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There is this ongoing trajectory that my life is on. It’s a trajectory in which all the dots, all of the pivotal parts of my life, connect. The story I’m still living is about a girl, pulled from her environment, and thrown into a world she has to adjust to or a world that must adjust to her. I haven’t been able to put it together until recent years, but what continues to become of my life, I feel, stems from my childhood. I always go back to it, and I always will.

I remember being five-years-old knowing that America was where I would end up eventually, and that I would always have to make the most [and even more] of the circumstances I would find myself in. In that sense, I knew from then that I had to be a creator of some sort. Not in just an artistic sense, but in the way that I would mold the outcomes myself. In order to never forget, I had to come up with ways to remember where I came from. In order to realize where I was, I had to find ways to measure how far I had come.

I’ve always felt that there’s an underlying reason for the way we all choose to express ourselves and how we find peace in those ways. Artists are artists because they find peace in releasing their emotions on a canvas, whatever that canvas may be. A writer chooses lined paper. A musician chooses a guitar. We all have mediums that are either an extension of who we are, physically, or a skill we choose to develop. And through these mediums, we can stop time.

As a matter of fact, we manipulate time in these ways. I choose to capture time in words, and these words take me back to a place that I can never physically live in again. Yet, I can revisit whenever I please. I might not know the exact feelings attached to what’s been put on my canvas, but I can still sense the girl behind them. I can say that I know of her and how she got there and why she said those things. It’s funny, isn’t it? We go through life creating, and sometimes we do that without even thinking much of it or not even meaning to create at all.

Because of this, part of me feels like I’m going to live forever. Although I know immortality is only some fantastical and improbable virtue, I know in some sense I can achieve it in what I create. The only way to really live forever is to realize, while you’re still here, the footprints you can leave behind and capturing those trails that you’ve left your mark on. From there, you tell stories over and over, and when you’re gone those stories live on and your name never left unspoken. That, that is living forever. And I, I create because I want to live forever.

*停 (tíng / stop) and 聽 (tīng / listen) are Mandarin homonyms.

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