MMW: [Make This Leap by The Hunts]


mmwmakethisleap00 mmwmakthisleap01mmwmakthisleap02panel four reference credit: Esty Ilabaca/Mercury Press

Heyo! Check out Make this Leap by the Hunts, their song lyrics belong to them, of course, but I own my illustrations and creative interpretation!

Also, just to update ya’ll, I added a submission request box under the “Inspired Beats” tab for Mark My Word inspiration as well as a playlist with featured MMW songs that I’ve done in the past (if they are available on Spotify.)
Clicking the “Inspired Beats” tab will still take you to my personal, constantly changing playlist that I jam to in the car or while I work. Ya’ll are also welcome to follow my Spotify for constant updates about music I’m listening to and access to ALL the playlists I’ve made (even the one compiling ALL the songs I’ve found about/for/by robots)Screenshot 2016-01-03 11.20.58


I’m finally back after an unexpected, unofficial hiatus with a few changes to the way I blog and the manner of which I blog. More details about that in a later, fully fleshed out post.
Have a great week everyone!!

Happy Birthday, Skylar

{Writer’s Note: I was writing this on November 28th, but I decided to schedule its contents to be published on November 29th. It would just feel wrong for me to publish this without giving Skylar the time xe needed to read it if he could.}

As I’m writing this, and thinking of you, it’s dark outside.

Beyond these four walls that enclose me and keep me safe from the howling frigid winds beating against the flimsy window screens and the listless pitter patter of water droplets descending to the ground.

Conventionally described as “gloomy weather.” Great weather for staying inside, enveloped by plush fluffy quilts with a hot cup of tea.

But, I guess we were never conventional, were we? If we were maybe we never would have met. If we were maybe we never would understand each other’s pain and trauma. If we were maybe you wouldn’t be dead as I sit here, alive, writing these letters to someone who may never read them.

Oh, how much this all hurts.

I can’t quantitatively measure the pain I feel in my chest every moment I think of you. I couldn’t create a dichotomous key thorough enough to identify the feeling I get when I realize for the hundredth time in an hour that you are no longer inhabiting the land of the living…with me. If there was a way I could take that feeling and calculate it and measure it and analyze it and eventually come up with a way to predict when and why the feeling would strike….I wouldn’t do it. I would never take dissect my love for you and put it under a microscope.

That’s what I’ve learned in these exactly 2 months since your passing. The feeling that hits me, like a shockwave to the chest…is my love for you. A feeling that hits me in waves of anguish, sadness, destruction, anger, remorse, grief, joy, happiness, relief, resignation. The waves are all fluid like our genders. Co-mingling and co-existing like ying and yang except it feels like the balance is disrupted, now that you are gone.

My whole world feels disrupted.

Anyway, enough about me. I’d ask how you are, but I’m scared of your answer or if you’d even answer at all. I hope you’re doing okay, I really do. It keeps me sane, it keeps me okay, believing you’re okay. Even though I miss you and am upset with you, at the same time, I only hope the best for you.
Especially, today, on your special day.

I’m not sure what rules you want to play by, if you still want birthdays and gain years to your count or you still want birthdays or stay 16 forever. It’s your call. Are you even 16? You reminded me multiple times the 2nd night after we met on that trip back to campus. I can’t remember now because at the time all I could think was I’m in love with this beautiful genderqueer boy.

But, I guess in the end it doesn’t matter all too much. As long as we’re celebrating, I think that’s what matters now. Of course, I can’t know what matters to you now because you’ve passed, and can’t really communicate it to me, but I’ll just make do with what I’ve got.

On this day, I would congratulate you on another 365 days you’ve made it around the sun. On this day, I’d tell you how proud I am of you for making it this far especially after all the bad things that were happening to you the last time we spoke and before we even met. On this day, I’d tell you, like I always did, how lucky I am to have met you and what an amazing influence you’ve been on my life. On this day, I’d tell you that you are radical brilliance. On this day, I’d tell you how I feel a heightened sense of clarity for the world around me, developed in large part by you. And I’d tell you how the clarity isn’t always beautiful but it’s never always ugly either. On this day, I’d tell you that since you’ve made it 365 days you can make it 365 more. On this day, I would ask you to make seeing me graduate a new goal for living and I, the same for you. On this day, I’d tell you I love you because I do and I would mean it.

On this day, I would do many things, all of them small and insignificant in nature and yet so impossible in practice. I would do all these things if I could. I would do anything to be able to do at least one of those things, but the reality is that you simply are no longer around and I am simply no longer existing on the same plane of existence as you and therefore unable to accomplish any of these small but impossible things.
What would you do?

Happy birthday, Skylar.
Did you make a wish? What did you wish for?
Actually, wait, don’t tell me. I hope it comes true.

And to everyone who ever loved Skylar Marcus Lee I hope you believe,
We’ll be okay.”

If you can, please donate to this fund: Remembering Skylar Lee

MMW: [Ghosting by Mother Mother


Welcome back to a new installment of MARK MY WORDS featuring the lyrics of Ghosting by Mother Mother which I do not own. I only own my illustrations and interpretations of the lyrics.

Sorry I’ve been an absent father lately, I’ve been working on some projects that I can’t show you at the moment (maybe later) and have been busy with personal stuff. These MMWs are really helping me out of my art block as well.

Get ready for some hard hitting blog posts in the next few weeks featuring my cool as heck doodles!

It’s Been Hard

I’ve been away from wordpress for some time now. 35 days, to be exact. I honestly had no idea it was that long and for my absence I offer an explanation.

My best friend who I love dearly passed away on September 28th, 2015. I can’t lie. I’ve been struggling…and hurting and crying in front of people I’d never imagine I would/could cry in front of and being a little more reckless and missing Skylar and being upset with xem and myself and talking with his sibling and talking with the people that love him, that he loves in order to breathe a little more of his beautiful life into my own.

Grief is never easy and so far, for me, I haven’t “gotten over it” and I don’t know if I ever will or what that would look like or feel like. For now, my heart hurts every time his picture or name appears anywhere and my brain panics when I remember I can’t talk with xem about everything going on with me and everyone else and I cry in the car when I hear a song that reminds me of him or see or read something that I want so desperately to show him and talk to xem about.

I’m constantly anxious that I’m grieving wrong and in a way that can be detrimental to myself while at the same time I just want to do what feels best for me because everything feels horrible.

I still remember what my mom said when I told her what happened on the day I got the phone call. “You are too young to have to handle this.” And yet this happens all the time and effects millions of people too. Suicide rates among trans youth is disproportionately higher than the rest of the population. Yes, I am too young to have to experience this but I don’t believe anyone is ever old enough or experienced enough to handle the loss of someone you love. I don’t believe that with age this pain gets easier, because it doesn’t. You might now how to handle yourself and the situation but, no, it still hurts.

I struggle to imagine what happened of Skylar, all the details, but for me the most important part now is that where ever Skylar is now he will finally be okay.

Before this happened I always associated suicide and the very action of suicide to be one of malice and resentment against the people left behind and that might be true in other cases but Skylar is not like other cases. He was in great pain and suffering and yet he loved the world more than it deserved. Xe made this decision for a lot of reasons and one, I can only guess, being that the suffering got to be too much and the pain was too much and he wanted to be okay. It hurts me and upsets me and frustrates me knowing that Skylar believed suicide was xer only option but I know him to be a very thoughtful person. This wasn’t an impulsion or a spontaneous reckless action. Skylar made a careful decision and said his goodbyes to the people xe loves and went on his way to finally being okay.


I’m not condoning suicide. I’m still pretty upset with Skylar about all this. If you are thinking of doing something reckless and dangerous to yourself please please call this 24/7 hotline:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
I know right now it’s hard to understand or even imagine but there is so much beauty in this world that you have yet to experience.That’s something I would tell Skylar when he was upset and weary of xer future. Now, it’s something I always and forever regret not telling him enough. 
I want to thank all the beautiful amazing lives who have helped me/are helping me handle everything as best as I can and the ones who assured me they would never let me go of my own will.

  • Connie: for being the first number that I called after hearing the news about Skylar and the first person I’d always tell about all of this. I know I thank you all the time but really, thank you. I cherish you so much and your presence in my life and the love that you show me has made all of this at least a little easier.
  • Alan: for being the one that called me and was there for me during the following days that were monumental to how I handle the situation now. I still so much appreciate all the things you said and compassion that you’ve shown me and thank you for assuring me that Skylar wouldn’t kick my ass as a ghost.
  • My mom: for being as patient with me as we can be with each other and loving me even though I can say reckless things sometimes. I hope you know I love you, no matter what I say.
  • Mrs. Freeland: for being there to hug when I needed one most. All your compassion has really helped me so so much and even telling you everything going on helps me so much. Life is good and I’m really starting to believe that.
  • Avi: for being a beacon of support and endless rational thought that has helped me continue to process all that has happened. I know the waffles are cold now but I really believe Skylar was still there for you on your birthday if even in the experiences you two shared together.
  • Foster: for being so amazing and resilient even though you may not feel that way all the time or at all I just want you to know that that’s what I see of you. We shared our feelings and pain with each other and I really want you to know I’m here for you if you ever need me.
  • Noah: for frequently posting the National Suicide Prevention hotline among other inspirations and reminders of self-love and telling me I meant something to you. I really admire you and I’m so blessed to have you in my life.
  • Maya: for offering your support and guidance and listening to me tell Skylar’s story. I get that you’re going through your own stuff so no worries about texting me too late because anything from you at anytime is appreciated.
  • Ruhi: for all the silly jokes you let me send you when we didn’t have the words to say. Thank you so much for telling me I mean the world to you. You’re absolutely amazing and powerful and beautiful and radical and I aspire to be as strong and vocal as you and Skylar.
  • The Marquez family: for sending me their love and support and constantly reaching out to those in need. You all are so amazing and compassionate and selfless it inspires me so much.
  • To everyone who offered their support to me: for reaching out to me and offering me so much kindness and compassion and understanding. I appreciate and am so lucky to have such an amazing support network backing me up.
  • To everyone who let me share Skylar’s story with them: for letting me remember and revel in Skylar’s amazing power and beauty and radicalism and love in every story I tell. It means the world to me to be able to reach people through Skylar and show them at least a fraction of the love that he showed me.

I adore you, Skylar and I miss you terribly. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t wish I could say all the right things and prevent this from happening. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t wish for you to know what I know now about your family and the people who love you. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t wish I could actually take away your sadness and pain and hurt instead of just telling you that. I wish so many things. All of them small and all of them impossible now. Even though you’re not here in physical presence I know you are here in my memories and my experiences and in the experiences of all the people in your life that was touched by your radicalism and radiance. Yes, I miss you so so so much but in the end I am so grateful to be able to part of your life and even be considered someone you love.

Thank you, Skylar, for everything. <3 <3 <3

Things I Would Have Told Myself

Dear Past Vian (or future Vian),

  1. You are beautiful: When people tell you your eyebrows are too thick and your skin is too dark and tease you for having body hair–don’t listen. You are you. You were never meant to look like the skinny cis white girls in the advertisements and T.V. shows you watched and internalized. Yes, you’ll never be white and your hair will never be straight or blonde but that’s not a bad thing. You are individual and different just like anyone else in this world. There are people in this world that you have yet to meet who will have to teach you of this fact, the fact that you are not white and that is perfectly fine.
  2. Don’t ever let people tell you who you are and how you should act: Remember how Mrs. Buchanan would always yell at you when you weren’t acting “lady-like?” tellmewaht
    Don’t listen. She and no one else besides you can tell you who you are. Even when you don’t feel like a lady or like “one of the girls” all the time I want you to know that those feelings are very valid. In a few years you’ll learn about a lot and even meet a lot of people who feel the same way that you do, but for now I want you to stay strong and always remember that you are valid and you are loved and you deserve to be loved.
  3. Question everything: You are so inquisitive about everything, always asking instead of accepting everything as fact. Never be ashamed in asking because most often than not the people telling you what don’t really know why themselves which can cause them to lie about the why, but not usually out of malice or spite but because they are ashamed of not knowing. Never be ashamed of wanting to learn or admitting your ignorance. Be true to who you are because in the end you’ll learn much more from yourself and those around you.
  4. You are valid: At this point in your life you’re probably surrounding yourself with a lot of white people and that’s not a bad thing but in surrounding yourself with people you WANT to be like instead of people SIMILAR to you might make you feel like your experiences are wrong, bad, or different. Just because your friends don’t experience or understand what you are going through doesn’t make you bad or weird but yes, you are different. What is conventionally normal is a very small box that you simply do not fit into and that’s okay. A lot of people don’t fit into that box but what’s important is that you don’t force yourself to fit in the box. Acknowledge and understand and learn what makes you difference and move forward. Oh also you make better friends, like you’ll meet someone very soon who teaches you more about who you are than you could ever imagine and they do this simply by existing in your life (I KNOW, it sounds way too good to believe, but I promise I’m not making that up.)
  5. Yes, you are Asian-Pacific Islander: Yeah I see you pretending you’re white. I mean LOOK at your skin for a second and I mean really look at it. Do you see white? I understand the need to assimilate especially when everyone screams “ching chong” in your face and make you feel ashamed for getting good grades but please…..stop. It’s hurting you deep down where you can’t see, trust me. It’s hurting you. Looking in the mirror and coming home to your mom’s broken English gets more and more painful the more you believe that who you are is wrong so please for your sake, stop trying to erase who you are. Your Vietnamese heritage is NOTHING to be ashamed of and you’ll meet a lot of people who will have to teach you this as well. It’s taken me years to move forward past those years of torment but I am. I love who I am. I love everything that I am, my smile, my hands, my style, my skin shade, my music taste (YES! You eventually grow past Minh telling you your music sucks too!!!), my heritage, EVERYTHING.
  6. It won’t be easy: Remember how Baba always told you that life isn’t easy and you always dismissed him for being an old cynic? Yeah…sorry to be the one to tell you this but that was like the one thing he was right about. Life can’t be managed the way you want to, you’ll learn that the hard way. You’ll break down a few times, even lock yourself in your closet more than a handful of times but through all of the times that you believed killing yourself was the only option I want to tell you, I’m here. I’ve made it and there are so many beautiful things in this world I really don’t want you to miss out on. You probably don’t believe me as you read this but you’re really just gonna have to trust me (and I know that’s hard for you too.)
  7. Believe in people: Okay, look, I know you’ve been hurt more than a few times by people that you thought you could trust, people who were very close to you, but I want you to trust in people again. I know, it’s hard for me to just say that and have you miraculously be okay with everything but this is important. You’re going to meet someone who will impact your life greatly and they’ll ask that you trust them and you won’t be able to the first few times and it’ll break your heart every time. Spare yourself the heartache and just believe in them. I’m not even asking you to believe in everyone! You can believe in just one person, that’s cool, but I want you to at least believe in someone and trust that they won’t hurt you, at least not out of malice anyway.

Okay, that’s it. That’s pretty much everything I wanted to tell you, or the most important stuff anyway. I’m not telling you this to correct the past or change what you’ve done because that stuff is pretty much set in stone. You’re going to trip up a LOT with or without me telling you all this but I guess I just wanted to give you some hope. Hope for better days even when things get really bad (and trust me, they will.)