I’ve Been Recognized!

I’ve been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award! I don’t even know what to say, I’m so grateful! Thank you Ray so very much! Check out their content, they deserve all the views, readership and success in the world.

The Blogger Recognition Award Rules

So I’m supposed to give a bit of backstory on how the blog came to be, the journey so far, advice for new bloggers, and nominate 10-15 people.  I’m a tad long winded, so forgive me for the “how this blog started” portion’s length. I just needed to get its origin story off my chest.

How In Asian Spaces Came to Be:

On February 14th of 2017, I began working at my dream job. I wasn’t anyone very important of course, just one of four receptionists at a Japanese Cultural Center. After years of studying Japanese culture, watching its media and developing this insurmountable passion – I was finally living the life I always imagined.

I had never given a damn about any job I held before, I’d always just taken what was available to me. There were petty cat fights, aggression and harassment from management – but finally things had changed. It was different. I was different and for once, I wanted to try.

So I did the very best I could, each and every day. I arrived early, helped everyone to the best of my abilities, and enrolled at the language school on the premises to continue formal lessons in Japanese. I made a lot of enemies being so passionate about my job.

Certain co-workers would ask why I was there, and even email me job offers for other places. I didn’t speak fluent Japanese, never completed the JET program, and was not a Japanese from Japan. So why was I there?

I ignored the snide comments from visitors who also wondered how “someone like me” got there – asking questions like:

“Are you part Japanese?”

“Do you know someone higher up?”

Or remarking

“It’s nice someone let you work here”

All the while not realizing that upstairs beyond the public’s eye, the building was an almost even split between Americans of all backgrounds and Japanese from Japan.

Mind you it was never the Japanese who said terrible things, even when I eavesdropped on their conversations in their native language. It was always another “American”; usually not from New York.

Go figure.

But I survived, and I thrived each time I interacted with an expert from Japan, the head of a corporation, small business owners and people from the anime and manga industry. Unfortunately for the latter, some of these people were the type to treat you like gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe and then put on a dazzling smile for the public. I always have to laugh at the hypocrisy each time I attend an anime convention and there they are, conducting their panels and acting as if they walk on water and are the absolute finite pillars of the community.

That’s the funny thing about being a ‘lowly’ receptionist, people show their asses and never know the person they treated like shit could be right there in the audience, watching them.

You never know who anybody is these days, which is why you should treat people with respect and courtesy if they have never offended you. That is a given anyway, but people seem to forget the golden rule.

The best moments I had during my time there were:

  • Watching Okashi no Ie (おかしの家 ) in 2015, only to see Odagiri Joe walk through the lobby with his security and get into the elevator.  Later that night a film event would occur and he flew in from Japan to promote it. I remember hearing businessmen who had meetings with the higher ups speaking in Japanese about the actor, playfully making fun of his English name and stardom. It was even funnier when they saw me laughing and realized I understood them, and we joked about him together.
  • Watching a language learning series on YouTube years earlier only to realize that the location was the park across the street from my job, and the kind sensei in the videos was now the lovely sensei teaching me Japanese in real life.

It had felt like kismet, but all good things must come to an end.

A co-worker I never really got along with had become the new manager, and I interviewed for a vacancy in another department. I didn’t get the position, and suddenly began being sent to HR for things I didn’t do – forced to defend myself against the most ostentatious lies shortly after.

I spoke to the manager along her immediate superior in a meeting where I was told that “because you are dependable, we will keep putting you on unfairly and you’ll just have to deal with it.” I argued that newer employees had preferential schedules – while I never took off, never complained and didn’t mind being there, I just didn’t understand why they were treating me so poorly.

I learned around that time that only one of my three supervisors fought for me to have the new position, the other two spoke against me. I know which two more than ever now. I guess they didn’t want to lose their “dependable” work horse.

It only got worse from there. So one day, after my shift I told them I quit. I had a very long meeting with HR where she seemingly tried to stall me; not understanding why one of their best employees was completely done. I tried explaining the events that lead to this, even writing a very long detailed list of grievances as a last stand weeks earlier at my penultimate visit with HR.

I was told none of that mattered, that she “couldn’t see the forest through the trees” and that they (basically) believed the manager over anything I could possibly say.

So I left, and never looked back.

Months later I was still home, running out of money. Then one day, a Hail Mary came through that provided me a limited amount of income to live on. I tried looking for remote work and received a few interviews, but nothing stuck. I read that starting a blog while you search could be helpful, so I did that. I just wrote about daily WordPress challenges, and occasional short poems.

Until one day, I had the idea to write about Japanese culture, positive experiences, and things I’d learned from the center. It wasn’t until my coverage of AFNYCC and its response that really made me pause and say – “hey, this could actually work out”.

I purchased the domain shortly afterward.

I’ve been home a little over a year now, and for the first time in my life I can truly say I’m happy. I don’t have much money coming in, but I’ve decided to take things one day at a time. This may sound strange, but a lot of random occurrences and coincidences (if you believe in those) have been cementing my decision to become self-sufficient. To be my own boss, and work for myself.

I now have two websites, where I can talk about whatever I’d like without fear that some editor above me will reject my thoughts. I’ve made progress on stories and projects I placed on the backburner years ago when I didn’t have time for myself, but rather had to work on making others rich and successful. One of my short stories should be ready to drop within the next two months, scripts for graphic novels are now completed. Other short stories only need a few edits before self-publish, my novella is halfway written and I’ve finally finished those short film scripts I’d written in college – because I really should put this expensive Cinema Studies degree to use.

I’ve moved on and I feel good. I still have my original goal to stride towards concerning this website, and I know I’ll get there someday. I have shared it once before on Twitter, but I’ll keep it a secret for now until I’m able to do it. Within the next two years it should come to fruition.

And to the person from the company who has been keeping tabs on me in private mode on LinkedIn since I quit: if you’ve found this website I have a message for you.

I hope that the woman who lied on me – we both know who she is – finds happiness. I hope it is something she has dreamed about for years and it’s so perfect it doesn’t feel real. And when she does, I hope someone systematically destroys her experience each and every day.

When that does happen, I’d like her to think of me and realize that in this world, you do reap what you sow.

Half the staff that were employed while I was there have since quit, so 山田 太郎さん, you should really focus on your existing relationships and how to improve your workplace, rather than trying to figure out what I am doing.

I am grateful and excited to start this new chapter of my life, and thank you to those who read this blog. It’s been a struggle, but better days are ahead!

Now, for the nominations. I nominate:

A Nerdy Perspective

Global Debauchery

Living in Japan

Seeing Wide

The Comic Vault

The Navigatio

The Shooting Star


Travels With Nano


Advice for New Bloggers:

  • Try to self-host as soon as possible. It gives you a greater sense of agency over your content and because you own the domain, definitive authority.
  • SEO and promoting your own work on social media is really important. There are many resources, but Neil Patel’s website is a great place to start.  He goes into long tail keywords, short tail keywords, SEO optimization, DA, Backlinks, and a whole bunch of other stuff I had no clue existed until I started blogging.
  • It may seem like no one is reading, and you’ll get discouraged. But then one day out of the blue, you may receive a nice comment that motivates you to keep going. People really are reading, even if it seems like sometimes you’re just talking to yourself.
  • Join a blogging community or Facebook group to meet and network with others. Twitter has a really supportive community, you can start with the hashtag #BloggingTribe and narrow it down to find your niche.
  • Schedules and consistency are important. I’m really bad at keeping schedules, but people need to know when to look for your new content or series so they can support you. They want to know when to drop by and say hi, let them come!

Thank you again Ray, and congratulations to everyone nominated! I wish you all the success in the world, please continue making original and amazing content!

✰In Asian Spaces

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I’ve been Nominated!

I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award! It’s such an honor and has taken me by surprise. I would like to thank Andrew Comte of excuse my Thai (@excusemythai ) for thinking of me and the work we do on the blog. Please check out his blog, he does some amazing work concerning Thailand and ultimately has a goal of creating a non-profit to help provide rural Thai families with children’s school supplies.

So the rules are to nominate fellow bloggers, and list seven things about myself.

I nominate:

K, Amalog – A millennial lifestyle blog with a focus on underrated locations in Europe. (@amalog)

Mikhail Koulikov, Anime and Manga Studies – Takes an erudite approach to Japan through the cultural mediums of anime and manga. (@AnimeStudies)

Simon Gao, I can’t believe it’s not animeFeatures wacky and obscure Japanese film reviews that lend great insight into J pop culture and the inner society as a whole.

Japanese Tabi – An expat living in Japan and experiencing the country as the locals would. Hopefully they come back from hiatus soon! (@japan_tips17)

Jennifer, Japan’s Wonders – A glimpse into the lesser known areas of Japan, coupled with phenomenal photography!

Kay, Kdrama Kisses Brings you the latest in kdrama news, media and reviews. It is a great site to find your next new seasonal obsession! (@Kdrama_Kisses)

Karandi James, 100 Word Anime – Your one stop source for a spotlight on the anime community and reviews for ongoing shows! (@100wordanime)

7 Things About In Asian Spaces

I really enjoy taking walks in the rain. I don’t know what it is, but it creates an extremely peaceful atmosphere. The air smells fresh, the earth is quiet and cars move more slowly. No one is rushing and the earth seems still for a few hours.

I’m a huge fan of Lofi music and lately I’ve been getting back into Bon Iver.

I’m a woman! Lol. I’m intentionally vague on this blog and I notice that when interacting with people on social media they assume I’m a man for some reason. It’s actually kind of funny.

When I was younger, my mom used to have this elaborate plant wall in the house. As I’ve grown, it doesn’t look as big anymore but she has a green thumb for sure. Me? Not so much. Luckily, succulents (desert plants) seem to like me…so there’s that haha.

I grew up and still live by the ocean and miss it when I’m far away. On warm days or after a storm the air smells like salt water and sometime seagulls fly overhead.

Shinkai Makoto is my favorite animation director, and Children Who Chase Lost Voices (from Deep Below) is my favorite film by him.

I absolutely ADORE period dramas of any kind! Some of my favs are: The Borgias, Reign (some differ on calling it a “period drama” because it aired on The CW but I digress) and The Last Kingdom. I would add Game of Thrones, but only before season 5 – after that it kind of went to shit.  I may be turning into A Song of Ice and Fire book snob…

Thank you again Andrew for the nomination (and sorry I’m getting to this so late!!)

I never thought I’d receive something like this! Everyone, please check out the bloggers I’ve nominated! They are all gems!

✰In Asian Spaces

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About Halloween

A quick update on what is going on with In Asian Spaces as we near 2019.

Hey Everyone!

So just a few things I wanted to talk about concerning the blog.

I wanted to post something for Halloween yesterday, particularly my own Japanese ghost story. While I was still at the cultural center, I encountered a lot of strange things – especially since I was frequently working early mornings or nights. The security guard and I used to trade our own stories.

One day, however, some really creepy things happened in the break room and the bathroom. It made me think back to all of those Japanese “bathroom” ghost stories I’d watched videos about on YouTube years ago. 赤マント, or Aka Mento levels of creepy.

It was very slow sometimes working there, so I had a habit of bringing notebooks and either studying Japanese or writing short stories. I thought I wrote down in detail what happened that day, because I remember texting my mom about the incident when it happened. Especially since besides myself, only maintenance was in the building and they were in the basement and I was alone on an upper floor of the building.

I hunted for two days looking for a particular notebook with the story. I have a really bad habit of buying a bunch of notebooks and using them for certain topics, or to just have one laying around in a random place whenever a spark of inspiration comes.

I did find one late yesterday evening, however, it was only half of the story. I really remember writing it down, so maybe next year I’ll post it in full.

Then I thought about doing a sort of countdown with past scary shows I’d watched. Psychological-thrillers and psychological-horror are particularly terrifying themes to me so I wanted to focus on being trapped in your own mind. I went back and forth with the idea, writing short reviews of some of my favorite series before deciding it didn’t sound good or felt half-assed, and abandoned it.

I am extremely picky about my writing and way too hard on myself. Actively trying to change that.

So I have a few little reviews that I most likely will push myself to sprinkle through the blog in due time.

I was working on the #YokaiSpiritSunday series, and one of the resources I was using (a medium blog post about Shinto regalia to cover the next yokai I had in mind) up and got deleted. I dabble in academic journals mainly for the series, but couldn’t find anything like that in English until that article. And they deleted it. As I gave them a clap for it.

I don’t know why, but I feel like I jinxed myself by showing appreciation before completing the article, which is usually what I have been doing. So I am still working on that, hoping to get one out this Sunday. I’m still also trying to figure out if I want to do it bi-monthly or at least three times a month. The research for the article is easy, I just seem to slog when it comes to editing. Also something I’m working on. But in general if I’m not completely happy with something, even with a self-imposed deadline, I really just will not do it/complete it/publish it until I’m happy with it. I had a really bad habit of doing that in film school by missing term paper deadlines and emailing the professor to literally type “I was not happy with my work and self-sabotaged. Can I have an extended deadline” and they usually obliged.

I’ve also been working on a book series, which I think I eluded to in earlier posts on this website. I’ve been writing content for when I launch the site, working on graphic novels and shorts trying to flesh things out more. There are two main stories in the series, and the rest is an offshoot. Similar to George R.R. Martin’s “1000 Worlds”, each story (for the most part) takes place in the universe on a different timeline. It’s a project I am super excited about, but I have (another) bad habit of doing all or nothing.

So I will either write a ton of content for In Asian Spaces, or spend a week or two writing and world building for the series and neglect this website. On Twitter today, I came across the #NaNoWriMo hashtag and decided “hell, why not” and threw my hat in. For those of you unfamiliar, basically it is a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a short novel (50,000 words) in the month of November. There is a huge community surrounding it and it feels good to be writing with everyone else, telling stories and sharing tips. It’s so much support and good creative energy.

I also feel like by entering, I’m one step closer to the goal of attending WorldCon 2019 in Ireland.

It will also help me kick start this backlog of short film screenplays, web-series ideas, graphic novel scripts, short story ideas and novel ideas I’ve been hoarding and inconsistently growing since college. In Asian Spaces was one of these ideas – a blog dedicated to anime, the culture surrounding it and its influences. So I am slowly, but surely getting to this mental list I’ve had for years now.

Luckily, I’ve been prepping content for this month and December to try to get ahead to work on my backburner projects, so this is where that comes in. I won’t be posting as much this November because of the reasons above, but I also don’t want to completely be a ghost. I have a few Kdrama reviews to upload this month from a backlog of binges in times prior. The Korean Culture tab has been kind of dry as well, so I feel the need to add in some reviews along with other one-off article ideas.

I also have a few manga reviews and then in December I’ll be reviewing all of the shows I mentioned on the blog (and a few I haven’t) that I vaguely promised reviews for “at a later time”.

So that’s the game plan for the remainder of 2018, along with guest posts and contributions to other websites. If anyone would like to collaborate on anything, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on the contact page or email me at InAsianSpaces@gmail.com .

It’s been wonderful getting to know those in the aniblogger/jblogger community here on WordPress. Everyone is so talented and has such unique voices, I truly feel lucky to be a part of it. Thank you, Everyone, for being so kind and encouraging! It really does mean a lot to me (=

I’ll most likely be posting something later on today and was going to add this onto the post, but judging by the length I’m glad I decided to leave it separate. Here’s to a creative November, Everyone! (=

-In Asian Spaces

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How Our Environment Influences Us | Self Reflection Journal Entry

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

No, I have not become one of those hipsters that quote Rumi. But this is fitting to describe this passage of time I’m currently in. The ethos between self-reflection and meditation and the death of ego.

I’ve been in my head a lot lately.

There have been two reasons for this: a new diet, and an old home influencing me. I’ll explain – last summer I had access to farmers markets the entire season. Fresh, vibrant fruits and veggies I’d never seen before. I delighted in looking at the assorted goods each time the dully colored tents that attracted eclectic crowds of individuals came to the area. It lit up the grey and drab surroundings that sometimes the city can convey. I went vegan that summer. It was a struggle, then it was effortless. Now I know what you’re probably thinking – please stop rolling your eyes and don’t click that red x in the upper right corner. This is not a commercial supporting an eating ideology, I’m simply trying to make a point. This year without the privileges of the last, I’ve settled on a vegetarian diet that consists of intermittent fasting. It’s particularly difficult some days, but others I’ve never had so much energy. So much so that I actually stopped sleeping for a while. Like I’d literally be up all morning just reading and lost in my unconscious thoughts. Thinking and reflecting on things I hadn’t in years. It didn’t help that I started working out more and dabbling into meditative practices.  Which brings us to ye olde home.

I live in a very old home that thankfully has a beautiful yard that used to be all forest before I was born. Sometimes strange flowers pop up from time to time, sometimes wild roses and these past two years it’s been honeysuckles. Beautiful white flowers adorning yellow blossoms and great green vines. Each morning opening my window the scent mingles with pine trees and it’s been an absolutely stunning end of spring. The electrical wiring in my particular room is faulty – I live in the upstairs portion of the house.

Years ago one of the outlets in my room randomly stopped working and I thought nothing of it since I hardly used it. For weeks I’d heard sizzling and gingerly re-adjusted the power strip cord in the socket. Brought a new surge protector, a new adaptor, but alas it was finished. Then my antiquated console went as well. My modes of enjoying Netflix and YouTube were gone. Sure, I could come downstairs and hook my laptop up to an HDMI cord to the back of the TV but…it just seemed like a lot of effort for no reason.

So when it was time for Netflix to expire, I canceled the renewal for the next month.

I decided maybe the universe was telling me to take a step back, and I willingly unplugged and delve into this self-imposed isolation. So I thought, and I slept, and I wrote, and I started sleeping in silence.

Silence has always bothered me. I usually needed something, anything in the background. I’ve even awoken in the middle of the night once my TV turned itself off on a timer just to turn it back on to listen to anything. I started listening to music, lots of music. Dream Koala had always been one of my favorite artists, Biosphere, Nujabes…and lo-fi and jazzhop had captured my imagination. Then that became too much and I just slept in silence. Since then I’ve had this strange sense of clarity between the diet and hearing the birds outside my window each morning. Smelling the earth’s gifts beyond my doorstep. It did something to me and I finally made a lot of progress on other projects I work on that require mental juggling and the correct mood.  Graphic novels, short stories I’d like to compile into a book, the Solarpunk Afrofuturistic book series I’ve written mentally in my head but for some reason when I open up Word nothing comes out.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about older anime series I watched. Series I absolutely loved that are a bit taboo or far too…Blasé to speak on now that so much time has passed. But do you know what? I don’t give a damn and I’m going to re-watch them and talk about some of the ideas that have been setting up unauthorized office spaces in my head. I’m going way back, such as Yakitate!! Japan, Ghost Hunt, Samurai Champloo, Michiko e Hatchin

There are a few cultural topics relating to Japanese society that I’d like to cover as well, especially since summer is upon us. I’d also like to release some of the series that I’d worked on before I decided to mentally check out a few weeks ago. I seem to be coming back down to earth, and my collective consciousness is returning. A consciousness that allows me to actually focus on things I’ve written, proofread effectively and not absolutely hate every single thing I’ve written for no reason at all. Like writer’s block had a more aggressive, angry cousin coming in and telling you to just delete pages of content you’d prepared if you did decide to take a bit of a mental break. Anywho, it’s time for me to get back to work and get back to In Asian Spaces. Because it seems passions don’t go away, but rather enjoy to haunt you once you decide to turn your back on them.

Why would you turn your back on something you love? I don’t know. Fear and uncharted territory seem to make one do strange things. But we shouldn’t fear what we can accomplish in this lifetime, especially when we only have such a short window here in this moment. The seasons are changing and I will change right along with them. Until then…Check out our Instagram! I plan on posting more frequently, but don’t feel strange to drop by and share the love. I check out everyone who comes by, regardless of follower count or content.

Have you had any recent moments of clarity? What are your plans this summer? What do you long for? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more juicy content this upcoming season!

(Also a Tokyo Ghoul:re review is coming soon…since the show should be ending this Tuesday and it’s been nothing short of a disjointed disappointment story wise for non-manga readers.)

Do We Take Anime Culture in America Seriously?

Do you actually take Anime Culture seriously? Anime Culture as in watching anime, reading manga, studying Japanese language, going to cons, buying figures, etc. Do you see it as something cool and foreign or as actual stories told by Japanese people using the medium of animation?

Just some background on why I am asking this. I’d been into anime since middle school, staying up late watching Adult Swim because I was bullied and could never sleep. I gradually started watching fansubs online when my mom brought us a computer. Switched from dubs to subs, I started buying books on Japanese culture and studying the language. A few years later I created a YouTube channel doing reviews of niche anime and manga, but it wasn’t popular. Due to the fact that the standard channels were talking about whose waifu is trash, fmk, who had the best teet-hair color combo. I refused to do that, plus in hindsight I didn’t promote the channel well enough. I was in film school at the time (I finished btw) but I would actually talk about character growth and development, plot events context in Japanese society and customs, etc. and it was dirt compared to people who squealed about mainstream show episodes by saying “the pacing was good, the animation was on point, the music – OMG – I was so hyped” to the crowd they catered to.

After college, I got a job at a Japanese cultural center for a year where I continued to take language lessons (I’m currently intermediate level and I will be trying for the JLPT N4 in December) and I had a good time there. I didn’t watch any shows, mainly because I didn’t have time but also because I felt like I was living in a Slice of Life. I knew a lot of customs (meishi koukan, correct amount of times to bow and the degree, how to accept or give items, how to be conscious of my body language i.e. not a lot of hand gestures, even nuances like how to refer to myself by pointing to my nose) and I knew literally all of that shit from watching anime and glazing older cultural books. My colleges were always impressed and I received a lot of respect. I had no problem surviving in the thick Japanese atmosphere where I heard Japanese spoken each day and dealt with businessmen and workers from well-known international brands. I had friendly convos with the older ladies in Japanese at local grocers by my job, could find my own non-English manga at book stores; I never felt out of place going to summer Matsuri or other ceremonial things. I didn’t feel like a total gaijin, even though we were still here in America.

When we had events for anime and those in the community showed up, they were looked down upon. It wasn’t fair, but it’s not a secret that Japanese don’t put a lot of stock into any sort of subcultures. The fans showed up in their Black Butler T-shirts and Shingeki no Kyoujin backpacks (which was fine) but didn’t even try talking to some of the Japanese people who were also there. There was such a clear divide between people with similar interests, where the Japanese were probably “too foreign” despite Americans consuming their media that does have a lot of traditional aspects in it. The Japanese were probably intimidated by the language barrier and thought it was a pain to try to speak to them.

Do you watch anime consciously knowing these stories are told by actual Japanese people, or do you just enjoy the aesthetic and don’t really care about the culture behind it? There are so many reasons why anime has educational value and why it is so popular. The bridge can definitely be crossed I think. I just don’t know if each side is ready.


How do you tell someone about a ghost? The reincarnated soul would not even understand.

You are left haunted by the lingering memories. Alone. Stifled.


make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate.

restrain (a reaction) or stop oneself acting on (an emotion)

They say that writing coloured with emotion can be some of your greatest works; because they are your realities on the paper. Even so, sometimes it’s hard to come to the self-realization that you even have pent-up emotions. What if even now, you are stifling yourself. You are absolutely stifled. You do not want to be overtaken and swept up in lost emotions.

Stiff. Stifled. Shuffled. Shit-dismayed.

You want to talk to someone, but it is physically impossible. They are a ghost. Not that they are in the spirit world, but that they no longer exist in the form you once knew.

The magic, the energy, of encounters past haunt you in the most peculiar moments.

One moment you are drinking tea, the next moment you are reminded of the way their body smelled in a warm car on a cold, winter night. Both sheltered in a little alcove away from the rain. Safe, drinking warm tea and watching traffic pass by.

Why? Why then. You were just trying to enjoy a cup of tea. Why would that memory decide to resurface?

How do you tell someone about a ghost? The reincarnated soul would not even understand.

You are left haunted by the lingering memories. Alone. Stifled.

So maybe you should write about it?


Do you even want to read what you’ve written? Do you want to lock it away in a mental vault instead?

Vaults get old; they rust.

They leak your treasures, one way or another.

So what to do, what to do.

Go to the sea, set it aside for me.

Find me a bottle, an old green glass bottle.

Send them away, raise them to the tide.

Look at your reflection in the side of the bottle.

See who you are now, let go who you were before.

If you can. If you can’t,

If you can’t;

 I know not what to tell you.

You’ll just be stifled.

As am I.

& What a lonely existence it shall be.

You came back at the worst possible time, I thought I was free.

Two Ghosts Haunting One Another.