CactusKid

United States

"Living without passion is like being dead." - Jeon Jungkook of BTS

Keep going :)

Message from Writer

Writer. Reader. Music-lover. Fangirl. :)

My eternal resolution will be...to do too much. - "Orlando" by Blood Orange

Published Work

Novel Writing Competition 2020

LUX

PROLOGUE:
The people around me all have their eyes on the main stage.
We’re all here to get away from the lives we’re attached to. School. Work. Family. Society. Here, none of that matters. Here, I can be lost in the music.
Then, a song I’ve never heard before starts to play.
A lone figure appears. A low murmur goes through the crowd.
“Who’s this? No clue.”
His hat obscures his face, but even so I’ve never seen a performer like him at this venue. He doesn't look like much, I shrug. I turn to leave, but then he starts to move.
Fluidly. Effortlessly. Like the ground is nothing. Like there’s nothing holding him back. Weightless. The beat isn’t moving him, he’s moving the beat. Every spotlight, every head turns to him. He commanded their attention in an second.
“That’s him, isn’t it? Law.”
The audience gradually gets more excited, cheering for this stranger like a friend. I frown....

flipped

before the world flipped upside down, 
i hid.
behind smiles that didn't reach my eyes
and a resolve to only get through each day.
all that mattered was that my mask
would stay on.
but now that i have not 
put it on in a while, 
i realize that i don't want to wear it ever again. 
i was flipped on my head.
the personality, the emotions,
the actions that i have suppressed
for years need to be righted.
they make me the person i am
after all.
it will take a lot of courage and time, 
but when the world is flipped back over, 
onto its right side,
i will be flipped upright too.
 

People as Nature

garden

i envy those gardens that are vast as meadows and brimming with beauty
those gardens never seem to stop growing
and will keep growing
their flowers stretch up to sun
those kinds of people are the ones
who have hearts tended with love and care

the garden that i have is small, fenced, and bland
it's not a garden; it's a patch of soil that needs work
i need a lot of work

again, i have hurt someone
with my narrow mind and selfish thoughts
the direction i'm going, i won't have anyone to rely on
i won't have any seeds nor water to grow them

what can i do to stop this?
it's my fault after all
my eyes are trained on shallow desires and fake pleasure
i can pretend that my flowers will come but soon enough 
i will run out of time

i fear my garden will never grow into something grand and gorgeous
because at the end...

People as Nature

garden

i envy those gardens that are vast as meadows and brimming with beauty
those gardens never seem to stop growing
and will keep growing
their flowers stretch up to sun
those kinds of people are the ones
who have hearts tended with love and care

the garden that i have is small, fenced, and bland
it's not a garden; it's a patch of soil that needs work
i need a lot of work

again, i have hurt someone
with my narrow mind and selfish thoughts
the direction i'm going, i won't have anyone to rely on
i won't have any seeds nor water to grow them

what can i do to stop this?
it's my fault after all
my eyes are trained on shallow desires and fake pleasure
i can pretend that my flowers will come but soon enough 
i will run out of time

i fear my garden will never grow into something grand and gorgeous
because at the end...

Letter Writing Competition 2020

Gifts

Dear friend, 

I hope you don't mind that I call you friend even though we've never met. We've never met, but I want to thank you for the gifts you've given me. The emotions I bear in my heart are difficult for me to express, but I will attempt to put them into words.

It's been only a short eight months since the night I first saw you. You were bright and full of truly passionate energy I haven't seen before. The radiance coming from you was enough to make me wonder even a day later. Can you imagine me daydreaming during school, buzzing with curiosity? I barely had the sense to be worried about my exam results because of you. But that's just it: curiosity to look beyond, to look for what others did not was the first gift you gave me.

So, I looked for you again. I could not forget the clarity in your voice as you sang. You were...

Letter Writing Competition 2020

Gifts

Dear friend, 

I hope you do not mind that I call you friend even though we've never met. We've never met, but I want to thank you for the gifts you've given me. The gratitude I hold in my heart is difficult to express, but I will attempt to put them into words.

It's been only a short eight months since the night I first saw you. You were bright and unlike anyone I saw before. I was just passing by, but the radiance coming from you was enough to make me wonder even through the next day. Can you imagine me daydreaming during a test, buzzing with curiosity? I barely had the sense to be worried about my exam results because of you. But that's just it. Curiosity to look beyond, to look for what others did not was the first gift you gave me.

So I looked for you again. I wandered around and asked around. Tons of...

Writing Streak Week 1 Day 2

SOME OF THE BEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD (in my life):

  1. taking a shower after a long hot summer day
  2. lying down on the bed after a long, tiring day
  3. when the book I've been waiting for releases
  4. when my favorite person posts
  5. when my favorite people release new music
  6. when i actually write something good
  7. when i have fries and a milkshake at the same time

Writing Streak Week 1 Day 1

PLACES I WANT TO VISIT IN THE FUTURE:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Buenos Aires
  3. Paris
  4. Seoul
  5. Alaska
  6. England

Zero O'Clock

At zero o'clock, 
the stars are the only lights
and the moon's grin is bright.
At zero o'clock, 
my bed is a ship to command,
free to the possibilities vast as the sea. 
My path is clear to see.
At zero o'clock, 
the world and I are one, 
nothing holds me back as I run.
The clock hand has yet to move,
my journey has just begun.
 

A Cue

I hear them.
Is it really okay to have a criminal in our class?
Every single thought that’s floating around a person’s mind. Some people are easy to see through, but others need time. Though I’m technically not allowed to do more than brush past a person's mind because of my Restriction, I doubt I’d see anything worth knowing from any of these people anyway. I look around the classroom and the only ones I can’t see are Armstrong’s (as expected) and that girl from the office.
I haven't paid enough attention to know her name. She has the desk next to window, and the sun makes her blond hair look like gold. Earlier, she met my gaze head on, which is pretty rare since no one else would dare. Just like the teacher, she has a surprisingly firm grip on her mind. It must have to do with her Gift. 
Not that I care.
The bell rings, saving the...

a fool's dream

every time i think i'm a fool, 
the ghosts and demons grow,
threatening to take over.
but the moment I hear your whisper,
they shrink down into mere shadows.
in your presence,  
i'm able to muster up strength.
i can straighten my shoulders, 
and smile.
you said you'd be my light,
so i'll settle my gaze on your shine.
maybe i'll finally believe you,  
when you promise to always stay with me. 
or maybe i'm still on the floor, 
hoping for something that will never happen.
a fool's dream.

Writing Streak Week 13 Day 1

6/22/2020:
6:02PM

Goosebumps rise on my skin when the fan turns in my direction. 
The aroma of dinner almost being done.
The TV plays a channel nobody is watching.
The pillow supporting my head is a soft reminder of what I have: home.
A place outlined and filled with comfort.
From my family in the flesh feet away
to the ones posed in displayed portraits
to the toys that watch over my room
to the memories I hold in my heart.
Home.

Writing Streak Challenge Week 12

Challenge Completed

DAY 1:
I constantly try to sort out the thoughts and ideas in my head. But most of the time, it's just a mess of words and phrases and characters. Like fragmented pieces, no correlation or similarity.

At times, I get frustrated.
Why am I like this?
Is the writing I'm working on now and in the future going to be worth anything?
Aren't they just words on a page? 


I should be doing something that makes sense to other people, least of all me. There's no guaranteed smooth path in becoming who I want to be. Yet, the last thing I want is to live without this.

Through emotional attachment to favorite books and meeting favorite authors, I know there's no way writing is just words. It's so much more. They may not be literal, but they are real. 

Making sense of all the whirling thoughts and ideas in my head could take a few hours or a few years but I...

Writing Streak Week 12 Day 5

I could own all the things in the world, 
and still feel empty.
I could buy all the clothes and makeup I'd dare to wear, 
and still feel invisible.
I could travel to every city in every country, 
and still feel lost.
I could read all the books in the world,
and still feel ignorant.
I could speak every language, 
and still feel misunderstood.
I could,
I could,
I could.

I could search to the ends of the earth
for the one thing that completes me
and then,
maybe then,
I'd be filled.

Writing Streak Week 12 Day 4

People wake up, go through the day, and sleep.  
You must move forward or risk being left behind.
What if I'm tired of moving? 
You must move forward or risk being left behind.
What if I just want to stop?
You must move forward or risk being left behind.
Life functions when there's a routine. What happens when that cycle ends?
 

Writing Streak Week 12 Day 3

Whenever something inconvenient or irritating happen, I always think. "Why me?"
Don't be such a baby, I chastise myself immediately. I am blessed and grateful to be where I am today. 
I'm working on altering my perspective on unfortunate events.
I'm trying to find the meaning, the messages within to further growth as a person.

Often nowadays, I seriously wonder why the world has been flipped upside down. Why it had to happen now.
Maybe this pandemic is just a huge lesson for the whole world that just had to occur before we could move forward. We had to take steps back, back to wounds from decades ago even.
I'm sure the reasons are different for each person and each perspective on current events.
But I'll trust in each day.
The only way we can move forward is to correct our steps before walking.
 

Writing Streak Week 12 Day 2

When you think about it...isn't amazing to think how music can have an effect on people?
For an artist to move listeners is a notion I find myself wondering at times. How is it possible for me to be so touched ? 
It's different. I can think of my favorite song all I want, but to hear it presently and feel my chest almost burst...
Maybe there's a scientific explanation, but I'm trying to find the reason for this with words.
Yet, I don't think I'll find it.

Black Literature Matters

What's Kept My Mouth Shut

Before graduating from middle school, my parents told my teacher that was going to a certain high school.
She asked, "Oh, is it for sports?"
Yes, I have been an athlete for the last twelve years. But there's just something about how she assumed that was perplexing to me. So, I'm black and that automatically that means I must be going to a different high school for athletics? 

More often than not, I'm met with this stereotype of a black person as a great athlete. There are countless amazingly talented black athletes out there, and that's totally great. 
But three months ago, I finally got sick and tired of that stereotype. 
It held me tight and influenced my every action. I put myself under miserable pressure to be good at track. I was okay, but not talented as one supposed from the color of my skin. I did track for the sole reason of enjoying running, not because a lot of...

Writing Streak Week 12 Day 1

I constantly try to sort out the thoughts and ideas in my head. But most of the time, it's just a mess of words and phrases and characters. Like fragmented pieces, no correlation or similarity.

At times, I get frustrated.
Why am I like this?
Is the writing I'm working on now and in the future going to be worth anything?
Aren't they just words on a page? 


I should be doing something that makes sense to other people, least of all me. There's no guaranteed smooth path in becoming who I want to be. Yet, the last thing I want is to live without this.

Through emotional attachment to favorite books and meeting favorite authors, I know there's no way writing is just words. It's so much more. They may not be literal, but they are real. 

Making sense of all the whirling thoughts and ideas in my head could take a few hours or a few years but I know there's...

Writing Streak Challenge Week 11

Challenge Completed

DAY 1: 
The truth is I am not as unbothered as I paint myself to be.
I worry. I stress. I get scared.
When everything quiets down, when the doors are closed,
the waves of uncertainty I've held back gradually rise.
I have to be this. I got to do that.
I need. I need. I NEED.

Slowly, I've found a way to calm those waves.
To take a deep breath...and relax.
I'm still worrying, I'm still stressing, and I'm still scared of the path ahead. 
But I'll take it one step at a time.

DAY 2:
I wish for a best friend.
A best friend that understands even without saying so.
A best friend that I can always rely on.
A best friend that I can laugh and cry with.
A best friend that I don't have to be afraid of losing touch with.
A best friend that doesn't make me doubt.
A best friend that makes me believe that best friends...

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 5

"Why don't you talk much?"
The truth is I don't know either. I have tons of things I'd like to say. It's just that I'm just afraid of what they think when their attention is turned to me.

 

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 4

I wish that I could have headphones on 24/7 without my ears hurting when I take them off.
I wish that I could go buy books in person rather than ordering online because that defeats the whole purpose of buying books.
I wish that each day wouldn't feel so long and go by so quick.
I wish that the essential workers will persevere and save the world. 
I wish that BTS will have their world tour after the world is saved before I lose my mind.
 

Bad News

Waiting in the lobby chairs, I hear our teacher yelling through the door.  
"Should we come back?" I whisper to Liz.
She answers with a shrug, but I see uncertainty flick across her face.
I glance at the secretary across the room. What's making her so nervous? The entire room is filled with threads of annoyance and impatience, specifically coming through the closed door.
A boy shoves the door opens.
Lean. Tall. Dark hair. He’s wearing his uniform in a way that screams defiance. He's bad news.
But his eyes are the most stunning color of amethyst. I think I could actually be sucked into their depths if I'm not careful. I bite my lip to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor and avert my gaze. The space around this boy seems to have stifled into silence like we're holding our breaths. I'm holding my breath.
Then I realize that I don't feel anything from him. It’s like...

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 3

The truth is that perfection doesn't exist.
It's a poison that fragments images of each other,
Ruins relationships of all kinds, 
Collapses self-esteem,
Discourages pursuit of goals and dreams, 
And imposes suffering.
That mindset needs to stop.
Nobody is perfect.
Once we can understand that,
we can begin to heal the pain of the world's wounds.
 

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 2

I wish for a best friend.
A best friend that understands even without saying so.
A best friend that I can always rely on.
A best friend that I can laugh and cry with.
A best friend that I don't have to be afraid of losing touch with.
A best friend that doesn't make me doubt.
A best friend that makes me believe that best friends exist.
A best friend.
 

Strength of A Thousand Emotions

Carrying the strength of a thousand emotions, his voice could be heard even over the sound of the rain.
Joyful like morning sun. Sorrowful like gray skies. 
In a second, he took command of my heart.

There were countless muses in the world, yet here he was.
Soft as silk. Rough as rock.
His presence demanded respect and stolen breaths.

I'll make sure you never forget me, he promised.
Slow with care. Swift with certainty. 
The light that glittered in his eyes held the world in place.

The raw passion of his song traced my soul and filled it to the brim.
I felt the soreness of his failings, the elation of his triumphs, the ambition of his goals
All of it.

Tears streaming down my warm cheeks, I could not dare look away.  
The power of his words struck me and left a beautiful indent.
His voice, it had the strength of a thousand emotions.

Writing Streak Week 11 Day 1

The truth is I am not as unbothered as I paint myself to be.
I worry. I stress. I get scared.
When everything quiets down, when the doors are closed,
the waves of uncertainty I've held back gradually rise.
I have to be this. I got to do that.
I need. I need. I NEED.

Slowly, I've found a way to calm those waves.
To take a deep breath...and relax.
I'm still worrying, I'm still stressing, and I'm still scared of the path ahead. 
But I'll take it one step at a time.

Spaceship Earth

Fish in the Quarantine

Isolated and uncertain. Not many things are easy right now. 

This situation reminds me of Mrs. Dalloway, a novel by Virginia Woolf. A prominent theme throughout the novel was the characters' struggle of balancing privacy and communication with others. Peter Walsh, a character in the novel, thought of the struggle by comparing human souls to fish in the ocean: they swim in murky water, but rise to the surface often to linger in waves. Thus, despite the loneliness each character held inside about the future, they all in their own way sought human connection with others. 

Post-WWI era were uncertain times, just like they are right now during the pandemic. While I'm not comparing a global pandemic to a world war, there are similarities in being unsure about the future. We're all swimming in murky water, hoping for more breaks to the surface. We're all hoping to get back to the "normal life" we long for every day. We can complain about...

Darkness Never Lasts Long

The night may be lonely. Endless. 
The dreams may feel empty. Frightening.
The bed sheets may feel like a cold comfort,
and you're barely holding on.
But hang on.
Because the darkness never lasts long.
At its end of each night, the sun comes up again.
Warm and fortifying.
Gentle like a mother's kiss and strong like a dad's embrace,
the sun envelopes the earth's children in its tender love.
So hang on.
The darkness never lasts long.
 

Dear Old Friend

Dear old friend,
I'm sorry for leaving you alone in that place.
When you were gone, I lost myself too.

Dear old friend,
You were my partner-in-crime. An extension of my body.
Our performances weren't perfect, but we did it together. 

Dear old friend, 
In the time away, I realized that I missed your voice. 
A tune that longs to be played. To be heard. To be loved. 

Dear old friend, 
I'm learning to play our melody again.  
Slowly but surely, I know it can become ours once more.
 

The Fight for Justice

See Me

A friend texted me. I'm not black, but I see you.

We go to different schools and have different friends, but our friendship grew from our shared experience and love of French class, books, and K-pop. 

But with those six words, I suddenly felt like an alien. Isolated.

I'm not black, but I see you.

Why should my skin color matter in a friendship? Why does that have to be an unusual factor at all in any black person's life? Why can't we walk to the store, go for run, and pursue our aspirations without the chains of prejudice constantly holding us down? 

Throughout my life, I've always been in the minority. When I was younger, I didn't see it. But growing up, I've come around to getting used to it. I try to not notice it, but it's always at the back of my mind. How am I any different from the kid sitting next to me?

I'm not...

Enumeration

8 Things I Want to Do For Myself

I want to read more, learn more, and see more.
I want to be someone who can see opportunities in failures and obstacles.
I want to have true friends and allies by my side.
I want to say the truth when talking about what I like and don't like.
I want to do the things I want to do without worrying about what others will think.
I want to pursue my goals and dreams fearlessly.
I want to have no limits.
I want to be me.