Closure

In the past year, I haven’t had much time to really sort out my thoughts. Perhaps I just didn’t take the time. I also noticed that my way of thinking has been jumbled lately. My sentences don’t make much sense. I’m easily angered… not angered, more aggravated. But I’m sitting here in the airport with nothing but time… and I need to write this out.

In the past year, I lost a friend… a neighbor whom I grew to adore. She was older, but my boys respected her. She tutored them. And we could confide in each other. She was an alcoholic. I took a week-long vacation. Towards the end of my vacation, she called me constantly. It annoyed me, so I didn’t pick up. Next thing I hear, she passed away from alcohol poisoning. I felt responsible for not being there at her point of desperation. I was annoyed while she tried to reach out. Sincere folks tried to tell me not to feel responsible.  But I know if I had the chance to talk to her now, she would probably tell me I should have answered the phone.  I miss her laugh.  She had an incredible laugh.  My teenagers loved her dry sense of humor.  I loved her sincere heart.

Since then, I tried to stay in contact with those around me. Priorities shifted to people first, then tasks. I visited my best friend in Atlanta. It worked out so conveniently because I often had to travel there for work. So, I got to see her regularly. She was not just a regular person. She had a big personality, so friendly and outgoing. She would tell people exactly what she thought… about anything. She didn’t sugar coat – but the way she said things, drew people towards her. She was opposite of shy, quiet me. I was proud to call her my best friend. She had some medical issues, but nothing serious. But, one day, her fiancé called to say she needed me. She was sick and recovering from surgery. That same day I flew up to surprise her. I took care of her that night and morning. We talked a little. She hugged my baby. We talked about her baby. And then I flew back home. We didn’t know that a few weeks later, she’d be gone. I told her I’d see her in a few weeks. But I didn’t. She had cancer. And the cancer spread faster than I could fly back up to see her. It’s been 5 months. And I still cry. I can’t think of a day when I don’t think of her or hear her singing my name. Or when a song comes on we used to sing in the hallways of Kennedy High School. My heart hurts as I desperately relive all our memories in my head, so I’ll never forget. Sometimes I have dreams and she’s right there. I hug her, feel her arm. And it’s like she’s really here. Then I wake up feeling revived. Then a couple days pass…. And today I’m back to missing her.

Some people never say “good bye”. They always say “see you later”. That’s what I said to my 2 friends. I told my neighbor, “See you in a week“. I told my best friend, “See you in a few weeks”. But my heart hurts I wished I could have said goodbye. I wished I could have told them how much they meant to me. I wish I could have hugged them one more time.

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Typecasting the Black Sheep

I feel like I’ve written this blog post before.  If I have, I apologize… or perhaps it’s a recurring circumstance in which I cannot escape. 

I’ve lived in Orlando for 15 years, born and raised in Seattle.  A long way from home.  What brought me here?  Well, I usually give 1 of 2 answers: To most, I give the generic “we had an awesome Disney World vacation and decided to stay” and for the chosen few (and you, my dear readers) I explain how I was a young mom who married her drug-dealing, illegal-alien, teenage-crush and needed a fresh new start.  In a nutshell.

Both stories are versions of the truth. The fact that I’ve moved across the county, away from family, a full support system, and stable life has defined me in ways I’d never dreamed of as an antsy teenager.  Never mind the daddy issues.  I will never deny that I am ‘one of them’.  But, there’s something to be said of the 15 years I’ve worked, sweated, strained, cried, and fought to get to where I am – a normal suburban mom.

Still.

Whenever, I visit home – Every time I visit Seattle.  I can’t escape my typecast: The Black Sheep

I try to see my family once a year, at first, it was OK.  I gave into my label.  I knew I made mistakes and work had to be done.  Of course, I was in my early twenties, so I was also very naive and yielding.

As years passed, I made steps in my career, got married, bought and built a stable home.  And today, 15 years later, my visit is still plagued with comments such as “your sister tells her sons not to end up like you” and “you’ve made so many bad choices, it’s impressive your boys are so good.”  To all of these remarks, I smile and nod.  I politely agree, “yes I don’t want them to end up like me.” Because, of course, that is how a good Asian daughter responds, right?

But, I just want to be normal – like I feel when I’m home – in Orlando.  I want my parents to hug and smile at me the way they do my sisters.  I don’t want them to have to question my decisions.  I want so badly for them to trust that I’m normal.  Despite the hard work, I’m here… Now.  I’m a normal suburban chic.  Just like my sisters.  Just like they intended to raise me.

The Joy of Decaf

CAM00040Right out of high school, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant called Shari’s.  For those unfamiliar with the chain, it’s like a Denny’s or Perkins.  My main duties were to greet people with a smile, seat them, bring them water, and ask if they wanted anything else to drink.  Coffee was the drink of choice.  Might have been because we were in the heart of Coffee-Town: The Greater Seattle Area. But, my guess is that coffee would have been THE answer whether we were in Seattle, in our adopted home of Orlando, or anywhere in between.

Very rarely, would I hear a request for decaffeinated coffee.

The coffee snob in me would think, decaf?? Why in the world would anyone want decaf when they could have the real deal! I’m picturing myself saying this with a villainous tone, hands raised up, shaking (from caffeine-overload)

There were some exceptions to my rant here such as those who need to cut back on caffeine for health reasons.  But for those who “look like coffee drinkers” (yes, I guess I’m stereotyping here), the word “decaf” may trigger a smirk on my face just for a micro-second until I can regain my composure.  MY idea of “coffee drinkers” would look like fun-looking people, smart-looking people, anyone older than 17…. they all get a decaf-requesting-smirk…. and of course, if you’re going to get a coffee drink without the caffeine,  why not get something obviously different? Like juice??

 If I could give my early-twenties self any useful advice, I would tell her (nicely, because I am a feisty one), “instead of smirking, smile, and maybe offer a hug.”

My older, wiser, infertility-struggling self now knows better now to even THINK of judging a decaf drinker!  Because a Decaf Drinker is not a weak one! She may be holding on to her last bit of the fun life she had BEFORE she started fertility treatments.  She has already given up wine (another vice that grape juice just won’t EVER mount up to), girl time (because her meds are driving her bonkers), and zumba (if she’s going through IVF, her doctor has told her to lay low for a bit)!  The ONLY thing she has left is a drink that TASTES like coffee!

So decaf drinkers, be proud! You have found something to fill that little hole in your morning routine.  And one day, hopefully one day soon – you will reunited with your beloved drink of choice: Regular Medium Roasted Caffeinated Coffee.

Holiday Blahs

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…. I’ve truly neglected my blog.  But a lot has happened over the past year – some I just can’t begin to writhe about…. yes, I meant “writhe“…. others I would love to share (and I will make sure to update my Empty Nester’s Bucket List).

So, as far as the good stuff:

Over the summer we took a road trip to New Orleans. It was awesome, fun & exhausting… I MUST write about it before the year ends!

I got promoted in my job! Something I’ve wanted, but didn’t know how to do…

Started a Mary Kay business. Phew, owning a business is Hard Work but surely has it’s rewards!

As far as the writhing, here’s a brief synopsis:

No buns in the oven yet.

Lot’s of difficulties in our marriage – can I call it the Terrible Two’s?

And, ’tis the season for the Holiday Blahs…..

I know for sure I’m not the only one who experiences holiday blues.  And everyone has their own reason why…. this is my reason.  Not sure if I’ve written before that I moved across the country at the age of 19.  With my (ex)-husband, and 2 babies.  But, let me just go back in some history – after all, this is my blog, and I’ve committed to be entirely transparent in my writing. When I was about 6 or 7, I was in love with my Dad.  As any youngest daughter, I was completely fascinated with my dad, I wanted to be an engineer like him, “we” had a song (“It Might Be You” from Tootsie), “we” had a favorite restaurant (Arby’s)..the list goes on.  I was truly a Daddy’s Girl.  And to this day I can still remember as vividly as it was yesterday, my dad bringing me to the Seattle Center to walk around and pick up fall leaves… we put the leaves in a photo album (the kind where you peel off the top layer of plastic, then place the photos on the sticky side of the page).. that dreaded day.. my Daddy told me he was moving away and I was not going with him.  My parents were not getting divorced. And looking back, I’ve wondered if it was just the times that kept them together. The word “divorce” was still taboo. But, all I knew was that my Daddy was moving away. I recall the night my dad left, I ran under the kitchen table and cried my eyes out and my mom yelled at me to stop crying. It was the hardest time of my life. Months passed and the times my dad came home were for maybe an evening and I didn’t get to see him.  He spent the time with my mom..then left early the next morning. Not sure how long my dad was gone (2, 3, 4, 5 years??) Not sure… but it seemed like an eternity but he came back… and then he left again… and then he came back. My mom tried her best to take care of my sisters and me.  But I didn’t know any better, she wasn’t very affectionate, so I looked to my friends to “get away” from the home I loathed so much.  By then – my teenage years – I grew to push people away. Especially my dad.  And especially the people I loved the most.

A couple years after I graduated high school, my (ex) husband and I decided to move across the country. At that time, I was done with Seattle.  My family back home meant nothing to me… as I thought I meant nothing to them.  But, now, 15 years later, they mean everything to me… and I still mean nothing to them. I call, text, email, connect on Facebook.  But get little response. I try to send gifts, but get little response.  What I have done and said to push my family away …worked.  So, the holidays are the hardest for me.  It starts with my mom, nephew, & sisters’ birthdays all wrapped up into the fall season.  Then as the holidays roll around, I get to see pictures of their get-togethers and family events posted online.

While I get to enjoy my own family of 4, it is most difficult to get into the holiday spirit… Outwardly, I decorate the house, cook the big meals, take lots of pictures.. but inwardly, I want to sleep the winter away…  I pray to God who mends all broken people to heal me and my relationship with my family.

If you, too, have the holiday blues.. I pray that you find those who love you and hold them close.. and if you find no one – seek them.  Seek a church, a network of people, a meetup group, get connected.. WE will get through this..

Florida

Ahhhh…. Florida… Fresh Orange Juice, Sunshine, Beaches, Football, Theme Parks…and One Big Gigantic Elephant. They say… elephants never forget… and boy, oh, boy I could not agree more.  I love Florida, but my head hurts right now.  No, I’m not even going to speak on the Sanford case(s)… you know what I’m talking about.  I just needed somewhere to share my thoughts freely… and since I know none of you personally, I think, it would not matter to me if you agree with me or not.

Do you know where I’m going with this??

I was recently on Facebook, reading comments to articles that have recently been posted. Having no opinion on the articles, themselves, I scrolled down to find out what others might have to say.. Being a blog reader, you probably have done the same, I assume.. It never fails, anything that has to do with an African American citizen… ANYTHING… is followed by hundreds of degrading, derogatory, and outright racist comments.  The thing is, I noticed one of the commenters was the cab driver that takes my son to his golf practice every week.  This man, who answers the phone “yes ma’am”, “how are you doing ma’am”, very politely comes across as a completely different person online.  How is it, that we can greet the people we meet with a smile, then turn to the computer and bare our ugly souls to people we think we will never meet in person?

I’m not White nor Black… but it hurts my heart to know that everyday normal-looking people, people I might wave to when I pass them in the hallway.. may have some dark, bitter way of thinking when they look at me, my children… or my husband… or (hopefully, one day) my future bi-racial baby.

I feel sad… My heart hurts.. The “Happiest Place on Earth” is just a façade, friends… And it feels like that big elephant is not going anywhere.

Super Sonics Dancer Dreams

What are your dreams??

I’ve recently had a conversation with my 14-year old son… what do you want to be when you grow up?  His answer: a football player or music producer.  My first thought was, he’s getting too old to be “dreaming” .  What came out of my mouth was, “what is your ‘Plan B’?”

Now, what an awful thing to say, isn’t it?  “What is your Plan B??”  What a tarnished, grown-up, lousy response to a young, fresh-minded dreamer!

After all, I’ve had some pretty cool dreams in my school years..  In Elementary School, I remember watching my big sister with her High School Dance Team.  They were SO cool, with their big hair and sequined outfits dancing to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation.  My best friend and I watched in admiration and plotted to be Dance Team Captains when we got into high school!  And we did…..  It was awesome!  WE had our own dance moves, our own style, outfits, and higher dreams to be Super Sonic Dancers!

In my Junior Year, I was all set for college.  I wanted to study Engineering (like my Dad).  Excited for my future, I had pretty good grades and was active in the community. And I was getting ready to start applying for scholarships…

Then, the summer going into my Senior Year, everything happened so quickly.  I reconnected with my first “crush” – in an October flurry, I found out I was pregnant. One thing after another, after another, and after another… dreams started turning into goals, goals started turning into to-do lists, to-do lists started turning into tasks… and tasks started turning into responsibilities…. know what I mean?

Now, 16 years later, obviously, I’m not a Super Sonics Dancer (here’s to hoping we get our team back, someday!) and I’m not an Engineer…. However, I did manage to put myself through college. I have a decent job, nice little home, family, and pets.  But, that vision and anticipation for what the future may hold has singed by … what can I say…. “LIFE”!

Graduation 2004 (Just Me and My Boys)

Graduation 2004 (Just Me and My Boys)

Will my son make big mistakes?  Will he have huge hurdles in obtaining his dreams?  No doubt, YES.  But, he’ll at least have the chances I never had to, at least, try.  Why let the obstacles I’ve encountered – though my own faulty decisions – affect my view of my children’s future?  It shouldn’t.

So, here’s to joining my son in his dream to become a football player, a music producer.. a TV star, a drummer, a break dancer (do they still have those?) whatever he wants to do!

And as for my own dreams… I am choosing right now to re-evaluate my vision.  Forget about that 5-year-plan! I just want to dream.. My dancing days are over, folks… no Orlando Magic Girl left in me… but, perhaps, instead of being a dancer, I can start that business I’ve always wanted.  Or own that “that’s my car” type of car, I’ve had my eye on.  Who cares what stage of life we’re in… we NEED to dream.  We need the anticipation of what the future holds..  and it’s there for all of us…  What do you want to be when you “grow up”? 

Slacker

I’ve been neglecting my blog…  In my head, not so much. I’ve had things I’ve wanted to write about almost every day.  But, time flies so fast and now it’s been 4 months since my last post and I have so much to say!  In 4 months:

Infertility: We have tried.  I took the last round of fertility meds I stored in my closet from before our hiatus in September.  Needless to say, no news to report.  We are still trying, naturally.

Empty Nest Bucket List:  I’d like to report some progress in this area! I have a lot of updates to my bucket list… and a family road trip coming up.  More to write!

Newlywed/Marriage:  Yesterday, June 23rd, was our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary!  I give all long-term married couples HUGE kudos and welcome ANY marriage advice you can give.  Year 1 was very difficult… and Year 2 was hard work!  I can say that our love for each other is stronger.  But I am gearing myself up for Year 3… let the battle (for a love-filled lasting marriage) begin!

I promise myself I will write more this week, lots to say and lots to read… can’t wait to catch up on with my fellow bloggers.