Where does this strength come from? It’s a different answer for everyone. For some it may be their loved ones, their family. For some it may be their ambition. For some it may be that they believe in the hope of the joy that is to come beyond the trials. For some it may be the wish to prove themselves worthy. And for some, it may be for fulfilling the dreams of others. I remember when I was asked for reasons that I could tell myself to live on for. What would keep me from suicide? What is the reason for me to live on?
It was hard to think of an answer at that time. However, as I live on, I find that the answer seems to come slowly, as if to tell me to keep living just to see more and more reasons to live. The future is quite the painting beyond this tiny snapshot we see. I want to live to fulfill my childhood dream. I had given up on the dream to be a teacher from the blunt reality of life spoken to me by my parents. The teacher career isn’t going to get you anywhere, blah blah blah. However, as I interact with kids, it is just so…satisfying, seeing their innocent curiosity, their eagerness to learn about this wonderful world through their eyes. This drama I watched recently said how people are most beautiful when they do what they love. And I am so excited to begin volunteering with the One to One program in reading with kids and helping those who have trouble reading. I remember how reading brought me into new worlds and adventures. My glasses are a testament of that, my mark of my love for reading since the age of 6. It was a challenge for me and something I loved to escape to. This feeling is what makes living worth it. To be so excited about something and to be able to share that feeling with others and show it to them is something I can’t wait to do. Life seems brighter with the excitement of realizing a dream of mine. The will to fulfill my dream is stronger than I could fathom. Dreams are a reason to go on. The fulfillment must be unimaginably satisfying.
Another reason I have found. The people I love. The people I want to be there for. During my depressive episodes, I withdrew from a lot of people. There are many broken friendships I just can’t seem to mend or find from the times before. However, the ones that stayed strong I just want to keep so badly that it keeps me alive. They never gave up on me. So why should I give up on me? They sometimes even have more hopes and dreams for me than I do. They see me way differently than I see myself. They show me the best of me and love me despite having seen the worst of me. They invest their time and energy in me because I’m worth it to them. They remind me of why life is worth living.
Funny how the reasons for living don’t exactly counter the reasons for dying. Being a failure and disappointment to others, to myself. Being successful isn’t on my list. However, being loved by those no matter how successful or how unsuccessful I am is. Being able to love myself and what I’m doing with my life is. It makes the reasons for dying seem so tiny and unimportant for lack of better words. There is so much more to life that makes it worth living. I can’t wait to explore and find even more reasons.
So I was hanging out with a friend a few days ago whom I had gone to high school with but wasn’t that close with until just last year. It was our first time hanging out outside of school and I was a bit nervous to be honest. We usually just texted, and hanging out at school just meant walking from classes and bussing home at times. We hadn’t really done anything “fun” together and spent that much time together. I still remember our first conversation. We were somehow in this group conversation with a mutual friend and…we began talking about butts when my other friend was “brb-ing”. It was an instant connection you could say. I mean…who talks about butts in their first conversation with someone they pretty much are strangers with?! Us.
It was fun hanging out with her. We had ramen for dinner and then we went to watch the sunset. I love sunsets but I can’t really place my finger on why exactly. It’s so…calming and beautiful. It’s one of those “Ok, everything is going to be fine” kind of scenes. And watching the birds gather on the beach, it made her laugh as I told her how I wanted to be a bird. I wanted to fly like they did. To be able to just glide on the winds and fly high above the city, above the crazy life down here. As the sun went down and the sky darkened, the clouds moved in, following the sun. I guess even clouds like to follow bright shining things! As the sky became pitch black, we went to play with sparklers. It was surprisingly exhausting but also extremely exhilarating. Writing words, drawing pictures, we ended up playing with them for 3 hours. When we took a break halfway, we somehow we began talking about preschool. Turns out she went to a Montessori too! It never crossed my mind that it would be the same one since I knew there were more than one in Vancouver…but looking at her class photos, I saw myself. It was weird… a funny weird. To have known her in preschool and then meet again. And to not even have had talked to her, being in the same high school for 5 years, until we had an accounting project that we did together in the last term of our last year!
Surprise, surprise. Life seems to really like to throw these curveballs at us when we least expect it. Who knows when we’ll meet someone of our past that we can or cannot remember? It’d make life so much easier to be liked by everyone but we all know that it’s almost impossible. There will be people who don’t like us for one reason or another. I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past that could have hurt people, so I deserve the dislike, and I can only hope that they can see the good side of me now. We all have our goods and bads, our times of success and mistakes. I just wish that there can be a chance for me to patch things up with those who don’t like me because of a misunderstanding, since it’s the worst way to leave things with both parties unsure of what actually happened. The world is too big to picture but too small to hide from.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! A day where I feel extra single. I know I would love to have someone to share my everything with, but… I feel as though I’m not ready for them just yet. I just hope that one day I’ll meet someone who has seen/sees all my flaws and still love me. Yup, I love all those fairy tale happily ever love stories. My perfect fairy tale prince? Well…he’s not really a prince except through marriage, but it’s got to be Eugene Fitzherbert. Flynn Rider. That smolder! And from all those dramas I watch, I seem to like the seemingly coldhearted ones who are actually a big lovable romantic cutie on the inside. But back to Flynn and last week…my friend made my fairy tale dream from Tangled come true!
Friday February 7th is a day I’ll never ever forget for the rest of my life.
My friend and I first went to the dumpling festival downtown where we did a bunch of random activities such as finding the difference, taking pictures in the cardboard cutouts, tasting tea, etc. For dinner, we had dimsum from the nightmarket style tent they had outside. Then we had to find a starbucks to get that amazing Blossoming Peach tea latte. I sure wish it could stay and become a permanent drink! Then it was time for some fun…after finding a parking spot at the packed Spanish Banks! We ended up parking on the shoulder and walked over to the beach only to see a lantern hit a tree, burn up in flames, and then fall onto a car parked not too far from ours, also on the shoulder of the road. Nevertheless we just hoped nothing would happen to our car and that the trees wouldn’t catch on fire. Nothing could deter us from lighting our lanterns up! Watching other people light their lanterns and letting them float slowly to the crowd of lanterns shining like bright stars was amazing. It felt so…magical. Like I was in a special moment, it’s indescribable. The feeling like I’m overflowing with joy. Everything was perfect. We decided to try to light our lanterns and asked someone if they could help us record that moment. Thankfully we chose a super nice guy who helped us as we lighted ours. I think mine would have just lit up in flames if he hadn’t given us tips and helped us! And we have a very entertaining video memory because of his help. Lighting my friend’s lantern up by ourselves was pretty smooth cept for one little hole (mine had a few burnt holes). But watching them both go up with our wishes, it felt like it will definitely come true. And even if it didn’t, it’s ok.
Yes I was a bit greedy, writing down two wishes. I guess I should have just asked for more wishes. Anyways. My first wish is that I want to make my life worth it, to be able to say that I’m proud of myself. I always wonder what kind of imprint I would leave if I was to die today. Who would remember me? How will they remember me? I can only think of all the wrongs and mistakes I have done to people, so I wish that I can fill my future with lasting memories that are worth remembering in a good way. The second part of that wish mostly has to do with my extremely low self esteem. I regret almost everything that I do. You can always do better. I hope to find that level of contentment where I can know that I have done the best that I could and be happy with myself, be proud of myself. My second wish is to not just be like ships in the night. I’ve mentioned that song tons of times now that even my friend knew that it was a song when she saw my wishes! I never talk to her about it either! But yes, I hope that throughout all the relationships I have, I can learn to grow and have a two way relationship. Even if things might not work out between us, I hope that we can remain friends who are able to talk, acquaintances. It’s also a hope that I will not withdraw when I’m depressed or overwhelmed. Instead of ignoring people, I have to learn to give and take, to be there for others despite just wanting to curl up and lock up myself. Friends deserve the best care I am able to give them and it’s unfair if I’m so selfish and just leave them, passing them by like ships in the night. Not being like ships in the night also specifies being more observant for the people around me, whether I know them or not. Maybe it’s someone I encounter on the bus or someone I see at work, or someone I know. Instead of living in a world with just me and my friends, I will try to learn to live in a world where everyone else is part of it too.
Everyone asks the age old question some time or another, usually more than once during their lifetime. Even Garfield has asked this question in his comic! “What is the meaning of life?” What indeed is our purpose? What do we have to do so that our life is “meaningful”? The answer varies depending on our unique lives and right now, I feel as though I have figured mine out. It may change, but as of right now, my meaning of life is to create those smiling moments.
Let me explain a bit about those smiling moments. Today, I hung out with a friend for her birthday. We’ve been best friends since elementary school. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s always her that I would go to in my most difficult times. Our friendship’s survived time and distance going to different high schools and if this isn’t true friendship, I don’t know what is. When I got her text after we went our separate ways about how she felt today, I had a smiling moment. Knowing that I made her day better and that I had helped her in some way, I felt so content. Those smiling moments when I know of the impact I had on people. Those smiling moments when I feel as though I’ve done something worthwhile in their life that I could just die in that moment and not regret it. A good moment. I’ve had a few of these smiling moments recently and it’s what keeps me going. When I feel as though I have no place on this Earth and I’m drowning myself in my mistakes in life, one little smiling moment convinces me that I can’t just let myself go down that path. Busy and stressed with school, it’s easy to disappear into a mental war with myself. Hanging out with friends and making them smile is like opening the cloudy sky with a rainbow. There is hope. I’m not a failure. I want to keep being a light to those around me. Everyone is in a war with life; whether with themselves or people or dilemmas etc. The least I can do is to try and help bring them that rainbow and be there for them. Whenever I get a smiling moment, life just feels so “right”.
There are times to cry together, laugh together, love together. Life is one crazy drama. And like how my friends have always been there for me, it warms my heart knowing they feel the same way too. Like an overflowing bucket of love, smiling moments are worth all the time and effort put into that relationship. Nothing extravagant is free and easy in life. But neither is it impossible to feel as though the all the troubles in life was worth it. To live and strive to make those smiling moments happen makes life meaningful.
Recently, I’ve been getting little to no sleep and staying up studying, doing all the pre-readings that no one else reads, or just busying myself. I go to sleep thinking what it would feel like if I passed away in my sleep. Due to the lack of sleep and the stress I have from school and from myself, my migraines are back. I kind of just accept them but they can be a real pain in the butt. The good news is that they’re not as intense and constant as they were the last time thank God. Otherwise, I really think I would have to withdraw from school and start finding a way to start selling those polymer clay things I make. But honestly, I worry about the headaches. I don’t think I’ll be able to survive the rest of my life with them..and to think of things that may be even more stressful to come. Oy, I don’t know what to do. As I do whenever I feel stressed out or defeated, I withdraw.
This time, I chose to withdraw from reality and immerse myself into music; to be more specific, c-pop. Chinese pop. Ask me a few months ago and that would be the last on my list of favourite music genres, well maybe second to last in front of heavy metal. It just didn’t sound “right” and would be kind of annoying. And I guess as a kid I was just trying to fit in with the norm of English music. I don’t know why but I’ve become so addicted to listening to Chinese music…it weirds me out too. Well, I AM asian…but what drew me in first was Leehom Wang. He mixed Western with Eastern styles into what he calls “chinked out” music. Maybe because I’m a Chinese Canadian, but this type of music really hit the right spot with a Western feel with Chinese lyrics. I then explored a bit with some R&B type of Chinese songs. It didn’t hurt that the singers were hot too! My understanding of Chinese has also improved as I try to figure out what the lyrics mean. I feel as though the inner part of me is using this to try to understand myself, finding my identity as a Chinese Canadian student pharmacist. I really don’t feel as though I fit in anywhere.
I’ve been told that I’m antisocial. It’s pretty subjective I guess. I’m viewed as “quiet” to people who don’t know me or don’t take the time to know me. My best friends and family know me as the crazy bubbly girl who’s thoughts get pretty wonky. Thus all these weird blog posts eh. But as I’m trying to win this mind game against myself for the want to escape and withdraw, I purposely set up hang outs with my friends. And no, I’m not antisocial, thank you very much. My parents were against it but I need to do it for my own sanity and well-being. So today I just ended up shopping with a friend and let me tell you, retail therapy DOES work. Same with ice cream. I can’t wait for more hangouts this coming week!
However, life wasn’t so awesome today before the hangout, since life is like a Yo-Yo. You know that feeling when you feel so defeated? Not only are you harboring a tornado inside from your emotions from relationships and conflicts but now you also get mocked by your results. I got my midterm mark back and this is the first time I did below average and I feel so disappointed in myself. Almost as if I failed the test. I failed myself. I failed my parents. Funny thing is that there always seems to be a very fine line between wanting to do better and just wanting to give up. Being someone who never gives up and would do anything to prove it to myself that I can do better, of course I won’t give up. But I doubt myself. I feel so overwhelmed with everything and I’m so tired fighting against myself…I just want to escape. The date with my friend today, ice cream, and shopping really helped and I feel like that little bit of energy and support is just enough for me to keep going.
Like the little engine that could, I think I can go through this and if I think I can, I can…something like that?