Because I find that as I begin my ventures into my first taste of alcohol, I find out a lot about myself.
For 20 years of my life, I feared alcohol. I was so scared for the hour to turn midnight. I sat in the Cheesecake Factory as our waitress finally came back around with a huge smile on her face saying, “Happy birthday” and handing over a drink menu to me. That was a really weird moment.
I stared in disbelief at the idea of ordering alcohol. I had no idea what anything tasted like.
She recommended the Cosmopolitan martini (Skyy vodka with cranberry juice).
I looked at it, staring at the things swirling around in it. I never had alcohol that close to my face, ever.
I tasted a mouthwash taste. And something sweet. It wasn’t bad, but with my not knowing what any of that tastes like, it just tasted like mouthwash to me. I could only take about half in sips before my friends finished the $12 drink that tasted like cranberry juice to them.
I came back to my apartment, greeted by friends, with them staring at me for 2 hours trying to down a shot of Captain Morgan. I tasted it and it disgusted me. I couldn’t down it as much as I held it in my hand.
For 20 years of my life, I’ve always feared alcohol. I never knew what it was. It just seemed like poison to me. I don’t like putting things I don’t like into my body.
And so I held my head in shame that I couldn’t down that disgusting little shot of Captain Morgan eyeing me down.
It wasn’t until they all left, after I cried and teared up from the built-up stress and feeling overwhelmed, that I was able to finally down an entire bottle of Barefoot Moscato wine, with a small trio of my good friends and my roommates.
They watched as I slowly drank more and more. I kinda liked the taste. It wasn’t all that bad.
I started to feel a little woozy. I could feel my body getting weak. I couldn’t hold myself up. But I was completely still there.
If only I didn’t knock over that last shot of wine. Without any redness and only a little tipsiness, I downed that whole bottle feeling funny and fine.
But, with all the people around me telling me to down the shot, I can say that I’m finally feeling a little more comfortable with the idea of alcohol in my body.
Rather than doing something for the first time with them, I wanted to do it for myself. And for something I’ve feared for so long, I’m becoming a little more acquainted with it.
Happy 21 to me!
As I’ve been getting older, issues of feminism and sexism–especially in the media–have been growing in importance to me. I guess, with age, you begin to lose the rose-colored glasses and realize some of the injustices surrounding you.
As a woman growing up in this post-feminist kind of society where people are challenging each other with what is considered feminist and what is not–blurring the lines between its actual definition and what is just ‘rebellious behavior’–it’s interesting to see how we live in a high-time where women all over the world are just fighting for their voices to be heard and respected.
Hyper-sexualization of women has grown rampant over the years in media, I’ve found. Seeing women dressed in scant-clothing, showing off their bodies and obsessing over their looks compared to movie stars has become a norm. Young women like Miley Cyrus can prance around in her underwear on national television and publications can proudly feature intellectual porn-stars like Stoya who share thoughts on sex, the industry and women. (I’ve nothing against this feminine expression, however.) Yet, men can easily wear what they wore for centuries and not be judged for it. They can sit back and revel at the events taking place before their eyes. You tell me if there’s nothing a little fishy about that.
Of course, hearing me say this may just sound like I’m complaining. But, it’s important to recognize that this has been a growing pattern and trend for centuries.
In the attempt to combat violence against women and girls worldwide through creative awareness projects, the V-Day movement was launched in hopes of creating “a world where women [can] live safely and freely.”
And, as the media and Hollywood is oftentimes the first ones to blame for the lack of female representation and voice in filmic works, I highly appreciate what one actress–who has been involved in the industry for a long time, enough to be both an object and pioneer–has to say about combatting that discrimination against women in “The State of Female Justice.”
Yuna @ The Glass House, Pomona, CA (2-20-2014)
Yuna, you are an angel.
The Malaysian singer-songwriter who was discovered in the US just a few years ago for her smooth sounds and warm acoustics, only to become an international artist still keeping her Malay roots intact, has found ground here in the US for her 2014 Nocturnal Tour, named after her latest album “Nocturnal.”
As the last date of her US tour, Yuna graced Pomona’s Glass House Thursday night with her feel-good tunes and demure presence.
"I grew up practicing Islam and there’s a focus there to just make music for a greater good," she tells Here & Now. "You know, I just want to spread this positive energy and I think, even though we’re all different, in music … it’s borderless."
Opening act Marques Toliver warmed the audience up with his classical violin- and guitar-playing accompanied by his smooth R&B vocals. A cultured traveler, his talent and worldly influence was made apparent as he skillfully played his violin in rapid, rhythmic and sometimes soothing motion.
Yuna was the real showstopper, however, as her presence created a very warm atmosphere in the room.
A spacious venue with a second-level balcony and disco-ball, the dimly-lit modern-style room was intimate enough to fit all 779 guests with ample space in the room.
Her voice automatically enchanted the room, as elder Malaysian families and their children, Asian-American teenage groupies, young-to-middle-aged adults and ethnics of all kinds responded to her sound. Her conviction drew you in. Her softness intrigued you. She created a warm, feel-good atmosphere with a nice band to back her up.
On her songwriting, Yuna crafts soft melodies with pop, R&B and Malay influences that are both intriguing and infectious, as she brings you into a world of life and love.
“I see myself as a storyteller so sometimes I feel like I’m writing to an audience," she continues. "But at the same time, sometimes I feel like I’m writing to just one person… [I think] maybe I will sing about this, I feel like a lot of people can relate to this.”
Perhaps some of my favorite moments of the night was when she played one of her international hits "Lullabies," which was such a treat to witness live backed by a whole raw band, still creating an atmosphere of sound that surpasses the original recording.
She also performed her rendition of Frank Ocean’s "Thinkin Bout You," allowing us to witness her “trying something new” by recording backing-vocals and instruments right in front of the audience to loop. It was a special and sweet moment, as it was hard to not get into the groove of the song. And, her voice adds such a nice and sweet touch that could be a successful song on its own.
Showcasing many of her diverse talents and sounds, she had an array of upbeat songs to more melodramatic ones, to atmospheric sounds and stripped-down acoustic songs like "Decorate," which she recounts as one of the first songs she wrote upon arriving in the US to make music.
Stopping at some points throughout her set to call out, “Pomonaaaa,” while mentioning that the crowd was one of the best crowds she has played for so far, Yuna made sure her last US tour date was a memorable one—for us and for herself.
The woman is becoming big. I just feel so honored to have been able to see her—driving out just one hour before doors opening—only to catch her on her last US tour date for who knows when will be her next arrival! And, with the luck of my intuition and “feeling things out” after the show (grabbing a bite to eat and thinking with ease of how long it takes to pack up after a show), I was able to see, meet and greet Yuna herself before leaving while snagging a small conversation, and even later was invited to be on Marques’ guest list, as he himself offered, for his show this coming Monday night (he was quite surprised my friend and I deeply appreciated his music).
Sometimes, blessings can hide themselves in weird ways. And even if during those moments, they may feel entirely natural and normal, taking a step back can help you realize that maybe everything does happen for a reason. It is these moments when reality shakes you into what you really like and where you really belong—with music.