I realized I was an addict. I was addicted to people. I was one of those people who didn’t know how to lay off the toxic stuff until it became unbearable and I became intolerant of myself and the things I couldn’t let go of. Yes, you can have a thing called, “people-itis.”
Here’s the thing I discovered in the past year and a half (two years, really), I learned that you need to really, really, really, let go of toxic people, situations, and things in your life in order to feel truly happy and confident with the person you are and aim to be. You can’t muffle through it or fake the funk. Or else, you will end up slamming the door in your own face if you do. The hardest part about letting go is being truthful with yourself and your 100% organic thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to bear. Some moments become hard to even remember to take a breath through because it feels so scary and isolating. But let me tell you, in the end, it is so worth it.
I had to let go of people I felt like were the world to me. But I realized I made them the world… when they never were. I knew I was giving them way more than they would ever think to return to me. It was not about tit-for-tat for me. It was about committing their time and energy to me as I would do for them. For whatever reason, needing validation from people who you really shouldn’t crave it from, comes with a huge price. You wanna know what that price is? It is your self-worth, your confidence, and your power. You give it all away when you seek validation from people who you feel is for whatever reason… better than you or more important than you.
If you have “like-me-itis” like I used to … you will never be happy. Whether it be in romantic relationships, friendships, and/or even with your own offspring… you will never be happy because you will constantly feel worn the f out from jumping over insurmountable hurdles that you have created for yourself. It’s vicious and unwarranted self-abuse.
So take a moment and do an inventory check, are you keeping something or someone around because “one day” something might change and you will decide to wear that pretty dress that’s been hanging in your closet with the price tag still attached? More than likely, you won’t. So give it out, throw it away, donate it… because it just may be a better fit on someone else. It’s hard but that is the truth and the road to freedom I’ve learned.
I realized I was happy when I could let go of these people… like really and truly let go… because I was not relinquishing my power over to them. I said “goodbye” and I wasn’t staring at my phone willing them to call and reach out. I wasn’t hurt by the lack of communication or contact. I didn’t feel less than because they were no longer in my life. I could wish them well and pray for their safety and happiness and move about with my life… what’s the difference, you ask? My ego no longer gave a shit. That’s when you know.
It’s also because I have accepted that I no longer needed them in my life because they were never meant to stay long. They were here to show me what I didn’t want in my life, so that I could have a greater appreciation and love for those people and things who wanted to be a part of it. I used to push away those people who were so willing to walk along side of me, because I was too busy chasing after shooting stars that left me feeling lost and lonely.
Now, I just look around me and feel so blessed because I am so loved and needed by the people who “dig me” for just the way I am at this moment and the person I aim to be. Letting go of the negativity and toxicities in my life has made me a better mother, friend, and person… I’m still working on the better “daughter”and “sister” part (gotta keep shizz real :)), but I’m happy. I’m still a work in progress and will always be.
There are still monumental ups and downs… but I no longer feel like I allow myself to sit in an abyss of darkness and isolation. Change your thoughts; change your world-Ghandi.
I’m no professional at this called, “life.” I’m a forever student learning to navigate through the ups and the downs that life throws at me. I wasn’t aware at how I was playing the game of life. I was sitting back being a bystander in my own life… pouting as to why… I wasn’t more. Not taking any responsibility for anything whenever possible. Why? Because then I wouldn’t have to own any responsibility for something that could possibly go wrong. I sat back and watched my life unfold the way “others” wanted it to unravel. I gave up my power to the world. I let my emotions be dictated by someone else’s thoughts and hungered for validation anywhere I could get it. “See me, see me… please. Hear me. I’m here.” But I come to realize … I would never be seen or heard unless I started accepting my own worth. Why would anyone see me or hear me… when I couldn’t even see myself. I gave love but I couldn’t even love myself.
Today, I am a “FEARLESS, RESPONSIBLE, WORTHY WOMAN.” Am I completely reformed because I am going through Choice Center? No, I have struggles and I lose my sh!t still, but I know how to sit with those feelings. I can decipher why I’m feeling this way… but more than any of that… I no longer play VICTIM because I will not relinquish my power over to anyone. As much as I hated it… I put on my big girl panties and am learning to take on life.
I am worthy. I am not an inconvenience. I am a nine cow princess and I will carry myself as such (if you want to know why I keep referring to myself as that… ask me!). I will not always say the right thing, I will not be accepted by everyone, but I am loved and I am love and that’s what I have to constantly remind myself every second I get, especially when old thoughts try to creep in.
Watching my husband transform makes me know, that while I am one person just as my Angel (Renee) helped transform my life, I have helped him enroll into his own vision for himself. It only takes a spark to cause a fire and I wish to be the change I want to see in this world.
If you look at my Nook or home library, it will be full of three types of books. Books on self-help, parenting, and nursing textbooks. Okay, so Fifty Shades of Grey may be entwined some where in between. 🙂
Some of my favorite books are Drama of the Gifted Child, which was actually mentioned in The Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom, Real Marriage, and Loving Kindness. I read four or five books at a time. Right now, I’m reading Reviving Ophelia, Raising Cain, Wild, and just finished Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom.
In my quest to become the best parent I could be, I realized that WHILE reading these books, I stress out. The stress seems to stem from the notion that I feel like I haven’t done anything these books are suggesting I should do. I start thinking “OMG, thee impressionable first five have gone with my daughter!!!! Is she doomed? Will she resent me for the rest of her life??? Will she suffer from depression due to my parenting??? Will puberty be my payback?” That’s when I have to put the book down and try to convince myself that I can’t look back at what I’ve done.
I always tell O (my daughter) “don’t make the same mistakes momma does or just because someone else says something or does something dumb, doesn’t mean you have to.” Unfortunately, I have made duplicate mistakes with her a number of times. Namely when my patience runs thin or my own frustrations get the best of me and in that moment… I can’t control my own emotions or reactions to the situation. I’m praying daily that I practice what I preach and control myself by giving myself a timeout and a chance to breathe.
I don’t think we should coddle our children from emotions though. We are human and like I tell my mom and sister all the time, “the world is not going to cater to my kids like you guys do.” Tough love. It’s hard, but I refuse to raise entitled and spoiled children.
My daughter is a mini replica of my husband and myself. I see how she gets frustrated sometimes and it sends chills up my spine because I feel like I’m staring into a mirror. Those are the moments I pray she hears my voice again saying “O, do better than momma, teach kindly and patiently.”
The postcard photo I posted rings so true for me and most of my girlfriends I’m sure (J. Peddy… I know you feel me). I think we all think we are damaging our kids to a certain degree especially when we read these books and aren’t doing half of the suggested material. What I come to learn is that I can pick and choose what works in MY household and reiterate to myself every second of the day that I am doing the best that I can and reinforcing more than anything else that “I love you, O. I love you Husb. I love you, Will.”
These books are tools and guidance materials, not the bible.
This is me. Postbaby 7 weeks. I haven’t blogged in quite some time, but I had this indelible urge to write again lately. I know in a short month, I will have to prepare to take on the end of my Master’s program, so I’m voraciously doing some leisure reading and beginning to chronicle my journey as a mom of two.
My daughter loves her brother. Yet, she has shown signs of normal regression. Wanting to try all of the babies things. Needing extra attention. Oh gosh, the baby talk… cute until it gets annoying. Hahhahaha. Yes, I keep it real.
At the beginning when I got home with the baby from the hospital, nothing about my daughter’s behavior annoyed me. But set in sleep deprivation, the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy!!! Can I tell you something?” Me: “can you tell me without saying, ‘can I tell you something?'” haha, the annoying sound of the pump machine at night, homework, life, taking care of a newborn… oh, did I mention SLEEP DEPRIVATION??? then my patience becomes nonexistent. But I am praying and hoping (although I heard from my friend that “hope is not a strategy) that I find that place of reassuring guidance, love, and patience that my daughter needs right now. I hope I have the fortitude to learn to balance my needs FIRST without feeling GUILT.
This is when I began experiencing empathy for the first child. I’m the second and the last in my family. I wish parenting came with instructions or at least pictures to show you which is the right way up or down. 🙂 I say this, because recently, my husband and I have been having warfare with our daughter during homework time. Mind you, my husband is a great instructor who is energetic and fun, but even he gets worn down when my daughter for the 100th time says “N is a U.” Yes, they look similar, but that’s no excuse to get it wrong more than 20x in my opinion. Yes, I can be a bit tough but I have been way too liberal in my child-rearing of her till this point (great she just came in here and found her bike we were supposed to give her on her birthday!!!). I always allowed for her to just putz around and do things at her own will. Well now, we are interviewing and testing for private schools, so now the tides are changing. Something in me got triggered. I realized I can’t be lazy to raise a successful child.
Right now, I’m trying to analyze what kind of learner my daughter is. In the process, I have screamed my head off because my expectations are so high. I keep telling myself in a Finding Nemo like trance, “she’s never seen this… she’s never seen this.” But I can’t use that forever. SHE HAS SEEN THE ALPHABETS for at least two years now!!! Hahaha.
But at the end of the day, I come to conclude that none of this has anything to do with my daughter. It has to do with me. My demons. I have to disconnect from my past and embrace the woman I am today. I’m no longer the kid that was average in school because no one encouraged anything in me other than to be pretty. More than anything, I wanted to be viewed as “smart” like my sister. Actually, I knew I was probably smarter than my sister (I think my parents knew it too… sorry hyung)… but I never tried, because things came easily for me to just pass. I suppose this is my biggest regret. I never lived up to my full potential or got to discover what I was good at or even excellent at. I was a quitter. I never looked to the end of the road to discover that hard work and effort pays hundreds folds more than quitting. That discovery only comes with age and wisdom.
I’m fortunate though. I’m not my immigrant parents who couldn’t spend the time with their kids even if they wanted to because they were working hard in a foreign land to provide for their children. I have the ability to provide the opportunities for my children that my parents did not possess. What my kids do with these opportunities are my responsibility until it becomes time for them to bear the burden of the cross on their shoulders and learn to use what weapons and lessons I’ve given them into their lives on their own accord.
I will write about what I learned about myself during homework time in my next blog. Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.
As I get older, I think my appreciation for my culture and heritage grows. Watching Korean historical dramas (yes, fictional) helps me realize why my peeps are the way they are and why traditions (some… not all) are so important to uphold. While I was watching a historical drama, I just noticed how pretty Koreans did things in the past. The foods were colorful and the Hanboks (Korean dresses) were so beautiful. The dynasties and their customs… hierarchy… not so much. Haha. I, often, wonder where I would fit into the hierarchy. Peasant? Slave? Noblewoman? More and more I want to go to my motherland and immerse myself in the culture. It saddens me a bit too to know that O will probably never fully understand what it means to be Korean. I am a 1.5 generationer and I am stuck in the middle of two cultures. For her, I’m sure more than not, she is American. Yes, she looks yellow… but she will probably grow up adopting this lifestyle more. Of course unless I shove her culture down her throat which is something I am not prone to do.
But I love seeing the prowess of Koreans. I mean, call it ethnocentrism, but I am proud. We have come such a long way from being considered a third world country to now being a leading enterprise in business and media. It’s great.
To see people driving Korean cars in the US, using Korean brand electronics and telephones. People from all over watching Korean dramas and singing Korean songs. Way to go, Psy. Amazing. I’d never have guessed as a child that I would see this day. Learning to accept who and where you come from takes awhile. As a kid, I always felt embarrassed that my middle name wasn’t American enough, I felt embarrassed when my mom sacked Kimbab… now, I am so glad that people are so diverse and learning to accept one another’s differences.
World, we have come a long way. I just pray that life continues to evolve in a positive direction.
That picture is some of the random things I do with O that maybe aren’t the smartest things… but still memorable nonetheless. Don’t get your panties all bunched up. We were in our gated community in a cul-de-sac and driving like 5 mph. But if were a picture of my husband and her doing this… I would’ve said, “OMG, you are setting such a bad example to her.” Ahahahahahahaha. Hypocrite. I know.
But YOLO right? Life is too short to take things so seriously and have everything equate to a catastrophic event. I’m in my late 30s now and all I want to do is live. Live each day feeling like I did something fulfilling. Inching towards putting more and more check marks on my extensive bucket list of things to still do, see, accomplish, and experience.
I think at this age, Erik Erickson says we are in the Generativity vs. Stagnation part of our lives. “Generativity vs. stagnation is the second stage of adulthood and happens between the ages of 25-64. During this time people are normally settled in their life and know what is important to them. A person is either making progress in their career or treading lightly in their career and unsure if this is what they want to do for the rest of their working lives. Also during this time, a person is enjoying raising their children and participating in activities, that gives them a sense of purpose. If a person is not comfortable with the way their life is progressing, they’re usually regretful about the decisions and feel a sense of uselessness.”
I am soooooooo in this stage. My nursing and those into psychology and sociology should be very familiar with this. But yes, I’m at a stage where I am definitely less fearful of doing new things, especially on my own, in order to fulfill voids in me that weren’t being attended to. It’s been great. I’m starting to let go of all the things I was holding on to just in case… just in case I get pregnant, just in case I move, just in case …just in case. But you can’t live like that.
I have a friend who started taking acting classes recently and I truly think it is so awesome. He is fulfilling his dreams. That was once a dream of mine as well… yep, I wanted to become a famous actress or some sort of television personality. I have always hidden that want in fear of ridicule and judgment but now… I don’t care. Hahahaha.
Setting up healthy boundaries has been instrumental for me. I never wanted to say no to people because I feared they would feel hurt and rejected by me. Because I know those feelings are so isolating, profound, and intoxicatingly painful. But now, I can say no and tell myself “it’s ok.” It’s strange because a huge change has occurred and shifted my thinking. And this gives me a sense of freedom which in turn gives me a feeling of peace. That I’m not in a battle with the world anymore. And that the world is no longer out to get me.
I see the changes in my relationship with O even. I’m less impatient, far less hostile, and definitely way way way more loving. It has been a prayer answered from the Almighty. And what I feel more thankful than anything for this year, is that I feel like my parents are starting to open themselves up more to the Christian faith and I think it’s thanks to O.
Have a great day everyone. It’s getting more and more challenging to post things daily, because I’m back getting my Master’s. So with papers, reading requirements and assignments, oh and a little thing called life with a small child… I don’t have that much free time anymore. So, I’m going to have to see a ton of more support and encouragement from you guys and your friends to feel the love to continue writing 😛 !!!
This picture was from Sunday night. My husband asked me out to the UCLA game. They lost. Unbelievable being they were up like 18 points at one point. They became complacent. The irony right? I think that’s like marriage and relationships. You give it your all at the beginning because you want the relationship to go some place, so you work hard. Then once you achieve a sense of security, that tenaciousness and vivacity kind of disappears. Am I right? So one person starts to revolt. That person being me. Haha.
But we are married. We have a child. We still love each other immensely. He is after all the love of my life… and I would like to presume, I am his. But, life gets in the way of our abilities to show one another the worth in them from our eyes. We forego the simple gestures of kindness with the thought, “oh he should know.” But maybe they don’t.
We hit a rough patch. And it wasn’t easy to overcome. But these are some of the small steps we were forgetting about to help always keep the fire going.
- we ask each other on dates
- we pray
- we go to church
- and we keep the focus on us
- we express our thoughts and feelings more freely without fear of judgment
- we don’t compare ourselves to that of others
I had to practice the last one. Why? Because I am innately a competitive person. I want to do great things. Not for outside accolades but because internally I feel good. And with this, I had to clean house again. There were people in my life that weren’t bringing out the best in me. They wanted all of me, but would only give me a piece of them. It was about their convenience. Their life. Their time. I’m okay with that to a certain degree, but after awhile, you just realize that that friendship isn’t as fulfilling as you had hoped it would be.
I had a few friends whom I loved dearly. But I don’t think I have enough room in my heart for them anymore. I didn’t like the way I felt around them and it was eating away at the core of me. I think it was because all along I knew these people would walk away once they got what they needed from me. Which I believe was a tiny bit of comfort during a time of loneliness. And I don’t blame them, because I can so relate to those feelings. But I need continuity. And a sense of belonging to one another for one another. Does that make sense? My husband is like, “you can still be friends with them.” But for me, I’m not like that. Either you are my friend or you aren’t. And for the most part, they weren’t really my friends to begin with. Why I put so much energy into building friendships with people stems from my own need to feel that close knit tie… the sense of family and comradery. But now, I don’t really feel inclined to need it so much. I have my own little unit… and a great sister, mom, and dad. And more and more, I feel the few great friends that I have are just icing on the cake.
Anyways, it was a nice night. It was cute because he kept commenting on how he liked my look. I felt bashful. And my sarcastic ass wanted to say something snide, because that’s how I accept compliments. But this night, I just absorbed it. I could tell he wasn’t just shooting hot air up my butt, because he mentioned a few times how he liked my “hoop” earrings. Ahahahahahaha. He’s so random.
Most people never disclose what’s going on in their marriage. For the better part of life, we pretend that every thing is picturesque and we hide behind our pain with smiles and laughs in front of others. Maybe in fear of judgment. Maybe in doubt of ourselves. Maybe in doubt of our abilities to be able to handle life. I don’t know what it is. Why we feel the need to front that life is great. That we are unbroken. That we are happy.
I think as we get older, we find a median. A middle ground of solace. A place of comfort. A place where we feel we fit in and are safe. I don’t know where that is for you, but for me… it’s wherever my daughter is at.
I love how people give glimpses of their happy moments. They post the happy pictures on Facebook and Instagram. And everything seems peachy-keen. They forego taking pictures of the temper tantrums and meltdowns because at those times, they are too busy dealing with the chaos than having time taking pictures.
Life. It’s not easy. And no one knows what’s going on in your life. At times, we feel attacked. At times, we feel judged. At times, we feel insecure. But knowing that we have a core group of friends who have our best interest at hand… should give us strength. And that in no way do we judge, do we mean you harm or pain, or that we believe we are in a better situation than you.
I am so fortunate to have such a great circle of women who have given me strength when I didn’t have enough on my own. I am so forever grateful to have people to break bread with and share the woes of life. Thanks, Netters, Jenn, Allison… life became that much simpler because of you gals.
What once was a leisurely activity of perusing aisle after aisle at my own pace… has now turned into a strategic, goal oriented mission. Taking a toddler to the grocery store poses many challenges, for me at least. First and foremost, it’s this cart!!! The one with the car!!! Why???? Why does it have to be at the front of the store???? Why, I ask??? In plain view, so you can’t even lie to your kid saying… “oh no babe, it’s not available today!!! Rats.” Haha. I’m a small girl. It takes brute force to maneuver these bad boys through crowded aisles.
Yesterday was no exception. Just the sucky part was I was sore as heck from my run. After literally going through every aisle looking for quinoa… I just wanted to plummet to the floor and weep. Like a cranky, whiney baby. I wanted to shake and stomp my legs and just let out a wail. I was just exhausted. I wanted to hang my head and just sob. And sob loudly.
Not only was my body sore, I had my little munchkin spilling things in the car, so I had to bend up and down numerous times. I had to continuously tell her to keep her head and arms in the car. I had to stop the cart every time she wanted to “look” at something. While I love my grocery shopping experiences with her, yesterday was an entirely different experience.
I love the laughs I got from the men in the store. The comments, “oh that looks like a lot of fun.” Really? “Then, why don’t you push this beast while I walk pleasantly next to you without breaking a sweat.” (That of course was my own internal dialogue with my irritable hamster running wild). There are the sweet, understanding people who just give you that look like… “girl, I feel you. Been there. Done that.” A nice, super buff guy was like… “wow, I feel you. I have to do that with my son. It’s hard.” It’s comedy when you think about it, but going through it was agony yesterday. I don’t know how many times I bumped into something. And the best part… when I got stuck like Austin Powers in the aisle because I put the cart horizontally. So here I am trying to squeeze past the handle and the shelf while trying to get the cart to turn around!!! Ahahahahahahaha.
You can tell too… the people with kids and without. The ones with kids…they smile and move out of the way in sheer empathy and comradery. The ones without… eye roll. Stand until YOU MOVE. Wth.
Anyways, all this was for the sake of making a new dish my BFF with four kiddos told me about. A healthy hamburger steak. I know. You hear HAMBURGER and think how can this be healthy. Well, we put in QUINOA (took me on a mission to find), kale, spinach, shallots, carrots, and celery. I always use organic meat and the leanest possible.
Here’s the result of all my effort while I maintain an inkling of sanity!!! It was delish!!! The best part… O just gobbled it up without knowing how many veggies were inside. The white leafy vegetable is white kimchi… made by my mom. O has now ventured to eat peanut butter sandwiches and white kimchi. Hooray. So now, lunches are getting easier to make.