10 years of love lessons in 10 short films

For 10 years I’ve made videos about love and relationships. Unintentionally, I’ve also grown 10 years in that period of time, and my understanding of these topics has also grown. What I never really realized was that everything I was learning and going through was being reflected quite literally through my work. Not only that, but each year was marked by one particular piece, a personal one that stood out to me, that I had to make time for and get out despite the many “Wong Fu videos” we produce every year. I never intended to create this pattern, but looking back now on the past decade, an “evolution” is very apparent. Thought I’d share…

2004 – “What If” lip sync video – Age 19 – I’LL NEVER LOVE AGAIN!

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This is the beginning. The prehistoric years of Wong Fu (before narrative shorts). My perception of love was at its purest and most vulnerable. This is me being a young, naive romantic who thought his world was ending because he lost his first love. It was my very first experience with heartbreak and I had no idea how to proper deal with it. So I did what any normal guy would do.. I made this lip-sync video to express my grief and sadness. At the time I really believed I was already old and wise and that I’d never love again. I’m glad I went through this phase, this heartache, because I think many young people experience this, and I’m thankful I can empathize and respond with encouragement.

2005 – My Unspoken Words – Age 20 – I want to create a perfect fairytale for myself.

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This was the first video I ever made with an actual story, not to mention a love story. Not only does it clearly show my super n00b “skills”, but it’s also a clear reflection of the type of stories I was drawn to and influenced by. This is when I still believed in fairytales. Love and pain were simple and cliche. It was what the movies and songs told me, and I just wanted to recreate it myself, shot for shot. If the pervious “What If” music video was me learning the reality of losing love, this video was me thinking I had grown up and knew what I wanted. I wanted the fairytale again.

2006 – A Moment with You – 21 – It’s not going to be perfect, but have hope!

 This was Wong Fu Productions’ first (only) student feature film. Wes, Ted, and I made it during our final year of college. Going into the story and script, I attempted to be more mature, to be the most “honest” as possible. At this point I felt like I had a better understanding of why relationships formed and ended. I had seen my own romantic stories finally reach unexpected resolutions after some time and I was beginning to grasp the concept that not every relationship is meant to last. Although it was a little overly emo, I think the general ideas still stand.. I just wouldn’t write the lines the same way now.

2007 – Just a Nice Guy – 22 – Why don’t the people I like, like me back? This is hopeless.

 All through high school and college I had the “nice guy” complex, and it all came out in this short. This was the result of years of feeling like I had gotten the short end of the deal, frustrated and feeling sorry for myself. I think in the early 20s, a lot of guys feel like they’re grown up and that they deserve to be loved immediately by whomever they desire. And when it doesn’t happen, many just complain instead of doing something about it (this is a whole other entry). I definitely felt that way. At this stage in life, all I wanted was a girlfriend. Plain and simple. In the midst of all the uncertainty that comes right after graduation I was looking for someone to be close with and bring happiness. A relationship to me at this point was simply getting the girl, that’s it, happy ending. There was nothing beyond that. So this short was all about the “struggle” to get to that point, because that’s all that I was going through.

This short had a happy ending (i got the girl, theend), but real life didn’t reflect the same and I continued to live uneasy and like a victim… really attractive huh? But honestly, I believe this stage is necessary in a “man’s” growth. Awkward, confused, but ultimately you learn from it… it’s like a 2nd puberty. I dealt with it through this short, and I’m glad it’s still having that affect on others in this stage today.

2008 – See Through – 23 – You’re going to let people down, but don’t be afraid.

 I suppose this is where things started to get a little more real. The aspirations for a fairytale were fading. I did get the girl, and it didn’t last. Guilt over failed relationships and the realities of growing up were building and affecting my perception of love. I realizing that just getting the girl wasn’t the end of the story like I wrote just a year before in ‘Nice Guy’. If anything, that was just the first step in a journey (or perhaps in a cycle) which would eventually lead to ‘Strangers, again’ in a few years. And on this journey, there will be people who you know, deep down, you are not supposed to continue with. As a result, one must know when to leave; know when it’s over. Trust that the other person will be happy eventually, and even though it hurts now, you have to do what you feel is right. I struggled with these feelings, and the voices of the 2 characters here were my own internal discourse.

2010 – The Places We Should Have Gone – 25 – Even if you’ve been hurt, look for something positive to take with you.

 In 2010 I found myself in Taiwan on a trip with my parents. At this time, someone’s post about wanting to “forget” about an ex-boyfriend didn’t sit well with me. I think by the mid-twenties many of us had been through a couple of relationships, the joys and pains, and because of that pain, our first instinct is to try and forget about the person who caused it. But really, we shouldn’t, because all relationships, good and bad, provide important, valuable lessons. I wanted to remind myself of that and encourage others, in the form of this short. There is always something to gain despite being hurt. Keep the positive things close, while you move ahead. It’s not one of the other. You grew through that relationship, and you’ll use that growth in the future.

2011 – Strangers, again – 26 – Most relationships will end. yeah, it’s sad.

 This short came out at a very unique and fitting time in my life. As I passed the quarter century mark a lot was changing in my own life, and around me. This definitely lead to a lot of reflection about relationships past and the patterns they all shared. Not a very high point in my twenties, reflected in the overall message of the short. The fluffy love stories were completely gone now, and even the emotional pain was less glorified and more grounded.. just, real. There’s a ruthless/lifeless structure and cycle to this thing called “falling in love”. The harsh, but simple truth. That’s what I began to believe. I tried to have a silver lining with some hope at the very end, knowing all “strangers” live on in memory, but, breaking up sucks. No way around that.

2012 – The Last – 27 – Don’t be ashamed of your past failures, it’s part of your journey.

 For the first time, things were starting to make sense. All past experiences prepared my heart and mind to be open for a new perspective. I’m really glad this short could follow ‘Strangers’, like a positive appendix. Serving as a destination for where the cycle of previous shorts could ideally end. This short was a celebration of not just past relationships, but all people who played a role in my life. Appreciating everyone that was a part of my story, instead of being bitter and remorseful, and not being ashamed to talk about them with others.

2013 – To Those Nights – 28 – We’re all at different points on our journey, and we’ll all make it.

 Undeniably in my late-20s, this short was my tribute to the 20s. I thought I had it all figured out. I used the 3 stories within the short to represent places I had been, or things that I wish I had done. I thought this was my exit, and my closure. This short will always remind me of the many facets of where I’ve been romantically. Romantically optimistic, lost and guilty, and false conclusions. I thought that my learning was over, but I was so wrong.

2014 – (unreleased project) – 29 – You’re not done learning yet.

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I thought by this age we were supposed to have it all figured out. I thought 29/30s was sooo old, and then I got here and discovered, not even close. At this stage/age there are new factors and pressures that I never foresaw. Perhaps someday I’ll share in more detail, but until then.. no comment, you’ll hafta see for yourself (although I hope you don’t)

2015 – Accumulated – 30 – Love cannot last without active choice.

 A little bit jaded, after seeing relationships in my own life and my friends come and go, and the variety of reasons, you wonder, what makes anything last? There will always be a reason to doubt, to fear, to lose feelings or attraction, to end it. Always. Different reasons have accumulated to make us lose hope. So where does that hope come from? Another relationship? Another more perfect person? No. It comes from yourself. Choosing to have hope. To work. To grow. I’ve said it before.. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is the real challenge. Is this removing the “magic” from love? In some ways yes, but I think most of growing up means having to face “reality”, or at least being aware of both and balancing.

(ok, that was actually 11, but I just wanted that even number, you probably wouldn’t have even noticed had I not mentioned it)

Some of these lessons may have been “no duh” to you, or maybe you learned them all within one year, but hey, I’m taking the scenic route I guess, taking my time. And I’m glad that this route is producing pieces which resonate with you out there on different levels. I never really thought about my writing and my work as anything that special. It was just my creative outlet. So, it’s weird to see how it’s naturally outlined my development, and will probably continue to do so. What will come out of 2016? 2026?

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“Guy who is in the middle of his workout” Costume

No, I’m not a walking yoga mat! Although, it will look like a yoga mat, that is walking, haha.

For whatever reason I was much more involved in this year’s Halloween. It’s been awhile since I’ve gone through the effort of making a costume. As mentioned in our recent LUNCH BREAK, in the past I’ve spent more time on costume’s for anime/comic conventions than Halloweens. But this year, had some fun.

Friday night was a last minute idea that came from borrowing a friend’s Star Trek red shirt uniform. I took inspiration from some internet memes involving Batman and decided to be “Every Geeks’ Worst Nightmare”, although most people just thought I made a mistake. (C’mon, who do you think I am? You really think I wouldn’t know light sabers don’t go with Star Trek??)

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Saturday, our friend Cassey who is an extremely successful/popular fitness/lifestyle blogger was getting everyone together so I decided I would do something related to her, and thus the idea of  being “mid Blogilates workout” came about. Here’s how I made a very ghetto simple minimal costume out of an old yoga mat and things in my storage closet.

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A yoga mat is floppy. So in order to keep it straight above my head I had to make a light but sturdy frame. Luckily I had these cardboard pieces that I kept from a mirror I just bought, and they had the strength and were the right length. You can’t just stick flat cardboard pieces to the back because they’ll bend. These were perfect beams.

Do not make the frame go the length of the mat. The beams should only go to about the middle of your torso. This allows the rest of the mat to hang freely and therefore allow you to sit very easily!

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I cut some joints to ensure stability. I used duct tape because the mat material is not very adhesive, so you need something heavy duty. I probably could’ve been cleaner with my taping, but I was in a rush.

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From an old Apple bag I cut out the string (matched the mat). I laid down on the mat and using a pen, marked estimated points at my shoulders and armpits. I cut holes there and threaded the string through.

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Since the mat is very stretchy, a simple knot would not keep the string from falling out so I used some safety pins to keep the string in place.

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Wear an athletic shirt to complete the concept. Didn’t even plan for the strings to blend into my shirt. (btw, big plus of this costume is that since you’re in athletic clothes you’ll be super comfortable and breezy all night!)

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PHEW, that was exhausting.

Just did a quick google image search, doesn’t look like anyone has done this idea before, haha. I wonder if it’ll catch on like my Pokeball costume from 4 yrs ago cause that thang is everywhere now!! (I swear I was the first! lol)

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BONUS:
Did you see our latest sketch? I feel like now that Halloween is over (even just by one day) I can’t share this video, not the right season anymore, haha. Oh well! Enjoy!

Your turn

Phil-Sadness
“Everyone gets a turn.”

Back in college, a close friend said that to me during a particularly sad period of my life. “Everyone gets a turn.” Something was incredibly comforting about that statement. In four words, it grounded my situation, made me feel not alone, and externalized a feeling into something with a definitive beginning and end. Many people have felt what you’ve felt and made it out just fine if not better. It’s temporary, so if anything.. “enjoy the ride.”

From that point, I sorta turned it into a weird philosophy of mine, and began seeing all emotions and situations as rides at an amusement park, something people literally have to take turns for. The park being my life and the rides covering all types of emotions. How’s that for a new take on the term “emotional rollercoaster”?

Some of my favorite rides & attractions? Well there’s awesome stuff like “Butterflies in my Stomach” Garden. “Reconnecting with an Old Friend” Bumper Cars. “Saying ‘I Love You’ for the First Time” Fireworks Show. But there’s also “Lost and Confused River Cruise” (that one has great mood music). “Heart full of Regret” Haunted House. And “Losing the girl you thought was the One” Wooden coaster (that one really makes you feel like you won’t make it out alive)

I started to see that in my own amusement park I wanted variety. Some people would probably avoid the scary, life-threatening coaster at all costs and just stay on the Dumbo ride all day, but I found myself getting very bored and tired of the easy rides if I were on them too long. I started to miss the thrill, the stomach in my chest, the Gs weighing me down.

In case you’re not following my strange analogy and metaphors… Basically when things in my life were going too well, I started craving struggle, sadness, and turmoil. I wanted “another turn” on the other rides. Don’t get me wrong, whenever I return to those lower places in my life I remember how much I hated it and I desperately want to get out. And maybe that’s it right there. Being down means there’s a clear goal of overcoming whatever you’re going through. Maybe I just crave the journey of recovery, the feeling of hope?

I acknowledge that this is very privileged thinking, which already makes me not want to share this post. I know I haven’t experienced the truly awful emotional rides yet, and some I never will, but isn’t all pain and struggle relative?

I think part of it is also just wanting to remind myself of that experience. No one goes only to Frontierland every time they visit Disneyland. No, you want to visit the other lands and rides. Even if you get there and you remember it wasn’t that fun, or maybe this ride was really, really painful- after years of not riding it, you’ll begin to wonder. Right?

So perhaps this is why I was so inspired and moved by “Inside Out”. Seeing the “islands” in her brain reminded me of my own amusement park. And Sadness’ strange desire to touch every orb and turn them blue reminded me of what I tend to do with my own life situations and memories. What is this fascination I have with blue orbs? Why don’t I just shut down certain rides and let them rust and crumble?

Why don’t I try to open up new rides? It’s like I’m living in a really old and dated park, when there’s a shiny and clean new one that has way better rides. But I’m so afraid of making that jump. Because, no matter how good Xbox and Six Flags is, I’ll always wanna jump on a swing or slide for the hell of it.

To try and end this entry with a bit of positivity, I think I’ll just bring it back to that opening phrase. If you’re going through a tough time, hopefully it makes you believe that things will get better. That you’ve gotten on this ride (a temporary one) that many others have been on before. It will be over sooner than you think and you’ll look back and say, “Hey, I got through it! And I’m a better, stronger person for it.” I guess this is why I always tell people when they’re sad to enjoy it. Because both ends of the emotional spectrum and everything in between should be valued. They provide us something unique, something you might miss, and honestly, you don’t know when you’ll get another turn.

3 Me’s, 1 Life

As you might be able to discern from the past year of blog posts, I’ve been going through a weird time. “Post-twenties”. “Decade transition”. “Growing up.. but for real this time because I said that at the beginning of my 20s“. I’m definitely not trying to hide my confusion and desire to make sense of as much as I can. I recently realized a major cause of this “uncomfortableness” is the fact that I’m actually 3 different people. And each of them what different things, causing them to fight internally with each other everyday.

1. “Wong Fu” Phil

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Somewhere along the way I became a “personality”. I never grew up wanting this, I still don’t necessarily need it.. but it’s become my life, and part of my history even if I were to disappear and stop today. This version of me is the largest part and has the most influence.. and therefore causes most of the problems. It’s because of wongfu-phil that I’ve experienced some of the best things, and the worst. Immense payoff and immense pressure. He’s complicated my life the most. Exposing me to things that I normally wouldn’t have, and therefore causing me to sometimes feel entitled or have expectations that aren’t necessarily reasonable. Producing temptations that I’ve fought off, and failed to resist, twisting and turning my life year to year. It’s hard for me to explain this completely but, can you imagine if you had the ability to reach millions of people today. What would you do? What would you not do? How would you change? I never asked for these choices, but it’s unavoidable in my position and I feel like I’m handling this personality as best a regular guy can. Not completely going off the edge, but still struggling to maintain my true self.. which is closest to…

2. “High school friends” Phil

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This is the person I was before Wong Fu came into my life, before I had any idea I even liked writing or visual story telling. I was a clean slate and a direct product of my family, the girls who rejected me, my friends in school, and the media I was exposed to. Funny, all those things still amounted to an unusually emotional, nostalgic guy (how I was nostalgic even at 17 is hilarious to me, but I was), who was just discovering his creative side. I enjoyed dancing and performing, I used my family’s camcorder whenever I could, and I began writing in journals. When I see my high school friends now, WF is not a main focus or even talked about, and it gives me a glimpse at what my life would be like if I went through my twenties with a “regular” job. Not one that was dependent on views, likes, influencing, and comments. Instead one that was just about your group of friends, consuming entertainment, enjoying hobbies just for the sake of it, and taking trips to Hawaii just cause. That guy, still the 16 yr old, wanted certain things when he was in high school. I remember what I imagined life and relationships to someday be like… and it’s definitely not how things turned out, because WF came into the picture.

3. “Family” Phil

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This version is sorta related to #2, but the difference is that this Phil is heavily influenced by society and the media I grew up on. Family sitcoms, comic strips like Foxtrot and Calvin, and Beverley Cleary books, all gave me this really fun and ideal image of an all American family. One that celebrates holidays together, takes fun road trips, has a big warm house with a white picket fence, and shares heartfelt moments; everything I wanted to emulate. This is where I’m suppose to be right? Adding to all that is my sister who has literally achieved everything just mentioned. And being only 1 year older than me, every visit home is a reminder of how far I’ve left to go.. and how far I’ve veered from the image I was supposed to chase. Being a husband, being a father.. that “what’s next” right? But is it a problem if I now see this life as something only attainable if “WFPhil” changes drastically?

So here I am, daily, feeling like I’m at a 3-pronged fork in the road. I generally feel like I’ve already chosen my road (#1), but the other two are still relatively close by, running slightly parallel to me. I could hop on over if I really wanted, but soon, I’m afraid they’ll be veering further and further away. But I never want “fear” to be what drives me to choose a path. So who wins in the end? Can all three of them coexist and get what they want? Will the paths meet at some point? Maybe I need to cut and pave and force them to? I suppose that’s the ultimate goal and the ultimate reward. And I suppose it takes a lifetime to complete.

thought you should know

Birdman-Mike

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“…Maybe up here you’re Mr. Truth, Mike. But in the real world, where it counts, you’re a fraud. How’s that for the truth? You… dick.”

I watched Birdman a few months ago, and this line hit me so hard when I saw it. In the scene, an actress was coming off stage, livid at her costar for trying a humiliating stunt on stage without telling her. She let him have it. This line has continued to linger with me since. The idea of some self-righteous actor, but in reality, he’s a fraud.. a fraud. It’s stuck with me, I guess because I could relate to it.

The reason is because, I am a fraud. Please know that this is not some pity party post that is looking for sympathy comments and encouragement. This is simply me coming clean in a sense. In every post, every sentimental tweet and instagram caption, every transparent and personal short film I make, I always see the comments from you the readers and supporters praising me. Saying how “deep” I am, how amazing it is that I’m so thoughtful and emotional. How inspiring my words and work are.. I see it all. And honestly, it makes me feel like a fraud.

Have you not considered that these stories and words came from a source? They came from actions and ideas that affected another person in a negative way, which therefore gave me the inspiration to write about it. My response to the pain I inflicted. And I get the praise for that? I’m labeled as “insightful”? I stand behind a label of “nice guy”?

No. The truth is, I am not a nice guy. I’ve met true “nice guys”, and I know that I am so far from those people. It’s not to say that I’m not a “good” guy, or that I didn’t start out with the intention of being one, or that I wasn’t at some point. But somewhere along the way, I became the type of person I detested when I was a “nice guy”.

I’m not proud of this. I’m not sharing this with you to add to my self-righteousness. I’m not looking for people to think, “wow, he’s so self aware and reflective..aww..”. And I’m not feeling “woe is me, oh the guilt I possess..” I’m sharing this so that the truth can be out there, and so that no one can say, “Look at this guy thinking he’s so nice and people look up to him for it, but I know the truth…”

The truth is that I’ve hurt people. The people who’ve treated me the best, I’ve treated the worst. I’ve misunderstood and misplaced my emotions. I’ve been dishonest and let a lot of people down. I’ve made people cry. I neglect my family. I’m impatient. I’ve tried so hard to be something so great, and in the process, yes, I’ve brought hundreds of thousands of people joy, but at the cost of breaking down a very select few.

So there it is.

I appreciate everyone’s support over the years of Wong Fu. I’m glad my shorts and stories on our YouTube channel and this blog/social media have meaning to you. I just really wanted to be honest with you all. And I know no one was asking for this transparency or apology (it’s not like I’m some celebrity who committed some scandal and needs to have a press conference to come clean).. but knowing what’s really in my head, and seeing all this relatively blind praise I receive makes me even more guilty than the actions themselves. Like I’m exploiting the emotions of those I’ve hurt. And that’s really the last thing I’d want. If anything, I feel like I should be punished (that’s how ppl learn right? consequences?)

I do what I do simply to share my journey. It’s what you’ve felt and thought. It’s what you’ve committed and recovered from. But I receive a lot of praise for actions I’m not proud of. The true praise should go to the subjects. Those who’ve been patient, and kind, and listened, and taught. Those who’ve forgiven me. Those who might not even read this. I do what I do, as a release. As efforts to make sense of my thoughts and actions and move forward.

I’m just a guy with some ppl who are willing to listen. Thanks for that at the very least. But there are much better ppl, probably closer to you, who are far better. Be sure to praise them, uplift them, look up to them as well.

UPDATE: I just went into my archives.. and apparently I wrote a xanga entry about the same topic as this one… in 2007. geezus. Make some progress man..

All the heavy lifting

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(this post makes broad generalizations. Apologies & acknowledging in advance)

I read all the comments that are left on my posts. I might not reply, but I really do, and for the most part, they’re really interesting to read and I’m glad that what I write can compel you to share your opinion. I write a lot on the topic of emotions and relationships and I’ve noticed that a large portion of the comments are left by females. One can assume that a lot of ppl who follow me are girls, or only girls take the time to read & and write comments, and while those explanations do have merit, I think it’s something else…

Women are tougher than men. Yes, both physically and emotionally. This conclusion comes from observing my mother (and many other mothers of their immigrant generation), and by looking at the girls who’ve shaped my personal life. Reading some of the comments left by females further confirm this and compelled me to write about it.

PHYSICALLY – Beyond opening jars
I won’t spend too long on the physical comparisons. This isn’t about who can bench press more weight (although I’ve definitely been out squat and cruched by a girl heh), but I actually think girls are stronger than they allow themselves to be. (I totally encourage girls to not be afraid of that.) Physical pain is also a good test of one’s toughness, and this part of the debate ends with the fact that girls have to deal w/ a monthly visitor most of their life and go through labor. I can’t imagine men dealing with those things any better to be honest, regardless of how much more I can curl than them.

EMOTIONALLY – Guys are emotional messes too
So the conversation continues into emotional toughness, which I believe women take by a landslide. The knee jerk reaction might be to think this is totally false because, women cry and have breakdowns and are “too sensitive” etc, but I’d argue that men feel all those things (we’re all human), and actually manifest those emotions in much more detrimental ways. There are large scale indications of this just by looking at society. More men leave their families, more single parent homes are just the mother, more men commit adultery than women, most of the time it’s men who have “commitment issues”. My theory is that men can’t take pressure as well as women. They’d rather run from problems and they lash out and act irrationally when they can’t figure out their emotions. (remember my very first sentence?) When things aren’t going right in life, when faced with real challenges, women step up and hold their ground and are more willing to compromise for the overall good. When obstacles mess everything up, they are able to dig deep and pull themselves out (even if it is just a front) while guys stereotypically mask the problems or are too weak to make changes.

This is where the comments of my blog come in. I write a lot of about uncertainty in love/relationships, about being afraid, and even specially TO men about commitment issues… and it’s funny that it’s girls who are responding with their own experiences of believing in love, trusting their man, pushing and working to make a relationships last even if it’s not right. And the men? Crickets. I’m a dude sharing my dude problems, why are girls giving me advice?? It’s not the same. Let’s talk dudes! But a guy’s comments/thoughts are few and far between. Why? 1, Pride? We might not want to admit our faults/struggles because it makes us look bad. 2, Guys don’t think about this much and therefore don’t even realize there’s a problem. 3, Yeah, maybe I just really have no guys wanting to read about relationships (although I really think guys should read because… yo, I keep it real here. I’m not feeding romantic fairy tales or anything)

MATERNALLY SPEAKING – Nothing stronger
I think about my mother, and all the sacrifices she made in her life and her aspirations to fit my father’s needs, and ultimately my family’s. This is not the life she imagined for herself, but she loves her children, she is mentally grounded, and she’s made it work for the last 30+ years. Not saying my father is weak (he has definitely kept up his part of the “deal” with his own sacrifices), but I will always be amazed by a mother’s love. Several of my previous girlfriends were from single family homes where the mom held up the family after the father left/divorced. Thinking about this makes me very emotional, and further impressed/grateful that incredible girls were able to rise from that missing male figure. That strength was then applied to me as well, when they were able to stand stronger than me when we faced significant challenges. I guess that was the true reason behind this tweet last year…

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“others”, meaning.. women.

EVERYTHING ELSE… no contest
I won’t even get into the societal pressures and gender issues they have to deal with in media/the workplace/everywhere. There’s nothing I need to (or should have to) explain or convince in that area.

Anyway, this has gone on long enough. I wonder how many men will speak up to disagree.. boys, your silence will only confirm what I say. jk… really though, I hope I haven’t offended anyone who grew up with an incredible single father, or a guy who held down his relationships like a true man (that’s another post, one that’ll praise boys). This post was in no way meant to talk down on men, instead it was to uplift and give credit to girls. I’m not saying women don’t cheat and women don’t do terrible things to good people.. All humans are weak in a variety of ways, but girls… the older we all get, the more I’m constantly amazed by you.

Reality becomes… fiction

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(this one is long, and has no positive message..)

One of my friends told me that his mom recently opened up to him about a man in her distant past. When she immigrated to the States in the 70s, he told her he’d wait for her back in Taiwan. Well, she obviously never went back, met her husband here, and is now in a mediocre marriage that she’s come to just..accept. “Do you think she ever wonders about that guy?” I asked.

This story made me also think about if my parents may have had (or still have) figures in their past who they sometimes think about.. and decades later wonder, what if? I don’t ever want to have that feeling. Deep into my future marriage, is there any way to avoid the destructive thought of “the one that got away”?

The concept of “The one that got away” has long been something I’ve feared, but strangely.. fantasized about. It comes down to an odd belief I have that the greatest love stories are the ones that are never allowed to happen. I know that sounds awful (and it is) and wrong (and probably is), but let me explain. Love stories that don’t get a chance to exist in reality can therefore only exist in fiction. And the power of fiction is that it allows for anything to happen; this is dangerous.

I wonder, do those who believe there’s someone “who got away” really believe their lives would be better had they not “gotten away”? I’d like to believe that nothing would be that much different. Let me say that again. “I’d like to believe..”, because if it’s not true, I’m afraid I’d always be wondering of a better life. As sad as it sounds, I feel like in order to avoid this, I need to believe that fiction is not better than reality. That two people who fall in love will always experience the dulling of new love’s shine. Two people who have long term relationships will always question themselves and each other. Basically to make a relationship special, I need to accept nothing is that special. (ok, that sounds awful). I need to reject the fantasy, the fiction in my head. And that is the true challenge for me, where I struggle the most.

As someone who sorta-kinda professionally tells stories for a living, fiction is where I love to be. Fiction allows for the greatest love stories. In an instant I can fantasize about 10 years passing and reconnecting with a past love. In an instant I can imagine being 80 years old and the pain of a divorce is 40 years behind me. In an instant I can imagine running into “the one who got away” and us getting another chance. I want to create that figure to have in my life.

But these’s stories are not real, and they don’t happen in an instant free from affecting the real lives and emotions of real people. There are real consequences to the stories in my head.

Wong Fu once made a short film that has a powerful closing line “…and then, fiction becomes reality.” It’s a great line, making your dreams real. These days, I seem to be going in reverse. Things, experiences, people who are my reality… I turn into fiction. Probably because I feel that reality ultimately brings weathered emotions, accumulated stress, and confined growth. Fiction is perpetually bright, romantic, young no matter where I am in life, so I’d rather keep them “there”.

I want a great love story for myself, yet I’m destroying all possibilities of one in the process of trying to “make” it. I can’t live in the fantasy. I think I’ve finally come to see why I’m acting like this, but I’ll save that explanation for another post..

(geez, i’m writing like such a young naive prick. When will these types of posts end?)