Tag Archives: beginnings

Hit it Out of the Park

FML might be a bit dramatic, but the facepalm is real.

FML might be a bit dramatic, but the facepalm is real.

The moment you realize that your last relationship could be summed up by the 1993 hit:

Those Swedes are wise. Aha moment brought to you (me) by the umpteenth viewing of Pitch Perfect. The truth shall set you free!

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Kind of a Big Deal

About 22 months ago, I asked my boss to take a week of sick leave because I wasn’t feeling quite well. In my own estimation and the opinion of other medical professionals, that sounded like enough time to get some good rest and back on track if not completely better. No one, least of all me, thought that I would so quickly fall down the rabbit hole. I wouldn’t return to work for several months and when I did, it would be part-time. During those first months back, this day seemed a pipe dream, if not completely ludicrous. I am so very grateful for my job, my boss and the higher-ups who supported me. I have been restored to good health for some time and have been intermittently working 40+ hours/week but due to scheduling, logistics, and contractual stipulations/obligations, today is officially my first day back working full-time. It feels a bit like the first day of school. I’m wearing a pretty dress. I made myself pancakes to celebrate. (I’d have a mimosa if I didn’t have to actually go to work). Though I have been around enough to no longer believe that “everything happens for a reason,” I do still believe that every experience, even the very unpleasant ones, add to your life. Whether by removing a layer of your naivety, showing you a strength you didn’t know you could muster, or revealing who really has your back when the chips are down, you are changed. Big hugs and thank yous to those who had faith in me when I had all but lost my own. And to the doubters, sorry to disappoint. I’m back. And I’m here to stay.

I can't wait to see this on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

I can’t wait to see this on Thursday! Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

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Brand New Day

Haleakala at sunrise.

Haleakala at sunrise.

During the Missing Year, I often searched for meaning in unexpected places.  You know you’re probably not in the best shape when you look to fortune cookies, songs on the radio, and graffiti for hope, a sign from the Universe, anything really, to convince you to keep hanging on for dear life.

Just after the new year, I was driving on a wide expanse of highway that has a view of the city. A Joshua Radin song came on the Pandora station I happened to be listening to:

It’s a brand new day
The sun is shining
It’s a brand new day
For the first time in such a long long time
I know, I’ll be ok

—Joshua Radin, Brand New Day

And at that moment, it occurred to me that I finally, truly believed that last line again. And with it came a huge sense of relief and gratitude that I thought would never come. But no matter how bad the nightmare is, there is always a morning.

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Happy Year of the Wood Goat!

A mythical Qilin, hanging out at the Grove

A mythical Qilin, hanging out at the Grove.

I love Chinese New Year. Besides receiving hong bao (cash-stuffed red envelopes) from your elders (sadly, a tradition that I have aged out of), it is about family, friends and good food. I also love it because it is a second chance to start anew. Since the lunar new year tends to fall between late January to mid-February, it provides the opportunity to reassess what has or hasn’t been working in the first 5-8 weeks of the Gregorian calendar year. You’ve had a chance to give it a go but it’s still early enough to change tack if your initial efforts haven’t produced the results you were hoping for. It’s a free do-over of sorts. On the other hand, if you are on track and have kept up with your resolutions, you can just give yourself a pat on the back and eat dumplings!

Hand-rolled skins...making Waipo proud.

Homemade dumplings, wrappers and all…making Waipo proud.

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From Frozen to…Letting it Go

Love is so short, forgetting is so long. 

-Pablo Neruda

Neat or on the rocks?

Neat or on the rocks?

The circumstances under which my last relationship ended were most unfortunate. For different reasons, we were both miserable for the last few months. I was in a place where I could barely articulate what I wanted for dinner, let alone my thoughts on the relationship. And while closure does not require the participation of the other party, it certainly makes it easier to achieve. For months afterwards, I regretted not having the opportunity to say a few things, so here goes:

  • When I wanted a conversation, I received one-word answers.
  • When I needed a confidante, you became a stranger.
  • When I needed compassion, you judged me with silence.
  • When I needed reassurance, you dismissed me with logic.
  • When I was feeling small, you made me feel even smaller.
  • You said that my being sick* had affected every aspect of your life. I’m sorry. It also affected every aspect of mine.
  • You said that when (not if) it recurred in the future, you could not deal with it if we had children. This was true. You weren’t dealing so well without children.
  • Because of this last fact, you saw no point in continuing the relationship.
  • You said you were not helping me get better. This was also true. 

And with that, we were over. And I entered Phase One.

Phase One: It’s Me, Not You

I was full of blame and regret. Though I had always considered myself to have fairly healthy self-esteem, I became consumed by thoughts of “if only I was X, Y or Z” he would have treated me differently, appreciated me more, things would have worked out. I was not worth waiting for. I was damaged goods. Unsolicited, these thoughts occupied my mind in a loop; I was literally stuck trying to retroactively fix that which was already broken. These thoughts greeted me in the morning and tormented me at night for more weeks than I would care to admit. I built a pedestal and sat him atop of it, untouchable, idealized. As time passed, my thoughts started to shift (although Phase One would continue to make brief unannounced visits for several months) and flow into Phase Two.

Phase Two: It’s You, Not Me

I started to regain a little fire in my belly. It became so important to prove, if only to myself, that no matter what I did/didn’t do, or who I was, it was he who couldn’t be what I needed. He had admitted that he didn’t fulfill my emotional needs. In the diatribes I composed in my head, not only was this true, but it was tantamount to establish that he couldn’t fulfill the emotional needs of most women. Every time a friend would admit that he had seemed nice, if a little “cold,” I marked a point on my side of the mental chalkboard. I felt vindicated when a friend who had spent a weekend in his company observed: “he is a great guy with a lot of interests but there is no emotional depth there. He wants a long-term activity partner, not an intimate relationship.” There was emotional depth. Only it was so walled off, even to himself, that it rarely saw the light of day. I had some idea of this before we started dating, I just thought he would open up more as time went on. I repeatedly asked a mutual friend for reassurance that I hadn’t asked for or expected too much. After the millionth time, even the ever-patient T finally said, “No, you didn’t. I’m not having this ridiculous conversation anymore!” With some distance, I can now say that I did not ask for too much. In fact, I did not ask for enough. And that, is on me. Lesson learned.

Don't mind me. Just thawing out my heart.

Don’t mind me. Just thawing out my heart.

Phase Three: It’s You and It’s Me

It wasn’t just Him and it wasn’t just Me. It was Him + Me. In the end, Him + Me did not work out. And that sucks. And it is sad. Because we had, at one time, both really wanted it to. We had made plans for the future, and those plans are often just as hard, if not harder to let go of, than the person themselves.

In the end, unintentionally (I hope), he made me feel like I was ‘good enough.’ And ultimately, that is not good enough for me. Nor should it be. For anyone.

I have come to learn that forgetting is active, not passive. That to let go, you have to create new memories in order to allow some of the painful ones to fade. To take back the activities, places, and jokes again. So that walking by a certain cafe or driving down a particular street no longer causes your stomach to churn. You drove down the street before this person and now you will do it again. It is a good road ahead. It’s true what they say, looking back too often will hurt more than just your neck.

*The mention of this is neither to place blame nor to gain sympathy. It was just the situation at the time. I am well now, in case you were wondering. 

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Origins

You look like a nice Oriental lady. What country are you from?  My thoughts, in logical order:

  1. USA
  2. Umm, which part of my profile did you find to be grammatically incorrect?
  3. USA, jackass.
  4. Crap. Do I look like a FOB in my profile pic?
  5. I need a snack. And I hate online dating.

Then again, who am I to judge? It wasn’t until freshman year of college when I learned that Oriental should only be used to describe rugs, rice crackers or certain species of flora and fauna. Granted, my freshman year was so last century. Literally.

Where are you from? No, where are you FROM? No, what are you?

When I am in Asia, my dress, demeanor and accent get me labeled as “the American.”  Here, my Asian-ness is a defining characteristic-neither good nor bad, but as obvious as the color of my hair or the color and shape of my eyes. I’ve been called an ABC (American Born Chinese), a Twinkie or banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), Korean, Japanese, chink (not in the last two decades, thankfully) but I usually just prefer to be called by my first name. And I’m more interested in someone who wants to know who I am rather than what I am.  And that someone starts with me. For various reasons, the past year and a half gave me a shake-down to the core. I lost myself for a time and I’m still getting my bearings back.  I’m not sure where this is all going, but it is a beginning. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…or a single post. And maybe a few recipes and a cup of hot water. Ready or not, here we go!

Update: 6/13/15

My friend A recently sent me this hilarious video from Ken Tanaka. Hilarious because this has happened to me and most of my friends too many times to count.

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