without work, and the desire for stability doesn't always come with the benefit of a Mercedez. Sometimes, it comes during the global pandemic in a job that sustains me during the tough times, but pays the bills and is surrounded with acceptance and love from my humble peers. 

 

The phantom always wants to destroy the means to the end, corrupting it with drugs and addiction, pursuing my failure and tempts me with marijuana. Luring me to entertainment with men as scouts asking me to show my curves for show to feed the neanderthals in Denver. They lack conscience and ignorant of my intelligence, because my sacred being is worthy to be praised. 

 

Those who taunts me and degrades me in comparison of a higher life, mocking my sufferings and prays for my suicide are salacious hypocrites. Always destroying talented and dignified women through personal relationships, giving their chosen friends and families with a corrupt trophy and rich bank accounts through sexual assaults. Their political reasons, ethical reasons, religious gimmicks, or social ethics causes casualties of war, leaving behind traces of survivors who deserves justice and honor. 

 

There is truth in my walk and in working my days with my graveyard shift, although my mind reminds me of the education I have and the potential I possess. I will work it with pride because my peers are kind people who deserve my company and friendship. Working my morning and days feels hopeful, stable, strong, and healing. If I didn't see its value, I would feel terrible, instead, I feel loved and their generosity means a lot to me.  

 

There is peace in my work at the graveyard shift, because of the trust I build and the good work I show. Its returns on investments are peace of mind and a supportive environment, prone to progress for my mental health and well being. Sometimes there are pathways I am forced to take, as if God pushes me to enforce a learning experience. I don't mind this one, because I feel dignified working it, and happy with my results. If this is the long valley God wants me to take, I will keep going, keep praying, working in diligence, and not complain on this journey, because I know I will serve a greater purpose in the end.

 

Just write. 

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