winds; relished thoughts
revel like oasis
wounded memories metamorphose
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 @ 4:01 p.m.
Inspired by my friend Fan's note on his adventure in Xian and because I have comparable stories. Let me write of my adventures of this year...(if you have his link and are into MBTI, this is like ENTJ boss post (him) compared to INFJ artist post (me)
In January I came back to school from New York and Toronto detour, and knew it is time to leave school in HK. I have seen 2 attempts on almost having no site and knew school site was unavailable, and current job does not allow me to grow as much. I will tell you 11 months on I still feel me and special needs are together for a good reason in that we are sensitive to each other. But toxic has to go.
There was also toxic number 2 with faith shift. Yup, I tried returning by going into different church. I could not shake the idea that God is here. But to say I have to plug in to everything and be attracted to charismatic rock star music in youth sections and tell everyone else what they believe is wrong ....I can't do it. HK has not gone to that progressive layer. One day, it may. Thankfully counselor told me that it is faith shift, and I am not in mortal danger.
Argh that summer..
Exited school. Had like 5 farewell parties. Went to Thailand. Summer was in panic mode. I felt I need money ASAP and had panic attacks for a week where I withdrew. I had emotionally wounding argument with other half that still scare and scar myself today. The panic drags on though. Because I want to settle and have cash ASAP despite part time job.It took me months to realise underlying anxiety issues beneath. But it introduce me to restorative yoga, and read Melody Beattie's The New Codependency. Some interesting stories too.
And see that I did lose a bit of fairy dust purpose that I need to make meaning (I guess a typical infj thing...I need my cause). Too much panic and anxiety steamrolled.
Faith shift....after a month of not going. I found somewhere progressive enough for me to be in. I also studied a lot more Islamic history and still digging in because I read enough Byzantine, Chinese and British history. Suddenly current affairs made sense.
I had panics and felt numb and seasonal depression. Mother asked if I ever want to relocate back, but now that I have got over faith shift I won't. How can I ever try to plug into churches with fairy dust (aka rock music, lots of people, our way is the way type) when I saw through fairy dust? I still believe in God,but definition of me being Christian depends on your individual views. After all, I see Qu'ran and Torah as different paths to God. But no charismatic music, unsolicited evangelising and plug in requests and sporadic Arabic recitations feel so good.
Part time job 2 came in but then part time job 1 with more hours said I have to go because of availabilities. Surprisingly after 3 hours of reaction I felt toxic lift off. Maybe because I can have break. Maybe because I saw through some purpose. Maybe because it is through this can I tackle panic and anxiety. Honestly notifying other half is more difficult, but i came back to self after that conversation. That silent space and little girl conversation is beautiful. After all, what soul shares their cave time with you? Poodle seems to be smarter and curl up next to me.
I would agree with thinker friends on to not be continued. But It is not entirely bad, I can breathe out of some toxic and develop empath abilities into creative resources. I also got updates on abandonment issues since early childhood, which made complete sense to anxiety, so it is as usual, scars are beautiful, it's gonna be ok.
Monday, Nov. 09, 2015 @ 12:25 a.m.
I had a pre-planned schedule this week but only managed to follow 75% of it. Not to worry, the weekend not only helped me caught up with sleep, but also brought me to an awareness of myself.
Since my emotional sensitivity has caught up with me, I have been flashing emotional tendrils everywhere. However, with exam registrations and others' cross cultural transitions in sight, I ended up rinsing panic and anger and sadness in a bleed of tears. Next time, I need to bring tumeric for help.
But I am grateful that more are aware of faith shift. I may have whine endlessly for the past year, but there has been so many damages.
Kathy Escobar and many bloggers on Progessive Christianity channel already made many insights.
It is so easy to be consumed by fear and control and not love. I am still learning, but to surrender and savour the moments are always amazing.
It cringes when I see there are no dignified dialogues and views are closed. But I understand not everyone goes through life experiences where they have to jump out of the box, and that sometimes it is a sweet escape for our not-so-great experiences.
I also learn to trust. I think faith go in cycles and God is big enough for that.
And I smiled and sighed and screamed how many times scars do become beautiful. There is definitely a not so great side to being so artistic, but I like to think I make pretty awesome art in letters.
And of course, there is always hope..
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 @ 2:23 p.m.
It has been almost several weeks that I have difficulties to write a poem.
Perhaps, it can be easily brushed off as your typical writer's block, but when I saw myself sucked into Fortune's business journalism and Facebook's repetitive's rants of everyone's oh-so airbrushed lives. It was as if I morphed into being in an internet oblivion.
Yes, I still want my other half of a part time or more sources of money. Yes, Fortune still feeds me stories of interest.
But to be morphed into the language of business is horrible. I understand it is one part I will live with, but I yearn for the splatters of creativity and pumps of emotions that transform your standard living into tipsy turvy afternoon tea with the mad hatter, or radically resolves conflicts and wars.
I miss that part that feels and tears of every tempo. After all, it is my lifeblood and a self I so long to preserve.
Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 @ 12:03 p.m.
Since I don't work with children directly for now, I get to focus more on my other interests and passions in interfaith dialogue, Middle East/Asia international relations and non-profits.
Yesterday I was asked what are my birthday wishes. To be honest, aside from basic needs and wants of moving to another country this year, my wishes are always somewhere along the lines of world peace and be wise, but since I was asked, let me give a more detailed description.
World Peace: Initially, it is peace in Middle East so I can visit my friends in Lebanon. But as violence and conflicts extend to other countries and I study more, I see the interrelation of the conflicts globally.
I don't have the authority or guts to interfere with Middle East politics, but as I said many times before, I still like to think one story or one word can change one life at a time.
More interfaith dialogue and less religious hate: My hope for this began with my interfaith relationship and my friend's conversion to marry. There were lots of questions, fear and misconceptions.
I saw how fear and control can shape religious institutions in my faith shift, and hope that dialogue can lead to peace and friendships rather than more misunderstanding and hate.
Get my life besides work: After I recover from burnout, that is all I want aside from a second part time job to increase my allowances. :)
I am quite sure art and words will bring me to somewhere. There is already dance and toastmasters on the basket.
Interdependency: Trust me, this can be difficult when surrounded by ENFJs who intuitively open you up and smother you. And feel bad when they need help. I tackle other fields from ENFJs for that reason but am surrounded by them...
Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 @ 1:18 a.m.
I was at my friend's wedding last weekend and aside from all the love and happiness from the bride and groom, I too, feel very touched with conversations with long lost friends.
Now that I don't work directly with children, I have more time to churn, study and ponder on my interests in interfaith dialogues and human rights/politics in Middle East.
In the past year, I have had a huge faith shift in which I switch churches and question my belief system. Those who have faith shifts know our reasons for shifts can be stem from major life experiences, such as coming out or death of loved ones, to gradual shifts. Mine is lessen known because it stems from an interfaith relationship and seeing how legalistic and exclusive that the conservative side of Christianity can be.
There has been many questions, wrestles and misunderstandings but I admit that it is in the process of becoming something beautiful and strong, because I have to explain what happens and why I believe in a certain faith, and lets me see the difference between rules-based faith systems and love-based faith systems.
To Christian and Catholic friends who said they are friends with me because of who I am as a person, and not how my beliefs are similar to yours, thank you for all your love, support, care and presence for all my frustrations.
To Muslim friends and significant other who take on my endless questions and give me a safe space in my faith shift, thank you for all your love, kindness and hospitality.
Everyone who has heard me vent enough, it's time for a lot of coffee and conversations. :)
Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 @ 12:42 p.m.
Twist and turn and I made it to Toronto. Not without some damages though, I was on a full stretcher with the desire to get f/t work as soon as possible that resulted in some serious damage.
And I can only hope that the other party forgives me and will work with me in that level again.
How I wish I could break out and see that earlier. Or how I wish words can flow out of my keyboard like soft velvet pieces as this. Or that it took a week to use my feelings effectively.
For some strange coincidence I have a roll of Arab or desi clients. The loving Arab taxi driver who persistently ask how I get a job with only a Bachelor degree because his daughter has to keep studying in sceinces; the Bangladeshi student in Australia who is adjusting to work; the various Mohammad from Sri Lanka and Pakistan who told me a word about South Asia here and there....
My emotions are back.
I can make art
My Accidental Jihad
Tuesday, Jul. 14, 2015 @ 1:03 p.m.
While Krista Bremmer had the same book, this is my messy draft of a Toastmasters speech.
Jihad, in Islam refers to going deeper of one's faith. To an extremist, that may mean the wipe out of the non believing population to restore their former glory as they hide their years of hurt and anger and disappoint. To the outsider, it is a scared warning of another armed attack. To me, it is an unexpected invite to a mysterious world that become my refuge.
As a Chinese raised in Asia but brought up in a European education, my world seem complete when I have understood the history, art and philosophies of Asia and Europe. But perhaps, life decides to remind me of my shortcomings, and that at the end, everybody is interconnected by thrusting me with the Arab world.
My first foray into this mysterious Peninsula was 10 years again when I started writing and all my first readers were Lebanese. Just as your first supporters are always so dear because they first recognized your passion or talent, and were with you all the way. So were mine. They gave me a voice and a tonne of support. They pushed me to write beyond poetry and experiment with different forms.
Of course, that is not to say we don't have different arguments. We bickered about themes and word choices and forms. And while they would see conflict as an everyday activity with an occasional jab at Syria back in the day, I see that as horrifying conditions and like an outsider, hope for their freedom from this traumatizing clutch of war. But amidst of our conversations, Lebanon had its civil war where they all ran for their lives with tanks and air raids killing whoever they wished. In the next 2 years, my internship office in China was an arrest spot for a social media revolt, and the shopping mall I vacationed in Thailand was bombed in half by a mob of protesters.
Suddenly, I was no longer an outsider. I shared the heart wrenching sadness to see people pay for their voice with their lives. I have the same rhetoric of hurt with the authoritarian systems. I too wonder what could be done to restore some sort of peace and love. But because international relations is an intricate game of consolation and allies, I vow to never enter international politics again.
But after three years of healing, no. Life kicked me back in, as if saying, at the end, you are part of that world. Your otherness and strive for love is your kind of faith or jihad or whatever you call.
Life led me to a Pakistani guy. He is the trigger, but what really got me to reexamine is when my own belief systems kick me out. The conservative stream of my system shut my questions with statements like you are not faithful enough and encourage me to come back with a manic zeal, tells that outsiders are bad and will lead to you to an evil path and that our text is inerrant. I come out with more questions. I feel even more of an outsider.
For the first four months, I wonder if I have fallen from grace again and what I was doing was right. Three more months later with more terrorist attacks, I realized I came out of a system's collective insecurity and fear, and I may as well enter the Arab World to see what happened to their society before I point any fingers.
It took me five months to study three empires, glimpse into a belief system, ask countless scholars about their language and laws. And thank you to a lot of people on that side who don't treat me as a foreign beast, I realize we all share the same strive to make this world a peaceful place, to try to love one another in our imperfections.
There are of course a lot more intricacies in the Arab world, but to me, the attacks are outcries in hopes to restore the glory of Ottoman Empire. Maybe after ironic emanicipation from the West, they thought coming back from a manic zeal would be successful, and in turn, attract a lot of people with hurt and anger. Just as how my belief system kicked me out because I question, just as how I always have the loving or derogatory title of being called a Eurasian bc I am culturally, never one, we all share the same hurt, sadness and disappointment.
10 years ago, I wonder if the Arab and Islamic Worlds are just like what Carmen Bin Laden depicted in her memoir, repressive and authoritarian. 10 years later, I would agree with some points, but I see we share the same hurt and betrayal, and if it was not for some unbiased Arabs who gave me a refuge, I could have become a bigot on the other side.
And in time I ended up campaigning for Raif Badawi's release, for UN to implement a third law for Syria. For me, my jihad is to hope that Arab world find their own way and their peace, and that the world won't be so ignorant and hateful towards them. For you, that maybe a different path. But however it is, I would never trade my accidental jihad for anything.
Wednesday, Jul. 08, 2015 @ 8:33 p.m.
This entry is probably more apt at my other blog http://yourscarsarebeautiful.wordpress.com. But because I am unsure of how readers will react with church systems damage, diaryland is a safer place.
As I sat on the dinner table and everyone talked about the demise of Chinese stock market and need for money management (or our lack of), I faintly smiled and felt what they were missing is soul and self care.
They are all intelligent and successful people with promising internships or stable jobs and good understanding of economics (which I lack). However, another similarity that they share is that they all numb or repress the negative emotions in life, and that has led to stress outbursts and dislocated joints and what not...
I confess, I am not a master of stress management. I am simply put on a roller coaster with work damage and church system damage. There is definitely a lot of crying, but there is a lot of smiles too.
Perhaps, because my writer life started before work, I understand there is life beyond corporate ladder so I also invest in life beyond work.
Nevertheless, after a tumultuous ride of being thrown to a new and non-existent site, seeing two leases expired and foreseeing a merger with another site and experiencing some unique characters. I am burned out.
I am so glad I wrote all of that into 4 pages to untangle and face my emotions upon leaving. I have learned a lot, but I also have to care for myself by owning up and embracing the frustration and the anger that I have experienced.
What I don't usually talk about is the church system damages because I don't know how it will be losing friends and community. But after finding refuge online and untangling work damage, why not?
I was brought up in an interfaith family so perhaps my damage was considerably less than those who were raised in one faith and experienced a faith shift. (Sometimes, I am strangely jealous of the simplicity)
When I became Christian, I was taught everything else would lead to a bad path. I was encouraged to be plugged into a, b, c, d church related things and memorize scriptures. Doubts and conversations always involved pray more, memorize more and evangelize more. Almost all of time, missions and conversions are all success stories.
Perhaps my writer life and over-exhaustion at work saved me from being over committed, but as I stayed in the evangelical system, I knew some things were a bit off. How come my doubts are shut off with pray more and be more faithful? What about my gay friends and unbelieving fam and friends, are they all doomed regardless of their amazing personalities? What about diversity and inclusiveness? And zumba and yoga are bad too?
My faith shift began with interfaith when my life is surrounded by Muslim loved ones and friends. It took me five months to internalize whether I will be sinful and lead to dark, evil place. Kick in with ISIS news (no way I am promoting them, they are terrible and violent) and the "everything outside of this belief box is terrible and bad" sayings, there is a lot of pain.
But once I found I wasn't alone and switched gears to high churches that aren't so pushy (my other refuge in HK because until TO,there are no Progressive Churches), then I started unraveling..
At the end, love triumphs over doctrinal beliefs.
Meaningful relationships triumph over exclusive segregation.
Emotions and diversity are always better than numbness and homogeneity in my mind.
Almost a year after this began, I admit I do miss the music and energy sometimes. I am done with the system but not Jesus. I still have many questions. Somehow I feel safer when discussing religion and history with Muslims/Catholics/atheists because we will always acknowledge each other as diverted, but that love triumphs over the doctrines.
I am still unraveling. I still don't know if I have enough strength when I meet former community. All I know is that amidst many tears and many smiles, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Monday, Jun. 15, 2015 @ 9:31 p.m.
The joy with social/civic campaigns is to share the knowledge, love and joys of diversity and embracing the same call to love.
Many things started with Lebanon so I need not elaborate about that. Overtime, I don't participate because of the thrill or the hype, but because I genuinely mourn for human rights issues, care about the world and want to infuse it with love. (Often times though, I do have to check in with my self security to see that I am not doing this to cover up my insecurity)
I am happy to see G7 summit's emphasis on reducing carbon footprints, capital punishment reconsidered in US states. It's a tough process with most of my causes in Middle East/South Asia, but what I learn is inclusiveness and love, and to me, to hope and to love for this damaged part of the world.
Because that continuing massacre hurts.
Because being stateless is scary.
Because it is so sad to see human rights deprived and abused.
But to do that, I have to reel into understanding the laws and politics. I wonder if I will return to be crazy activist teen who is all full of rage, but this time, it seems it will be out of love.
Sunday, May. 31, 2015 @ 1:54 p.m.
Ooh, DD hasn't post for a while so I get to stir more discussions in Diaryland and get personal once in a while. :)
I had my entire life thrown at me with job and degree offer while soon-to-be former workplace just announced that it lost its bids for a site. So while it did set off a panic attack as I was bombarded with so many questions and feelings, it was good to reflect and write again.
One thing that constantly challenges me this year is a painful faith shift. I admit that I would be always labeled as stealth because I don't quite fit in the stereotype of volunteering more and more and more, not questioning religious texts, hanging out only with people of my religion (or convert the others) because others will lead you to a bad path, and obeying every rule in whichever system.
Kathy Escobar has some amazing faith shift series if you also question tenets of your faiths just as I did. But after months of internalizing I simply unraveled, albeit with some scars.
I do miss the friendships and the energy. But without this shift I wouldn't feel that love and freedom nor would I be able to see the differences between rules based systems and love based faith.
At times, I still cringe when people define you by how much you volunteer. Or how you plug into study groups. I can work to exhaustion but have no relationship with God. There is a fine difference.
I still cringe when I see that emotional absence when people substitute themselves with God and not tend to your empathy. I think prayer is wonderful, but there are times when all I want to do is vent and receive empathy, not left with emotionally hollowness.
I still question when I see a lack of decision making. I like to think that God will guide you, but God also gives you a real self to make decisions and he will probe you. So perhaps there is a delicate balance of unraveling and decision making.
Ah, so much better with this vent!
Sunday, May. 10, 2015 @ 9:58 p.m.
Shh, I have some news, I plan to self-publish that decade of poetry and some ramblings on my columns. (For some reason, I like my columns better than stories.)
For once, I feel A LOT more vulnerable. I know words and I play a game since a long time ago, but it has been a lifeblood, a sacred space that helps me connect to God, ponder and question about almost everything, preserves my emotions and wits. It is a space that harbors a lot of heartwarming memories, especially with the conflicts, bombings, protests and censorship that led me to my amazing writer friends and readers.
It is the space that untangle me from trauma (yup, at every angle including religion), and restore me to expose my vulnerabilities.
I know I have something to do with scars in my life. But am I ever so ready to expose and bare my already vulnerable self?
Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2015 @ 7:42 p.m.
After a month of panic attack and 6 months of chaos at work and home, it is good to blog again.
It is good to rediscover open spaces that I can release and soak raw emotions in. Especially when my real self on both avenues are being threatened.
I am still unraveling from this process. The issue at hand now is not self awareness but rather to sustain this sanctuary in environments of madness.
Sometimes I like to think my stint in Asia is a confirmation of the dysfunction and chaos, so my departure sometimes feel like life and death. Because I know this dysfunction can creep in and wreck and kill and confuse my real self.
Infuse it with core values of anything and you know it can.
I wish I can be more positive than before or offer some sort of resolution, but it is quite crazy when you are hit at both home and work, on the outside and in the creative arena.
Many times it feels like no place to go. It stings when I see loss of friendships and a lot of well-intentioned comments from rules and fear-based systems, you know, the "do more of this and you will get there", "you just don't have faith" or downright "this is your own will" (aka you are wrong). There are still loss of friendships I grieve for as I unravel through multiple shifts, there are times when my mind is consumed with escape and toxic and negativity, but I can't bear with this toxic anymore.
Nor can I return to this rigid system that kills and suppresses anymore.
Then again, perhaps it will be an epic series when spring comes in my many "your scars are beautiful stories", but I will definitely remember this one, because it has shifted me out of a destructive system and led me to open and loving spaces.
My triple self - the freelancer
Saturday, Apr. 04, 2015 @ 8:41 p.m.
Throughout most of my blog entries, I talked about going to Montessori teacher training, being a teacher and sometimes, squeezing my writer self into the picture.
But I didn't expect that a trial experiment in November landed me another experience - freelancer.
At that time, I was busy writing my applications to postgraduate programs to universities and colleges in Toronto. (We can talk plenty about my experiences in workplace, but it's time to move on and I love my Toronto) And some of you realized, I am that person who would divert crazy workload by doing more work, so I signed up for a platform
And after 5 months of little effort in terms of advertising, I LOVE my life as a freelancer as I truly get to do what I want to do - write all day. It's not "pure" creative writing and it's not stable enough for me to work in PJs entirely, but I get to write for business/research contexts and translate into various apps and it fits to my schedule.
Perhaps, I just need a break from workplace. I always know that I like working with kids & special needs, but always detest it when people try to fit me into a box. By 2nd year of teaching, I already told my counselor my ideal job is to have 2 jobs where I can teach for one, and write/admin for the other. So perhaps, this is my dream come true once freelance becomes more stable.
There are so many "I went freelance and never look back" comments and I have to say I agree to an extent. Because freelancing isn't all that grand.
For me, all my freelance gigs are project based. This means that unlike the virtual assistant with hourly pay, the deadline can be a week or 6 months depending on the project, and pay may be in lump sum. There is also admin and commission charges from various platforms (but to me that's better than wire transfer and starting from nowhere) And if my client is on urgent deadline, I am too!
But as a lot of freelancers say, I love it and there is no way I am going back.
the coming out moment
Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 @ 3:43 p.m.
As I saw "The Imitation Game" today, I was touched by how the repeated line that it was one's differences, or questions to the existing system that can lead an unremarkable individual to achieve amazing things, just like Alan Turing solved the naval indicator of German Engima and inspired the invention of computers.
Since I encounter individuals and their communities more than mathematical systems, to me, it translates to understanding others while nurturing your strengths/identities and cultivating yourself.
I get worried when I hear that there is no problem having no individual self or that we must assimilate/merge in terms of values, beliefs and quantities of time in every form of human relationships. In communities with orthodox traditions and encourage you to stay together with the family all the time, if you don't fit into the stereotype, you are the problem.
Perhaps, this is more visible among ethnicities and religions and it reminds me of my interfaith relationship. (NB From hereon, this will only reflect my personal experiences and does not intend to influence anyone in similar situations in anyway.)
Some of you know I am Christian, but I didn't tell you my significant other is Muslim right? Nobody wants to change faiths on either end, nor forcefully convert the other. Suddenly, the online world becomes a scary place because there is always the 2 Corinthians clause in Christianity against marrying unbelievers. In short, I am in a pretty bad place.
What took place is me digging into various historical texts and interfaith websites because there's no way I want to convert. (I have no pressure either since the SO doesn't push me) But I have a barrage of questions as to why I believe in Christianity, what do I actually do and how do I feel about ISIS?
There are many responses to how to retain faiths or dissuasions of interfaith online. Sometimes, I feel sad that when individuals of different faiths are together, they are vehemently discouraged by their respective parties. In some cases, these are people who try hard to stay in their faiths, and if we are not offering some extent of support or shunning any other views besides our own, then we are being quite arrogant and discouraging, aren't we? How would people feel if they are forced to convert, or slammed by a lot of people that they are at fault?
Historically, I like to attribute that to a lack of dialogue since there are repeated wars concerning religions, from Catholic-Protestant conversions in England to years of war between Muslim and Christian fractions in Byantine Empire.
There is always going to be questions and everyone is different. Ultimately I want to share God's love than bring on my own prejudice. Let's hope there is more love than hate crimes
PS Re my opinions about ISIS, I am still against them as an inhumane and violent group who divert out of their religion to kill others.