Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween, which officially marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year. This year's Halloween is more festive and fun-filled than usual, with my aunt having a costume party to celebrate her 60th birthday. It was our first time dressing up as family with aunts, uncles & parents and we had such an amazing time. Here I was, complaining about passing time while others were celebrating life as is, as it happens in their later years. Perhaps youth never really passes; innocence & joy does only if we allow it.

Life is too short to complain about things that are passing and being filled with regrets of the past. This is often easier said than done but as I await the holiday season, I remind myself once more to live my life, enjoy what life has to offer, and prepare myself for my next path, whatever that may be.

For my aunt's costume party, I dressed up as Snow White to parallel my girls' fairytale theme, one being Dorothy and the other being Little Red Riding Hood. I needed something family friendly and appropriate for the little ones although I secretly wished I can be something darker & sexier for once.  I think the girls are finally starting to grow out of their Disney Princess phase which means we can start dressing up as cooler characters like Superheroes, Adams Family & vampires hopefully by next year. I can't wait...becoming a mom made me enjoy Halloween so much that I look forward to it more each year.

Dorothy is all ready for Halloween in her Ruby slippers. Little Red Riding Hood is in school and can't wait for trick-or-treating with friends later tonight. Mommy plans to step into her long hooded robe so she can pass out candy and keep the Halloween spirit alive for her little ones as midnight priestess.

Halloween is all about spending time with loved ones, sharing laughter over silly costumes and keeping our innocence alive. It's about feeling like a child again, even for a day- and playing out a persona you've always admired or imagined. Don't let adulthood take that away from you ever; my aunt who just turned 60 and is still fabulous, will agree.

Happy Halloween wherever you are.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A letter to Virginia Woolf

"I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. Oh my dear, I can't be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don't love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defenses. And I don't really resent it."
Vita Sackville West, from a letter to Virginia Woolf dated 21 January 1926.

Are these not the most beautiful words ever?

Today's Inspiration: Maya Angelou

Q: What makes a truly great piece of written word? 

Maya Angelou: The truth...It either tells the truth, or it's not of very much use. 

I came across this poignant interview by Maya Angelou, a writer, activist and thinker whom I have the utmost admiration and fasciation for. It is women like her who makes me hopeful that perhaps I still have a chance at writing something useful and valuable for the generation, or at the very least be one of many representative voices for Asian American women today.

Words connect us across gender, race and social lines, this much is true- but there are experiences that are uniquely ours that deserve its own representation rather than always having to borrow that of writers like Maya Angelou.

This is not to discredit her work and talent of course. She is unprecedented and her mastery with language cannot be duplicated by anyone, but a girl can only dream that one day, I can connect with other souls who yearn to speak out and strengthen her generation like Maya Angelou did for hers.

I always dreamed of this but my dream got muddled with life somewhere along the way. I never knew motherhood was so consuming but it is- and I've learned that I'm not one of those women who can put her career before her children. I wish I was, but I'm not.

But a girl can still dream...

I'm still suffering from this cold that refuses to leave me; my head feels stuffy and clogged, like no worthy thought can enter or leave. I'd rather have a fever than this dull headache. I feel lifeless, thoughtless, dumb and dead.

I must've slept over 20 hours in two days. Something in my body keeps knocking me out to slumber but instead of waking up refreshed, I wake up more tired and lifeless...

I had a dream last night that I was getting dressed for a wedding ceremony. Instead of the usual white wedding dress however, I was wearing this beautiful traditional Korean costume called Hanbok. Something wasn't going as planned and the wedding planner claimed she forgot the candles. What is the meaning of this, I don't know..but I looked beautiful in my reflection and the dress was so colorful, vibrant and exquisite unlike anything I've seen in real life.

Usually I think and overedit when I write but today I'm just gonna tell the truth. Hopefully the more I practice the better my truth will get, not better in fabrication but in honesty and honesty only.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Love is like the rainbow

Rainbow by my home. 10, 2012.

It rained all day yesterday literally and figuratively. I welcomed the pouring rain with open arms as I was tired of the heat and scorching sun. Everything was starting to feel artificial and forced and I was glad to finally open my windows and breath in real air and hear the sound of raindrops, not the usual humming of air conditioning in my home.

Life seems to have reset itself. I always feel this after a day of pouring rain. The sky changes from dark, to gloomy, to spotty, to bright, to high, to low and back to dark...and while it goes through these countless transformation all I do is wait for a glimpse of a rainbow.

True love is like the rainbow, it can only be created after the rain.

God's love for us is like this, as he strengthens us through numerous trials...and love between two people are like this as well, as the person we love sometimes bring us to a new low. Without love there would not be so much pain.

I saw a double rainbow yesterday, a beautiful & vibrant one, and my five-year old was so excited as this was her very first. We excitedly ran outside in our rainboots and began to snap pictures before it disappears. It was one of those quiet joys in life that God sometimes graces us with when we least expect it, the kind that reminds us that He  is always watching over us.

Grateful for rainy days, especially rainbows after the storm.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Self-portrait at 32

I'm 32 years old and no longer a naive, carefree girl in my 20's. I've failed in numerous relationships and made countless mistakes in my lifetime.

I've cried over unworthy men, been betrayed by manipulative girlfriends, hurt people I shouldn't have hurt and stayed loyal to those who didn't deserve my loyalty. I've been heartbroken; I've broken people's hearts.

Yet I've never loved myself as much as today. I don't know why, I have a dull, lingering headache and my body is fighting a cold. My hair needs a trim and I can really use facials. I no longer have the youthful glow every morning and am starting to see fine lines around my eyes. The height of my youth is passing by and I'm no longer idealistic about life, career and men.

Yet, I love myself wholeheartedly.

I finally realize what womanhood is all about. Womanhood is about loving oneself despite her past mistakes and present imperfections.

It's not about loving ourselves in vain without truly understanding our flaws and weaknesses. Rather, it's about fully acknowledging our shortcomings and being regretful of our mistakes yet not being bound by guilt, shame and resentment toward oneself or others.

It's about becoming one's best friend first before turning to others for happiness and truly understanding herself- both her strengths and weaknesses- while being mindful of her surroundings.

It's about refusing to let others define what it means to be a woman, mom and wife and instead, defining what it means for her by learning, growing and striving everyday to make herself happy first and foremost.

It's about making sacrifices for others without regret or bitterness, and loving others despite their flaws and pains. A real woman stands by her family despite their inherent weakness, because she understands that it is only through her strength and courage that the structure can withstand trials of life.

It's about learning to be selfish about her dreams and desires without forgetting to be selfless when it comes to other people. It's about keeping her love under control and in moderation, and not letting it become controlling, superfluous or fleeting.

It's about setting boundaries, especially with those she loves and not letting her love get in the way of other's passions and dreams.

Today, I truly love myself. And I plan to love myself more and more each day, not by wishing for things that have already passed, but by embracing who I am at this very moment.

So stop trying to define how a mom is supposed to look or act like, I don't even know what that means. I'm just me, that's all. I've always been me, and I will always be me.

No passing of time or trials of life can take that away from me.

I hope all women will realize that womanhood is boundless, timeless and eternally beautiful. We are all beautiful in our imperfections, geniuses in our madness.  Anything is fine, as long as we remember to judge a little less and care for ourselves from within.

In remembrance, I snap a self-portrait and mark this moment of clarity. These days I find myself more comfortable behind the camera but today I'll defy my usual boundaries and appreciate who I am today.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thank you for loving me still

"I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." 
                                                                                                                                                              - Marilyn Monroe
I make mistakes....plenty of them, and often do and say things I know I shouldn't have. This past weekend was no different and I ended up doing what I did best in my 20's...being selfish, impatient and unpredictable. On Friday I ran into an old friend who commented that I still seem like the old Angie from college and asked why I haven't changed after becoming a mom?

Then I thought, hmmm I don't know, perhaps it's because that old Angie is still there? Perhaps not enough time passed since then? Perhaps there's still a part of me that refuses to be lost through marriage, motherhood & passing of time?

But the fact is, I did change since then. I can still be selfish, impatient & insecure at times but I now know what it means to be selfless, patient and confident even with my imperfect self.

I'm imperfect but still beautiful; I'm a little mad but know there is still genius in me and despite still making mistakes as a 30-something woman, I finally have the courage to love myself through it all.

Today I'm thankful for a few significant people in my life, those who saw me at my worst but still remained by my side. These are people who truly deserve me at my best, and I promise to never forget the warmth you made me feel, the comfort I felt in your arms.

I'm sorry I can't be there for you every time you need me; I'm sorry for my imperfect decisions and actions at times.

Thank you though, for loving me still.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Love burns

I'll never leave you by Jamie Beck

Many years ago, an overprotective and over-jealous boyfriend burned my old pictures and old letters in the small patio of my college apartment. I was appalled by his actions but so appalled that I was at a loss of words.  I thought I loved him at the time, and judged that the best thing to do was to let him be as something was obviously bothering him, and I wanted to be the one to provide some relief for him even at the sake of my memories.

Tonight I look back and realize I was simply caught in middle of someone else's dark passions and his actions had nothing to do with me or his love for me, but with his own insecurities and desires.

I've never been angry enough to burn any part of my past; perhaps this was the problem.  I wish I never have to do this but simultaneously hope I had enough courage to do this at a few pivotal moments in my life.

Love is passionate. For some love boils and glowers like fire. My love was quiet, gentle and reserved and somehow, somewhere along the way, my coy love began to ignite once it caught someone else's spark fueled by greed and dark passions.

Tonight it burns uncontrollably and there is no one around to put it out but myself.  I need to and I will-- but I still remember my love, the one that isn't jealous, possessive or controlling, the kind that just is.

I still leave it up to Him, God that is, and pray that I can live out my kind of love one day. I want to rediscover it and learn to be selfless again.

All in His time, I remind myself-- for the thousandth time.