On handwritten letters & solitude

One thing that always gives me goosebumps of glowing thrill: handwritten letters.

Call me cheesy if you will, but imagine holding the tangible traces of a person on a piece of paper, knowing that they’ve thought of you, as much to spend time drafting and sending a little bit of themselves to you. Handwritten letters, then, are the manifestation of humanness—the sensitivity of self and otherness, the yearning for connection, the courage of an open heart, and the practice of therapy. It is also the embrace of vulnerability: isn’t it so damn scary to put yourself out there and expect reciprocity? What can be compensated for words that never resonate, thoughts never heard, care never returned? But you do it anyways, because it can even be scarier to eat away your thoughts alone.  Continue reading “On handwritten letters & solitude”



Growing up is a strange thing.

When I was younger, I always imagined myself as a grown-up: successful, having all of the freedom I wanted, and traveling around the world. Little Nam was very imaginative––she enjoyed fantasizing about the future, or an imaginary world she would never be able to visit but still chose to immerse in; it was her energy tank, where she stored her dreams, hopes, and subverted realities. A fair amount of the visions contained repressed desires and yearning for adventures far away from home, but mostly just having her name on Google. Had it not been for those fantasies, Nam couldn’t have made it through her challenging teenage life––the hectic school system, the unfairness around her, peer pressure, and all of those insecurities that haunted her in her sleep.  Continue reading “Daydreaming”


What mama says, what I think

Alert: written when I was upset and needed to flush out my thoughts––no structure, no solid argument at all. Might be the best to take everything I say next with a grain of salt.

This morning I had a heated conversation with my mom about the way I dressed. I was wearing a cami and high-waisted pants with a silk scarf at work. As a student intern, there’s nothing inappropriate about this (I later checked with my colleagues and supervisor to make sure). It’s hard to explain to my parents the environment I’m in right now, and to let them know that I’m mature enough to decide what I want to wear. Dressing is a very personal matter, and unless I ask for their opinion, I don’t think anyone can interfere with my right to wear what I deem right and feel comfortable with. Continue reading “What mama says, what I think”



It’s intriguing to realize that my life is built upon odors.

This morning I woke up in my little room on the rooftop of Julia’s house to the smell of fresh fabric. It’s my favorite smell in the world; nothing is better than inhaling a lungful of warm, freshly washed and dried clothes. There’s something familiar and familial about it, which brings me closer to the people whose clothes smell of a family ritual (you know, families wash clothes together). It’s kind of sexy too, more than perfume or deodorant, I think. The fusion of detergent (or wardrobe) and their natural body odor makes the snuggling experience more authentic and addictive than anything you could imagine. Continue reading “Odors”


Dream report (no.1)

Last night I had such a strange dream. There was a shadow, in the form of a waving hand and the side of a male face, reflected on the walls of the attic of my grandparents’ house. It functioned like a semi-God of human’s memories, secrets, and concealed mistakes. It constantly looked for confessions from people, by merging itself into one human figure, the ‘representative,’ and approaching the targets with a recorder. The target will automatically narrate one of their deepest secrets/unfolded mistakes in front of their loved ones, then the recorder will save everything into the shadow semi-God’s archive. Continue reading “Dream report (no.1)”


When You’re Not The Girl People Fall in Love With, Harnidh Kaur

Original on:

Love is all-pervasive. I have an entire playlist on my phone of songs that don’t revolve around love as the central motif, and sadly, it’s woefully small. I’ve been told again and again that true love is, and should be, a priority in my life. I’ve been conditioned to accept and believe that I’m supposed to have love, but I’m not good enough for it yet. Which is why, I have to constantly change, constantly alter myself, all in hopes of having someone say those magical words to me. Continue reading “When You’re Not The Girl People Fall in Love With, Harnidh Kaur”


Your summer reading list: 70+ book picks from TED speakers and attendees

TED Blog

Summer reading recommendations from TED

The tables in bookstores can be overwhelming: Every book cover looks appealing, every blurb glows with praise. Sometimes, you just need a recommendation from a human, someone you trust. Below, 10 members of the TED community — with very different points of view — share the books they think you’ll enjoy this summer. Their selections are wonderfully untethered to new releases and bestsellers, with a little something for everyone.

David Eagleman and TED
Mind-bending fiction, picked by David Eagleman

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist whose sensory vest may just expand the limits of human perception. But this TED speaker is also a writer  — of both fiction (his Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives has been translated into 28 languages) and nonfiction (Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain was a bestseller). His recommendations highlight mind-bending fiction:

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. “An inspiration that never runs out of batteries for me…

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