s’il vous plait
edit: 18 mar 2012– my dears! http://ninaaquafina.wordpress.com/ if you please
Soon I will be old! And by soon I mean in twenty years. But this is the end of the road for teenageconcerns, but fret not, tiny one, for I’ll be back with something else very soon. In the meantime think of how interesting the car rides with my parents are now that I am home for break. All the angst!
Friday Night Lights is perfect, actually perfect and it made me love Texas and all of its brassy lighting and cowboys and longhorns (but not the ones from Austin) and belt buckles and all of that, all of that is something I like because Tennessee is alright, but immeasurably higher-pitched and less storied, the veritable little cousin of something bigger. Texas goes all the way, doesn’t it, Tennessee just throws down a little. Cowboys vs tobacco farmers, land vs encroachment, legend vs superstition. I could’ve lived in Texas like every other army brat in existence (because that’s where they go, Texas and Germany) but I was stuck here in a place just eversoslightly humdrum and just that little bit of uninteresting that pushes over the edge into a plane of existence that is just so hmm.
“Mr Street, does God love football?” OF COURSE he does, small child, everyone does, Jason Street replies to him because at this point he can walk and toss a football around and he feels no ill will, OF COURSE he says that because his hair is parted and he is so perfect, too perfect, too too. It’s true, too true, God loves football and so do I, so does everybody, because this is Texas and this is everybody. Don’t you know?
And Riggins, and Riggins’ hair and making out with Tyra and all the nice hair in the world is together onscreen in that one short moment, unbelievable. “Here’s to good friends and livin’ large in Texas” and he holds up his beer and talks about God a little bit more and this is too perfect, everything is too perfect. Where are they? Who else are they with? None of that matters because it’s a crickety night and the camera never stops moving and it’s too real without being actually real, none of this happened to me but it happened to someone and it’s happening right now onscreen and it’s real at least there right in that moment, it’s real then, that’s all that matters.
The lights are on in Dillon, Texas, and the radio plays and it’s all so poignant with the drive-by shots of the town and the people and the clouds and Coach Taylor is talking and expectations, expectations are in his speech and in the air and you can feel it even though you’re not there, you’re there and it’s all hovering over you, expectation and locker room sweat and teenage boy priorities, it’s all there. And now it’s game time and why can’t everyone solve their problems with a game like this? Because this isn’t about the football, it’s about what happens before and after but not during, during is just filler.
Except when Street goes down, that’s not filler, because I’m DYING, not Street-dying but close enough and now Saracen is in and come on, he wouldn’t start off that bad but he does and he did and Landry cheers him on but you can tell in his face he doesn’t believe the words that he’s saying and Saracen doesn’t believe the words Coach is saying and “Timmy Riggins comes up with the ball!” and “It’s chaos on the field now” and chaos in my mind and they’re praying and I can’t remember anything that has happened in the last hour because this, this is perfect.
Now the cold is biting and it sneaks into my sleeves and down my neck and presses on my knees and I can’t move because it’s cold on me and in me now, it’s everywhere and I’m surrounded and I’m moving slower now and not only because the wind is forcing my eyes to close and I can’t look straight ahead so I slow down so I don’t die. Yesterday I didn’t need a coat and now I’m wearing two pairs of socks and a scarf and real mittens and it’s still not enough because of the rain, the rain that just kills me because it settles onto my clothes and sinks into my bones and it almost, almost dries up, but stays there forever.
And now it’s a waiting game and who will win, me or the winter? Last year it was close but I’m pretty sure it was the winter because I couldn’t feel my extremities until April. This year it’ll be me, I’m sure of it, because now I have woolly clothes and if sheep know anything it’s how to spite the weather, that bastard. Until then, though, I’ll huddle by the radiator with a cracked window obviously, because who wants to suffocate in a hot little room-shaped box? And I will lie in wait and I can beat this thing, man, we can beat it together. Winter might be awfully pretty but that doesn’t stop the awfully, the part that infects my soul with a chilly little bug and exterminates any small memory of warm.
I got to the third trailer before I thought about how I must look to everyone else in the theater because it was 30 seconds into the Taylor Swift song playing over Rachel McAdams looking into the camera and smiling when I dropped a handful of popcorn into my lap and then I looked up and saw the two other also single persons in front of me with their heads down and scrolling through their text messages. I see you, men without females present, I see you both at the 3:20 showing of Breaking Dawn by yourselves and trying to look simultaneously nonchalant and inconspicuous, I see you trying to look so engrossed in this Mission Impossible preview and I respect you. And that was when I knew what rock bottom felt like, but not really because I was wearing real pants and anyway I was too busy feeling the effects of eating half of my popcorn in twenty minutes to care about how pitiable I looked.
The only thing I remember from the movie specifically is a mountain of white bodies and all the veiled penis talk before I began the road to self-examination and thinking about how this is truly the picture of America, the freedom to see a matinee about 1000 pages of almost vampire sex while eating all the snacks and this, this is what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, this is the first tangible and actual thing I’ve been thankful for for Thanksgiving in many years. At home I don’t think my family has ever gone around the table and asked what we’re each thankful for, and if we have it’s been something like America or tomatoes.
That is the price I pay for never having had a Thanksgiving dinner made solely by an American, not counting the time I went to Cracker Barrel with my friend’s family for Thanksgiving because that was just magic, mostly for the pie. No, I get to eat arugula and cranberry sauce and spinach turkey roll-ups and kimchi on Thanksgiving because my mother doesn’t give a shit about tradition and neither do I, why else would I be so grateful for the self-examination watching Breaking Dawn by myself affords? It is here, in a dark theater in a town more home than my actual home watching a movie starring the subject of Back to December, that I start to reflect about my life and my choices and what I love and what I hate and who I like and who I like and how my parents are marking down how many days I have until I come home (16) and that’s the most American I’ve felt in a long time. I pulled out another Sour Straw from the package and it came out twisted into the shape of a chromosome and where else do I have the freedom to spend eleven seventy five on snax that make me feel like a marshmallow (pale and squishy and if put in heat I would explode)?
PS- “Being any kind of happy is better than being miserable about someone you can’t have”; “Being unwanted isn’t exactly a new thing for me” omg Leah Clearwater actual spirit animal, Twilight knows my life?
And that’s how Nina Rogers died.
I enjoyed this movie, but I did not like this movie, because (SPOILER ALERT) the mixed boy ends up with the mixed girl because, well, they’re the only ones who really understand each other, dontcha know? “Your mom’s white? MY MOM’S WHITE. YOU’RE PERFECT.”
And I can’t lie and say I’ve never thought that about someone because us halfies have got to stick together, right, there’s only so many of us. But that’s a lie, because no matter how much I want to just identify with someone, and no matter how much someone knows about crazy Asian mothers and the white men that marry them, it will never be the same because there are so many other factors in my mixed-ness besides my mixed-ness, like my poorness, and my Tennessee-ness, and my family-less-ness that I can’t just separate into neat categories of my identity, because my identity is not a colloid.
My poorness lets everyone think my mother is just a silly little Asian girl who found herself a GI and got a green card, the big ticket, how lucky! But that’s a lie, my mother lived in California and Brazil and had two whole other children that aren’t even a little bit American before I was a little flicker in her mind. My parents met at a night club and stop it, okay, I don’t want to know any more details than that, and my father also lived a life in the 80s that I don’t know anything about other than it happened in Buffalo and Hawaii and Korea, but they met here, okay, not there, stop making assumptions, that’s racist. They got married and lived a little life and I was in it and we were a little family and we were poor, that’s just how it is, doesn’t everyone have water with their cereal sometimes and doesn’t everyone’s mom work at Applebee’s? I thought so, and I thought that everyone else’s mom also said l’s and r’s funny and she’s Asian? What? I guess I am mixed then. But whatever, I can’t go to your party, I have to work to make money to support myself so people don’t assume I married that nice white boy for the wrong rea$ons, the big ticket, how lucky!
My Tennessee-ness is the worst because I don’t even have a real accent to show for it, I just say words funny sometimes and my vowels get longer the less sleep I get. I just live here because the army told me so and they won’t let me leave, those muhfuckas! It’s nice sometimes, I guess, but not really, because if this is how much angst I have now imagine how much I had when I was fifteen and I was determined to forget about the Asian part but no one would let me, “Whatever, Nina, you’re Asian! Make your mom make us good food!” Those bitches and their yellow stomach fever, sometimes I just want to pretend that my mother stays at home and drives an SUV and knows who Eminem is and doesn’t shop in the juniors’ section, but my mother does none of those things. And now I am grateful for that, because only my mother could have done all that and still given me real rice, none of that Uncle Ben’s shit. I know my rice, and I know my biscuits, so for that thank you, Tennessee, but for everything else I’d rather not reflect upon because I just remember how vague my reasons are for hating you and who doesn’t love a little ambiguity? Story of my life.
And my family-less-ness is the factor that most prevents me from ever really identifying with even other mixed people, because I don’t talk to my extended family and they don’t talk to me, it’s a little family I have. I don’t have cousins that talk about my hair or uncles that riff on my father or aunts that yell at me in a language that I can only say hello in. It’s a little family of me and my mother and my father and a spare bedroom we put the Christmas decorations in. My biggest wish when I was little was for a baby brother, just a baby who was also pale and slanty-eyed and weird like me, so maybe someone else in the world would know what I meant when I said “Whatever, mother” and “Thanks, pops” and we would have the same elbows and the same hair and I would know how much of my mannerisms are me and how much are me becoming my parents. I can talk to other mixed people, and we can instinctually know what it means to be called an endangered species and not really white, or Asian, or black, or whatever, you’re _____, stop pretending, but really, we’re all just factors of one. Oh, you’re white, or Asian, or black? You must know my white, or Asian, or black friend. Don’t all you guys know each other?
These are all the sad parts. There are good parts too. Like the food