Carved

Carved

Somewhere between the first time I met you and that last time I read your text ‘goodbye’, I lost myself…or had I ever found myself in the first place?

You were my old friend’s boyfriend. We hit it off and got along super well, a little too well even. I couldn’t help it. I found someone I thought might make a difference in my life. And wow, I was right. You made a difference to me.

You were the first person who I felt truly cared about me beyond the reputations or anyone around me. You saw me for who I was, a broken and lost little girl, and took me under your wing with caution that I’d fly away. You began taking care of me through the years. We got closer and drifted a part, and got closer and then parted ways.

Everyone who knows the story knows it was never that simple but, for the purpose of this writing, let’s keep it that way.

You made me happy but I was always fighting for your attention. You took care of me but sometimes I had to go out of my way to force you to show that concern I needed to see. You wanted the best for me but I found myself walking down a dark road once again.

I never made the best choices. The mind games got to me. The backstabbing made my insecurities grow. The lies made my questioning worse. The facade of a fairytale blinded my eyes and left my heart scarred and scared to ever love again.

I look back and I know I’m not going to forget you; I know I won’t forget what happened way back when. A part of me hates that, but the other part of me knows that’s the way things have to be for me to grow, for me to learn, for me to go beyond everything I used to be.

There were moments that I sent you a ‘goodbye’ text but always found myself going back, as if trying to find a part of myself I had lost within you. I was always so proud of myself when I said goodbye to you but always hated it when I went back to your name on my screen. It was as if I was constantly turning around on a ferris-wheel-like ride as I go on with my life.

Then, the last person I thought would save me did exactly that. I was suddenly freed from the life I wanted to leave behind over a year before I actually did. I cut ties completely and a part of me came back to me. I was extremely proud of myself in those moments that I picked myself back up and kept walking forward.

I wanted to start over. I wanted to begin again. And I finally was able to do that, completely.

But, looking back, I know there will be a weak spot in my heart for those I had once loved. I know there will a part of me who reminiscences some of the good old times. I know there will be a part of me I have to thank you for, whether I hate her or love her. I know there will be nothing I can do to erase what has been said and done.

And, I’m okay with that.

You have your place in my heart, way back there somewhere. You have your place in my thoughts, when I look back to the past and everything I was. And that’s okay. You don’t have a place in my present. You don’t have a place in my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But I will admit, your footprint stays on my heart and your scars stay on my skin.

And, that will have to be okay.

After all, you had carved your signature onto my heart.

Carve

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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.

Weak Spot

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

How do you get over getting told everything that ever meant anything to you during the past several years was a lie? a facade? fake?

Stupid.

Why did I believe them when they said they were my friends? Why did I trust them when they said they cared? Why did I pour my heart out to them when they hated me?

It doesn’t make sense.

Why stay around someone and pretend to be their friend? Why stick by someone’s side and convince them that you are there for them? Why pretend to be genuine and understanding when you complain about them behind their back?

Stupid.

Why did I believe I had a “family” in the friends? Why did I trust that they would forgive me and let me turn over a new leaf? Why did I expect them to see how much I’ve changed?

Stupid.

Why did I hope for our friendships to last? Why did I dream about future plans when they didn’t want anything to do with me? Why did I believe that we would be okay even though they were holding a dagger to my back?

Stupid.

I know I’ve made mistakes. I know it’s been some time.
I know I’ve angered some people. I know true friendship is hard to find.
I know I’ve ruined things. I know a broken plate can’t be mended with the words ‘I’m sorry’.

But…

I know time has passed. I know I’ve grown up a little more.
I know I’m trying my best to do what’s right. I know I’m doing the best I can.
I know I’ve changed from the past. I know I see in a different light.

I believe someone can change, especially when someone else is there to guide them.

Present. Past. Future.

Present. Past. Future.

She looks around her and examines her own life. What a mess everything seems to be. Disappointment is clear in her eyes when thoughts of how her parents would yell at what a disgrace she’s become.

She glances at her messy desk. It’s been several hours but nothing had been done yet. She has to study this, review that, catch up on a few things, and get ahead on a lot. She has to organize her calendar, fix some gaps so she has time to go take care of herself. She drinks several pills every day but in her head she asks, “What’s the point?” because none of them seem to help.

Physically she has to remain so strong. Her body is getting weak and weaker by the day. She doesn’t know what is left to do, or what new techniques there are to say “Hey…let’s try this”. She is close to giving up on fixing herself because it seems like she’ll live with pain her entire life. And, sometimes, she’s okay with that.

Mentally and emotionally, she has to go on through life alone. Her parents don’t really give any support. She hides in her room and cries, frustrated and lost and doesn’t know why she can’t get anything right.

She looks back at her past life, all the years that already went by, and can’t help but shake her head. She’s made so many stupid mistakes. She fell into traps and barely got away. There were so many times she had to plead for one more chance at life.

Flashbacks seep into her head, and suddenly she remembers the feel of the razor along her skin. She remembers how helpless she had been, having to deal with everything on her own. And on her own, again, she had been. She suddenly remembers the scars on her skin from when she didn’t want to live. She brushes her fingers along the scars.

She remembers the times her mom had yelled “No one is going to accept you now. Look at what you’ve done”. She scratches at her skin, remembering all the times she hated how she looked to the point she wanted to cut her skin off to start new again. But she can’t.

The scars on her body are symbols of all the pain and suffering she’s been through. She can’t hide them but have to learn to accept her past.

She looks to the future and can’t tell why, all she sees is darkness now. There’s nothing there where light can be. She’s made so many mistakes in her life. All she knows is she will never cease to fail to be the daughter her parents had always wanted.

She looks around at her own life, in present time, and has to force herself to think, “Hey, at least I’m trying”. After a lifetime of bottling her emotions, feelings of being a failure and being a disappointment continue to try to seep out to her mind. She fights herself and fights the feelings of not being good enough every single day. She pushes them back into the bottle that longs to be opened someday. But, not today.

She has to keep pushing. She has to keep trying. She can’t give up. And, deep down inside, she knows there’s a reason why.

She just needs to keep trying. She needs to keep trying to forgive herself…and, with time, maybe she’ll realize what the reason actually was that pushed her to never give up.

A Timeline of All Sorts

A Timeline of All Sorts

Here I am, sitting in my father’s black robe in front of my two monitors, struggling with the emotions I refuse to bottle up [like I have for almost the past 2 decades], in pain because my new pain medicine seems to be hurting me more than helping. I always say, if someone wants to get to know me the best route to take is through my writing. It’s where I’ve learned to open myself and express myself.

If you want to get to know me, read this:

I’m a college student finishing her first year at community college, somewhere her family never wanted her to be. It was always a top UC that they expected me to end up. If you asked, why? Here’s the answer: I wasn’t good enough. I hadn’t been prepared to be at a university.

Here’s a brief timeline of my life that brought me to where I am today:

It was bashed in my head at a very, very young age that I couldn’t show my true emotions, that I needed to constantly where a mask, that it was a requirement to be who my parents wanted me to be in order to receive affection of any kind. Before I got into kindergarten or the first grade, I perfected the persona of a daughter my parents wanted to have.

By second grade, I had no friends but I knew what fake friends were. I knew how it felt to be bullied and laughed at. I also learned that I couldn’t talk to my parents about anything.

Going into middle school, I moved houses and therefore moved schools for the third time. Unlike my sister, I jumped at the chance to leave the school I was at. I thought I was saved, because everyone who bullied me wouldn’t be in my life anymore. I finally was getting away from that pain.

The same summer that we moved houses, I went through my second open heart surgery. I survived off of pain medications for about a month after being in the ICU. I soon learned what it felt like to have people treat you with caution, sometimes making it feel like your limitations were disabilities. I hated that feeling, and I came to hate it more when it continued even after I healed and got the ‘OK’ from my doctors. I despised that feeling.

In seventh grade, I realized that the teasing would not end, the laughing at would not stop…basically, the bullying had followed me to a new school [to a certain extent]. I learned where I could hide during the breaks you were supposed to go and “hang out with friends”.

In eighth grade, I got a glimpse of what a true friend could be. His name was Carlos. He made it seem like I could actually talk to him because he actually cared about me. But that diminished after I made one wrong move of developing feelings for the boy.

Going into high school, I was lost once again. Everyone had their groups and everyone had their friends. I went back to hiding in the journalism room whenever I could. I hated wandering the campus like a lost duck after I learned the friends I thought I had from middle school were simply using me to their own advantage. The journalism room became where I met one of my favorite teachers of all time. We called him Mr. Hill. It was only after his encouragement that I found my passion for photography, that I came out of my shell. I got more involved with school. I went to events, I ventured the campus with a purpose instead of like a lost puppy, and I developed some confidence in myself.

Too bad that was also the year I got involved with some of the wrong people. Though I had my interest in photography at the time, I still wanted a group of friends I belonged in. I had people I talked to here and there but no one who I knew would have my back. The vulnerability of this mindset encouraged me to basically take up the first group that offered acceptance. And it was from there that I learned what true betrayal and abandonment felt like.

I quickly learned what depression was and how it felt to cut. I knew depression wasn’t a new feeling to me, but I finally learned was it was called and how to describe what I was experiencing. My parents and sister were very scared for me. News quickly spread and I was the disappointment and the embarrassment of the family. I was taken to a lot of places to “cure my depression” just like some people try to “cure homosexuality”. This angered me because no one listened to me yet everyone seemed to have an answer.

I was soon transferred to a new high school, one my sister had just graduated from, one that my old elementary school “friends” were. Great. I started over again with hatred in my heart and anger flooding through my body. I was a lost duck once again. That’s when I met Peter. He took me under his wing and made the effort to be my friend.

Fast forward, Peter is my best friend and I have a little group I seem to fit in with. But I also had one of my old elementary friends hating my guts. To her, I got along with her boyfriend at the time way too well. (Her boyfriend was also one of Peter’s closest friends). I thought I was doing her a favor to try to get along with her friends. I thought wrong. She hated me.

And from then one out, through the rest of sophomore year to my senior year, countless of problems came up in my group of friends that finally stopped changing junior year.

Ahh, yes, junior year. This is when my mother decided her temple was more important than her family. This is when I stopped praying. This is when I shut out my portion of my life because it was just too painful for me to even think I was anything like my mother. The constant arguments (aka screaming matches) between my mother and father broke my heart. I won’t even go into details.

Fast forward, I’m graduating high school the same year my sister graduates from UC Irvine. All the attention goes to her. She’s the one who accomplished so so so much by graduating. She had honors. She had tassels. She had awards. She was graduating a year before she was supposed to, making her two years younger than the rest of her class. And in all of that excitement, I seemed to have been forgotten.

As much as I wanted to keep my friends close, I became more and more excited to finally go to school closer to home. Santiago Canyon College. The drive would be 20 minutes (with traffic) versus the 1 hour and 15 minutes (with moderate traffic) I dealt with everyday going to high school. My first weeks went by very slowly and very chaotically. The transition from high school to college wasn’t as hard as they said but it definitely wasn’t a breeze either. Most of the semester went by without a single friend at my side. The friends I once had in high school slowly drifted off with little to no attempts to mending the gap. I tried and tried to keep this family of friends a part of my life, but failed one by one.

Jump to my second semester of college, I developed a group of friends in my chemistry sequence that is slowly blending into my math sequence as well. I know they have my back. I know I have friends in that group. But through everything I have been through with “friends”, I still have a hard time letting my guard down and trusting any one fully. But as I am struggling with something new in life, I am learning who are my true friends and who are simply “friends”. I am also getting reminded of what I pushed away my junior year in high school. I had started to miss what I used to have, but the reflection of my mother I see in that belief scare me away from accepting it back into my life.

Today, as I am writing this post, I am still struggling to accept that portion of me back into my life. But I am also realizing that, slowly, what I once pushed away and denied myself had already begun to seep back into my heart, into my life.

Maybe this post wasn’t brief. Maybe it wasn’t very detailed. But that kind of sums up who I am and where I am with my life.

Dear……

Dear……

It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. You’ve changed a little appearance wise, but I don’t believe your heart has changed at all even.

Even though it’s been almost a year since I paid attention, I can see that your heart hasn’t changed. You’re still the same person. You’re still the same person I thought I loved so so so much. You’re still the same person I feel a connection to. You’re still…you.

I couldn’t believe that you were there when I met you again. I couldn’t believe we were face to face once again. I had remembered the days that I wished, and dreamed, for this to happen. For us to go back to how we were, for things to be okay again, for everything to simply go back to the time before everything felt like hell.

But now that I was facing you and I saw that you were basically the same person still, I knew for sure that I didn’t want you in my life anymore. The cold atmosphere, the mysterious vibe, the nonchalant attitude…everything.

I felt my heart try to reach out to you, help you, heal you, be there for you. But I felt every other part of me pull myself back. My guard went up and I could not get myself to relax when you were around. The amount of pain you put me through, the amount of hurt you made me endure reminded me that I should not let my guard down when it came to you.

As much as I think I want to still be friends and have you as a part of my life, still today, I do not think that would be the wisest decision. I don’t trust you anymore, not the same way I used to. I don’t have faith in you, not like I used to. I don’t believe in you, not in the ways I used to.

I won’t push you away. I do want you in my life, but I have accepted that things will never be the same again. That’s okay. I don’t want things to be the same. I don’t want to relive the amount of hurt and pain I felt with the amount of betrayal and abandonment I felt from your actions. I deserve better than that.

If you had changed, if you had grew up a little, if you had changed a little for the better, maybe there would have been a real chance of us having a healthy relationship as friends. If you wanted a friendship as much as I did, maybe we would have a chance to still remain in each other’s lives in a positive manner.

But things are different and you are the same.

It was odd seeing you again after all this time, to be honest. I thought I would be happy, excited to see you and spend some time with you. But when we came face to face, all I felt was my guard going up and my insecurities telling me I wasn’t safe.

I’m sorry. My heart tries to reach out to you. And I will listen, like I always do. But there is little chance that things will be okay ever again.