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It’s the end of 2018 and of course, because I live to serve, I’m handy-dandying compiling a list of my personal favorites of the year. No lie – I have more than 5 but I also realize that folks may have a short attention span (and in that case, boy is my blog the wrong place for you because I blather so excellently).

However, in the interest of all the shiny things out there, I have forced myself to choose only 5. (I may cheat, though.) One of my cheats is to bring your attention to my Top 5 Chinese Posts of 2018. Don’t worry. I’ll have more sneaky things up my proverbial sleeve.

This year, I feel as if I have traversed a long, torturous road and somehow, managed to find my way back home. When I look back at my most vulnerable pieces, I see that I wrestled constantly with the themes of fear and identity.

I am very proud of myself – both of the work I did internally and the body of work I produced with all the different types of writing I tried. So without further preamble, I bring to you Mandarin Mama’s Favorite 5 Posts of 2018.

1) Not Today

As I mentioned earlier, 2018 was a really rough year for me emotionally and it culminated in several blistering posts, of which this is one. In it, I write about the abuse our family endured from my father, the feelings of anger and fear I am still processing, and my desire to be a monster to end all other monsters. This piece seemed to resonate the most with readers and should be paired with its sister post, The Memory of Fear.

2) The Memory of Fear

Though people responded more to Not Today, I consider this piece to be the best thing I’ve written all year.

I don’t know how to explain why exactly, except that I find it satisfying on multiple meta-levels. I like how the title itself is both a declaration of fact (they are memories of fear) as well as a hope (that eventually, fear will be a memory). It is circular. A feral roar. Raw.

The essence of what I think and how I formulate thoughts at my core.

I hope you respond to it at both a gut and cerebral level.

3) A Crisis: My Mid-Life Manifesto

Part of me is still annoyed that many readers seemed to miss the entire point of this piece, focusing only on the sex bits. (Well, I suppose they cannot be faulted. Who wouldn’t focus on the sex bits?) However, this post was useful in helping me articulate just what about and why I was so angry this year.

Now that I’m on the other side of my SET MY WHOLE LIFE ON FIRE phase, I’m grateful to my husband, friends, and readers for sticking with me through it.

4) Afraid of Joy

I find it super interesting that the seeds of Not Today and The Memory of Fear were in this post. That I have been writing and complaining about the same things for so very long. And that it may also be some time before I work these themes out of my system – and perhaps never will. They will just evolve and hopefully mellow with time and healing.

5) Time Traveling Down the I-5

And now, for something completely different.

I included this piece because I wanted to remember that I am capable of writing beautiful things that aren’t about Chinese or pain and suffering. Even though it was an article about a car, I really loved how it evoked nostalgia in a dreamy and floaty way.

Alright. That’s it for my five favorite posts of 2018. When I collate all the pieces I wrote for other sites into a post, I will update it here, too. (That’s my cheat.)

Thank you for reading all my many, many words. A writer writes, but really wants other people to read what they write. Without you, I have only my audience of one. Here’s to so many more words in 2019.