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.

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.

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

 

The Beauty in Betrayal

In 2018, I travelled to Vietnam and came back with a new-found perspective and patience, so when I let go of someone I once considered a genuine friend, instead of being harsh and bitter, I was and am still thankful for the way we disconnected. It was never truly a loss for it brought me one step closer to knowing who my true friends are and I don’t mind having one less friend. It makes my circle smaller, yes, that is true. But my circle of friends becomes richer and I often feel spoiled with the luxury of loyalty I have from my real friends.

“Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” — Vladimir Lenin

We wipe away the dust from the mirror to see the clearer reflection of who we are–you showed me who you are–and that in turn, showed me who I am. I am someone who won’t give up on a friendship even if I had a few relationships that went south. I know that I value friendship greatly and I will take what I’ve learned from you and put that energy in the current and beautiful friendships I have now.

You not showing loyalty reminds me that I have to give others what I would want in return–even if I don’t get the same back. Integrity is tattooed on the back of my spine and that’s where you stabbed me with your lies. Maybe I let you in thinking you would be different and maybe my ego made me think I would be different enough for you to not lie but dishonesty discriminates no one. Fibbers have no favorites to be honest to and now your name leaves a foul taste in my mouth but alas, not all lessons are sweet and easy to swallow. But, in an intriguing manner, I’m grateful for the poison I’ve tasted from your lies because it was an experience I was meant to encounter, perhaps once or twice more again in this life.

Life is fugacious and so was our friendship but I thank you for being the reminder that people are never black-and-white but mixtures of good, wrong, and bad. In 2017, I would have given this situation too much flame and burned myself in the process, but 2018 has taught me there is beauty in the ugly, even if the ugly is full of betrayal, lies, and deception. 2018 has also taught me that forgiveness isn’t just a word, but a feeling that helps us move on in life.

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.”  — Bernard Meltzer

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” — Mark Twain

I forgave you when I realized how much you taught me. Thank YOU and thank you for reading!

The Obsession with Perfection

It’s 2010. I’m in high school and there’s a website called “FormSpring”, a place where people can anonymously submit thoughts, questions, or in my case, rude remarks about my physical appearance.

Pig nose. Volcano face. People asking me if I was a boy because I didn’t have much cleavage (and I still don’t!). I don’t consider myself someone who was bullied in high school because I know there are others who have had it worse and but looking back, it’s insane how these comments have stuck with me longer than most of my high school friends.

While the Internet was a damaging place for my self-esteem, it was also a place full of research. So, in high school, I looked up all the ways I could clear up my skin and then spend my $20 monthly allowance on skincare products and makeup so that I wouldn’t be called a pizza face. This was just one of many times where I did something for the sake of other people’s opinions, a habit I have not yet quit. I remember a moment when my cousin and I were looking at ourselves in the mirror, and my cousin told me that pretty girls weren’t smart and that smart girls were ugly. I looked at my reflection and thought, “I must be ugly.”

It was a strange time when former First Lady, Michelle Obama, was called a “gorilla”, even though she’s one of the smartest women out there and incredibly influential. I say strange because I had felt conflicted with myself – thinking absurd thoughts that perhaps I was ugly because I was smart, that I should give up my mind for some physical beauty if a genie ever appeared, and other unrealistic thoughts because I craved for the same attention that my pretty friends got from now-irrelevant high school boys.

Fast forward to now, eight years later, there’s Instagram, Tumblr, and tons of other websites where beautiful women are scattered and always on display – picture perfect with clear skin, amazing bodies, hair done by the gods, and flawless makeup. Both media and society are over saturated with pretty girls everywhere, creating this pressure and standard to be flawless and perfect. But there is something odd about this obsession with perfection. It appears to be never-ending.

The pressure also seems to have layers. “Oh, once I have clear skin, I’ll work on growing out my hair, but at the same time, let me go to the gym and get my body looking like this, and then I’ll get this done and then I’ll do this”—but when does it ever end?! There’s always weight loss commercials, new skincare products, new makeup products, new clothes, new shoes, new teas, new this, new that – advertisements that set the standard of how I should look and that I should buy it as soon as possible. Of course, I’m human, I feel this pressure to be pretty, so I’ve succumbed and have spent many, many paychecks on makeup and clothes, and embarrassingly enough, I even got myself into debt trying to keep up with everything and everyone.

Now, I’m a young adult, but I still struggle with my appearance and some days, I feel more insecure than I was when I was a teenager. But overall, I have more good hair days than bad, and I would say that I am more confident than I was in high school, as I’ve learned quite a bit about makeup from YouTube, but hey, I’m not saying I look like Beyoncé. To be frank, in recent years, the compliments I’ve received about my appearance definitely stroked my ego – an experience I never felt in high school – and I grew accustomed to knowing and feeling that I was less ugly. But, makeup has its limits and I can’t wear it 24/7.

For example, last year, in 2017, when I went into my now former job to pick up my paycheck, I had just gotten out of the gym so picture me sweaty, probably a little stinky, with no ounce of makeup on, and hair tied. So, when my old coworker said, “Whoa, you look so different,” I was taken back.

She wasn’t wrong. But after the recent years of being complimented and called “beautiful”, I wondered if my ego was actually fragile and I wasn’t as strong as I had thought myself to be. Of course, she shouldn’t have said that, but, a year later, I’ve realized that life isn’t a game of fairness and kind words so there will be many, many things people will say and do and the only thing I can control is my reaction. I don’t hate her for what she said, I actually thank her for saying that because it’s catapulted into this thought-provoking post, and as an aspiring writer, anyone who makes me write is someone I appreciate.

And if you’ve gotten this far, thank you! I appreciate each person who reads my content. Truly, I do. As I’ve rambled about my high school insecurities, most of them I’ve managed to “fix” with makeup and skincare, I found myself in a new situation I can’t conceal quite so easily. For most of my adolescent years and in my college years as well, I have always been skinny. Thin with ribs showing. Thighs that never rubbed together. Size 25 in jeans.

But with my lifestyle choices the past two years, I found myself at the heaviest I’ve ever been, with stretchmarks in places I had never seen before, clothes I had for years not fitting, constantly deleting photos because I couldn’t believe what I saw nor did I recognize myself, but perhaps the thing I struggled with the most and continue to struggle with are the unwarranted comments made by anyone and everyone.

I get it. I don’t look the same as before and I’m not bashing anyone, but this whole experience of being called various things from my family, friends, and others was new and is still new for me. So new that I have not managed my emotions well and to be quite honest, I cried in the bathroom of my work place last night. I was overwhelmed thinking of how much I’ve had to take in. All the comments about my weight gain, my body, and whatever else had accumulated and finally came out in the form of tears. I forgot I was human and the façade I had put up by making fun of myself had cracked and so did I. It was inevitable and it was time. I’m not invincible. I let the tears and pain run out and I woke up feeling a little bit tougher and little bit wiser.

I’ve learned an incredible lesson here, one I wouldn’t have learned if my body never changed, and for this wisdom and strength, I thank my body and I vow to be more kind to my body, because I haven’t been lately. Hating myself and hating my body is a dangerous path that leads nowhere good and I want to walk proud of what I have now.

While I begin on this journey for a healthier me, I also want to work on a new obsession. I don’t want to be constantly worrying about how I look that I forget how I act and treat others. Even though I have no control of other people’s opinions about me, I would hope that when others think of me, they disregard my physical appearance and think about how I made them feel and if I was a good friend. And it’s easy to say, “I hope they say good things about me,” but there comes a time when hope and faith doesn’t cut it and actions speak louder than words.

Nothing in life worth having ever comes easy and if I want people to think of me as an honest friend, someone who has a lot of integrity, and a woman of her word, then I have to be truthful, I have to mean what I say and say what I mean, and be there when I promise to be there. Material things such as long hair, cute clothes, and whatever else are superficial and attainable. But good friends can’t be bought and I’ve always said that if I want good friends, I myself must be a good friend. Beauty eventually fades but having heart and integrity will always be in style. And that is a trend I’ll be following forever.

Thank you for reading.

This is a post I wrote and posted in a few hours, which is lighting fast compared to my previous posts that take months to write and proofread, so it’s not as strong and powerful as I’d like it to be, but I wanted to share this personal post on my website because being vulnerable is important.  And if you’d like to cringe at my original post, you can find it here.

Also, today is September 9th, which means it is my friend, Andrew H’s birthday! Thank you for loving me no matter what size I am. You are kinder to me than I am to myself. Happy birthday, Andrew. No matter the distance, I value our friendship and I thank you for being my friend. You deserve the best today and forever.

Liquor & Lies

The color of crimson coated the garment you wore in the evening I saw you. False innocence was the scent of your perfume that night before it all fell apart. The aroma was sly, it passed by me swiftly, and I wondered if my senses had swindled me. Doubts swirled around my mind, I teetered on trusting you, but then I remembered that the game of playing the victim is a game where no one wins. I lost my respect for you and you lost your credibility. Everyone has flaws– some are out of our control, but some are made by choice. Your flaw? Lying.

Dishonesty is what I cannot accept and your constant lies tore me away from you. With each lie you spewed, the chances of us ever being friends again became slimmer. Now, the chance of us reuniting is thinner than a spider’s silk. With the web of lies you’ve spun, I found myself just hanging on a thread of hope that maybe you could change and we could salvage what is left of our friendship. But second chances are next to impossible to grasp, like a whisper in the wind dancing in the ever flowing air.

Perhaps you never listened or perhaps, it’s my own fault for never telling you how much I detest liars and I revere honesty above anything else. Am I to blame for assuming that you’d know that lying isn’t fair in any friendship? As the months passed and the seasons changed, I grew tired of being disappointed by your lies, like an autumn leaf loses its vibrancy and life as the cold and bitter winter strikes. You were just another friend who was not meant to be my friend. This cycle of losing friends has made me wonder, “Is it me?” The unpredictable occurrence of losing a friend is an art I’ll never comprehend.

Every human is a living piece of art and I had painted this picture of you with soft trusting colors of lighthearted pastels and rays of yellows and light blues, a budding friendship between us had been planted and I wanted us to bloom. But, I questioned if my vision was hazy and not fully the truth. When I took off my rose-tinted glasses, I saw the latent lies that had been hiding between the lines. You were a magician but the magic wore off and I no longer believed you. The tricks you had up your sleeve had no effect and the game of smoke and mirrors was a game you could no longer play.

And when there is smoke, there is fire. It may have been that I had mistaken your warmth for something gentle and comforting, but you were a coal that was going to burn me to the bone if I had not let you go. No amount of liquor would allow me to accept your lies back into my life. I burn bridges not for the destruction and dismay, but for the light and the new pathway it creates. It becomes easier to see that certain routes with certain people are not journeys to take, but to steer clear of and forget. I’m certainly no saint for we are all sinners in this world but my version of forgiveness is letting you go and I pray for your growth and prosperity.

Perhaps, from the ashes of our friendship, you will rise from the cinders as a phoenix: brilliant, resilient, and revering honesty as much as I do. I’ll watch you fly and hear about the stories of how high you soar but I will not be flying with you. Your journey is one I am no longer aligned with – our paths crossed for a moment in time but this time, you will go east and I north, a fate with a guarantee of never crossing paths again.

The Moment I Knew

 

Before I left to college, I deleted all of our pictures so that both my laptop and I could let go of the megabytes and memories. I wiped it clean to feel some sense of a new start without you. I had more space on my laptop for new memories with new people and the space between you and me became apparent, only to me, selfishly I will admit. We continued to talk but you never knew I had erased most of our memories from the digital space. I was undeserving of your loyalty but deep inside, my soul sought a new perfection. A new piece to the ever-changing puzzle of my persona and I knew I was going to change, for my piece was destined to be too small to fit into your space and yours too big for my future.

The moment I left whatever was left of us, it was a moment long overdue. But, I was a coward to not let you know how I had been feeling. I robbed you of the truth and the respect you deserved and now, there is no proper payback for how I wronged you. You were ghosted and now, evil spirits have arrived. I left a storm for you alone to get past while I abandoned you, leaving you in the past.

Confusion, betrayal, and anger are all mixed in the air and you try to find an answer in a room full of questions. White lies and wrongful whispers from the wind make their way to you and you hear scattered pieces of the truth from everyone but me.

I admit, I deserve the reputation I have because I didn’t give you an ounce of honesty. When it comes to love, there are responsibilities one must commit to and I left you on your own to figure out the mystery of what went wrong. But, you’re right, all I do is run away from my problems. It’s an embarrassing solution and not one I pretend to have never practiced. What I did was nothing new to you but it meant a new start for me.

I disconnected from you because I no longer felt a connection – the lively spark that once ran wild in our laughter and loud nights ran out. Light turned into gloom. I couldn’t find you in the dark. Despite the fact that there was so much life in the nonchalant and naive conversations we had years ago, I couldn’t live in the past anymore to find solace with your current actions and behavior. I closed the book on the story of us with no way of allowing anyone, not you and not I, to read between the lines of blank pages.

Now, we’re on adventures without each other, making history in different books in separate libraries and lives. I lacked the confidence to let you know I was leaving, and in some twisted fashion, I can only say that I have enough confidence, right now, to let you know that I won’t be coming back.

And, I know you feel the same.

The moment I knew, I was 17. That moment never left, even years later.
It wasn’t until I was 22 I was certain we were over.
23, I see that the storm hasn’t settled and the cloud of rain continues to reigns over your head. I’m not asking for forgiveness, I know I don’t deserve it. I just hope the best for you.