Dreams and Aspirations

As part of my Self Discovery segment I have decided to tackle the question:
What are your dreams and aspirations?

I know, you’re probably expecting some grandiose, “world peace” kind of post, but this is not it. Yeah, world peace would be great and I support the efforts in achieving that, but it’s not my dream and aspiration. I’ve learned the hard way that setting impossible standards and unrealistic expectations only lead to disappointment, so my answer is pretty simple… or at least, achievable.

My dream and aspiration is to make a difference or lasting impression in at least one person’s life. I would like to reach more people, but the goal is at least a single person. I want to be able to bestow upon people a genuine kindness and caring that we don’t see very often in our world of violence and brutality. I don’t expect a chain reaction or to make waves, but I want to make at least one person feel like there’s hope.

I know what it’s like to feel helpless and hopeless, and if I can, I would like to make sure that at least one other person doesn’t have to feel that way. I want to be able to reach just one single person and them feel better about themselves, feel that they can dream big and meet their goals.

Yes, my dream and aspiration is tiny, but hopefully, it will be repaid in a big way. I believe that everyone deserves to feel like they belong and are understood, and I want to have the effect on someone. I may have already achieved my goal, but if I have, then I want to reach more people. How? Either through my writing, through conversations, and through in-person interactions. I am trying to influence as many people as I can with positivity and optimism. But the main goal is just at least a single person. That’s all.

What are your dreams and aspirations? Feel free to share in a comment!

 

-Ling

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Who am I? A Road to Self-Discovery

Remember in elementary school when teachers gave us prompts for independent writing? Almost every year I had to answer the question, “Who am I?” Back then, it was a lot easier for me. I would talk about my family and my grade level, etc. My answer was superficial and it was always in relation to other people. I described myself in terms of the people in my life. Or, I described myself in terms of how society viewed me. As a kid, no big deal. As an adult now, it makes me shudder to think that as I was forming my identity at that age, most of it was reliant on how others perceived me–a figment of your imagination and a victim of your perception.

If you asked me to answer the question now, I would honestly answer, “I don’t know.” Seems like a cop out answer, but it’s not because it’s true. I don’t know who I am at this particular moment in time. A lot has happened in my life to make me rethink and reconsider how I view myself. So, I genuinely do not know who I am. It bothers me that I can’t answer the question, but it also gives me a journey to go on. Thus, introducing the first segment to the soon to be remodeled blog: Road to Self-Discovery. Cliche, I know, but I think it’ll be interesting. At least, for me it will. I don’t know if you’ll care all too much about me finding myself.

Anyway, the idea of this particular segment is that each week, probably on a Friday or over the weekend, I will choose a topic or prompt that will require deep introspection and reflection. As I answer them, I hope to slowly learn new things about myself. After every five entries, I will return to the question, “Who am I?” And slowly piece the response together. Once I feel like I have a pretty solid idea of who I am, I will compile it into a single entry to answer the big question.

I would like for you to take the time and think about the topic, too. Share a little bit about yourself if you feel so inclined and maybe start a journey of your own. Identity changes, so who you think you are might not be the reality anymore.

– Ling 

I am now a .com

I just purchased the domain for my WordPress blog and am now the owner of a .com site. I originally wanted to get the domain from GoDaddy, but I would have had to add the hosting and figure out how to configure it to WordPress. Even more tedious, I would have to recreate the entire website and export all of my posts (if I wanted to keep them). So, I decided to simply purchase through WordPress because it would save me all the extra steps, especially because I would be using it’s platform for my website anyway.

So what does this really mean? Why purchase a domain if after almost two years I never did it? This means that I am revamping my website. It means I will be actively working on it and posting entries and sharing my writing. The template of the site I won’t reconfigure because I like the way it is, but the content will be sure to change. Obviously, I will continue to post my thoughts and ramblings, but I will be adding my writing and creating a more comprehensive representation of who I am and my vision for the website.

I am super excited for the new journey. Hope you are too!

XII

I wanted a tattoo since I was maybe 10 years old. By the time I was 18, all I wanted was to get inked. I waited five years since then, talking about it constantly, and I finally did it last week.

There were so many reasons for why I waited five years to finally go through with it, even when I was extremely close to getting it done at 21. For one, a lot of people, although intrigued by my tattoo ideas were, quick to discourage.

  1. Are you sure? It’s permanent you know. Will you regret it?
  2. Where are you going to put it? I mean, think about when you get older, or if you get pregnant. How will it look then?
  3. Aren’t you afraid of needles? How are you going to handle that?
  4. I’ve heard it’s painful…
  5. Is your family going to be okay with it?

There were so many more reasons, so many more doubts put in my head each time I spoke about getting a tattoo. In fact, getting a tattoo seemed almost as taboo as talking about mental illness. There’s a stigma attached to it, especially within my culture and family. Getting a tattoo is like going over the edge, becoming a criminal, etc. Yet, that stigma didn’t bother me a bit. I wanted that tattoo, well, more than one. Regardless, you have to start with one before you can get more, right?

I used shrug off those questions. I used to be blase and say it didn’t matter. Or yeah, it made me nervous but I still wanted it. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to go through with getting a tattoo if I couldn’t answer the above questions. So here are my answers:

  1. Am I sure? Yes. Will I regret it? No Do I know it’s permanent? Of course, I do. It’s one of the main reasons I want to get it done. I want something I know will be permanent in my life. (Barring from any unforeseen circumstances or injuries, of course.)
  2. Where are you going to put it? There are lots of places to put a tattoo. There are places where skin won’t sag or stretch as much, and those would be great places to put a tattoo. But I want mine to be visible, I want them on my arms and wrists. I want to be reminded about them. How will they look in the future? How should I know? All I know is that no matter how distorted the image becomes, I will still see it for what it was originally. The meaning behind the tattoo, the reason as to why I got it, those things won’t change even if the appearance does.
  3. Aren’t you afraid of needles? Yes, I am. I am afraid of syringes that doctors and dentists use. How are you going to handle that? I won’t look at the needle. I won’t look as the tattoo artist preps. I will have someone there with me to keep my mind off of it, and if anything, squeeze his or her hand.
  4. I’ve heard it’s painful… I’ve heard that it varies. I’ve read about it online, and it depends on where you get it done. I’m also not really all that afraid of the pain. I’m prepared to scream and bawl like a baby. (I didn’t.) And honestly, a needle is being repeatedly stabbed into your skin, or in the very least scratching, yes it’s going to be painful. It might even be bloody, but millions of people can handle it, and so can I.
  5. Is your family going to be okay with it? I don’t care. I’m doing it for myself, it has nothing to do with them.

Number five was probably the hardest question to overcome. It was the one that kept me from getting the tattoo even though I desperately wanted it. What would my family think? Yet, it got to the point when I just didn’t give a f*** anymore. There are so many things that I didn’t do because I cared too much about how others would perceive me, what their opinions would be. The question that people should have been asking is, “will it make you happy?” The answer to that is yes.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am impulsive on some things, and take a long time debating pros and cons on others. The ones who know me best know that even those impulsive decisions went through the agonizing debate, just at a faster pace. I don’t make snap judgments. I don’t do things if I’m not wholeheartedly invested. Getting a tattoo was the longest debate, and probably the most easily answered. I knew since I was 10 that I wanted a tattoo. I knew what I wanted. I just hadn’t figured out the placement. And originally, I’d only wanted one–a rose with thorns. I always thought that if I were to get one, that’s what it would be. Guess I was wrong.

One reason I didn’t get that rose is because I wanted to know for sure I could get through the tattoo process. Secondly, I wanted to shop around and find a good artist that I could trust to do that one, so it might take a while. Thirdly, it’s going to a be a big one that covers my arm, so it’s going to be expensive. I still have every intention of getting it done, just not yet.

Then I had a couple of other ideas for what I wanted. In the end, I got an Eeyore with XII in it. While everyone’s attention and focus is on the Eeyore, my focus is on the XII. The significance is in the roman numerals, not Eeyore. I’m not sure many people understand that; in fact, they probably think the 12 just represents my birthday or something. It does, but doesn’t. That 12 represents nearly 12 years of my life right now, it represents the struggles I’ve faced and overcame, the resilience which keeps me going, and the past which made me who I am today. I would go into detail about the meaning of the 12, but it doesn’t seem relevant to do that. A tattoo is art, and art can be interpreted in many different ways.

I Used to Know

I was that kid in elementary school, junior high school, and high school who knew exactly what she wanted from life. I knew where I wanted to go to school, what I wanted to major in, what age I wanted to get married, and how many kids I wanted to have. I had this whole plan in my head. I was set, and I was sure. 

Then life happened.

Now, I’m not sure anymore. I never felt lost before. I never worried about where I would be in five years, if I could even see myself in five years. I always knew. I always had a goal and a way of getting there. My biggest fear when I was in high school was if I wouldn’t be able to have kids in the future. Now, I don’t even think I want to have children of my own. I never worried about graduating on time or what I would do afterwards. I knew.

Then life happened.

College was my turning point from the self-assured, I know what I’m going to do and I’m going to do it person to I have no idea what I’m doing with my life person. Psychology major fell through when I realized, I don’t care about brain chemicals and how they work. English major fell through when I realized, I didn’t want to be a literature major. I was set on being a creative writing major, and when that didn’t happen, I chose to go with what interested me–sociology. And although that didn’t fall through per se, it did leave me questioning what I’m going to do with that degree. No worries, why?

Because life happened.

I fell into a pit of depression and anxiety which became a vicious cycle where terrible thoughts fed upon and fueled themselves. And that took a toll on my academic performance, thus my dismissal from SUNY Geneseo. Upon receiving that dismissal notice, I was distraught. This could not be happening to me! But eventually, I was able to evaluate myelf and my career goals. I decided that I wanted to work behind the scenes to help better the world. I wanted to create my own non-profit, or in the least, manage one. Thus, my decision to take up Public Administration as a major. After that was decided, I looked for schools that had that program. Granted, with a GPA slightly above 2.0, I was worried I wouldn’t even get the chance. Thankfully, I was lucky.  Eve with that solved, I still feel lost. Why?

Because life keeps happening. 

That’s probably the hardest part for me. I used to be able to move with the flow, ride the current. Now, I’m stuck drifting and hitting the river bank and jagged rocks. I have no idea how to move straight with the rest of the water anymore. I don’t like this uncertainty. It bothers me a lot because it’s foreign and cumbersome. Unfortunately, it’s a huge part of life with which I need to get on board. I may be stuck in this spot for a while, and I can’t keep willing for life to stop. No matter how much I wish and pray, life will keep happening. And I cannot foucs on what I used to know, but to start thinking about what I could know.

Life will always happen,

but I don’t have to always fall victim to the constant changes.

Love… What is it?

“I love you”

I’ve heard the phrase. I’ve said the phrase. 

But what is love?

Obviously, there are different types of love. The love I feel for my friends is different from the love I feel for my family. The love I feel for my significant other is different from the love I feel toward Eminem. 

From the New Testament in the Bible, there’s a whole chapter on love: 1 Corinthians 13. God is love. 

Is that the same then? God exists (I believe He does), but he is an enigma. Does that apply to love as well?

And still, there are variations of feeling love. Are you in love or do you just love? It’s amazing how syntax can change the entire sentiment when it comes to love. 

Even more importantly, how do you show love?

Do you say it, or do you spread it through hugs and kisses? And if you are from a culture where people don’t explicitly express love, is it in the actions? Arguably, expressing love ranges from little gestures to grand declarations. Yet, how does the person receiving these notions know that you love them? How do they tell whether these actions are purely coincidental, obligatory, or truly from the heart?

Finally, is there a time when love just dies? Romantically speaking, people fall out of love all the time. But that begs the question of whether or not the people were truly in love in the first place. See, I am a hopeless romantic at heart, and I don’t believe in the notion of falling out of love. But does that mean you can love multiple people at once? Isn’t that emotionally cheating if you are with another person? Polyamorous. Or maybe the love is still there, but faded or covered my the new wave of strong emotion.

All I gathered from chick flicks, romance novels, and real life is that love is complicated. Thinking about it, contemplating it, and trying to reason with or about it is pointless. From experience, love is just meant to be felt. Everyone has a different understanding of love, but that doesn’t mean anyone is wrong about it. For instance, how you feel toward your significant other may differ from how he or she feels about you, but who’s to say that what you or your partner feels isn’t love?

Repeating Mistakes

I am extremely familiar with the saying that we learn from our mistakes, but the truth of the matter is, we’re more likely to repeat the same errs than to correct them.

We are creatures of habit (at least I am), so it’s only reasonable to take the same course of action when a similar situation happens. Hindsight is the time to realize that the quick decision may not have been the best (mainly because memories of what happened last time comes flooding in).

I constantly repeat mistakes. There are times when I’ve learned my lesson thoroughly that I choose the more logical, and less harmful, approach. More often than not, I don’t. I am driven by my emotions, so how I feel dictates how I act. When I’m emotional, there is no recognition that what I’m doing is repetitive of something bad from before, it seems like the appropriate response.

Unfortunately, acting on impulse often bites me on the behind.

I guess the lesson that I’ve re-learned is not to take action or do anything extreme while over-emotional… I have no doubt that I will be learning this lesson again in the future.