Sometimes we treat it like it is about safety and shame

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In 2011, Mark Zuckerberg gave himself a new challenge. He gives himself a different challenge every year: one year, it was learning Mandarin; another year, it was wearing a tie every day. In 2011, he committed to only eating meat from animals he killed himself.

Some people were horrified by this last one, but for me, there was a sort of deep logic to it. I eat meat. When people ask if I have any dietary restrictions, my answer is usually, “I eat everything”, but if I am really…

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We all move between different communities over the course of our week, but I consider myself to have a weirdly mixed life compared to some others. I lean left politically, and have a background working in social and environmental justice issues. This takes me between “liberal” spaces and more radicalized, marginalized communities working to fight against or change something in their community.

At the same time, I commute to and work as a teacher in Port Coquitlam, a blue collar, politically moderate working class suburb in metro Vancouver. Although the container is more politically moderate, the politics and demographics are…

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For almost a year in my mid 20s, I fell into a deep and continuous cycle of depression. It was triggered by a bad relationship situation, but was rooted in racism I had struggled with my entire life growing up as an Asian-Canadian male in Canada, racism that cut so deep it had shaped a significant part of my life and who I was until that point.

At the time, I feared I would never come out of it and it would be the new normal for me until the end. Four months into that year, the strain and anxiety…

Scribbled in my journal, May 2018:
Scribbled in my journal, May 2018:
Scribbled in my journal, May 2018

I took a hiatus from social media last year. I was a heavy user when I was younger and have been on some form of it since I was a teenager. The way the internet joins us together is complicated, and although it allows a kind of connection that would be absent otherwise, I took my hiatus because of something many of us understand at some level-although there is a connection it facilitates, social media isn’t really a connected space.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are contradictions for people who want to change the world for the better. #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo…

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This is what happens when you work on something off the side of your desk for two years.

My new 4-part series “We need connected spaces more than we need safe ones” started as one piece, but later split into four. I’ve been chipping away at it off and on between the ebbs, flows, and busyness of work, life, and love. Sometime after the first year of not finishing it, I asked myself, “Why do you keep working on this? Why are you spending endless hours writing and rewriting this thing that maybe a handful of people might read?”


If you are interested in any of my other poetry, it all lives here:


When intimacy
is scary
people find
comfort in

It’s time for that to change

I vividly remember the first (and only) time I visited China. I was in music school at the time studying music and music education. My main instrument was (classical) saxophone, but I was singing and conducting almost as much as I was playing my saxophone, and was in China touring and performing with the University of Victoria Chamber Singers.

I was excited to go. I was traveling with many of my closest friends, most of whom were white Canadians of various stripes. As a second generation Chinese Canadian who grew up in Victoria (B.C.) …

I remember feeling a sense of anticipation last October. Although nothing was certain, it looked like we were about to have our first female US President. The election campaign brought with it a new (or old?) kind of rhetoric that seemed like it belonged more in the 1940s than the 2016s. The USA, a country that takes pride on its political and religious freedom had political candidates openly suggesting that they create a religious registry to track Muslims-Americans simply for being Muslim. Politicians publicly stated they thought the decision to intern Japanese Americans was something to emulate.

Explicit racism and…

I’ve spent my entire life trying to figure out how I fit, or should fit into the world. As a child, I had a burning desire to know this (in the sincere way many children do), but I began to seek out answers with more intention and focus when I entered my early 20s; it was around this time I also began to see some of the inequities and injustices of the world more clearly (including how I experienced them) and become involved in what people sometimes call social change work.

Like many young activists, I found myself going through…

Ryan Cho

Teacher, Asian-Canadian, Writing to learn and explore

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