Failure Hints at Success

In my last post, I wrote that I always feel like a failure. That’s because I have endless expectations for myself. It explains a lot – how I judge others is how I judge myself. The way that I’ve set these standards for others is how I set the standard for myself, as well.

As a goal-orientated person, I have an aptitude to get tasks done, as much as I can, but with quality and purpose. Daily goals, monthly goals, lifetime goals, friendship goals, budgeting goals – I have them all. Do I meet all of them? Yes and no. Some goals, I do meet, but most of the time, I find myself halfway there or just barely missing the mark.

I believe the truth is hard to accept but necessary. So getting halfway to a goal is not reaching the goal. Being one minute late to an appointment is still being late. Going over budget by $5 is still going over budget. Looking at a book that I’ve been meaning to read does not count as reading it. Thinking about calling someone is not the same as actually calling them – there are situations where the thought does not count or matter.

Going from Level 15 to Level 5, or even worse, Level 1, can rip motivation out of anyone. I could be having the best week: being on time for everything, eating healthy, going to the gym often, calling my mother, working towards my goals, and without a doubt, feeling like I’m progressing as a person and flourishing in my personal relationships – and then this joyous car ride comes to halt. I’m late to work. I lie to a friend. I stumble on my words. I don’t get the grade I was expecting. I give myself one too many cheat meals. My routine reconstructs itself quickly in a manner where I feel like I’m decaying rather than blooming. Regression is a dance I regrettably wish I did not know so well.

As I transition from being a college student to a young adult, I’ve taken note that success is never a perfect ladder that one climbs. Only in our imagination can we ever think that life is just a video game – going from one place to another and keeping the strength we’ve earned at all times while knowing that we are able to defeat any adversary that comes along our way. Success is a scrambled path. We may start off at this corner, advance 10 steps, go back 5, advance 3, and revert 3 steps back. It’s never a game of hopscotch where we can see the next step. A common occurrence is that our path changes route and we are left with no map or compass to tell us how to get to the next level. Sometimes, we go all the way back to Square 1.

But the light in this situation is that even though I’m no longer at Level 15, at least I know that I can get to that level. If I can get to Level 15 then I’m more than positive that I can get to Level 20 or Level 30. Failure hints at success because I’m always one step closer to succeeding after I’ve tried something rather than not trying at all. Ideas can stay in my head but what good does that do? Change starts when we take what we have in our mind and make it into something that we can see and touch.

The Dark Side (Of Us All)

The world is an abundant source of fun, happiness, and light. But everyone knows that even if you can’t see the moon’s dark side, it’s there. With that said, this world is also filled with pain, despair, evil, and unavoidable demons.

Internally, there is a battle where I am a frequent fighter and I must confess that sometimes I feel like as if dark side has gotten the better of me. Those defeated days where I cannot feel sorrow, remorse, pity, guilt, or hope are the days where I think I’ve lost my all potential light. I know that in my light and shadow piece  I wrote that life is about balance, which it is, for me, but that does not mean the balance is always there. Balance is the goal.

However, things go askew. Feelings go awry. Passions can subside and instead, anger comes out. In physics, it is stated that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred. The law of conservation makes me ponder – where does all my positive energy go that results in me losing passion for people, places, activities, and the ideas and thoughts I once held onto so strongly and gave life to? Why does it feel like I am repeatedly left with only bad luck and bad energy?

In some religions, the fate of a person is decided after their death. One’s life must bypass judgement before a decision of heaven or hell is made. But for me, I’m my own worst critic and I judge myself constantly – am I good, decent, or twisted in a malicious manner? Well, I want this blog to be authentic, and as I expose my true self and inner thoughts, I’ve recognized that I do not believe I am a good person. But, I also believe that the world is not split into just good and evil – this Earth is not black and white. However, as I look into the colors of my character, the rapid swirling of my own yin and yang concludes to a result of little light. If I were to be in control of the gates of a divine afterlife for myself, right now, I would not gain entrance into those celestial boundaries. At this very moment, I have not done enough to deserve such a passage.

Those moments where the darkness consume me don’t last forever, but they last long enough for me to doubt the good human in me. Sometimes, I feel like the biggest struggle in my life is to have the good grow inside me because I’m rooted in not-so-good foundations. If there’s something that I feel nearly each day of my life, it would be the feeling of being a failure. I always feel as if I fall short of my own expectations that I bestowed upon myself. I disappoint myself immensely. However, failure, to me, is never a dead end. Failure teaches. Failure provides another opportunity to do it again better. Failure shows that I tried. Regardless of the fact that I have not yet succeeded in defeating my own demons, I will continue to try and even if I fail again, I know that I am trying and not surrendering to the dark side.

Rebranding Myself

As an Advertising major, I’ve learned a lot about brands and rebranding. This Spring Semester, I’ve thought more about myself and my own brand. In a sense, this blog is the documentation of my mental and emotional rebranding of myself. I so strongly desire to be this woman of my own dreams and to obtain this image I’ve set for myself. It is mentally hard because I have to fight my current mentality and not the act the way I feel. I have to think before I act and not let my emotions affect my mannerisms.

Who am I?

I’m the words I say, the activities I partake in, the music I listen to, the food I eat, the company I share, and most importantly, what I do when no one is around. I’m an impulsive person – I run on my emotions, it can be seen in the words I lash out at others and my shopping behavior. I’m someone who trusts her gut instinct quite often. As an intuitive person, I’m not known to be the type that thinks before she speaks. I’ve noted this trait however, it’s not ingrained within me that I must watch what I say just yet. I’m someone who doesn’t plan to stay the same, I don’t ever desire to be listed as “predictable”.

What do I represent?

In a modest and humble way, I would say that I represent individuality, independence, and sometimes, strength. My individuality stems from the fact that I know that we are all born unique so that we never have to be anyone else. For quite some time, I looked at my fellow peers and felt the need to blend in with them, to feel normal, to feel accepted, to feel “okay”. However, that’s never the case. Now, I speak my mind and do what I want, which goes hand in hand with my independence. The independence I’ve developed hasn’t stopped growing, as a young girl who doesn’t mind doing things alone, it’s transformed me into someone who doesn’t need anyone. The mixture of individuality and independence has allowed me to become the strong woman I am now. I’ve conquered the battles I never thought I would win but the war never ends – I’m still fighting to be better.

What defines me?

If we’re referring to specific brands that define my brand, it would be: organic food, the color pink, Sensodyne, Sriracha, Apple, and Toyota. If it were words, words that define my brand are: loud, confident, humorous, sarcastic, and fun. If I were to be the weather for a specific day of the year, it would be when Summer just starts, but you can still feel Spring in the air. There aren’t much winds anymore, the sky with not a cloud in sight, but it’s not too hot, so you won’t sweat excessively. These aspects are part of my identity and if one or two aspects were taken away, I wouldn’t quite fully feel like myself.

However, if anyone knows anything about advertising, it must be known that a brand that stays the same forever is doomed for failure and termination. There’s always something to be changed and improved on, as the times change, so must a brand. I, myself, know that the current person I am, is not the brand I will remain forever. I’m not where I want to be or need to be and the work to build up a different brand image requires a tremendous amount of mental workshops and a change of attitude, too.

Now that I’ve rambled on and on about my brand, tell me, what’s your brand? Do you like where your brand is right now or do you want to reposition yourself into a better brand?

* This post is dedicated to and inspired by my Advertising professor, Keith Kesler. Because of him, I cannot ever look at a commercial the same way (and that’s a good thing). Thank you for everything you’ve taught me.

Easily Detached

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is how easy I can let go of relationships and people. I can cut off ties faster than I could ever mend them.

I’m comfortable in my routine of letting people go that being close to too many people makes me feel uncomfortable. To put it into perspective, let’s say that I am formulated to only be close to ‘X’ amount of people. If I become close to X+1 people, I start to feel frazzled. I don’t have a large circle and don’t ever plan to start. A dangerous thought that I always have is when someone annoys me or makes me enraged, I always think, “I don’t need you in my life and I can let go of you easy.”

Whenever someone crosses me, I cross them out of my life. We can go from being close to not talking anymore in seconds. I’ve never been the type to forgive or forget, so I can and will hold onto grudges until time ends. To be quite frank, there are people I plan to never talk to ever again once college ends. I know that as I depart Southern California and return to Northern California, there will be relationships that are doomed to rot. As expected, I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the ending of many friendships. However, this attitude is one I should not bring home. If I keep this up, how could I ever make new friends or keep current friends?

This year, as I’m trying to practice vulnerability, I am fighting the notion that people are disposable, that people are just objects that can be tossed away, and that I don’t need people in my life at all. It’s mentally unhealthy to always want to push people away and to stay a lone wolf. This mentality of running with scissors is dangerous and I could end up hurting myself, which inevitably does happen. I end up being stuck in my own captivity.

“While social networks are fundamentally and distinctively human, and ubiquitous, they should not be taken for granted.” – Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler

In my hasty moments of anger and bitterness, I have to remind myself that even though I want to be alone, loneliness is a feeling worse than the annoyance of companions. Friendship is something I should never take for granted. But, with the act of removing people out of my life like it’s the cool thing to do, it shows that I am taking people for granted, and that’s not right.

So, what’s left to do? Indeed, the first step is to learn to accept people’s flaws, because people will never change (in that ways I’d like them to), and I need to know that not everyone I meet is toxic. There are countless amounts of positive and great people that I’ve yet to let in my life because of my cautious ways. The road I’ve constructed for myself just lead to dead ends. The act of constantly playing it safe will lead me to a permanent pit stop. I can’t stop this car ride of life and friendship. I have to stop my habit of cutting off the engine and just drive.

Karma Is Not Real

It’s true that we can never choose our life or what happens to us. No one wants their mother to hit them or their dad to leave them, but it happens and for me, the only thing I can do is change my own future. My past was hard and I pushed a lot of memories in the back burner, but I’ve grown so much from the ashes of what was once the young me. I’ve rose from the grave of lost memories but I haven’t reached my highest potential yet.

Some people never change but my perspective of the world can. If I can learn to be less cold and distant, maybe I’ll warm up to people a little bit.

I can never change the way people will treat me but I can change the way I treat myself and how I react from it. As much as I want to do certain things, I know I can’t. It’s malicious and wrong – revenge never solves anything but builds more hatred and animosity. The day I learn to forgive is the day my whole life will change.

For a large chunk of my life, I strongly believed in karma. “You get what you deserve.” “Karma will bite you in the ass someday.” Any of these sound familiar?

If someone treated me in a bad way, I told myself that karma will get them, making it even, and somehow that thought made me feel better, back then anyway. On the other side, whenever something misfortunate came my way, I thought, “This is karma for doing [something irrelevant] beforehand.” But as I think deeper about the series of events that occurred in my life, karma really doesn’t make sense or exist at all. There are questions where karma cannot ever be the answer.

What did I do to receive the abandonment of my father when I was just born? Where’s karma now to put the person who molested me in jail? Did the person who robbed my house two years ago ever get their own house robbed, too? What about the person who threatened my mother with a knife? My little sister, what did she do, as a young kid, to get holes in her heart?

Saying “karma will get them back” is the lazy way out. Shit happens because that’s life. Life isn’t always going to be perfect. There are people who have committed crimes who live life prison-free. There will be people, who are angels on Earth, who get cancer and pass away. There are many good deeds that go unnoticed and wrongdoings that go unpunished.

Bad things happen to everyone. But life isn’t all bad – there are good things that happen, and karma isn’t the reason why those events take place. People who do good things because they think they’ll get “good karma” back aren’t doing good at all. There’s greed behind their actions, a desire to receive something back, and there lies the secret intentions. I truly believe that if you do something nice, you cannot expect something back and it must be out of pure generosity, and if not, are you really doing good? Think about it. This pop culture definition of karma doesn’t exist and it’s not real. At least, not in my world.

Karma won’t save or help you with your desired revenge or expected rewards – be your own hero and save the day by making it better, not bitter.

Pair of L’s

My name is Lynn Ly. The L’s in my name are parallel. In Geometry, it means those lines will never meet, intersect, touch, or interact in any way or form. Similarly, in my life, I’ve noticed that there are many parallelisms that have struck across my mind.

In my college years, I have walked past an uncountable number of students, faculty, strangers, customers, and our lives align for a moment where we can see each other, notice each other’s presence, but after that, our lives will remain like two parallel lines: continuously going on without any type of interaction. Our paths are not destined to cross – only seen and sometimes, forever forgotten.

In the midst of my commute to my internship, I think about how we, as Southern Californians, constantly take the freeway to get to where we need or desire to be, but what road are we on, if we were to be wholeheartedly honest with ourselves?

Sure, everyone on the 57 is headed towards different places, but perhaps, could it all be for the same reasons? As people park their cars, they could be unconsciously aligning their lives with someone else’s fate. Everyone is working – some to survive, some to provide, and some to pursue their dreams. Deep down, are we really strangers or do we share a human but unfathomable connection? It may be both of those thoughts.

We all have a story and there is never not a story to be told.

What’s your story? Does your story line up to mine?  The possibility that we share something substantial with someone is exciting. But because our lives are parallel, we will never cross paths or be able to interact and that can be quite disheartening because… that’s reality.parallelpains

Let’s Talk: The Old Lynn

Gradually, I’ve noticed my past is becoming less recognizable and quite clouded. What I mean is, the person who I used to be, she seems like a stranger to me. It’s unexplainable but I don’t know who I used to be anymore and I suppose the reason for that is because I am quite focused on who I want to be and what I wish to accomplish. I’m not saying that my past is full of shame and, “Shhh- let’s not talk about that,” type of moments, it’s just that my future is way more exciting than my past could ever be.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, and tell myself constantly, that’s worth inputting in your own lives, is that the two people you should ever compare yourself to is the person you used to be and the person you want to be, so I always have to remind myself that I don’t have to look like her or be like him, I just have to be the best version of myself.

Everyday, I strive to be better than who I was yesterday. Which means that everyday I am changing and there may be moments where I won’t seem like myself – it’s because I’m always learning something new and I want to implement it in my life. While my past does follow me everywhere – for example: I think about my stepdad constantly – I don’t have to give it attention or follow it back (this is not Instagram)! My past is a reminder – albeit an annoying one for the most part – of who I used to be and most importantly, who I don’t want to be anymore.

Who was the “old Lynn”? What type of person was she?

She is:

  • Someone I feel like I still am, sometimes, but I am trying to fight that zone of comfort.
  • An immature girl who does not think before she speaks, not caring about the emotional costs of her words.
  • A selfish person who is easily engulfed in her own vices, forgetting about the consequences that will come forth upon herself and the people around her.
  • A crude minded individual with the actions to match.
  • Someone who was bad-mannered, not quite civil, and plain out mean.

As I abandon the mold of who I wish to never be again, I am also chasing after the woman I need to be: the person my younger self needed.

Word of the Moment: Vulnerability

I would never use the word ‘vulnerable’ to describe myself. I’m quite guarded. I suppose I fell in love with my privacy and how it’s only me, myself, and I with my emotions and thoughts. I built a wall so high that it became dark. As I put down my rose-tinted glasses, I’ve come to realize that the walls I’ve built around myself have hurt me more than done good.

I tell myself that I’m only protecting myself when I don’t open up. I tell myself that staying guarded is good, that the less people I let in, the better. But the truth of the matter is… I have let no one in. Now, I must face the horrifying fact, one that my pride would never let me say, but as I put my pride down, I will admit that the feeling of being alone is getting to me.

But, I will also admit that the feeling of being alone was something that I unknowingly bestowed on myself. For quite some time, I felt as if people would never be able to understand me or be on the same emotional wavelength as me, and it was only true due to the very reason that I never exposed myself so that people could understand me.

It’s time to let those walls down.

Before, I used to see these walls around me as this unbreakable matter, made of stainless steel, and bulletproof protective gear. But now, I’m seeing this wall around me as a brick wall, one that I plan on lowering, one brick at a time. This is a big step for me. For the longest time, I stuck to the notion that I would never let down my walls for anyone, that remaining in the distant cold is for the betterment of my character, but in reality, it’s only hindered me.

I’ve lost relationships because I was too scared to put myself out there. The risk of getting hurt was greater than the chance of having a new friendship. I didn’t want to get closer. It wasn’t an option. But for me, as someone who loves flowers and anything floral, I prevented myself from enjoying the blossoming of relationships. The hypocrisy I laid out for myself is a path where there lies no nourishment or flourishing of prosperity.

It’s never too late to plant a seed of new beginnings.

I might just be a late bloomer, too. This year, not only will I practice integrity but I will practice showing vulnerability. Practice makes perfect, right?

Let’s Just Be Real

Let’s just be honest. Brutally honest. I haven’t been happy the past two years. My junior year of college was filled with sickness, sorrow, and strangely, heavy insecurity. Now, my senior year just seems to be a constant cycle of stress.

My first two years of college I was unbelievably naive, ignorant, and carefree. Now, I would like to think that I’ve gotten wiser, stronger, and better. However, for an unexplainable reason, I’ve never felt more sad and lost.

For a moment, I thought I blossomed and became more confident. But something happened in the middle of my junior year where I felt more insecure than ever. I felt so (and still do) disconnected with my physical appearance and the way I felt about myself. With time, I felt like who I was on the outside did not match up with the way I thought I looked, so gradually, I felt more and more like a stranger within my own skin.

What got lost in translation?

The old me.

I think I was shedding a layer of who I used to be and that change was hard because I was conflicted with going back to who I was comfortable with and knew well to becoming the person I needed to be: an improved Lynn. Before, I was not stressed out as much because there were very little things that were priorities of mine. I didn’t care as much as before, which provokes the thought: is ignorance truly bliss? I was happier back then, but I wasn’t nearly as “good” as I am now.

Did I sacrifice my happiness to be a better person? As someone who no longer desires to consume alcohol or attend parties, I came to the conclusion that I haven’t let myself be happy. I refuse to take part in “temporary escapes” because I know that my problems will still be there when I wake up. I don’t let myself relax for too long because I know there’s always something to do and no one is going to do it but myself. Or maybe, I just don’t want to be like the old me again.

So I’ve been in a rut for almost two years. So what?

Two years is nothing compared to the rest of my life. Maybe I’m not as confident about myself because I’m working on myself and I’m not yet ready to show the world who I am because she’s currently in development. I’m officially an individual who is a public work in progress who put her priorities over her happiness. Will this hurt me or better me? We shall see. Stay tuned.

Word Of The Year: Integrity

Last year, my word of the year was appreciation.

That does not mean that this year I won’t be appreciative, I will be, and to start off this post, I want to show some appreciation to my friend, Cindy. We met in the spring of 2013 and three years later, I’m glad she’s still in my life. Yesterday, she dropped off food because her dad and other family members wanted me to have food for Lunar New Year, which is tomorrow, February 8. Cindy is one of the hardest working people that I know and definitely one of the nicest and smartest. I’m glad to have her in my life because she reminds me that hard work does pay off and does not go unnoticed. She’s taught me a lot and I appreciate her for always opening up her home to me!

Anyway, the word of the year for 2016 is integrity.

Why? Because I feel a lot of people don’t know what it means or know how to live by it.

If you’re purposely late, you’re purposely disrespecting the other person. If you purposely flake, it shows that you don’t care. If you don’t care, it will show and people will know. If you can’t live up to your words, you don’t really deserve to be in someone’s life. No one likes a liar. No one likes a fake. People who are true to themselves will be true to others. These are the things that I tell myself.

Last year, I learned to appreciate and expressed my appreciation for others. This may seem like a “Duh” moment, but for someone like me, who rarely expresses her feelings, this was a weird bubble to go in, but now, I can’t imagine not showing appreciation for the littlest things that my friends, strangers, and coworkers do for me.

This year, I adamantly want to stick to my goals and most importantly, my words. As an aspiring writer, I value my words and I truly believe that if I give someone my word, I must stick to it or it has no value.

As someone who treasures and seeks the truth, if I want the truth, I must be the truth. Like I said, if I want good friends, I must be a good friend myself. As I get older, (laughs embarrassingly because I’m only 21) I have realized what’s really important and friendship is definitely one of the things in life that makes it worthwhile.

Now, I take friendships so seriously that I am willing to let the bad ones sink so that the better ones can breathe. In my small heart, there aren’t a lot of people that I can cherish – that’s the way I’ve unknowingly constructed myself – and there’s only room for people who are genuine, people who stay true to their hearts, people who live their lives for themselves, people who stick to their word, in essence… people who have integrity.