family always comes first

In my last post, I talked about why my male friends greatly outnumber my female friends and how important my friends are to me. Today, I got to see one of my very good female friends whom I haven’t seen in 2 and a half years. It was really nice to hear from my friend that she and her boyfriend are enjoying their lives in England. I am truly happy for them. Unfortunately, the relationship my friend has with her parents here are not nearly as great. As my friend went on to describe the problems her parents have with her, it reminded me of the kind of relationship I once had with my parents.

I remember this one particular night, many many years ago, when I woke up in the middle of the night and went into my parent’s room. As I stood there at their bedside, I cried very quietly as I watched them sleep. Even though I was only 9 years old at the time, I already knew very well that my parents would get old one day and I would lose them in the distant future. I started to think about how many years I could possibly have left with my parents, and I began to feel extremely afraid thinking about what I would do if my parents were gone.

It would be just me. Alone.

As I approached my teen years, I started to become a rebel. I didn’t like the way my mom would call me to ask about my whereabouts or when I would come home. I would screen her calls because the rebel in me felt like she was interrogating me. For a number of years, I didn’t like telling her about my life because it felt like she wanted to control it or to find faults in whatever I did. There were constant arguments in the house, and in my memory there were a lot of tears. It was a very dark and unhappy time in my life.

That mindset of mine started to change when a friend said something that really inspired me. After watching me screen my mom’s call, he asked me why I didn’t pick up my phone. When I shrugged it off, he told me he wished his mom would do the same with him – call to see how he was doing – but because she was busy and wasn’t around all the time, those calls didn’t come often. He explained to me how my mom just really cares about me and that I shouldn’t take that for granted. He was absolutely right, even though I didn’t want to admit it at the time.

In the eyes of every mother and father, their children will always be children, even when their children are 50 years old. Someone once said to me…if you will put effort into your work, why wouldn’t you put effort into maintaining a good relationship with your loved ones? It took a few years for me to figure out how to maintain a relatively good relationship with my parents. It’s not perfect and we occasionally have fall outs, but it’s better than it has ever been. I often think about that night when I stood crying next to my parent’s bed; it’s a constant reminder for me to appreciate the time I have with my parents now.

I’d like to believe that everyone goes through that rebellious stage. I’d also like to believe that everybody will get past that stage at some point and learn to appreciate their family’s presence before it’s too late. Your best relationship really should be the one you have with your family. Family is family. That will never EVER change. All parents love their children unconditionally. And as cheesy as it sounds, that really is the greatest love of all.

the friend ratio

Have you ever thought about your guy/girl friend ratio? By that I don’t mean boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m literally talking about the number of male friends you have vs. the number of female friends you have.

I started thinking about it a few months ago because it occurred to me that I have many more guy friends than I do girl friends. The ratio is something like 5:1 (5 guy friends to every 1 female friend). To be more accurate, I’m only looking at the people whom I interact with on a somewhat regular basis (so no facebook friends or old school buddies whom I don’t talk to anymore). I’m curious to know what the norm is because this was not always the case for me.

Up until the end of high school, the majority of my friends were females; I always hung out with the girls at school, and through all my years at dance class I was always among girls. You can pretty much say I grew up with mainly female friends. After high school, though, that seemed to change completely. I became better friends with more guys than I did with girls.

It took a while for me to figure out what might possibly be the reasoning behind this great shift in gender when it comes to friendships. I found that as we got older, some girls became more judgmental and materialistic. There would often be some sort of subliminal competition between girls; who has the nicer hair, the cooler clothes, the cuter boyfriend. Sometimes it would turn into jealousy which, in my opinion, should not be present in a real friendship.

With my guy friends, I can very easily get along with them because there is NEVER any kind of competition. I’m able to talk with them about almost anything and I don’t have to worry about them judging me in any way. It’s even better when my guy friends have girlfriends because then I also don’t have to worry about them getting the wrong idea. People sometimes worry about being friends with the opposite sex because it often comes off as flirting. If it is indeed just about being friends, I always try to make it clear that my friendship is sincere and that it’s not meant to be mistaken as wanting a relationship.

To be fair, not all girls are as bad as I might’ve described them to be. I do have a good handful or two of female friends who are really close and dear to me. All of them share the same values as I do and we get along really well (so no cat fights lol). Most of the girls I choose to become friends with are real; they’re straight forward and don’t sugarcoat things. I actually prefer being around people like that, but I guess I just happen to know more of them in male form.

All in all, no matter if they’re guys or girls, honesty and sincerity from my friends are extremely important to me. As an only child, my friends make up the family I choose and, in turn, they make up who I am.

what is love to you?

There are many forms of love: love that you have for your parents, love for your siblings and family, love for your friends, love for the things you are passionate about, and of course there is love love…romance love. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m going to do this post on how I define love in a romantic relationship.

I always viewed liking a person and loving a person as two different things. I believe when you like a person, you can explain exactly what it is that you like about him/her. “I like your personality.” “I like your sense of humour.” “I like your smile.” It’s explainable. But when it comes to loving a person, I think it’s often difficult to explain because love is a feeling and everyone’s definition of love can be different.

People often say love is blind; they say when you’re in love, you choose to only see what you want to see. Although that might be true for some people, I personally don’t entirely agree with that statement. In my opinion, love is not blind. It simply can’t be because then it wouldn’t be love. To me, love is knowing a person so well that you are able to see both the good and the bad, yet you choose to accept the person as is while those same flaws in another person may be unacceptable to you. That’s how I know I love a person.

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no pictures, just writing (edited)

I recently noticed that a lot of people have been asking and talking to me about my blog. Most of them have expressed interest in what I have to say. So while I was debating on what I should write about for this post, I thought maybe I should dedicate this post to why I write and how it all started. Sit back and prepare yourself for a long story.

The first thing that most people notice when they read my blog is how personal it is. Some will say that by reading my blog they can read me like an open book. Although I don’t completely agree with that statement, I do think that people learn a lot about me from reading my blog because I am open to talk about my feelings and experiences. But that was not always the case.

Before I started writing, I was a very quiet individual who rarely expressed herself. I was not very vocal and often had a lot of my emotions bottled up. Then I fell into a very dark phase of my life. A phase that would last for many years. It was then, in 2002, that I started writing poetry. It was an outlet for me to release my emotions and, with the internet era just taking off, I found myself putting more and more of my poetry and writings online. It was my first attempt in allowing people to understand what I was feeling.

I remember it was around 2004 when my friend told me how strange it was that his friends were reading my writings and finding it intriguing. It was strange because I never knew his friends, but they knew a lot about me. Perhaps, if I had felt like I was revealing too much about myself to strangers, I would have stopped writing then. But it didn’t really bother me so I continued writing. I soon found out that quite a few of my friends were regular visitors of my blog. It would come up in random conversation – they would tell me how much they enjoyed reading my blog. And all that time, I had no idea who or how many people were reading my writings because I didn’t think anyone would have cared to.

Then slowly, I started getting feedback from people I didn’t know. People from different parts of the world. There weren’t many, but the ones who did take the time to leave me their thoughtful words also gave me the motivation to continue doing what I had grown to love.

When I write, I try to use simple words. I don’t get fancy with my writing style because I want people to easily understand what I write. Most of the time, I try to write as if I was speaking. I hope that when people read my blog, they feel as if I am speaking directly to them and not as if they are reading a novel. I’m definitely no Shakespeare, and I don’t want to be. I also spend a lot of time organizing my thoughts so that people can follow what I am trying to say. Sometimes I find it difficult getting my thoughts out because it is so easy for people to misinterpret my words, but I’m learning. Hopefully, I will get better at it.

People often wonder how I can express so much of myself and talk about such personal things in my blog where it is an open environment for people to judge and criticize. I think because I grew up on stage, dancing and participating in speech arts competitions, I pretty much grew up being judged so I’m used to it. I also know that my audience only really knows me to the extent of what they see, hear or read because I only share what I allow others to know. Thus, I’m not really as much of an open book as I appear to be. Sure, I could write in a diary and keep my thoughts hidden from the rest of the world, but how would that benefit anybody? Without fears of criticism, I find it easy for me to share. I firmly believe that life is about sharing experiences with one another because it helps us grow, and I learned this from listening to other people’s life stories.

Over the years, I have moved my blogs several times; from my AsianAvenue (god, that was a long time ago) to my Xanga and Livejournal, then eventually to this blog. If one was to look back at my writings from before, one would notice that a lot of my early writings were about my unhappiness; I was always motivated to write when I was unhappy. But as I started to grow up and as my mentality changed, I began to write more about positive experiences and that, in turn, has now become my main motivation to write. In recent years, I have blogged more about my daily life than about my thoughts. I think that is a reflection of my shifting away from writings of sadness, although I do hope to write more about my positive thoughts in the future.

So why exactly do I write, you ask? My answer is simple – I hope to inspire people. Some people may read one of my posts and think, “Hey, I agree with what she says.” Some may be inspired to think differently or to try different things. Of course, some people may completely disagree with my views too. But maybe those people will be inspired to establish their own views after realizing they think differently from me. You just never know. I would be satisfied if just one person was inspired by something I’ve written.

Like artists and musicians who use their art to inspire others, I hope to inspire others through my words. Because I believe there are no boundaries for inspirations. Just closed minds that refuse to let them through.

3 resolutions for the new year

How is everyone’s new year so far? As I mentioned in my previous post, this one is all about my new year’s resolutions. I like having new year’s resolutions because I think they’re helpful in getting the year started on the right foot. Some people don’t believe in making resolutions simply because they never keep them. I think it’s okay to stray from them every now and then, so long as you keep them in mind and stay motivated to work towards them.

This year, I have 3 new year’s resolutions. You’ll notice that, for once, none of them are stress-related. I’ll tell you all why that is in my next post.

1. Drink more water.
Not drinking is probably one of my worst habits. I average about 2 glasses of water a day (that includes both water and tea), and I know that’s not nearly enough to keep my body hydrated. My goal is to get into a routine of drinking 4 glasses a day by the end of April, 6 glasses by the end of August and up to 8 glasses by the end of the year.

2. Sleep by 10:30pm on week nights.
This is probably the toughest one to tackle. I’ve gotten a bit better with my sleeping in the past 3 months, but it’s definitely something that still needs some work. When I used to work at Bayview, I was sleeping about 3-4 hours every night. Ever since I started working at the downtown store, I’ve been getting 5-6 hours a night. 7 hours would be ideal and if I can keep that up, I should be able to perform at optimal level.

3. Write more / blog more.
I think this is the easiest one out of the three. I enjoy writing and have been blogging for a long time, so it really doesn’t take much to get me motivated. It’s just a matter of finding the time to do it and being able to do it consistently. I don’t want to set any rules for myself (i.e. a certain number of posts per week) because I think writing is something that happens when I get inspirations and inspirations can come at random times. Hopefully, my new voice recorder will help me keep my thoughts together and assist me in my writing this year.

* * *

If you haven’t made your new year’s resolutions yet, it’s not too late to make them now. It’s never too late to give yourself goals. A few things to keep in mind when making your new year’s resolutions…

* Limit your number of resolutions to a few things that are achievable
* Be realistic
* Word them simply and positively
* Tell people about your resolutions; it helps make them real

a second chance at life

I was originally going to do this post on my New Year’s resolutions, but I decided to hold off on it tonight because of a strong urge to write about an inspiring story that has recently gone viral.

You might have heard about him in the past few hours. His name – Ted Williams. Just a little over 24 hours ago, he was panhandling on a roadside in Ohio. In his hand was a piece of cardboard that read: “I have a god given gift of voice. I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be greatfully appreciated. Thank you and God bless.” Now, 24 hours later, he is the man with the most sought after voice in America.

In a nutshell, Ted Williams was a homeless man with an absolutely amazing voice. His life fell apart after he became an alcoholic and drug addict. He’d pretty much let himself go. But now that he’s been sober for the past 2 and a half years, he’s been panhandling on the side of the road, hoping that someone from a tv or radio station might hear his voice and offer him a job. Well, he finally got what he hoped for. In fact, it’s more than he could’ve ever imagined. (Read this article or watch this video to get the full story.)

I think this story is inspiring because not every alcoholic or drug addict is capable of fighting their addiction. This man, Ted Williams, pulled himself out from his mess and thus, has learned to value his life. To me, that’s worthy of a second chance. Perhaps he is getting this second chance at life because he actively pursued a change and a little bit of luck was on his side. I don’t know. But not everyone gets a chance like that. The fact that he did makes me feel extremely happy for him. I hope he will take this opportunity to appreciate everything he has now and give back by using his voice to inspire other people, especially the homeless.

This story makes me think of a Chinese saying: “天没绝人之路” (which translates to something like “The higher powers will never give you a dead end road.”) I honestly believe that no matter how hard the times may be, there is always a way out. It’s easy for people to get lost and lose sight of the path that guides them out of whatever they feel stuck on. But as long as they don’t give up, have patience, perseverance and work hard, change can and will happen.

Ted Williams just proved that to the world.

i’ve been thinking a lot about…

Closure.

I have a habit of reading the very last page or paragraph of a book before I start reading it from the beginning. I tend to do this because I like to know how the book will be concluded, and since I pretty much only read non-fiction I don’t have to worry about ruining the ending. To me, a good conclusion to a book says a lot about the author. There is nothing more aggravating than reading a whole book (let it be fiction or non-fiction), only to be left hanging at the end. It doesn’t matter if it’s merely a poor choice of conclusion or the book failing to provide its reader with proper closure by ending abruptly. The reader is left feeling like the book is incomplete.

This brings me to the idea of closure in relationships and why I started writing about closure to begin with. I don’t know how often it happens where a person walks away from a relationship and leaves the other person stranded with questions never answered. But this has happened to me enough times with the same person for me to know how important giving and getting closure is.

Responsible people make sure there is closure before abandoning the relationship. You can say an author who provides his or her readers with a good conclusion to a book is a responsible author. The same goes for people who’ve come to the end of their relationships. I’m sure there are a number of reasons why a person would choose to simply walk away without a proper “closing”. Though I may not know of all the reasons, I know one of them is fear. Fear that things will get messy once it’s open on the table. Fear of having to clean up the mess afterward (or maybe that’s laziness). Fear of admitting to things you don’t want to admit to. Fear.

Out of respect for the other person’s peace of mind, I think providing closure is necessary. Being forced to draw your own conclusions often only causes misunderstandings. But even then it’s not real closure. Without proper closure, it makes letting go difficult and moving on impossible. So where can one go to find closure if the only person who can give it to you refuses to?

Ultimately, I think all people need closure. A hug or a kiss at the end of a night to tell that friend or lover “goodbye”, or getting that diploma when a program is completed at school. Those are simple acts of giving and getting closure. When a murderer is sentenced to life in prison, that’s closure for the victim’s family. It doesn’t necessarily change the situation, but having closure makes moving on possible.

So here’s a piece of advice: a good author should provide his/her readers with proper closure at the end of his/her book. A responsible lover should also do the same.

goodbye summer 2k10

There’s something that I’ve always loved about September, strange as it may seem. Even though it’s the month to head “back to school” (another reminder that summer is over) and my birthday is in September (which means I’m getting older and closer to the ’30’ mark), I’ve always looked forward to the arrival of this month.

When I used to be in school, going back to school meant I could have a fresh start. It didn’t matter how well or poorly I did the year before; it all started over when the new school year began. The end of the summer season also means I get to put away my summer wardrobe and start shopping for fall clothes (just ANOTHER reason to shop, of course). And when my birthday comes around, I tend to take the opportunity to make changes and to set goals for myself in the last quarter of the year. I like the feeling of being able to start over again.

This September is going to be…interesting. The change I’ve been talking about in my previous posts is probably going to happen later in the month, and although the work itself really isn’t a HUGE change, the work environment that I’ve grown very comfortable with is definitely changing. Inevitably that makes me feel a little nervous. But like a wise person once told me, I will eventually adapt. Just like how September can seem daunting because it marks the end of summer, I remind myself that change also signifies a new start and if I can embrace it, it will bring about new opportunities.

On a slightly different note, there’s ONE pretty big thing that I’m looking forward to this fall. Far East Movement officially announced during their Cherrybomb Party Mix on Saturday night that their new album, “Free Wired”, is going to be released on Tuesday, October 12th!!! It means we’ll be able to buy it here in Canada. That’s huge news to anyone who has followed FM over the years. I am SO EXCITED for them! :D Let the count down begin. And if you haven’t heard their music yet, you should definitely check them out now.

Leaving you all with the tunes on my “End of Summer” playlist as we bid farewell to the summer of 2k10. Enjoy!