Pathetic.

I’m pathetic.

I think I’ve cried more times than I can count this whole year than all my years of living, and more often than not it has had to do with relationships. For a while now I’ve been feeling this sense of loneliness that I just can’t seem to shake off. It’s like this shadow that follows me into every life stage — a sort of lurking feeling that has seemed to engulf my being. Growing up, I never really felt like I fit in. In school, I was the really crazy/hyper/spastic Asian girl — the “weird” one. In dance, I was always the “bigger” girl — the one who teachers would tell to lose weight. In church, I wanted to talk about deeper things — about Jesus. I just never felt like I fit in anywhere.

I soon realized that I felt lonely around 8th grade, and I didn’t realize it until after I asked an older friend of mine, “Do you ever feel lonely?”. She replied, “Well, it comes with being a leader”. I was shocked. I didn’t think of myself as a leader, but as I looked back at all my interactions at church and within my grade, this idea that I was a “leader” became more apparent to me.

And so that was me. A leader. The person who always initiated, who always planned, who always made decisions, who always led the charge, the person that people looked to…It’s not a bad thing, no, but something I feel like I’ve been carrying this image around my whole life. It shouldn’t be a burden (and it isn’t), but it sure does feel like it is sometimes. You see…I think I’ve tricked my brain into thinking that I have to be a certain way, to act a certain way, to hold myself to a certain regard, that I’m expected to do certain things, that I have to be okay all. the. time. None of what I just mentioned is healthy whatsoever, haha, and I realize that. I wrote a blog post about hospitality a while back, and I think while it is a blessing to others — at times, it can be a curse to me. I definitely see the fruit and the reward in making people feel welcomed, loved, and at home, but I give and give and give and serve and serve and serve so much that I just feel empty by the end of it. Then, I’m just left with feeling apathetic, tired, and fake.

But see? This is why I’m pathetic. I shouldn’t even have to feel empty! Seeing the fruit and the reward of my servitude should be enough — it should be MORE than enough. Jesus alone should satisfy me, but He doesn’t. But why?! Why can’t I be satisfied with what Jesus has to offer me? It saddens me that I feel this emptiness inside of me that I know Jesus can fill, yet it remains empty still. I feel pathetic in that when I feel lonely, I cry. When I’m alone in my apartment, I cry. When my boyfriend leaves for the night, I cry. I cry for what seems to be all. the. time. I just feel pathetic. I feel lonely, but I don’t want to be needy. I want people, but I don’t know who to go to, who I can turn to, who would be willing to listen and go through this struggle with me. You’re probably thinking, “What?! You’re kidding, right? There are SO many people who love you, care for you, blahblahblah.” Yeah, that’s probably true, but the people that I have shared my life with, who I have  confided in, who I have been vulnerable with — don’t seem to have the same interest in wanting to pursue a relationship with me. So then I’m left once again to be by myself. Alone. Now you’re probably thinking, “Wait. Didn’t you say you had a boyfriend? What about him?”. Yes, you’re right, but when I want to go to him, he’s not always available or he has to go home or it’s late or it’s something. I feel like I can’t go to him when I want to, nor do I want to keep him from being with others. Also, as great of a guy he is, I need my girls. I need girls that I can live life with — girls that will stick by me through the end.

So yeah…I feel pathetic. I thought I was feeling better in combating against loneliness, but these floods of emotion just keep coming back to drown me. I’ve probably cried once a week since school started in late August, and so yeah, I think me feeling pathetic is pretty accurate. I honestly feel like a pathetic human being — an emotional, needy, lonely, pathetic little girl.

Pathetic.

twenty-one

13720626_10210068458211911_1508416085_oI recently turned 21, and as I’m slowly entering into adulthood, I find myself looking back on this past year and how much I have grown in the midst of all the chaos. Going into my junior year this past fall, I was an executive officer for 2 positions for one of my organizations, and I was leading in 3 different parts of my college ministry. I didn’t realize it at first but that was a lot on my plate.

As the school year progressed, leadership was hard as we were trying to find our groove while transitioning into a completely different team dynamic from the year before. Countless arguments with stubborn views and opinions that were filled with frustration, hurt, and anger were had, and it was just tiring overall. Eventually, things were resolved, and I’m so thankful that we were all constantly striving for unity despite our misunderstandings and lack of communication. Somewhere along the line, I lost sight of why I wanted to do leadership. I felt inadequate in my abilities, and I found myself caring more about what other people thought than focusing my attention and efforts towards God. The year continued and leadership got better! Applications for leadership came around the corner, and I found myself feeling jaded and tired from having to work with people and resolve conflict to what felt like a daily routine. As I reflected on all the years I was on leadership, I saw that all my suffering was a result of leadership. I was really discouraged by that, and it made me not want to do leadership at all. I talked with people about it and realized that if I was choosing not to do leadership because I didn’t want to work with people…that’s not a good reason at all. I reflected some more on my years of leadership and was reminded of all the fruit that came from my labor and how God had worked in my life and through me to reach the lives of others. I saw that while ministry is hard and taxing at times, it is far more rewarding than you would ever expect at the end of the day. God then really challenged me in taking on my new role (only one this year haha) in that I knew this role would help me grow immensely, but I really just didn’t want God to mold me because growing to become more like Jesus is a painful (yet rewarding) journey. As I prayed for God to help me to be less reluctant to obey and to serve Him, He orchestrated a way for me to reread the story of Jesus calming the storms and how Jesus doesn’t want us to avoid the storms but to experience the storms with Him — to follow, obey, and trust in Him. Immediately after, I was like “Crap. Okay God, let’s do this. This is going to be hard, but let’s experience storms together.” At first, I thought we were only going to experience storms within the realm of leadership, but God really challenged my commitment throughout the month of April.

— I was leading our large group the first Wednesday of the month as well as spearheading a lock-in with the hospitality team for the following Friday. I also found out during the week that I was teaching Sunday School the following Sunday, so you can imagine how much time was put into prepping and executing those three things in the span of a few days could be. After Sunday was over, my big event for my other organization was that upcoming Friday. We had booths everyday leading up to Friday, and when Friday came, my laptop crashed on me which led to me breaking down during my leaders meeting. Immediately after, I had to prepare for the big event which was six hours long, and I was in charge of the dancing aspect which meant I had to be super energetic as I taught the dance and interacted with the attendees. I was exhausted by the end of that week also because my boyfriend and I were going through our own personal struggles that deeply affected our relationship. So not only was the week physically tiring but it was emotionally and spiritually draining as well. After those two crazy weeks, I was determined to spend A LOT of time with God to reconnect and to recharge with Him, so I decided to read Daniel. The week went on and everything was great. That weekend, I went to a youth leader retreat with my church, and on Saturday, I received a text from my mom. She had told me that my dog was missing since the night before and that my dad had gotten into an accident a few hours before she sent me the text. I freaked out, naturally, because this wasn’t the first time my dog had gone missing, so I thought there was no way that we’d be lucky enough to find my dog again, especially since she had been gone for a longer period this time around. My mom didn’t give me any details about my dad’s accident, so I was scared that he had been badly injured…or worse. I was terrified and broke down in tears, and as I called my mom to get more information, I found myself feeling so helpless in that I was 4 hours away from home, and I couldn’t be there physically to see how my dad was doing or to continue searching for my dog. So all I did was pray, pray, and pray some more. I journaled and read Daniel and came across Daniel 6:27. God really spoke to me in that He is a god that delivers and rescues and perform signs and wonders on earth and in heaven. I found out a couple of days later that even though the car was totaled, my dad was completely fine, and a friend of a friend found my dog and brought her to the animal shelter. It was then that I realized God was testing my faith and trust in  Him as we experienced these storms together. Though those experiences were difficult and hard, God was so, so, so good. I saw God work through these storms, and I saw myself clinging closer to Him, trusting that He would provide in my time of need. —

I saw that when all 3 parts of my life overlapped (ministry, organization, school) life got REALLY crazy. It was hard to manage my time, to get rest, and to invest in each thing full heartedly. Life was crazy. But through it all, God was constant, He was so good to me, and He provided in ways that I would never have imagined with school, ministry, organization stuff, and even in my relationships.

You see, I’ve wanted a boyfriend since maybe late middle school because everyone around me had one or had a “thing” with someone and though I’ve had many “things” with guys, I’ve never been in an actual relationship with someone before. I always told myself, and other people, that I wasn’t going to jump into any relationship but that I would think and pray A LOT because since it would be my first, I wanted to make sure I was entering for the right reasons and that it would be a good relationship. I came up with this mentality because I’ve heard way too many stories about fallen relationships with guys that just weren’t right for my friends, so naturally, I wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I found that through all my “things” that I had, there was a lot of insecurities about myself that formed or previous struggles about my identity and self-worth that were amplified as a result of these “things” I had with different guys. Especially after last year’s fiasco, I put up a huge barricade to cover all the other walls that I had built up. I told my friends that I just wanted a guy who would chase after my heart and make me feel like I’m worth pursuing and fighting for. I even told people that I was so done with guys and how I was okay if I was single for the rest of undergrad. Lo and behold, God was working. The friendship that my now boyfriend and I had when we first met developed over the year as we got to know each other more. We didn’t realize it at first, but we concluded that we unconsciously liked each other for what was probably a long time. I’ll spare you the details, haha, but basically we were just chatting one night and we somehow ended up defining our relationship. As we unraveled all of our past interactions together, it became clear to us that we really enjoyed each others’ company and that we had unintentionally become “more than friends”. Before the end of the night, he told me he wanted to pursue me and tell me his testimony. When I first played around with the idea of dating him back in November, I thought to myself there’s no way he would like me or I would like him, and when we DTR’d in January, I questioned whether or not I did like him because I wasn’t sure. As I was praying for God to tell me if I should enter into this relationship or not, a big thing that was made clear to me was when my now boyfriend said, out of the blue, “Also, I really like your heart”. He had never heard me say that before, and it was then that I was like “Oh man. Okay God, is this for real? Is what I have been praying for so long actually happening?” I was still a little reluctant to enter because frankly, I was scared. I was scared to tear down all those walls I had built up, scared to get hurt again, scared to let someone into my life and all my struggles and insecurities, but with six months nearing, it has been a huge blessing to have him in my life. As I reflect on our relationship, I see how God has worked in both of our lives as individuals and as a couple, and I see how God-given this relationship is. Though the hardest part about being in a relationship is probably experiencing struggles together, it is also so rewarding to overcome those struggles together with God working in the middle of it all.

Anyway, the point of this whole post is a lot has happened this past year, and as I look back and reflect on this year, I’ve seen God work in my life and through me too. I have seen God challenge me through doing Bible study for church, through all aspects of ministry, and just experiencing life in general. Through it all though, God has been so good to me and has blessed me with friends and family who care very deeply about me — people who care about my well-being both spiritually and physically. I now know why birthdays have always meant so much to me, and it’s because I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me too. I’m reminded of how God has worked in each of those relationships and how God has blessed me with such a loving community and true friends who will drive up 4 hours to celebrate my birthday with me. I’m reminded of God’s love that is shown through each of my friends and family members and just how ultimately good God is. 21 is a big deal, not just because I can legally drink now hahah, but because I’m nearing adulthood. I’m one step closer to entering the “real world”, and I’m that much closer to making many more steps in the wrong direction as I’m finding my place in the world. But hey, here’s to 21! Here’s to many more memories, adventures, and lessons to learn from this crazy journey called life.

twenty-one

being a teen

Let me tell you, birthday parties are hard. Growing up, I always had my dance school friends, my church friends, my school friends, and my friends that weren’t in any of those groups present at all of my parties, and it was always so hard to be a good hostess. Naturally, my friends would only stay within their own group which then forced me to jump from group to group to make sure I was able to interact with everyone, and if I spent too much time in a particular group, my dad would pull me aside and tell me that I needed to talk to a group that I hadn’t talked to in a while. As a kid, that was super stressful for me.

In late middle school and early high school, my parties still had little cliques here and there, but what made these birthday parties stressful were my guests. You know when it’s your birthday and your friends are all there to celebrate your special day, how you just want to be the center of attention? No? Hm, maybe it’s just me. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve actually never liked nor do I like being the center of attention, but at that age…I did. It was my special day, and I wanted everything to be about me. (Yeah I know…so selfish, right?) But naturally, you know, when someone else takes and eats the first piece of cake or when your friends decide to do their own thing somewhere else in the house while everyone else is playing games upstairs or when no one wants to play what you want to play or when someone decides to throw a fit and ruin the mood for everyone (or you know…steals your thunder), you’d get upset! (Once again…maybe it’s just me) But let me tell you, I sure as heck got upset, and as sad as this may sound, I even cried at a few of my birthday parties because I was so frustrated that things weren’t going my way (fun fact: I cry when I get extremely frustrated). Now I know that may sound like I have the “princess syndrome”, but this was a time in my life where if things didn’t go as how I had planned it, I kind of freaked out (hehe, oops).

Anyway, things got better as I got older (thank God), but I think that also came with the fact that as the years passed, some of my friends and I just grew apart sooooo I just didn’t invite them (yeah, yeah, call me a jerk but I’m sure you did it too!). You see, when I was a sophomore in high school, I wanted to form a community with these group of girls, and it was great! We were all pumped for it and super down for our little community to blossom, but as the year went on, nothing happened. It wasn’t anything what I had hoped it would be, and frankly, I was disappointed and really sad. That year was also when I burned out physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and it was during my junior year that God kind of forced me to be in solitude so that I could rest. It was also during my year of rest where I found out what it really meant to call someone a true friend. Friends that I knew I could rely on for the rest of my life. Friends that I knew who would actually be there through the thick and thin. Friends who knew me better than anyone else. Friends that I knew who would be there until the end. So naturally, my birthday parties looked a little different. Some of my friends in the different groups started to overlap at this point, so instead of having four groups, I just had one. Therefore, the group was a lot smaller, everyone was super chill (no divas), and it was just great. I figured, why not just have a chill hangout with my close friends where we just so happen to celebrate my birthday. For example, on my one of my birthdays, we watched the midnight premiere of Spider-Man, and the year after, we watched the midnight premiere of one of the Despicable Me movies. See? Super chill.

Then I got into college, and it was still super chill. I invited my Christian ministry friends, the same ole crew from the year before, and we had a jolly good time. Played volleyball, ate dinner, chilled. Boom and done.

And then…this year. Weeks leading up to my birthday were super stressful. A lot of my ministry friends live in a different city but a few of them had told me they were thinking about coming down for my birthday, and I thought “Wow! They’re going to drive all that way just to celebrate my birthday with me? I’m so touched”. There were also a few friends in other cities who weren’t sure if they were coming down either, so as my birthday drew closer, I honestly didn’t know what to do. As a person who loves to plan and organize things, I was caught in a dilemma. I didn’t know who to invite because I didn’t know who was going to be back in town or not, but then if I created a Facebook event and invited everyone who said they might come but end up not being able to come, well then, that sucks because I didn’t want them to feel bad for not being able to come or experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out). Then there was also the struggle of not knowing what to do because I didn’t know who exactly was coming down or not, so I didn’t know how many people to expect. It might have seemed like a really stupid problem, but I was also caught in this weird position of wanting to invite more people (people I wasn’t necessarily super close with) because I didn’t want them to feel excluded since they knew I was celebrating my birthday with friends and whatnot. Sure, I might have made this problem more complicated than it needed to be, but I hate being exclusive. I didn’t want people to feel left out or hurt that I didn’t invite them, but I was reminded that it was my birthday after all and that I should do whatever I want to do. It was then that I was reminded of my constant struggle of being a people pleaser. I’ve gotten a lot better at it, but it slips out every once in a while. Exhibit A: Forming this year’s guest list.

Anywho, despite the stress beforehand, the party was great. I didn’t have much planned because I honestly just wanted to be in the company of my good friends on my birthday, so it was funny when my friends asked me what else I had planned for the night because all I said was “I don’t know. We can do whatever we want” which then they replied with, “Well it’s your birthday…what do you want to do?” I’ve noticed I’m a lot less selfish than how I was before because I didn’t have the mentality of “It’s my birthday, and I want to do this“, it was the fact that I honestly didn’t know what to do for my birthday because I just wanted to be with my friends. All in all, we just chilled at my house afterwards, played games, ate cake, watched me open presents (LOL), and everything was just super chill. One thing that I did take from all of these birthday parties is that I’m super thankful for my friends from the past and in the present. (:

And so another year passed, and I’m another year older. Maybe I’m growing more chill and laid back as the years go by or maybe I’m maturing! (Hahah well I hope so anyway) Who knows. But here’s to a start of a great year!

To many more mishaps, mistakes, and adventures…to no longer being a teen, cheers.

being a teen

Expecting the Worst.

dogsEver since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted a dog, and of course, my parents would always say no. They would tell me over and over again how I wasn’t ready to take care of a dog (or maybe deep inside, they really didn’t want one), but it wasn’t until I was in 4th grade where one of my mom’s patients’ dog gave birth to a litter of puppies. He asked me if I wanted one and told my mom that he would give us a puppy for free to thank her for doing such a great job as his physical therapist. My mom then told me that since I don’t have a sister and my two older brothers had each other that I could have a dog to have as my playmate. She then went on about the different responsibilities that came with owning a dog, but I didn’t care. I was overjoyed that I finally had someone to play with. A year later, my dog passed away because she had a hyperactive heart (or so that’s what PetSmart told us). In hope of cheering me up, my parents sought out to buy me a new dog and so began our journey in finding me another furry little friend.

A month passed. My mom and I had gone to almost every pet store we could think of, yet we couldn’t find a dog that we both wanted. After what seemed to be a dead end, my mom and I decided to go to a flea market where a breeder was advertising a littler of puppies, and it was at that flea market where I found and chose my little fluff ball of a friend, Candy. If you’ve ever met her, you’ll know we’re quite similar. We’re crazy, energetic, curious about the world, always excited to meet people, and always wanting to sleep. As we both get older, I’m finding myself having to face the hard truth that Candy is slowly reaching the end of her time here on Earth, so now whenever something out of the ordinary happens to her, I find myself expecting the worst so that I can mentally and emotionally start preparing myself for what’s to come.

Now, I understand all of this sounds really depressing (it got me a little teary-eyed just thinking about it), so I apologize if I just dampened your day (heh, my b). But there’s a perfectly good reason why I’m blogging about this, I promise! Here, let me give you a little back story for this post.

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Within the 9 years that I’ve had Candy, she’s eaten grapes, foil, chicken bones, and chocolate. She’s had a yeast infection in her ear, a really bad allergic reaction to flea bites, she’s hyperventilated before, and she’s had an episode of weird behavior. I also spent 2 hours looking for my lost dog one Thanksgiving Day (you can ask me about that if you’d like). Now if you’re not a dog owner, you’re probably thinking “Okay…what’s the big deal?”, but if you ARE a dog owner, you’re probably thinking “Oh my goodness, your dog should be dead, and you’re an awful person.” Yeah, you’re right, she should probably be dead or have been hospitalized or something because dogs aren’t allowed to eat grapes, chicken bones, or chocolate, and I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed to eat tin foil either.

My dog is a very curious creature, always sniffing, always wandering around, always eating things she’s not supposed to eat. Thankfully, I always catch her in time to prevent her from indulging on more of these poisonous snacks, and thankfully she threw up all of those chicken bones. Of course, after I’ve realized she’s eaten something that’s harmful to her, I literally freak the living crap out of everything, but she’s fine and has always been fine afterwards. These little incidences happened in our early years together, and well, now I just keep all of those things and more away from her. Also, just because I feel like this post makes me look really bad…I’M A GOOD OWNER, I PROMISE. I love her very, very much.

Anywho, so this episode of weird behavior. She was closing her eyes while she was sitting straight up as if she was about to fall over, she ignored the pieces of apple that we were giving her (she loves apples), and she didn’t come to me when I sat a few feet away from her. I was, of course, freaking the crap out because everything she was doing was so out of the ordinary. My mom and I went and bought some soft dog food because we thought it’d be easier to eat and digest later, and when we gave it to her, she scarfed it down and felt better immediately afterwards. We just figured maybe she was weak from a lack of energy…who knows.

In all of these different little freak out moments though, I expected the worst. I feared that whatever she had consumed or whatever was happening to her body would be the end of her furry little life. Sure, I could be optimistic about the situation, which I was, but I couldn’t help but prepare myself for the worst possible outcome there could be just in case it actually did happen. Thankfully, she’s been perfectly fine after each of these incidences, but as we’re both getting older, I’m growing more weary of that dreadful day where her tiny little heart decides to just stop beating.

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A few days ago, I noticed that Candy was scratching her ear a lot, and she seemed extremely uncomfortable. I flipped open her ear to take a look at it, and I saw some brown gunk deep in her ear canal. I also noticed some weird brown splotches of skin while I was petting her one day too. After I checked her ear, I figured that I should just do a body check, so I took a look at her teeth which turned out to be a little discolored which is not healthy. Naturally, I started freaking out because well…she’s getting older, and now that I’m older, I’m thinking more and more about that dreadful, ominous day.

In my eagerness to try to fix my little bugger, I used a Q-tip to try to get some of the gunk out of her ear, and I brushed her teeth with toothpaste in attempt to clean her teeth. After I had used the Q-tip and the toothpaste, I had a bad feeling that what I had just done was probably not the best idea, and Google later confirmed shortly after that using both of those items can be harmful to a dog. Then I thought, “Great. I am literally the best dog owner ever. Someone give me an award”. Now, in hindsight, I should’ve googled all of that before I did anything, but I didn’t which was totally my fault. Before that though, I googled everything that was wrong with my dog (such a bad idea) which only freaked me out even more because Google gave me gum disease, skin disease, and everything in between. I then turned to my dad and told him in my frantic and worried state, “I think Candy needs to go to the vet”.

I made the appointment, and we went to the vet today. People say dogs hate going to the vet, but let me tell you, I hate going to the vet. It is seriously the worst feeling waiting for the doctor to come in or to return from checking on something or even while they’re telling you what’s going on with your pet. It is literally the worst feeling ever. I was expecting the worst. I was expecting the vet to say something totally crazy that would potentially end my dog’s life. I was terrified. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want her to go away anytime soon. Not. At. All. I’m just at the point in our relationship where I’m preparing myself for the day of her inevitable death. I’m simply just expecting the worst.

Also, if you’re ever there with me when that day comes…I’m terribly sorry and am apologizing in advance because no matter how much I prepare myself now, I’m still going to be an emotional hot mess. Just sayin’.

Expecting the Worst.