This is how I am:

I have my doubts,
I get overwhelmed with fear,
But I’m not backing down from this fight.

I second guess my decisions,
I overthink every situation,
But I will not walk away from this experience.

I worry about the what-ifs,
I look into the future and feel nauseous,
But I would not change a thing about my life right now.

When I am happy, I wait
For everything to end in disaster,
But I do my best to enjoy the moments I have that won’t last forever.

When I am fearful, I push
Those who care away to protect myself,
But I give in to the warm feelings if they are persistent enough.

When I am depressed, I shut off
Every emotion in my body so I can’t experience the pain and torture.
But I would never think of doing anything to hurt you during those times.

This is who I am:

A young lady growing up to find
That the “real world” isn’t as hard as it was in her mind.

A young artist still finding her style
As she walks down the streets and looks at life for a little while.

A growing photographer who has passion in her heart
Even when the work is hard, she knows she always has to start.

A little sister who looks up to her sister
As a strong woman who has made her mark on the world from the start.

A Dad’s little girl who tries her best
To just make her parents proud so she can finally rest.

A broken heart who has seen darker days
Trying her best to not let the present pay for those mistakes in the past.

A healing soul trying her best to make mends meet
As she struggles to find a meaning in all of this confusion and fear.

This is who I am.

I Know

I Know

I know you love me. I know you care a lot about me. I know you want to be there for me despite everything that goes on in your own life. I know you want the absolute best for me. I know…you love me.

But there are some things I have to do on my own. There is a path I have to walk independently instead of constantly asking for help. There are some questions only I can produce answers for. I have to do this.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a part of your life anymore. This doesn’t mean I don’t care about you anymore. I want the absolute best for you just as you do for me. I want to be able to help you make your dreams come true. I want to be a part of the big parts in your life. I do.

But I have to do this.

I have to take a step back from all my relationships and focus on myself and my own future a little more. I need to plan and analyze what I want to do and where I want to go. But, if anything, I need a break to just be myself and worry about me.

I’ve spent too many years of my life putting everyone before myself. I’ve done it ten too many times, where I neglect myself and my own needs in order to take care of someone else. Even though I mean well and I do my uttermost best to help others, I hurt myself in process. And, now, I realize how much I’ve forced myself to suffer when I could’ve eased some of my pain by just giving myself some of my time and attention.

I still want my friends. I still want my relationships. I still want all those things. I just need to balance out my life a little more right now. There are things I need to take care of; there are things I need to face head on; there are things I need to accept and learn. I have do walk a part of my path alone.

I’m not going to be fighting insanely hard to grasp a hold on the relationships that are falling apart, because that always takes too much of my time and energy for nothing at all. I’m not going to put a million things before my own needs, because I have realized how much I have forced myself to neglect myself by doing that. I’m not going to spread myself incredibly thin to make sure everyone else’s needs are met, because I understand I have my own needs that I keep forgetting too.

I have my own life. I have my own dreams to chase. I have my own problems to face.

I know you want to be there for me and help me through it all, but there are some things I have to do on my own.

I know you love me, so please…hope the best for me.

Just Lost

Just Lost

What do you want me to say? That I don’t know what I’m doing? I don’t know where this all leads?
What do you want me to do? Stop doing anything until I figure out where I want to end? Spend time planning out the little details instead of doing anything at all?

I know I don’t know where I want to be in five, ten, fifteen years. Who does?

Who has it all figured out? Who knows exactly where they’re going to be years from today/ Who? Tell me who and I’ll show you how they are simply doing what every single person is doing: figuring it out as they go.

You might know what you want to be doing in the future. You might be planning for those years ahead of time. You might have a timeline you want to strictly follow. But, the thing is, you never know what’s going to happen.

You will never be able to plan for the outcomes. You will never be able to see the mistakes before they happen. You will never be able to predict the future.

I don’t know what I want to be doing ten years from now. I don’t know where I want to be five years from now. I don’t even know what this summer will be like for me.

All I can say is this: I know what I’m doing right now.

Not in an hour from now. Not tonight. Not this weekend. Not next month.

I know I want to study hard in the courses I’m taking that pertain to a possible destination. I know I want to do my best to keep my friendships strong and close by. I know I want to spend my time living my life as much as I spend it working for the future. I know I want to be happy. I know I want to listen to music and get lost int he lyrics. I know I want to remember to spend time alone and experience myself fully. I know…only, that, much.

Just because I don’t know where I’m going, it doesn’t mean I have to stop doing everything to figure it out. It doesn’t mean I have to write out a plan to follow step by step. It doesn’t mean I am lost or behind from everyone else. Because, in reality, it doesn’t matter how prepared someone seems for the future because NO ONE IS READY, because no one knows what’s going to happen.

Not knowing, is okay.
Being a little lost, is okay.

Hello, Stranger Me

Hello, Stranger Me

There are some things in life I will never get, things I will never fully understand, things I will never even begin to comprehend.

One of those things….is me, is myself, is who I am today as a result of where I’ve walked or what I’ve been through.

I don’t get why I’m jumpy or easily frightened by the touch of someone’s hand. I don’t get why I am uncomfortable with being treated right. I don’t get why I still listen to the many remarks that constantly haunt me when I know I shouldn’t anymore.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to trust someone without a single doubt or feeling that they will betray me or walk away. I don’t understand why it’s insanely difficult to be just happy, not worried about the storm that might or might not come, but simply happy in the moment that I live in. I don’t understand why…accepting who I am as a person is still a task I have yet to check off my bucket list because all I see when I look in the mirror is the long list of hatred comments and bullshit reasons people threw at me and shoved down my throat since day one.

Why is feeling weak, weak? Why is feeling invincible, strength?
Why does having knowledge that others don’t make you smart?
Why does being privileged make you lucky and fortunate?

I will never get why I stare at the ceiling for hours with a blank, empty mind only to later close my eyes and focus on the darkness that hides beneath my eyelids. I will never get why I suddenly disappear into silence even after the happiest and more adventurous days where I am loud and hyper and crazy all at the same time. I will never get why I get spikes of emotion I can never control every once in a while, despite whether it is happiness, anger, or sadness.

I won’t, and may never comprehend why, or even how, I can stare at the most simplest things and have a million thoughts running through my mind that it gets to the point where I cannot even select one to listen to.

I don’t understand why I get insanely nervous and frightful when someone is simply kind. I don’t understand why I stumble over my words and start to fidget whenever I feel unsafe after being nervous. I don’t understand why being in an empty space suddenly makes me feel as if someone is following me and I am not alone. I don’t understand why I have a feeling something terribly bad is going to happen right after every single time something good occurs.

I don’t get a lot of things.
One of those things is…me.
I don’t get me, myself, and I.
I simply don’t understand.
I don’t get it.
I don’t get me.

Getting Inked?

Getting Inked?

For the past four or so years I’ve wanted to get inked. For the past four or so years I had this image of my “dream first tattoo”. For the past four or so years…I waited for myself to turn 18 to get it done.

I turned 18. I turned 19. I still haven’t had it done.

As a reminder of all the medical history I’ve gone through, as a reminder to take the time to step back and just breathe sometimes, as a reminder of who I am and everything I’ve dealt with, I want a line of heartbeats on my left inner wrist. I want three pulses. I want it to be sectioned into four pieces where each piece would have a letter of the word “LIVE”. At the end, right below where the heartbeat flattens out would be the word “BREATHE” in a typewriter font. I want a heart drawn into the end of the heartbeat. I want it to be simply in black ink.

I want it to be simple yet complex. I want it to be straightforward yet have a million of hidden meanings. I want it to be a present representation of me.

People say you will never be looked at the same after your first tattoo, your first announcement that you got a tattoo, your first visual/obvious tattoo, etc. People say it’ll be hard to get a job if you can’t hide your tattoo. People say…a lot of things…about almost everything.

How I see getting inked is like this:
It’s a powerful statement.
It’s a way to self-express.
It’s a way to represent yourself.
It’s a gesture of bravery.
It’s beautiful.
It’s breathtaking.
It’s strength itself.
It’s the ultimate “no regret”.

I know my parents wouldn’t be happy with the thought of me getting inked. I know what they think about it. I know where they stand. But I disagree with their standpoints.

It’s not just the people in gangs getting inked. It’s not just the people who’ve been to jail. It’s not just the people who break the law. It’s not just the people who fit into that stereotype.

It’s the artists. It’s the adventurous. It’s the strong-willed. It’s the creative. It’s the passionate. It’s the girly girls. It’s the tomboys. It’s the muscle men. It’s the regular guys. It’s everyone!
It’s the ones who just love the idea of it. It’s the ones who are simply following a trend. It’s the ones who want to look cool. It’s the ones who are simply awesome. It’s the ones who have something to say. It’s the ones who love to express themselves. It’s everyone!

So why not me?

A Question to Answer

A Question to Answer

I have a question for my readers. And I’d love to hear back from you all in the comments or even just email me:

(Seriously, I’d love to hear back from everyone!)

So the questions are as follows:

1. Was there a point in your life that you wanted to escape from the place you were? Did you ever think of leaving a letter, a note, a video explaining/saying something to those you would be “leaving behind” (even if, just for the time being)? How did that go? What stopped you from leaving?

2. Where do you want to go, if you don’t want to stay where you are?

To be fair, here are my answers:

1. There were many, many, many times where I felt so trapped and so limited in the ways I was expected to live my life that I wanted to be free in any way I could be. I didn’t want to constantly get lectured about how I should represent the family in public, how I need to behave to save face even in front of the relatives, or how much of a disgrace a certain act was. I didn’t want to get shoved into this limited box of characteristics I could only be if I wanted a peaceful life. I hated that idea.

The last time, I remember this night very clearly, I wanted to simply run away. I asked my boyfriend at the time very late into the night, “Would you be okay if I just picked up and left without saying anything?”, knowing he would get where I came from and what was running through my mind. He knew what position I was at in my life and he knew of all the things I was having to deal with on a daily basis during that time.
I remember planning it in my head. I parked my car outside during that time. I remember thinking, “I could sneak out through the backyard and the back fence would lead me straight to my car. I could turn off my headlights until I got a little bit further down the neighborhood. I could easily just drive off. I have money for gas. I have money for food. I could just grab a bag of clothes and head out.”
I remember thinking of what the empty street would look like at that hour. I remember feeling suddenly very relaxed and “at peace” with the thought of being out there on my own without people constantly nagging at me to do this or obey to that.
But, I never went. My boyfriend at the time had texted back, “No, I wouldn’t be. Please don’t go”, knowing I had the guts to actually go through with it. Somehow the simplicity of being reminded that I was still wanted around home made it enough for me to start slipping off to sleep. I remember telling him, “I’m here” and seeing his response, “I hope you always continue to be. I’m holding that on you.” I remember smiling and thinking, “I’m never going to live this down…” before falling asleep.

Like I said, I’ve had that thought countless of times. What stops me from going?
It’s simple: It can wait. It keeps me going. It keeps me waiting for the future.

Ever since I was little, it has been my dream to travel the world to capture the irresistible moments the heart will fall for. It has been this calling of mine that I have yet to answer to. I dream of going out there and experiencing the world through my lens, through the eyes of one who has a heavy, yet fearless, heart.

Sometimes, I wonder…since my dream of traveling as made me look forward to the future during many times where I couldn’t see myself being alive the next month, what happens once I go? What happens once I go to every location I’ve written down on my list of plans and have collected millions of photographs but still end up feeling that sense of meaningless and worthlessness at some point? Will I continue to think there is so much more out there for me, or will I think this is it?

2. I want to go to Greece. I want to go to LA. I want to go to New York. I want to go to Paris. I want to go to England. I want to go to Crystal Cove. I want to go to Catalina. I want to go to Big Bear. I want to go to San Francisco. I want to go to Vegas. I want to go to a black sand beach. I want to go to Yosemite National Park. I want to go to Artist Point. I want to go to Washington DC. I want to go to a glass beach. I want to go to Korea. I want to go to Japan. I want to go to Taiwan. I want to go to Little Corona del Mar Beach. I want to Sacramento. I want to go to the Golden Gate Bridge. I want to go to to the Great Wall of China. I want to go to the 7 wonders of the world: Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Status of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Etc. Etc. (The list goes on)

What about you?

Caged In. Forever.

Caged In. Forever.

You wake up shaking. You wake up screaming. You wake up gasping for air. You wake up…grabbing at what’s not there.

You curl up in a ball once you realize there’s nothing but empty space in front of me. You clutch at the blanket and bring your legs closer to your chest as you realize the entire house is empty, and it feels as if the room is turning ’round and ’round. You feel the tears fall from your eyes and remember how broken you feel inside.

You close your eyes wishing you were anywhere but there. You grip at the blanket until your knuckles are white like a ghost. You listen to your breathes come out shaky and feel your heartbeat race from within.

You wait. You wait for your body to calm down. But your mind is still racing.

You ignore the feeling and get out of bed despite how much you are contemplating between staying in bed for years and years to come or sprinting straight out the door and never coming back. You realize you’re wobbling on your feet because your body still hasn’t caught up with your motives. You walk into the corner of the wall and feel as if you cannot breath.

You struggle. Everywhere you look, it’s there. Whatever you do, it’s running through your mind ten times a second. It haunts you. You can’t shake it off.

You stare at your face in the mirror, it looks pale. You stare at your own hands, as if you haven’t seen them for years. You stare out the window, feeling like a prisoner in your own mind.

Will you ever be free?