Changes

I am now nineteen and I’ve flown around the world and done things many people only dream of. I’ve managed to make people laugh, cry, smile, and get frustrated. I myself have found myself in those situations. In the past few months I’ve done a lot of growing up, realized what pain was, and held onto those I cared about. They held me up when I needed it the most.

The past few months have been a complete struggle for me. There was no moment where I never asked myself if I should quit now and leave, go back to who I was. There were moments where I pretended I was okay but I really wasn’t. I kept telling myself that people prayed for me and knew I could do it but I kept falling down and struggled to get back up. People helped me up, but I kept getting scared and forgetting my own strength. But despite the fear I smiled and found humor in the situation.

“Mem, you are resilient and that will be your greatest ally in your life.” Says a man I truly respect on the last day I was there. The changes are now set forth, and suddenly I feel lighthearted and stronger.

In my moment of weakness I found myself. I found humor in any situation that was given to me and spread it like an infection in an environment that tended to crush souls. Humor doesn’t transfer well on paper, but, at least it sticks in memory forever.

It never mattered who I was or where I came from, what I wanted to be or what I ended up doing. I’m living, breathing and supported by friends and family.

I’m now nineteen years old, still wondering about my future but now feel secure enough to let God lead me. I have a better understanding of myself and I’m still learning. My life and possibilities now seem so endless.

Nostalgia

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I understand the last thing you want to see is a dirty room but this is significant in that all on the floor are being thrown out or donated tomorrow. My walls are clean of clutter, and my body is exhausted, physically and mentally. Having to go through thousands of papers, items and whatnot, filling my head with memories that will be put to better use someplace else or just a memory that will never ever be recalled again.

I’ve had to stop myself a few times to give myself a little cry, it was unreal a few days ago when I saw the twenty-seven angels and I had to say my final goodbye with a smile and behind closed doors I sobbed uncontrollably for thirty minutes, then a party where I had to pretend to smile and be okay, then a few friends who I love and adore. All of that in one day, and then more parties, more goodbyes I’m surprised I’m even standing now after all of the tears. I’ve never been much of an emotional person (although recently, I’ve been more emotional than ever, mostly because of circumstances) but this is definitely going to be the most emotional week of my life.

“You are forever responsible for what you have tamed.” -Saint Antoine d’Exupery.

It may be narcissistic to say I’ve tamed them all, but I’ve met them, they’ve changed by me, I’ve changed by them. They know me very well, saw me grow, or vanish (in the cases of some friends). In a way I’ve tamed them all and they’ve all tamed me.

In a notebook I wrote down that: “I want to be an artist or a storyboard designer one day.” And next to it a picture of two girls and I’m in the middle. The girl on the left joined the goth-anime club and the other became friends with people “better than me” and decided that I wasn’t fit to be in her clique. For years I’ve struggled with the fact that I was just there and felt lonely and scared, too shy to meet new people.

The other day I was approached by somebody I respect very much, it was a comment about my words, or lack of them:

“Mem, you’re a girl of few words aren’t you?”
“It depends on what those words are.”
She smiled and told me to come closer and she hugged me.
“You’ve changed a lot, what’s happened?”
“lots, lots has happened.”
We talked for a while and she told me,
“I’m glad you’re learning to choose your words and hold your tongue, but at the same time you’re an intelligent girl who has a lot of interesting things to say. Just find the middle ground.”
I laughed.
“Ma’am, if I say so myself, the middle ground is this. My responses are so vague if they want to know more about me they have to find it. I’m not about to give everything away like I used to.”

It’s funny because before all of this, before typing this all up, holding pictures and names, staring, relaxing, crying, texting, saying goodbye. I remembered how I was when I was younger, as my younger self wrote: quiet, innocent, kind, spirited but I forgot to add under confident, and shy. I remembered when I wrote those words and looked at that picture thinking we’d be friends forever and always and we drifted apart while I tried to keep the past with me, they kept the past away from me. I should have gone swimming, but that’s something I have to live with and right now I think I can let go and hope for the world.

Lost in darkness

Oftentimes I find myself in a precarious situation; walking home in the dark with few lights to guide me. I’ve read the story of the bong cheon dong ghost (warning, not for the faint hearted) and walking at night scares me.

I wear a rosary bracelet on my left arm – a nun gave it to me as a debutante gift, I start saying prayers as I find my way back home. I’m not a fully believer of ghosts existing; but I don’t entirely doubt it, I won’t be surprised or angry if I see one unless it attacks me or something. I find comfort in my prayers and continue the dark trek home.

Walking and getting lost in the darkness is really something that I dislike – but I don’t necessarily condone. It brings me to a higher awareness and even though I’m continually assailed with comments such as “God doesn’t exist.” And my mind conforms to human “righteousness” taking this walk reminds me that although the human mind is flawed, as God made it, there is something there, always.

I remember to thank my guardian angel and God for getting me home safe, my eyes large and reflective at the church across the street being the only street light in my immediate area. I finish my rosary and walk back into my house where I’m questioned about my calmness in the darkness from the light of an increasing more violent society.

This post was written in response to the shooting and murders in Connecticut and China respectively. Reading the tragic stories in the news gives me a perspective of how lucky I am and how much I need for remember that I was given a second chance at life.

Wonderful little day

“Sister, I don’t want to go home…” Are the first words I woke up to this morning. I don’t have a sibling living in the house at the moment. There was a five-year-old that I was babysitting and it was such a wonderful way to wake up in the morning.

I dressed and got ready for class. The teacher isn’t there so I will have to teach the class. Last time it was chaos. They overwhelmed me. I say a quick prayer before putting my coat on and walking out of the house and running to church. Hoping that God will provide me with the confidence needed to teach the class.

Well, nothing is ever perfect. I tried, I went, and they learned. Their eyes closing slightly at the early morning speeches and ideas. Then the hugs, and the energy came back and suddenly I felt as if I were somewhat successful. Somewhat.

I went to church, then went to the store to buy a homeless shelter some items. While there I met a newborn. Newly two days old with their parents walking, happy as ever. His small pink fists pressed against his cheeks as he breathes in and out, in and out and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with emotions.

I read a book “Son” by Lois Lowry, which makes me appreciate my mother, despite our differences. The emotions of Lowry and the loss of her son about 17 years ago rang so true through the novel. The reviews aren’t perfect; they never are, but despite the amazing novel “The Giver”, I find myself loving “Son”, even more.

After about two hours, cramped up in the middle of the aisle with cranky parents having to maneuver about my legs, my father calls me and tells me were going to “Rise of the Guardians”. I don’t normally see movies, I’m fidgety and cannot sit still but this movie had me on all three levels:

1) Jack Frost, the idea of him being a thin, long-legged, mischief maker with white hair sold me.
2) the quotes that were in the movie. Don’t ask me what they are now but I do remember I gawked quite a bit.
3) the Easter bunny when nobody believed him… And the sand man. Everytime the Easter bunny talked in his “non-believing mode” I was sobbing from happiness and joy.

And lastly a husbands love for his wife. He had this elaborate set up for his 25th anniversary and his wife fell sick. In short he had a parish involved and her brother to walk her down the aisle for a renewal of vows. But since she fell sick he did it all in the comfort of his house. She cried. He cried. I cried.

I wish days like this could come more often, but it will stay with me forever and ever.

Messages

“Love is just kindness with its working boots on.” –

    The House Bunny

I’ve always been a big reader with a decent memory.
When a situation comes up I’ve been able to recall a quote and instantly a smile spreads through their face like a wildfire and they blush. I wish I was able to spread my words as well and wisely as some authors. Namely Markus Zusak, who is my favorite author.

I’ve read all of his books, once, twice, three times. Hoping that every word stays with me forever and ever and ever and ever. I am jealous of him, but I am thankful for him. As “I am the Messenger” turned out to be a catalyst book for me, it’s aided me in so many projects, including fixing myself.

I am a message.

I am eighteen years old and lived a nomadic life, blessed with two strict, but loving parents, an older sister who is the exact opposite of me, two rambunctious dogs who somehow still love me and a network of friends willing to help me when I fall.

When they fall, I’ve been noticing it myself for: “it is harder to judge yourself than to judge others” (Saint Antoine d’exupery) I can recall words, create my own, and or so many other things that they can smile and laugh and suddenly feel so much better. I feel empowered with words. I feel empowered with the gift of spreading happiness and joy by just being the person God made me to be.

For once, after seeing one of my friends cry. I am thankful for being me. I am thankful for being a message in his life as he was in mine because I believe that:

“Some people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”

– Markus Zusak

Good teacher vs. bad teacher

All my life I’ve been surrounded by teachers. Teachers of all different languages and races because I’ve lived in so many places and so many countries. Never before have I ever truly experienced a good teacher until now, until I decided not to go to college and volunteer with a teacher I know.

This has been the best decision of my life.

I take a role as one of her students, sit at their desk while running copies and doing menial tasks while commenting on some children, some dreams and some themes in their stories. I learn more in her class than in twelve years of schooling. My eyes brim with tears and my mind searches for a way to learn more – yes learn more after attending a fifth grade class seven, eight years later.

I’ve never once had a teacher make me want to learn, make me want to think, make me want to be better. And even at the coffee table discussing one child and a problem that he has, she tells me what I can do to help.

“Mem, you know what the problem is, we’ll fix him like we fixed you.”

“Yes, and I’ll continue to be a good example for him, and let him know we love him while reaching back and letting him grow on his own.”

Teaching is hard. I’m just a volunteer that’s there everyday and I know; I’ve seen it on a teachers face. We discuss the stories, the pictures, the arithmetic, and the lesson plans. How do we approach it in a user friendly way? How do we let them explore with their overbearing parents?

So many questions, so many possible answers. So much love. I hope that my being there will help them change, grow and blossom.