I love a band who knows me better than I know myself.

I grew up with music whose lyrics I couldn’t relate to.

No, I understood everything. There’s a particular brand of poetry that bands from the early 2000s released, it was this brand that one could easily break apart, identify, but not necessarily relate to.

Perhaps it was my age.

At the time, the bands I loved were averaging around 23 years old, the age I am right now, and suddenly I got to thinking that these songs should be relevant to my life once more. But that’s the trouble when it comes to growing up and finding new music – the music from the past, while it might give you the same feeling, they might never be relatable simply because you relate the sound to a time and place when your timeline had been clean and free of black marks. Music is a form of storytelling, and two lives might never experience the same kind of heartache.

I couldn’t relate no matter how I hard I tried, and the kind of frustration that one emits from not being able to truly comprehend how a musician feels in the midst of a song laced with love and longing – it turns into loneliness.

It was almost like having a friend call out for advice and not being able to give it. These bands were the older siblings who grew up before me, and I couldn’t catch up. They were the big brothers and sisters leaving notes as they depart, “There’s a kind of love out there that might hurt you, but I can’t tell you how.”

I went to all the concerts and drowned in the sounds of the guitars echoing across the venue. My heartbeat matched the tempo of the drums, booming down to my bones forcing me to listen. It was enough to keep me satisfied, never really knowing what was going on in the head of my favorite musician. Songs crying out, “Would you believe me if I said I didn’t need you? Because I wouldn’t believe you if you said the same to me,” I heard them all, and I knew every word. I sang my heart out and dreamed of being on stage, but I ultimately knew that my lack of experience in love would leave that journey with no definite end. I was no artist, but I was going to try because I wanted to understand the emotion behind it all.

So I started writing.

It’s safe to say that the music of my youth gave me the diction I use so effortlessly, and their anthems of heartbreak were my reference. I could pull stories from lines between lyrics, and I was happy to do so. But then I realized, I didn’t know how to write about a lasting happiness – only impending sadness. Maybe that was because this was all I really knew.

I turned to this music when I found love for the first time. This music allowed me to cry thinking that there was a voice in my ear saying, “Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.” I fell on this music believing that they knew me, but really they didn’t. These lyrics weren’t my own, and I couldn’t completely immerse myself into it.

Day6 debuted with the song ‘Congratulations,’ and when it was shown to me, I gave it a listen and knew almost immediately there was something about this band that was different. I felt uneasy. I couldn’t listen without looking down at the floor, but why?

Are you that happy? Your smile goes up to your ears. For me, my heart still hurts every time I breathe,” these were the words I couldn’t bear to hear.

In 2015, I was in a relationship that left me with little air to breathe. The company was toxic, and my friends had all gone. It was like being hung from a post and being told I was his IV drip. If I tried to leave, he wouldn’t have it. I was more than ready to leave, and I had tried. ‘Congratulations’ felt like an angry letter to me from the man I didn’t love anymore, and I wasn’t strong enough to argue back because perhaps it was a truth that I didn’t ever want to hear. I wasn’t in love anymore.

So I stopped listening.

And I stayed.

‘Letting Go’ was released at the tail end of my time with him, and it was a siren call. I had avoided the song at first, truthfully, but when I listened, I felt this burning pain in my chest. This wasn’t the angry love letter like their first song, no, it was exactly what I wished someone would say to me. I wanted this wretched love to let me go so I could breathe freely for the first time in two years. I just wanted to be happy.

It became a love/hate relationship with their music. I loved it but understood it to the point where I thought it had publicised my mistakes and my faults. It was almost as if someone took the poetry I tucked away and wrote a response back just as cleverly worded as my own. This was something I just couldn’t ignore.

I felt my two worlds melting together. The sad love songs with the new culture of Hallyu that I fell into – it was all in this band, and I couldn’t stop listening.

There are certain elements to KPOP that all groups possess along the lines of visuals, musicality, and personality. Unfortunately, a lot of groups are unable to succeed as these elements can only produce so much original content until anything new automatically falls into the trend and overlooked.

Day6 wore the aspects of music that I thought had been long gone. The music of that shaped me had grown into something unfamiliar, and here they were, embodying what I thought was lost right when I needed it most.

With the release of ‘Moonrise’ around the corner, I found myself completely supporting this band just as I had with the bands I loved before them.

When you find a group who narrates your mind when no one else can, expect them to do great things. Find comfort in them because, without needing to announce it or hold your hand, they are your friends who speak louder than you are able to. These are the friends who remind you, “I’ve been there, too.”

I hope you’ll stay beside them.

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The Timelessness of Wong Fu Productions

Lately, I’ve been going through an odd phase in what music I listen to.

It started out as the rediscovering of my love for the band Day6 as they reminded me of the music I used to listen to before I got into Hallyu. As I listened to the lyrics, learned of the background behind the music, and really listened to what I was hearing did I start to think about why and how I connected this music more than I did to others. This somehow led to opening up an old library of my music – artists like Kina Grannis, David Choi, and AJ Rafael – but not the new things. It was all the old music, the stuff I lived off in high school. These songs built up the soundtrack of my junior year in high school.

I grew up listening to a number of different things – ranging from whatever my parents listened to all the way to the music I discovered myself, love songs with meanings I understood but not really? Living in the age of angsty love songs was not entirely relatable when you’re a freshman in high school sans first kiss, sans first relationship, sans any exposure to what love and romance really is outside of movies and books.

However, there was something else I grew up with, but this was something that continued to grow with me as the scene evolved as I grew up yet it somehow maintained a sense of reliability in that I will always understand what they’re talking about.

I first stumbled across what was to become Wong Fu Productions when my dad presented me with a video called “Yellow Fever.” It was satirical. It was funny. It was relatable? It was something hilarious to watch with my dad, and it was honestly one of the first really amazing examples of Asian American produced media that I was able to enjoy. From there, I eventually learned of their other videos, who they were, etc. And again, from there, I was able to learn some new things about how life worked. Around the time their video “Strangers Again” was released, I was in my second relationship. Around that time, this video was relatable but only certain aspects. Then came my first college relationship – well, the tail end of it. Again, it was more than relatable and moreover relevant to how I felt. The stages of a relationship and how it was a continuous cycle – it was all true. How could they have made this more relevant to my life? Only it wasn’t just to my life; it was relevant to everyone who watched, and that was why it was so popular. Fast forward to the end my first love, and suddenly, this video pops up again out of the blue and it’s relevant.

Again.

Again? And again and again and again – this video was always there to remind me that, hey, I’m not alone in this. These stages of romance aren’t unusual. Everyone goes through these things.

So, here I am in 2017, watching “When It Counts” almost five years later. I remember waiting for these episodes to be released, and now here I am yet again. I also remember one year while in Los Angeles, I saw Wes Chan, one of the main faces of Wong Fu, standing across the venue, and I was so in awe I couldn’t bring myself to move.

I was reminded of how influential Wong Fu truly was even at the most random time. I took the bus up to New York, a six hour drive with no sleep until I finally got to the venue with tickets to see Day6 live. Jae Park, the band’s vocalist brought up the story of how he started his journey to really wanting to be a musician, and he brought up his encounter with Phil of Wong Fu.

I was in an audience of younger girls, so I had to wonder if they’d had the same memories of Wong Fu that I did. But when Jae said that the words he’d received that day at a meet and greet were what pushed him forward, it reopened my eyes to how continuously influential Wong Fu was.

What did the presence of Wong Fu in my life do for me?

I wanted to create.

I wanted to be influential.

I wanted to use my passion – writing – to make people feel a certain way, think different things, and believe that they weren’t alone.

I wanted to be somebody beyond what everyone assumed I would be.

Whether it’s 2011 – 2015 – 2017, I’ll still be watching Wong Fu videos when I need them the most. It could be when I have (yet another) platonic crush that will never be anything more or it could be when I’m starting to fall in love again.

They’ll always be there.

**

Keep in touch with your author on Instagram @ai.lumi!

And stay tuned for a special Day6 fan project coming up on our LumiScript!

LumiLens: We Broke Up Review

Korean dramas have been taking over the Asian entertainment business by storm for the past couple of years. From their beautiful and talented actors to the complex plot line, these shows have captured the attention of millions around the world. Although there are amazing shows out there today, some viewers might think that it might take too much time to watch each episode. However, there is a new type of drama has found its place in the limelight. “Web dramas” are shows that are much shorter, estimating to be about five to fifteen minutes per episode, compared to the long and heavily detailed 45 minute dramas. Even though web dramas are much shorter in length, they are still able to tell their stories beautifully and capture the hearts of their viewers. These shows are perfect for those who want to watch a show but do not want to invest too much time in them.

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Produced by YG Entertainment’s model management company, YG KPLUS, “We Broke Up” is a web drama about a couple that recently split. Former 2NE1 member, Sandara Park, and Kang Seungyoon of WINNER take the lead roles of Noh Woori and Ji Wonyoung, respectively, in this melodrama.

Woori, a college student, meets Wonyoung, the lead singer of his band at one of his small gigs. Their relationship moves quickly and soon begin living together. Due to various problems, they decide to break up. However, they remain to live together under the same roof until their housing contracts end. To keep each other out of their lives, they try to distance themselves and go as far as to make a list of strict rules to not bother each other at home. However, Woori becomes concerned when Wonyoung suggests to not interfere in each other’s love life, thinking that he’s started dating other people already. As the two begin their lives apart, they meet new people, which causes tension between the two.

You might think that this 10 episode series will be depressing and filled with lots of tears and heartbreak, but it isn’t. Each episode is actually quite comedic because of the petty, yet silly, actions Woori and Wonyoung do towards each other. Despite the crazy antics they get into, there are times where they’ll reflect on their past relationship. The longing Woori and Seungyoon have for each other feels so real. You could feel your heartstrings being pulled whenever our star couple missed each other. For those who have experienced a breakup, you might begin to reminisce the feeling of breakups and the longing you may had for your ex-significant other. Throughout the series, the directors really capture the residual feelings one experiences post-breakup. Little things such as Woori worrying if Wonyoung ate yet or Wonyoung wondering why Woori hasn’t come home yet, really tugs at your heart, making you wish that they have a chance to get back together at the end of the series.

The biggest takeaway from this drama was to cherish your relationship!

The experience outweighs the outcome. Be fond of the memories you made with that special someone. If you do find yourself at the end of a relationship, don’t worry. You will feel sad and upset. You will wonder how you’ll continue with the most important person in your life, gone. You will ask yourself when you’ll stop missing them.

It’s okay to feel sad and cry.

Give yourself time to heal.

It’ll be okay.

You will be okay.

I really enjoyed watching “We Broke Up.” The storyline was well thought out and the actors were able to tell the story seamlessly. Those who have experienced a breakup would enjoy this because they will be able to empathize with the ex-couple and understand their feelings. Anyone who likes a more serious drama with bits of comedic relief would enjoy this as well! Since each episode is about 20 minutes long, it’s a good series to watch during your lunch break or right before bed – perfect for any Lumi-readers who are busybees.

Be on the lookout for more web drama reviews from the Lumi team!

Step 1: Honesty

Honesty is the best policy.

Or is it?

When I was in middle school, making friends depended on how I spoke and what I spoke about. I talked about things that I thought people liked, and I crumbled even if I didn’t think it was right. In other words, I had two personas – public and private. My public side was very into the current trends, things that the people around me liked. Public Me wanted to make friends everywhere even if that person’s ideas didn’t match my own. Public Me was loud – she wanted to be heard in anyway she could.

Private Me had all the thoughts, the ideas, and the potential but kept it stored away out of fear.

After my first friend purge, my first genuine best friend got me to stand up for myself – something I never actually considered doing. I was okay letting my friends walk all over me if it meant keeping them. Once I stood up for myself the first time, I couldn’t go back.

Why do we assume that people will only like one side of us?

Private Me was a different kind of loud – she was assertive, and she had all the thoughts that needed to be heard. But she saved those thoughts for the Internet or whatever other media outlet she could find. The private side of me stayed hidden within the confines of my computer screen. Then I suddenly had an epiphany –

How could I ever expect to make friends who I’d be willing to have for the rest of my life if I only ever show them one side? And what was the purpose of having both sides? Was I protecting myself? Who was I saving?

I wasn’t saving anyone. I was hurting myself. I kept these thoughts tucked away for the sake of having people around me.

So – honesty first.

Friends second.

It’s easy to talk to people, but what are you supposed to talk about? Do I talk about something I think you’ll like or do I talk about what’s on my mind? To whom do I cater this conversation to? And that’s where my lesson had finally been realized.

I needed to close the gap between Private and Public Me. As time went on, I made the decision to combine the two. The public persona brought the private to light, and the private kept the public from only focusing on what other people liked. There was definitely a result.

People started to tell me I was “real.” What does that mean? I’m being honest, how is that real? Is there such a shortage of honesty in the world that it has become an anomaly? Friends, friends, friends – they all said the same things, and I just let myself continue to be honest.

Honesty, however, does not always guarantee a common thought. I stayed honest, but when my words contradict your own thoughts, I became something else. I was no longer “real,” I was judgmental – I was insensitive, I was inconsiderate. All these things made me think I needed to change again.

But did I really? It wasn’t that I changed over time, but my thoughts no longer consistently aligned with the people around me. Suddenly I became the bad guy. I was no longer “real,” and there became a floating assumption that I’m hiding a part of myself from the world.

Trust me – I’m not.

If I’m hiding anything, it’s something I, myself, have not even discovered. There are no surplus thoughts underneath this image I’ve created for myself. I worked hard to make sure my visage matched my thoughts.

Believe it or not – I’m honest from day one. Until I find a legitimate reason to lie to you, I will not because there would be no purpose. I would be lying for the sake of lying.

Step 2:  Friends, but Step 3:  Consistency.

There’s a reason for this long explanation into why I act the way I do, and here it is.

If honesty comes first, what reason do I have to lie to get people to like me? And hand-in-hand with that, why should I have to fight when someone says otherwise?

Truthfully, there is no reason. If you’re my friend, you’re my friend. I learned just yesterday that the ones who cherish their friends are the ones who stick to their convictions. Childish rumors and hasty actions will not change that. Anyone who has anything to say about the way I act can only know that speaking badly of me will only make the reaction to seeing the truth that much more satisfying for me. Say what you want – you’re still speaking of me.

In this day and age, young adults have all become truth-seekers. In the presence of malice, they pursue the side that makes the most sense, and the side that doesn’t is the one spattered with red in the end.

True or false:  the truth finds you.

False.

You need to find the truth on your own.

“I Am No Stranger to Strangers.”

(Old image featured – 2015)

I am no stranger to strangers.

Every time something shifts in my life, I momentarily forget past occurrences and only look forward. My memory gets foggy, and the concept that “this seems familiar” disappears for half a second.

Thinking back, this is not the first time I’ve heard these words, sunk into these feelings, or received these blows. However, I do know one thing for sure – I’ve finally learned to handle it the way I should.

When it comes to red flags, it may or may not be obvious. For some people I meet, I get this anxious feeling. This particular knot that says,

Be friendly, but do not trust.

And when I feel this, I am sure to be on my guard. Do not get too close, do not reveal too much, and do not let them in.

The second kind of red flag comes in stages. There is a series of yellow flags before the red, and only when the red appears is it too late. When I was younger, I disregarded yellow flags for the sake of giving the benefit of the doubt – something I realized I am more than notorious for giving blindly.

I can recall a memory from when I was 14.

I was visiting a church with a friend who I now call stranger. I sat, feeling out of place when a girl walks in. She walked with confidence, and she had a presence that I admired. She was much older, much more mature than us.

I don’t like her. She’s full of herself. The underside of her hair is blue, and it’s tacky. No one likes her.

As my friend said this, I took her words and applied it over the girl’s image. Yet even as I did, the other young girls my age flocked her and showered her with compliments. In the midst of her mini gathering of fans, she turned to me.

Oh, you’re new! What’s your name? Are you coming here regularly now? I haven’t been here in a while, so I’m sorry if I didn’t recognize you.

I wanted to think she had on a facade for the sake of making a good first impression, but to this day, I really don’t think she was. We talked about her hair, and later she introduced me to her friend with whom I kept in contact with for some time.

From that small experience, I should have known better that your friends’ impressions of people become your own impressions. But what if that wasn’t a real friend? Would that make their impressions invalid?

I am no stranger to strangers.

Once at 10, once at 14, and again once more at 22.

There is no age limit for lessons to be learned. Fate will make you experience the same situations over and over again – same circumstances, different people – same feeling, different words said – until you finally learn which way is the right way.

So what have I learned?

Those who have high standards for whom they trust but who are not trustworthy are not to be regarded, and their impressions of me will not change my impression of myself.

Memories, once invalid, lose all sentimental value. When you originate the initial problem to its start date, all fond and happy moments lose meaning. Now, they are merely occurrences experienced with a stranger. Do not give them weight.

The friend who is meant to stay in your life will never leave. True friends have a purpose in your life, and regardless of the amount of time spent, there is more to be done. They are the non-romantic soulmates who will keep aiding along your spiritual growth. You may not always agree with each other, but you always find your way back. Being annoyed with each other is a natural thing, but if you let that annoyance tear you two apart, then it’s time to say goodbye.

I will not try to save a sinking ship that keeps sabotaging itself whether its intentional or not. The life savers on that ship have been thrown to me, but I will not bend. A sabotaged ship can save no one.

There is a reason why I say I trust my friends blindly.

Do what you want, I am not your keeper.

Make your mistakes because it is your life to live.

I will turn a blind eye to the malice others see because I befriend your character – your being – not your actions.

I trust you with my eyes shut because the moment a line is crossed, I can open my eyes, see you for the person I let you be, and turn away. That blind trust is gone, and you are a stranger once more.

There is no magical place where all lost friendships go. They dissipate into thin air, and life goes on. I let it go, and I won’t hold on.

It isn’t worth saving.

Temporary friends add filter to your vision that you must remove once they depart.

The genuine friends are the ones who keep your sight clear.

To the Next Guy Who Says He’s Always Been Attracted to Me

“I’ve always been attracted to you.”

While I don’t advocate the use of subliminal messages through Facebook statuses and Tweets, this needed to be said. Since last year, this phrase has been used on me a handful of times, and I think at this point it was more than pertinent to my life.

I don’t care.

I don’t care if you’ve always been attracted to me. I do not know you on an emotional level, and if I can’t even remember the last time (or the only time) I ever held a full conversation with you, do not say this to me. The only thought that goes through my head is, “if you were always attracted to me, why didn’t you tell me when I was attracted to you?” Needless to say, I’ve learned that even the nicest faces that can tempt the naive are the ones that disgust the ones who see right through you.

Sure, it sounds harsh, but this is me being honest.

This is the side of me that you do not know and probably have no desire to discover. You saying that you’ve always been attracted to me might be a compliment to my physical ego, but it is the biggest insult to my intellectual pride. This is the girl who you only look at from the surface; these are the words you will most likely never hear upfront because you have no desire whatsoever to know what is beneath my skin or – even worse – beneath my clothes.

I dress to showcase my personality. I was born with this face. I chose this style of makeup. Nothing is here to tempt you, tantalize you, or titillate your desires.

This craving of yours is temporary, and that is not what I want.

These words are your bait, but it isn’t the brand that will make me bite.

This message is by no means intended for the guys who mean this in the intellectual way, but now that I think about it, if you were attracted to my mind, there is no way you would have said this to me.

Being attracted to someone and liking someone are two completely different aspects. I can be attracted to you and have no intention of pursuing you. The one who invests in pure attraction is the fickle one, and the latter has the dedication that I need. I am not the expensive item on the shelf that you can con into a lower price because of a few words.

I do not care.

At the root of all things, the more you use that phrase on a girl who would be willing under the condition that you actually care, the more likely you are to be alone and without the company you will later crave. And when that one escapes – the one you really want for more than just the physical company – you will see what the others really wanted.

I do not want temporary.

I do not want emotionless company.

I do not want to be one of the bodies in the morgue of memories with no names because they’ve all been forgotten.

I put my value on a pedestal, and the only ones who I will let in will be the ones who see more than what I display for the world to see. They are the ones who see beyond the persona of a strong girl who can take care of herself. They are the ones who want the company I am willing to give.

Save your words and your superfluous efforts.

I’d rather be considered the one who got away than the girl who was weak to words.

 

Being Friends with a Beauty Blogger

We’ve all seen them. Whether you follow their full posts online or rapidly hit the ‘like’ button when their faces appear on your Instagram feed, beauty bloggers are taking over the fashion scene, each with their own unique sense of style and presence. There’s a mild sense of intimidation when you see that ‘k’ next to their follower count, and it plants the idea in your head.

“Will my following ever be that big?”

Honestly? It’s difficult. However, I’ve learned so much from befriending a beauty blogger. Of course, when I met her, she wasn’t nearly as famous as she is now, and her follower count grows by the day.

The truth behind it all is that beauty bloggers are human beings just like anyone else. When you’re friends, you see that past the flawless photos and the thousands of likes, they are – to the core – normal people with normal problems.

They’ve just learned to hide it so much better than the average blogger.

Now, becoming friends with a beauty blogger is like being friends with anyone else, and I think this is something commonly misconstrued by anyone who thinks that just because they’ve received a reply from someone with more than 100 followers, they’re suddenly besties. No, it never works out this way. Remember, fame is a blessing and a curse. Using their friendship to fund your own goals is just being selfish.

Don’t ask for favors.

Don’t spread their personal stories.

Don’t fight their battles.

The best route to go? Just be a friend. Be there when they need you. Be there when they need to rant about today’s photoshoot or when they realize this model is a total jerk because believe it or not – they’re telling you because they trust you, not because they need the attention.

Shouldn’t that be the obvious part?

I’ve learned so many rewarding things from my friend. She’s a sweet, honest girl with normal college problems like anyone else. She’s like my little sister, and I trust her with things I don’t normally trust other people with. At the end of the day, I love that we’re comfortable enough with each other to get mad and tell the truth without the fear of losing that bond.

So the moral of this post? A famous friend is still a friend.

And don’t think any differently.

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