Swallow the Red This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , East Brunswick, NJ
“Mom, where’s the hot sauce?” is always the first thing to come out of my mouth, after I sit down at the table and see a blue china bowl filled with noodles, off-white and thick, the succulent and slippery type that breaks beneath the grind of my teeth just the right way.

But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. It lacked something I could not place, an ingredient that was desperately waiting for verbal recognition, to leap from the tip of my tongue and into the steaming bowl of noodles, the color of day-old snow. For the longest time, this almost-there-but-not-quite feeling left me dumbfounded. I ate those noodles for weeks, then months, until one day, I saw a clear plastic bottle with a green top on the table. And inside… was red. Endless red. It was infinite to me. That was when I knew what the missing ingredient had been all along, and within seconds, I gripped the bottle in my hand and squeezed as hard as I could. The red came squirting out. Like paint, like blood, like ketchup, like asian fortune—partially liquidized. I watched the red slip over the soft noodles, watched it disappear into the soup, watched the soup turn into blood. Then with an anxious smile, I parted my lips into an “o” shape, leaned back my head, and tasted for the first time in my life.

I swallowed not just hot sauce, but the physical manifestation of passion, red and flaming.

Then I realized the full truth of “You are what you eat”, because I am passion. I am red and flaming, and proud.

Red is, all at once, so many things. It is anger, it is pain. It is harsh, potent. It also happens to be the color of luck. Red is sexy and bold. It is unafraid to make a statement. Red is seductive and intimidating. Red is the color of leaves burning up in the chilly fall. Red is heat.

So am I.

My whole life, I have struggled with profuse and conflicting emotions. Every moment, I am a different person. One second, I am feeling on top of the world…As if I could smash my staff into the sand, and watch the seas part. I am dominant, I can do anything. I am a lioness, fierce and raging.

I am vulnerable.

Depending on what the next few seconds bring me, I may fall to my knees. I bleed profusely, skin or soul. I feel as if the situation has reversed, as if I am bearing the burdens of the world on my shoulders…as if I will break. I am caged. I am in a safe, locked away from words of consolation. I am in a safe, protected from rape and murder and the outside world. I am in a safe, but nobody thought to protect me from myself and the raging sea of overwhelming sensation. I drown. I struggle to re-surface.

I breathe.

And suddenly, the pain is gone. And instead, I see the scars. I take them, and make them into words. I read over the paper, I edit. I hear the music, but more importantly, I listen. The notes, the rhythm, the beat. They all inspire me. They bring me to my feet, swaying. I want to write my words on the paper, but I refuse to write when I cannot feel…and so I rip off my scabs.

I bleed.

I drown in the hot sauce, in my obsession and my passion for pain. I scribble the words onto the paper. It is barely legible. Cryptic. I rewind. I replay the words. I speak them and feel them. I indulge myself, like a rapist. I don’t hold back. I brutally violate myself, emotionally, because I want to feel. I swallow the red and choke on the spice.

I am a spoken word poet.

I press stop.

People have called me bipolar, a lunatic, a schizophrenic.

Some know me for my kindness and shoulder to cry on, while most others know me as the short-tempered, wired (with a short fuse) and wild girl. The one who sits on the floor of the high school public bathroom and cries until her vision blurs and she can no longer breathe through her nose. Hot sauce brings to me those feelings, those reactions. The tears in my eyes distort my view, physically and mentally. I see things differently when I slurp up that sauce.

Some people overdose on drugs to avoid emotion. Well, I overdose on hot sauce, to embrace my ability to feel. My ability to love, to loathe, to fear, to admire. I want the extreme, I am extreme. I live on the edge, in my own way.





Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Anona Mowes said...
Jan. 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm
Very visceral and descriptive. A friend of mine recently actually wrote her college essay about her relationship with red. It's a beautiful color. Nice job.
 
JasmineWang replied...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm
Thank you! I'm currently writing my college essays right now haha. 
 
galile0 said...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm
Wow. I love this unique way of writing about a personal experience. Your language is really unique. Nice job! 5 stars.
 
JasmineWang replied...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm
Thanks so much =)
 
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