Closing Out 2015

Closing Out 2015

With the imminent end of another year coming closer by the second, as usual it calls for moments of reflection. What did I do/accomplish? Who did I become? Did I achieve the goals that I set for myself in the beginning of the year? Have I remained stagnant or am I closer to figuring out what this whole thing called life is about? There are probably a million question marks, a million moments to relive, and a million of everything in between.  But there is one thing I am certain of: I am not the person I was a year ago (cliché line that needed to be said). Compared to other years, this statement holds an unexpected weight, one that was not there before. But instead of comparing and contrasting the me that entered the year 2015 and the me that is leaving it behind, it is probably best to express these changes through a list. Yes, the oh-too-cliché list of “things I’ve learned about myself this year.” But here goes anyways.

  • Don’t worry, love will come. I entered this year with the belief that I would find a soul compatible with my own. I firmly held onto the idea that, as long as I put forth an adequate amount of effort, things would work out. But without the perfect timing or that initial spark, a romantic relationship would not work out no matter how hard I tried. At least it seemed that way to me. So in the end, I became obsessive, jealous, needy and afraid, and everything fell to pieces; from my mentality to my emotional stability, it seemed that everything was sort of a mess. However, as the optimist I try to be, I believed (and keep on believing) that love will come. Maybe it wasn’t yesterday, maybe it wasn’t today, and maybe it won’t be tomorrow, but it will eventually come for me. This year I actively (and inactively) searched for love but was unable to find the one that I desired. And that’s the keyword: desired.
  • Even monsters want to be called beautiful. When thinking about the term “monster,” the word beautiful is definitely far from the list. The same thing can be said about scars. The scars that we have are a reminder of past wounds; some are physical that take permanent residence on our skin and others are formed within, those that reside in our heart and our mind. But I have learned to appreciate these monsters, these scars embedded onto my being. I have accepted that my brokenness is a part of who I am. I am in a constant battle with these monsters. I am in a constant debate on whether or not I should embrace these scars or if I should cover them up. But at the end of the day, this is me. And if I can’t think my monsters, my scars, are beautiful then how should I expect someone else to think that way about me?
  • Every victory is important. I never knew the importance of this statement until this year. But each and every victory is important. Whether it was getting out of bed, deciding to go out and socialize with other people, smiling even when it felt like I had nothing to smile about, I count these as victories. These victories serve as a reminder that I am moving forward to a better version of myself. They may seem small to other people, but they mean the world to me.

Of course, I had more in mind and I still do. But I think these three will suffice. In a lot of ways, 2015 was a hard year. It involved a lot of internal fighting, a lot of picking myself back up, a lot of allowing other people to help me pick myself back up. In short, it was a struggle; a struggle to convince myself to stand where I am today and to realize my significance. Sure, some people may argue that everyone has their own problems. Some people may use the argument that there are “people who have it harder than you.” But it is never in good taste to invalidate someone else’s struggle. I am the main protagonist in my life story, as you to your own. I am a lost soul in search of a permanent home. And I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. So thank you for being hard on me, 2015. Thank you.

Being Afraid of the “L” Word

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We all know this word. Some people adore it, others are disgusted by even a single thought of it. It can invite people in or it can drive them away – sometimes in tears. And if someone does mention this word, I’m sure one, if not a few, visual images come into our mind. If you thought of a lizard, then I applaud you for such creativity. But unfortunately, this “L” word that I’m talking about is not a lizard; it’s love.

Love is talked about all over social media, written in books and blog posts, and even a topic of conversation in our daily lives. Love can be found everywhere the eye can see and is sometimes hard to ignore. Even when I was once a prepubescent teenager I was enamored by the very idea of “love” and how much I would love to have someone to share that feeling of love with. And now at 23 years old, I still feel that way about the “L” word – only sometimes, though.

I use the word sometimes because I have come to be afraid of the “L” word. Like many, I’ve experienced my fair share of heartbreak in the form of actual break-ups, missed opportunities, and one-sided crushes. It can be difficult bouncing back from the shattered pieces of what you thought was love. Now, it is nothing more than spilled milk waiting to be cleaned up from the floor, counter, or where ever it spilled. And as the saying goes, “There’s no use in crying over spilled milk.” However, I never really followed that meaning with vindication and still managed to cry over the-said “spilled milk.”

Now, many of you may be wonder what was the condition of this milk, how did it spill, and so on. To give you the full details would take hours, possibly days, maybe even three or four more blog posts. But to keep short and sweet, there were three incidents that caused me to develop a fear of the “L” word.

  1. She was my first love. And she was also my first unrequited love. Some may classify it differently, but I believe in my heart that I loved her. I confessed to her many times and asked her to be my girlfriend, but unfortunately she would always so no. I always had a feeling that something could happen, however, nothing actually did. Then in college I found out she wouldn’t date me because if she did, she thought that would be it and she would eventually settle for me. Ouch.
  2. My second love. This occurred in the middle of high school and we met through a friend. But we only started “talking” to each other a year later – via Myspace (Let the judgement commence). Although she didn’t agree to be my girlfriend, we dated for about nine months. I honestly thought we were doing fine, and then she suddenly drops a bomb: “I think we should just be friends.” Cue snippets of (500) Days of Summer. Agreement, emptiness, another girlfriend, realization that I still loved my second love, a not-so-sweet ending that ended in her hating me. Double ouch.
  3. My official third love. We met during my study abroad period in Korea. We got into a Korean drama-esque love rectangle: I liked her, she liked our friend and our friend had a girlfriend. We went on a date but I know the feelings weren’t mutual. At least she gave me a chance and we all still managed to remain as international friends. Less severe, yet still ouch.

Now, I have had pleasant encounters with love in the form of family and friends. But now when I think about the intimate love that is shared between two significant others, that frightens me. These incidents made me fall into a belief that if the feeling isn’t mutual then I should just pack up, leave, and return to my castle of solitude without even attempting to court the person I’m interested in. Some people may criticize me for thinking this way and that’s okay. I would also like to note I do not regret falling in love with these wonderful individuals. With their help I was able to learn more about myself, think differently about various aspects of life, and encouraged me to keep searching for my own form of happiness. All these good things happened along with the bad.

I also believe that being afraid of the “L” word has a few perks. I have grown to be more cautious. When I realize I’m interested in someone, I take some time to confirm whether my feelings are real or just a momentary attraction towards that person. Do I see myself in a relationship with them? Or do I just want to kiss them and feel their body pressed up against mine? Another perk that comes with being afraid is that I am able to put other facets of my life as a priority. No significant other means I can focus on bettering myself physically, academically, and even spiritually and mentally. What do I want out of life? What kind of person do I want to be for the next person I give my heart to?

But at the end of the day, I am still afraid of the “L” word, something that would be nice to share with someone that isn’t a family or friend. I’ve found it difficult opening up, to practically anyone, after developing so many counter-measures to ensure that I am unable to experience any form of heartbreak ever again. It’s scary and nerve-wracking and sometimes a little short of frightening. But I am not afraid to admit that I am afraid of the “L” word-or more so, I am afraid of falling back in love. Why bother if I’m going to be hurt all over again, right? But even though I am afraid of the whole concept of love, I also believe that love is out there; it’s tangible and real, vibrant, and brings never-ending joy. I just have yet to find the right opportunity. So to everyone else who is afraid of this thing called love, let’s all hope and believe that we will find it; maybe not soon, but eventually. So keep hoping, keep dreaming, and keep on loving even if it’s the thing you’re afraid of the most.