No, Thank You

You want me to follow your rules?
You want me to follow your orders?

I say, “No, thank you.”

You want me to hide my true self and everything about me for your own facade.
You want me to hide all my struggles and all my problems for your name’s sake.

I say, “No, thank you.”

You want me to devote my life to something I have no interest in.
You want me to change my whole personality to just please you.

I say, “No, thank you.”

I got my life figured out.
I know where I want to be.

You want me to stop doing things I love just save face for you.
You want me to stop caring about things I adore just for you to look better.

I say, “No, thank you.”

You want me to follow your rules and do nothing wrong.
You want me to obey you and ask zero questions about anything.

I get it.

You want the best life for me that you can imagine.
You believe there’s only a couple ways for me to find happiness.

I get it.

You are lost in the dreams you never got to chase after.
You are regretting the past because of where you ended up.
You want me to have a better future than your present.
You want me to be that perfect little daughter you always wanted.

But, I say, “No, thank you.”

I’m not that “perfect little daughter” you always wanted.
I don’t completely love the path you have chosen for me.
I am not a machine you can just build up to whatever you want.
I have to follow my own dreams and chase after the things I want.

You want me to simply listen to you.
You want me to just be obedient to you.

I respect you enough.
I love you enough.

But I also have to love myself.

So, I say, “No, thank you.”

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UCLA 

She has worked through school by herself, her parents being people who only ever graduated high school but didn’t retain much. She was taught at a young age to always wear a mask for the people around you mean nothing but harm. She was isolated from friends and invisible chains which kept her in place where her family and her future came first. 

She has learned, through many events, that the world is a mysterious place. She has learned that hard work and dedication gets you far. She has learned that your own blood doesn’t always mean the best. She has learned so much…and all she wants to do is help. 

She wants to become a doctor. She wants to make a difference. She wants to find her place in this world. Her medical career means so, so much to her. She has worked day and night to achieve her dreams. 

She is my sister. 

She had watched me undergo multiple surgeries. She had witness my struggle through my battles. She had made a choice, to become like the doctors who saved my life and gave me hope. 

She is caring. She is kind. She is thoughtful.  She is grateful. She is wise. She is loving. She is compassionate. She is determined. She is a go-getter. She is well accomplished. She is a warrior. She is a dreamer. She is a daughter. She is a sister. 

She is waiting for her acceptence letter from UCLA still. If she gets in, she leaves this July and starts her journey to become a doctor. She will start another chapter in chasing her dreams. 

I pray for her to get in. My heart aches to watch her so stressed. I worry for her well being as the pressure and the waiting gets to her, more and more. She has her backup plan. She has a future in the medical field either way. But she deserves this. I pray for her suffering to end happily with an acceptance letter from UCLA. 

She will become a beautifully strong and incredibly smart doctor. She will not only help countless of patients, but leave warm memories in their minds just as my own doctors did. 

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A Letter I Never Thought I’d Write:

I am nineteen years old. I am Asian-American. I am a first generation college student. I am the product of who wonderful immigrants who had fallen in love. I am the daughter of a woman who had to live through the heartache of being separated from her immediate family. I am the daughter of a strong man who had to sacrifice his future of the future of his younger siblings. I am the younger sister to one young woman who you know has done so much in her life. I am the best friend and mentor of a young teenager who is doing her best to endure the harsh winds of life with the resources she has been given, to keep on smiling and keep her head up, and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am a close friend of a wonderful young man who has been through thick and thin to get to where he is, to preserve the heart he has, and to survive all the battles he’s been put through. I am a friend to many whom I wish to help by spreading some happiness in their lives and to make their lives a little easier than before.

I am one of the many who has fought through depression, in which I am one of the people who had survived. I am a one of those who has been through one too many surgeries. I am a one of the people who has felt the pain underneath the knife, in more ways then one. I am one of the countless who struggled with accepting their own past, and even their own reflection which they face in the mirror. I am one of the billions of people who have made countless mistakes and have wished to take back every last one in hopes of having a better outcome. I am one of the many strong and brave warriors that walk on this earth who are learning what it means to live.

I am an artist. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am a passionate soul who wishes to reach all ends of the world with the words and ideas that come through her mind. I am one who carries a big heart, not only because I wish to spread kindness but because I have felt the uttermost pain I do not wish on any other soul. I am one who carries a heavy heart. I am a compassionate warrior who thrives to connect with those she comes in contact with in hopes she will shine a little light into their darkness.

I am a young woman who strives to find her place in this world, because she knows, deep down in her heart, that she belongs. I am a young woman thirsty for love, an emotion and a drive that many witness but few ever understand. I am a young woman fighting her battles day in and day out, never wanting to give up and just settle down for something less than what she deserves. I am a young woman looking for the companion who will be my equal other half.

I am a daughter…just as he is a son.

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Breathe.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Close your eyes. Calm down. Feel that pulse of your heart. Remember that you’re still alive. Breathe in. Breathe out. Calm your mind.

The emptiness clouds your senses and the millions of thoughts buzz through your silent mind. You told yourself you wouldn’t turn off your emotions but, one day, automatically, they were turned off after a shocking wave of feelings engulfed your whole mind and body.

After how ever long you survived by ignoring the pain and pushing past the hurt, everything is catching up to you and you don’t know what to do. Lost in a jumble of emotions and a train wreck of thoughts, you breathe. Confused with both pain of the present and the hurt of the past, you simply try to breathe.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember you’re strength. Keep a calm mind. Breathe in. Breathe out.

You aren’t in this fight alone. You aren’t the only one struggling through their days. You aren’t the only one in several billion who have no sense of accomplishment even after years and years of achievements. You aren’t the only one who looks in the mirror and sees a stranger.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember who you are. Remember who’s in your heart. Breathe in. Breathe out.

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Me and My Keyboard

It’s easier to type my thoughts rather than say them in a coherent sentence in front of you.

It’s easier to talk through typing than trying to put my thoughts into a straight sentence while your eyes see through my soul. I feel vulnerable and I know, sometimes, it shows.

It’s easier to hear my own thoughts and know what I’m thinking when I’m not distracted by being nervous in front of you. I don’t want to make a fool out of myself, but sometimes I end up doing just that by worrying about it.

It’s easier to be descriptive when I have time to pause and feel comfortable with thinking through my words rather than trying to have “smart” words come out of my mouth at a constant rate. Who can do that? Apparently, not me.

It’s easier to tell a story when the person anticipating on what’s going to happen next isn’t staring at me all wide-eyed and intrigued (not saying that all my stories are that interesting).

There’s something about me and the keyboard that just clicks.

When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly I can pour out my heart. When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly being honest and blunt is the route I tend to take. When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly being myself isn’t all too scary.

My fingers fly over the letters, words come out easily, and sentences are easily strung together coherently. My thoughts line up instead of acting like a thousand people trying to get out of a burning building all at once. My ideas are clear and right in front of me instead of making it seem like there are gallons of water raining down in order to block my view.

When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly saying what I want, or need, to say suddenly becomes more natural….and, sometimes, beautiful.

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Hint…Hint -nudge nudge-

Sometimes I want to stop and ask “What are you thinking?” when someone does something I know has more meaning than they’re letting on. Sometimes I want to stop and listen to the thoughts that run through their mind to simply understand them better, and to understand in what ways do they perceive the very world we both exist in. Sometimes I want to stop someone and ask “Why did you do that?” even when I know the answer and have a good chance of being right, because you never know how much you understand someone until they do something rather odd.

Sometimes I want to understand, I want to clarify, and I want to simply ask these questions that I want an elaborate answer for…but I don’t. I know there are things we simply do because it’s all we know how to do. I know there are things we sometimes do out of impulse, so we don’t always have much reasoning behind these actions. I know there are things we do that we even don’t understand why ourselves. But, despite all of these, it doesn’t stop me every single time I wonder if I know the answer to “Why?”

There’s always meaning behind the words we say. There’s always reasoning behind the actions we do. And, subconsciously or consciously, time after time, we leave hints to those around us. We nudge them towards the correct answer and, even though this might be denied, we hope they somehow someway understand what runs through our minds. We yearn to be understood, as we yearn to be cared for. So in the mist of being guarded and cautious when it comes to opening up to others, we leave hints to everyone around us in order for them to get that much closer to us.

I, myself, leave many, many hints. For years, I lived in a world where you always had to read between the lines and guess what’s hiding behind the curtains. In this world, the persona you saw up front almost never matched reality. Therefore, you had to learn to read human bodies in order to come to conclusions on what’s happening in the human mind. You had to read each and every body language “hint” they subconsciously or consciously gave you to understand them. You had to manipulate the games in order to gain access to the forbidden key that opens their heart. You had to fight your way into people’s lives without ever showing interest in wanting to be there. You had to come up with your own fake persona that guards you from being understood, in order to be understood. Because, in the end, the mystery was the fun part of the game.

Now that I have stepped out of that horrid world where everyone had to keep their guard up without ever seeming like you give a care, I wonder if I could ask the questions I still am intrigued to know the answers for. “Why did you say this even when you knew it would effect this person who was standing behind you?” “Why would you pretend like you feel this way when you know this person will react in this certain way?” “Are you playing a game or are you being truthful about the person you are upfront?” These aren’t questions you hear everyday, is it? But these are the question I constantly had to ask myself in the complex world I lived in. Maybe it’s not all that much different from your life or someone else’s world, but I believe the mindset I had back there is definitely different from those currently around me.

But putting that difference to the side, it’s crystal clear to many, many of us how difficult it is to start the conversation when the topic you wish to discuss isn’t simply “How was your day?” or “Everything’s so stressful!”. The conversations you really want to have are things like “I’m struggling with this particular part in my life because these certain things occurred in my past and lead me to think this certain way.” The deep and meaningful conversations are the ones each and every single one of us wish to have. But opening your mouth and beginning a discussion is never easy, despite who you are looking at, and that is when we start to leave “hints”.

We leave hints to tell people, to intrigue people into learning more about us. What makes us tick, what makes us happy; why we think a certain way, why we react almost automatically when we face certain things; what we think about the future, what we remember about the past. Despite leaving the “other world” I lived in, I still have a drive to understand those around me. I want to ask what they’re thinking sometimes but I know I will never get the in-depth answer I always crave. If you mean a lot to me, I want to understand you just as much as I want you to understand me. Throughout the many, many years, I’ve learned that…mystery is not always fun and games.

I know that we all leave hints here and there. We have times where we are more vulnerable than most. We all have something in particular that will always have a soft spot in our hearts. But I’ve gotten to the point where I simply don’t want to guess anymore. I don’t want to constantly have to read body language and search into someone’s eyes to understand what they’re thinking, or why they’re doing what they are. I don’t want to assume I know the answer behind the worldwide question of “why?” because I know I won’t always get it correct. And, yes, assuming does make an ass out of you and me.

Sometimes I want to ask “What are you thinking?” and actually get an elaborate answer with some reasoning. Sometimes I want to ask “What are you doing?” and get some explanation on what they perceive themselves to be doing and how they think their actions affect those around them. Sometimes I want to call my close friend up and just discuss life on a more in-depth way of thinking rather than the normal useless and insignificant conversations we all have had. Sometimes I yearn and yearn for the ability to do this, but I know…sometimes it’s just not accepted.

So, I go back to leaving hints.
This post itself, like countless of my past posts, is a hint itself. It gives you, and you know who you are, a more in-depth look at who I am as a person and what I think about the world we both exist in. It provides a conversation starter for the many, many topics you could think of.

All you have to do, is take it. It’s your hint, use it.

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Voice It To Me

I have this voice ringing inside my mind, yearning and fighting to simply be heard by those who walk by me, those who enter and leave my life, those who mean little and those who mean a lot, those who have a heart and those who have a soul; My voice raises to be heard by every person who exists on this land.

My heart is pounding for every second of everyday to reach out to every person in need, every person who is struggling, every person who is strong and brave, every person who feels as if they don’t have a voice, every person who gets taken for granted, every person who is fighting for a place in this world, every person far and near, every person who has a heart that beats like mine.

I have a passion inside me, a fire burning hot, a light shinning bright, that will bring joy to the rest of the world one smile at a time, one question (like ‘How are you?’) at a time, one simple act of kindness at a time. Sometimes we just need someone to sit us down and give us a minute in their arms, a minute of their time, a minute to feel accepted, a minute to acknowledge their worth, a minute to feel your love.

My sensitive ears listen to the quiet wind as it blows the leaves on each branch of the trees, to the loud silence in a classroom filled of stressed college students, to the light footsteps to every person who walks by knowing they have a part in their story they might never tell. And they will listen to your questions, to your complaints, to your worries, to your frustrations, to your anger, to your disappointments, to your confusion. They will listen to you for hours and hours without end as you tell me about your long day at work, about your exhausting conversation with someone, about the conflict you’re having with someone, about the future you plan on having, about the past you lived through, about the people who mean the most to you, about the ones who have hurt you.

My eyes will watch you as you make your way through your days, learning little by little how to live. I will watch you grow up; I will watch you learn; I will watch you finally achieve all yours goals; I will watch you chase all your dreams; I will watch you laugh out loud in joy and in happiness; I will watch you pick yourself up each and every time you fall down; I will watch you make your mark on this world because it deserves to hear you roar!

What is your story? What will you do?

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Might As Well Jump

“Look towards the sky, look into your heart.” – a little saying I found that means a lot more than I thought it could.

What is my heart saying?
My heart is saying “go for it”, “fight for it”, and “you got this” in more sentences than one. My heart is saying “you will make it”, “you will live it”, and “you will survive to tell about it” with probably more confidence than I’ve ever had. My heart is saying “don’t walk away”, “this is true”, and “this will make it” with all the emotions it has flowing through it’s veins.

My brain on the other hand is saying words like “you got hurt before, be careful”, “walk the other way before you get hurt”, and “be weary of what tricks they might be hiding up their sleeves” with that mysterious tone that makes you want to know more. It’s saying “think ahead”, “predict the outcomes”, and “it’s better to know than be surprised” whenever I get caught in the moment and wonder what the rest of my life is going to be like.

As you can tell, I’m like most of you, my heart and brain don’t always get along. They don’t always say the same things or send out the same messages for me to decode. Sometimes following my brain makes sense, is the better route to take, simply because I need to be logical. Sometimes following my heart is the only way to go simply because I need to experience life and I need to open doors.

My brain is clogged by the memories of the past. My brain remembers the pain way to much and does everything it can to make sure I don’t encounter that level of pain ever again. My brain wants safety in logical terms. My heart loves whatever it loves. My heart is like a free spirit that will never be tamed. My heart wants to shower the world with kindness and do whatever it takes to make me happy again.

You’ve probably heard the saying “follow your heart and chase your dreams” more than a hundred times in your life in either one version or another. You’ve probably been told to “listen to your heart because it knows the way” with one set of words or another. Have you ever listened to these sayings? Why not?

But before I decide to follow my heart, I remember to look towards the sky. Is the sky falling? Is it turning black and grey? Is it raining blood? Is it turning into a hurricane that will never be tamed? No? Then what’s wrong?

Follow your heart. You have one life. You only have a few chances.
You might as well jump.

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What Am I Doing?

I laugh at myself sometimes. Sometimes I can’t help but ask myself, “What the hell are you doing with yourself?” Because sometimes, even though I know better, I retrace my steps within the new circumstances I’m facing.

I know better than to let someone this close to me. I know I get emotionally attached a little too easily and always end up getting hurt. But it seems like the more I walk down the same path and end up hurt, the more I don’t care about getting hurt. I know I’ll survive and I know I’ll recover from whatever trauma I might experience. But I also know that if I don’t take the chance and take a leap of faith when meeting someone new, I know there is the possibility of them making a hug difference in my life that I would be throwing away.

I know better than to get pulled back into the past. I know reminiscing will only make me yearn to relive the blissful moments just one more time. I know looking back at all the mistakes I’ve made will only make me regret them more and hold myself accountable yet again as if I hadn’t already hated myself one too many times. I know remembering all the hurtful comments will only make my brain keep them on a broken record that keeps running through my mind. I know allowing myself to feel all of that again will only hurt me even more.

I know better than to get distracted from my studies and let my guard down. I know that the more lean way I give myself to get my work done, the more I won’t want to get anything done. I know that the more time I give myself to work on my hobbies, the more I won’t want to stop working on the things that have become a second nature to me. I know that the more time I spend relaxing and letting my guard down, the more I will miss it when I’m in a tense environment. But the more I let myself live happily and the more I let myself be who I truly am, the more I get reminded that’s the true way to live despite what my life is.

I know I am independent and strong on my own. I know I can go through my days without someone needing to remind me of what to do, but I still ask him to remind me here and there when I can. I know I do perfectly fine without telling someone about my plans, but I still find some peace in letting him know what’s going down. I know I can deal with my life on my own, but I still find it soothing to know someone cares enough to get updated. I know I’ve gone through almost the entirety of my life without someone checking in on me, but I still find it so comforting when he asks me how I’m doing and genuinely cares to know. I know I am perfectly fine with being independent but the more I find reassurance in his presence and support, the more I find me telling myself that being a little dependent on him is okay.

I know turning off my emotions will only harm me in the future. I know I should deal with the emotions as they come, but I always find myself pushing them into a mental box when they come as intensely as they do. I know I will break one day when I’ve shoved too many emotions into the already-full bottle, but I always find myself going back to my old ways. I know I’ll pay in the future for the countless times I’ve used this defensive mechanism, but I have yet to learn better. I know I still haven’t learned how to deal with my emotions because of this, but I still haven’t found enough courage and support to start learning now.

I know better! …yet I don’t at the same time.

Trace

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I’m Sorry Because I Know

I’m a worrier. I spread myself thin a lot of the times. I try to do more than I should. I take larger bites than I can handle.

I get stressed and say it’s part of life. I get overwhelmed and believe it’s it’ll pass on by. I get hopeless and tell myself it’s just a phase.

I feel like I have to be there for every friend I have because I know what it’s like to have no one. I feel like I have to take care of everything I possibly can because I remember what it felt like when I was struggling with no one around to help. i feel like I always have to put my best foot forward for someone, anyone, because I remember how it felt when someone did that for me.

That’s me.

I help everyone I can. I am there for everyone I can. Even if it means spreading myself thin, or getting overwhelmed by how much I try to do, I believe trying can sometimes be enough. I do the little things that let people know someone’s there for them. I reach out to those who I need a helping head to let them know someone cares and worries for them. I give out the small gestures that I can to let people know that they aren’t alone. Because, guess what, I remember what it felt like when no one did that for me…and I remember when someone did do even the smallest thing to brighten my day. They’re two different worlds apart.

I remember what it felt like to want someone, just one person, to genuinely reach out to me to help. I remember what it felt like to be hopeless and feel so bitterly alone in this world. I remember struggling but being afraid to ask for help. I remember thinking no one really cared or worried about me. I remember that, all of that, and I remember never wanting any one else to feel that way.

So I apologize ahead of time to those of you in my life already who are getting closer to me, to those of you who are close to me, and to those of you strangers out there who will become a big part of my life. I apologize if I get comfortable around you to go off about worrying for someone else. I apologize for asking for your opinion and asking for help whenever it is that I do. I apologize for spending a lot of time talking about my relationship with others, or their life and how I would like to help. I apologize for wanting to help you, in any way I can, which means asking to know more about your life and where I can stand. I apologize if it comes cumbersome to hear about these things. I apologize if I don’t pay attention to you enough when things get overwhelming. I apologize for not being genuinely present with you because of something that is happening in someone else’s life. I apologize for wanting to help as much as I can. I apologize if it becomes a drag. I apologize if I sound like I’m nagging. I apologize if I seem to get overbearing. I apologize…for being me.

But I am this way because I remember what it was like to have no one guide me the right way. I remember what it was like to be lost in the world, like we all kind of still are. I remember being forgetful and wishing there was someone to remind me. I remember wanting to have someone to simply ask about my days. I remember wishing there was someone who genuinely wanted to take care of me. I remember wishing there was someone to help me with the weight on my shoulders.

I remember.

I know what it’s like, just like a lot of us do. I know how it feels like. I know what kinds of thoughts begin to flood through your head. I know. I know, and I want to do something.

I might not be able to take all the weight off your shoulders, but I can be there and give you and helping hand whenever it is that I can. I might not be able to control some variables in life, but I can be there to remind you that you are never alone in this fight. I might not be able to do everything for you, but I can help you through it. I might not be able to help as much as I want to, but I can definitely try.

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