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.

If I were honest….

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.

But, if I were honest with myself, I’d know that that stuff doesn’t happen to me.

Bookstore’s Time

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

Looking Back, Looking at Now

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.