finding ways to look this bad ass during the winter aka i called my dad yesterday and told him i missed him and started sobbing. i couldn’t stop and he told me to be strong and that he’s always with me. he spoke in the most tender and soft voice i’d ever heard from him. idk there’s a lot of love in my heart right now

ūüďł : the sweetest sib, angelina hong, while hiking in oahu


family and domestic abuse & accountability

my parents divorced when I was 6. my dad abused my mom, and anything that reminded her of my dad repulsed her – including me. i visited him in hawaii last thanksgiving. before i flew back home, i confronted him about his abuse. in my korean american way, i held my father accountable. he said he’d listen to me, and he’d treat his current wife better. i know his behavior won’t change overnight. and. this was a huge step for both of us. these pictures were taken after that conversation. i see the resemblance between my dad and me, and for once i feel seen, loved and proud.

i am so grateful to be done w the fastest and longest year ever!!! i truly couldn’t have gotten thru it without these 2 loves of my life, my other chosen fam and my family. 2017 was a year I worked almost non-stop. and. 2017 was the yr i started embueing my creativity in every aspect of my life. i graduated dbt. i participated in 2 art exhibits. i went on 3 solo trips. i ended things w a partner of a yr and a half. i built a home w several lovely ppl and my 2 cats. i cooked korean and s.e. asian food. i celebrated 2 yrs of sobriety. i made/helped make 3 zines. i filled up at least 2 journals. i played lots of games. i visited my dad for the first time in 3 yrs. i started reading tarot and took baths. 2017 was the yr i built a base for what’s to come next. with the love n laughter of khin, leah and so many more, i’m fucking rdy for 2018!!!

Reflections on Violence, Harm & Transformative Justice

Hurting others & being violent has changed me. I have been ashamed and grew resentful of myself because I have “done things wrongs,” hurt others, and been violent so many times in the past. I have taken this resentment out on other people and I trusted myself less and less. I ended up trying so hard to “prove” that I’m a good person rather than engaging with how I’ve hurt people & how I’ve been hurt.

In 2015, I learned about one framework of accountability: apologizing profusely, asking about what the person who I hurt needed, thinking about ways I can change so I don’t cause that specific type of hurt to that specific person again. I’ve been on both ends – as someone who has been apologized to in this way and as someone who has apologized this way. This was a useful framework for a time, and it has fallen short for me. It lacked the nuance, humility, and depth I needed to think about violence and harm.

I’ve been learning (from individual therapy, dialectical behavior therapy [DBT], and the Transformative Justice 101 talk that Mia Mingus gave last night in Minneapolis) that hurting others doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If I truly want to transform my behavior, I need change my behavior AND think about the conditions in which it happened. What were all the little steps I could have intervened to stop hurt & check in? When could I have said “ouch” or “hey, I don’t think this relationship is working well for either of us right now” or “hey, that ‘little’ thing I did, did that make you uncomfortable?”? What do I actually do when I hurt someone? How do we change the societal conditions that allow violence to happen and flourish?

In this process, I’m trying to have humility and compassion for others and myself. There is no “getting this right.” There’s being open and honest about how scary it is to hurt other people, to be violent, to mess up, and to be hurt, to experience violence, to have trust break. There’s being human, taking time and space to step back/process/heal/change, pushing myself to re-engage, utilizing and building my support networks, strengthening my relationship with myself and others and constant learning learning learning & practicing practicing practicing.

There’s so much I want to share. There’s so much I am still processing and trying to implement. There’s so much I want to engage with folks about their truths, their fears, their humility, their courage, their growth. I think that re-framing and re-engaging in the conversation about violence is scary & difficult, and it’s incredibly important. I’m excited for my piece and our piece in this work to unfold.

Here is the website that Mia Mingus referred us to to learn more about transformative justice and community accountability:https://batjc.wordpress.com/resources/Here’s more information on DBT:http://behavioraltech.org/resources/whatisdbt.cfm (Idk what DBT phone coaching is lol but everything else there I know & understand to some extent!)

clearing space / letting go

Last week, I swept my eyes across my living room and truly took in my living situation for the first time since I’ve moved into it. It’s¬†been 10 months in this space, and I’m ready to search¬†for a new place¬†to¬†create a home. Currently, I live in a 1 bedroom, ground level apartment on the bustling intersection of¬†Lyndale. Throughout my time living here, I’ve been plagued with a vague sense of disdain for my physical living space. It only has one north facing window, and sunlight doesn’t ever reach my bedroom. I had an ant problem last fall, my bathroom wall caved in last winter, and the washing machine didn’t drain¬†for the majority of my time living here.¬†Since I moved in, I’ve joked around about being a recluse: holed up in my dark space, too exhausted and depressed to go out. Part of that is due to mental illness and to reassessing how I want to engage with the world. Another¬†part of it, I realized, is due to¬†feeling bogged down¬†by what I keep in my space.

There’s still 1 unpacked box, a relic from my original move-in date. Sitting on and beside my chest of drawers are 3 paper bags, soft and torn at the edges, overflowing with various items I have wanted to ‚Äúdonate‚ÄĚ since the beginning of the year.¬†More boxes lurk under my bed. Boxes of memories: pictures, letters, drawings from over a decade ago, and my first journal, dating back to 1999.¬†I have been consumed by countless things that hardly saw the light of day (not that that meant much in my dimly lit living situation.) It seemed like a physical embodiment of the emotional and spiritual burdens I continued to carry.

For many months,¬†I have been tending to the flickering embers of hope inside of me, deepening¬†my roots, and calling myself home. During this time of cultivation,¬†I’ve started to shed what no longer serves me. Despite how much progress I’ve made in letting go, however, this sort of work isn’t linear nor does it ever end. I still have work to do.¬†It’s hard, coming from a family of immigrants and refugees who developed the habit of hoarding because so much has been lost to the all-consuming monster we call¬†imperialism.

Being a second generation pack rat, I have clung onto bittersweet memories, knowing that things will never be like the home I once knew and the home I never had the chance to know. I have subconsciously bought into the capitalist belief that more stuff will finally make everything okay. In doing this, I ended up creating my own suffering and surrendering my power to the intricate web of nostalgia Рlost in the past and endlessly searching everywhere but inside of me for myself.

I’ve¬†learned that life isn’t just composed of momentous events; it’s also an honoring of the small moments that make us human: the vibrant, familiar laughter shared after picking up loved ones from the airport; the silly games I play with my cat’s tail when she perches on my chest; the impromptu conversations that changed the course of a relationship and the course of my¬†life. In that same vein, though this process of letting go¬†is highly personal, it feels humbly political for me as well. Although it is certainly not the same as making a bold, public political statement, these small ways I hold myself and others have important implications as well. For if we achieved liberation tomorrow, how could I expect the way I engage with the world to be profoundly different if I don’t examine and change the patterns and behaviors that I hold today?

Today, I refuse to let PTSD, generational trauma and US imperialism have the same sort of power over me. I reject the idea that an excess of things will bring me joy. Instead, I will be grateful for what I have, make peace with my realities, let go what no longer serves me, and actively shape my future. I will participate in and cultivate alternatives to capitalism by focusing on sharing and gift giving, all rooted in community, reciprocity and abundance. I will strive to embody the knowledge that my health and happiness depends on the health and happiness of you and the world around us Рand vice versa.

I hope for this list to be dynamic and ever-expanding. Who knows what I will uncover and bring into my space by letting go.

Author’s Note:¬†Though this piece was draws¬†from many sources, I wanted to highlight that the idea of reciprocity and the solutions I propose for myself are rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing, as shared by Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book¬†Braiding Sweetgrass. I recommend reading¬†her book to learn more.