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..

 

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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!!

Guts and Gutlessness

Ok that’s a bit too much for a title, but hear me out. I am the most cowardly person when it comes to dealing with my own mother. She and I hasn’t been seeing eye to eyes these past year and it is driving me insane! It all started with a legitimate reason for my sudden change on how I viewed her. Before that happened, I knew her to be a strong, caring (in her own tough way), and wanted the best for everyone. And now all I see is someone who had manipulated my thoughts, actions and emotions into what she wanted. I’m not trying to be hateful, and I do want our relationship to get better because I do love her, I just don’t appreciate it when she tries to get everyone to do what she wants either through guilt trips or using other people against us.

For the longest time, she would always tell me “You’ll take care of me when I’m old, right? You’ll let me live with you?” After years and years of this, I felt so much pressure. I felt so much pressure to do well in life, which, in hindsight, is not such a bad thing but the motivation behind it is all wrong, don’t you agree? She never once hounded my oldest brother about it and when I found the courage one day to ask her this question, she answered, “I can’t rely on him, you know that.” I was disappointed, to say the least. Instead of feeling like she was seeing me in such a good light, I just saw how she wanted to be comfortable. My brother is the type to just go with the flow, and not push himself any more than necessary. I could never rely on him financially, let’s say if I needed $5000 for a debt. They would hassle, scold and nag me to figure out a way to get that repaid or reduced. If it was my brother who needed the same thing, I would be a bit hesitant at first but I’d shell it out. Why? Because my mother drilled into me the important of sticking together as a family. And that’s how I treat all of them, very important but I try not to show it because I find they abuse that.

For example, my mom knows that guilt trips work on me like magic. I cannot, in good conscience, let other people suffer when I know I have something to give. This is after she’s told me all the sad history that this particular person (usually a distant relative) and then I can’t undo that knowledge and my conscience kicks in and I start feeling guilty that I’m doing well and I can’t even spare a few hundred dollars to help this person out. It’s not that I abhor the giving part, I don’t mind it actually. It’s how she haggles ONLY me for this that pisses me off. She knows my other siblings won’t do the same because they can tolerate talking back to her, and I couldn’t seem to do that. She knew me enough to do things like that, but not enough to know how I truly felt when she did do those things.

Somehow I managed to live with her like that, and I’ve even learned to accept that she will always be that way. For years, I lived my life putting her first when I make major decisions. When I bought my car, it was primarily so I could drive her to work if my dad didn’t want to (if you’ve read my older post, there’s a much bigger reason but eventually comes down to this). See what I mean? Even now, as I’m getting ready to buy my own place, I still worry about their bills coz I pay them currently and help with the groceries as well. So I have to figure out how the’ll be able to manage without my income to help them out.

What changed my view of my mom was both what she said and what she didn’t say. We had talked to her about divorcing my dad for various reasons (mostly his fault) and then talked to my dad separately about it. It was a very turbulent time for all of us, and for me, I just wanted it to be over so we could all move on. Keep in mind, I was with my mom on this 120%, I was ready to back her up even with what I know, because I  knew she made the right choice, even with how she was prior to this. (This threat to break the family has been ongoing. Imagine the stress of that when you’re around the people that are screaming and hurting each other all the time and in the process, hurting you by not thinking about how this affects you as it drags on and on and on.)

Anyways, it was during our talk that I finally realized she was never really intent on leaving my dad if she didn’t get to live the same way as she is. I was all for it and I told her she’d have to start going by bus to work again, we’d have to live in a small apartment when they sell the house, and we might have to start our life over again. Now to get a view of her life is right now: She gets dropped off and picked up from work coz she doesn’t know how to drive, we travel every year together as family (with me and my brother) handling most everything aside from her flight tickets (they have air miles), we live in a brand new house. You can see the difference it’ll make, right? But I didn’t even worry about those things because the emotional toll it was taking was so hard on me and I could barely think of anything else in my daily living. When we finally asked her if she was going to separate, she said “I can’t leave him; I don’t know what he’ll do to himself.” She was using my dad as an excuse to hide the fact that she won’t be content if she’s not living the same lifestyle if they went ahead with the divorce.

That was the turning point for me. I thought, if you’d rather be living a lie and stay miserable, I can’t support such a decision and I won’t stay in this kind of environment anymore. I’d never said those things aloud and I think that part is my mistake. She has no idea what the reason is for my cold demeanour when I’m around her. Because ever since then, every time she talked to me, all I can think of is “How could you lead us on like that the entire time?” And I can’t seem to stop the numbness, the lack of love and the seething anger that I get when I see her or hear her voice. It’s continually progressing even now. I’ve tried forgiving her and accept her as she is (for my own sanity’s sake) but it screwed with my mind that I started feeling guilty for my current decision of wanting to leave.

It’s hard to admit that I don’t have a good relationship with my mom, because she’s the one that I had trusted most when I was a kid. And now that that’s broken, it saddens me even though I want to get away as fast as I can. I lack that good communication with her, but history taught me that she’d get mad at me and end the conversation with a guilt trip every time I tried to talk to her about these things. To me, I feel like if she changed herself for the better, I would consciously try my best to see past our rough patches and make it work again. I mean I miss hugging her, having family gossips with her, or her crazy funny side.  But since that is not happening yet, I think I have to distance myself if I don’t want to hate her for the rest of my life.

My gutlessness is in that I can’t tell her I’m leaving unless everything is all set and I’m ready to go. But it’s because I know her enough that she would try to do something to stop it had I told her of that decision early. I’m giving her a month’s notice but no more. I know she’ll be hurt, but she had already made her choice so I’m making mine. For my own well being, I want to have a peaceful home environment and a quiet that would be good for meditation. None of this, swearing at each other in front of us, the yelling and constant pretence of being a happy family. I’m exhausted and I need the change.

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.  😦

Here We Are Again

Absolutely restless. I don’t know what it is, but this always happens every single year. I feel trapped, in this place, in my life, in this state. Right now I’m hoping it’s not because it’s ‘that time of the month’ because otherwise I would feel like this every single month of every year. LOL! Yesterday, I told my best friend that if she was truly planning to get a house next year, I wanted to be the one to rent a room because the whole family was driving me crazy, which is mostly true. Each of them can be very annoying, as I know I can be, at times.

Usually when I feel like this, I re-focus myself so I don’t get that feeling that everything’s hopeless, or that I’m stuck or I’m always going to be the same. I’ve even set up my most important goals for this year, in order, as (1) buying a new car, (2) switching my work to something more interesting (a.k.a. community workplace) and (3) finishing (or writing as much as possible) the mermaid story. So far, I’m missing a huge whiteboard to visiualize my goals on. 😉 Then the party can really start!

For the car, I’ve been reading up on buying a brand new car and what to anticipate financially, like gas, repairs, and insurance. So far, I’ve looked at my paycheck and calculated my current bills/expenses and added on to that the bills/expenses for the new car. I will still have some money left but for the next few months that will be allotted to the trip back home that the whole family is planning. Once I’ve secured the car goal, I can focus on my goal #2, because the car is actually necessary for it. I work in a hospital, so it’s a frontline job, and I do love working on my unit: it’s busy, the staff are godsend and there’s always something new to learn. The problem is, I do not see myself working there in the next 3-5 years. I want to be more ‘upstream’ and working towards prevention and helath promotion. That’s why I need the car because it’ll be a lot of driving to and from places in order to develop my network and expand it. I have to meet a lot of people, which should help improve my social/people skills (killing two birds with one stone, eh?) and in turn improve my self-esteem. Yes, I need help with that because I’m the kind of person that acquiantances or co-workers will think is very reserved or quiet, while friends will think I’m not and my closest friends know I’m a little crazy. Of course, I am tangenting off topic again, so let’s re-group: After goals #1 and #2 are started, goal #3 will be much easier to focus on; I just hope I get started on it before I leave for New York next month so that I can say that I’m still working on it even though it’s the least priority for this year’s goals.

If you think back, and say to yourself: what did I accomplish last year? I became more personable at work, rather than being the hermit that I usually am with people. I went on a trip with my family to Minneapolis (bonding time! LOL), where my dad’s cousin lives. Then I went to Vegas (parent-free, for the second time!) with my best friend. I started learning some French. I paid off most of the credit card balances that I was having trouble paying back from the previous year. I got myself a Google tablet. I helped my aunt when she needed some moolah. It’s not a very long list, is it? I think that’s why I feel incomplete because I feel like I could have done more with my time last year (Yeah I say that now, but with a full time schedule, of course it was hard to do much else). Am I being too hard on myself? Probably. And yet, I still feel unfulfilled…  so this year, I’ve made some goals and I will accomplish them all by the end of the year. =) A mini goal is to register for that French class at work!!

The Life and Times of Me, Pencil (Part 4)

When I was about eight, nine or ten years of age (I was in third grade), I was becoming increasingly aware of social statuses and the difference between rich and poor. Constantly I would see the material things that spoke of money; in school or even close to home. My classmates were a good mix of high, middle and low class kids (which basically means: rich, not bad/middle, and poor). I saw the difference of old flip flops and sparkly new Sketchers worn to school. I saw cool hair accessories and new pens and rich looking parents. By then, I was getting shoes that were hand me downs from our cousins from out of the country. I’d get excited when I would get a new backpack from relatives out of the country as well. I still remember the leather shoes with the buckle and the loose long socks I wore. I remember thinking, ‘My feet are growing bigger.’ I remember thinking Milk, Brains and Hairy were in the rich side of society, and River, Fishie and myself were on the fine line between the ‘not bad’ and the ‘poor’. I was naturally a quiet kid and observing quietly and learning as I observe was one of the things I was (and still am) good at.

Whenever our relatives came to visit us, which was rare enough for us, I found myself being more observant than I wanted to be. I noticed how Hairy was favoured by Smiley. I noticed how Smiley would always take Hairy with her first before any other. Smiley is extremely affectionate and so this was something I was silently yearning for. I wished I was favoured just as much as Hairy was pretty and nice, as much as Brains was so smart, and as much as Milk was so cute. Being with Smiley back then was somewhat of a wake-up call for me, seeing as how apparent Smiley favoured whom she did before. Then with every one of us being excited about having relatives visit us, each cousin had their own traits pop out (I did say, I was good at observing). Chocolate Milk had always been the outspoken one in the bunch; very vocal and very confident. River was loud and playful and good looking, and Smiley was River’s godparent. Brains was pretty and smart and very witty. Hairy was the prettiest among the group and the nicest and sweetest. Fishie was adorable, cute, tiny and (I’ve heard this a million times) she looked like Smiley when Smiley was a little kid. Milk was the youngest in the ‘rich’ class among us so therefore had to be favoured by default among other things. Me? I had nothing to offer. I was quiet, and back then looked more like Softy than Eyeballs. Smiley’s personality was outgoing, so of course, Smiley gravitated to the outspoken ones. Chocolate Milk, River and Brains, and of course Milk were a shoo-in. Hairy and Fishie were personal favourites. I felt like I didn’t belong; I felt more like a background more than anything. You know that feeling when you watch people outside from a window? That’s what it felt like being with them all. I guess my personality was a factor in all of it, but it still didn’t make sense to me that I was so unremarkable to the rest of the family (and I mean very close relatives, including Smiley). I never got that reassuring feeling that it was okay to be me, to be myself. What I saw around me made me wish I was what I was not.

While all that was happening, I was realizing that Eyeballs would get really excited and happy whenever I get awesome marks in class, like exams and tests and projects. So I excelled in that. That was my moment of visibility. Eyeballs would tell the good news that I was in the honor roll when recognition/graduation rites came. And I was happy. I found my fifteen seconds of fame. I would get a very big smile on my face, all proud and excited. All for a quick pat on the back and a ‘Good job!’ to go with it. I get the occassional hug, too. That’s how I pretty much lived my younger years: aiming to please people through my academic standing because I thought I wasn’t good enough unless I was good at being something or someone. The only time our relatives would talk to me extensively–and by extensively, I mean about 5 or so minutes–would be about my grades in school. It was a lot of pressure and yet I was blind to that; I just wanted to be acknowledged. That was all I wanted.

All my life, I’ve been trying to establish this fact to myself: Pencil is important. Pencil is a human being worthy of respect and affection. Pencil is Pencil, and Pencil is enough. It’s a concept that was hard for me to accept for a long time, especially when I was younger. Everybody else had  such personalities in our big close-knit family. That was why I started looking for attention and acceptance from other people. My classmates since childhood like Rosebud, Timber, Dancer, Mango, became so close to me that at some point I developed this idea that my friends loved me more than my family. Well, from my point of view back then, my friends were the ones who were  with me and were happy that I was being myself, plain ol’ Pencil: one of the comedy acts in class, and got along with most of the class. At that point, my thoughts and feelings were usually excitement when I would go to school and see my best pals and on the other hand, I would be really mad and frustrated that I would be going home to people that barely noticed me. My mindset like that for a bit. I saw the toys that Fishie got from Smiley, I saw more and more the leniency towards River when it came to doing chores. I saw the amount of new house hold chores that Eyeballs taught me. I started hating house chores then. Everytime she would proudly say to random people how I knew how to cook already at that age, I felt exploited and used. The idea of the maids in Earrings and Boss’ household was a constant taunting in the back of my mind.

After a while, I looked up to Earrings’ family. They were rich and had a big house and everything that goes with that. In the meantime, my family barely owned a tube of toothpaste. I realized that if we didn’t have much food in our tiny little house, we’d eat plain steamed rice with either salt or sugar. And yet I loved that. I didn’t love the fact that whenever our relatives from abroad would send a package to the siblings Earrings, Eyeballs and Everhope (Chocolate Milk’s parent), Earrings’ kids would always get the coolest things. I felt even more unwanted every time I saw that. They’d have the coolest and prettiest Barbie dolls, the best backpacks, and shirts and shoes. It was too obvious to me that me and my siblings weren’t the favourite of the bunch. I wasn’t okay with it, but at the same time, I didn’t know what do except to accept that fact.

And yet, amidst all that, I thought and believed our whole entire family was the best family because we had some relatives out of the country (to me that meant I was a little closer to the ‘rich’ class by being associated with them), Earrings’ family was, in my eyes, in the ‘rich’ class so I was proud of the family as a whole. I was proud of everyone when they did something great, like be in a play or something like that. I was glad that as a whole our family was doing well. The cousins were cohesive and we mostly got along (unless someone was having tantrums). We were all pretty good with each other. Deep inside of me, it was a confusing mix of love and denial, of hurt and passiveness, and of pride and humiliation. To me, the different levels of feelings were what kept me observing. I couldn’t understand why, with the family, the gaps of understanding were so different and with different people, so small. I didn’t think much of it all after realizing these things, but they’re always there, buzzing around in my head. So to keep from thinking about it, I kept my focus in school instead.

Summer is Nearly Here, Things Hopefully May Change

Sorry, if this blog seemed neglected for quite a bit of time; I’ve been busy getting out in the sun and enjoying it! Where I live, March has never been this warm!! I’m not wearing my winter jacket anymore, which says a lot. Another thing is that I’ve been kind of hung up on a couple of things: (1) my finances and (2) my sister’s school stuff. Let me tell you, bearing the thought  that I might be in debt for a number of years due to issues that aren’t mine–(ie) paying a family member’s credit cards or else he’ll be brought to court–well, it’s not a very nice feeling to have all the time. I’m trying to focus on my decisions for myself in the near future (which is the next couple of years) and I can’t even visualize what’ll happen because of what’s happening around me. I feel like I should go away and leave all this stuff behind. But what does that make me? I would be abandoning them, all for my own selfish reasons. Yet I also know that all these years, I’ve done nothing but help them in their times of need. That’s when I start telling myself that I need to think of myself. But at the same time, it’s not that easy.

Then there’s my sister. I’m very worried she might not make it through university at the way she’s doing things. She leaves papers until the night before to do it and hands them in without getting me or my brother to check it, which I specifically tell her to do because I know how she is with editing stuff. To tell the truth, she doesn’t know how to write a university level paper and it seems to  me that she could care less about the formatting. I try not to be pissed when I ask her how her studying is going or what mark she got on the paper or her quiz. Always disappointing results. I instructed her plenty of times to tell any of us if she doesn’t understand anything with regards to her courses, but the day she would actually do that has yet to come. She has a bit of an attitude when it comes to critizing her and at one point she even told me, “I’m not you.” That hurt. I know what she means and I understand; I’m more of a future-oriented person and she’s more of a go-with-the-flow type. However, this doesn’t mean she’s allowed to slack and get more F’s than I’ve ever seen in my whole academic life. I’m not sure she gets the fact that everyone is worried for her and that’s why we are always nagging her about school stuff. I wonder if she even has a sense of responsibility in herself because seeing how she does her studies, it makes me think she just does it because she thinks that’s what she has to do. I mean, when I went to school, I felt that it was my road to my future; an opportunity and a privilege that was mine. I felt that it was my job to do good in school so I know I will be fine in the future. Yet she goes to school, hardly having any idea of what she really wants and doesn’t really think school is a big deal, like it’s just something she has to go through. It astounds me how she can just keep doing this. Her goals in life like to do photography and draw or be an artist is understandable (I have the same goals, but it’s not limited to these) but dreaming about it is not gonna get her any closer to that.

I went to Nursing because back in high school, my parents wanted me to study Medicine and be a doctor. It’s still an option to me right now, but I’ve gotten sick of school for a bit so I’m working now and probably for a couple more years before I think about it again. My other goals in life: to be a writer, a chef, an interior designer, to learn other languages, to play an instrument. They’re all there still, I do what I can in my spare time that I don’t work or help my sister with her tests and essays. Every now and again, I would add a page or two to some of my stories and then some times learn half a song on the piano or re-read phrases in Japanese that I’ve learnt and soon forgotten. They’re always there, in the back of my mind, springing forward when my mind isn’t stressing about something.

I know my sister isn’t the same as me, but her obvious lack of effort is dusturbing. We are at a point where I need to check on her situation every other day just to get an idea of what’s happening in her school or to see if the essay we started a couple of weeks ago got any progress (surprise, surprise, it’s still the same as we started and it’s due in two days). It’s hard for me and even harder on my mom because she now feels she lacked in terms of watching over my sister. See what I mean when I say it’s not that easy to start thinking about myself? I have these things to worry about and I’m not the kind of person to just leave her alone and let her fail and end up working at a retail store (even though, I’ve said that aloud to my mom–it’s all that frustration talking LOL). So I hope the summer brings good things that’ll help cheer me up. =)