Against All

Okay. It’s been a year since I last wrote here. Lots of things have happened, believe me, and most of them were pretty hard to deal with. I’m not one to look for conflict and I avoid it as much as possible, either by ignoring or letting go of things that bother me and trying to find inner peace that way. This past year I found that this caused me more of a problem compared to if I had faced them head on. I’ve told you a few times how I can be such a coward and this is possibly my worst failing. My inability to deal with conflict can really affect the relationships around me and sadly, this affected the one relationship I thought would hold through any hardships, to the end of time: the relationship between me and my best friend.

This will sound cliche, but it got worse when I started dating this guy in a more serious tone. The little jabs and stirring up stuff that had happened before I started dating my now boyfriend was something I had attributed to maybe she wasn’t doing it on purpose, but the one thought that nagged at me–and still does–is this: the things she did was not something I would ever dream of doing to her because I would know it was hurtful. And I would never do anything to hurt the one person that I have complete loyalty to. In order to stop myself from stressing over it or having flashbacks, I accepted that fact that it had happened (for my peace of mind) and reminded myself that I that I love her always, being my best friend and all. The tension kind of ebbed and flowed just under the radar for a bit. It eventually disappeared and was unseen for the most part of these past few years.

After a few months of dating, my best friend let me know that she didn’t trust him and even if that hurt a bit, I could understand that. She attributed her distrust to how so eagerly he had wanted his friends and family to get to know me and how moody he got after 1 meeting. I happened to discuss with her the fact that he started mentioning this after the third week of dating. When I told him to cool it down, he did and stopped asking me to come hang out with his pals. When I brought him home for the first time after about 6 months of dating, on my birthday, my sister was not very personable. Prior to this he already had an idea of how he popular he was with my best friend and sister aka not a lot. He had seen me cry because of it. I was struggling between spending time between them (boyfriend vs. bestie & sis) coz I only had so much days off since I was working full time. It took a toll on me knowing they didn’t like him and they always end up being quiet when I start talking about him. It got to a point where I got uncomfortable mentioning his name because I knew they wouldn’t comment anything good or otherwise. So this is where it started getting horrible. Somehow my not mentioning him made me “secretive” and my best friend even said–towards the last months of this tense environment–she didn’t trust me anymore. And what I couldn’t tell her was, I couldn’t trust her anymore either, because of what happened somewhere in those 7-8 months of me dating my boyfriend. She had a lot of passive aggressive things that she did and when we had our “talks” 2-3 times, she was always justifying her actions with very illogical reasoning. One time I mentioned why she couldn’t respond to my texts after 3-4 days of constant texting and she told me “you don’t know if I was out of the country, how do you that I could reply to you those days”. That was even with me explaining that I texted her mom to make sure she was ok and not dying somewhere (coz she gave me heat for a similar thing happening and she said she was sick). And she always insisted that I was forcing him on her whenever I would mention “we” (mike and I) in my texts; which was very confusing altogether. There was a lot of those and weird distant one word replies when I had some good news to share: “ok good for you” or “no thanks I’m busy” if I invite her to do something, when normally we were both the emoji-filled texters towards each other and normally she talks a lot. She stopped texting me unless I was texting her. So I also got tired of this begging for her attention thing that I was doing and I also stopped texting her unless I had something important to say.  This became very obvious in my family as she had almost stopped going to my house when we would normally be there every time I was on a day off. This took quite a bit of toll on me and I was crying almost every week thinking about it from day to day.. I started getting sickly around those times and this is from someone who rarely got sick; not even a cold would stick to me. My boyfriend of course was stressing out too coz I was getting so stressed out and he kept telling me that my best friend wasn’t acting like a best friend and I would silently agree with him but I always defended her to him, giving her excuses like “oh she’s not used to me having not enough time for her” or “she’s been my best friend for over 10 years”.. It was a terrible terrible time. There’s more to tell, but you get the idea..

Then there’s my family. To them, me and my boyfriend were not a good match. Let’s call him “Jon Snow” (lol yes, Game of Thrones ftw) and he was still in university… meanwhile I’ve had my career for over 6 years now. Understandably, my family worried about his stability in life. I talked to my mom, told her to relax, we were just dating, but she never did. Even though she talked to him whenever he was in our house and treated him like a guest, whenever he wasn’t, she had a totally different view of him. She’d say things like, “who’s paying for this?” and “how does he have money to always go out?” or “isn’t he working today?” All these things started coming out of her when I started going out more. Jon Snow and I went out a lot at the first 6 months or so then afterwards we got lazy and just started watching TV series or movies at his place. And I understood too that, being a student, he didn’t have much to his name and that was completely fine with me. The amount of cuddling actually got me addicted to his armpit smell lol.

To me, I never factored in his financial situation to decide if I liked him, and maybe that’s wrong but I truly didn’t even think of it as an issue. Of course, my family thought otherwise. When I talk to my mom, she would say stuff like, “how will he support you?” I felt like telling her, I don’t need to depend on a man to support me; I can support myself just fine. And he was trying to finish his schooling, that was the entire point for me. I loved that he listened well, communicated very well and was very patient with me and my family/friend. The entire thing was frustrating for him too, coz he’s always treated like a ghost in my house. My sister won’t ever talk to him, my mom is not happy I’m dating him and says things to me behind his back and my brother thinks I’m letting myself be used financially. only my dad seems to be more on the neutral side of things.

Well… that was a long post. I’ll rant more on this later. For now, my heart and my mind are tired.

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Gotta Pass!

LOL. I’m in a course again, but this is mandatory to work in my new cardiac surgery unit. I’ve been working there for 6 months now and so here I am, studying again. Well, on a break, really since I’m writing on here.. Exam is on Wednesday! Three days to finish up :/ So far, managing pretty good with the notes. Doing more rhythm strips today and still tonight! It gets confusing if I keep at it for long periods of time so I time quite a few breaks in (long enough for a movie sometimes lol). *Sigh* Life, eh? On the other hand, me, my bestie and my sister did a little “transformation station” thing a couple weeks back, with a general purpose to uncover and address some of our own bad habits.

My bestie and I had a few drinks and my sister wanted to go for a drive so I said, ok I’ll go if she drove (coz she was the only sober one lol). It went rather weirdly. Found out stuff that I sort of suspected already and some things that were way out there. So my bestie thought the growing craziness in me was brought on by my recent guy problems (yes, the guy I started dating turned out to be a player; surprise, surprise) but when I told her that was completely wrong, I had to explain all over again what I had mentioned to her right before I finished it with the guy. And then I was right in suspecting she was getting irritated or affected by it quite a bit; I told her I could tell. I’m pretty observant and the slight changes were: she was getting offended easily, and getting restless, also being slightly distant. I won’t specify; but I noticed because we’ve been friends for over 10 years now lol so I can tell.. I just didn’t show her that I noticed, which kinda hurt but I knew there was a reason for it so I tried not to take it personally.

I’m telling you, this drive and talk therapy thing was working (I had a bit to drink too but I wasn’t driving! I was lolling around in the back seat). And then I also found out she sort of grudged against having to take care of her brother when she was young and I can see why; missing her childhood like that must’ve been hard too. She coped pretty good though, and learned to let go of things much faster than I did. I still hold some anger towards my parents and every time I see them, it’s triggered at the back of my mind.

Then the most interesting thing to try to deal with was my sister’s issue. Oh, man, was that a can of worms or what! She tells us that she’s tired of feeling like the scapegoat of the family and having all her failures rubbed in her face ever so often. I apologized for everyone who’s done that to her (most of the family, really) and said I would tell them to stop if that bothered her the most. She was crying as though someone died, that’s how bad it was. Then she wouldn’t listen to what I say and kept repeating the same thing over and over. So I tried several approaches to get her to see another point of view (as to why we were “always hounding” her or always on her about her homework and stuff for school). It actually gave me a headache, because I started crying coz I felt bad that she felt like that and then having to explain and re-explain myself over and over again was getting tiresome. There was a point where I thought nothing I say will get through anyway, so I might as well give up. But I didn’t. We kept going until I was sure she didn’t feel so bad anymore. Could not have done it without my bestie being the middleman/referee when my voice started getting desperate lol. We tried to address a lot of things she mentioned, but it all comes down to what she learns from it, if she’ll take any of the advice we gave her and if she’ll actually start thinking about consequences of her decisions. We’ll have to wait and see..

 

Almost There

The year 2015 is almost done! This is probably one of the rockiest, craziest year for me… There’s been trouble with family and with myself lol. Over the summer, the family wasn’t very much like a family and family being my number 1 priority, it was hard on my soul, my heart and my mind. It was always there, I could never really put it in the back of my mind no matter how hard I tried. The issue at hand has been around for years, ever since I was a little girl and I’ve always urged my mom to just get a divorce since she didn’t seem happy anymore. But she always had excuses. And for me, I had enough of trying to pretend like everything was okay. I found a way to distract myself and I started meeting people from online and dating them. It was short lived but it did the job. I was worry free for a good three months; the entire summer. Of course, meeting those people didn’t come without any signs of trouble and I somehow overlooked that from my wanting to at least not be thinking about my family troubles at the moment. So I kept on going, knowing in the back of my mind that I would be fairly disappointed at the end, but I thought that would be a fairly small price to pay in the long run. Which eventually did get to that point. I shed a tear or two, was missing the guy then hating the guy, back and forth for a good month or so. Then I told myself, enough with the self pity. It’s time for me to re-prioritize my life again. Having been distracted long enough from my family issues gave me a sort of outsider look to the entire thing and I figured, I really have to get away from the life-sucking environment at home. And so that’s how I got to this point. Now, I had all my ducks in a row and for a good three months and I realized I still had my dating profile. I had to log back in to delete the damn thing and of course, the moment you log in, you are met with a barrage of messages from X number of guys. I was fairly confident I didn’t want to date anyone at the time so I looked through them and was mostly replying to the most entertaining messages. This one guy scared the hell out of me and said there was another account that had my pictures. He couldn’t send me pics through the app and so I gave him my fake phone number so he could send me a snapshot of the account. I was laughing so much but I was kinda annoyed he got my fake number. It wasn’t even my pictures; it was a totally different girl. I bugged him about his eyes needing to be corrected lol. Long story short, I am now dating this guy. I like him but at the same time, I’m wary coz of how sneaky he can get. Not really expecting much out of it, but he is a lot of fun to talk to. We’ll see what the new year brings. Happy New Year everyone!!

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts

After thinking about why I’m such a weirdo, look what I found while I was browsing in the bookstore: Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. For the longest time, ever since I’ve noticed that when I was younger, I was always so shy and quiet when it comes to socializing. I’m fine if you leave me with family and stuff, but the moment I know I have to deal with someone new.. I’m already comparing myself in my brain to how the other kids (my close cousins) react to those kinds of people. I was never quick to like someone enough or trust someone enough to be spontaneous around them. I alway measure, measure, measure. I’m gauging their actions, their words, and how other people react to them. I always thought of my younger self as an outsider; always observing, barely participating. It literally felt like I was watching life happen in front of me. I’m actually very thankful for that because I learned (and I’m still learning) a lot through watching and listening to others; it made me more conscious of good and bad decisions, of personal opinions and intentions. It was eye-opening to live that way and yet at the same time, it felt like there was an invisible barrier between me and the life around me. It felt like I was poring over every small detail and because of it, I was failing to actually live life the way everybody else around me were living.

Quiet by Susan Cain

Since I started reading Cain’s book, I realized that this is how I am and it’s ok to be like this. I am an introvert. It’s very liberating to finally be at ease with myself. I used to feel so bad for declining invitations to socials and parties and even just to hang out. I get stressed out even with just the thought of having to spend hours with random people that I don’t truly know and having to talk and talk and talk. And talk about what? ‘Oh, your nails are so nice. Where’d you get it done?’ I honestly find it hard to start conversations, because I don’t usually care about those things, and when finally (after 20 minutes lol) someone gets to a good topic, I can’t help but want to listen and absorb the useful information. To everybody else, I know I come out quiet, but to me, it’s just that if I don’t have anything useful to contribute, I’m not inclined to talk. You should see me try, though! I can pretend to be an extrovert to some extent! And at some level of comfortability (often with family and close friends), I am totally at ease with spending an outrageous amount of energy, and if the situation calls for it, I can try to emulate this version on myself towards other people. This is also good because let’s face it, our society favours the bold and the outgoing.

Just thinking about the extroverts around here is tiring me out, hahaha! I do try every now and then, and I’m slow to get myself worked-up for these things. If a friends asks me out of nowhere to hangout later that day; the first emotion I feel is dread because I was looking forward to a quiet night of reading, or just staying at home. LOL When I was younger and I didn’t know any better, I blamed my mom for letting me grow up so quiet; I had associated my quietness to her strictly authoritative disciplinarian style (“I rule, you follow… Or else!”) and I even started thinking I was anti-social or a hermit. But now after absorbing most of the book, I now know, the “buzz” for the extroverts are just not the same level required by the introverts. In the book, Cain shows that if extroverts need a party to get that happy feeling, then introverts need a long walk by the beach. The difference is that extroverts are into “jumping into” an activity and introverts are into “analyzing the activity.”

It’s really interesting when I see a friend of mine who is always ‘Go, go, go!’ kind of a person and they tell me that if they’re stuck at home (let’s say the car broke down) for a day, he/she would not know what to do with themselves. I have a lot of interests that keep me busy even though technically I’m only at home. For example, I write, I study languages, I read, and I draw, etc. That extroverted friend of mine thinks I just sit at home and lounge but that couldn’t be farther from the truth; I hate the feeling of being bored. When I’m not productive in anyway and not accomplishing anything, no matter how small, I get restless and I go find something to do. It’s just I find that I recharge my energy better when I don’t have to deal with so many people all at once.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? =)

Another Year, Another Chance

The year 2013 has been a mix of blessings and obstacles. It’s been a whirlwind of travels and family drama and of course, my personal demons. It started out with a hesitant but willing step towards reconciliation towards a relative but by the time fall came around, the disputes and grudges were are nasty as a suppressed bullet being shot into your heart. I was kind of hoping that this year would end with a better note, in terms of being civil and having a little more understanding of the situation, but it all fell apart when the confrontations happened. I wanted to justify my parents’ side; to explain how it must have felt having to wait for years for somebody to do their end of the arrangement. I’ve tried a few times to set up a private time to talk about my family’s point of view, but it was always “work” in the way. My sister moved around her work schedule for this, but if they couldn’t make the effort to do the same, then that just shows me how they truly “care” about our relationship. While that ended on a sour note, I’ve been surprisingly doing well, with my other goal in life: to travel.

catching the sun

You’ve already seen my post on New York. My introverted self was actually okay with travelling with 6 other friends and keeping in close company with them for a week! I can’t even stand a single night of rowdy partying. That was around June 2013. Then later this year, mid-October to mid-November, the whole family went on an Asia Tour, as I like to call it (I also have a post about this, take a look here). My best friend came along, as I promised her. This time, we were on vacation for almost a month!! It was really fun! Busy, but fun. It felt like we were gone for 2 months, I almost started dreading work when we were getting closer to going back to Canada. We spent a few days in Hong Kong, where we met up with a family relative. Then another few days were spent in Singapore, making my best friend sick on the last day when we were headed to the Philippines. Then it was pretty much beach time and lots of time with my dad’s relatives. We did a little sight-seeing closer to our hometown because my best friend has never been.

The kicker of this year didn’t come as a shock, it was more of a devastation. As a child, I always thought of my family as perfect, both my immediate family and close relatives. Then slowly, as I grew up, the people around me seemed to want to share all the bad stuff about the family that was never told when I was younger. As I matured, it became more of a burden, which really brings to mind that saying: Ignorance is bliss. At the same time, it was a good learning experience for me because through the bad choices of all those people that I’ve heard about, I became more aware of consequences and that everything you do or don’t do, have inescapable consequences. I think this made me extra cautious in what I did in the past and it still guides me when I have big decisions to make. All those bad secrets of the family became examples of what not to do. However, with that said, those issues never disappeared, not really. Some years, the family would seem okay; the aunts and uncles talk to each other in a very warm and loving way, but behind their backs, something entirely different was being said. I hated that about my family. I often reprimand my mom when I notice her doing it; every single adult in the family seemed to thrive off of putting each other down and making themselves look high and mighty. That’s how I grew up; my sense of the perfect family slowly disintegrating with every year that passed. Now it seems this year, I’ve lost all faith in the meaning of that word: family.

As this year ends, mine is about to start.
As this year ends, mine is about to start.

My parents fight and they majorly fight only about 3 things. I can’t tell you what they are but the last one of that list is of course: Money. Which bugs me to no end because they can’t seem to see eye to eye on the subject, but they always refuse or ignore when I offer to help clarify about their finances. The other two reasons are what finally broke the meaning of family in our household. Long story short, my mom now wants a divorce and my dad wants her out of the house. Our newly acquired house (2009) is huge and is worth a lot. Through the years, after witnessing how those 2 things continued to cause havoc between my parents, the news of a divorce came to me as a relief. In my heart, I was finally hoping for a future without any yelling and name-calling, etc. My brother didn’t want them to get a divorce but me and my sister were all for it. There were no more tears to cry for this so-called ‘family’ because it never was a family for such a long time; that family facade was finally crumbling away and all I could see was a better future, for each and everyone of us. I’ve seen enough disrespect go on for years and years in our home. So since my dad wanted my mom out of the house, that meant me and my sister will be going with her. I asked my brother if he would stay with our dad in the house, and he shook his head and said no. That leaves one person to pay the mortgage and bills and utilities of a household for 5 people. My mom felt sorry, but I said she should feel sorry for herself, for letting things go on for years and years, and not have gone through with a divorce a long time ago.

Now, with that decision in mind, I knew we would need our own car and move into an apartment. I mentioned this to my sister and brother that they should be ready to move out by next spring; save money for rent, etc. That seemed to put things into perspective for them. They were quiet for a while and I could tell my brother didn’t really like the idea of having to move out and pay rent and not be living in our awesome dream home. But for me, I can sacrifice the dream home if it would make everyone involved more happy, and less stressed. So after a hiatus in my car research, I started it again, and finally made up my mind to get a vehicle so we could go to work and move around the city without having to rely on public transit, especially during winter time. I knew it was a stretch, because my credit for the previous years were not so holy, but having a stable job helped. I got a car for my birthday. It was a bittersweet acquisition, but it had to be done for practicality’s sake.

new car!!

This seemed to be the right move because the very next day, we had a family meeting. My parents wanted another chance. They wanted to see if they can still work things out, but I was already shaking my head. I knew things would be good between them for the first 3 days and then it would go right back to how it was before. It was a good thing that I said everything I was holding in. I was tired of hoping that the family would ever be as cohesive as a single unit again. It seemed like everyone was heading to their own directions. I said a lot of stuff, from my issues with how the equality of labour at home was royally skewed to what was really hurtful about my mom and dad’s relationship. The majority wanted to try again and so I was overruled. My parents apologized but I let them know that for me, this retry thing was conditional. I asked quite a bit from my dad, then my mom, and then my siblings. So here we are, in the “trying” phase where we really need to be able to trust and lean on each other. I pray that this will be the beginning of a new chapter in our family’s life. I don’t want my parents to end up in a divorce; it’s just there’s a very legitimate reason why they should.

As this year ends, mine is about to start. I’m looking forward to a lot of positive things! I’m hoping that stress will not be as proliferated as this past year. And I’m striving to a healthier me so I can achieve my goals and go even further in my life. Here’s to a brighter and happier future for us all!

Hello, Canada (Vacation’s Done)

Well, I’m back at Winterville. After almost a month of full-on sun and sweat, coming back to Canada seemed like a blessing at fist. Then the snow starts coming and I thought, Now I’m thankful for those sun filled days. The whole family went on a bit of an Asia Tour, sort of, along with my best friend, who turns out to be such a celebrity in that part of the world. 😀 We left Canada on October 16th and came back November 13th. First leg of the trip: Hong Kong. That city reminded me so much of New York! The people, the mess (lol!); it was a big, busy city and so much lines, strings of people everywhere we go. Go to a ride: lines, go to a restaurant: lines; I tell ya, there were lines EVERYWHERE. It wasted so much time waiting on those lines. but anyways, we did get to see a lot for our three day stay.

Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island (Hong Kong)
Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island (Hong Kong)

First we went to Ocean Park, a theme park, aquarium, and more. Kinda like Sea World in Florida, but smaller. Then we went to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha a.k.a. Giant Buddha. That was an awesome experience! And we got to see monks, female ones! I’ve never seen a female monk. They shave their heads, too, interestingly enough. Then we got on a ferry to get to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and Avenue of Stars. Then we shopped a bit at Mong Kok and tried some street food.

Then after that, we headed to Singapore, where you’ll be fined for chewing gum. There we went to Sentosa, checked out the Merlion, Universal Studios and Marina Bay. We were getting tired at this point, with our fully scheduled days, missed lunches and late nights. My best friend even got sick on the last day there; the poor thing.

Merlion Statue in Sentosa, Singapore
Merlion Statue in Sentosa, Singapore

Then we were off to Philippines! Oh, the beach! i wish we could’ve stayed at the beaches longer and had more sun to cook us a bit while frolicking in the salt water. That week really killed my hair. It was nasty by the time we were done, but with the help of lots and lots of conditioner, it thankfully revived to it’s usual rat’s nest style. Philippines was mostly time with relatives, which wasn’t the original plan but the weather was finicky and so some stuff were either, ‘Let’s do this now!’ or ‘Let’s not do this in this weather.’ Anyways, the highlight for me was the Donsol trip. Even though we didn’t get to see the whale shark (too early into the season), the island hopping was more than adequate to cover for that loss. The fish feeding was amazing! And the waterfall that ended at the sea was phenomenal! It was hands down the best island hopping I’ve been to. 🙂

Beach and sun makes for a good island hopping experience!
Beach and sun makes for a good island hopping experience!

That vacation was one of the coolest ones yet. It felt longer than just a month; I was starting to dread work, thinking I had forgotten how to do things at work. On a different note, surprisingly, we all got along pretty decent, with very minimal bickering. LOL. With 6 adults, I thought it was gonna be a mess, but thank goodness, it went well. Next time, I’ll post more in depth coverage about each place that we went to see. Ciao for now! 😀

Feeling Lost

Do you ever feel like there’s something missing? There’s a place in your own little world that’s incomplete? What do you do about it? I’ve been kind of feeling unaccomplished lately; unproductive. I feel as though I’m just cruising in life. It’s not the same feeling as when I get restless and have this terrible urge to leave, to explore. It’s something more internal, like my soul is telling me to be more useful to myself, to others. Don’t get me wrong, in terms of my family, I think I’ve done so much already, but it feels as though I’m hungry for a bigger cause. I don’t know how to get about doing something about this feeling but it’s definitely unsettling the more I think about it. It’s like a nagging voice inside me that’s saying, “You’re life’s at a standstill? Why don’t you move? Why don’t you improve yourself, be a better version of yourself?” And to tell you the truth, I have no idea how to start. Do I start volunteering? I don’t know. I only know that I feel useless and it’s a nasty feeling. Where should I start? What should I be looking for? Yesterday, me and my friend watched Steve Jobs’ 2011 speech at Stanford University and you know what stuck to me? “Don’t settle. Stay hungry, stay foolish.” Now that the hunger in me has been woken, I don’t know what to do about it. I feel lost.  😦