2017 has been magic, and not. Or the year of me being 22, as my birthday is only four days away from the end of the year.
All somersaults forward and utter stillness.
All of which, if I had to be honest, was a year-long shitstorm. And I can’t even make it sound pretty.
In 2017, I wanted to walk through the very best door.
In the first two months of this year, I was out of the woods with new perspectives gaining from studying abroad.
I felt recharged. I felt whole. And all until I crashed into someone, falling head over heels.
There are some people who you look at, and you can just tell how the story will end. But when I looked at him, I just knew instinctively, that despite the odds against us and although life would always find a way to test us, I’d look forward to a new day after him.
He isn’t super my type. He doesn’t have the right combination of a 6’ stature and an athletic body. But we met, we clicked. He quickly drew out the long-lost caring and loving side of me. He was the reason why I started to give a fvkc again.
Prettiness aside, we had more than our fair share of ugly arguments. Time and time again we were tested by our differences, idiosyncrasies, and individual flaws that were unavoidably brought to light as any two people move forward.
When it became clear that our interests didn’t match up, I still held on.
I went from being a confident free spirit to a self-doubting emo cripple staying in an almost-relationship, stagnant and idle.
I couldn’t escape from the feeling that I was unworthy. It was a feeling that taped into almost every other negative emotion I was capable of. I was stuck in a long period of thick depression, fumbling through life half-hearted.
I almost lost it all for someone who had nothing to bring to my table. Who I thought was my very best door.
Hope, as it turned out, took quite a lot of work.
Luckily for me, my soul wasn’t going to give up that easily, instead, it led me back to blogging.
Words have always meant everything to me. Words have somehow convinced me that I mustn’t live ordinarily. I must be wild enough to chase after my dreams and then, maybe then, I will become those dreams.
With my first blog created back in middle school, I wrote only in Chinese. I liked to play with words, break conventional grammar rules, which in turned made my peers tilt their heads in confusion – “Reading this is giving me a headache.”
Years later, I still am, surprisingly yet thankfully, embracing writing. For a long while, I’d been seeking my muse, my anchor in English format. As I worked to put together pieces of work, some would comment, “Are you depressed?”
In reality, this is just how I write.
But I don’t find that annoying. I find it rather cute, actually.
In May, I dedicated myself to this blog. I polished the site to look more professionally, sorting out categories of lifestyle, travel, and more.
I’ve come to own my feelings, take pride in my passion.
Own your stories. Our stories are ours, they belong to us, and we should be able to tell them – not at the convenience of others but when we are ready.
I am a sucker for words, and especially for words that when strung together feel like an entrancing story. Or maybe if I work hard enough the story will sing. It will come out right and strong, it will matter.
You never know.
I remember a time when my cheeks were ablaze, but now the only blaze that flares up is the one in my heart called passion. The passion to move forward. Sometimes the flames dim, like today. But all it takes is a good idea, fuel, to bring the flame alight again.
It’s a tough world out there, but it takes a tougher person to be gentle in it.
I practiced forgiveness – for myself, too.
For myself, especially.
It has taken me a very long time to understand that there are people who are just not good.
This is the time where the whole society is questioning patriarchy, power, and misogyny, #metoo. And for the longest time I withheld the details; I still do to some degree. Out of the fear that people would question me, doubt me. Because I regretted denying my instinct from the beginning which was to avoid him.
For a long while I thought that as everyone aged they’d shed the noise of immaturity to reveal an innate goodness below. They’d be sensitive, soft-spoken. But that in fact takes quite a lot of work and the intelligence to know when it is needed. And some people are so deeply toxic with themselves that it is easier to cast the toxicity outwards and catch others in the net.
It turns out that as one works up the courage to leave the situation all together, it only creates more space to confront it.
Which is why, it is only now, all this time later, that I am loosening my grip. But it is an uncomfortable process. Something very human in me is still reminded of the hurtful snapshots from time to time. Something very human in me is afraid to break free.
But through the thick of it,
I’ve come to forgive the people who I love/loved for being as flawed as everyone else, as flawed as I am.
I’ve come to forgive myself for being the one who has to go through all that. There is not one thing you are meant to know before you are meant to know it.
Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. The eyes see only what the mind is ready to comprehend.
I still want to walk through the very best door.
But I’ve learnt not to make the mistake of choosing the closest available door, as opposed to the best one.
So this is a little PSA (mostly for myself) to say: Try anyway. Do the best you can. Make peace with the imperfection of it. And move tf on. Sometimes your best isn’t quite as great you’d like it to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enough.
Finally in mid-September, I started to take my life back. Little by little. Piece by piece.
I moved into a new house, living with two of my best friends. Some days were still so damn shitty. But then I was reminded of the women I knew, and I was like. Aite. “We can do this.”
I dug into new possibilities and found myself hooking into data analysis. So much so that transcribing data became my alternative way of translating the non-sense to words. As if writing my own dramas and feelings and anecdotes is not enough and I have to steal the words for other things.
Later in December, I got a job offer at a well-established marketing firm. And that was when I truly reaffirmed that, you attract whatever energy you radiate — again… the Law of Attraction 101.
As life inches forward…
This year was hard. I think I can say that honestly, without addition or pretense. I am so glad this year is ending real soon. And as I’m back home in San Francisco for my last-ever winter break, quietly happy, I couldn’t help but think I’m moving onto 2018, or 23, with everything I might need.
A little bit of grit. A sense of awe. A capacity for both joy and sadness. A clear and meaningful value system. And a deep appreciation for the woman my 22nd year made me – or the woman I became in spite of my 22.
At the end of the day, people don’t really change. But at the end of year, they kinda do.
Tying you closer than most,