Paladins. I Don’t Necessarily Mean the D&D Ones.

I’ve had quite a few of these conversations lately, and that has lead to me writing about this topic. Everyone has a rock, someone they lean on for strength, support, and encouragement. We all have one or two, and in truth, it’s healthy to be able to vent to someone who is wiling to listen to you and not pass any judgement.

What isn’t healthy is if that is the only types of interactions we have with these specific people. There should be a healthy balance in any type of relationship, but once it becomes incredibly one-sided, it starts becoming toxic. People who are rocks are essentially paladins. They are altruistic, empathetic, and selfless to the point where they won’t openly admit when they themselves are crumbling because they don’t want to show the people who rely on them that they can no longer be supportive. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s nice being able to talk to someone because I’m usually the one people come to.”

Imagine being the journal, the ear, the foundation to multiple people who are struggling for various reasons. Now imagine instinctively carrying that weight in your mind and heart even though the conversation ended with “thanks for listening.” Paladins don’t shake those conversations, those worries or those burdens off.  Paladins accept these as their own because they feel it’s their way of contributing to life, to the world, and to their loved ones. It becomes part of them; that’s part of being empathetic.

And as much as paladins don’t want to admit it, even they struggle as well. They have their own share of misfortune at times just like everyone else, but they don’t like to tell others about it because they understand what that weight can do to someone. It’s a vicious one-way street for them more than it is a cycle.  They want to remain and appear strong for those who rely on them, and they will only break down behind closed doors.

Why am I writing this? I want people to have an understanding of the paladins in their lives. This isn’t to make them feel guilty about venting to their pillars of support, far from, but this is more to help them understand that those pillars are people too. Allow them to recharge. Understand that they also need time away from the crazy of the world. No matter how much they hold things together, sometimes, they need to step back and take a breather. One of their flaws is that they won’t ask for this break because they believe that they have to be helpful 24/7. I write this for those who  may find themselves all of a sudden wondering why their rock may disappear for a while. I write this for those who may even be angered when one of their friends goes dark for a bit. I write this for those who may only come to their paladins when they need them. I write this for those who may be paladins themselves. There is no one reason I’m writing down these thoughts, but the overall intention is understanding.

It is possible that some people will read this and spin negativity out of it. They may assume that I am writing this to make people who have troubles feel guilty about talking to their friends about their issues and problems. I am not. And that is an entirely different topic of discussion. I am writing this post to shed some light on a perspective that isn’t always thought about. I will throw in, however, that if you are only coming to shed troubles and leave, I won’t back down from saying that treating paladins like that isn’t healthy and it is unfair. People may assume that I speak for everyone on both sides, but I do not. As with all of my posts, I speak for myself and my own experiences. People can feel however they want with my posts, but it is no secret that my intention is to help, not damage.

Bottom line is whatever situation you may be involved in currently, if you have a paladin in your life to help you along, I’m glad for that. As I wrote earlier, it’s healthy to be able to share your troubles with trusted friends. I think you can agree that we need more people like them in the world. I am only asking that you remember that while paladins seem unbreakable, they are human.

When the bad surrounds you, focus on the good in your life

I had a strange moment a couple days ago in which I experienced what people have deemed a “triggering event.” I am not sure what caused it but I did have to take a few moments to recover from it. I recalled a memory from MANY years ago, and it was actually something I had forgotten over time. I remember the hurt I felt, the embarrassment, the betrayal, the shock that this even happened to me. And worse yet, the people in my life at the time did nothing to help me. In fact, they didn’t want anything bad to happen to the other person, so I was asked to keep quiet. The incident attacked not only me as a woman, but me as an Asian American. I was written off. So I thought about that event from years ago, processing my feelings, analyzing each moment. And yes, I felt bad, but fast forward so many years later, I can now say that I can quickly recover from that memory. I’m happier, I’m stronger, and I am more in control of my life and my feelings.

Something, what helps me during these moments is to focus on all the good things about my life. There is a long list, and sometimes I forget about it. But I made this video to serve as a reminder that these good things do exist and they will continue to exist even when I am caught in a moment of weakness. Life will always be full of moments that are both wonderful and miserable, so it is up to you on how you react to them. Your perspective will best tested on occasion, and don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed! It’s okay. Just remember to step back, breathe and remember that you made it. You made it today.

I also made this video because I know I am not alone in feeling this way. So I say to you, the fact that you are here, watching this video, reading this journal, it proves that you are a survivor and that you conquered whatever it was that hurt you in the past. And whatever comes your way in the present, you will handle it with such grace and experience.

Stay strong.

Less than three you.

Story with with Jackie: The Flowerless Pot

My mom told me this story a long time ago and it hangs out in my mind palace until it needs to resurface and remind me that if you are a good and honest person, things will turn out well for you.

Long ago, a king was troubled as he was trying to decide who his responsibilities and lands will be passed to as he had no heir. He wasn’t long for this world, and he wanted to ensure his kingdom would be left to someone who was pure of heart, someone who wasn’t corrupt or of ill nature. After a long time of contemplation, he held a competition that was open to all his subjects.

In one of the smaller villages lived a young man. He was poor, but he was hard working and he cared for his mother. News of the king’s competition reached their village and the young man’s mother urged him to participate. The challenge was simple enough: everyone who entered will be given a pot and all they had to do was water it and grow whatever was planted inside. The person who had the most majestic plant in one month’s time will be chosen as the king’s successor.

The young man didn’t think he would win, but he wanted to make his mother happy, so he entered and received his pot. Every day he cared for his pot. He made sure he watered it and that it received enough sun, but no plant grew. As the days went by, he became saddened and upset. No matter what he did, his plant would not grow. His mother begged him to plant their own seeds in the pot so he would be able to display something at the palace. She didn’t want her son to be embarrassed when it was time for the people to show off their hard work. The young man refused. He continued to water the pot until the very last day of the competition.

When it was time to enter the palace and present to the king, the young man clutched his flowerless pot to his chest and waited his turn. Everyone around him had wonderful flowers to display and he was filled with self-doubt and sadness. He wondered what it was he did wrong, why nothing grew no matter what he did. When it was his turn to meet the king, he took a deep breath and showed the king his pot. “I am sorry, majesty. I could not grow anything. I have failed.”

When he looked up from his pot, he saw a huge smile on the king’s face. “My boy, you shall be the next king.” The young man was confused and baffled. “How? I failed!” The king shook his head. “I want my successor to be someone who has an honest heart, and you have just that.”

The young man looked down at his pot, still confused. “But there are so many beautiful flowers to choose from. Why choose someone who couldn’t even accomplish the simplest task?”

The king laughed. “Because all the pots we sent out had no seeds! Therefore, anyone who came in with flowers was dishonest and not trustworthy. You come here with nothing, but now I shall give you everything.”

And the young man ruled, well loved and adored by all his subjects, for many years.

It’s a scary thing when you condition yourself to be who you are not

When the lies you tell yourself become a reality and begin to condition your perception, drawing you away from the person you really are. There are different reasons why people do this to themselves. Most times, I’ve found, is that people do it to protect themselves. They tell themselves that if they think a certain way and behave a certain way, they place themselves in the best position to not feel pain or hurt later down the road. Example: someone’s dream come true would be to marry the love of his/her life. Because they’ve been hurt so many times, they convince themselves that marriage is wrong for them and there is no Mr/Ms Right.

I joke around saying that I have the physical appearance of a teenager but the cynicism of a 60 year old. Somewhere along the line, the latter stopped being a joke. I actually did convince myself of certain things and recent events made me realize that I’m not the person I really am supposed to be. I want to be a hopeful person, someone who looks forward to the future (and the people in it), someone who thinks about the unknown and is fearless. I used to be that very much when I was younger but my naïveté taught me very harsh lessons.

During recent years, I became numb to matters of the heart. And I’ve recently become that way even moreso and it didn’t hit me until the last few days. That’s not really who I am though life has conditioned me to be the exact opposite of my natural self. I convinced myself that if I just shut down, then no one could really hurt me. This spans across all aspects of life, not just the romantic side. What I didn’t realize until recently is that yes, I have protected myself from a certain type of hurt but I have also exposed myself to a complete different form of it. I’m not who I want to be, who I naturally am. Essentially, I am hurting myself rather than others hurting me. So now I am taking steps in figuring out how to get back to my natural self while also protecting pieces of me that only should be shared with those who both treasure and deserve them.

And that’s me adulting right now. There’s no way around it. That’s life and that’s growing up and wanting to continue on this crazy path, trying to figure out where the adventure will lead you. Being this old does also have pros. I did have a red velvet cupcake for dinner last night. So there’s that.

What cause do you stand for?

We all have a part to play in this world. Some choose to play a positive role, some choose negative, and some prefer to be indifferent. That will always be the case so long as we have free will. To those who want to make this world a better place, I thank you. We all come from different backgrounds, and we all have had different events, experiences, and people affect us. It is an amazing thing that no two people are exactly alike in every way. There is always something that separates us, something that makes us unique, and we should embrace that. Our differences should be things we learn and grow from, not fight and bicker about constantly.

Technology and social media has allowed us to spread our beliefs and opinion across the world in a matter of seconds. In minutes, thousands can rally to a cause and provide much needed support for those in need or bring awareness to an issue that’s been swept under a rug too long.

What is painful to see are the people who rally and target others who do not share the same level of drive and passion as they do. “You don’t care about this cause? You’re heartless and you’re a horrible person” is the general concept. Just because someone doesn’t pour their entire being into something you believe, it doesn’t make them a bad person.

You support a cause that fights to get rid of domestic violence? That’s great and your efforts should be commended. And what about the person who is pouring the same amount of effort into a cause that’s directed at stopping pollution that is killing our food and water supply? Or the person that fights for gay rights? Or the person who wants to see a world where animals are no longer abused and left for dead? What about the person who hopes to see a cancer free world? And the person who wants a better education for the future generations? Or how about those who never want children to go hungry? And what of the person who does all he/she can to support our troops?  ALL of these causes have one thing in common: to make the world a better place.

Each of us will gravitate toward certain causes based upon our own life experiences. Personally, I want to see every dog in a happy home, a place where they don’t have to fear being left behind or tortured or beaten. I want families who have children diagnosed with terminal illness to be able to afford treatment. I want men to stop beating the women in their lives. I want bullies to be held responsible for the treatment they have bestowed upon others. I want misogyny to stop. I want women to be fearless when chasing their dreams. I want people who have suicidal thoughts to know they are not alone. I want my gay friends to be just as happy as anyone else.

Is a cause you stand for not in my personal list? Do you believe I am a bad person for not sharing your passion? Just because I may not have the same drive for something as you do, it doesn’t mean we both cannot work together to improve the state of our world. More than anything, I want people to have empathy. I want someone to be able to step back, look at my list, and apply some thought as to why these items are important to me. You may learn something, not just about me, but possibly of yourself as well.

Everyone has something they want to fight for. It is impossible to devote all of one’s energy and life to everything in this world that needs improvement. Exert your energy to the cause you want to see become a reality. No one fight is better than the other when the goal is the same. We may be on different teams, but we have the same dream. Let’s make this world a better place than when we first arrived, shall we?

My horrible morning didn’t dictate how the rest of my day would be, and I am grateful for that

Today started out horribly. I had my heart set on donating plasma this morning; I even woke up at 6am to beat the rush. After two hours of paperwork, tests and blood work, I was rejected. I had glucose in my system and they can’t accept that in any donation. I was heartbroken. I had no idea that I would be sent into such a sad mood. I’m the second rarest blood type, so this really put a damper on my spirits. Later today, the DMV site locked me out and I couldn’t register my car online, so I had to visit an actual DMV office. I became even more upset. Even did a vine about it all.

Be happy

But who would have thought the DMV of all places would put the biggest smile on my face?

I got my car registered just now. And the lady handed me the new plates. They looked weird only because they were a set of numbers and letters that I had never seen before and suddenly, they were mine to display for probably the next 15 years. I can’t tell you guys how incredible it felt to hold on to those thin metallic rectangles. I just thought “holy…, I bought myself a car.” I remember when I thought earning $20 for teaching piano lessons was a big deal. Now here I am, and I spent thousands on a new car that was paid for with money I earned and saved on my own. I didn’t ask for help (other than choosing the actual car) and I didn’t have to go into debt in order to pay for it. My savings and checking account are nowhere near what they used to be, but I was saving up for a car for many years, and I did it!

I feel…incredibly proud of myself. This is figuratively and literally the biggest purchase of my life and it’s really mine.

Dang.

I’m awesome at adulting. It’s time for some mf-ing cereal.