Author: Rose Kuo

loves music, loves to dance. www.rosekuo.org

in which my brother teaches me about street fighter (and therein, about life)

  • stop button mashing even if that’s your primal instinct!
  • be patient.
  • observing can be as important as taking action.
  • rather than focusing only on your own character, remember that it’s even more important to watch your opponent first.
  • both your offensive and defensive strategies should come from what your opponent is doing.
  • timing is everything!
  • high blocks, low blocks, and throw escapes only work if you’re watching what your opponent does.
  • run in the right direction.
  • sometimes you have to protect yourself rather than attacking.
  • rose, if you resort to button mashing again, you do worse!
  • stop gripping so hard, you’re just causing more stress for yourself and it’s not going to have the impact you want. just hold the joystick like a wine glass and relax.
  • remember to have some fun, it’s not that big of a deal.
  • seriously, learn how to throw a fireball.

on breakups

“I have known exactly how relationships would end, and I entered them anyway. The ego is always built into emotional undoing—to imagine myself as the one who will love someone into correction, even though I have never been loved so much that love alone undid the worst of me.”

from Hanif Abdurraqib’s devastatingly beautiful essay in The Paris Review, On Breakups

relationships are non-linear

Relationships are everything. Connection is everything.

“I remember as a small child seeing the geese flying south. Firefly season. A cicada that lived for a while in the cracks of the cement bricks that made up our porch wall. A flash flood sweeping cars away while we were huddled under an overhang on a picnic. Lightning felling a tree in our backyard. I guess I learned that everything will pass.

But also, and equally true, it will all come back again.”

Karen Joy Fowler

Every week, S. and I have a call to talk about one thing, but we almost always begin with another. On Thursday, we began by discussing this incredible piece (The Crane Wife) in The Paris Review. There has been an undercurrent of thinking about the shapes we believe we have to take in order to invite love in; of how we make ourselves smaller, ask ourselves to need less in order to appear worthy of love.

The next day, I finished reading Deborah Levy’s The Cost of Living, in which the author reminds us: “To separate from love is to live a risk-free life. What’s the point of that sort of life?”

AK is always talking to me about maintaining my mountain pose, and he asks me if my stubborn patterns in building relationships (or stumbling on/upon them) feels to me like accidentally stepping to a different dance that I already know the steps to. Absolutely! I respond. You can always tell what someone’s home dance is, based on the habits their bodies hold onto as they learn a new one.

I take time to remind myself that almost nothing in life is linear. Not our outward portrayal of success, not our bodies and health, not love, not friendships, not the greenness of my four plants in the windowsill, not the rhythm and pace of sleep. We are who we are right now in order to become who we will be. Growth doesn’t always look or feel like growth, sometimes it’s underneath the soil, sometimes it’s within our leaves, sometimes all your leaves turn yellow and red and then brown, then drop to the ground in order for new life to grow again.

My sister and I grew in a womb together, and when I spend time with her I feel in awe at how little I know about her, and how much we have both changed. The way we regard (crave or don’t crave) touch from men, and the way we talk about love languages. She asked me to re-take the Myers Briggs test and we marveled at the disparity between us. But we still buy the same flavor of Pop Tarts.

In yoga class, J. implores us to love the transitions just as much, if not more, than arriving at the pose itself. S. and I contemplate water and earth. One shapes the other.

Brecht says: But love is like war; it always finds a way. Perhaps he originally said it the other way around, but still.

On a Tuesday, we are in Korea Town claiming that we’ll go in for “just one song.” JD, whom I am meeting for the first time, says that he never sings “just one song”- it’s either hours, or nothing at all. We get a room for 8 people and stay for 6 hours (I mean, Jia did it too), because it’s cathartic to sing with strangers you’ve just met alongside friends you’ve known for decades. I’ve always had the intuition when I meet someone: is this person for good, or for just now? Either way, karaoke has been a pretty good proxy. We accidentally sing from every Disney movie, shake it like a Polaroid picture, butcher Jay Chou songs, and twirl in the bouncing, ridiculous disco lights. The night deepens as B. serenades me with “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” while I am laughing, I am laughing so hard. “You’re so happy,” he croons, “why are you so happy?”

“I’m not, it’s just… it’s just all so true,” I gasp.

Afterwards, we put down the microphones and he two-steps slowly with me in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.