28: Self-Interview

Hello! I’ve decided to conduct a self-interview with questions I’ve conjured at random on days I can’t recall specifically. By the way, I turn 28 today!

Why do you like “ratchet music” so much? Examples of songs you’re keen on?
Ha! First off, shout out to all the producers and lyricists who have created many of my favorites such as Freek-A-Leek, Candy Shop, Taste, Big Bank… it’s the momentum of the beats that instantly put me in a good mood and sometimes, the vulgar lyrics make me pop out a smile when I’m not in the best mood. This music pumps me up during gym sessions, makes me excited and then I sway to the rhythm, oh, it’s a wonder how music can lift our spirits. Music is an undeniable art and I appreciate the musical artists who are embedded in the routines of girls while we get ready to go out, while we drive in our cars, while we pump iron, and while we make memories with friends. I hope I never tire of this sound.

What are your favorite words?
Kerfuffle: it’s a string of silly sounds that is informal slang for commotion, but I often use it in place of squabble. I do like the word squabble, but since I discovered kerfuffle, squabble remains in my mind and not by the tongue. The word blossom comes to mind because one, I love flowers, and two, it reminds me of the beauty and progression of nature. Flowers blossom when they’ve been planted, watered, nourished, and have the will and strength to open and showcase their beauty to the world. When I think of myself, I hope to blossom, especially after a chaotic and madly painful period of circumstances.

List your insecurities: physical and characteristic. 
My physical insecurities are endless!! The size of my hands, the bunions on my feet, the pores of my nose, my acne scars, the oiliness of my skin, and all the details of my face. One thing I have noticed is that, in comparison to my younger years, the intensity of my insecurities seem to be subdued. They are still there and creep around in my mind but I take a more proactive approach these days. I’ve been consuming more protein and putting actual effort in the gym, pushing myself to run and lift more.

In terms of characteristic insecurities, I know I have much to work on when it comes to my ego, my spending habits, and my haste. I love instant gratification. Sometimes, I think I lack hope for the far future and what’s in the unknown space of tomorrow, next week, and the coming months. Despite how much I plan, I don’t know what the next day of my life will be like. I have had my faith be tested and disappointment hurts and is not a beat one can become numb to, regardless of how many repetitions of the somber sound I hear.

When was the last time you felt proud of yourself?
When I was able to do a shoulder press with 30-pound dumbbells on each arm.

Last embarrassing moment.
I have had many. I try to not get embarrassed these days because life is short and the world does not revolve around me, but this is a tough task for me. So… I was last embarrassed when I was done speaking with someone in the office, I looked down and saw that my fly was open. I zipped it up and told myself to not wear those pants anymore and also not overstuff myself with free lunch!

What experiences are you looking forward to?
Moving back to Southern California, in due time, when the moment is right, and when I am financially ready. It is a goal I cannot give up on.

Going to Korea and Japan.

Running a 5K. I’ve yet to sign up but as someone who once hated running and any form of cardio, this is a big deal for me! I was looking into one after I finally did 3 miles on a treadmill. Took me an hour, but hey! We all start somewhere.

List 2 interests of yours:
Death. It is so permanent yet it’s an ending that never ends. When people we know, loved ones we once shared space with, people we once saw with our bare eyes, become a name on a stone, I wonder. When a breath of their name can still be blown into the wind, was death truly the final blow?

I do not fear death
For when it is my time, it shall be
When it is meant for me, it is called destiny 

Fate does not wait. Fate runs the film of our worlds endlessly without hesitation and suspension. Fate cannot be stopped or fought as no one’s next breath is guaranteed. When I accepted this, I was freed. Life lives through me and I live life through this magnificent manifestation mixture of my mind, body, and soul. Our bodies are merely containers for our unnamed souls. When the vessel that shelters my spirit unwinds, only then shall I find myself twisted with the winds, mixing with the air, swaying with the spirits whom I know not their names, but only the energy they omit. 

I think my version of death is when one is forgotten, with no story attached to our name, and our name has no significance. Now, that is truly the end.

Theatre. I love watching live talent! It amazes me what people can do, and do well at that, and in front of an audience multiple times with the same consistency. The way they sing, prance and dance around, deliver lines with care and passion, and how people give their all into a character and the story, plot, and message. I saw a local play recently in person. I need to go to more plays. I would love to see Hamilton and Wicked live.

Describe the person you miss.
One lesson I have learned is that the bridges I burned, in the past, kept me warm but only temporarily.

In my early 20’s, cutting people out of my life was the only protection I knew well. I ran away often, crying victim and blaming the other party, clearing my name of guilt and wrong actions. I trusted my cold emotions, poured fluid on friendships, and set a fire to offset my winter heart. There were flames in my eyes. Looking back, it was a heat fueled by anger and anxiety. As I approach my 30’s, I revisit the bridges that now lead to nowhere, and I gaze at the debris of my destructive past.

The ashes of what once was has long floated away with the winds, the rain and snow, for time has done its job. The memories now dust, paid no mind, and solely mine to sweep away, as the distance grows between what I once shared with people who once were in my life. I often wonder where the line between a mistake and a regret lies and how often the two lands feel like the same city to me. The person I miss? SVG.

What’s something you wish you knew 3 years ago?
I wish I knew that love isn’t enough. Love is beautiful, poetic, grand, and all the romantic words but it does not save a relationship. It takes more than love for a relationship to blossom.

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Past Life, Passed Like

It is October. Autumn shares her cooler evenings and the sun gives us less of his light. Three years ago, I was starting a new job. Two years ago, I was in love. One year ago, I was again starting a new job. This year, at this moment, I think of a passed time, a past life, I’d like to call it. I am reminded of that life more times than I can count–at the fault of none.

Seeing a life I once undeniably lived, watching it go on without me, without a moment’s care or second thought…is strange, difficult, and almost feels unreal. It feels like I’m in a field watching something 380-feet away, and the view is familiar yet strange at the same time. The distance grows a foot more as each day passes and I admit (red-faced), I ache for what once was my situation. The attempts of getting closer only make the distance more apparent. When will I find the courage to look away? When will I end my envy of the view?

I’m embarrassed. I visit those gates of my past often. The visits have reduced as of late but I return and sneak a peek into what I did two years ago, who I communicated with, and the nights where I felt more than I do now. I haven’t forgotten. And I haven’t forgiven, either. 

I’ll also admit I feel weak. I resent my ego. I resent my selfishness. I resent the loneliness that hovers over me and feels like a secret room that is allowing me entry again. Wishing I belonged somewhere, anywhere, as I once did. I daydream to a time and space when I knew very well where and with whom I belonged. But those daydreams stem from memories of the past, the moments have long passed, and yet I remain stuck.

I struggle to close the doors of the past. I don’t want to leave behind a happiness that I know existed. But, I lock the gate, with tears in my eyes, knowing this won’t be the last time I cry about what no longer is, and each step away breaks my heart once more. The routine is long gone. The structure of my weeks stand shakily. Unpredictability is the only valid prediction now. 

I’ve long toted the nonphysical banner stating that I never lose as I always learn. And while I’ve learned plenty about relationships and myself in this period of eleven months, this is a solid loss. 

I have no genuine idea if there is a lesson that will liberate me of wanting what no longer is. What great lesson will free me from this foreign grief? What thought will make my emotions less painful and more positive? Will time allow me to win this unspoken battle?

I wonder if time is enough, if ever, for such a situation like this.

I say no. Time is no magic trick. Time does not heal all wounds. Distractions, duties, vices, vacations… no matter where I am on this Earth, there is nary a spot where a storm cannot touch. Grey skies, a sprinkle of tear drops, the threat of thunder’s sound, and just like that, sadness falls upon me as I cannot outrun my overdue rain. It is now cold.

And yet, sadness coats me with a comforting warmth, a feeling I avoid as I know this space all too well. Heh. Sadness is my forte, I tell my friend, A. It is where I write the most. It is real. It is human. For I am only a mortal and this midnight sky is opposite of the passion-evoking red that glowed a few years ago. I think my past life passed like a hazy blink. It’s the space of fuzzy vision and wondering if I’m in a dream still. I’ll confess, I don’t want to wake up from my dream just yet. But I must. I loved my life back then and while I love life still, it is a different love. Oh, to be human on this ride we call life!

Being human is conflicting, confusing, and consistently unpredictable. Wanting something and never again able to obtain it…is a strange and swift pull from the dreams of our minds. It is a thrust into the dirt of reality. It’s humbling, to say the least. 

As an almost 28-year-old, I aim to still have fun to nurture the child within me. The fun part is that I know sadness is a storm that will pass. With watered dirt, I can grow roses of strength, tulips of kindness, and daisies of simplicity. The truth can be simple but complicated to accept, I tell myself. My past life passed like an encounter with a hummingbird: beautiful yet brief, an excitement that’s gone within a flash, and a lingering disappointment when it’s all over.

In a world lacking honesty and transparency, why does the truth hurt when it is undeniably the whole fact? Why does rejection hurt? The truth can come at you quick and it could take months to swallow the damn pill. Yet, somehow, I find it beautiful. The truth is power. Honesty is power. And honesty moves us, more so than we think not. My past life passed like it was meant to be; it happened, it was true, and…it is over.


Each blog post of mine is a time capsule of my current emotions, thoughts, and aspirations. Today and tonight, this is what I’m experiencing and thinking. One aspect I enjoy of life is that a few things are permanent. Change is a constant. Change is a friend I can depend on. Change has never failed to show up in my life. While change is almost always scary and uncomfortable, I must float with the waves and not swim against it. I don’t care if I’m crying while my life changes, I would never want my life to stay the same. I know I won’t ever stay the same—so why would I dare expect that out of life, friends, or anything else from the universe? 

Thank you for reading!

Egos & Expectations

What in life can we truly control? There seem to be some definitive answers such as our schedule, the money we spend, and the amount of spicy salsa on our tamales. But when it comes to aspects of life we cannot control, such as the weather, traffic, and relationships ending…when does it become our duty to let go and let life exist as it does?

I have begun to tell my friends, “Expectations are a form of control.” And it’s interesting as I type this because let me ask your opinion, is the word control a negative or a positive word? That’s the first of many questions in this post.

There’s this popular quote floating across the internet: Expect nothing, receive everything. Maybe you’ve seen it once or twice, I know I have seen it plenty. At first, years ago, I perceived this to be a silly quote because having standards and setting expectations are good things, right? Maybe not?

Here’s the array of questions I have for you. Do you personally have expectations for friends or a significant other? Have you verbally communicated those wishes clearly? Is it ok to assume what others want from us and not ask for confirmation? On the other hand, why does it hurt so tragically when someone doesn’t meet the unspoken expectations we set for them? And, strangely, why does it hurt your ego to ask someone you’d like something from them?

Allow me to share an embarrassing story. I recall a moment when I donated the most minuscule and laughable amount of money to multiple people and I was miffed that not all said, “Thank you.” To put it simply, I was a bitch. As I look back, I cringe at my ego for being so loud. Instead of being disappointed in them, I now shamefully shift my disappointment onto myself. Why did I then shamelessly showcase such an ugly characteristic? Sadly, that was not the only moment where I grossly displayed my ego. I’ve held multifarious shows that not one person wanted tickets for and the crowd (rightfully so) booed. I regularly question who did I think I was then. Hah. Lesson: Thank-yous are nice, however, don’t expect everyone to say it and don’t take it personal if you never get any for whatever it is you have done. Give because you want to and not because you expect something back. True altruism does not seek repayment, appreciation, or acknowledgement.

I have another story for you. A few months back, I had an odd experience which led me to comparing myself to someone, and I became more upset than necessary because of my ego. Comparison is a treacherous and tricky game where there is no true winner. Comparing myself to someone in order to feel “better than” is a display of low self-esteem. On the other hand, when I compare myself to someone else and I end up feeling “less than”—I essentially tormented myself willingly due to my thoughts and insecurities. Lesson: When one door closes for you, don’t judge or demonize those before who were able to walk through them. The door may open for a thousand people and it may be locked for you. Don’t take it personal and keep it moving. Do not get stuck in the past. Destiny did not say no, she’s saying, “Look elsewhere.”

Here’s another instance: I was not invited somewhere. Somewhere lively, luxurious, and a place where I knew I would have had so much fun, get to dress up, and indulge in all the glitz, glamour, and giggles. As I halt and step back, analyze my emotions and thoughts, I become less disheartened at the invite that never arrived. I realize that my emotional pain is coming directly only from myself. I was making myself feel lonely when it was not the other party’s intention to isolate or upset me. Our friendship remains the same, before and after the event, as it was only my ego that was wounded in this imaginary battle I set up. Lesson: Finding where I lack stability means I have the opportunity to fix my fragility. Happiness cannot ever be dependent on anything external. Happiness comes from within. Also, no one owes me happiness and my joy is no one’s responsibility. Jealousy and envy can make one quite ill and those are diseases of the mind I have no intentions of developing today or tomorrow.

Why do we, as humans, take other people’s lives and actions and make it about ourselves and hurt our own feelings? Maybe that is a silly question and I answered it in the fifth word of the question. Because we are human. Because life is a journey of lessons, growth, and expanding our mindset. Back then, my ego was a huge glass of fragility. Now, I’m working on shrinking it to be less loud and apparent. I am certain history will repeat itself again as I am not guaranteed an invitation to every event on Earth. However, these silent battles end quicker than not these days as I remove my ego from the situation and understand that I am not an emotional victim of any circumstances. Life goes on, earnestly and endearingly so.

At 27, here’s what I’ve learned:
Emotions are temporary. Feel them, understand them, and let them go.
Egos and expectations go hand-in-hand. Unlink them.
My perceptions of people are not their duties to fulfill.
Likewise, it is not my job to maintain the image people have of me.
My happiness is my responsibility and mine only.

Ego, Let Go

I would like to think that I am resourceful and always aspiring to do more in my career and advancing my skillset. I have played around with the idea of being a Project Manager in the future when my career progresses further. I think it suits my personality of being particular and organized, creating task lists, and making sure plans execute accordingly and beautifully. I also would like to think that I am someone who doesn’t have a huge ego and ultimately, eventually, I would like to abandon my ego. That’s my goal.

In previous posts, I’ve talked about how my ego got in the way of my former friendships and this time around, I’d like to discover how to let go of my ego. I believe enlightenment occurs when we let go of entitlements and our egos.

Let me ask you something. Does anyone truly owe us anything? Time? Loyalty? Friendship? A text back? What about a thank you? Why do we feel entitled to these things? Are these expectations harmful, healthy, or both? Do certain mannerisms exist to merely satisfy a person of society’s ego? Is the ego naturally occurring or is it a result of our environment? These are the questions currently floating in my mind.

In the professional space, we need Project Managers. But in my personal life, I saw myself attempting to be a Project Manager and as I look back, I was heavily devoted and invested in someone’s life, actions, mental health, and vernacular that I set myself up to receive a heavenly high return only to receive a heartbreaking ROI. People are not projects. Yes, I, myself, am a work in progress but that is my work to do—not anyone else’s—so why was I trying to do the work for another person? My former therapist wrote to me, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

One of the bittersweet aftereffects of a relationship ending is that I learn things I wish I knew when the relationship was ongoing. I wish I knew then that expecting someone to change into the exact image I had in my mind is one, unrealistic. Second, it was a dream with just one purpose: to please my ego. Notice how I said “is unrealistic” and not “was unrealistic” because it remains true. To this day, I cannot latch onto this hope and dream of someone, even if it is a non-toxic version of themselves, because the reality is…not all wishes come true, even if they are rooted in the most pure intentions. Hope can be a treacherous place if you are looking for the way out as hope sticks you in the space of potential, what-ifs, and endless positive sparkling possibilities. Oh, let me tell you, basking in someone’s potential can feel like a warm euphoria, but truly, it’s a false euphoria.

It was a mentality that served as nothing more than a naive attempt to control how my life should play out. As I explore this topic, I realize…I was not fully comfortable or happy with who I was dating and where my life was headed. Ultimately, I didn’t feel secure in the relationship. So, I started daydreaming and not dealing with the actual person who was once in front of me. The daydreams were an escape. The daydreams were what I selfishly wished for and even though I expected my ex to be more this and less that…I, myself, in my own ways, was controlling him as well. The yearning for him to behave a certain way was me trying to change reality, trying to dictate our futures, trying to preserve a love that was nearing its expiration date…I was trying to the fight the reality that we were no longer compatible. My ego could not handle the facts presented.

By no means am I a perfect human being and I do not strive to be flawless. As I take this time to meticulously assess my flaws and areas where I can improve as a partner, I plan on making it a goal to gingerly guide myself to step out of my emotions and ego. The world does not revolve around me and another person’s actions will never diminish the value I have for myself. I pledge to ask these questions when a not-so-sweet situation occurs, “Do I allow this person to hurt me? Do I allow my ego to be loud and on display? Am I genuinely upset or is my ego just injured because events did not turn out as expected?”

One notion I’ve been saying out loud is, “Expectations are a form of control.” Do you agree? To be continued on my next post… thanks for reading! Happy New Year.

Perhaps

Note: I drafted this piece in 2020, finished it up in December 2021, and as 2022 approaches, I am sharing this. I’d like to propel myself into 2022 as someone who sticks up for herself, does not bandwagon for the sake of peace, and understands that losses are only losses if there are no lessons learned. I gently remark that I always learn something. Thank you for reading and enjoy.


I used to get lost in daydreams because I loved the possibilities of wondering what may happen and who I’ll become. Now, my daydreams are tiresome fantasies which no longer inspire or motivate. Perhaps, I got lost in my daydreams because I had a small spark of hope within me that they would grow from thoughts to a true reality for me.

Perhaps, we hold onto something we have desired and craved because we are human and want human connections. We are social creatures after all. Perhaps, I thought what I had wished for had come true. But, I forgot the notion of how we must be careful of what we wish for as not everything that glitters is gold and not all smiles are genuine.

I have grown severely tired of feeling I don’t belong anywhere. I thought, no, believed I had a place in this space but I was wrong. I’m not psychic nor am I overly confident, but I wish I could just know when I’m in the right place. I suppose that is life: figuring it out and learning along the way.

And here’s another thing about life. Life is not always a fun time. I have vehemently known that, always. But that does not change the impact of the disappointments I’ve experienced recently. Without divulging personal details, I am simply experiencing one of life’s rougher corners.

As I type and reflect, I’ll admit that yes, I know life is consistently fortuitous and perhaps, this was an accident waiting to happen. Perhaps, this was the dead end I needed to face to turn my life around and drive a new path. The unfamiliar is nerve-racking and feels like I’m grasping for someone’s hand in the dark. However, now, I’m not taking just anyone’s hand so that I can feel something. I’ve worked too hard to become who I am to falter at superficial sparring and meaningless materialistic matters.

In the past, all I did was run away from my problems. Escaping what I could and when I could was always the first and only option for me as I lacked confidence to confront my fearful emotions. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m a young woman who knows her worth and I won’t change who I am to conform to what others expect of me. I’m not in high school anymore. I’m 27 and I deserve better.

As I reflect and review my words, I’m reminded of the quote, “You are exactly where you are meant to be.” I’m exactly where I meant to be even when it’s confusing and uncomfortable. Change is inevitable and growth doesn’t always feel like being granted a pair of wings and flying into the distance. Sometimes, growth feels like slow hesitation of back and forth steps with some pauses in between. Sometimes, growth happens after you cry an embarrassing amount over a tacky and frivolous situation.

Another lesson I learned is that bravery takes practice and pressure is required. When voicing your opinion, especially one that is unpopular and undesired with the current crowd, it can feel daunting and isolating. But your voice is yours, not anyone else’s. Perhaps, I could have expressed myself better in a gentler and softer manner then. However, I still stand by what I said then, today. If I don’t speak up for myself, who will? And is there ever a matter too small of a stance to defend?

Perhaps, that point in time was pithy and petty. But as I reflect on it now, with time passed, there is additionally a particular lesson to take away. Sticking to my morals and beliefs may cause temporary loneliness but it is so rewarding to not change myself or do something I was not comfortable with because at the end of the day, my value is not defined by what others think of me.

Perhaps, my ego was bruised and my feelings were immaturely injured a year ago. Now, I can confidently say I am absolutely grateful for what happened in the past as it taught me multiple lessons. If I could tell my 26-year-old self something, it would be these two sentiments: Never make yourself a victim. Hold onto your virtues.

On that note, I look forward to 2022. How about yourself? I know it’s going to be bold, sparkling, and undeniably brilliant! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, everyone!

Peace

Hesitant. Resistant. Doubtful. That’s how I felt about love before I met you. I’ve always known love to be intrinsic and irrefutable, however I didn’t know if it was for me. 

When I met you, I felt something I rarely felt. As someone riddled with anxiety, an aspect of myself that is consistently unpredictable with no stability, I felt certainty with you. The universe made sense in that epoch for me. But as I reflect and reconfigure my perspective to be a bit more pragmatic, I realize we were star-crossed lovers; there was happiness and hardships for us written across the night sky.

I thank you for being someone I relied on – I know you never lied and you comforted me in your own unique and genuine gestures. Like a jester, you made me laugh with your stories and silliness. I waited for someone like you and then I found myself wading in the waves of something precious and divine. “My angel,” I called you at one point in time.

Being with you felt like being on vacation…I looked forward to the weekends of us, your childhood stories, and basking in our once upon a time budding love. The water was clear and warm so I had no fear of swimming in the ocean of you. That’s how the experience of falling in love with you was: welcoming and effortless. 

And suddenly, in the same manner, without an effort or a second thought, you’d strike an arrow of pain towards me. Your overt honesty was never subtle or ever supple enough to express your thoughts without harm or hurt. Stunned and silent, I’d often wonder if it was my fault that you hurt me. How did the pain feel as pounding and serious as my love for you? Confused and conflicted, I wondered when the sunny beaches of our love lost its light and then, I saw only dark water and felt wintry winds. I frequently and faithfully danced in the daydreams of our fairytale future but now I tread lightly in this unfamiliar sea alone. You felt like family to me but now, the map I hold no longer has your name as the treasure I seek. New lands, new adventures, and new chapters will be explored as I navigate new days without you.


Love comes with lessons. You taught me that I’m more than worthy of love. I deserve love, actually, we both do. Love remains real and obtainable, even if we didn’t remain side by side. Love remains true, as what I feel for you could never be etched as a lie. In fleeting and soon to be fading daydreams, I will fondly think of you and I. In my daydreams, love could cure all ailments and we wouldn’t be apart. I’d be with you, hand in hand, going towards the thrills of life together. Stability and security would not ever be questioned or doubted. However, I am 27 now and I know better than to be a permanent resident of my daydreams. I was in the clouds with you but now…my feet touch the ground. My overactive imagination can be dangerous as it can lie and glint gold when truly, nothing of value is to be sought after in this current setting and time.

I remind myself that this post-relationship pain just shows how much I can love and care for someone. I am not heartless and I won’t give up on love. Love is real and I will find it again. The universe has something more beautiful and magical for me. What I seek is out there: a love that goes beyond the multilayered cells of my skin, a love that is deep like the core of my soul, a love where I am free, a love that permeates beyond my name and ego, beyond the atoms that make up my physical, beyond the lightyears of the stars and space, and beyond this lifetime.


My Affirmation

What is meant for me will bethat’s called destiny.
The unknown I do not fear or hate for I leave it all up to fate.
I am patient, I can wait. Destiny is always on time, she’s never late.

I am light, I am free, I have no weight.
No pressure, no expectations, just simply guided to my spiritual destinations.
I ask and receive what the universe has planned for me,
I may not always get what I ask for at first
because I am getting better, to put it simply.
My heart is full of appreciation, it might burst.
The list of what I am grateful for is long,
I am too solid to be strung along.
I am no puppet and I am not dumb,
I am done.

Everything I have now is preparing me for what’s to come:
more happy trips around the sun.

25

I softly reminisce about the days I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with my mom, my two little sisters, and a being I would prefer not to give a proper name. I was at the age where my homework was studying for the spelling test every Friday. Once, my sweet mother was helping me learn to spell the word, “author”. She kindly gave me a hint that it was the name of a character I had regularly watched on TV. She meant Arthur. Second grade was the grade where my teacher told my mom during the parent-teacher conference that I talked too much. That hasn’t changed.

In the third grade, I discovered my love for cheese pizza and learned that I needed to close my mouth when I chewed food. It was in the fourth grade where I learned to not rudely and abruptly interrupt people who were having a conversation. Fifth grade was the beginning of a long and embarrassing struggle of trying to fit in with what’s cool until I was in high school and realized that every household had different incomes. If I could go back in time, I wish I didn’t wear my neighbor’s old squeaky pair of Jordan’s just so that I could feel ‘cool’ or ‘normal’. I was always fed, had my own room and bed to sleep in, the lights always stayed on, but I didn’t realize what was truly important at that time. Now, I do.

I remember thinking that at 21 years old, I’d be living by myself, paying for my own cable and other bills, and officially be a grown-up.

Now, I am turning 25… paying bills is not as fun as I thought it would be and cable is no longer a thing of my generation. Then comes the question of would I consider myself a grown-up? No, at least, not yet. I’ve still got so much to figure out and learn, and more importantly, many more mistakes to make. And the funny thing about life is that we don’t know that we’ve made a mistake until after the repercussions arrive and we have to face the consequences. Do I need to list 24 mistakes and one big lesson I’ve learned? No, I’d be reiterating the entirety of my blog, ha! But one thing I’d like to repeat is that I believe everything happens for a reason.

Every. Single. Thing.

From me staying up all night on anime forums and attempting to get my animation skills up to the Pixar standard to switching high schools back and forth to working the various jobs before I landed my current position. Even though I am entering my mid-20’s, I deeply believe I’ll carry my childhood with me for decades to come. As a child, I lived in daydreams of worlds beyond this planet and I still find myself in random reveries from time to time.

As I reflect on my childhood, which had various epochs that I know still influence my present-day personality, it makes me ponder about what of my 20’s and 30’s will carry onto my 50’s and 60’s.

A significant yet odd era of my teenage years was the period where I was not genuine nor was I true to myself. I ached to fit in with my peers and felt the pressure to do and say things I did not completely align with just to feel accepted, or so I thought. Those days feel like a fragment of my imagination because it is such a sharp contrast to my current reality. I believe life is too short to be anyone but yourself. I wish 14-year-old me knew this, but no 14-year-old knows everything. But that’s the beauty of life, it is the journey of learning and experiencing.

I experienced x, y, and a thousand other z’s, and yet I continue to yearn to learn more. It’s not over because it’s really just beginning. My mentality and mannerisms are two significant aspects I’m constantly evaluating so that I can evolve as a friend, a sister, a daughter, an employee, and the list goes on. My mind will not stop blooming for I have many more seasons and sunrises to see. I am excited, to say the least, to be 25 and truly thrive in life!

Thank you for reading!

Regret, Regrowth, and a Promise

Regrets

As 2019 budded into Spring, I reflected and realized how some of the toxic roots that I unknowingly planted in 2017 had sprouted as poisonous plants in the garden of my mind. Now, I’ve decided to weed those habits and thoughts out of my head before the heat of the summer sun warms up all the wrong and twisted vines.

One specific incident with one specific person has taught me one incredibly vivid lesson: maybe, you didn’t hurt me as much as I had thought back then, and that maybe, I was clouded by my selfishness and my need of you to be there for me and what I found to be more virtuous and vital is that no friend ever hurts you willingly.

I did not think to look at your intentions because I was too focused on the indentations on my ego. My ego said, “You should have been there for me.” But what I didn’t realize yet was that I was in a fog and couldn’t see your light, so I thought you weren’t coming to find me and you did not care. What I realize now, is that fog is thick, and if I had reached harder to find your intentions, I would have found your light had I waited just the right amount of time.

But… I wasn’t patient. My ego said, “You should have been there for me.” I was selfish and kept count of the times I had been there for you, but a true friend does not keep count of the good they do for their friends. I’ve always denied the existence of karma and here I was, holding what I’ve done for others against them. I wasn’t ready to admit that I had expectations of friends returning the favor immediately and accordingly to my desires.

Now, my heart says, “I miss you.”

My mind admits, “I’m embarrassed and I regret losing you.”

I’ve learned a lot from my friendships. But, I’ve learned the most when those friendships cease to exist. To the person this post is about, I wish I had the courage to tell you this but I’m not ready…yet. Until then, I wrote this for you. Hope you’re well.


Regrowth

I watered areas of my mind I had let dry up. I embraced the warmth and love of my closest friends. I planted small seeds of hope though I wasn’t sure what would bloom, or if anything would sprout. I plucked petals of daisies, wondering, “Will they forgive me? Will they not?”

Days turn into months.

I revisited the garden of my mind, pleasantly surprised at what I planted had now bloomed. Bushes I had left in a mess became fuller and greener, for I had changed my perspective of what had happened and who you were into a brighter and softer picture.

Our memories are dependent on our moods. On my bad days, I resented you. On my better days, I missed you. These days, I have more good days than not. Even on the days I’m not feeling my best, I now reminisce on our best days as best friends.

It took some time and some trimming but I’m proud of where I am now mentally and emotionally.


A Promise

Some say they hate receiving flowers as gifts because flowers die. But some things don’t last forever to teach us the lesson of valuing what we have now. We must appreciate the sweet scent of life’s flora while we can. Worrying about tomorrow steals the precious moment of the present.

Losing you made me realize that I cannot keep pushing people away when I feel vulnerable or hurt. Losing you made me realize I have to change the way I react to situations that are uncomfortable and at times, painful. Now, I promise to be less reactive and more patient. I promise to hold onto the ones I love a little harder and give second chances to those deserving of it, a notion I never really believed in or thought I’d say or type.

In life, all we have are the memories we share with each other. How we make others feel, the impact people have on us, and the laughter we share–that is what life is about.

Thank you for reading.

Starving My Ego

This was one afternoon I’ll never forget. Two people, one room, and I wondered if anyone heard the volume of my emotions through the walls. When our words were exchanged in your small room, they were like small sparks that ricocheted from the papers and wood of your desk. All in a matter of a minute, the room felt smaller and hot, but the space between us grew. I was taken back by what you said but I should have been more taken back by how I acted. Without revealing too much about who and where, I learned a lesson about my ego and how being where I am right now is the best time to make mistakes, not recklessly, but in a manner where I keenly learn and don’t repeat those mistakes again.

I never considered myself an egotistical person until I reflected on how I reacted when someone gave me feedback I did not take well. I always thought of an egotistical person as one who’s arrogant, someone with a ravenous appetite to be full of oneself, someone who can never admit to their wrongs… the list can go on. But I suppose we know only what we feel and think, but not always how others feel and think about us.

Humans are conditioned to be comfortable, or at least, we get used to events that occur on a predictable routine, like people we see on a daily basis, lifting the same dumbbell at a certain weight, or in my instance, being fed compliments and consistently given plates of acknowledgement and appreciation. I’ve dined on desserts getting to know the sweet taste of being valued and needed, but we all know too many sweets can make one sick. After a buffet of nothing but positivity and praise, when I was served a dish I forgot existed, the gluttonous animal in me was repulsed by the flavors and aftertaste. I caught a swift glimpse, of the monster that I was, in the always sparkling silver plate, but the hand that fed me was mine, for it was my own ego I had tasted.

I had let all the delicious and satisfying treats of adoration fill my head, inflate my ego, and I was left wondering why my head hurt when you told me I had to work on myself. Perhaps I was not as diligent as I thought I was. Perhaps it was tunnel vision, a food-induced coma of compliments and smiles, the excitement of knowing what I could do with my skills, or a mix of all three. There certainly can be more reasons as to why I felt so powerful yet fragile but it does not matter why my nasty ego came out. What matters now is that I no longer feed my ego in order to the maintain the beast of arrogance and pride inside of me.

You see, an ego must always be fed. An ego is supreme yet shatterable because it makes me feel grand, better than all, like a king who can conquer all the lands and yet, it can be ruined when the slightest risk not being liked looms and the terror settles in when I realize that having such an ego is like living in a glass house. When the day is alive, the refulgent light floods the house with a warmth I’ll never stop yearning for and the sunlight soaks my skin with happiness. But when the night comes, darkness has no mercy and I wonder if I’m safe at all. My ego cries for the day to return because in the dark my insecurity reeks. Am I confident or am I dependent on others praising me?

Is it ever possible to live without an ego? How do we live without seeing ourselves in our actions and who we allow to be in our lives? Do we keep our ego at a healthy size? My thought is that the ego can be maintained and set at a nondistracting distance. Sizable enough to keep us aware of who we are and what we’d like to be, but not too large where we hurt others and ourselves with the blind assumption that we are who we are not.

At 24, I am still figuring out to swim with the waves of my ego. For the most part, it comes in soft waves of just confidently and politely kissing the sand with the right amount of sanity to keep the peace of the waters. But that one afternoon, that was a storm because my ego erupted from the bottom of the ocean and sought to demolish whoever dared to humble me. It wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary. Growth isn’t easy nor is it comfortable, but it’s a beautiful sight to see when the seas have calmed and the air is safe.

Thank you for reading!

Let’s Reflect: 2018

As I type this, I realize that 2019 is coming soon, yet it feels like it was just January. Time flew by and as the new year creeps up, reflection and review is a must. I did 2017’s reflection in a scurry so I’ve decided I will devote more time and care for this year’s reflection.

This January, I finally returned to Vietnam and the moment I saw my family members after years of not seeing them, many I did not remember embarrassingly enough, I instantly regretted that I had not visited before when I had the chance(S!!!) to. Ugh, another disappointment to add to my never-ending list of regrets, but it’s a lesson that has inspired me to visit my family more often. I told my mom I want to visit Vietnam every year and my mom laughed! I guess the plane ride is one that she needs a few years break from, haha. One of the reasons I still appreciate my trip to Vietnam is that I realize how lucky, privileged, and dare I say it- powerful I am. I’m in a position that so many across the sea wish they were in and I can do so much that many cannot. I cherish my home, MY TOILET AND SHOWER, my clothes, my family, my friends, food, driving NOT the newest model but having a car at all, and last but not least, the job that I have right now.

When I came back to America, all the problems that I once thought I was so troubled by- disappeared. People who irritated me became people who no longer bothered me. Crazy as it sounds, I feel like my patience has grown so much. Things could be worse and yet they aren’t because 1) they aren’t 2) my positive perspective keeps me grateful 3) see 1.

As I think about what happened after January, I go, “Oh,” because something shitty and absolutely terrible happened to me and it was 10,000% my fault. However, it has taught me so much, especially in terms of gratitude. I thought I was grateful before when I had returned from Vietnam, no, what happened to me in the summer taught me an exponential level of gratitude. Like I said earlier, things could be worse and thankfully, I bounced back from that situation and even if time travel was possible, I wouldn’t change what had happened to me. It is what it is and it was what it was – the past is in the past and to be stuck in the past is to be stuck in an attitude that doesn’t allow me to grow, and obviously, if I can’t be 5’8″ then let me grow mentally and emotionally more mature!!!

Fall came and I turned 24, and I forgot what I even did for my birthday. I still think I’m 21 or 22. Oh yes, I remember I had just quit my job and was already interviewing for the job that I have now. Now, I recall an incident that occurred before my birthday and in the past, I practiced a toxic habit of cutting off others before they had a chance to explain themselves and I wouldn’t give them the time of day. I made hasty decisions that have resulted in not-so-good long term results. So, I knew this wasn’t a habit to keep nor was it an action to be repeated once more. I unlearned something that had been a safety net for me and it’s been one of the best mistakes that I never made. It’s honestly one of the biggest strides of my life and it made me realize that if I, someone who can be hardheaded and prideful, could change my negative ways, then perhaps, the people I had cut off too soon can change as well (and maybe they already have).

This year, I became incredibly insecure of my body and physical looks. Without getting too into my woes of my appearance (because you can read it here), I knew I had to do something if I wasn’t comfortable with what I saw in the mirror. So, I did. I lost weight, cut down the alcohol, changed my diet, and changed my workouts. This is not a fitness blog so I’ll end this topic here. The lessons to be learned here is that HEALTH IS WEALTH and if I truly want something, then I cannot sulk and wish that a genie will make my desires come true, that I have to put action to my thoughts, and CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!!

Overall, this year was 100% better than 2017, despite the fact that I did not move back to Southern California. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and what is meant to be, will be. I definitely am more happier this year and it comes not from the height of my highest and greatest moments, but from how I picked myself up from my lowest of lows. With that said, I feel hopeful about 2019 because of the painful lessons I have learned this year – I feel more confident and ready to tackle on the new year!!

Happy New Year and thank YOU for reading!! XO