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.

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Pain is only temporary

When one door closes, another one will open. This is why we must never give up no matter how discouraged or hopeless we are feeling. Whether it’s getting laid off from a job that you devoted years of your life to or a failing relationship where your partner no longer feels the same, know that pain is only temporary.

There is always something better out there waiting for you.

As cliché as it is, time really does heal all wounds. Even though it does, don’t rely solely on time. It is what you choose to do and how you make use of your time that will help you move forward. If you choose to wallow in pain and hold grudges instead of learning from the experience and exploring what the world has to offer, then you will never fully heal.

Always have trust and faith in yourself, and trust me… you will find yourself in a better place than you ever were before.

Beauty

Beauty is not whether you have the straightest, whitest teeth. Nor is it whether you have the clearest skin or a perfect body with a slim waist, wide hips, and full bust, but it is when you are able to wake up in the mornings with a smile on your face because you are content with your life. Beauty is when you are able to shower the people around you with endless affection because you have so much love to give. Beauty is when you are able to wake up in the mornings and go to your job because it is something you enjoy to do and not because you feel like you have to. Beauty is when you aren’t afraid to look stupid in front of your friends whether it’s slipping on ice and falling straight on your face, or dancing off-beat to a trap song that you love. Beauty is when you care about what’s going on in the world and you want to make a difference in people’s lives. Beauty is when you give without expecting anything in return because you truly care about others’ well-being. Beauty is the values that you hold so dear to you, because it is what makes you who you are. Beauty is embracing that you’re different and you’re strong enough to refuse to compromise yourself for anyone. Beauty is uplifting others around you to be the best that they can be instead of bashing and bringing others down. Beauty is making mistakes but instead of giving up — you learn. Beauty is to work on improving yourself everyday.

Beauty is accepting that no one is perfect, including yourself, and that’s perfectly okay because your imperfections are what makes you you. You are what makes you beautiful, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

2017..

As the days get closer to the new year, I made a promise to try as many new things that I possibly can, including things that may scare me. This commitment is not only for 2017, but it is a commitment that I am going to make for the rest of my life.

The reason for this is because I’ve been living my life with the same day-to-day routine out of comfort. I was comfortable not knowing the unknown. I was comfortable with shutting the rest of the world out. I was comfortable being able to predict my days. Comfort was the ultimate thing that I held onto for so long…. but it is time to change my pattern. It is time for me to challenge myself in ways that I’ve never done before, to get out of my comfort zone, and to see as many new things and meet as many people that I can.

My new years resolution is to be who I want to be without any apologies. I will no longer apologize for my mistakes that I have made in the past or even for the mistakes that I will probably make in the future. I will no longer apologize for exploring the world and for keeping my options open. I will no longer apologize for being a socialite despite what people say or think. I will no longer apologize for being myself, and I refuse to hide or deprive myself of who I truly am. I will no longer apologize for the hurtful words that people say about me because it is not a reflection of who I am, but a reflection of who they are. I will not apologize for severing ties with anyone who brings nothing but negativity and hate in my life. I will not apologize for surrounding myself with inspiring, beautiful, and strong individuals. I will not apologize for having confidence in myself. And I will not apologize for loving myself.

There are many amazing things that are coming up that I wish I can tell the world now, but I have to remain patient and keep it a secret until when the time is right. All I can say is, I am excited for what’s to come and I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities that are waiting for me. This is definitely the time to shine, not just for me but for you too.

Family

They are the people that are quick to call you out when you are wrong. They are the people that are brave enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear. They are the people that can cut you deep like a knife with their words and with their actions. They are the people that can make you learn the definition of hate. They are the people that can impact the way you see life and how you feel about people.

Family can be filled with many imperfections and may lack certain things, but we can’t deny that they are the main foundation as to what makes us who we are.

We also can’t deny, that they are the people that still love you when you’re at your worst even if it’s sometimes hard to see. They are the people that have seen us go through various stages of our lives. They are the people that knew us before everyone else. They are the people that you continue to make your mistakes with, and with time they welcome you back with open arms. They are the people that will support you even if it’s from a distance or in silence. They are the people that will always push you to do better, and they will continue to push until you’re at your fullest potential. They are your eyes and ears when you can’t see or hear.

They are the people that we don’t get to choose, but they are the people that we will have ties with forever. And sadly, they are the people that most of us continue to take for granted.

In the end, you realize that they are the people that you can’t EVER live without. You eventually learn to accept that not only are you human, but they are too.

Who am I?

It’s normal to feel lost. Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling lost my whole life. You would think that at age 25, you would have experienced enough to have the answers to everything. Truth is, 25 is still an extremely young age. This whole time I kept thinking that by age 25, I should have my bachelors. I should have my dream career. I should have my own place. I should have my own car. I should have a serious relationship by now. I should have my life together because time was “running out.” I’m not sure where I got all of these thoughts from, but I now understand that I was basing my life off of society and others’ opinions.

I have to remind myself that although I don’t have my bachelors yet, I have a year left before I graduate. Even though I’m no where close to where I want to be when it comes to my dream career, I am at least a step closer than I was yesterday. Even though I still live with my parents at home and drive my mom’s car, at least I have supportive parents that would do anything in their power to help me succeed. Even though I’m still single, at least I can take this time now to really focus on myself and to become the woman that I’ve always dreamed of.

After going through series of unhealthy relationships, I found that the main reason for them failing was because I didn’t know who I was. I only knew myself as their girlfriend, as their lover, as their caretaker, and as their provider. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself “who am I” during those times and all I could say was my significant other’s name. Truth is, having a strong sense of identity plays a role in everything whether it’s a relationship, career, and anything else that you can imagine. Without it, it is hard to nurture what you love and care for.

This reminds me of back in August when I attended a Hmong Women Empowerment retreat. We did an exercise where we partnered up with someone random. One person would ask the other person “who are you” while the other person would state everything that they are. It could be anything from where you’re from, what you define yourself as, what you like to eat, what hobbies/interests you’re into, so on. If the person answering couldn’t answer anymore, the person asking the question will repeatedly ask the same question until the time ran out.

Today I decided to take the time to re-do this exercise and I’ve come up with more things. If you ask who I am, my answers are:

I am a Hmong-American woman that wants to make a change in how our Hmong women and girls are viewed in society.

I am a Hmong-American woman that wants to uplift all of my Hmong women and girls by helping them succeed and reach their fullest potential.

I am a daughter who isn’t perfect and I don’t always make the best decisions, but I am a daughter that my parents trust wholeheartedly. Someday, I’ll be the one to take care of them.

I am the sister that will fight alongside my siblings and protect them with everything I have even if they don’t do it for me.

I am the loyal friend that will stick by your side through everything that you do — good or bad — because I will always believe and see the best in you.

I am a lover that loves too hard and too deep, but with the purest intentions.

I am a student at UW-River Falls majoring in Marketing Communications and minoring in International Studies. I hope to further my education and get my masters.

I am a survivor of depression, suicide, and domestic violence.

I am loved by many, and I love every single one of them because I have SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE. Love is limitless.

I am strong because I always find a way to turn my life back around… even if it takes me a little more time.

I am beautiful even with the scars that I carry on my body. Every scar tells a powerful story that I want to someday share with the rest of the world.

I am the unspoken truth.

I am me….. Gloria Yang.

Gloria’s Contract

Throughout the semester we have been asked to keep track of the Faustus bargains that was made throughout our time in Europe. We have analyzed Faustus in various contents and storylines that include both Marlowe’s and Goethe’s versions. The concept remains the same, Faustus signs an agreement with the devil in exchange to satisfy his desires. This story is very much relatable to everyday life. Whether it is an exchange for knowledge, wealth, love, or even lust, we humans make this decision every day both consciously and unconsciously. Some may have better control, while others give in.

Although I did not have a devil appear out of nowhere nor did I sign my name in blood (sarcasm), I have made bargains such as these:

1560631_1156112411074317_5027279375128607985_n1. Materialistic  Gains – while Faustus made a pact for power, I did for materialistic gains. My love for fashion and beauty has made me spend more money than I should. There were times when I sacrificed food because I would rather buy myself a pair of shoes or a new shirt. Even though I felt guilty, I ignored it. I bought a pair of sneakers in London, and it still wasn’t enough. I went ahead and bought two dresses, yet it still wasn’t enough. When I reached to the other countries, I kept buying more and more clothes. Europe is the fashion capital, and knowing that has drawn me in deeper. It was very much like when the devil kept luring in Faustus.

At first, I didn’t understand why it was so important to me. Perhaps it is my way of protecting my inner self. All of my life I was judged or abandoned by others, which has made me rely on material things. It makes me feel good and powerful. This analogy makes me understand that perhaps there was something in Faustus that was incomplete. Maybe he was lonely just like me.

12924399_1170961052922786_8374688853951437659_n2. Leisure Activities – Growing up, I was taught that drinking and going out were bad things. Both of my parents are conservative and do not condemn behaviors such as drinking or partying. In a way I can understand, because alcohol really is nothing but poison that you put in your body. If people don’t drink responsibly, they can be in serious danger. Like how Mephisto tempted Faust, the feeling of wanting what you can’t have can make a person want it more. On this trip, I have broken my promise to remain sober. This was a deep wager I made more than once. Even though I knew it wasn’t good for me, I still did it. Each time, the results were the same. I would wake up the next morning with a raging headache and still feel empty. I realized perhaps I did this because I was trying to make friends and get out of my shell.

This makes me think of the scene in the 1926 film we watched of Faustus when he wanted Gretchen. It seems like in the beginning he only had lust for her, but he grew genuine love for her as the movie went on. Perhaps, lust was only a facade to what he was really yearning for; companionship. As for me, maybe it wasn’t the drinking or going out that I particularly cared about but it was the feeling of being surrounded by others.

Now that we are at the end of the trip, I realized that no amount of material goods or power can make anyone happy. Instead, it is the memories you make and the experience you have that makes everything worthwhile. It is then that you will be able to feel wholeness.

On this trip I discovered that love doesn’t have to be with a person, but it can be with places and with yourself.

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I also discovered that if you lower down your walls, you’ll be able to build connections with anyone even if they are different. This allows you to be open minded and to understand that not everyone has bad intentions. It is then that you will be able to experience lightness.

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Last but not least, I also realized how extremely important it is to have balance. One must find joy in the simple things and be able to appreciate what they have, as well as having the heart to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Everyone has a Faust in them, but remember that you have a choice. It is never too late to start over, for there are no limitations to goodness.

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

-Buddha

 

Germany

Today’s visit to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was heart breaking, gut-wrenching, but it had to be done… it is reality and speaks volumes about life and death. Many people take their lives for granted and think that they will live forever. They don’t realize that there will be a day that we will eventually have to leave this world. Death is the unknown and it is frightening. We don’t know what will happen once we turn over to the other side, and that is why we must live every day like it’s our last. Historical events like The Holocaust is a reminder that we will never know what tomorrow will bring. Death makes us treasure the present, and without it life would be dull.

Italy pt. 2

DaVinci By the Lake (Garda)
– Master of all, lived in Florence
– Learned science and art are inseparable
– Perspective is new idea of time and art
– In Florence, mankind flourishes
– Paints, concerned for outline. Painted baptism of Christ
– Experimenting with paints led to Leonardo individuality
– Painting uses light, distance to change everything
– Capturing light was one of his goals
– Introduced to machines young age
– Development toward innovative systems
– Equestrian monument to build smaller model
– A dream to cast a Horse
– Adoration of magi, most radical expressive
– Abundance and variety, all in one
– Medici influenced politics, sponsors DaVinci
– Created new styles of Jesus, independent painter
– Leonardo creates something never done before
– Natural, realistic art follows anatomical studies
– Art and math intertwined through history
– Profound artist but never satisfied
– Mona Lisa most famous painting in the world
– Leonardo printed Mona Lisa life spirit
– Flight will make man free
– Painting created with personal touch
– Leonardo = painter, sculptor, engineer, architect, scientist, musician
– Striving for perfection makes a Leonardo

Italy

Today I decided to write to Vincent Van Gogh:
Did you ever cry so hard that it felt like you were crying tears of blood? Did you ever get so frustrated that you wanted to pull every strand of hair out? Today I feel like you. I am lost and completely alone. I am angry, hurt, and confused. All I ever wanted was to be a good person and to find my place in this world. But it seems like every time I take a step forward, I end up taking a few steps backwards. Was this why you decided to end your life? Today I was at the hospital for hours and not one person came to help me. I wandered around and cried tremendous amount of tears while people just stared at me. All I want is for someone to show me where I need to go and for someone to heal my wound. I am tired, so tired. I want to go home. Just like you, I want to go home.