The summation of my birthday/week: Timothy*


*Timothy prepared a relaxing day in the sun at Wolf Mountain Vineyards. We sipped on several kinds of fancy wine. (Note: dessert wine is gross.) He also gave me a promise ring a day before as a birthday/anniversary gift, which is the most beautiful piece of jewelry I now own. To top it all off, we had delicious brunch and family dinner. 26 is already wonderful.

growing pains

The transition into mid-twenties is a tough one. I recognize that I am outgrowing myself and others. I want so badly to be an adult, but it hurts to see that people and things are not the way it seemed for the past twenty years or so. The things I once dreamed and wished for have been forced out of my head with reason and experience. The person I was as a child is so far from me. At times, I doubt she ever existed

I want to say so much but I fight myself. I push the words back down my throat.

I feel so much but I am afraid to share myself with others. I am scared of being disappointed and I am scared of rejection. I am scared of becoming hurt so I bury myself deeply.

I want to love but I have become calloused. I am detached. I am curious about my future and I want to relive my past. I wish I knew back then what I know now. I can never seem to find myself in the present.

I am no longer moved by the small things and I am afraid to be imaginative.

I am torn between ideas of security and risk. My heart is terribly worn and vacant.

Last year after Christmas, my mother was rushed to the hospital due to unbearable headaches. I recall my mother clutching her head in agony and she cried weakly. My father and brother escorted her in a hurry but I honestly didn’t think much of it since she had been rushed to the hospital many times before. I simply assumed that with a few bags of blood transfusion, she’d be back to herself. An hour later, I received a phone call from my brother who told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I didn’t really ask why but I knew what was happening. This was something I had dreaded ever since my mother had been diagnosed with cancer. As soon as I hung up, I incoherently told my sisters to get in the car. I don’t remember much but that I was driving 100 miles per hour wailing and shouting, “No, God, please, no” all the way to the hospital. 

The day and a half following the phone call was unbearably painful for my family. The doctors pronounced my mother dead, and I thought with certainty that my life was over. A part of me truly died along with her, but my mother’s death awakened many new beginnings for me and my family. 

In the past year, there have been many moments of anger, frustration, sadness, and confusion. I don’t understand why my mother had to endure so much physical pain while many seemingly undeserving people live in full health. I smiled and lied to everyone that I was okay when I felt like I was running out of air. I slept through many days, wanting to numb the reality of my life. I skipped classes, I changed my hair, I drank a lot, and I always needed a friend around. I struggled with inter-playing the roles of being a sister and being a parental figure. I often felt lonely and misunderstood, but after a few months, I began to shift my thought. 

Upon my mother’s death, my father was promoted while receiving a generous increase in his pay. We moved out of the 2-bedroom apartment to a home. We adopted a wonderful puppy. My sisters can participate in after-school programs. Danielle can wear braces. I can invite any number of my friends to my home. I have been given a grand opportunity to grow up. I have been given a chance to make sacrifices and learn what it means to love. 

Watching my mother suffer through cancer was devastating. When I heard my boyfriend had drowned in Costa Rica, I lost control of my life. Losing my mother was the moment where I wanted death for myself. I was such a fool. The hurting may never fully go away but I have a full life left to live, and I embrace these tragedies as a part of who I am. I would never trade my life for anyone else’s. I love the life that I have.

I am done being a fool. I am a new person. I am thankful for year 2012. In the year 2013, I welcome many blessings filled with laughter and happiness for myself and my family.

Yesterday, my younger sister said something to me that took me by surprise. What she said is something I had been thinking about on my own, but to hear it from someone else make my thoughts real. 

She said she misses watching me make things. When I was in high school, I spent time making paintings, drawings, collages, letters, etc… In the same way, my brother took photos and he made music. Our minds were constantly curious and our hands were itchy to touch materials and create. 

But school got in the way. Friends got in the way. Making a career, making money became priority. I miss the feeling of making something new and different. I miss connecting my mind to my hands. I’m going to get back into it, guys.

Today marks two years since my mother’s passing. Her absence continues to weigh heavily on my heart. It hurts too much to talk about her. I thought of her here and there today but couldn’t build up the courage or energy to open up to my family.

Mom, I love you so much and I wish you were here to see how the seasons have changed. We make mistakes from time to time but I have confidence that our family will be okay. It’s hard to remember the days when you were healthy but I can always see your smiling face. I can hear you call out my name and I can feel the warmth from your hand. You are still alive in me and my love for you will always remain the same.

I’m going to be a better sister and daughter to make you proud.

Last night, I was perusing through Instagram as I was dozing off when I came across a photo of a teenage girl holding her puppy with a sign. I was curious to read the sign, assuming it was going to be about the puppy and clicked to enlarge the photo. The sign said something along the lines of, “It would not be PAWsible to go without you. HOCO?” It was a very cute way to ask a boy to homecoming, but her caption said, “he said no.”  

It’s not easy to face rejection, especially as a vulnerable young girl. But what struck me the most were the comments. Her friends were mocking and laughing at her, and she said that he wouldn’t go with her because she is Asian. 

I was also a target of racist comments when I was in high school without realizing how damaging it was for my self esteem and personal identity. I spent my high school days wanting to feel like I belonged, and wanting to be wanted. It’s important to teach children to have compassion and practice kindness. I wish the boy would have said yes. I wish she didn’t think that it was okay for other people to make fun of the rejection. My hope is that she overcomes this moment in her life, and realizes there’s so much more than winning the affection of a small-minded person. 

It’s hard to be a teenager. It’s hard to be misunderstood and it’s hard to be surrounded by insensitive people. I think academics are important but educating youth about kindness is as important, if not the most important. 

Waking up at 4:30 in the morning for my 5-2pm shift at work, make my sisters and myself food, make sure the pup isn’t constipated, take trash out, babysit, do homework, go to school, work out, do laundry, do dishes, take Faith to Kumon, pick Danielle up from school…

I’m impressed with myself this week. 

I need to learn how to take things for exactly what they are. I need to stop over-analyzing and romanticizing the simplest of things.

It’s the downfall of being an artist. You take anything and give meaning to it. Suddenly, something so insignificant becomes greatly significant.

Erik, I hope you are resting peacefully. It’s been three years since you left, and I still think of you. The moment I heard of your disappearance is something I do not wish to relive. I thought I lost everything, and for a moment, I did. I spiraled into depression, flunked classes, lost my mother, and suffered through an unhealthy relationship. Things are different now and you would be proud of me. Since then, I have fallen deeply in love with an amazing man. I lived through the searing pain and I rebuilt myself from the ground up. I want to thank you for helping me realize my worth. I want to thank you for your selflessness and I want to thank you for your love. The way I love you changed but I will never forget you. I would like to think you are happy for me and you met my mother where you are. Tell her I said hello, and I miss the two of you.

Today I am 26. The year of being 25 has been life-changing. The many years before being 25 were filled with confusion, sadness, anger, and hopelessness. Things made a huge turnaround this past year. I felt my brokenness heal.

I never imagined that in one year, I’d fall deeply in love, I would start my career, and my family would grow. I’m so thankful for the people who rejoice in my moments of happiness and cry when I am hurting. I have great friends (near and far) and I work with great individuals. There is a lot for me to reflect and be thankful about- I just haven’t paused to do it.

I am lucky to experience the devastating moments in life to know how good the good moments are. I’m lucky to be 26 and happy, while others in the world cannot feel the same way.

I am reminded today of the countless blessings in my life, and I want to demonstrate an attitude of gratitude from this point forward. I want to be generous and patient, realizing my position of privilege. I want to grow deeper in understanding the world understanding and I want to mature in my spirituality. I want to continue changing.