A moment of self reflection

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

(ETA: I did not realize I posted this already because I thought it wasn't ready to be posted LOL. Maybe it was on queue o.O)

I am way too nice for my own good. I say 'yes' to things I don't really want to say it to, I give bits of myself to others but at the end of the day I'm left with nothing, and I put the needs of others above my own until I become so emotionally exhausted.

Very honestly, I'm getting sick of it. I think this ultimately stems from my desire to please everyone and make them like me. Like Monica Geller (from Friends) said, "I have this uncontrollable need to please people". Even if I wanted to dislike someone, I'm still too nice to them!

"Once you start wearing a mask, it is almost impossible to take it off." - Jaz Marie 
The worst thing is, I can't help it. It's not like I could switch it off with a tangible click. It's embedded in my personality, it's stamped into my DNA. I tried to give up the whole shtick of not revealing my true emotions and opinions about certain things, and that backfired because my second line of defense kicked in. My own brain didn't want me to change, maybe because I've been stuck in this position for the last 20 years and I couldn't bring myself to undo what I've established as a routine behaviour of mine.

I need to learn how to say no. I want to learn how to reject what I don't need in my life, without having the guilt and impact of my actions bothering me. To voice out what I really think instead of agreeing to what I don't necessarily agree with. I need to be more aware of what's going on instead of letting it be a constant blur, and not allowing others to walk all over me because they don't take me seriously. I am not a convenient rug people can trample on.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'll be rude, obnoxious and selfish. I can never stand those type of people. It just means that I realize I deserve to choose what I will give a big resounding NO to. To things that I care too much about that suck the life out of me.

6 years ago, if someone didn't like me, I would (over)think about it all the time and go all out of my way to find out why. I would correct the situation by giving in to the other person. It made me feel insecure and bad about myself. I realize now that in most of those times, there was nothing to be corrected. I shouldn't feel sorry for being myself. I'm a little proud of how I advanced from that mentality. I felt a little of that transformation when I entered university. If it was something that I did wrong, then of course I'll take responsibility for it. But if someone doesn't like me for my opinions or for who I am... well then I no longer have the energy or time to give a damn anymore. This is how you know you're getting old lol.

I'm just very tired of putting up a facade for people. That facade has become a permanent mask. I can't even tear it down even if I wanted to, or maybe more accurately I don't know how to. As a result people think I'm this chirpy, happy-go-lucky person. I'm darker than most people think. But from now on, I will try my best to not let what people's thinking or judgment of me dictate my actions or opinions. It's time to be a little selfish. It's time to stand up for myself.

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am. ― Ana├»s Nin

A surreal opportunity

Friday, June 19, 2015

So I had to do some serious updating to my "All Around the World" project (can be found on my sidebar).

Because very recently, I traveled to the USA with the initial purpose to attend a friend's wedding. But since I'm making the effort to go half way across the world and have that golden window of opportunity, why not go all out?

Our close to 1-month travel itinerary consisted of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas (only for half a day), Waco, Houston, Greenville and New York City. It sounds like we're stretching things a little bit, but we did it! We got to see a majority of what we planned to see and of course, ate what we planned to eat.

I was a little disappointed of some of the things we ate because they were widely regarded as must eats and being very delicious *cough*Artichoke Basille Pizza & In-n-Out*cough*. But that was compensated as I was also impressed by certain foods I thought were going to be mediocre. A few of them that probably deserve honourable mentions are Chipotle's rice bowls, Luke Lobsters' lobster rolls and Eddie Huang's Baohaus creations. I wasn't expecting to be craving for them, but I am! Even Panda Express wasn't too bad. A bit disappointed with the fast food as well, but hey, how good can fast food get anyways? Argh, too bad I didn't get a picture of the Chipotle rice bowl!

Yummy buns from Baohaus
Better-than-most-fast-food Shake Shack
Surprisingly delicious Japanese curry chicken rice
Koja Kitchen - Korean fusion food. So good too.
I was floored by the variety of choices and availability of everything over there. I also underestimated the weather and didn't come fully prepared. Though it's quite sunny, it's also very windy in Los Angeles/San Francisco. I loved the weather (except where sometimes it threatened to freeze me to death).

Golden Gate Bridge in (almost) its full glory
I also had a lot of firsts in this trip! First authentic American wedding, picked cherries for the first time, tried my first deep dish pizza, the first time I saw a sarcophagus...

The bride and groom

Speaking of the wedding, it was interesting to say the least. I'm not going to divulge details about some embarrassing moments that happened to me on the internet here, but all in all it was such a lovely, filled with the most friendly and accommodating people. I could not ask for more. The wedding was located at a very scenic 'farm' and it was simplicity at its best. Of course, in any American wedding, dancing was one of the most significant highlights of the night. Let's just say at least I didn't fall or step on any toes while dancing lol.

And not to mention, I have very photogenic friends to take pictures of during the trip. Like, seriously guys they make a simple photo look like they were in a photoshoot.... unacceptable.

I also visited Korea for a little while. I have always wanted to go to Korea. And don't be mistaken, it's definitely not because of the K-pop craze, because if you knew me well you wouldn't be asking that question anyways. It's because of the KOREAN FOOD!!! I get so excited about Korean food, especially Korean bbq. It was too bad we didn't get to try much because Ivy was full and only I wanted to try it, but most of the bbq restaurants require you to order a minimum of 2 portions. Was pretty disappointed about not getting to try actual Korean bbq in Korea. But hey, I'm definitely going back next time when I have the chance. Also, since I was there I had to get those cute Korean-made socks.

The first time we were in Seoul for our first layover, we joined a 5-hour airport transit tour which brought us to Gyongbukgung Palace, Jogyesa temple and Incheon street. We probably only had only 20-30 minutes to roam around each place. I love that the airport thinks of the transit travelers and provides us with activities to do.

The second layover we had in Seoul, we had to venture out ourselves because our timing didn't fit the transit tours unfortunately. It was underwhelming - we reached Myeongdong by bus at 7am, only to find that everything wasn't open yet. Not even any small street stalls! We thought maybe the ajummas (Korean aunties) might be early risers and open their food stalls to feed people for breakfast... but NOPE. Our only salvation was McDonalds. Only like 3 hours later, shops were opened. Oh well, at least we got to see a little of Myeongdong.

This trip did little to quench my thirst for adventure, but only served to spark my wanderlust even more. And I think that's how it's suppose to be - having this perpetual desire to explore every crevice of this planet, to absorb and experience its variety of cultures and to not be afraid to take chances when it comes to making new memories. This is just a stepping stone. A huge one though!

But of course, I am so very grateful for the experiences I had and the opportunity to travel. Thanks mom and dad!!! This trip has been in the making since last year - a lot of major changes to our plan, discussions about how to go about things, doubts on where we are going to stay etc... but the fruits of our labour were sweet, almost everything went pretty much according to plan. After I broke my ankle I thought I'd never be able to hop on a plane and go half way across the world anytime soon. But by God's grace, my ankle was healing well and thus here I am telling you my stories.

Here's to more adventures!

Hoarder problems

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I was cleaning up my drawer today, and realized I have so many things I didn't need. So much junk. SO MUCH DUST. Which meant I haven't touched them for a long time.

Among the mess was:
a) many dusty notebooks which were all almost empty except for a few pages of scribbles
b) memorabilia from almost every single trip or major event I've been to like concert tickets, keychains and restaurant paper bags (forreal carmen, forreal?)
c) empty envelopes which contained sentimental content which came from far away lands and from various places
d) a lot of old greeting cards - Christmas, birthdays, Chinese New Year
e) things that were meant to be given to other people, but I forgot and kept it for years :D

This only proved my suspicion right - I AM A HOARDER. I always feel the need to keep something... anything, from a major life event. I have a book of stickers from almost 10 years ago with stickers I never got to use throughout my childhood, simply because they weren't needed anymore (I am however, very proud of my collection). Some I even kept out of obligation. Maybe it's because as time eludes us and things change, you want to hold on to something that reminds you of the good old days.

Well one day, I just cleared it all up. I threw away old things tied to good memories, to make room for new ones. It wasn't easy for me, to give up things that had sentimental value. It's not in my nature to let go. As David Foster Wallace said, "Everything I've ever let go of has claw marks on it".  I felt guilty! But I wanted to teach myself a lesson as well, to cast away all the mess in my life to create space for better things. I'm learning how to detach, or not so easily attach myself to things and memories in the first place.

Granted, I did keep some things of course like postcards, polaroids and stuff I couldn't throw away because they were significant & important to me, but I think half of the overall amount of things I had went into the trash. De-cluttering felt slightly liberating. But don't expect me to do it often ;)

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