Looking Back to Look Ahead to 2019

Hopes for 2019

Why I Need to Reflect

Where did the year go? I’m sure somewhere in the galaxy exists an abyss of floating past memories and mistakes or hardships people want to forget. I didn’t want to reflect on the past year initially, but I defeated my own stubbornness in order to do what I knew was better. There was just a lot happening in my life and in those around me that I love in 2018. It felt like most days last year, I was just struggling to get by and struggling to be who I wanted to be. Now that it’s the end of the year, it seems anticlimactic to think “Hmm, a lot of those things are still on-going.” You can’t just make a resolution and start over when some things in life aren’t in your control.

But I need to do this, for me. I need to remember all the good memories and the bad ones. It’s easy to forget the triumphs and small victories when the year seemed clouded with fiery external trials and immensely tiring internal battles.

I need to hope. Hope right now isn’t some cute word that sounds cool at the end of the year or in prayer to God. It’s a real need for me right now, and without it, I don’t really know how to move forward. So that’s really why. Because I need to hope.

It’s not helpful to look ahead without looking back. We have to analyze and be aware of what has happened, otherwise, our goals and visions for the future may be a bit shallow and foolish. That’s my opinion anyway.

Looking Back in 2018: Themes

Too much happened so I won’t be going over specific events. I think it’s more helpful to point out some pertinent themes and some thoughts around them.

Started new creative projects without giving up (yet). Making youtube videos wasn’t that simple. I had to listen to the intuition in my soul that my desire to share my thoughts and ideas on the interwebs was not stupid, not for attention, and not a phase. I had to listen to the feeling that this is who I am made to be. Making videos is one of the many platforms I can do that on. I am proud of myself for listening to me because often I want to listen to others and ignore those inklings. I make excuses and get caught up in not feeling good enough, unique enough, confident enough, smart enough, whatever the lie may be. I learned that making videos was symbolic, as the beginning of discovering more of who I am and conquering my fears. It was a part of the journey to love myself (which I will talk more about in another bullet point). I started writing poems and short stories with a vision to create awareness about mental health and depression through a personal social media campaign called “Words Unspoken: A Memoir”.

Redefined what friendships (& relationship) looked like. As a type 2w3 in Enneagram (lol, I had to really wrestle to admit what type I was but is that even a surprise for ANYONE AT ALL? Nope) I wanted to be there for my friends but felt too weak to do so. I really learned this year how to let others in on the hardships and how to receive love (might be forever working on it tbh). I learned to not chase after people but to let go, accepting the reality that I can’t keep up with everyone like I used to. I learned to drop expectations and just be present to friends who were also committed to me. I learned to let people be there for me, and adjust to how people wanted me to be there for them. I also continued to play games with friends because the gaming community was also there for me when I needed. Those brothas have no idea, but it really made a difference. In terms of my romantic life- Michael and I adjusted to our long distance relationship and what it looked like to serve and love one another in this time. Because it’s been really hard on my end, I felt needy and missed him a lot more. But apparently, I “need to be more needy”. There were many phone calls during my hour-long drives after work or class, video chats while we brushed our teeth, and many times in person when we only had time for one meal. We unwinded and hung out together often through playing mobile or computer games (our top love language is quality time). Most of all, I learned to not be afraid of being honest. Lol, sounds simple on paper. Similar to friendships, I had to let down the walls and be okay that sometimes, I cry for the entire hour of our phone call. Those usually ended with smiles because he’s a weirdo who knows how to make me laugh, haha.

Made time for adventure. In the busy-ness of life, you really do have to make time for getaways and adventures. Michael and I went snowboarding around my birthday in January last year, and this clutz somehow became good enough to be on the intermediate slope. It was so exhilarating to fall so hard, have a nosebleed, have every muscle ache but accomplish going down that steep slope. Should’ve known it would be symbolic for what was to come for the rest of the year, lol. Now I want to go every year, which is something new. I went to SF 3 times, mostly because of Elaine but one with Sam & Enya (and I finally met Mona the corgi). Did a Vegas trip with friends for the first time (never too old, am I right? jk, the squad had to sleep a lot bc we are old). I went to San Diego with my parents. I did a day trip to Joshua Tree with my friend Paulette. All those small getaways helped me to learn more about myself, to pause and breathe, and to enjoy the present.

Professional development. I should probably take time to be proud of myself for this. I used to be afraid of talking to authority figures and afraid of failure. I still am to some extent. But this year, through my summer internship at Good Samaritan Hospital and the job I got offered to continue working there with the Stroke outreach team, I gained so much more confidence in my skills and professionalism. I still feel like I have a lot to learn but I made some big steps in this area of my life in 2018 despite the personal hardships I was going through. I swallowed the awkwardness and networked, followed-up, and kept in touch with many professionals I met and worked with. Honestly, grad school opened up many doors for me in this way and I put myself out there by being very involved in my department. So yay, good job me. Which reminds me, I survived the hardest classes of grad school early last year.

Benji. My part chihuahua, pug, maybe beagle mutt stray dog. He showed up one night on my driveway, scared but tender and without a chip or collar, when I was coming home from work on July 24th. It was exactly one year after Ara, our last family dog of 10 years, died of cancer. My friends helped me look for owners. All our attempts failed, and there were many hard nights for the rest of that summer from related personal complications that I won’t go into. But as you may know, we eventually compromised and made a way for Benji to stay at home with us and he has been giving us joy every day despite being a complete rascal. We can already see how he is healing from his old wounds, and quite frankly, our family from our own wounds. Being a dog mom is a pretty close step to having your own child imo, so I learned a lot from having to take care of and love Benji. Like canceling plans or working from home to dogsit, buying new pens because he chewed on all of them, going to the dog park often, and introducing him to my friends. Now every year on July 24th, we plan on celebrating it as Benji’s birthday and to remember Ara. I don’t know if you believe in a greater power or fate, but I want to believe all this was very intentional and exactly what my family needed.

*insert obligatory photo hehe*

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Looking Ahead to 2019

Goals & Hopes:

  • Read/listen to 1-2 books/audiobooks a month (19 is the ideal goal so I can feel cool by the end of 2019) and review them. I started audiobooks last year but didn’t set a goal, so this time I am determined.
  • Commit to my own mental health. Find a new therapist no matter how tiring that process is. Then go regularly and be clear with expectations.
  • Journal most nights. This helps with the clutter of my mind that prevents me from falling asleep and to keep track of how I am doing.
  • Angela H. Cho, MPH, RD. Okay, I might not have time to pass my RD exam but I will hope to finish grad school and pass my MPH comps, then finish my dietetic internship rotations if I get matched to one in the Spring.
  • Get back to learning how to budget. Even if I don’t really have much to work with, learn to be faithful with what little I have. The goal is to learn the concept and be aware of my money and spendings.
  • Exercise. 3-5 times a week. For mental health, physical health, and self-esteem.
  • Spiritual health. I know what it will take to invest into my spiritual wellness, so come on, do them. Don’t run away.
  • Continue with the projects I started.
  • Continue to let people in.
  • Maintain friendships, the best you can. Don’t beat yourself up for this.
  • Commit to loving yourself. Yes, this sounds like a shameless BTS plug but it’s an essential theme and truth in my life lol.

 

 

 

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Being a Creative | Pausing to Reflect pt. 1

 

Facetune_28-11-2018-17-06-50I just realized that I made my first official youtube video January of this year. It’s already almost the new year and… that’s a (soon-to-be) solid year of self-development. Even though I didn’t produce a lot of videos, or make ones I am super proud of, this journey means way more to me than that.

This is like a continuation of what happened with my blog. This blog. When I started writing here and kept it up without ERASING AND REDOING EVERYTHING as a chronic perfectionist, it meant something. It’s symbolic.

These new beginnings are symbolic of me coming out of my comfort zone. Writing, creating, and producing outwards what is inwards. That’s always vulnerable, right? For some reason, I was born with this annoying itch to create. I started to draw little comics of my friends or cartoon shows I’d watch. I started to write poems to describe the intense emotions I had towards all of my childhood crushes (and now you know why I totally resonate with Lara Jean in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”). I’ve been making and giving DIY cards and gifts for the longest time. I dreamt of being a designer (interior? fashion?) until I gave up in high school because of lacking confidence lol. It’s all a form of a creative outlet for me to satisfy this longing and itch.

Surely, the medium of art and platform for sharing has been evolving with time and inspiration. Paintings, drawings, writings, videography, photography. Knitting, repurposing thrifted or old clothing items, making a DIY version of anything and everything. To me, in different stages of life, it all meant one thing- to share and communicate. To tell a story and share a message. About me, about people, about things I’m interested in.

Being a creative soul is hard when it’s not your “job”. Meaning, I have to carve out in my free time to make even more time to be intentional, making space for inspiration and creating. It’s hard for me to find this rhythm because inspiration is quite spontaneous for me or usually birthed out of intense experiences or emotions. Also because I feel like I’m on high demand for attention and fulfilling duties elsewhere (and these things usually were deemed more “productive” and “important”, more of a priority).

It’s also hard when you are so freaking hard on yourself and nitpick everything you did wrong or wish you did better. I mean this trait might as well be a prerequisite for being a creative. It’s never good enough. It’s never quite what you envisioned or wanted to portray. It never quite captures the heart, emotion, meaning, or message you wanted to communicate.

Back to the youtube thing. I find myself writing this at a cafe on a whim because I want to take time to be proud of myself. I didn’t give up. I had meltdowns, I hid from people, I bullied myself- I literally caught myself recently saying things (to me) audibly that I’d never say to a friend. I was (and still am) embarrassed when people in real life came up to me and mentioned anything about my videos even when they were almost all genuinely encouraging.

I realized it doesn’t matter at all what encouragements I received when I wasn’t proud yet of myself because I wasn’t where I wanted to be- my personal development, my technical skills, my video content. I was creating but lost sight of my purpose. I wanted affirmation and acknowledgment when I wasn’t even taking extra time and space to improve, honestly not wanting to face my fears or insecurities. Oh yeah, I ain’t that patient especially not with myself haha. I’m sure you could resonate. I had to use a significant amount of time and energy to redirect the conversations going on in my head.

Yes, maybe you do look “bigger” on HD quality camera– who cares, that’s the face you have and cameras do that to you lol. Okay yes, you stutter a lot and have thoughts all over the place– maybe you should write an outline and not improvise everything, plan it out a little bit more even if it takes more time. And yes, you aren’t the best at editing or technical details like camera work, audio, lighting– but you are also just starting off and hey, you seem to be improving with practice so give it some time. Yes, you feel awkward and question why you started and wonder if people think you just want attention blahblahblah- but keep going forward and remember how you feel called to communicate and share. Stay rooted in your sense of purpose instead of being swept up in comparison, envy, or self-deprecation.

Here’s to more failures and disappointments. Here’s to the growth and baby steps. Here’s to being a creative, taking risks and putting yourself out there because you feel that’s what you are gifted in and meant to do in this world. Here’s to fueling our art with hardships that did not ultimately break us but may be used to inspire others. Here’s to not being silent and being proud of your voice, even if it’s messy and shaky. Here’s to you and me, creating not for the sake of creating but because we were born to be a creative.

Beyond the Land & Sea

Teach me to look

Beyond the waves,

Past the dim horizon

To the place I am going-

The land of Promise,

A house that will not shake.

/

Teach me to look

At your face

As your hands wrap mine,

Whispering, “Daughter, I got you.”

You got me.

Singing sweet melodies of the sea,

Whispering, “I am with you, I Promise.”

You are with me.

/

Teach me to believe,

That which my eyes can not see-

The goodness of Your love

Abundant as the sea

Words Unspoken | Pt. Two

As I attempted at having extended space to sabbath and reflect on the themes of my life in the past few months, I came across a letter I wrote to my future self…. from earlier this month. Yeah, not that long ago. In the quiet hours of the night, I managed to scribble words out of desperate communication to my future self.

Before you continue, I want to say for those who support me and read my blog: thank you for delving into my unfiltered, unedited thoughts and unresolved emotions. That was the goal of this blog anyway, to share the raw journey and be unafraid to share the process. What a beautiful thing that in this divided world, we can find connection through shared words and stories.

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Words Unspoken

Doodles even I don’t know how to interpret

Lights are off, doors are closed. Windows are covered.

Finally, silence. Stop in motion. Rest for the weary.

A reel tape of images, thoughts, and words unspoken start rolling right at the cue of curtains closing.

Behind the scenes. Words unspoken. Things I didn’t say.

Silence should not be mistaken for peace. The rain is more soothing than a quiet room with a soul in turmoil. Rain, rain, please stay. Wash my thoughts away.

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Flickering light

I have a warm, yellow-toned globe string light hung up on the side of the wall next to my bed. It was too bright with all of the bulbs on at once, and its main purpose is not just for hipster aesthetics, but for my room to feel cozy and like home (away from where my heart and community is, back in Long Beach). As a solution, I slightly unscrewed alternating bulbs. Now I had an on and off switch for whenever I wanted that warm and “feel-sy” ambiance.

Tonight I caught one bulb flicker, and I’m not sure how I did not notice before (I probably wasn’t paying attention, as usual) but one of the globes shone brighter with a more cool-toned white light piercing through the tiny bulb. I let it be and carried on once the flickering stopped.

An hour or so later, my room got super dark all of a sudden, and I just sat there a little confused- completely forgetting about this weird, lonesome white bulb that had flickered earlier. The one light shone brighter than the rest, so bright that the rest of the bulbs looked almost faulty.

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