An Unabashed Life Worth Living

This was originally a post about writer’s block but it turned into something different. Something that changed the way I act, think and feel about life. Something I hope we can all take hold and find liberation from the chains we put on ourselves. 

Oh, the irony of this post. No wait is irony the right word? Ahh, I don’t know… how cliche? Man, this post is lame. Doesn’t cliche have that squiggly ~ on the E? My finger rests on the rectangle backspace for a minute. Nah, this post won’t go public so it will remain in my archive forever so I’ll resist the urge to use the erase button…. Insecurity, fear, and caution, are words that I think are choking the words that I try to type.

New paragraph. I don’t like the first. Is the structure too stupid?  No… it’s fine, I don’t believe in structure. But writing is about expressing myself. But what if no one reads it because it’s not good? Then I’m wasting my time! Ahh, too close to reality. I best put some pictures or pop-culture references to get more views. But I don’t care about pop-culture that much…back to the main point.

The biggest block for my writing is you me. I am a people pleaser. I care greatly about the opinion of others and what they think about what I write. This is an inescapable aspect of writing for the public. You, the reader, I may or may not know; regardless, my aim is that the effort of my words is worth your time. I don’t actually know how to use a semicolon correctly; I just want to look sophisticated in my writing even though it may be grammatically incorrect. 

I realized how being a people pleaser affects not only my writing but my life. In my writing, the backspace button is the most used. Gahh, that sentence could have been more creative. In my life, backspace represents…blarg I can’t finish this analogy of linking backspace to life! Abort! 

Bleh, enough of all that italicizing. It hurts my head to read my own writing and thoughts. My realization is that my caring too much about what people think has prevented me from living a fuller life. There’s a lot of layers to the idea of “caring about what people think”. Kind of like an onion I suppose.

Let me explain. One layer of it is perfectionism; the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. I’m not a what you would call a traditional perfectionist. The “perfect” I strive for is my own constructed standard that I’ve placed on myself, created from my 26 years of exposure to humans. It’s far from ideal. It’s deeply ingrained in my subconscious. What I write, say, do, express must fit the specific requirements of the box. If it doesn’t, I keep it in my mind to marinate until it fits my idea of perfection.

Underneath this perfection is a fear of being wrong or making a mistake. We I bite my tongue, avoid hitting post on a blog, or shy away from risky situations because we’re I’m afraid of the negative repercussions of it. Underneath this fear that comes from a perfection standard is control.

More specifically, to control what people think of me. Underneath it all, this is the chain that binds my writing and actions. Damn that’s like the 10th time I used “underneath”, people must be annoyed at that more so than these italic thoughts of mine. I want to control what people see me as, rather than them seeing who I really am. When I control people to see me as a different, “perfect”, standardized me that I’ve created, I essentially become controlled by my own creation. There are two words that I can say that reflects this idea so perfectly that almost anyone reading this can understand. Those words are Social Media. Need I say more?

Is it ironic is that I’m posting this blog on my Facebook? I’m not too sure since I don’t really understand the what irony is…

Anyways, this post is getting long. I don’t want you to say “fuck it, this post is too long and there’s no TL;DR section. I’m just not gonna read it”. Hmm I wonder how my readers will react to the F bomb… I clearly give a fuck about that.  So onto my conclusion/application. I was thinking through all of what I just wrote yesterday night before I went to work (I work graveyard shift). I asked myself, “why do I care so much of what people think?” “Why do I set these rules on myself? It’s quite… limiting”. “Do I want to live my life in a box all the time? As I asked myself these questions, the chains that I’ve put on myself were revealed to me. Link by link I removed the chains and a sense of liberation filled my body. In the car ride to work, I sang with the radio; unabashed at the cracks of my voice, the unmanly falsettos, and the utter butchering of the lyrics. It was freedom.

But this freedom comes with a cost. It costs our control, passivity, and fear. It costs us our walls and our all. It requires perseverance through anxiety and criticism. It will take strength and vulnerability. But most importantly, it will take wisdom, for there is a time for everything. Rules aren’t bad, restrictions are needed, and people’s opinions should be taken into consideration. This is not a call to go crazy and do whatever you want. That is the other extreme that needs to be avoided.

As you can see in my post, the struggle is real, but worth fighting for. And fight we must do because the world will tell us otherwise. It will show us things to be frightened of and reasons to hide. It will strike relentlessly when our guard is down and tell us it’s not worth it. But the more we fight, the stronger we get to break away and live.

 

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Trapped In My Own Words

I sit. Hands on my keyboard typing these very words. There’s actually a lot to say, but that’s reserved for more private settings. What’s something that I can write that is uncontroversial yet unconventional, something that I can be proud of yet done humbly, something shallow yet profound?

If good writing is something that comes from the heart, then what’s the quickest route to mine without cutting open my chest. If I am to write something personal, how can I veil it with passive metaphors or allusions? Or better yet, how can I elevate myself with metaphors or allusions! How can a create this image of myself for people to read?

I can only speak for myself. The things I write never really represents who I am and what I want to express. Nor can it ever do such a thing. I write to find myself in an ever growing maze of life. Ha! Here I go again. Caught myself doing what I talked about a paragraph above.

Ironically, this enigma of words represents me. Trapped in a web of words, unable to break free from the intricate fetters of 21st-century language. Puns, sarcasm, flowery and course language, fill my vocabulary more so that truth and honesty. Everyone needs a good laugh. It’s necessary and essential. But we all know laughter is not the only thing we can get out of language.

Language is like a beautiful gift, so fucking grandeur, yet sometimes hard to “guage”  its true meaning. This leaves quite a satisfactory ending, no?

 

To My Readers: Why I Write

First I want to say thank you to all the people who read, follow, and support this blog. It has truly been a blessing to be able to write freely about various things in life and receive such positive feedback from this community. You are the reason why I endure hours of writing for a paragraph of text. You are well worth the time.

The goal of my blog is not simply for me to vent about life’s challenges. But it’s to continuously improve the way I write so I can provide better content for you all to read. I want to provide posts that are deep, unique, profound, and most importantly relatable. I believe that there is an ocean of words at our fingertips that have barely been explored and I want to dive into its deep waters and glean clarity and beauty from these complex and vast expanses.

But I don’t want to dive into this ocean alone. It can be cold, deep, and so very intimidating, but the potential of treasures more valuable than gold are well worth the nose dive.  Words have a unique ability to liberate a soul from a prolonged drought, but it also has the ability to drown a soul in its crashing and unrelenting waves. We’ve all experienced the scathing words of rejection, criticism, and lies. We also know the freedom and release that words can have on a soul, whether we speak or receive it.

I want to learn from the acclaimed authors, seasoned writers, and casual bloggers. But I also want to learn from the introvert, the mute, the uneducated, the ignored, and the outcasts. People who have never had the opportunity to pick up a pen, or had an audience to listen to them, or the confidence to speak up. Every single person has a story to tell, some wisdom to share, and a voice that wants to be heard.

So I want to engage my readers to share with me advice, stories, and life experiences, which many of you have already done in your beautiful blogs. I still have much to learn and experience about writing and life. So if you have a story to tell, or something you want me to write about, or just want someone to listen to your voice, please feel free to post in the comments or message me personally. I would love to learn from your unique and beautiful lives.

 

Four Dollar Escape

Four dollars is the price I pay to find my freedom. Two pumps of syrup, water, and a full cup of ice for two hours of WiFi and AC. I never really cared for these drinks in the past, but in the present, I’m always craving the next high from the fructose and the uncomfortable jitters from the caffeine. There’s just something so amazing about 10 cents worth of sugar water that makes me come back so often.

But the real reason I’m here is for freedom. Freedom from the noise, or lack of noise at home. Drink places are the perfect middle ground. It’s comforting hearing coffee shop music and conversation that I don’t have to analyze or ignore in the background. Nothing really matters here except my laptop, book, drink and the occasional friend who accompanies me. Everything is neutral, a five out of ten. The drinks, the noise, the food; all average. What a blissful indifference that makes me feel away from home. The only high that I need to retain here is controllable with money, the rest is consistent neutrality.

This is where I do most of my reading, writing, and unpacking of my thoughts. But the difficulty in doing this here is that the thoughts I’m extracting from my brain is neutral. This is perfect for disinterested posts about philosophy and arguments where personal biases and emotions can skew important facts. But when writing from a personal, more subjective view about things in my own life, my thoughts become fogged by the desire for indifference. A desire to keep this feeling that I paid four dollars for. This watered down writing that is packed in with ice cold fillers that numb the emotion in my writing. The more I write, the more It seems like these fillers start to drip down into the essence which further dilutes the words.

Essentially, my worry is that all this hype about writing has become an advertised facade. I write all this to cater to an audience, most of whom I do not know. I want to present a quality piece that contains ingredients of wisdom, reason, comprehension and big words. There is a chance that in reality it’s just a watered down, yet overly sweetened conglomeration of thoughts. I hope it’s not so. We do not need another Starbucks of writing where it controls the market with overpriced diluted thoughts that are advertised as intelligent. Rather we need the non-diluted writers who are not influenced by big agendas or powerful cooperations

Now I’m back at home. As I look over what I wrote 5 hours ago, I start to wonder why I wrote this. Maybe I just needed something to write about to justify the fact that I spent 4 bucks on a large cup of ice and water with syrup in it.

 

 

 

Search For Beauty

We all find beauty in different areas in life. Some may find beauty in music, art, poetry, literature, or in another person. For some of us, however, beauty may be a very ephemeral thing that we rarely experience in life. This post is for these people.

I believe lasting beauty comes from an active pursuit of it. All of us are endowed with a mind, but not all of our minds are programmed to see the beauty in all things. For example, a song can invoke joyous emotions for one, but may be seen as noise to another. A book can stimulate profound thoughts for one, but bore the hell out of another. Appreciation of something comes from the psychological and emotional understanding of that thing. But this appreciation of beauty corresponds to the amount of effort and investment one puts to it. A person may find a video game to be very uninteresting and pointless,  but to a gamer who invests time into it, they are able to see its beauty through the complex strategies, artwork, and extraordinary skill it takes to become proficient in it.

From these things, I come to the idea that if a person does not actively pursue something of beauty or meaning, then they will be left void of it. This is why I find stagnation in life such an ugly experience. One of the most common responses I give when someone asks me “what I’m doing” or “what did you do this week”  is “nothing”. “Nothing” is such an unfulfilling response to give for anything because it represents a lack of beauty, of meaning, of having something worthy of sharing with others.

I believe this is a very common attitude today. We live in a society always surrounded by “something”. We are always doing “something”, whether its gaming, texting, Facebooking, or working, but inside we are always filled with nothing. I think we feel this way because we are passively, rather than actively seeking beauty. I don’t blame us for doing this because this is what society teaches us. It tells us what is and what isn’t fun, exciting, sexy,  and beautiful.We don’t need to actively search for these things because we are told that they’re literally at our fingertips.

We are all products of this environment. This is one reason why I think people are so depressed. We are bombarded with quick fixes of beauty that we can never fully obtain. Images of half naked bodies, fancy cars, mouth-watering foods, and Pokemon mastery  have become our lives. Perfection has replaced beauty. But these are facades, mere shadows of reality! We are given a strip-tease of these things that we desire, but can never have. Is this really the life we want? To live entranced and controlled by shadows? To always be in a passive pursuit of a shadow that we’re taught to see as meaningful?

If we want to escape these shadows, we must be willing to escape our dark caves and enter into the bright and huge world of reality. This is not an easy task. Our eyes will sting as we adjust to the light, our skin will get sunburned as the rays warm our bodies, and our hearts will fear as we peer into the unknown. We will have a desire to go back to the safety of the cave, but for those who can endure the light and continue to venture out into reality,  beauty starts to show her lovely face.

So my advice to you and to myself is to put down our phones, close our laptops, and go pursue beauty. Not the kind of beauty that is a quick fix, but the lasting, meaningful beauty that takes active effort, practice, dedication and pain. If you don’t know what that is, then look for it. Take a walk in the park, watch a sunset, have a meal with a friend, pick up a guitar, read a book, do something new. 

I write because I find beauty in it. Writing is the way I express the beauty I see through the things I read, think about, and experience in life. I believe it is profound, meaningful, and beautiful, and I want to share it with others. However, writing isn’t easy for me. It takes an active pursuit of words and sentences that constantly escape my thoughts, but I endure the long hours because I see beauty in the process and the end product. Likewise everything that I find beautiful takes work.

A brilliant art piece takes hours of work to complete, the ability to create complex melodic riffs on a guitar takes hours of practice, a breath taking view takes miles of hiking up a mountain. This pain and effort is required and adds substance to the things we find beautiful. I leave you with these questions:

What are things, experiences, and people in your life that you find beautiful? Did you have to suffer or work hard in order to appreciate or understand it as beautiful? Does the active and continual pursuit of these things bring meaning back into life?

Complexities of Writing My Thoughts

First of all, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I got myself into in starting a “series” on faith and reason. I have not really laid any ground works on what I’m going to be writing about because I really don’t know. Structure and organization is not my strong point in writing or life. But isn’t this why I’m here anyways? To lay down my thoughts of what I think about without subscribing to a popular structure or be confined by what people think of it? Freedom is what I’m here for, yet freedom is what I fear the most in what I write (I’ll save this for another post).

Most of my attempts in writing is to provide a palatable display of words that sufficiently mirrors the thoughts in my head. I don’t know about you, but this is not an easy task. I think about things all day and have philosophical talks with my coworkers and friends, yet when I sit down and write, I’m at a loss of words. I find it fascinating how our language can fail so miserably in capturing the inner most thoughts in our mind. What I find even more fascinating is the unparalleled complexities of the human mind. We are so complex that we, like second nature, label and stereotype individuals into set groups. I am Asian, 25, Christian, college grad,  INFP in the morning, ENFJ in the afternoon, and all that good stuff.

I think Hammer Morty speaks for all of us that do not want who we are to be isolated to a single attribute or label. Despite what people think, he is “more than just a hammer!”. Plus all of you should watch Rick and Morty. Don’t make me label you as “one of those people”….

hammer morty

Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh right, how complicated we are. But with complexities comes beauty. Oh how beautiful it is to be able to express our thoughts and emotions into words so people can feel the way we do. The look on Hammer Morty’s hard chiseled face perfectly expresses such a longing for this beautiful feeling.

So the reason why I write is twofold. It’s to be understood and also to understand. There’s always more to say, but I’ll stop here.