Sometimes I know my worth.

Sometimes I have the guts to get up and say “I deserve better”. Sometimes I have the courage to simply walk away from something that is hurting me. Sometimes I have it in me to believe in myself and everything that I am.

After all, I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve taken a lesson of some kind from the problems I’ve caused in the past. I also am a changed person. I’m not who I used to be. There are still things that haunt me, that I look back to, or that I let bother me even today. There are things I haven’t fully dealt with, and things I need to face. But…in the end, what other people think of me shouldn’t change how I see myself, my past doesn’t write my future, and I have the choice to write my present and my future in anyway that I wish.

But sometimes I don’t know…

Sometimes I let the negative memories cloud my mind. Sometimes I let myself isolate from the world and trap myself in a dark and cold place of mind. Sometimes I get hopeless and feel lost, as if I don’t know who I am.

I start to hear the voices come back and I remember all the things that have been said to and about me. I start to remember all the stupid decisions I made when I was younger and start to regret everything that I’ve ever done. I start to slip and feel as if I’m a waste of space.

When I know my worth, not much can break me. I can get overwhelmed. I can get stressed. I can deal with something where I’m in over my head. I can be so, so strong and confident. But when I don’t know, everything breaks me. My brain suddenly connects everything back to a horrible memory or a scarring feeling from the past. Suddenly, everything seems to be working against me even when I’m actually getting a lot of work done. Suddenly, I feel alone and unwanted and I get trapped there.

I could vaguely remember how it felt to be confident and strong, but I wouldn’t be able to remember how to get myself back there.

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To the world:
I am a face. I am a person. I am a stranger without a name.
I am one without a backstory. I am one without a history, because no one knows it yet.
I am someone behind a screen. I am one more person to worry about. I am another who needs money to survive.

To the ones who see me:
I am a daughter. I am a friend. I am a sister. I have a name.
I am a student. I am still young. I am growing up. I am “old enough”.
I am a girl. I can be a wife. I can be a mother, a mother who has a son.
I am a mystery. I am someone to be intrigued by. I have a story. I have a life.

To my friends:
I am a hard worker. I am dedicated. I am passionate. I am caring.
I am considerate. I am thankful. I am grateful. I am helpful.
I am someone who struggles. I am someone who has problems. I am someone who deals with life.
I am a writer. I am a photographer. I am an engineering major. I am someone dedicated to STEM.
I am still learning. I am still figuring things out. I am still exploring the world that surrounds.

To my parents:
I am a daughter who has been through too much. I am the youngest of two. I am the little princess of the family.
I am closed off. I am distant. I am everything they taught me to be.
I am confusing. I am difficult. I am stubborn like a bull. I am a time bomb waiting to explode.
I am precious. I am delicate. I am not capable of handling my own health.
I am a stranger in both the two houses in which I have lived in.

To me:
I am a warrior. I am a fighter. I am a survivor. I am not one to mess with.

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If I were honest….

If I were honest with myself, I’d know that I crave human interaction.

Not in the way where I want to go to the loudest parties and dance until I can’t feel my feet with a hundred strangers. Not in the way where I am looking for the next bar to visit. Not even in the way where I am texting all my friends up each weekend to go shopping. Not even in the way where I am calling up old friends to get lunch and catch up over some weird new trend that’s catching fire on Instagram.

But I crave interaction…or, maybe I should say, I crave meaningful interactions.

Where a simple “How is your day going?” text will brighten up my day when it’s sent by the right person, because I know that despite their busy schedule they still care enough to check up on me. Where a quiet study room with a couple busy friends who will motivate me to bust my ass to grasp every single concept I need to master. Where a simple walk in the park after a long week would feel like all the weight on my chest had vanished after the first time I laughed.

I don’t care if the conversation is as simple as “how are you”, “been busy and stressed”, “is there anything I could help with?”, “no but thank you for asking”. I don’t care if the conversation seems bland, as long as it’s meaningful and it’s coming from the heart. I don’t care if it’s ‘short and sweet’ or ‘long and heavy’. I don’t care if it’s in the middle of the little gaps in our schedules or if it’s spaced out between two days. I don’t care.

If I were honest with myself, I’d know that it’s not only the interaction that I crave…but it’s the connection that I miss.

The feeling as if someone finally hears me after months and months of screaming my head off, crying for something…something a little more. The feeling as if someone cares enough to fight for me and fight to be beside me, despite what the rest of the world thinks or says. The feeling as if I am worth everything that I believed would come true back when I was still dancing along with the fairytale theme songs.

If I were honest with myself, I’d know that I am always chasing after something or someone that I think is worth it.

I’m always hoping that a person who made the mistake of doubting me would wake up and realize what they’ve been taking for granted. I’m always dreaming of those fairytale endings where people realize where things went wrong and do everything they can to make things right again. I’m always wishing for things to take another turn and show me that a person who truly cares to be with me would come on back.

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Bookstore’s Time

The hello’s, the goodnight’s, the smiles, the gestures…all of it means more than you might think. In a world where I cannot decipher whether friendliness means geniality or hints at a facade that will one day be torn, the smallest things become irreplaceably priceless.

The day starts with “Good morning” and “How are you today?” along with a bright smile from my boss, despite how behind we might be in our tasks. Then “good morning” and “What can I help you with?” comes from almost every coworker who comes walking into the store. I hear stories about their weekend, their weeks, their classes…their lives. We complain together and we laugh together; we are weird together and we make time pass faster together; we get the job done and we make sure each task is done right; we are in there through thick and thin by each other’s sides.

Despite the chaotic first week of classes, one of the two weeks that are called “RUSH”, there are still little moments that catch my heart. At the register, I feel like I am talking nonstop as I try to get everyone in and out as fast as possible without forgetting anything along the way. I barely leave myself time to get a drink of water or just take a deep breath of air because…why would I? There is always so much to get done.

But within all of that, a couple of my coworkers had become closer friends. Seeing their smiles, hearing their laughter, and their voices as we go about our day makes a long shift that much easier to handle. Even when I’m in the middle of helping someone, they purposefully stop by to say ‘hi’ when they arrive for their shift. Even when they’re in the middle of helping someone, they pause to help me get through a transaction I am not familiar with due to the fact that I started a lot later than them. Even when we all are waiting to get out and head home to the comfort of our homes and our beds, we stay around a little after closing to check up on each other and say our ‘goodbye’s. It makes the long day with everyone worthwhile.

Having those friendships, being in that environment, is unlike anything else I have experienced. These coworkers are students around my own age, with different experiences, who are so helpful and willing to give a helping hand.

It doesn’t matter how crazy it gets; it doesn’t matter how chaotic everything seems to be; the energy in that store when it gets busy is almost the best thing ever.

Priceless

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Looking Back, Looking at Now

Isn’t it interesting how day after day everything seems to be the same, yet when you start to look back you can see how much has really changed?

Ten years ago, I think all I really cared about was how much time I got to spend with my dad, how much I could learn from him. I used to love when something was “our thing”…like when he taught me how to play Chinese checkers or all the times I helped him around the house. Even a simple trip to Home Depot for some gardening dirt probably seemed special in my little brown eyes.

Five years ago, all that mattered was finding a place where I felt like I fit in because home no longer felt like home, and it hadn’t for a long while. And when I couldn’t find a place to call home, I felt like a bird trapped inside a cage waiting to be set free. I felt lost, and I felt as if no one understood what I was going through. I felt like…I knew there was more out there for me than the simple day to day life I was stuck living. I mean, doesn’t every teenager think that? Five years ago, my grades were probably the last thing I cared about. I started getting the lectures about deciding what major I wanted to pursue. I started getting the lectures that pushed me towards the medical field. I started getting the lectures about how I should be grateful for the opportunities I had since my parents didn’t have a choice at my age.

Three years ago, I wanted to be done. I wanted to move out. I wanted to finally see what the world had to offer. I wanted to be a bird set free. And at the end of that year, I wanted to run. It became, not the desire to venture out in the wild but, the need to escape everything that surrounded me. Everything around me just caused me pain and suffering seemed like the only thing I knew how to do.

Two years ago, I was trying to find a career path in which I would excel. I was trying to find a purpose in the mess of a life I was living. I was picking up the pieces of myself and trying to find a place for everything. I found myself learning how to love to myself and every piece of my broken heart. I found myself trying to start fresh once again.

Last year, I decided that I was going to start with a clean slate (or as clean of a slate I could get my hands on). From the town that I grew up in and the town I found myself attending school in for the past few years, I chose to register in a college campus closer to my house. It meant returning to the town I lived in, and the town I was forced to abandon a couple years back, but it also meant that I would have a chance at finding a new name for myself.

Today, I couldn’t be more proud.

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Hurt.

The phrase “…emotionally unavailable…” always raises red flags, from those who have learned better. The minute where you feel as if you can never get a hold of the person who means the most to you is the minute you question whether they are as devoted to you as you are in them. The second you realize you are feeling as if you are grasping your hands at something that’s not there is the second you recognize that the pain you feel burying deep into your chest is a pain you are in control of.

A lot of us know this feeling, this situation where we are hopelessly trying to hold onto something that’s not there. But not many of us know what it is to be on the other side of this ‘red flag’ a lot of us continuously walk away from. I mean, it’s not as openly discussed as being the one who can’t get into someone’s heart.

We’ve been taught from either friends or family to walk away from someone who doesn’t seem to give you enough or isn’t willing to be as vulnerably emotionally as we deem necessary for a relationship. We’ve been constantly told to walk away from the person who is in such pain that they have closed themselves off from their surroundings in attempt to keep their heart safe from the pain multiplying once again. We’ve been…possibly, taught wrong.

Everyone has felt pain. Everyone has pushed someone away because of that pain. Everyone has walked away from something that created pain for them.

Everyone has wanted someone to break down the walls they’ve built around themselves in attempt the shield their hearts from the cold wind. Everyone has broken down in someone else’s arms and feeling a kind of relief as the other person held them. Everyone has isolated themselves to wait and see who cares enough to come after them and be with them.

But when it comes to seeing someone else in that light, we have been taught to walk away because “they couldn’t possibly be everything we need and want them to be” or some bullshit like that. But guess what? We’re all going to be in that stage in life at least once in our lifetime, whether it be short or long, whether we have been there already or not. We will be, once again, the person in pain who never wants to feel broken again. We will be, for some time, the person who is simply seeking another who will care enough to break down the walls and come hold us, telling us everything will be alright because we have them by our side.

We will be THAT person. So why are we being taught to walk away from THAT person if THAT person will be us, one day or another? We’re being taught to walk away from ourselves. We’re being taught to ignore our own pain. We’re being taught that trying to protect ourselves is wrong. We’re being taught that trying to be a little selfish is wrong.

You know what’s “wrong”? Hurting someone so much that they feel like they have to lock their heart in a cage. Overlooking someone’s pain so much that they think their emotions don’t matter. Walking away from someone so often that they believe they will never be worth someone else’s time. Not giving someone a chance just because they’re in pain.

So “…emotionally unavailable…” should be “…in so much freaking pain…”

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White Silence

The silence that sounds like a tornado in my head, a million busy bees swarming around in their individual paths, a rain storm hitting a microphone as big as a football field creating the loudest white noise you could ever hear…is back.

I stare out of the library window and silently watch the outsiders walk to their destinations without really seeing them beyond the piece of glass. I stare, almost frozen, my eyes locked on am ambiguous object that is most likely not even registering in my mind. I stare, thinking thoughts I cannot understand, feeling emotions I cannot decipher. I stare, barring the silence of my mind.

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Tiger Got Her Claw

I know there are many of you out there who believe I need to take better care of myself. I know there are many of you out there who believe I need to stop pushing myself. I know there are many of you out there who believe I should just…s…l…o…w……d…o…w…n.

And I admit, everything that I’m trying to do gets overwhelming at times. I admit, there are days, maybe even weeks, where I am just in over my head. I admit, there are times where the pressure of expectations, both from the “outside world” and myself, truly get to me. But, there’s always a yin to a yang, right? There are days where I get so much done and you get the spark/explosion of feeling so damn productive. There are days where I see proof if my work paying off, whether it be actually understanding hard concepts or receiving a well-deserved grade on an exam. There are weeks where I have laser-beam focus and…it feels divine.

And, yes, there are those situations that just slap me across the face. There are those “little dramas” here and there that just give me hell. There are days where I struggle to even say that I’m struggling. But, this tiger has claws. I know for a fact that I’m stronger than most of you may think because, hell, I’m constantly finding out that I am a lot stronger than I even knew.

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Ups and Downs

Since day one, I had medical issues. For as long as I can remember, and even before that, I saw a cardiologist who monitored my growth, my capabilities, and my strength compared to a normal growing child. During the past few years, I have been waking up each morning with a small handful of pills and have been struggling with symptoms a lot of people cannot relate to.

This week, I had been told there’s a possibility of fixing one new health issue, regarding my heart, that has become a new problem to add onto my list of growing conditions. At 19, who would’ve guessed this would be my life? It seems like it is. And despite seeing everyone’s relief when hearing there might be a chance of taking care of the issue without another open heart surgery, I refuse to get my hopes up.

Let me explain:
For the past 2 years, my chest pain and the medications I have to take in order to make the pain tolerable have been growing without any kind of resolve. I’ve been to doctor after doctor, have tried medication after medication, and have been told in every which way that I will have to try something else. I have been told countless of times how sorry they are for not being able to help me despite how many attempts they have made. I have been turned away and I have been brushed off. I had began to lose faith in doctors because there wasn’t a solution in sight.

Then, one day, the nerve block injection worked. After nights of waking up to immense pain, tears rolling down my cheeks and my entire body frozen with fear due to how much it hurt, my specialist wanted to try the injection. And it worked. It made the pain tolerable, or as tolerable as it was before it began to flare and wake me up again. That, that day of relief, is when I was hit with the news that the pain I feel every waking day will never go away. It was permanent, and there was nothing they could do but give me medications to make it tolerable.

When my new cardiologist continuously said how I might still need open heart surgery after this procedure I am going to go through, I doubt the new doctor who claims he can fix me with this simple tube. But, I get it, I should be grateful that I do not have to immediately go to open heart surgery; I shouldn’t be freaking out; I should trust my NEW doctors (complete strangers). But I don’t, and I am.

I have woken up nearly screaming from a nightmare in which I am coughing up blood in the ICU after my procedure. I have woken up crying. I have woken up shaking, stone cold with fear. I have woken up several times for the past couple weeks with a broken heart.

I don’t know what to do…

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Weak Spot

We all have that particular love whose flame will never burn out. People say it’s your ‘first love’; others say it’s the love that changed you the most. I say, it’s every love that forced you to grow.

Don’t get me wrong, loving them and being in love with them are two different things. Loving them and wanting to be with them are not always correlated. This rings true when I look back and realize how many people I still love.

Khang – We had the most unhealthy relationship I’ve ever experienced, in friendship or in relationship. But, in some twisted way, I had believed we would still make it through. Looking back, I can still say there’s a fire in me that burns for you. I hope you have the best life you deserve. I hope you find true happiness without your demons following in your head. I hope you find forgiveness in your heart and learn to love yourself; you deserve at least that much.

D.J.M. – We were stuck in a fairytale-like honeymoon whose end was inevitable. Somewhere, deep inside, we both knew we were not meant to be but I had wanted to fight for us because it’s in my nature…I fight for what I love. And, in doing so, I hurt us both more than either of us deserved. Being with you shined light on a part of me I hadn’t known was still there. You showed me I am capable of being forgiven and loved once more. Thank you. I hope you find that good Christian good who will be there with you until the end of time.

To both of you, whether it had been under or over a year since I’ve seen you, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for you. It scares the hell out of me, but I know it’s okay.

You see, these particular loves changed me. I learned things about myself I probably wouldn’t have learned elsewhere in such a manner. I got shown things I thought I wouldn’t have seen. I went into each of these relationships a little different and came out of each one of them as someone different.

Whether it had been that I learned that I was truly not alone, living a life I only thought I was going through, or that I learned I was capable of forgiving myself for things I thought I’d never let go, I changed. Now, looking back, I wonder if I had changed them somehow. But, more importantly, I wonder if they’re in a better place in their lives by now.

For those who still hate their ex to the bone, I can’t understand what you go through. I couldn’t imagine looking back at those who hurt me so and have that blackhole of pain still inside me. I have been hurt and my heart has been broken, but I look back and see the young men I had fallen in love with. These of the people we once loved for a reason, the people we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with at a certain point, the people we would do almost anything to spend one more day with to see them laugh and be happy. These are the people who made us feel irreplaceable, the people who gave us strength to face the world when we were down on our knees, the people who loved us to the moon and back. When I remember all the unforgettable memories we had created together, I realize that I wouldn’t regret or take back that love for anything in the world because, in that moment in my life, they meant the world to me and they still are a treasure I hold close to heart.

They are…those loves whose fire will burn for eternity.

Particular

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