June102012

E is for Enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson,
American Philosopher

It seems Emerson found value in a trait I happen to have a lot of - enthusiasm. I was a rambunctious child to say the least, and I approached everything in life with vigorous excitement - to the point of lunacy. There was always something I was excited about; a new sport, a friend, a class. To me, passion just happened to come naturally.

Not much has changed since then - I am still as enthusiastic and passionate about life as I have ever been. From losing weight to getting better at my job, I gave 200% of myself into every pursuit. It didn’t matter what obstacles there were or how many; I was enthusiastic (or most likely crazy) enough to believe I could do anything. And I did. In a year’s time I lost 60 lbs and gained more confidence at work. I was elated! I had been doing the happy “yay me” dance when all of a sudden, it rained on my parade. I got laid off.

The funny thing about being enthusiastic is that you become the exact opposite of it during times of distress. And distressed I was. Like a baby, I sobbed in the conference room after the announcement; partly because I suddenly found myself unemployed, but mostly because I felt a deep sense of loss. I had never loved a job, a team, a company that much. It sounds so bogus saying that out loud, but in my young, impressionable, “junior professional” mind, I knew that I was leaving a very special place.

I was enthusiastic when I applied for the job a year ago; so enthusiastic, in fact, that after the grueling 5-hour interview, I couldn’t find the energy nor the brain power to speak full sentences. After receiving an offer I was convinced to make the position my own, and to give it everything I’ve got. I never said no to a task and was always eager to work on something with anybody - whether we were on the same team or not. Everyday I came to work excited and grateful.  I had a supportive team and an encouraging boss who believed in me more than I believed in myself. I was crazy lucky.

Which is why this afternoon I finally let it all out. I sobbed like a child and even started to wail - as if someone had died. I hadn’t let myself cry since that time in the conference room. Today, I cried fervently about the job I just lost, and the coworkers I will miss. For the first time in a week, I allowed myself to feel nervous, scared and a little worried about what lies ahead. That’s another thing about enthusiasm - it makes you vulnerable. Yet as vulnerable and distressed as I currently am, I feel a tinge of excitement deep down inside me. I now have things to look forward to - new things, different things, better things. And you can bet that I will be just as enthusiastic in the next job as I have been in the last. My pursuit may be different but my method stays the same. After all, the world could always use a little more enthusiasm!

April252011

The beauty of April.

One of the lovely things about being married is having a constant friend. Knowing that I have my husband to talk to at any time of the day and at any given moment is a comfort I always cherish. Not having to worry about feeling vulnerable or ashamed about anything is amazing. These are one of the moments that truly make me grateful for the fact that I am sharing my life with someone who is also my friend.

I’ve been having some intense emotions lately - fluctuating feelings of anxiety and excitement, of fear and trepidation. I’ve been wanting things to change so badly, yet at the same time, I’m a little nervous about change as well. It’s been like an emotional tug-of-war, feeling this way and then later, another. A lot of times it feels like a mess of things inside me that I’ve just been waiting to sort out. So on a late Sunday afternoon, I saw the opportunity to do just that. Propped up on the couch with my feet on his lap, I opened up to my husband and told him about the emotional mess I’ve been hiding under the rug.

For those who know us personally, it is easy to assume that I am the one who has the most to say. Sometimes, conversations with J can get a little tiring - because I’m doing most of the talking. Which is why I’ve learned a little trick: ask questions, or rephrase anything I say so that it solicits a response. Presenting him with an opportunity to share his two cents not only gives me a break, but it also gives me a chance to find out what he’s really thinking. 

As I shared with him my deepest, most buried feelings, I found myself veering off course and not utilizing my usual tactic of making queries. I didn’t realize how much I had hidden in my everyday musings. Recanting my feelings of fear, helplessness and worry made me want to cry, and for the first time in a long time, I was especially thankful to have him just listen to me unload all of the thoughts and feelings I’ve worked so hard to conceal. I told him about what I wanted out of life, how I saw things, where I wanted to be and what I really wanted to do, and I shared with him my apprehensions about the possibility of my dreams and wants not coming to fruition.

I expected him to stay quiet; after all, I didn’t spoon feed him an opportunity to say anything. But he opened his mouth and uttered words of encouragement, asserting that I keep on keeping on and try my hardest to find optimism in blind darkness. “After all,” he says, “things seem to happen and change in April”. I looked at him in awe and have never felt more in love with anybody. He was right. We said our “I dos” on a cold, rainy Tuesday in early April 2009. Exactly a year later we moved in to our first apartment together. He pointed out something that he’s known all this time - that April was a month like no other, and that no matter what life brings, he will always see April as beautiful. 

April indeed, is beautiful. It was during this month that I realized how great of a love I have.

March152011

Foolish Fish.

It has been a full week since I first started training with Masters Swimming at my gym, and it has been the toughest week I’ve had physically, mentally & emotionally. Granted, I feel really great once I come out of the water, but I drag myself to practice EVERY SINGLE DAY. I admit, I’ve come to dread the water. I can’t predict if it will be a good day or a bad day - all I know is, I’m the chubby slug swimmer in LANE 1, and all the days I’ve had at practice so far have been difficult to say the least.

Of course I didn’t expect it to be easy. I’ve had a little bit of training as a child, but have never competed in a meet. I learned all the strokes but managed only to hold on to two: freestyle & breast. The backstroke freaks me out because I’m paranoid I will be dumb enough to hit the pool wall with my head, plus the water that drips from my fingertips to my face with each stroke distracts me. I still lack the coordination to do the butterfly - I can very well do the leg part and the arms part separately but can’t seem to bring them together cohesively. Sometimes during practice (in between desperately blowing bubbles underwater and gasping for air) I wonder what the heck I’m actually doing to myself. I can barely swim 50 yards without stopping and yet I show up diligently to practice, 5 times a week, praying to God that a miracle will happen and I magically channel Michael Phelps.

Okay so maybe that’s a bit much - but all I really need is a little more endurance to get me through a full 100 yards without feeling like my lungs are gonna give. Somehow I have this idea that if I kept going, I’ll get better at it. You know what they say - practice makes perfect. These days I’m feeling more like practice makes nothing but I know I’m better off slaving away in the water and making a fool of myself than sitting at home and preserving my dignity. Forget the dignity, I need to lose the pudge!

So I put my suit on everyday. I jump in the water and try so hard to improve my strokes. It’s a constant battle, yet despite the obstacles and hardships, swimming gives me peace. Because for one full hour, I think of nothing but the numbers of laps I have to do and focus on one thing alone: breathing. Yes, I look foolish, but something tells me I won’t look foolish for long.

January12011

The gift of eternal sobriety.

My husband is allergic to alcohol, and considering that I grew up with an alcoholic father, I view this as a major plus. Aside from the fact that growing up with an alcoholic totally sucked, my husband’s inability to digest liquor also helped me decrease my own intake. I don’t drink as much as I used to, and it’s all because of him. In the grand scheme of things, this is considered extremely positive; after all, I am genetically predisposed to have the disease. And yet, some people in my social circle seem to think otherwise. Judging by the number of sympathetic looks we get every time we turn down a drink and explain his allergies, many people still equate sobriety with banality. Many people still think that people who don’t drink are boring.

I’m sure they don’t mean any harm when they react that way - I’m sure it’s just a mindless response to the fact that we have ‘rejected’ their offer of fun. And see, that’s exactly the thing that bothers me most - this perpetual idea that fun can only really exist in the midst of inebriation. Yes, I’ve been there too. I’ve had my share of hilarity under the influence, but I don’t think it’s the only way to have fun. I agree, there’s something wild and inexplicable about drinking and having a good time, about letting your hair down and whizzing through the night with reckless abandon. You become a more exciting version of yourself; you’re giddy, easily pleased, and unbelievably liberated. But all this is temporary, and what I’ve come to realize is that we risk so much for such fleeting satisfaction.  I’m no saint, and believe me, those who know me well can attest to this. I’ve woken up wanting to puke my whole being out, wishing I could undo the damage from the night before. And yes, there can exist a happy medium, where happy drinkers know their limits and stay well within them. But I am well aware that this also does not hold true for every person - because as with everything in life, drinking has its terrible, tragic side. And that side was the one I grew up with.

So the next time someone crinkles up their nose upon hearing why my husband doesn’t drink, I’ll smile. I’ll smile because it will remind me of the fact that God heard my cries as a child, when I begged Him each night for a man unlike my father. 

December132010

I love me a love story.

I came across this post today and couldn’t help but get emotional. I’m a sucker for love - and a bigger sucker for love stories. 

Having my job has its perks - I get to read about what a lot of our bloggers are willing to share: exciting experiences, emotionally charged rants, the humorous, endearing tales of their children and the stories that have either broken their hearts or have made their hearts full. As much as I adore and enjoy romance films and celebrity love tales, nothing makes me feel more inspired and elated than reading about an ordinary person’s extraordinary experience with love. And I think it’s because it constantly proves that the power of love is REAL and TANGIBLE.

So if you have a love story, do share it with me! I’m always looking for an incredible, heart-wrenching screenplay idea. 

December72010
Just seconds ago, I found myself laughing at an old post I wrote about two years prior. I actually thought I was pretty funny! It’s ridiculous how perspective changes over time - something you first thought was horrendous suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all (that might not be applicable to certain things though, like wearing socks with sandals and the KFC double down). After reading through some of my old work, I realized I wasn’t as terrible a writer as I thought. Then again, we are always our own worst critics.
Revisiting my old blog gave me a chance to revisit my old thoughts, and in essence, my old self. I was pretty upbeat and enthusiastic about my life in college, and it was amusing to briefly go back to that day when all I could talk about was writing papers and staying up late. Oh, how time flies! If only those were my worries today. A lot of my posts were lighthearted and witty, and I could tell I tried to put my two cents in about self-improvement and changing my attitude. What I loved most about my blog though, was the fact that I tried to write as often as I possibly could - and it didn’t matter that all I could talk about one day was the death of my gorgeous pink cactus, so long as I had something to post that was current. I had so much more zeal about writing than I do now, and I feel shameful. These days, I am easily defeated by a slight case of writer’s block.
If I had learned anything from my past blogs, it’s that I was more courageous than I believed I was. My writing revealed that I had an insatiable thirst for life and adventure, and that I believed so strongly in my own ability to handle and overcome anything life threw at me, all with a smile on my face and a joke in my head. I found beauty and joy in the simplest things - like swimming pools and popcorn. Most of all, I was obsessed with love - love stories and movies, falling in it and out of it, and telling others about how crazy love drove me. I was so eager to write about all my emotions and experiences, despite the fact that it rendered me vulnerable and probably insane. Most of all, my writing showed me just how passionate I could be. Somehow, in the past year or so, I stopped doing the things that I loved most, all because I got caught up with ‘real life issues’. Reading through those posts reminded me that these ‘real life issues’ are what shape my life story - and I should be writing about them instead of contemplating them.
I’ve been waiting long enough to wake up from my literary slumber, and I think revisiting my old blog was just the wake up call I needed.

Just seconds ago, I found myself laughing at an old post I wrote about two years prior. I actually thought I was pretty funny! It’s ridiculous how perspective changes over time - something you first thought was horrendous suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all (that might not be applicable to certain things though, like wearing socks with sandals and the KFC double down). After reading through some of my old work, I realized I wasn’t as terrible a writer as I thought. Then again, we are always our own worst critics.

Revisiting my old blog gave me a chance to revisit my old thoughts, and in essence, my old self. I was pretty upbeat and enthusiastic about my life in college, and it was amusing to briefly go back to that day when all I could talk about was writing papers and staying up late. Oh, how time flies! If only those were my worries today. A lot of my posts were lighthearted and witty, and I could tell I tried to put my two cents in about self-improvement and changing my attitude. What I loved most about my blog though, was the fact that I tried to write as often as I possibly could - and it didn’t matter that all I could talk about one day was the death of my gorgeous pink cactus, so long as I had something to post that was current. I had so much more zeal about writing than I do now, and I feel shameful. These days, I am easily defeated by a slight case of writer’s block.

If I had learned anything from my past blogs, it’s that I was more courageous than I believed I was. My writing revealed that I had an insatiable thirst for life and adventure, and that I believed so strongly in my own ability to handle and overcome anything life threw at me, all with a smile on my face and a joke in my head. I found beauty and joy in the simplest things - like swimming pools and popcorn. Most of all, I was obsessed with love - love stories and movies, falling in it and out of it, and telling others about how crazy love drove me. I was so eager to write about all my emotions and experiences, despite the fact that it rendered me vulnerable and probably insane. Most of all, my writing showed me just how passionate I could be. Somehow, in the past year or so, I stopped doing the things that I loved most, all because I got caught up with ‘real life issues’. Reading through those posts reminded me that these ‘real life issues’ are what shape my life story - and I should be writing about them instead of contemplating them.

I’ve been waiting long enough to wake up from my literary slumber, and I think revisiting my old blog was just the wake up call I needed.

November162010

Greener grass and all that jazz.

"The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”

                                 

I got this from a friend who initially shared it on her FB profile. The quote struck me sharply - especially after I changed the words “people” and “they” to “I”. “I” find it so hard to be happy because “I” choose to see things the way the quote described. I have a bizarre adoration for what was, apparent disdain for what is, and extreme concern for what will be. Somehow I’m walking around thinking my life was better back then, and that it will never be that great - when in retrospect, my life has never been better. I recognized that I had been living in the past and was questioning my present, and it definitely did not make me look forward to my future. In a way, I saw the past as greener grass.

I refuse to waste the remainder of this year comparing “now” with “then” - I simply want to start focusing on what is in front of me. Chasing the past will get me nowhere; I need to learn how to move on and enjoy my life for what it is. This is definitely one of those things that are easier said than done; but it shouldn’t hurt to try.

November112010

Kanye and his freedom of speech.

I came across a video recap of Kanye’s interview with Matt Lauer, where they discussed that poignant moment when he blatantly accused George W. Bush of being a racist at the height of the Katrina disaster, as well as his noted lapse of judgment at the 2009 MTV VMAs during which he “stole” the spotlight (and microphone) from Taylor Swift. The whole segment was uncomfortable to watch - I just felt like Kanye was simply squared into a corner and “forced” to apologize for his widely publicized mistakes. As much as I believe that the proper thing to do would be to in fact, apologize for his said mistakes, I am not at all surprised at the outcome of this interview. Mind you, as much as I admire Kanye’s musical abilities, I think his impulsive ways need to be tamed. Yet at the same time, who am I to dictate how he should or shouldn’t act? He is his own person - and he will act the way he wants to no matter what people say.

Which begs the question - what is the point in asking him why he has outlandish behavior? It’s like asking him why he is the way he is. In my opinion, asking him whether he’s sorry or not is an exercise in futility - besides, the best apologies are those that are not preceded by a question. If he really is ultimately sorry, he would find a way to say it (or show it). I guess what I’m trying to say is, with Kanye West, there is no point boxing him into a position. The man takes his freedom of speech and dangles it in front of your face. He can be obnoxious and foolish, and yes, he could use some sort of filtering system, but the fact remains: he has an asinine way of expressing himself and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with what he has to say, don’t forget that you don’t actually have to listen to him. We get so caught up in our consumerist world that we forget we have a choice (most of the time). We don’t have to eat up everything the media (and celebrities) are serving us. Feel free to exercise your freedom of speech but remember to choose your words wisely.

November22010

Attempting the (im)possible.

*Note: My relationship with writing is pretty much self-evident - based on my blog frequency, you can pretty much say that I’ve been stuck in a dry spell.

But I’m actually going to start TRYING this time. I’m hoping I can surprise myself and get out of this spell because there are way too many thoughts populating my head these days. I need this release. 

Things are looking up on this gorgeous month of November, and I can honestly say that 2010 has been the most surprising year of my life thus far. I’ve recently hopped on to the digital marketing team of a fabulous online startup and have been enjoying every crazy, hectic minute of it! I’m learning something new everyday, and it feels so good knowing that my contributions to the team are valued and appreciated. I am incredibly privileged to have been given the opportunity to do something I enjoy - especially during this time when dream jobs are hard to come by.

Since my new position involves the world of blogging, I spend a great deal of time reading tons of different blogs everyday. The Pioneer Woman is one of my absolute favorites (not to mention, she is totally, like, a blogging superstar) - her site is filled with amazing reads that range from funny anecdotes and awesome recipes to random musings and resources. Plus, she has really vivid photographs! Reading her blog is like perusing through a magazine - minus the fees! I guess you can say a part of me felt a jolt of inspiration upon visiting her site. Dare I say it - this cowboy’s wife from Oklahoma has roused me from my writing slumber!

So here I am again, attempting the (im)possible. Join me in my journey as I revamp my blog, my writing, and my state of mind. Hoorah!

July202010

Nostalgia.

I was a little hesitant to come back to tumblr because I knew I’d be faced with the embarrassing fact that I haven’t written since April. However, as you can see I’ve decided to proceed anyway - and it’s all because I don’t know how much longer I can stand the itch to write. (Plus it helps that I’ve been nostalgic lately, and am essentially looking for an outlet for this inexplicable burst of emotion).

I miss myself, in ways I never would have imagined. I don’t know if it has something to do with gaining weight or getting older (or possibly both), but these days, I haven’t been too excited about myself. I almost always tend to compare my present self with the past, and emotionally conclude that the past version of me had a brighter disposition (and was a lot better looking as well). It’s a bit alarming, really, but there were a lot of things that I used to enjoy back then that I stopped doing altogether. Looking back at how I used to be makes me wonder, where am I? Or quite frankly, who have I become?

I miss swimming, and extreme amounts of suntanning. I miss having endless music looping in the bedroom from my macbook pro. I miss dancing in front of my mirrored closets while no one is watching, and holding concerts in the shower while getting ready. I miss running and the feeling of toned muscles - and the satisfaction of eating after a workout. I miss getting excited to go out, getting excited to go shopping, and getting excited about getting ready! I miss it all, and I feel like I don’t know where that part of myself has gone. These days I’m looking frumpier, and I don’t get excited about getting ready. I rarely listen to music anymore, and I spend my days time traveling in my mind. 

I wish I could go back in time. 

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