A Daughter’s Memory

I was looking through my old photo albums and I came across this picture that brought back many memories. I was about five years old when this picture was taken and, strangely, I am able to remember some parts of this day. I remembered how much effort my mother put into choosing the perfect outfit and how carefully she picked the right shoes to match. I remembered her warm touch as she brushed my bangs and tucked my hair behind my ears. I remembered the expression she had on her face when she took a step back after putting on my headband. Her face glowed with pride and she softly nodded her head in approval as the photographer guided me to sit on the chair that was positioned in front of the camera. Even as a child, I was more mature for my age and I was able to quickly understand what was going on around me. As I posed and followed the photographer’s instructions, I would occasionally glance up at my mother to see her smiling a smile that I’ll never forget.

Now we don’t talk as much anymore, but moments like this reminds me that I am blessed to still have her in my life. We don’t ever talk about our feelings because we are both too stubborn and prideful to do so, but I know the love is always there.

To My Mother,

I love and appreciate you.

Someday, you’ll smile at me again like you did during this particular day. I’ll make sure of it.

Until then, I’ll try my best to take care of myself because I know there’s nothing else in this world that you would want but for me to be happy.

I only wish for you to continue to be healthy and to be the strong woman that you’ve always been.

It won’t be long now that I’ll get to stand in my own spotlight and shine brightly, not only as your little girl, but as the woman that I am today because of you.

Yours Truly,

Gloria

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For my kind-hearted individuals

Sometimes it’s so hard to see the good in people especially when you’ve been hurt by so many.

It’s even worse when it’s people that you sincerely admired, loved, or trusted with everything you have and didn’t have.

It almost feels like they don’t expect you to feel even though you’ve been knocked down on the ground or stomped on so many times.

There are even times when you wonder if anyone even knows that you are silently dying, or if anyone even acknowledges your pain.

It makes you feel like a cold object instead of the loving, gentle-hearted human being that you really are… or once were.

Yet you manage to find room in your heart to forgive them each and every time.

These are the people that you can’t seem to forget no matter how toxic and painful it is for you to hold on.

However, these are also the people that you need to let go of.

The question is why?

Why did we allow things to get this bad?

Who is to blame?

My answer to that, my dear friend, is no one is to blame but everyone is indeed responsible.

We have to accept things we cannot change and things that we cannot undo.

But you were hopeful.. and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Don’t blame yourself anymore for choosing to be the fool even after the first, second, third, and fourth time.

Even if it seems like the whole world is laughing at you and pointing fingers, don’t give up.. especially not now.

You have a light in you that refuses to dim. A light that you wanted to share with those around you, but just so happened to do so with the wrong people.

Forgive yourself.

Because you are the rarest of them all; a kind-hearted individual that this world desperately needs more of.

In the end, it’ll be okay.

Love, especially love you have within yourself, will overcome everything.

Fighting to live

There are times when I am happy, so happy that I am soaring high in the sky with a feeling so indescribable. I feel powerful like I have the world in the palm of my hands.

And then in one split second, I am falling. Falling so hard, so fast into a deep hole of darkness where anything and everything is non-existent. The world is no longer in the palm of my hands, but on my shoulders weighing me down. When this happens, I feel like I am no more. And I am silently crying, desperately trying to hold onto anyone, someone.. only to find that there is no one.

I don’t know how to tell people without sounding crazy that I am abnormal. I am not your average pretty-face girl. On the outside everything looks wonderful and glamorous, but in the inside I am still a lost child constantly searching for somewhere  to belong. I have dreams, maybe a little too big for someone who grew up in a small city. I am often misunderstood and put on a pedestal with unreasonably high expectations… and all I can do is muster the courage to say: I am not who you think I am.

I don’t know how to tell people that I have a hole in my heart, an unfulfilling happiness that I have carried since I was a child. I don’t know how to explain without sounding ungrateful, confusing, and belligerent.

All I can do is hope that somewhere out there there’s someone who feels the same way I do without any valid explanations, but strictly with emotions that we can’t help but feel.

Holding onto this thought is what keeps me going everyday… and why I fight to live. 

It’s the very thought that, perhaps, I am not alone

I will continue to fight. Fight for all of abnormality…. and hopefully one day we will finally find our place in this world together.

Ride

Lana Del Rey “Ride” Monologue

“….When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing how I had been living, they asked me why, but there’s no use in talking to people who have a home
They have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people
For home to be wherever you lie your head

I was always an unusual girl
My mother told me that I had a chameleon soul
No moral compass pointing me due north
No fixed personality
Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean
And if I said I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying

Because I was born to be the other woman
Who belonged to no one
Who belonged to everyone
Who had nothing
Who wanted everything
With a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about it
And pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me
Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people
And finally I did
On the open road
We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore
Except to make our lives into a work of art

Live fast
Die young
Be wild
And have fun

I believe in the country America used to be
I believe in the person I want to become
I believe in the freedom of the open road
And my motto is the same as ever
“I believe in the kindness of strangers”

And when I’m at war with myself
I ride
I just ride

Who are you?
Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies?
Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them?
I have
I am fucking crazy…
But I am free.”

Words

Words can kill because they are so powerful. They can make or break a soul. Say the wrong things and it can change a life forever. No amount of apologies can make up for the hurt that was caused. What’s been said has already been done and is something you’ll never be able to take back.

There’s been many times in my life where I could have died because of words that were being said, or even by words that I longed to hear but never heard. I’ve been taunted and kicked down to a point where I couldn’t go a day without questioning my very existence and whether I had any worth at all. My silent yearn for words of love and affection were nowhere to be found and it led me to believe that it didn’t exist. I simply couldn’t see what I had… and I didn’t have the physical, mental, and emotional capacity to value life or myself as a human being.

Believe it or not, words is one of the strongest weapon there is. While physical pain can heal within time, the emotional hurt never goes away… you just learn to forgive, but never able to fully forget.

Choose your words wisely and be kind to those around you… because you just never know whose life you’re changing.

Life of a “perfectionist”

As I complete the last few hours of my 8 hour shift at my office job, I finally submitted what would be my last paper for the semester. I have to say that I can finally breathe… at least for now. This academic year honestly has not been my best. I experienced constant highs and lows, and right when I thought I couldn’t take anymore jabs…. things continued to happen. I feel nothing but relief right now though because I can finally say the worse is over and I am still standing.

During my fall semester, I had to drop a class and I barely passed my other classes. This put me on academic probation for the spring. I continued to push myself harder even though I felt so unsure of myself. I clearly didn’t learn because I took on a lot more than I could handle. I was accepted to compete for Miss Minnesota USA. If that wasn’t enough, I picked up a second job as a bartender on top of pageant training, full-time school, internship, and volunteer work. I was so incredibly drained. I was constantly in and out of sickness and eventually ended up having to drive myself to the emergency room during finals week.

Then one of my worse fears came true.. I received news that I failed a course for the semester. Call me dramatic, but it seriously felt like my world ended. I thought to myself, “What the hell did I get myself into?” “What is going to happen now?” Then it finally clicked in my head that I was working so hard, too hard, that I lost myself in the process. I realized that I was trying to prove people wrong that I forgot all about me.

I call this the life of a “perfectionist.” A life where people are always expecting so much out of you. If you succeed in one thing, there’s another thing you must achieve. And then if you make one simple mistake, you’re seen as a failure for the rest of your life. It feels like there’s never a time where enough is enough because there is still so much more that you need to do… and you can’t and won’t stop until everything is accomplished. It can honestly drive you insane, like how it has done to me.

In truth, there is no such thing as “perfection.” I relearned that today.

I believe that there will be things you’ll fail at in life, but that doesn’t make you a failure. If anything, knowing that you tried makes you a winner in your life.

As for that failed course, don’t worry…. that professor will definitely see me again and I will pass the next time around. Until then, I will keep reminding myself to not be so hard on myself… and so should you.

1 year

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Today officially marks one year.

During this time of the year, I came back home from studying abroad in Europe. It was a long 3 in half months filled with non-stop learning about myself and the world around me.

Before I studied abroad, I was living a life quite opposite of what I was used to. I was living a quiet life. I basically dropped off the face of the earth. People didn’t know what was going on with me anymore because I rarely updated my whereabouts on social media. I didn’t have a working phone. I cut off a lot of people and I stayed away from attending social events. I admit that I was depressed. On the outside, people thought I was doing great but deep down I was trying so hard to fill a hole that was in my heart. It’s hard to imagine now, but the me before that was nothing close to the me now. Back then, I lived my life recklessly and often had public meltdowns for the world to see. But with time, I changed. I didn’t want to live my life that way anymore. However, living the quiet life wasn’t enough for me. I wanted a new life, so I left to Europe.

It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Without any disturbances, I was able to self-reflect. I was able to analyze things that went wrong in my life. I also analyzed relationships that I so badly wanted to work but failed. I was able to understand myself more and I was able to broaden my perspective on life. I learned forgiveness. I learned patience. I learned perseverance. I learned how and when to let go. Most importantly, I learned that the world never stops spinning.

It was a difficult decision to make, but I left the program early instead of completing the 2 weeks of free travel due to the fact that I was extremely homesick.

I remembered waking up bright and early on the day it was time for me to leave. As I looked around my room for the last time, I felt a bittersweet feeling that I couldn’t quite explain. I already packed my things the night before. All I had left to do was to call the taxi and be on my way to the airport. A part of me didn’t want to leave, but I knew it was for the best because I couldn’t deny that my heart was longing for home. Home was where I belonged.

Boarding the plane back to the United States from Germany felt like a dream. I was exhausted from traveling to 6 different countries back to back. Throughout the plane ride, I experienced a severe case of motion sickness. I don’t think I would have survived if it weren’t for this friendly, British black woman who sat next to me. I would wake up from my naps to a fresh bottle of water and lunch provided from the flight attendants. After I woke up from what seemed like the 5th nap, she and I started to conversate. She asked me why I was traveling alone. I told her that I was going home to my family after studying abroad for the semester. Her eyes twinkled at me and she nodded her head as if she seemed to understand. She then said, “You are very brave… Not many people would have the courage to do so. You should rest. Not just your body, but your mind as well. Your spirit is trying to prepare you for what’s to come.” Even today, I haven’t been able to forget those words coming from that friendly stranger.

It didn’t really hit me what she said until today. Little did I know, what was yet to come that week changed my life forever…… What happened next, the world already knows. It is now that same time of the year again except this time I am alone. As much as I try to be positive, I accept that I will be alone possibly for the rest of my life…. and it’s okay because in life you can’t always get what you want. Even though it gets lonely, I know I’ll be okay. I’ll be fine. And so will you.

My growing up

Let’s all take a step back and think about elementary school. You know during recess, there’s always those kids that are alone swinging on the swings by themselves or sitting under the bleachers counting rocks by themselves? That was me. I couldn’t quite explain why it was that way, but right when I was old enough to grab onto the concept on life, I knew I was different.

The moment I knew I was different was the moment when I was shoved to the ground at 5 years old. It seemed like it was just yesterday when two girls I barely knew, one White-American girl and a Cambodian girl, waited for me every day after school. I was in kindergarten and they were at least in the 1st or 2nd grade. After class, I would walk to the office to wait for my older siblings to pick me up after they finished patrolling for the school. One day, the girls noticed me sitting all alone in a chair. I sat quietly and nervously picked at my nails. They introduced themselves to me as Kimberly and Soda. At first, they were nice to me and asked me to play with them but I was too shy to respond. Instead, I looked down at my feet and shook my head no. I didn’t grow up with many friends or people my age to play with and because of this I had trouble interacting with others. The girls made my life a living hell after that. They started calling me names such as “gook” and “chink.” They made funny faces at me and even made slanted eyes with their fingers. They even went so far to take a marker and draw a large mole on their face in mockery of my distinctive beauty mark I have over the right side of my upper lip. I never once uttered a word. Instead, I endured it all for the sake of what my mother taught me: no matter how bad people treat you, you must not do the same back. The innocent little girl in me did not know any better but to trust that goodness overcomes everything. At least that was what I believed then.

It was picture day in 4th grade. I got up extra early that day to dress myself up. I thought to myself that I wanted to be extra pretty and perhaps, the boy that I liked would notice me. I picked out a black velvet dress to wear, curled my hair, wore a silver choker with a pink butterfly on the front, slipped on my favorite white dress shoes, and went to school. Right when I stepped into the bus, a few people stared at me. I figured it’s normal for people to stare, so I sat down without caring. I even thought to myself that I didn’t care and I really didn’t. I didn’t care until I stepped in my 4th grade classroom and the class bully had to look at me only to point and laugh. “Where’s your glasses today, Four-eyes?!” “You look so fat in that dress!” I stood there for a moment, wondering whether I should take action or ignore him. I saw myself as a coward back then, for I chose to do nothing. Instead, I sat down, turned away from him, and ignored his awful greeting. At moments like this, I often wondered: what happened to all of the nice kids that would help share their sandwiches with you, knowing that you starved during lunch time because people picked on you about your weight? I realized then that they didn’t exist in reality as much as they did in books. Books became my best friend.

The little girl in me that believed that goodness will overcome everything suddenly had a different perspective on things. I felt my heart darken and my peace broken. At this point, I reminded myself daily that “I was different.” I no longer wanted to associate with the outside world or to trust in another human being. Instead, I felt safe at home in my room. That was where I spent most of my life; in my room.. in silence.

The day of “Love”

I want to start this post by wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. Know that you are loved even if it may not be in the way that you dream of or wish for. Any kind of love whether it is big or small is worth celebrating. Some may say that we don’t have to wait until this specific day to celebrate love, which I agree, but it doesn’t hurt to go an extra mile to make this a special day. Whether it’s on this particular day or any other day,  it is a wonderful reminder of the love we have in us that we tend to forget due to our busy lives.

As a little girl, I used to dream of a life in the movies where I would wake up and be saved by my knight in shining armor. I came up with many scenarios such as a long lost prince that I was fated to be with or perhaps someone from a past life that I just so happened to cross paths with again. I admit that I was obsessive with the idea of love. My way of feeling complete was to live in a fantasy world I built for myself, and for so many years I couldn’t differentiate fantasy with reality.

As I continue to grow, I realize that I don’t need saving. I don’t need to have a destiny with anyone. I don’t need anyone to love me because I have love in me all along and it shows in the love I give to others. The love we give is a reflection of the love we have for ourselves. Love doesn’t have to be with a person. It can be with the things we love to do, the places we love to visit, and in the people that surround us whether it’s close friends and family or strangers who adore you from afar.

Although love is something that completes us in many ways and it is something that many of us yearn for, it doesn’t have to be like how it is in the movies. So, if you’re reading this and you’re someone who is sad about not having someone to love, know that you don’t need a person to feel loved. You ARE love.