The end of an era, HoytHoytHoyt! (A bit late)

This is a journal entry I wrote at around 2am at my last day before move-outs. Ahem… Excuse the cheesiness and broken sentences. I miss ya’ll. Sometimes I wish I can go back, but I know you are all still here and a phone call or walk away. ❤

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Over a year ago, I walked into this room broken, in pain, withing nothing to lose, and what got me up in the morning was the thought that “welp, no amount of failure can possible hurt as much as that.”

Look at us now, 5 couchsurfers, 21/19 units, a boyfriend, bean bags, postcards, and a chibi-me all have come and gone.
I learned to not take myself too seriously. I learned that emotions are fickle.
More importantly, I learned that believing that I can matters more than actually knowing that I can.
What’s even more powerful is that for the first time in my life I felt Validated.

I was taught that I was loved, that I am loved, and oh, how sweet and scary that taste can be.

thank you, for the wine, roof, food, and infinity massages. The heart-to-heart talks and teaching me the only way I can be alone is by diving in the side of my head that’s called logic.
For teaching me that conversations can make the best books,
that the intimate outsider’s perspective can be the most valuable compass in life.
That I have a net, and all i need to do is have the faith to fall. to TRUST. that the net genuinely wants to be there and care about me.

for teaching me how to unclog sinks, mix grout, to fix shelves, and fix myself.
To love this house despite the cracks and history– to love myself despite the complexes and baggage.
and understand that some parts are meant to be fixed, while others are meant to be accepted.

I have been the most blessed person in the world.
Thank you, Hoytians. May the growth and love continue.

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HoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoytHoyt.
Always and forever, your handywoman.

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love or die.

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You are either seizing up in fear-binding yourself to what appears, friends, lovers, children, homes, work, your body, your thoughts, building up a sense of self, a whole inner world of comfort and ideas and hopes for the future and so forth—or you are surrendering it all, loving completely and letting go completely.

As much as it hurts your heart to feel everything and everyone, as terrifying as it is to surrender absolutely, your only real option is to love without boundaries, wide open. “
-David Deiga.

Question answered. Maybe. At least, for the moment.

Is it possible …

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Is it possible to love someone completely, and feel free at the same time?

This year I made it a priority to be there fore people. And even now, with certain people I want to know that I have a right to love them. But other times I feel tied. I want to run away again. I now know this is where my wanderlust comes from – the need to be away from the potential to hurt and the vulnerability be hurt. When you travel by yourself, the only unexplored areas of life are physical. 

Where did you go, dear wanderlust?

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I used to want to get away, to go to a world completely different from my own and see what I can learn there. After studying abroad, I had the idea of working internationally for a few years, and then maybe coming back to the United States.

China. Boston. Seattle. New York. Spain. Anywhere. 

But now, and I am looking at open job positions I find myself deleting all the posts that are in areas outside of…the Bay.

Wait, seriously?
A year ago, if I find myself saying things like “I don’t know, but I want to stay in the Bay- there’s so much to learn here” I would probably slap myself across the face. What jennytang, are you settled now? Are you cowarding in a comfort zone? What happened to always pushing yourself? 

I honestly don’t know. Maybe its because I finally found a community here where I feel safe, valued, and understood. Maybe I found a few people that have managed to touch my heart whom I learned to love.

Man, I am getting soft.
But seriously, should I stay? But I guess the choice isn’t mine- beggars can’t exactly be choosers.

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Which game to you play to earn your love?

Some of us are raised in a world where being loved and valued is a right. Where you are loved simply by breathing and being human. You never have to justify your existence in a situation.

Others live in world where unless they contribute or help out, they are a burden, a net negative, and the world is better off without them. To them, being cared for is something to be earned, just like their self-worth is something that they need to prove and prove again.

No matter which world I actually live in, somehow over the years I acquired the habits that make me seem like I perceive the world that fits with the second description. Maybe it was raised with a bit too much Chinese Communist values of hard work to give back to society. Maybe its being the older sister that always held the responsibility to keep Julie in-line while my parents took us out to business talks. Maybe those moments where I watched in disgust as the conspicuously less-favored child at grandpa giving my little sister everything she wanted and showering her with compliments. Maybe its the Christian Kindergarten school of thought that… gosh, who knows?

Anyways, somehow during my childhood I realized the best way affirm my right to be in a situation is to get compliments of being competent, mature, and selfless. Don’t complain, don’t ask for things. Somehow that made my parents happy, which makes me happy because I then will not be a burden.

Now, recently being home I realized the rules have changed. My parents are now often worried of my future well-being. I feel their tension, so naturally I get stressed and then devote more time to job hunts or get into the uber-focused “get shit done” mode. Then they worry that I’m stressed and that I will overwork myself in the future with this attitude at a minimal paying job. The problem, they say, is not my lack of competence, but rather my priorities of taking higher-risk jobs instead of a stable 9-5 position at a big company. Lets not even begin with their reaction for the Peace Corps.

In fact, the rules of the love game has actually taken a 180 turn from all I know. When I talk they say my opinions are too developed, and that my work ethic and ambition too intimidating, which will severely hinder what should be my #1 goal of Getting Boyfriends. I’ve also become “overly idealistic” and they worry that I will be the “strange guy that is happy being dirt-poor”. Comments such as “Looking back, I see the proverb ‘sons should be raised in roughness, daughters should be raised in riches’ is true, I guess we didn’t do too well there” are heard more often each time I come back to AZ .

All my traits and values that have earned me accolade in the past, are now causes of my family’s stress. All these years of striving to affirm my place has actually made me feel more like a burden than ever. So I want to leave, which makes them even more sad that I don’t spend time with them. In reality I just can’t stand the thought that after 21 long years, they still don’t have faith that I can earn my own happiness and well-being.

Welp, ’tis family I guess. Hidden behind these little chastises and gifts of ostensibly ornamented accessories to fit me into another paradigm, are two adults that want nothing less than a perfect life for me. Our own vision of perfection may slice into each other, but somehow, perhaps in the end of the day, a sheer forced faith in an unconditional love will smooth the slits away.

Happy Holidays and with love,

jennytang

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Lesson 1

If life, hurt is inevitable.

We will always accidentally, or purposefully, set ourselves up for it.
And often, there is no culprit–no one at fault, as much as we want there to be. Hell, sometimes there isn’t even a legitimate cause.

(Of course I want there to be an evil-doer, sometimes I get under the impression if I take care of a source of pain, the pain itself will disappear. But then again, life doesn’t work that day, does it?)

The fault is not his, and more importantly, nor ours.

And no matter how much we think we learned form life, the reality is that emotions-especially ones regarding dating-are not exactly solvable. Experience will not help, because this process of opening up and accepting vulnerability will be just as scary each time. Getting hurt sucks just as badly our first time as our last. So don’t even try to master this “game” of which people speak.  We might smooth out our first few steps, and become more perceptive of telltale signals. But once we get past all that romantic fluff, and when we face that raw crucial moment–of truly caring and allowing ourselves to become vulnerable, we are all clueless amateurs.

For me, I realized that all I can do is to be like the little guys in video games.

Take the pain, pray for grace, get up, keep walking. We learn and hopefully we change our strategy, but the most important thing is that we continue. Because the game will continue, hurt will continue, but we cannot stop.
Hurt sucks, but it will happen again and again. But in the video games the little guy knows it has to keep playing, keep trying to jump though the most dangerous of  obstacles because the other choice of stopping, of avoiding every difficult level, would be fatal.

And most importantly:  Never let the fear that follows prevent you from making decisions you would normally make. Never, EVER let pain define your character. Doing so means you allowed it to permanently scar your identity.

Take pain for what it is, understand that it will happen again (whether its because you messed up or life just sucks), let it run though your body, let it out.

And when a new day comes: get up, smile, and keep on truckin’.