travel

Flight Safety

Rage poetry puts on a brand new face in my latest.  Written during a layover at Incheon Airport (seriously, my best work comes out of layovers, that or terrible things happen like my phone disappears) after I posted a photo on Facebook of the two heavy-ass luggages + my backpack I hauled to Asakusa Station in Tokyo, on foot, earlier today.  I was really proud of myself for accomplishing that.  It was a shitshow, and I didn't think I could do it, but I did.  Yet I didn't get any comments on how difficult this must have been, being that I'm a 5'3"ish Asian woman who's no powerlifter or 5-armed freakshow.  I don't hate my cousins and aunties from all over the world who want me to be safe.  I really don't.  But after 10 weeks and I don't know how many flights, and being alone the whole way, you start to think about the way people communicate with you when they do.  I internalize a lot of things, and without the sound board of a fellow human traveler next to me, the transgression evolves.  It often turns into really powerful writing.  But essentially I'm questioning what we really mean when we tell people, "be safe" before, and when they travel, as this was the repeated, and only comment that photo got, along with several other posts throughout my trip.  For one, I know for a fact that if I was a single male traveler I would get a lot more "have a great trip!" "have fun!" and a lot less of this "be safe" nonsense.  And I unapologetically call it nonsense because I am just one person.  One of billions of people on this earth.  No political ties.  No religious following.  I'm just a single person, who just happens to be a woman, but thousands of people get on planes every day.  Yes, there are terrible people in this world who do terrible things to harm innocent people.  Yes, that stuff makes news headlines very often these days.  But the truth is, you're not safe if you stay home.  No one is.  And so the worst thing to do in this time is to stop traveling, or rather, stop doing anything out of fear.  I wanted to talk more about that but the poem came out a lot more personal, and in that regard, staying home means a different kind of imprisonment for me.  I get on planes and I'm never happier unless I'm getting on a plane because being at home always has been, heartbreaking.  I'm changing that now.  I'm getting up and going places now because I can, but there are still a lot of people who don't understand it.  In the medium I do best - Instagram-approved, rage poetry - I give you my latest.  Appropriately titled, 'Flight Safety'.


Flight Safety

be safe
be safe
be safe
be safe

what the fuck should i be safe from?

tell me again to be safe
since you won’t tell your son
your nephew
your (presumably male) boss who flies way more than i ever will in my lifetime
obviously you’re not worried about what happens when i fly
you’re not concerned with the structural integrity of the plane
you’re concerned about something else

lets talk about that

you’re afraid of me getting raped
mugged
stalked
abused
killed
because I’m leaving for an hour
a day
a year

yet you fail to understand why I’m leaving in the purpose
why i CANT STAY
maybe its because I’ve already been raped
stalked
abused
killed
inside
or outside
which one you ask?
thats for me to know
and you to stop judging

maybe because i die a little more
every single day
rotting in the place that broke me
around the people who tossed me
simply for being who i am

18,000 daily flights
1,250 destinations
every day
and thats just star alliance
thats how many people move
see things
do things
that change their perspective
thats how many people won’t settle
why do you need to chastise me for being one of them?

and honestly id rather be one of those millions of people
in transit
moving from place to place
40,000 feet up in the air
because the sickness
the danger
is from fear itself
you paralyze yourself
when you stay afraid
you destroy yourself
when you stay the same
you kill yourself
cause you’re going insane
I’m going fucking insane
and if you really want whats best for me
and you want me to stay safe
i need to start with my brain

this is the way
i save myself
this is the way
i take care of myself
this is the way
i love myself
by getting the fuck away
from the people and things who hurt me
from the people and things who don’t get me
why should i stay
when i don’t have to
would you?

you want me to be safe?
be with me
not against me
they didn’t protect me
so i don’t need your worry now
and don’t ever sit at home in fear
cause what you’re seeing isn’t true
you don’t know whats real until you see it
feel it
touch it
hear it
and you can only do that when you get out
and beat it

fear itself
builds walls across countries
and can drive a wedge between you and me
if you love me
wish me well
know that the safest way to move
is in an airplane
and the safest way to live
is with an open mind

lastly
its fucking 2016
don’t say anything to me
that you wouldn’t tell your son