a distant memoir

2

As we were walking and talking, it randomly started sprinkling to a slow pour of humid summer rain. It stopped just as quickly it started. I remember rushing to find shelter under what seemed to be the Hong Kong clock tower. It was around 12am and I thought to myself, “great, my evening of exploring is ruined.” The avenue of stars was only a few feet away. I looked at the time and felt frustrated and restricted with the curfew (2am) I had to meet. I haven’t had a curfew in a what seemed like ages ago, and I felt like I had reverted back into an adolescent child. What I really wanted was to meet Hong Kong during the late hours when it’s not bustling as it was during the day. There’s just something about roaming around unfamiliar streets at night that is really calming to me, whereas other people might think of danger.

We weren’t sure what else we could do with so little time. Everything, the ferry and shops were all closed. This has got to be the millionth time I’ve missed out on another opportunity to go view the cityscape from Victoria Peak too. I’ll definitely make it my mission to see it next time. Another glance at the time, I felt a slight sadness that I had to venture back soon. We eventually roamed into a hotel and went from chilling at the bar to the lobby. Funny thing is, I don’t really remember anything we talked about that night. All I wanted was for time to freeze for a bit, so I could remember this feeling – the thrill, mystery, excitement, etc. I had been stuck traveling with my family, which was suffocating at times and this moment felt relieving.

Aside from that, meeting you was one of the highlights of my trip. You had a friendly presence about you that made me feel at ease. I could talk to you about almost everything. This made my time sensitive trip to Hong Kong memorable.

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Beautifully Damaged.

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Is the sun setting or is the sun rising? It depends on your perception.

SELF-DISCLOSURE: I think this might be the most personal post I will ever publish about myself on the internet. This is actually a part of me that I have difficulty disclosing because I feel a tremendous amount of shame. However, I am learning to embrace myself as a whole in order to live fully.

My thoughts have been my demons for the longest time. Sometimes I feel helpless and out of control when all my intrusive thoughts come flooding in. In the past, I wasn’t very aware of them or let alone equipped to manage them on my own. I was and still might be immature in how I perceive people, things, events, and life. I have a tendency to ruminate on my flaws and personal problems. Also, I have a tendency to pretend that I am strong in order to “fix” them immediately.

After spending time to reflect, I can reframe my distortions and be at peace. Ultimately, my thoughts are my worldview. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all my thoughts and ideas. However, I am responsible for how I perceive my thoughts. And although I can be immature, I am aware and constantly learning to understand people things, events, and life through a wider lens. Rumination has been a way for me to process and confront my problems. It has constantly been a struggle, but I’ve been trying to slow down and remind myself it’s fine to not have everything all together.

The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.”

Labyrinth of Life

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I like how I can read back on my thoughts and see my own growth. So so much has changed for me and given me opportunities for new knowledge and perspective. I’m not even sure how to gather the precise words to describe what I’ve seen, heard, and experienced emotionally and mentally. I want to remember my experiences forever.

In the midst of finding balance in life, I realized I no longer believe self-improvement is the best thing for me because I would constantly be critical of myself and my flaws. However, I did find that experiencing every bit of life fully allowed me to find my path back to who I am. I am now present and more in tune with my needs and wants. I’ve missed having deep conversations with many individuals that have been a part of my life at one point, so I’ve recently made it a point to connect with those who cross my mind. I enjoy connecting with people and helping them understand themselves, which actually helps me understand myself better as well. It is simply amazing how I can make certain choices that can have such an immense impact and domino effect on my life.

“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska

Be Kind to Yourself

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WARNING: This is going to be a post where I regurgitate all the recent flow of ideas in my head regarding my perception of life 🙂 Sit back and enjoy.

Don’t wait for good things to happen. There can be other good things right in front of your eyes. Live in the present and take a moment to appreciate, understand, contemplate, and enjoy all that is occurring around you. Take a small sip of that drink and really savor the sweetness, sourness, or bitterness of the taste. Look into the sky and appreciate the clouds, the wind blowing into your face, and the hue of the summer. Do everything with a little more mindfulness. You’ll realize how much more in depth with life you can achieve. Life is not linear. We will walk through many varying paths as we live through each age of our life. There will be easy, challenging, unknown, and possibly invisible paths. Sometimes we need to get lost a few times before we find our reality. Take your time to figure out what path or decision feels doable to you. People can be kind. You can always learn new knowledge from anyone you meet. The few good connections you have with people may take you further than you thought. Taking a step out of your comfort zone can take you a far ways. Reach for the stars if you can! When you tell yourself “but I can’t…”, then you are your greatest obstacle. Figure out how you can take that first small step. It may not take you where you want initially. You can gain something else from the experience that you didn’t expect.

 

How I Choose to Live

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It’s been quite often that I’ve been told… “you’re at the age to explore and try new things!” and “do all that you can before you have more adult responsibilities.”

And of course, this is exactly what I’ve been doing ever since I turned 25. There hasn’t been a single dull moment. On weekdays, I am a therapist conquering mental health problems and by weeknights and weekends, I am a full time adventurer and life researcher. Many people ask me, “What do you do with your time?” and I always answer, “There isn’t enough time to do everything!”

Yes, time has become the evil villain of my life. I’m constantly having to remind myself:

  • to be more present with myself
  • to be more mindful of what I do
  • to live more in the moment

Without adding hints of mindfulness in my life, I have the tendency to constantly move forward and fill all the gaps of time by letting noise take occupancy or always keeping myself busy. Recently this past week, I started to let myself slow down a bit. I noticed how much more present I became with not only my clients, but also with myself and other significant people in my life.

I’m amazed by how one person can really inspire another person like an infinite domino effect. I’m going to take all the knowledge I’ve acquired so far in my quarter century of life, and apply it, make mistakes, and hopefully create something memorable and meaningful for all that is a part of my life.

“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” – Maya Angelou

“What next?”

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This is the question that many many people have been asking me. Honestly, I don’t think anybody really knows what they are doing besides a rough idea of their long-term goals and what they envision for their future. The unforeseen future can be a frightening thought for some people, and this is mainly due to familial pressure and the harsh reality of needing to succeed or survive in today’s society. For others, they seem to appear confident and have a direction; some of these people may have started early on in order to mold and build their foundation for achieving their ultimate dream job and goals in life. As for me, I’m completely comfortable with the unknown. I think this will keep me on my toes and ready to hop on board the upcoming opportunities in my life.

My answer to the question: I don’t just want to join the workforce as a therapist in the mental health field. I want to do so much more than simply work my life away. I’m ready to contribute to society by helping families, children, couples, and individuals in need of practicing better solutions in their lives. Apart from that, I also want to continue my growth as an individual. I intend to do this by traveling to more of the world. Perhaps I may come across the people from various parts of the world and exchange ideas, embark on new experiences, and listen to their stories.

So far it’s been about two weeks since I returned from my trips to Florida and the bay. Although I don’t consider these destinations as really traveling the world, I did meet some foreign faces here and there. I’m extremely thankful that I planned these two trips so spontaneously because they allowed me to learn more about myself in just a short amount of time. I still can’t believe that my two favorite things, traveling and music, has allowed me to have some deep and interesting conversations with people I barely know. Also, being the responsible adult as I am, I made sure to apply for therapist positions right before my two trips and interview during the gap that I was back. It still feels so surreal that time has been flying by so quickly. It’s really true when they say that time speeds up when you’re an adult unlike the endless days when you’re a child.

Who knows what’s next? Expectations can lead to disappointment. Therefore, I accepted my first job offer and I will see where it takes me! I’m slightly ecstatic to say that I’ll be a bilingual, Cantonese-English therapist at your service.

Finding Comfort in Solitude

As an only child, I’ve grown up most of my life knowing what it felt like to be truly alone. This experience has led me to use my creativity to engage in various outlets that helped occupy my time. I recall times among the many things I did involved sitting hours end on a swivel chair reading through books, finding scraps of paper and creating random pieces artwork, riding my bike outside to explore the “vast world” of my neighborhood, etc. These were definitely more simpler times minus the intrusion of technology such as computers, smartphones, and anything with a screen and internet connection. Of course, being alone also involved times when I would sink into boredom and dissatisfaction. For some people, being alone may entail yourself with the absence of friends or people, being without a significant other, or it may even seem like a black hole where you’re dealing with the impending doom of loneliness. For me, finding comfort in solitude has given me the greatest sense of empowerment. I’ve found that accomplishing something completely on your own and without the company or help from others can really give you a more fulfilling sense of satisfaction. Ultimately, I believe that those who have not found comfort in being alone, has limited their full potential to maximize and familiarize themselves with their amazing sense of self. You may become surprised at the epiphanies of life you can encounter if you spend some time or even just a simple moment in solitude.