Go to the places where you are loved

I am often sitting on the peak of a mountain after a long, arduous hike when the same thought comes to me – then I was there, now I am here, soon I will be elsewhere. Staring down at the base of the mountain from where I started climbing, the cars and the people look so small. I feel just as small, and yet so much larger. This morning I woke up to the sound of garbage trucks in my New Haven apartment; now I am sitting in a white New York chair watching the CNN channel report on Saudi Arabia. If the simple act of hiking up a mountain is speed enough to baffle me, then the act of speeding along in a car or travelling around the world in an airplane is unfathomable. I have found it most healthy for me to have my mind and my body move at the same pace, that I am not leaving one or the other behind.

This morning I was walking through campus as it began the rumblings of commencement, and now I am far away from school or what it means to be youthfully old in an institution that swallows people whole and spits them out in chunks meant to fit together again.

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This afternoon, I was lucky enough to go with my mom to the Lilly Awards, which honor women in theatre. We heard some beautiful women speak including Lupita Ngyong’O, Danai Gurira, Gloria Steinem, Mia Katigbak, Genne, and many, many others doing work in theatre that is hopeful for women. Hopeful for me. (This is Mia, who I worked with last summer, being honored. She was one of the first people to make me believe I could, as an Asian woman, work in this field).

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I was sitting with my family today for lunch, eating my favorite pasta of all time, which makes me so happy  – food makes me so happy, and thinking about how lucky I am to have family that feels like home. Danai mentioned in her speech as advice to young writers, to always go to the places where you are loved” and I am happy and grateful to have heard that because I am trying to figure that out myself too. What it means to find places where I am loved.

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Family that is weird, and quirky, and strange, and uncomfortably home. I thought about the weekend I spent at the O’Neill retreat with the kids and the other mentors (Genne who was one of them won a Lilly award tonight!) and how lucky I was to be able to be there for that and to have the time, space, and desire to write. While we were in Sedona, we talked a lot about what it means to be grateful, to have gratitude and give back to the earth you are walking in. I don’t know how to be grateful, I’m not very good at it right now. I try to be better at it. Being in nature, looking at bigger expanses than I can imagine helps me find humility and smallness that allows me to fill the space that I hold. Not empty, not hollow, just space.

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