the same wrongs helped me write this song

The Emancipation of Me(mi)

The month was April. The year was 2005. I—a scrawny, ill-proportioned boy of 16, with skin the color of Lily’s peanut butter—had set out in the mild morning heat for our quaint town mall.

I began my day knowing how it will be spent. It would start with a 14-minute journey to Robinson’s. I remember vividly how I left home to do just that, with the clanging of our iron gate as it closed behind me. I didn’t even try to hide the spring in my step.

You see, I had marked April 11th on my calendar like it was my birthday. And who could have blamed me? After months of revisiting various websites and countless hours of staying tuned to the radio (a thing that began and ended in this period in my life), it was finally here. For those who’ve had to wait for something with great anticipation, you know what it feels like when the wait is finally over.

The day of The Emancipation of Mimi’s release ultimately became a hot one, scorching even. Smack dab in the middle of summer, with the 9 AM sun hovering somewhere above me, I walked. I couldn’t look at the sun, of course; I only felt it. The sky was cloudless, blue as it could ever be. I felt a drop of sweat drawing a line behind my back and still another one rolling just below my left ear. I kept on, feeling my bag jostling next to my waist. In it was the money I had saved from skipping recesses and denying myself after-class trips to McDonald’s. 

When I reached Robinson’s, I sat on its front steps, in front of its still-closed doors. The security guard, fidgeting with his phone, was oblivious of me. I knew I was too early. I wanted to be the first one in the music store. I wanted to hear the whole 50 minutes and 10 seconds of it. I didn’t have to search for what the word emancipation meant; it was defined in Mariah’s website: To set free from care or restraints.

I had gained a bit of freedom myself at this juncture in my life, having hurdled high school in a fashion not a lot could emulate, having been able to secure a spot in the top university.

I was a generally a happy boy on the outside. A lot of things were working out for me. Inside, however, there was a growing tumult, a barrage of self-perpetuating questions regarding my identity.

High school graduation, entering college—these times told me I was growing up. And growing up made answering these questions more urgent. Who was I? What would I become? Where is my niche? Every day that came and went, with these questions unanswered, I got a little bit more lost. I remember looking at the mirror and not liking what I saw—the way my hands moved, how I could easily roll my eyes, or just the way I stood. I even hated that I loved Mariah so much, something I shared with one of my closest friends. Being bullied about this was another thing we shared. In hindsight, maybe it was because I didn’t want to be queer and yet everything I knew pointed to just that. (Why is it that a lot of us like Mariah?)

At 16—in a devoutly Catholic family, in a provincial town, inside a campus where everybody knows everyone, where your parents are both professors—growing up gay was an unnecessary scourge. Life is unfair, isn’t it? I had a support group, though, comprised of a few good friends, but most of them were to study in other universities in far places. I guess that added, too, to the dreading of the growing up part. In a lot of ways, college was the beginning and the end. And in this paradoxical time, little did I know, The Emancipation of Mimi would serve as its soundtrack.

My love affair with Mariah Carey began in our car, in a parking lot. I was with my father and he had just installed a CD player.  He had me listen to My All and pointed me to notice the texture of the singer’s voice, how she easily glided from a breathy, sultry coo to a strong chest voice. I listened. By the start of the new millennium, I was already purchasing copies of her albums and had memorized all of her runs and melismatic ways.

I had also learned about her story: How she was discriminated as a child, for being of mixed decent, for being somewhere in between. How their family car was burned and their dog poisoned because her interracial family lived in a white neighborhood. How this molded her and made her strive to be more. How she already knew at a tender age that she was going to sing for the rest of her life, how she wrote her feelings, made them into songs, which would later become no. 1 hits. I started to be a true fan, I think, at that point—the previous years, I was just mildly obsessed about her.

Her life became even more fascinating, particularly in the light of all her achievements in the music industry, not to mention the influence she’s had on so many artists. She vehemently denies it, but to a teenager, her life easily looks like a fairytale. That is, up until her famous breakdown in 2001, following her debut film Glitter tanked in the box office and its accompanying soundtrack’s sales failed to compare with her previous releases. (Interestingly, the album was released on 9/11. Yes, that 9/11.) She received bad publicity after bad publicity and people forgot that she had at least one no. 1 song for each year since her debut, nor that her collaboration with Boyz II Men, One Sweet Day, was and still is the longest-running no. 1 song in music history (16 weeks), and never mind that she had just received the Artist of the Decade award by Billboard. All these and more in less than a decade, but one failure was all it took to relegate her to pariah status.

Mariah sort of bounced back late 2002 with Charmbracelet–easily forgettable save for the lead single, Through the Rain, which became an anthem here in the Philippines. She became quiet afterwards. Rumors about Mimi went around in late 2004. Here, only a few people cautiously predicted it to be her comeback album. Most didn’t want to bet on her. She was easily a has-been in the early 2000s and understandably so. She had been counted out. I wasn’t one of them. In fact, I was betting on her, to prove her critics wrong. I saw myself in her, somehow. Growing up, I was bullied and teased a lot, for acting soft, for reading books too much, for liking to hang out with girls more often, for not being sporty, and for favoring Mariah Carey songs.

Mariah has claimed music saved her life. Whenever she’d feel low, she’d write lyrics or listen to the radio. I realized that I did the same, only I listened to her music. Songs like Hero, Through the Rain, My Saving Grace, and Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme) have helped me get through a lot of dejection. And my showing up there, half an hour before the mall opened was my thank you, my statement that I was rooting for her, like how she rooted for me.

That day, after getting my copy of The Emancipation of Mimi from the town mall, I immediately went home and locked myself in my room. I placed the CD gently in the player and carefully unraveled the album inlay, which to my surprise doubled as a poster. I looked at the large photo of a woman in gold, beaming with triumph, like a phoenix from the ashes. I took a deep breath and pressed Play.

I—a scrawny, ill-proportioned boy of 16, with skin the color of Lily’s peanut butter—had set out to find saving. Being in this world was harsh, I had learned early on. But within the confines of my room on that hot summer day, in spite of everything, life seemed fair. The month was April. The year was 2005.

This essay first appeared on

♒             Love tastes awful

Originally posted by noonakiller-hanbin

Title: Love tastes awful

Pairing: Hanbin x Reader

Genre: Fluff, Romance

Length: ~1240 

Request: Hanbin imagine/scenario where he willingly goes through helping you just bc your right leg is in a brace/cast… (i made it broken instead)

A/N: And this happens when i try to write fluff? idk i’m trying to write more fluffy things these days so here you go. And i would be so happy if anyone requested more Chanwoo, Donghyuk, Yunhyeong, Jinhwan– literally more of the other members except for Double B. I love Double B and writing about them but iKon is a group of 7 members so please give them some more love~ ♥

It had been 20 minutes since you were sitting on the edge of the bed, wondering about what to do because fuck, you really needed to fucking pee and you couldn’t stand up because of your stupid leg that was broken. Yeah, usually you got crutches but since Hanbin had decided to carry you all the way here, they were somewhere in the other room. And Hanbin? He was probably writing songs and producing music which could take hours while you had to pray each second for you to not pee on the stupid bed.

You already felt bad enough for making him cook and take care of you (yes love tasted pretty awful aka his food “at least it was made with love??”), so there was no way that you would call him again. I can do this, you cheered on yourself as you slowly stood up and proudly smiled when you were standing straight on one feet. Wasn’t such a bad idea after all. As you tried to jump to the bathroom, looking like a little kid who was playing some game, you were almost reaching the door when you slipped and fell down, hard.  

Fuck, you cursed for the nth time that day and felt the stinging pain on your back and already broken leg. In times like these you tried to think of something that could lessen the pain like unicorns or shit, yet the pain didn’t seem to lessen and not long after Hanbin came again in a matter of seconds when you seemed to struggle so badly because you were a baby and couldn’t take care of yourself.

“Why didn’t you call me??”, he rushed over and got a hold of your body. Because then you’d force me to eat that soup of yours again, was that even soup?? Okay actually you really loved that he did all this for you but you felt so guilty about it, so you’d rather fall again and slip on your feet– okay maybe not, Hanbin was definitely the better option. “…i didn’t want to disturb you?”, you replied doubtful after he pulled you close to him so that he could support you. “What were you doing here anyway? You need to rest”, he sighed with a tired smile. You never listened to him and did as you pleased, it wasn’t that he minded much, he just wanted you to be healthy.

“Okay ma'am”, his face looked so serious, you couldn’t help but let out an amused chuckle. “Let me just carry you there, princess.” Hanbin carefully lifted you up and you ignored the loud forced sigh that came out of his mouth. Your hand automatically landed on his arm to give it a soft punch, “i’m not that heavy”, “Yeah yeah whatever you say.”

“Stop!”, Hanbin was going towards bedroom when you remembered again why you were risking to fall on the cold hard floor in the first place, “I-i need to–”, you weren’t sure why you suddenly got all flustered, after all he was the one who had seen you naked enough of times. But the way he held you and looked at you, just kinda melt your heart a little bit and of course you ruined the moment by your bodily needs. Hanbin only chuckled, mumbling something like “oh, bathroom, got it”, and carried you back all the way you had proudly jumped earlier before you slipped like an idiot.

After you were finally relieved, both of you were sitting on the couch in silence. It felt weird when Hanbin wasn’t working and was being there only because of you, no laptop or paper in one of his hands. “I’m gonna make dinner, you just sit and rest, okay?” He was about to stand up when you harshly pulled him back. “Take me with you! i’ll help”, “No you–”, “Hanbin, i’m not a baby okay? And are you sure you wanna eat burned rice again?”  

“Okay, i guess you have a point…”, with that he placed you on the kitchen counter while he followed your instructions on how to properly cut the vegetables. “No not like that–”, you told him for the nth time, whining a little because how in the world could anyone be this bad at cutting vegetables. “How am i supposed to cut the onions when i can’t even see anything???”, this time it was him whining, wiping away the tears in his eyes. “Aww, poor baby do you need a kiss?”, you jokingly said and felt a little guilty when he pouted and mumbled a soft no, first this.

“Hanbin… you don’t have to do all this because of me. Just go write your songs or practice, there a far more important things than taking care of me. I have crutches, they work perfectly fine! I feel so bad–”, you were interrupted by a kiss which lasted for only a few milliseconds– a few milliseconds enough to make your heart tingle in excitement, prickling on each part of your body. “Hanbin…”, “Shh”, his hands rested on each side of your legs and you let him in between your legs to pull him even closer. You already lost this argument, no way you could change his opinion.  

“I will take care of you”, he whispered against your lips, as he looked into your eyes and oh how luscious he looked at you right now. You wanted to kiss him again but he stayed still, closing his eyes to find his voice again because he really needed to tell you, “No, i want to take care of you, so badly. I want to be a good boyfriend”, he paused before taking a deep breath, “I really really want to take care of you. Do you know how happy i am that we can finally spend a little more time together? That i can have an excuse to stick by your side, not leaving you for even a second?”

The expression on his face looked so desperate and you couldn’t help but kiss the very top of his nose because how much you hated it when his brows were narrowed like that. “So stop telling me to write songs or something because that’s what you’ve been doing the whole day already.” You never knew that it would disturb him this much, you had thought the opposite that he rather wants to spend his time working since he loved it so much, however you were completely wrong, he wanted you instead. It was a relief in some way, it was the same thing you wanted. Him and nothing else.

“Okay, officer”, you let out lighthearted chuckle and there he was back on your lips, his hands disappearing somewhere in your messy hair to come back at your naked legs, his magical touch connecting with your skin that send tingly signals all over your body. Heavy breaths filled the kitchen and it wasn’t long after when you pulled away confused. “What?”, he asked confused. This smell….

Shit, you cursed again on this day, probably hitting a new record of cursing in less than 2 hours. “The food…”, was burned. “Hanbin i love you but i really can’t eat burned dinner again.”

“You don’t need to, let’s have another dinner instead”, you didn’t miss that dirty smirk on his face when he carried you back to the bedroom. That really sounded like a better idea. Yes, definitely.

anonymous asked:

I mostly write with fantasy ideas in mind. Do you have any prompts that involve fantasy elements but isn't necessarily a fantasy book?

Hey so I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this, so I’m just going to stab around here and hope I hit something good:

• “Alright, so I just saw a “unicorn” over there by the fair that was obviously just a white horse with a horn strapped to its head. It didn’t even have the right coloring. Some people have absolutely no respect.”

• “Nowadays people want fantastic. They don’t care if you glued the antlers onto a jack rabbit all they care is that the jack rabbit has the antlers.”

• “Maybe now isn’t a good time, but do any of you have the leaflet on how to not die in these woods?”

• The cat meowed, staring pointedly at them and swishing its tail back and forth like it had something important to say.

• Sometimes people had three eyes, sometimes people had none, sometimes people had one. Frankly, it was rude to think they were anything less than human just because they could see the future instead of seeing your face.

• Buses were always interesting places to see just what kind of things were lurking around the streets at night.

• “I would like to formally challenge anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to try to keep a faerie as a familiar to fight me.”

• The same song always started when you entered the shop. It had no noise and nothing ever played, but the same song always started when you entered the shop.

• Swords were almost as invaluable as the pocket guides to inter species relations around here. Particularly if they were magically concealed. 

• The smell rising from the kitchen was sweet. Like potion-gone-wrong sweet.

Like I said: wasn’t entirely sure what you meant by “fantasy aspects”, but I hope these helped anyway. If there’s anything else you want in a prompt, please feel free to let me know!