winds; relished thoughts
revel like oasis
wounded memories metamorphose
Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2020 @ 10:54 p.m.
Many times I forgot that I already achieved almost all I wanted in life and needed a pat on the back. But if I air it to friends, it will be too much gloating, so it is better to compose a list here:
- Already achieved my childhood ambition to become a teacher and surpassed it by being the Head of the Department
- Started freelancing 5 years ago, still active and working for me by my own terms
- Appeared in career conferences, academic conferences and second language acquisition conferences as a speaker.
- Unexpected, but successfully transitioned out of teaching
As an artist/writer
- Published in over 5 magazines, books, anthropology before the thirties
- Found and had a creative partner/husband figure for 10 years who made me notice my art is worth more than I thought, and probably influenced how I choose partners (love my opposites, refuse to be with anyone who has similar personalities)
- Recovered and healed out of emotional abuse through words
- Have dedicated readers without knowing
- Write poems and prose based on my own timeline after 10+ years, accidentally end up managing a 6K+ poetry community group so others can heal/grow
- Found haven in Chinese xianxia world and fusing cultures, don't think I am going back to conventional poetry now
- Sponsor child outgrown program
- Maintain both cultures from my upbringing, even add a third
- Made peace with faith shift, at times surprise Muslim and Christian friends with knowledge on their histories.
- Pick up the flute - if not writing, likely playing the flute.
This is probably why I can flick my fan and just save enough $$ so I can retire in Spain.
Thursday, Jul. 23, 2020 @ 10:42 p.m.
To remind myself that my mental health and sanity is worth everything, even if it means to defy expectations and detach partially to people that I consider close.
Because after 28 years of understanding and healing myself out of emotional abuse, I can either set my expectations and perceptions so I can liveor to give away the sense of self, independence and mental health for someone else.
I borrowed quite a lot of words from Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, but edited it to reflect the situation. Rough translation as follows:
I have been hiding my feelings, avoiding the masses to follow the rules
All alone in the world, with nowhere to cry
I had gave up my sense of self, but who is swallowing her own tears?
All alone on this path, what is there to envy?
If a sect cannot accept me
why would it matter to give up to return the favours?
now to follow mhy heart, to be this carefree person
Monday, Jul. 20, 2020 @ 3:28 p.m.
3 months after my grandma passed away, I am still grieving.
It is particularly hard to grieve for my grandma because she is a woman of a few words. For my grandmother who has repeatedly told me her experience in Sino-Japanese war, it was much easier to pen a story as a momentum and to pass it.
But for my grandma who would rather act than speak, this process was harder, for there was no inspiration to pen on it. No words to unearth the grieve inside.
There were well-intended friends who said I could write whatever, but to me, writing is an art. If what I wrote were a scramble, it wouldn't be a poem, a story or a prose, it would just be a messy piece of ill-thought out writing. This would not serve as a memento unless I have sufficient inspiration for it. Yet, this inspiration is so few and so nameless.
Perhaps, because I am the only person who had the experience of being raised by my grandparents, I feel a lot more than relatives, siblings and parents. I am sure everyone had their share of grieve, but my grieveis isolated because nobody can experience the gravity of it. Nor can anyone relate to that depth of pain that is always choked inside my lips, but constantly stinging my heart.
Overtime, I may come up with a memento, but until then, I would cut a part of myself in this blog entry.
Monday, Jun. 22, 2020 @ 12:18 p.m.
Ambitions in 2006/2010
- Publish poems
- Get a good job
- Get raises and promotions
- Learn how to invest
Ambitions in 2020
- Have lazy occupation
- So I can devote more time to read xianxia novels, translate them and practice flute-
- Write poems as I please
- Bicker at insurance/financial institutions on how to get the most of pension plans
Yup, ambition continues to go downhill every year now that I achieved everything that younger self wants. I should continue to count down when I can devote full time to wuxia, xianxia and good anime..
Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2020 @ 8:46 a.m.
My inbox is flooded with COVID-19 precautions and store closings but as 2002/2003 entries showed, we were already trained with SARS during our high school years.
Working from home is always a dream come true for me and now I get to taste more of it. I look forward to the day when I am fully remote so I can continue to live the sage dream (A lot of people mention pursuit of happiness to be their goal, I think I have done that with creating and evolving life with poetry/prose)
I look at past life as a teacher. It was something that I wanted at that time, but I never quite fit into the chatter about how Montessori can cure almost everything, and I am just too curious to try out all technologies offered. They probably assign me to special needs for good reasons though, because we can be with each other and grow. (Student reminded that the substitute immediately quashed the continuation of business plan that we work on -_-)
Perhaps that is why the transition to non teaching and adult education role is much smoother for me. As more of my friends want to move into administrative roles or struggle to find work in public school boards, perhaps they may need to just as curious. I was fortunate to explore Zoom and taught online years ago, and learn from a former manager who constantly learns to be a marketing x learning hybrid. But it will take some time to adjust and think that technology is possible and tinker with it.
It seemed that technology and virtual work will continue and expand seemed a rather accurate depiction.
And now, being a drunk sage writing poetry sounds like a very good career option :D
Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 @ 10:25 p.m.
It has been a while since I splash some words on diaryland.
Faith shift version two is not as painful but perhaps it is a larger scope. The first shift was shifting from mainstream Christianity to progressive Christianity, and this time, perhaps because I see how religion and conservative culture can do, I bask among Abrahamic realms. I still attribute to the Abrahamic God but decide I may as well truly understand what each three faiths are about, now that I have this luxury to do it.
After all, Christianity was what my kindergarten taught and godmother lovingly expose me to, Judaism was what almost half of my previous workplace practiced (if not by race) and Islam has always been in my life creatively and personally. This is the luxury and burden to be raised and be across cultures.
I still attempt to balance myself as the creativity calls with her tears, but I felt i am ready to bask in literati and sage ways of life. As always, to love and embrace myself remains my assignment. But a life well lived and well done, remains the goal.
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 @ 4:50 p.m.
Because I made a speech about vulnerability and ended up crying myself (oops, but oh well), I thought I can shred a few words here and there.
Last year was a lot of changes for me. I would like to sum up as transition or overcoming. I understood why I was fired at my last position and was grateful that there was freelance to help me with that one month, but I was able to reflect and figure what I could have done better and why it was not a good fit for both of us. It also made me realize that remote work or partial remote work is a dream for me, hence my continual quests for freelance stuff here and there when I see fit.
I am so grateful to practice my vulnerability when my engagement was broken. I would have hid and pretended to be "fine" in previous times, but it made me be real. If I did not opt for trying again, I felt I was stuffed in something. I am glad that we tried, because even though it did not work out, I had a voice, and it transition well. I never lost the knowledge and understanding I gained from Islamic world, and it reinforces me that I still have to understand these politics better to world in my own ways. Gotta admit that I realize there were issues with self blame and rejection with childhood upbringing. But what I was glad was that it was 5 amazing years of growing and learning, and to have former fiance and current partner agree to meet when I am all ready for a LAN party, that is a gift.
As for current partner, I like to think he is my law of surprise in Witcher. However, there are no deeds involved. But I am ready to talk to therapist on Thursday on rejection and merging my two selves that have chained for so long.
Friday, Jan. 03, 2020 @ 9:47 p.m.
I have heard friends said I am strong, I am not, I just happen to experience a lot. Resilience is a better word.
I wish, faith shift is easier, but it is not. I know I travel across Abrahamic faiths even though former fiance and I had a second shot and it did not work out, but I like the idea in Islam that it accepts all three holy books. With my understanding of Christian-Judeo texts, Quran seems to summarize it all. But I wouldn't call myself a Muslim despite eating halal meat for years, I just have the experience and privilege and wounds across Abrahamic worlds. Or what I cringe and shred were boxes that can be toxic and fearful. I do wonder what will come out of faith shift round 2.
Or the flashbacks, and the photos that I never delete and simply immortalize on Mega. Wiser now, and because of the forced circumstances that sparked, I acknowledge the emotions and be kinder. I don't force to repress or forget, but rather see it as a point where it led up here, and take great lengths to be mindful for self-care and care. Vulnerability is hard to practice, but I enjoy the times I can shred out of it, and the hope to be more myself.
I am grateful I get to build and love and transition with former fiance. I do keep reminding self that my Pakistani knowledge and extended family won't be gone out of this. I am also grateful for current partner who understands the gravity and weight of these happenings and let me be. I can't wait to grow and learn and be with you.
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 @ 9:29 a.m.
I come into previous relationship as what I thought to be a whole person, but I come out as a healer.
In an alternate reality, we would have been married, but life/God has its flow.
I was given life. We tried for a second time.
I am in a second faith shift. The first time, I tilt to progressive Christianity but the second time, I will tell you I love the social justice of progressive Christianity, but also the idea that God is through Jesus, Moses and Mohammed in Islam. I am so weary of man-made systems of fear, but not to my current partner's ideas that all faiths lead to God. After all, the masjid protect me. [Sorry, I didn't get to have mixed babies, but I truly inherit the stereotypical hot-blooded Pakistani personality.]
I am not strong, simply resilient and wise. I outgrown my mother's expectations and was led to be a rulebreaker, healer and sage by choice. My former partner will be my writer partner for there is so much love, my current partner will understand that creativity that roam and be impactful.
Thursday, Nov. 07, 2019 @ 7:56 p.m.
My heart is heavy because there are uncertainties and traumas.
Throughout my life, I question why I am wired this way - to feel so much and to be so vulnerable, and act resilient while simultaneously hurting.
I do not know why I get so upset whenever there is a disaster striking somewhere in the world. I remember how heart breaking it is to see the Syria war happening, the gang rapes in India and the cases of microfinance gone wrong.
I do not know why I am the only one out of the family or my group of friends crying after we watched Argo, Coco or other movies. I certainly felt a lot more than everyone.
I do not know how or why I was the only one crying and feeling the pain when we paid respects to my late grandfather that I never met. I would have loved to know him.
I do not know how I found words and music and art. It was the only realm that understood and embraced all of me without pretenses, and guide me through to the understanding that creativity is constantly infinite and evolving.
There were many times I wish I did not have this fertile imagination and emotions, for it causes so much pain and speculation, and so much misunderstanding from others.
However, as my mother said, we will continue to encounter the same incidents again and again until we learn, this is perhaps the moment for me to plunge into fissures of uncertainty and be. To bleed into words and relish the frustrated concerto. To breathe into oblivion, and become a sage whilst balancing all this imagination and emotions.
Monday, Oct. 07, 2019 @ 3:00 a.m.
Throughout my 20s, I often encountered (meaningful) silences.
I often blamed myself for not being able to write and press myself to complete my hurdle of wishes and goals, and of course, burned myself out.
Now I understand my craft evolves, and I have to give into patience as inspirations bloom under its own timed journeys.
I reminiscence the 20s when I was passionate about freedom and Middle East politics and war, I missed that hot-blooded young adult who wanted to almost anything and everything to alleviate poverty, stop wars and tear over the world's affairs (but somehow don't want to find a non-profit because there are already so many people doing it already)
But instead, I morphed a corporate self out of everyday life - to learn the logic and wisdom to navigate in a workplace, to educate myself every bit of Islamic and Christianity history so I can understand and do something one day, and now so numbed by protests. I am now a cynic at the game of politics - one who understands the difference between politician's talks and the reality of a city, one who sees that the time is needed for change and not everyone can be myself who is pushed out of the box, but one who now shrugs off politics and protests as if is everyday.
I miss that passion.
Or maybe I have achieved my latest purpose so I need to think of new ones (the last one being creating a poetry community for poets/writers to express their work).
I will transform.
Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019 @ 10:47 a.m.
In the midst of the political chaos, let me quip about Hong Kong in this domain where I won't be face with a backlash. However, I am not sure if I can keep up with my aesthete self and express the complex history behind the protests so eloquently. After all, trans-languaging between Chinese and English is not an easy task.
When Chief Superintendent of State, Charles Elliott negotiated with Qishan during the First Opium Law, Hong Kong and its Harbour was handed over to British control, it was humiliating for the citizens. There were rebellions, but all was worst with the Sino-Japanese invasion before the British restored control. I would not say the British did the best job, but they made Hong Kong taste a glimpse of freedom with the introduction of British law structure, and the rampant building of museums at the end of the British reign.
When Deng Xiaoping spoke of the handover in 1980s, China re-opened to the world after Manchu Qing and Communist eras not long ago, and I like to think his statements implied his hopes that by the time of the handover, China would exceed or be on par with Hong Kong's modernity in terms of laws, trade and perhaps autonomy.
But of course, that did not happen.
China rules its many provinces through control, from censorship of media outlets, to armed conflicts with Uyghurs and Tibetans. And Hong Kong, who tasted democracy with its adaptation of British laws and exposure to international trade and cultures, could not immediately tolerate this style of governance. This led to Hong Kong as a special administrative state.
Because Hong Kong, as a special administrative state, provide much more in terms of education, health and trade, it became a melting pot, with North America/European expats who relocated as per their company or to seek their fortunes in the East, to mainland China and other ethnic minorities in South Asia who migrated in rags in hopes for a better life. Amidst of this disparity, there were mainlanders who assimilated into the Hong Kong way of things, those who saw Hong Kong as a way to wash their money and Hong Kongers who overtime, establish their own culture.
In the beginning of the handover, the Chinese government rewarded Hong Kong with trading and other perks such as protests, but these rewards were revoked, in part because China could outdo Hong Kong with its other cities, and in part, because Hong Kong would not "obey" to the parent with its protests and demands, such as autonomy to elect its chief executive.
Initially, I thought the extradition law protest would only go as bad as the Umbrella Movement in 2014. But having been through Lebanon civil war in 2006, I knew it could go as bad as that level. The cause of the protest was no one's fault, but a large difference in governance and our perspectives.
Protesters need to know that they cannot win, even with violence, because China government operates with an iron fist and democratic or violent protests would only be cracked down. All they would open up to would be some compromise.
Of course, there were horrible police officers who would take this opportunity to assault others who should be brought to justice, but they were also forced to do their jobs with tear gases when protesters stepped up with weapons. As my mother said, right now is the best time to rob in Hong Kong, because the 5000 police officers not only had their reputation tarnished, but were on call everyday to settle protests and disputes all around Hong Kong.
The HK government chose not to do anything and I would say they were the culprit of this fiasco. While we could call them incompetent, not all the officials were, and some were limited by their powers. However, what I am certain was that the Chinese government would certainty punish Hong Kong for this fiasco, and a demise is imminent.
But of course, you could all discredit me as a "true" Hong Konger. After all, I was brought up in a mix of Hong Kong and North American culture at home, went to a British school with extended families in Lebanon and Pakistan. But for now, I could only sorrowfully smile that I made the right choice to seek my aslyum in Canada.
Sunday, Aug. 04, 2019 @ 10:35 a.m.
I wanted to spill seductive words into a canvas but it takes a while to rein in, and what better way than to flex a bit of these words into the blog-sphere as a refresher?
I am grateful that after 15 years, I can retreat in the poetry and look in the world like a grain of sand. To achieve beyond my career ambitions before 30 was a miracle and it leaves me more time to devote into my passion in art and social betterment. Society will say that we should always strive for more status and power, but I have discovered my purpose in art and healing and gladly retreat as a sage.
To survive and understand wars and protests were beyond my imagination, but these events were precisely why I can be resilient and advocate for this sanctuary for writers and sensitive souls. I created/preserved this sacred pavilion for myself when I play my game with words years ago, yet I did not envision that a Facebook group I created also became an inclusive and nurturing space for other writers.
To stumble into wuxia and understand my art comes and go are my blessings in life - it made my art reach a new stage, and let me understand that my sacred space is an organic, vulnerable and compassionate duality that constantly evolves and heals. I cannot wait to see how intercultural texts will flourish with this pen.
Sunday, Jul. 28, 2019 @ 7:32 a.m.
I am vulnerable, and I am always happy that there is this place to vent and retreat.
In fact, I think this is my writer self - vulnerable, emotional, but rather reflective and wise after. I just neglect this space because of work commitments.
In April, it was bad being fired. It was a lot of hurt. In June, I got a part time job at an office and online learning freelance that paid me sufficiently. However, there were no class renewals in August so I will depend on other tutoring and office job. The shortage of a couple hundred dollars made me anxious, vulnerable and fearful. How will things be? How can I pay all the bills? (Actually, I am fine, but I will fret because it breaks me out of my comfort zone).
I know online learning is freelance so I have been looking for other part times. Or perhaps a full time when I know it is time. However, this takes time. I talked to my therapist and we talked about my destructive pattern when dealing with rejections and uncertainty.
As my mother said that when God closes a door, another will open. I believe this is the case. But I am human, I have been toiling many battles where I am vulnerable and had to go on, and I would rather release and be heal before making the next move. Unlike SO that bottles up, I had to release and bleed words, talk to multiple people and breeze it through. Eventually, I will be set on the right path again.
But for now, I will release this melancholia and bleed words, and indulge in the moments where I am retreated into my sanctuary and can spill all these emotions free again.
Friday, Jun. 21, 2019 @ 9:20 a.m.
I have long to pen something but because of new job and various gigs, often times I am sipping tea early at 6am in the mornings, or writing away for another paid project.
The freelance month and cycle of interviews in May was something - I spitted work from medical invoices to powerpoint slides online, and somehow manage the feat of landing 20+ interviews.It reminded me there was a lot more out there than former workplace and various cultures as I vetted about flexibility, position roles and support. Contrary to the popular saying where jobs were found in networking, I only landed 1 interview from a referral, perhaps in the nonprofit and arts and culture worlds, networking will get you somewhere (especially in higher Ed or fundraising since mum probably provided references to 3 of her staff that went elsewhere), but a lot is also about crafting your resume and cover letter, and following application instructions.
Or perhaps I am just a collection of resources.
In the education world, I have saw former teachers promoted to Vice Principals, Principals or Directors of Education who supervise staff and train curriculum, some colleagues who became part of academia and entrepreneurial ones who started their businesses. But as of now, I am still the one who intersect teaching & learning management as I teach online and offline, coordinate a LMS and moderate discussions while doing administrative stuff like project management.
June was refreshing as I propel into LMS and survey management at new work which was right down my alley from previous work. What amazed me was how learning had change from traditional classroom settings to virtual and blended learning.
Today there are still adults in classroom but we then want to pay for an instructor who will offer interactive and fun experience where our questions will be answered quickly, and where we will not get bored and fall asleep even with coffee. And then online, we demand the same interaction, be it a poll or chat at a live webinar, or a discussion.
Technology will only get more interesting..
Wednesday, May. 01, 2019 @ 5:12 a.m.
Let me decompress here - at times, when I walk near one of the former workplaces, I get overwhelmed and feel stressed out (but have to admit that nearby mall has almost everything I need, so I make a point of appearing after office hours), partly because I am not that brave as a self employed person yet, partly because I do wonder what other thinks.
But I believe awareness and enlightenment are always great as they lead to little discoveries here and there :)
Just like how this self employed status started out as something on a whim! I knew I was bored and wanted to do some side gigs, but had done minimal research and signed up on Upwork. Years later, I met and worked with very interesting people in translation industry, teach a wide variety of learners and get to write blogs too! I would have 0 idea what freelancing is aside from having a PayPal account and creating a profile on Upwork.
I am always grateful for this eclectic community because I believe one day, we will all be virtual and outsourcing/offshoring will continue to happen. I have stumbled onto translation, taught online, learned 5 platforms and get to sleep. But there is still healing and so let it heal.
Friday, Apr. 26, 2019 @ 9:58 a.m.
I just need some mental decompression after a long day churning words for wuxia and browsing some ancient poetry.
When I look upon my current life, it is a journey to be a dragon sage. I say dragon because I am born in the year of the dragon, and do inherit the risk taking, ambition, versatility and spending (unfortunately so) aspects of it. Then again, DD and everyone are also dragons so I do get curious if they truly believe they belong in that year.
The ambition of me took me to be a straight B student with a load of activities on the side and to reach new heights before many milestones. After all, it makes wonderful stories to be published before 18, presented in a conference before university graduation, achieved my childhood ambition before 25 and have a side business before 30, right? But of course, I will have to include the many rejections to fully spread y dragon wings. (Or to vet the scammers, tell my dad PayPal is not a scam etc)
In the past year and once I got into wuxia, I have felt a stronger urge to retreat as a sage in this self. There is healing to be done. There have been enough issues to go through. Of course, there is still a journey but I believe I am finally more or less likely at peace.
Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 @ 12:07 a.m.
Washington was healing and was every bit of my town - filled with museums that stretched across streets and coffee shops here and there (Blue Bottle! Paul! Kintsugi!), against the backdrop of Capitol Hill and government buildings.
I was sick of New York when I went there the second time - yes, there were gems with The Cloisters and MET revisited, but it was becoming poorer with mascots and choirs desperate for money, and tourists taking photos in front of Trump Tower with inauguration.
America has its disparity and I can go on about my questions on their health, education and governance policy, despite how the Presidency has entertained me over the years. But DC was calming with its government buildings and museums anchored aside the Potomac River and memorials.
I saw the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial with names engraved on black blocks. It was the way I remember my late grandmother, no explicit visual statues, but forever carved in my mind and evoking its own powerful messages. It is how art is for me.
Of course, there were Sackler galleries and I marvel how the OxyContin magnates cover up with art, or Freer and Bliss who donated their collections in their diplomatic careers (Smithsonian Freer/Sackler galleries and cherry blossoms that fill my heart with wholeness.
Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019 @ 8:43 a.m.
5 years ago, I was in Taichung, burnt from a bad breakup, wondering the next steps.
5 years later, I am in Washington, re-living the childhood memories. Let go from a place due to transitions and not quite the fit, but within a week, got a gig as a team member at martial arts translations three times my first experience (with some TLC from the master)
I remember the 5 year faith shift that finally has its beautiful end. I was raised interfaith and my mother was at the learning stage absorbing as I deconstruct. The Episcopalian/ Anglican was a middle ground for me and in midst of breaks, toxicity, relocation and relationships, I found online resources for healing. I learn that I cannot write always because inspiration soaks, but when I do, I will be engrossed in this infinite sanctuary.
I learn I need causes and I am the balance of reason and ideals. The avid reader of business articles and spits into strange tales. But because I burn out so much, I need to heal. I found my next love in wuxia, and next job will be there to pay the bills.
So I recharge at Washington, not so frightening from the Angkor Wat exhibits when I first visited as an 8 year old, but a plethora of Qing dynasty and rose gardens. Of course, there was Vietnam War Veterans memorial that will always tear me as this was the way I process and remember my late grandmother's death (too many poems and stories written, but an etching would be a good description), and to saokin art without scanning for meaning.
To be art without meaning
To jump into art and to be a dragon...
Monday, Apr. 15, 2019 @ 10:51 p.m.
Ah, one week. I have projects 1, 2, and 3 to do, coffee shop interview (because meeting people for me after trauma will always start in a coffee shop) and teaching demos.
The shakiness of meeting strangers is still there, it persists perhaps because trauma is like exposing vulnerability to everyone, except, your wounds are visible scars. How my parents half-dragged and half-persuaded me to go to Toastmasters award ceremony, I do not know.
However, vulnerability will linger and become an imperfect scar to remember and to be.
Saturday, Apr. 06, 2019 @ 12:40 a.m.
It is good to begin with a blog everyday. This may go on for sometime.
Calmer now, but still healing. Words clear me and transform me always
All I think of is one of the art pieces that I studied during university, something along the period of Donald Judd and Eva Hesse, where there was a scar in front of the white background. It reminds me to embrace my imperfect scars and experiences and who I really am.
So here unleashes my long diatribe. After all, words are the cheapest and best therapy, right?
I love and start writing officially since 16 - always sensitive, always imaginative. But of course, I get shot down and was told to do a real world thing. I was also very type A until a breakup. I did become a teacher later after a stint as a research assistant (best remote job, and I realize early I can do remote!). The students and staff are great but management was always expanding and then a campus shut down so I relocated, wanting to be a class teacher. I never got it. I went to a call centre but that did not work out due to scheduling. Then I landed my gig in customer service/workshop coordination and it was good despite extended probation initially.
I left for fired position due to higher paid. At first it was good, and I do realize I can continue to improve on documenting everything and making sure of deadlines but communication was vague. I felt I could not succeed and later on put on extended probation and then after errors of a list I was terminated. Shock, hurt but relieved. I did not have the anxiety attack last time. I see things to improve, but also that environment would not work for me if it is a big brother environment. I was actually looking for freelancing gigs a month before that!
So I will heal, write and continue to apply for remote things (what I want to do). I may start with part time because I need time to get over this and have the self esteem back again. Going to Washington will also be awesome! But to the road ahead, I will need the faith.
What I am grateful for is that i learn I have been suppressing this real self for years. I want to be somewhere that I can say I am bad when asked how are you and not mold into a pretzel. Of course, there are insecurity issues, and hey, remote has always been my plan as I do plan to have a child in the near future
So I appreciate all the hugs, kisses and support. Thank you for being on this road with me.
Falling on a cliff revisited
Friday, Apr. 05, 2019 @ 4:50 a.m.
Since my wordpress blog is locked out, I guess I have to flash and wrangle everything from diaryland. I do love diaryland since it has been a sacred space when I started it in Grade 8.
The days that DD would design and write, and the days that I would write and write and write. Society pressures us to forget ourselves and be a pretzel, but my creative self has been the core of me. The core that told me to learn normal work things in society, the core that has been through wars and protests and the one that cries out telling me I have repress it for too long.
Of course, kick in the Muslim SO and life gets a bit complicated. I remember the faith shift I had when Evangelicals no longer welcome me with open doors, the wrestle of God (I chose to stick with it, but in a healthier and better way for me) and how now I am in this position where I have such a grasp of Christianity, Islam and some Judaism that I can be a safe haven for faith shifters and sojourners. (We can have healthy discussions and I was always inspired). That is perhaps why after creative partner, I believe my purpose is to spill all the love and create this haven for creatives and sojourners and every broken soul.
I will be honest that I don't like being fired. But who does?
It made me rethink that I was already planning remote and exit. Remote has been what I wanted to do for quite some time after I started my freelance (casual) gig in 2014 on a whim, and since I do plan to have kids, that is what I want to do so I can spend the time to be with them. (Plan to get married soon, and this miracle is another story) The system and I are bad fit for each other, it is too rigid. I will need reassurance that I am ok and I can do it. I will apply for part time because this is what my body and mind allows me. I will volunteer for refugees because that is always my calling. There are of course some reflections on my part on how to be better for the next thing.
I learn that job security is never secure - even my school campus got closed down! We have illusion because benefits and all that but this time, I can fully leap forward. I do learn about taking a step at a time, especially when my body is already refluxing and stressing and having nightmares with this job! I aim to take care of self and already craft out something of a home office. (Yes!)
But I did get spoiled when I was translating wuxia novels. It was the peace I crave. And I would end this catharic post with a story:
I always admire dragon lady from Legend of Condor, perhaps, because we are both dragons, or perhaps because of the intense love between her and the male character. She was wounded and jumped into a cliff when she was badly injured and later, the guy found her and they lived happily. I dream of the jumping off a cliff many many times. It was a release, and here I am, taking the plunge.
Thursday, Apr. 04, 2019 @ 10:43 p.m.
My sacred space
My beloved space
Got fired. Of course I am processing with the momentum of emotions. Last time I was let go it was a scheduling issue.
This time, I tried and did what I could but could not fit into their pretzel. However, it was suffocating for me. I remember checking in with swipes, sick to my stomach as I feel the big surveillance machine going. I remembered crying to SO and parents about how my creative self is ripped and killed and repressed, and hoped for the remote life.
And then this happened. The emotions do stack themselves up. But they are paying me for April so I will go to the trip as planned and admire the cherry blossoms.
I would say I was never being listened to. It inspired me the joys of remote world and how I have always been a ninja. We will see what comes next. Naturally, source of money will be worried but that is me, after all.
It is perhaps time to unveil and jump into the box that i never thought would happen.
Remote and freelance together.
Thursday, Mar. 14, 2019 @ 9:52 a.m.
Of course, my panic alarm triggered in new place where time is caged. I am not ready to breathe life into wordpress since love and energy tanks are exhausted, but that battle took the writer side out of me into the world.
It made me face my fear of silences.
The muted melody that seethes of fear and rejection in court-esque politics.
It reminded that I am not emperor's bird (well, I tried) material.
But the melancholy will linger for a while before some resilience is breathed into me. At times, this emotion overpowered so much that I am drowned. Being how quick to grasp information that I am, it instantly bouts into a static overload, as if a SEO map gone wrong.
And of course, penning it with little words is the cheapest but most vulnerable form of therapy so of course I am still here.
Monday, Mar. 11, 2019 @ 4:46 a.m.
At times I find my self awareness and immense conscience difficult to deal with.
Granted, I know a lot, at times, too much about myself and spend most of my life (trying) to accept/embrace this vulnerable soul I strive so hard to preserve.
But that also means I deal with triggering issues 5 times harder, and have a very difficult time after reflective silences because my brain will decipher Byzantine history in 2 weeks, and I can comeback on interesting capital punishments and laws. Even with this newer interest in stocks and dividends, it is as if I am an old soul.
We all know about how I am going to build towards this freelancer life so I can roll my eyes, drown in coffee and be banker wife 2.0 (had a discussion with the banker, agreed that we signed up for the wrong things where he could be HR and I would be smirking as some independent broker having 5 people signed up for a credit card/accounts with my image of I used to be a finance idiot and now....)
But let's not dwell on that. I am exploring this context of death as more facebook friends have babies (I know, what a cynic).
I still grieve over the deaths I saw.
The suicides that I heard from high school and university reunions. There were untold stories of harassment, depression and complications that we never hear. Yet, all we seem to label people is their status. There is so much untold that I wander and want to know.
The deaths that we know are coming but still cannot get over. Grandmother is always a muse in my stories and this is how it became. I offer another to make a biography for another grandmother because it is a memento mori. They have rich stories. Perhaps, their ideas of cycle of life is different from mine but to relive the moments of war, love, death and life? I will write it all over again.
The non physical deaths we experience. I like to think of creative partner as the ex husband but his departure was needed for me to be where it is. The Beirut memories and conversations among the 4 will always be there and i can never refuse the rooftop party till the end of the world of nihilism and revolutions. But he left. It was because of this I realize I can be a sage and seduce with words and find the banker that see through the vulnerability. It was because of this can I see I have no role in immediate revolutions, but having the keys to 3 civilizations may mean I can ultimately stop something.
Or my own death. The older I get, the more of a sage I become and want to retreat to the oceans where I can dance like a drunk literati. I know my type lives for purpose and so it is fitting when I exit I fulfill that purpose despite the sins and loins. So it is time to achieve that sage
Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2019 @ 4:04 p.m.
When I finished my translation assignment with martial arts novels, I thought I would immediately delve back into writing.
In a series of beautifully timed injuries and snowstorms, I found myself hibernating into a comfy slumber until it is time to write again. Young me would challenge myself, but present me has long accepted it is a transition between inspiration and evolution.
Long ago, I thought I am done with faith shift.
But not so.
I feel for those in Abrahamaic religions who are equally challenged and questioned as our faiths are thrown into an ocean of oblivion, and external pressures leave us to lick our own wounds.
Our desert mothers and fathers have long question, for faith is a cyclical cycle of seasons, where perhaps doubt and sabbaths will lead to a beautiful wild.
Since I become a privileged foreigner in the Islamic world, let me divulge into the Islamic faith shift I encounter.
To me, the crux of Islam is obedience, and in its arabic linguistic roots, it means submission or volunteer submission to God. There was a tale where Mohammed sent shops to Africa asking the Emperors to obey to God, and almost everyone except the Ethiopian Emperor submitted. Perhaps, of fear. Perhaps, of their perceptions of God.
However, because Islam achieved what Christianity did not manage do - to integrate into governance, when civilizations globalized, it become much harder to "modernize" tradiitional customs that were made centuries ago. It is always my hope that countries would separate governance from Sharia Law since interpretations can easily be played into the authority's advantage - how it pains to see people stoned and whipped for different opinions?
I want to pen this because we get this gift of shifting. There will be hoards of well wishers that tell us we are going through a downward path; there will be leaders who tell us to pray more or participate into multiple support groups. There will be a constant sense of guilt or sin or question whether we made the right choice. (In fact, I have this guilty feeling as I blog about whether I can even speak of other Abrahamic religions, so perhaps years of Evangelical fears still linger)
And all of this to be answered to a backdrop of silence.
I cannot guarantee there is a quick fix or definite ending towards tis shift. There are sojourners who left the faith completely, those who returned back or those who treasure their new existence in this beautiful, wild ground of living in the fringes. What I can say is to take this silence to find soul-nourishing activities that heal you with the trauma.
It was hard grippling that I disobey/sin - but you may find the religious books or even the idea of prayer traumatizing - so take a break. Refrain from viewing websites that reinforce faith shift is a horrible idea because it happens. Sometimes, these groups may gather a group of people who needs help themselves and as my late counselor said, toxicity can breed more toxicity.
I remember how I turn my faith shift into a historical study of Abrahamic faiths and I had a wonderful quest discovering architecture and politics of Byzantine, British and Shi'a and Sunni empires. And the times I converse with friends about histories without any conversion.
There are still a lot to be done in the Islamic world, because there is only one text, and how male-dominated societies can end up not being protective of women (see honour marriages or temporary marriages in the news). But there must be some beautifully wild things going on if they too begin to faith shift. The shift in Christianity is emerging with more progressive churches implmenting LGBTQ/interfaith programs, but would there be a voice for Islamc to speak out and break away from the stronghold of submission?
So I shall sit back and witness this shift and see what it leads. I came out still believing in Christianity but also with a vast knowledge of Christian/Islamic history, however, my trauma and the trauma still exists. In the meantime, I will let my vulnerability flow into its own dance of words as I retreat to the protective cloisters of Byzantine and Qajar empires.
My silent melancholy
Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 @ 8:34 p.m.
I am sure I have spent the last 4 years deliberating interfaith and cultures ever since I started dating Muslim fiance, so bear with it as I vent because after 4 years of hope, frustration and discoveries...
I finally came clean to my mother about my struggle to ever fit into mainstream Christianity.
This is really for myself.
In my 4 years of faith shifting, my faith was questioned at every angle because everything from 2 Corinthians passage to small groups to the internet would tell me that being with Muslim fiance would be an evil, abhorrent, downward spiral sin.
There were times I question Islam, especially when it is always associated with terrorism, but I found there are both extreme Christians and Muslims, some may bomb and ravage a city, and others may drive people to kill themselves.
This struggle started when I decided to quit the Evangelical Church 4 years ago because the pastor delivered a sermon targeting at young people to only date Christians or convert their significant others before marriage.
That hurt me to the core. It was not as if I went outside of my way to date a Muslim guy to rebel against the church, but to see that there was no support to whom you thought could rely on was devastating and disappointing.
I remembered the days when I experimented with the prospect of no God or going into another Abrahamic religion. However, both options did not work for me. I could not shake off the idea that there was no such idea of a caring and just God, yet I disagree that Mohammed is a prophet, or that Jesus is merely a storyteller.
That was part of the reason why I relocated to another country to regain my sanity.
When I turned to the internet to find others' experience, it was even worse. My google searches often resulted in links from various churches bashing my decision, or emphasizing the need for conversion. While there were the rare one or two articles that became my lifeline, the other ones were often nightmare experiences of women who married Muslm men and were psychologically abused.
I don't deny their experiences. Everyone's experiences will be different.
What continues to traumatize me is how exclusive and unsupportive communities can be - to have false friendships that are based on one's success rate of converting their spouses (needless to say, I am no longer friends with my former small group members) or to endure continuous advice to convert; to reject and ostracize members because of our failures or lack of motivation to convert our partners and to haunt us with well intended reminders of what a downward spiral we are heading into.
What a struggle it had been - to be in the faith, and yet to face so much backlash in the community. I finally understood why others who been through similar experiences decided to convert into their partner's religions, give up the relationship or religion altogether.
As my Muslim girlfriend's faith started to unravel, it opened this Pandora's box for me. But I am grateful for those rare friends who chose to stay friends and online communities that remind me that there are also many of us who are silenced into this steep price of interfaith relationships.
But I am hopeful that there will be a change in these toxic communities, and that there will be accepting and progressive communities that will spring up. For the world continues to globalize and there will be more interfaith marriages and friendships, and I vow that I will still do what I could to let my future children choose for themselves.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 @ 11:24 p.m.
I have not brushed with words for quite some time, so it is always comforting to start my art in this safe haven for 15+ years.
This year has been full of changes in my artistic and professional lives. I feel blessed and am excited, but naturally, I worry.
Transitioning into a new job with the standard notice is a big deal for me. While I am very well versed in the game of freelancing and teaching/research contracts, I have never transitioned into another position due to relocations. And this job is a transition in itself as I transform from an educator with administrative responsibilities to an administrator for continuing education.
But instead of rushing myself, I know this time, I am going to take my sweet time to process and be thankful for all the friendships and opportunities.
Creative wise, I have fallen in love into the world of translating fictions. I have definitely learned the hard way that I need a sabbath after 4 months of translations coaxed all the words out of me, but it is an art in itself to translate Chinese web novels into English pieces, and I do relish the occasional poetic phrases here and there. This is definitely something I will take in a heartbeat so long it is not 40 chapters per week.
I also took back the reins on managing the facebook group that I founded for Allpoetry members. Managing writers is naturally easy because we can all relate with our creative tendencies, but balancing these words with a firm grip was a process. So glad I have another admin on board to help me approve posts so I can spend more time resting in my creative haven. (I tend to imagine it as a chinese pavilion or an artist studio)
And of course, the other half whose busy lifestyle make my life so colourful and somehow manage to believe I can do everything like this.
Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2018 @ 9:45 p.m.
These days, instead of picking up my writer pen, I pick up the translator pen and recreate Chinese contemporary martial arts novels into an English novel.
After translating over 100 chapters each month, I fell in love with the martial arts, the plot twists, the romances and the history and with the death of Jin Yong, the pioneer of modern Chinese wuxia last week, I hope to continue the legacy.
But since I get paid to write and translate, the allure of rising to be a manager becomes less and less attractive to me.
Not because I have no ambition, but because I already own my freelance business and oversee myself from contract negotiations and crafting words, to payments and the full cycle of my projects. I definitely enjoy seeing sides of employee (day job) and owner (night hustle), and who can resist doing amazing things like voice overs and translation of chinese legacies?
But of course, my hope is to fully retire into this underground gig economy and focus on translating, teaching and writing. This will hopefully give me more time to write my Chinese literature and appreciate Arabic poetry.
After all, if Allpoetry facebook group can organically grow into 2500+ members worldwide, and my translator's pen could start off with $0, everything is possible.
Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 @ 4:21 p.m.
I knew my destiny and what I had to do.
Even the counselor said I need healing from the trauma of writer life and not counseling.
I try to be light.
But I know who I am with is always my opposite.
Depending on where you believe in Christianity, I am already paired up with the dark side being with a Sunni Muslim.
Or we may say that we are united as followers or descendents of Ishmael and Isaac.
Or we unified the Arab and Chinese worlds and that we would have made the Silk Road Trade in Chang'an so smooth. In a different dynasty like Yuan dynasty, I would definitely be in a higher rank because of the significant other.
But you usually see him first.
I am, after all, packed with an ambition and grit of a dragon, yet I fully know I am to heal and to love and to write. You don't want to see me too soon, because that meant something would happen.
Or perhaps, I just want to give you a teaser with writes and make you savour gothchyld here and there in my selfish desires.
Monday, Aug. 13, 2018 @ 10:19 p.m.
I wanted to be strong, to be bold, to change someth
I was raised to a warrior and charm the crowds with a smirk, and tested again and again with projects under projects, but my emotions would not numb and tears still flow at certain fleeting moments.
It was not until years later that I was told I have a much more powerful gift - to heal, to create, to give meaning and perhaps, to change the world.
Let me shred and peel myself in front of you.
Unveil my scars concealed under layers of concealer for decades.
And breathe life as I choke out the toxins like a periodic ritual.
Perhaps, creative souls also liken that we trespass two worlds - the reality that has its own set of practical rules and prejudiced ideas, and the organic, evolving creative realm that envelopes us with love and go tell us to do something.
All the time, my creative side tells me to preserve this emotional beauty with elegant words, but then go be a fiery word warrior that mediates and fight for peace and understanding at the most turbulent shores.
I didn't buy a ticket to the most dangerous places and fight - that would be irrational, and that is another's purpose. But we will get back to that later, because my life also connects to these conflicting forces.
Before I come back to this conflict, I had to acknowledge my raw emotions and the creative realm are my core self, and read encyclopedias upon encylclopedias of dysfunctions of the heart and the mind. Perhaps that was what God had in mind for me. After all, it is not everyday I come out unscathed of a havoc.
To untangle and sense the hidden emotions and struggling life of those who have numbed so long.
To discern and continually pray that those who killed their core selves will one day embrace their murdered selves and cherish their lives.
To be a sounding board for them and tilt them to ideas, but never to force them so. It is their homework, I often assert myself, even if it takes a life time.
However, I made a vow that I will never be a counselor. To absorb so much is too much for me and I do not want to poison myself. It is better to be the initial guiding light and lead them to the rational professionals who can do that.
At my core, I am simply an artist-writer-historian who creates and breathes meaning and this is the formula that I can thrive with.
Now, back to our conflicting forces....
A decade ago, I did try to be bold and have some literary revolution over war at Middle East. My kindred spirits are dear to me and I bury myself into books, attempting to learn their laws and the root of the problem.
But life decided it was time for me to cherish and savour art history to strengthen my craft and leave this for 10 years later, when I met my soulmate and came into a crossover.
In the Bible, we are constantly reminded of the different paths that Isaac and Ishmael. Through Gentiles, I have read the stories of Isaac, but he read and believe in the origins of Ishmael.
I do not know of God's plans ahead, but I do know that this conflict continues today in warfare.
Some of us and some of them have turned into extremists who have gone too deep in the dark unfortunately. But there is still hope.
I never convert to his side, there are some beliefs that I don't believe in, but from historical books, it appears that this long-standing feud started when we kill whoever who disagrees with us, and this dragged onto crusades and quests to purify the world, along with some corruption here and there.
So now, I shed and sit in the position of diplomat - still hoping to be more like God through the Bible, but dissecting Middle East history and politics as if an expert. (Let's not forget the lecture about Wahhabism, it was exhausting)
Kick into my out of the world writer self and you cannot get a more delicate position.
But I guess, this resiliency means I get to change the world after all.
The Battle With Silence
Sunday, Aug. 05, 2018 @ 4:25 p.m.
The 6-hour Mindfulness Retreat last week opened a Pandora's box.
It was not my first time in a Mindfulness Retreat, nor the first time I saw my mind warped and wrecked and wrestled in pieces.
But when I came out, I had refluxes, anxiety attacks and little critters reminding me of the haunting silence.
As introspective I can be, I have been burned into fearing stillness. Growing up in Hong Kong does not help when everything can be answered in 2 minutes and you have a barrage of apps to toy with in the subways either.
But to leave my inquisitive mind into a stasis when half of me have a booked schedule, and the other half of me have my challenge to be writer-diplomat-historian, that is placing me in a haunted house.
This reverie spins and kills my inspirations into strings of madness, but it is precisely the root I have to face.
My body will one day return to ashes, and I do not need to burn and churn my mind to build Venice when this stillness enables me to savour finer things in life. Not everyone has this gift to be self aware and decipher their issues at the expense of a $20 mindfulness therapy and aspiring mindfulness teacher training. (Yes, this is happening)
To slow down and inhale life
To realize meanings and purposes
and retreat into a sabbath of art
in this blended reality
and return to both worlds in big love adagio
Monday, Apr. 02, 2018 @ 11:20 p.m.
While Canada is a living proof of thriving diversity, at times, I relish over my cross-cultural upbringing and experience.
Recently, one of my poems is selected to be included in Allpoetry's 2018 Anthology "On Earth As It Is in Poetry" under the name "gothchyld" (it will be published in US!). While each write has their own story and each publication is equally special, I was more amazed that as a former EAL/ESL student, I have not only continued to study English in A-Levels and University level, but manage to publish my English poetry in UK and US.
While my parents intentionally taught me English and Cantonese (but of course, with a bit of Chinese accent), my cross-cultural upbringing was completely accidental.
I have seen that cross cultural adults often made choices - to revert to their primary culture (e.g. ethnicity by blood), to convert to their secondary culture (e.g. where/what they were brought up) or to maintain their fluidity of cultures and went on to be even more mixed. How I took the latter high road, I do not know.
Although they were born and bred in Asia, my parents were never local by heart. Perhaps, because they love both Hollywood and Korean movies, and embrace the progressive society that the West have. I remember a childhood traveling to museums in Asia and North America, and reading both Red Mansion and Pride and Prejudice.
Enter British international school that was a melting of nationalities. After catching up with English for 2 years to be on par with my peers (critical thinking was not well integrated in local schools then), the romance of soccer and sophistication of Shakespeare have won over me. My love of Shakespeare definitely spills over to university and beyond and I still occasionally brag how I studied under two renowned Shakespearean scholars (Prof. Jill Levenson and Prof. Holger Syme), where I learned to decipher beyond iambic pentameter and write about Elizabethan medicine.
But art appreciation took over.
And so did my writing partner from Middle East who brought a breath of fresh air.
10+ years, I met with my classmate, who has progressively become 'local' in Hong Kong culture after she met her Hong Kong born and bred fiance. Her Cantonese and knowledge of Hong Kong culture probably beats me now, but I know my dilemma on Hong Kong and China governance would never let me revert to a local.
Or my cousin who has studied the arts and met her Caucasian boyfriend in the creative industries. But I know I can barely finish an American/Canadian TV show, have almost quit alcohol altogether (liver takes too long to breakdown) nor do I like camping so forget that.
Life somehow decide that it will be more fun for me to retain all my cultures and take on a new one. It has continued to groom me to appreciate and understand more of Chinese and British history and literature, along with Canadian art. Then after my writing partner vanished back to the practical world, I met my South Asian fiance with a similar cross cultural upbringing and I end up deciphering Mughal and Ottoman Empires along with Islamic laws (very sporadically) to understand beyond family gossip.
Despite Chinese questioning my interesting life choices (based on 9/10 Chinese friends and cousins), the South Asian fraction has welcomed me with open arms (based on 9/9 South Asian friends). Something must be right.
This may just be glocalization at its best.
But I know I will definitely remind future children that the world is truly their oyster with 4 cultures and languages at their hands.