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Up Close

Spoiler alert: Up close, everything seems like a fire, a shit show. But from far away, it's really not that bad, if at all.


This past Easter/Holiday weekend, I had dinner with my aunt on my father's side. It was filled with beer, Maryland crabs, honey-glazed ham, homemade corn pudding, cheesy mashed potatoes, a variety of hearty veggies, and to top it all off - Costco cheesecake.

If you didn’t know, Korean people's love language is food - mountains of food.

All that "love" has to go somewhere though, so off to the washroom I went. (I had to poop).


Bathrooms are probably my favorite place to exist in. It's the perfect mix of comfort, safety, and just a little bit of surprise! I do my best thinking in the bathroom. I am the living "Thinker" masterpiece from the museum.

Normally, when I'm practicing squatting sumo, I think about the possibility of alternative realities existing just strings away from us. This time I stepped into a more "in-touch" thought process as I washed my hands and gazed into the set of mirrors before me.

My aunt has two mirrors in her bathroom. One is a regular wall-mount mirror. The other is a pull-out extra magnified circle mirror. After drying off my hands, I like to pull out the magnified mirror and pick at my face with clean hands. I pick at every pimple, pluck every stray hair, scratch at the patches of dry skin, and verbally assault every dark spot and wrinkle because what the fuck else are you supposed to do with those?

Up close, I look awful - a solid 3/10. My only remediable trait at this point is my personality and that I can breathe at a steady rate, barely.

At this point, I’ve slandered my physical appearance enough that my Asian family doesn’t have to. So I tuck the mirror back into the wall with a hateful hiss simmering out my lips. All that's left is me, a few droplets on the sink counter, and the big wall-mounted mirror. In this mirror, far away from me, I look fine. Great even. You can’t see my blemishes, discoloration, or any of the other things I grossly detested.

It’s just me. And in this view, I like myself.

From far away, everything is fine. Everyone and everything is fine. Because it's not so up close and personal - a view not everyone gets the privilege of looking at.

I’m now lost in thought as I aimlessly stare at myself.

“Does my boyfriend see all those things I saw in the other mirror? But more importantly - does he see my crazy? Does he get a front-row seat to my personal downfall? Wait - did all my exes see that? Does my best friend keep tabs on all my imperfections so they know to warn others? Does my best friend also know that I can see them just as up close as they see me? DOES MY BOYFRIEND KNOW I CAN SEE HIM UP CLOSE TOO? DOES THAT SCARE HIM? CAUSE IT SCARES ME?”

At this point, I’m hyperventilating, but it's being drowned out by the vent circulating my poop air. Then it dawns on me - If they can see from up close, then they sure can see from far away too - that’s the view they saw first! They got to see it all, and yet they stayed.

Well, shit. Literally.


More than enough time has passed, so I unlock the bathroom door and return back to the couch.

“That was a long poop. Are you okay?”

Yeah. Same shit, different thought.

Written 4/13/23 during my bathroom break

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