So Much Has Changed

So Much Has Changed

It’s not that I don’t care about you. It’s not that I don’t remember all the moments we shared together. It’s not that I cloak my confidence in worry and stress.

I learned to live without you. For years, my best friend was out of reach and there was nothing either of us could do to change the past. I don’t blame you. Actually, I am grateful that you don’t blame me. But we both know we have to walk forward and figure out where things stand here and now, not reminisce in where things used to be.

My heart skipped the first time I saw you after a couple years of basically silence – worse than silence. I didn’t know what to expect. I honestly prepared myself mentally to be hit by a tsunami of the past. I was ready to feel the pain. But it never was like I thought it would go down.

You actually apologized for the year of torture. You apologized and took it upon yourself to apologize for how tormented I was. And, that itself, meant a lot more to me than the others could possibly know. I couldn’t thank you enough. Despite, I was silent that day.

Now, it’s been a while since we both walked back into each other’s lives. But, really, I still don’t know where you stand with me. I still can’t give you an answer to that question you had asked. “You meant a lot to me, maybe you still do. Maybe you don’t at all, or somewhere in between. I don’t know…” I had told you that first night. I didn’t expect you to have an answer either. But the discomfort in this unknown makes me ponder.

I see you standing there, as a person I used to want to share the world with. But we can’t deny how much things have changed, how much we have changed as individuals.

I see you standing there, but I can’t disregard everything else I have going on. The chance and need of losing the house I’ve called ‘home’ for the past eight years. The stress and worry my parents are going through, and trying to hide from me. The sickness in health I deal with on the daily, and the distress the pain my dad goes through each and every day. The campus I’m about to leave, and the one I’m about to enter. The nervousness and the excitement in “starting over”. So forth.

It’s not that I don’t care about you anymore. It’s not that I don’t wish you the best. It’s not that I don’t want to share life with you and have you in my life still.

It’s that neither of us know where we stand, and neither of us have much more room on our plates to spend too much time figuring it out.

I apologized for how preoccupied I am. I apologized for how much I’ve changed. But I refuse to apologize for how much I’ve grown during the past couple years without you here.

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I Love You, Công Chúa

I Love You, Công Chúa

No one will come to compare to how much I love you.

I remember the first time we met at UCI and I thought you were older than me. Most of the volunteers at the program were older; I was always the youngest of them all by far. You had yourself so put together in the front. There was always pain in your eyes, in your heart, but you smiled through it.

Remember when I warned you not to get involved with me? I tried to push you away despite it was obvious we clicked. You were stubborn enough to tell me it was your choice to stick around, and did.

You were the first girl I’ve ever put my faith in.

I saw a part of my sister in you. When I found out you were just starting high school I wanted to do everything I could to make sure you didn’t fall into the same path I mistakenly took my freshmen year. I hung out with you and your friends. We became closer. I introduced you to my group of friends and automatically you were the ‘little one’ we all protected.

I mean, one of us had motherly instincts, another always had a thing with fixing people, the other had a very soft heart, and, well, I loved you like no other. I couldn’t bare you going through any pain. I couldn’t stand you thinking you were ever going through anything alone. I still remember the day you told me you learned how to be strong from me – and that itself is my greatest achievement by far.

But, obviously, we’ve come far from then. It’s been four years and now you’re graduating. You’ve grown into a beautiful and strong young woman. You have ambition. You have fire. You have strength like no other. And I can’t be more proud of you.

I can’t wait to see where you go in life. I can’t wait to see how much you achieve and experience along the way. After all, we’re family. You will never be alone in this world no matter how far we stray. No matter what happens, you will always have a home to stay with me. You will always have an older sister who will hold you when you’re hurting and be pissed at everything and everyone who brings you pain. You will always have me to encourage you and support you through all your life predicaments. You will always have me cheering you on to be the best version of you, for you. You will always have me, here, loving you.

Remember that. We are family after all. I love you.

Sleeve

My Playlist of Memories

My Playlist of Memories

We all have that set of songs that send us back to memory lane. There are the songs that we shared with a significant other. There are the songs that got us through the tough times. There are the songs that we used to listen on blast, the ones we used to replay until we got sick of the same old lyrics. There are the songs that bring us back to the most blissful moments. There are the songs that bring us tears from the pain we sometimes don’t realize we’re still holding onto. There are the songs who have become a part of who we are.

That’s what I listened to the other day.

Just A Dream by Nelly was a song I first heard through Christina Grimmie’s and Sam Tsui’s cover on youtube before Cristina went big on The Voice. There’s a certain beat to the song that brings me a kind of joy that coexists with strength. So I travel back down that road. Will she come back? No one knows. I realize, it was only just a dream. If you ever love somebody put your hands up. If you ever love somebody put your hands. And now they’re gone and you wishin you could give them everything.

Angel with a Shotgun by The Cab was a song I liked for a while. I really started loving this song when it turned out my ex-something also loved Nightcore’s version of this song. It became our song. It became something that reminded me of him. One time when we were lying in bed he played the song and, in that moment, I truly felt at home. Even though we had a terrible falling out, this song still reminds me of my first love. They say before you start a war you better know what you’re fighting for. Well baby, you are all that I adore. If love is what you need, a soldier I will be. I’m an angel with a shotgun, fighting til’ the wars won. I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back. I’ll throw away my faith, babe, just to keep you safe.

Let Her Go by Passenger is also an all-time favorite that will always touch my heart. Everyone goes through life not truly knowing what to do. We go through trails of guess and ‘hope it’s right’ as if we’re still middle school kids taking a test on material we clearly didn’t pay attention to, let along study for. So I understand the circumstance of not knowing. But when I listen to this song and it speaks so much about regret and not being more appreciative of what we have in front of us, I can’t help but wonder how many of my past relationship I regret to have lost – or if they even regret to have let me go. There’s a part of me that will always be fond of the old memories and wonder ‘what if it worked out’ or ‘what if I go back’. Only miss the sun when it starts to snow. Only know you love her when you let her go. Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low. Only hate the road when you’re missing home. Only know you love her when you let her go. And you let her go.

Battle Scars by Paradise Fears is a song that I will probably replay over and over as one of my top favorite song until the end of time. I discovered Paradise Fears in high school when the scars on my body really made me insanely insecure and even self-sabotaging. Even though my ex-something at the time constantly reminded me that I can be loved despite all my body’s been through and despite what anyone else says, I found myself playing this song a lot whenever I hit a low point; I found myself gaining a lot of strength from these lyrics. You’ve had enough, but just don’t give up. Stick to your guns, you are worth fighting for. You know we’ve all got battle scars. Keep marching on.

Crash Test Dummy (Broken) by Reed Deming speaks the words a lot of our hearts wonder. We have gotten so used to seeing ourselves mess up and fail that sometimes we forget all the times we were strong and shined. We see all the broken parts, sometimes thinking they’re the worst parts of ourselves, and forget how beautiful and strong we still are. After all, we are truly our worst enemy. I am…insanely…guilty of this and I know it to be true. I will beat myself up over mistakes I made that ended up hurting me more than anyone. I will chew out my own ear (if even possible) about how I am not living up to my parents’ expectations for me. I will cry myself to sleep after telling myself that I am not worth fighting for. And then wonder if anyone will love me and fight myself for me. What if I’m troubled? What if I’m flawed? And what if they all just think I’m a fraud? And what if I’m left without a choice? And what if I like girls? What if boys? And what if I listen to all that they say? They promised forever and then walk away.

I’ll be honest, a lot of the songs that have stuck with me through the past few years are the songs that managed to silence my own demons. They’re the songs that can get me to forget everything running through my mind like a tornado. They’re the songs that help me escape from even my own head and go to a place where the storm has calmed. They’re the songs that have gotten me to where I am today. These songs are who I am.

More songs from my playlist:
Sanctuary by Paradise Fears
Mended by Matthew West
Safe in My Hands by Eli Lieb
Make You Stay by The Girl and The Dreamcatcher
Roses by Shawn Mendes
Written in the Scars by The Script
This Is For You by David Dunn
Shelter (Acoustic) by Nick Howard
Sincerely Me by Artist Vs Poet

If you have the time, give some of these songs a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below. Let me know if they end up touching your heart like they did mine.
Let me know if you want more song recommendations (:

Bits of each song mentioned have been attached to each paragraph above (in italics) respectively

 Song

Back Again

Back Again

I have to be honest…when I saw you again my heart skipped a beat. We didn’t leave each other’s lives in such good terms that I thought you’d be walking towards me with a smile on your face again. I hadn’t thought we’d be talking about life and exchanging stories over lunch anytime soon. But there we were, catching up, joking around, laughing and having a good time once again.

If I’m honest, I have to say I had dreamt of the day we meet in good terms again and catch up as if we never stopped being great friends. I wanted to share my life with you. I wanted to experience life with you. But when I saw you again I had to reexamine where I stand.

A part of me thinks we could mend the break and start a new friendship built on trust and faith. It thinks there is something that still ties us together that life has brought us to each other again. It still feels the connection that once pulled me towards you. It still believes that our friendship can make it through.

But, honestly, another part of me thinks I shouldn’t be trying to pull something from my past into my present and future. It remembers how broken you had left me years before. It is scared of being left again after finding reason to have faith in you once more. It doesn’t want to give its heart to someone who doesn’t believe we’re meant to be anything.

At the same time that I want to reach out to you and bring you into my life, I already have an exhausting life without the drama of an ex-something coming back around. At the same time that I want to be there for you again, for I still see the hurt in your eyes and feel the pain coming from your heart, I know I can’t fix everything in your life no matter how much I want to take the pain away. I’d rather take your pain onto myself than have you suffer through your own thoughts in the darkness I know you’ve lived within for way too long – but I cannot.

I know I will always have a soft spot for you, as the first boy I fell in love with. I know I will always love you and be here for you no matter what. I know I will never stop caring about you despite anything you can do. I know I will not ever be scared of you, but of my feelings for you. I know there will always be something there for you to come back to. I know I will always love you.

But…I am nervous to find out how our lives will intertwine this time ’round. If you reach out, I won’t push you away. But, if there is something left here, I can’t be the only one trying to find where things go.

To The Men and Women Out There

To The Men and Women Out There

To the men who think they’re Superman. To the women who think they’re a miracle drug. To the people who think they, not only have but, are all the answers to every problem that exists. To the people who think their touch could save someone’s life in a spilt second. To the people who believe they are the unstoppable healer of all time. To the people who believe just their presence in someone’s life is enough to turn black to white.

WAKE UP!

To a man who just walked into my life.

WAKE UP! ….also, fuck you.

My team of a dozen specialists are struggling to find a cure for my condition and yet you have the nerve to walk into my life and say you have all the answers from “back in the old time”. Do you know what it’s like living a “normal” life only thanks to the little handfuls of drugs you take on the daily? Do you know what it’s like trying to breathe through the chronic pain that leaves you breathless each time it strikes? Oh, and by the way, it strikes every second of every minute of every day that I breathe. Do you know what it’s like being more comfortable in a hospital than in your own bedroom because there is actually people there who can administer harder drugs to knock you out instead of struggling to breathe? No? Let me tell you then.

You walk around like a normal person, sort of. You know for a fact that people do notice how pale you get somedays and how sick you seem on others. You feel immense gratitude for those who take their time to take care of you; the small “are you okay”s during their busy days; the “I think you should sit down”s when you are overwhelmed by side effects that you could faint; the strong arms that hold you when you know your insides are breaking apart. But at the same time, you feel this guilt weighing down your heart; you don’t want to be a charity case that they think they can rewrite their sins with; you hate seeing pity in their eyes, masked around their worry, because a part of you thinks they wouldn’t be so caring if there wasn’t anything wrong with you. It’s constantly a battle between needing people to watch out for you (since you could faint any second of the day) and knowing you deserve better than some friendships that are more fake than unicorns.

Your life consists of constant visits to your team of multiple specialists who are constantly doing a guess-and-check kind of procedure with your health (and I don’t blame them; it’s just exhausting). Sometimes you get more excited to see that specialist you really get along with than your friends who love you so much. Some people don’t know what a CT scan is but you know that negative fluid is what makes you go through multiple needles because the nurses keep missing your veins or your vein keeps bursting open. Some people think breathing tests are the easiest test you can get but you know those tests are what leaves your breathless, lightheaded, and feeling like you’re going to faint. Some people laugh because “stress tests” sound a little funky but you know you’d rather have your vein burst ten times than go through that hell day.

You feel this guilt sinking in your stomach constantly because you can’t imagine how hard it is for your parents to see you go through everything that you do, because though you have your good days you also have really bad times where you can’t shut up about freaking out about another health problem that showed its face, because you know your friends are sick of hearing about your next surgery or procedure. You know people have their problems and you should be grateful that you are even alive and breathing but it’s difficult when years of buried panic boils to the surface and seeps through the mask you constantly wore to fight these battles.

You are constantly proud of yourself for doing well on a really bad day or even show up when your body almost can’t move. But you also want to scream your head off when you hit yet another glass ceiling every time your doctors say they don’t know what else to do that could potentially help. You know you should probably go to therapy for all the emotions you trap under your skin but live in a family where mental health isn’t a thing. You cry yourself to sleep feeling more helpless than ever but always having to act like everything’s okay.

You feel like a badass when you tell new close friends your story. You feel invincible when they tell you they couldn’t even imagine what your life is like. You feel proud of yourself when your mentor is stunned to learn about your health and tells you he is so proud of how well you’re doing. You feel safe when you know you can always lean on your best friends for support, every now and then. You feel like a badass when you look back at your past and realize how much you’ve survived.

Let me stop there. I know this seems like a rant since emotions are all over the place – one minute it’s pride and courage you feel and the next it’s the fear and guilt pulling you down. But, honest, that’s how life is like. You know it’s kind of like when you first get a crush on someone and get the butterflies in your stomach, that immense nervousness mixed with joy and panic. Then you start getting their attention and the questions start roaming your mind about whether you should make a move or whether they are feeling the same way. When you start getting closer to them and they’re everything you could imagine and more, it’s like those feelings you get of flying through the clouds and sudden fear of falling all mixed into one unbreakable jewel. It’s like what people describe as an off-and-on relationship with the love of your life – the immense emotions of joy, and fear, and nervousness, and excitement, all twirling around in the hurricane of questions, doubts, what-if’s, and opportunities, along with the ticking time bomb you constantly hear in the back of your heart. It’s a mess, to say the least.

And, don’t get me wrong, I get that everyone’s life feels like a mess at times and everyone has their problems to deal with. I get that there are people who have it harder than me. I get that a lot of you will never understand because breathing is something you take for granted. I get it.

But nothing gives you the right to come into my life and claim you have the answers to every problem I’ve ever had. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t know what I’m going through. You don’t know. And you definitely don’t have the answers so, to be short and simple, YOU ARE NOT MY ANSWER. I dare you to spend a week in my shoes and see if you can handle the things I go through. I’d love to have you wake up and realize what it does to me when you come around and say you’re the miracle drug that could save my life. But, honestly, I wouldn’t wish my life upon you even if you were a monster. You deserve better.

I might not know what ‘war’ feels like, but it definitely feels like I’m constantly at war with my own body. Except I’m always the team trying to simply survive rather than fight.

Provoke

Destiny?

Destiny?

You insist that everything should come naturally, that if you have to “work” at something maybe it’s not meant to be. I totally disagree.

Whether you’re talking about the relationships we have in our lives or the career path we wish to take down the road, your perception has blurred your sight of reality.

My good friend is working her ass off towards a new career path. She is struggling and she is swimming frantically through the pool of sharks that is the roadblocks in her way, but she isn’t giving up. And that’s the most important part here. Success isn’t easy. Having that fairytale dream life you wanted ever since you were nine years old is nearly an impossible task. But if you’re going to tell me that you’re so scared to fail that the amount of work you need to put into your life makes you want to walk away, then walk away.

If you’re talking about the relationships we have in our lives, then you really need to wake up. One relationship with one friend has the potential to give you a headache, but also has the potential to give you everything you need. Yes, your schedules are going to clash. You both have your separate lives. You both are working hard towards your goals. You have to understand that time isn’t for free. But it’s the friendships that you work on that are the ones that turn out priceless. You have to be understanding. You have to be patient. And if you aren’t willing to do that for a good friend, then walk away.

You insist that things that are meant to be don’t need work? Wake up.

I don’t care what kind of prodigy you are; I don’t care what you have up your sleeves that make everything work for you; I don’t care what you think is written in the stars. If you aren’t willing to work hard in order to get what you want, then walk away.

If something means enough to you, it should not matter how much work you have to put into it to survive. If something means enough to you, you wouldn’t complain about the work you have to put in. If something means enough to you, you will work towards it; you will work towards your dreams.

And if you’re just wasting your time with something for the mere existence of something in your life, then walk away.

Don’t stand in front of the exit with a foot out the door. Don’t stand in front of that person and waste their time if you are not willing to treat them with the care and respect they deserve. Don’t insist that you are always right when, in reality, you need to wake up and realize how wrong you are.

Not everything is “written in the stars” but that doesn’t mean you can’t write it in yourself.

Insist