I’m going to be honest and say that I harbour a lot of shame in every aspect of my life. I’ve only realized this a few days ago, that all this embarrassment, discomfort, and anxiety that I feel is called shame. And it hinders me. It shows in my words, the way I move, and my thoughts when I look in the mirror. It’s no wonder that my favorite place to be is under my covers, asleep.
I hesitate to speak, to move, because before acting I am already plagued by thoughts of regret. That was so embarrassing why did I say that?! Wow that was so awful, the way I did that was so weird. Why can’t I do it right? Why am I so clumsy, so lame, so bad? I should stay home next time. Home is good. Home is safe. I victimize myself less. I like myself more when I’m under my covers, asleep.
I am even ashamed of the fact that I feel ashamed. I write all these things in hopes of convincing myself to think that I am good. I am useful. I have value. I am worthy. You are working on it, it’s okay. You don’t have to go at somebody else’s pace. You are doing well. I have faith in you, in your plans, in your dreams. You are strong, I know so. Progress is never beautiful, but you are.
Let me introduce you to the second album that saved me (I will write about the first one another time). I typically don’t listen to rock music because I tend to find it a bit too loud for my taste, but loud was what I needed when I felt terrorized by my thoughts.
My personal favorite is the last track, “Sailboat”. It’s the only track where Joon Young also penned the lyrics aside from composing the song. He’s not much a lyricist, but I think he did a good job with this one. It’s always the simple words that tug at your heartstrings the most. It was written after his trip to Paris where he was travelling on a canal.
As a fan of his, this album is even more meaningful to me knowing the story behind it. The lyrics to the tracks speak from his past experiences as someone who was always moving from country to country with his family. It also touches upon his struggles pursuing rock music, because all people seem to like are k-pop dance music and soft ballads. Joon Young’s first album was much more successful, but he wasn’t satisfied with it because it wasn’t the music he wanted to do. I think from knowing that, I realized why it never pulled me in the way this one does. This one embodies his heart from the first note to the last, and it definitely helps to soothe me when my thoughts have a mind of their own.
“I want to be a writer,” I said somewhat abashedly. How I wish that could be a proud statement, but the moment those words left my mouth I braced myself for harsh judgement. More than being told that writers don’t make any money, I am more afraid of mouths that tell me I’m not good enough to make it.
And I wonder why I am so compelled to make a career out of this hobby of wanting to transform my thoughts into something tangible. I wonder if it can be labelled as my passion. I wonder if it’s only a delusion born out of my dissatisfaction with my current academic studies. I wonder if my fear for ridicule is only my over-active imagination.
Friends tell me to just do it. That I am meant for it. I can’t decide if they are only telling me this because they are my friends, or because they truly see a possibility that I am blind to. And I find myself continuously making excuses to not take greater action, to not take ownership of this dream. It is not only for fear of rejection but also fear that it would only bring more years of self-loathing if I fail. I think and think about a life of writing things that are important, writing things that evoke deep thoughts, while still standing behind the starting line. I make small attempts to bring my vision to life, but I know they’re only so that I can say “I tried”.
As I think of this dream of mine, I wish for a machine that objectively evaluates my ability. My cowardice manifests in my desperation for nods of approval. I want the entire world to let me know I am good enough before I take off. I want to firmly believe that I can make it before I make the slightest move. Perhaps I should stop calling it my dream, something so noble, when I cannot even bring myself to invest in it without knowing the outcome. It’s only a fantasy, not a dream.
I want to believe that my cause for inaction is rooted in my lack of confidence and high expectations. That way, I can tell myself that this fantasy can be turned into a dream, then a reality, once I feel better about myself. But maybe it’s meant to happen in reverse. There are so many stories of people finding confidence in their achievements, who’s to say that won’t be me?
I don’t want to know the truth behind my inaction either. I can be strong but I don’t think I can handle it. But it’s such a sad thought, to think I will live the rest of my life writing in my mind with an intangible pen.
You are holding your breath again, stop. You were blessed with lungs that work so well you could run 10K, use them now. Remember the good things that are going to happen today, distract yourself. There is warm water in the kitchen, your mom is going to feed you with good food, you are meeting up with an old friend to catch up. Your struggles are only in your mind. You can overcome it.
Start living for yourself now. Please. Stop doing that ridiculous thing where you put on your favorite dress and the first thought is “Will they think I look good?” It’s your favorite dress. Let every single cell in you feel it. You look good, and you’re going to wear this someday and revel in it.
Stop doing that awful thing where you pick up a new hobby and think “This will make me more attractive.” No. This hobby is going to give you life when you run out of bandwidth and you can’t watch YouTube videos. This hobby is going to soothe you when you are having a hard time. This hobby will someday save you out of misery.
Stop thinking of other people. Remember how blessed you are to be living today. And to be living so well. You have a good appetite, your limbs function, you sleep so well that thunder in your room wouldn’t be able to wake you. Live without thinking of other people now. Police your actions with your morals and values, not someone else’s opinion. Choose your happiness based on what makes you feel free, not someone else’s preference. When you have bad thoughts, recognize them and remember that they are a part of being human, and stop thinking that they make you unattractive. Stop focusing on how other people will perceive you.
You are here for you only. By the grace of fate you are here today, live like you are thankful. The happiness is there in your mind. You just have to change your focus. You can do it. You are strong. I know it.
On a cold Friday morning before the crack of dawn, I left for home, the magical place where I get fed and babied. I complained a lot about having to wake up at 5:30AM to catch my bus, but there is something about cold morning air and empty streets that puts my heart at peace.
Here is another update:
1. I am a little bit obsessed with the mashup of Thinking Out Loud and I’m Not the Only One by Sam Tsui and Casey Breves. The two songs have completely different lyrics but the contrast makes this mashup that much better. And the original songs are a bit bland for my taste anyway. I like my songs to have things going on all the time LOL
2. I spent my first Valentine’s Day with somebody!!!! I have never been able to do that, even when I had a boyfriend. Even last year, I couldn’t see my boyfriend because he was busy. We had good food today and played Heads Up for so long that frost started forming inside the car. He also helped me with a fabulous parking job I would’ve never been able to do on my own. :)
3. I did pretty well on the first writing assignment for a class. I’m not as happy with the mark as I would like to be (I think I got spoiled by the easy marking from another writing professor last year), but that’s okay. I’d rather be disappointed with a mark than be relieved that I didn’t fail.
4. Speaking of my writing class, I’m excited to get started on writing a feature!! I have the topic pretty much and I should have enough material to work with after I’ve done the research. On the other hand I really need to edit a profile I wrote on a classmate…sadly I really don’t like editing.
5. I am failing really hard to train for the 10K run happening in May. I keep telling myself I’ll do it eventually but we all know stamina doesn’t happen overnight.
6. I received a wonderful package from the friend I wrote about before. She got me socks, face masks, hand cream, and cute underwear :’)
7. I also received a wonderful letter from another friend I have yet to write about (I will, I swear). It was filled with some of the kindest words I have heard. I am very thankful for her :)
Yesterday I took out a notebook I bought for less than a dollar and started an ideas journal. It was one of those purchases that was too good of a deal to pass down, and it’s been years but I’m finally using it after my Writing professor told us to keep track of every idea. I’ve filled out quite a few pages already. Every line, every flip of the page feels solid. Like I’m a real writer.
I guess it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The difference between someone who dreams of being a writer and someone who is a writer, is that the latter actually writes. The difference between a good writer and a great writer, is that the latter meticulously edits. I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t edit these posts aside from the occasional hiccup in grammar (I try to catch all of them). To me there’s something about editing that takes away the spirit of a blog post, and I’m a bit lazy honestly.
Seeing my ideas flourish over the pages gives me a good feeling though. My thoughts are real. They can be turned into stories that people read. I’m not just a crazy person who can’t stop thinking. The sense of fulfilment that I’m already getting is unreal, and I haven’t even started writing yet. And I can’t help but remember all the writing I’ve lost over the years, due to nothing but my neglect to make them real. I’ve written all kinds of things in my head but for some reason, actually putting them down on paper seemed like a silly idea at the time.
But sadly, I really do think the girl in me who lived to do creative writing is gone. My spirit is still here, but that spark for crafting a character has long disappeared. It’s a bit sad, but what I have now isn’t all that bad I suppose.
I could have died today. Topless and my vision obstructed, I was on my stomach with hands by my sides, leaving my life at the mercy of a complete stranger. If my massage therapist had been a serial murderer with a deeply-rooted grudge against young women of Chinese descent, I would’ve been a goner.
Thankfully, she was not one to take advantage of her privilege as a healthcare practitioner. And surprisingly, as someone who can’t even close her eyes when asked, I was incredibly comfortable with being half naked. I don’t know if I can call it an irrational fear, but there is something about being asked to close my eyes that makes me paranoid. I could die. Yes, I was one of those who never closed their eyes during Seven Up.
But there I was, my bare back exposed and defenseless. Maybe it was the soothing music, or the dim lights, or just the fact that she had her certificate of registration hung on the wall. It sure says a lot about the immense power woven into such pieces of paper.