Archive for October, 2011

October 10, 2011

PENSIVE.

In college, I somehow developed a reputation of being “emo.”  Top 5 reasons why:

  1. I faced numerous, if not too many, instances where I would find myself chasing [insert name of a girl] and eventually being rejected by [said-girl].
  2. I would often observe, analyze, and reflect on many things on-the-spot, which is manifested as me staring off into space in deep, pensive thought, which is then misconstrued for me thinking about [an aforementioned girl in #1].
  3. Reason #2 was candidly caught on camera and uploaded as a picture on Facebook, and people would relentlessly caption and/or comment on the apparent “emo” pose I was in, further feeding the misconceived notion.
  4. A lot of my friends were emo (i.e. in an “emo ranking system” that extended down from the “emo god, emo king, and emo prince,” I was labeled as the “emo jester”).
  5. I would most likely be found with one of the guys mentioned in #4, in one of our rooms, playing our guitars and singing emo songs (which were most likely slow-rhythmed praise songs).

But the reason why I kept putting “emo” in quotations is because: a) the term itself is slang for a style of music associated with emotional lyrics and/or style; and, b) I don’t actually think I was “emo.”  Whenever somebody would call me that or label a picture tagged of me on Facebook as being that, I would almost automatically retort, “PENSIVE.”

I stumbled across a song the other day that could fall under this category of “emo.”  After listening to it a number of times (which is what I do for every new song I discover that I like, and not just “emo” songs), I quickly realized that this song was really enlightening in many ways.  The song is Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity”; it’s music video and lyrics can be found below.

Something always brings me back to you
It never takes too long
No matter what I say or do
I still feel you here ’til the moment I’m gone

You hold me without touch
You keep me without chains
I never wanted anything so much
Than to drown in your love and not feel your rain

You loved me ’cause I’m fragile
When I thought that I was strong
But you touch me for a little while
And all my fragile strength is gone 

Chorus
Set me free, leave me be
I don’t wanna fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am and I stand so tall
I’m just the way I’m supposed to be
But you’re on to me and all over me

Bridge
I live here on my knees
As I try to make you see
That you’re everything I think I need
Here on the ground

But you’re neither friend nor foe
Though I can’t seem to let you go
The one thing that I still know
Is that you’re keeping me down
You’re keeping me down

You’re on to me, on to me and all over
Something always brings me back to you
It never takes too long

– –

Gospel Connection:  If you read over the lyrics carefully, I believe what Sara has done is very artistically and aptly describe the human condition of sin.  In God’s relentless pursuit of us through the paradoxical reminder of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and the ever-present reality of the Holy Spirit, we as humans can’t help but to feel a “gravity” towards the Gospel message.  Throughout the song there is this back-and-forth conversation within the human conscience that encaptures our need for the Transcendent and desire for the Self.  There’s only so much more I can say about how beautifully this song describes my views of sin, but I’ll let the words speak for themselves.  I don’t know if Sara Bareilles is Christian, but it sure sounds like she’s crying out for Jesus here.

October 4, 2011

Misaligned

Anyone who knows me or has met me in person knows that I have back problems.  Now when I say I have back problems, I mean I have BACK problems.  Most people who think or say they have back problems, are actually just referring to some aches and pains experienced the morning after a rough night of sleep.  That’s not exactly what I’m referring to here.

In high school, my parents insisted that I go see a chiropractor because they were fed up with having to constantly nag about my slumping posture.  I’m pretty stubborn and am more than positive that there’s nothing wrong, but I myself was fed up with their nagging; so relent to their wishes.  When we get to the chiropractor’s office, we take some initial X-rays to see what the “damage” was.  The results left me speechless.  There are a couple moments in your life when you’re proved wrong, you know you’ve been proved wrong, and you think in your head “GG pwn.”  This was one of those moments for me.

I wish I still had the X-rays around to prove to you that I wasn’t lying, but my spine honestly looked like one of those game board paths that you see in Candyland or The Game of Life.  My lower back jutted one way, the upper back was curving another way, all the while my neck was cocked on an angle that I was pretty sure it wasn’t suppose to.  The doctor looks at me and says:

“This is a problem.”

My doctor said that luckily we caught the problem early (I was a teenager at the time), or else it would have caused serious problems later down the road into my 40s and 50s.  The next ensuing months consisted of weekly meetings where my realignment therapy took place.  He would lie me on his table and crack my back and neck in specific places (which I enjoyed a lot because I grew to be a “bone cracking” junkie by that point in my life).  Beyond our once a week meetings, my doctor “prescribed” some at-home exercises and postures that I could practice to help slowly straighten out my back.

Although I haven’t seen a chiropractor again since high school, I constantly find myself in a slouching position and having to intentionally straighten out my back and shoulders.  For me though, my slouch is my natural and most comfortable stance.  I’ve been made fun of so much for it.  The best way I can describe it is if you’ve ever watched any of the MIB: Men in Black movies (starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) and know who the Worms are (pictured above), that’s my slouch at it’s finest.  Often people ask me how tall I am, and when I reply with a confident: 5’9″, they either laugh or give me a dirty look.  Sadly, my slouch causes me to lose about 2 or 3 inches than I really am, so I fall back into the “average Asian guy” height category.

While I’m studying at my desk, driving in my car, or if a cute girl happens to walk by, I have to mindfully straighten out my posture (haha, that last one was a joke… probably).  I default to my slouch, and a correct posture has to be made on a proactive level from my part.  Why bother to share all this?

Gospel Connection: For those of us who grew up in a Christian background, “the Gospel” is a term that is loosely thrown around.  Most people know that it literally means “Good News” and refers to the Bible’s account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  However, in the banality of our daily grinds and drawn-out familiarity with the Christian message, many will say, “Sure, I know the Gospel.”  When in fact, it is in the moment that someone says that very phrase that they find themselves in- what I’m deeming as- their “faith slouch.”  If we are to truly comprehend the implications of the Gospel, there has to be a constant, intentional, and proactive realignment of our lives to its message.  The paradigmatic nature of the Incarnation, the scandal of the Cross, and perpetual hope we find in the Resurrection are each things that transcend human capacity.  If we aren’t daily straightening out our faiths to the contours of its content, we are left with nothing but a lazy, crooked, and no-good-down-the-road slouch.