We all have our own irrational beliefs, our own tiny superstitions that take hold of our actions and behaviors. A coin that a man finds on the street is suddenly imbued with mystical powers. A black cat crossing an old lady’s path ruins her day, believing that black cats are somehow bad luck. In a lot of places, the number 13 is anathema.

These superstitions and beliefs are usually rooted in some truth that somehow got distorted through the years. Found coins became lucky because parents wanted to reinforce the value of saving to their children, hence they tell them to keep the coins they find. Four leaf clovers are considered lucky not only because they are rare, it is because they appear only when there is an abundance of clovers. Where there are lots clovers, it usually means that there will be a lot of bees and these bees would pollinate, ensuring plentiful harvests. Soon, people began to equate finding four leaf clovers as lucky because after they find them, they usually would have more food to harvest before the winter came.

However, there are things that have a special significance on a more personal level. These are even more irrational than the ones found culturally, because the reasons behind them are held by that particular person only. They are rarely understood by other people because the experiences that spawned this belief is usually rooted in an experience that is unique to that person alone.

For some reason, I always equate a sunny day with something bad. I actually hate waking up to with sun in my eyes. The reason for this is easy. In my country, if it rains too hard, classes are cancelled. Like snow days, rain meant that I might not have to school that day. School was not the happiest of places for me. So my childhood abhorrence for school grew into a love of gloomy, windy days with the rain in my face.

I have a friend who has this superstition that she cannot be too happy. She believes that if she ever became too happy, something bad happens. I do not know why she feels this way. I often ask myself what happened to her that she purposefully avoids being too happy, even as I struggle to get her to laugh once in a while.

I also take a lot of stock in signs. Lately, I have been seeing the number 444 a lot. I have seen several plate numbers ending in 444. Sometimes, right when I look at my phone or watch, it just happens to be right at 4:44. I have also woken up several times at 4:44 in the morning. A part of me is afraid because 4 in the Chinese culture is associated with death. If you go to China or Hong Kong, all buildings do not have a fourth floor. Apparently, the Chinese word for four sounds like their word for death. I try not to think about it too much. Maybe the number four is my personal sigil, my very own lucky number. Maybe, instead of death, I truly hope it means something else.

Today while walking down the street, I saw three big beautiful white birds flying over a dirty canal. I had to stop for a while and admire this vision. The contrast of the stark white wings flying gracefully over the muck resonated with me. For some reason, this sight made me feel at peace. It was as if somebody was telling me that the world may be fucked up, but there is still much to hope for in this world. Now as I fall asleep, I hold on to that in my mind. I would like to dream that tomorrow is a place full of hope, and that the problems we have in life are things that we can fly away from.


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