“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself–and if I accept myself fully in the right way I will already have surpassed myself.
I heard this song before I watched the music video. After I watched the music video something stirred within. What I thought about was how brave people are. Even people just going on dates. People who dared to do this experiment. Was I too scared? And why? Here’s what I wrote:
The greatest risk we’ll take is the risk for connection. “To love is to be vulnerable.” Being vulnerable is scary. Overcoming that fear and just loving might be the hardest thing we’ll ever do in our lives. The danger is we could live our lives so focused on our flaws and so wanting to guard them that we don’t make that risk for connection. But what happens is we miss out on the beauty of love. We settle for a cheaper, easier version of it. What happens is we become too focused on projecting our best self that we lose out on true connection. What happens is what we believe is protecting us actually harms us.
“The courage to truly, selflessly, irrationally love is the greatest accomplishment of the human heart.” – Asha Noel Iyer (read your article today on Thrive Global, it inspired me!)
I have a spot I go to down in Laguna Beach to be alone, to be with God and to rest and be filled.
I needed/wanted to go the day after the rainstorm. The entrance to the beach that I usually always go to was blocked. I went to another one and saw that the water had come up pretty far up. For some reason though I was committed to go to that rock that I always sit at.
A little foolishly, I climbed up a wet and slippery rock and hoisted myself over so that I got to sit on that rock. And that’s when I realized that it was okay going UP that but would NEVER be okay to go down that. It was so slippery and steep and the chances of me falling and getting hurt was almost inevitable.
At that point I was pretty scared. So I looked forward, the water was coming up a lot (there’s a technical term for that, high tide?) anyways, there were little patches of sand between rocks that I would have to cross in between waves and then I’d have to climb back on rocks and dodge waves again to get to an area of the beach where it wasn’t rocky.
I had a choice – either to go back and possibly break my neck or to move forward and to get wet and to calculate and strategize how to not get swept away by waves. Both had risks but I knew, and I heard so clearly at that moment: don’t go back, it’s dangerous to go back the way you came. You have to move forward, I’ll be with you.
“Oh, you can’t get out backwards. You’ve got to go forwards to go back, better press on.” – Willy Wonka
I had a long drive ahead of me to Beverly Hills. I hate listening to the radio on long drives but I also had to delete all of my applications so I could have enough space for Pokemon Go. That meant without Pandora I had to default to good old Youtube. I searched a few songs I was liking at the moment when suddenly in the “Suggested For You” sidebar a song I hadn’t listened to or thought of in years popped up.
Not a big deal, right? NO. It was a big deal because it was a BUS (Break Up Song). BUS definition: A song or set of lyrics that help you cope during the end of a relationship.
I clicked it, knowingly, and suddenly my car became a time machine filled with clouds and memories that I had long forgotten. ALL the feels came back. I felt the heavy sadness that outlined my life from “that time”. And it was kind of neat. It was neat in the sense that I knew I was listening to this song and feeling these things but not from being in it but apart from it and simply observing it.
In the fog of sad memories and feelings of self-pity there was a mightier and small but fierce cry within that was triumphant. Almost like that voice was saying “I knew you could do it. You’ve come so far. This no longer affects you. You can be grateful for every experience.” So with a renewed sense of empowerment, I started thinking of all the other BUS Songs and I couldn’t stop. I had a BUS party by myself for the whole rest of the ride.
And as I enjoyed the BUS songs from my past, I realized a few things…
I wrote about each period of life having its own magic. I believe break ups are no exception. In fact, I think the magic is even stronger during a break up. Here’s why.
When you’re broken up you’re suddenly faced with the reality of who you are. You get to make up the rules. You’re presented with an opportunity to recreate your life without someone to guide/shape/influence your decisions. You’re suddenly back at the wheel and you decide which course you take. If that’s not empowering AF I don’t know what else to say.
Once the significant other is gone you quickly realize the importance of friendship, mentorship, family. It’s true, with break ups you lose a significant support system and best friend. But when that’s taken away, your eyes become open to the people around you who have always and will always love you and support you. You can and will start to begin investing in meaningful relationships that aren’t romantic but will help you in different areas of your life. You also realize how awesome your BFFs are… I remember my first break up. My friends brought me Coldstone’s and we sat in the backyard and mourned. At that time the big BUS song was “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie. And “A Little Too Late” by JoJo. And also “Tattoo” by Jordin Sparks. I’m telling you, once I start I can’t stop =]
And if you need a little extra encouragement (other than from your BFFS) ask people who have gone through it before! You might gain an amazing mentor or friend by just asking for their story. Break ups, although sucky, can ironically help you connect with others.
If all else fails, turn to the songs. Artists have a way of pulling at your feelings in the most perfect way. Throw yourselves in the songs and get lost. It’s okay because you know you’ll be okay in a little bit of time and someday you’ll be able to hear these songs and just remember but not be pulled back in emotionally.
The thing is, there’s no cure for break ups. No magical thing you can drink to forget or not feel the pain. But what I want to leave you with is that you will get to that point. For me, hearing the BUS – “Over You” by Ingrid Michaelson – a few years later and on my way to Beverly Hills, I was finally at that point. And it was glorious. You’ll get there too. Just keep becoming more you, keep creating meaningful relationships and stories for your life and you will be just fine. Allow yourself to be sad. Enjoy the sadness because it will pass. William Shakespeare said so. “This too shall pass.”
Always rooting for you!
I just got back from Seattle late last night. My dad picked me up from the Airport and so kindly asked me if I wanted In N Out as my first meal back from Seattle. So cute!! But the truth was, I didn’t need a burger because I had just eaten a Zippy’s Giant Burger right before zipping to the Seattle Tacoma Airport in my giant pick up truck. I was able to do that because I was traveling solo and at that moment I wanted a big, giant, juicy burger. And when you travel solo, you do what you want. Also, burgers are my passion and first love.
So that brings me to the topic of solo travel. It’s a highly discussed, sometimes even commonly debated subject. When really all it is is preference. I’ll just share my experience of being sleepless, single, and solo in Seattle.
To be honest, I wasn’t alone for the first half. I went with my mom. We spent some great mother daughter time shopping and catching up with friends and family we had in that area. But then, she up and left me to go to New York and meet her college friends. That started my solo-dolo time. If you look at my Facebook pictures I look like the happiest camper but in actuality moments before I was about to be “alone” I was guilt tripping my mom the entire way to drop her off at the “LINK” or subway that went directly to the airport. I claimed that she was abandoning me all alone in a big city and that I didn’t know where to eat dinner that night and that bad things could happen to me.
The next day I woke up early, went downstairs to work out and while I was on the treadmill I was watching The Morning Show and Anna Kendrick was on there. They were reading her tweets aloud and one of them said “Oh God. I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life.” It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. That was exactly what I had decided to allocate this alone time to doing…recognizing the fact that I was stuck with ME my whole life and to get used to and start to like being with me.
Excited and with a new gusto of eagerness to implement self-love, I set out into the world of Seattle with my headphones on. I took a bus up to Capitol Hill which is the cutest little part of town filled with thrift stores and coffee shops. It also smells faintly of marijuana and sunscreen. After browsing for a while I decided to rent a bicycle for an hour. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I rented a bicycle at a place called Capitol HILL. It was very hilly. I was extremely out of shape. They also make you wear these bright green helmets and I just looked like such an alone, sad, out of breath tourist who was sweaty and lost. After about 15 minutes I was desperately searching for the closest station to drop off the bike.
From there I took the LINK to Georgetown to meet a mentor and friend who had just moved out there to take on a new corporate job. We had lunch and laughed over ginger beers. From there I went to the Pike Place Fish Market and bought smoked salmon for my dad. I then proceeded to run towards the pier to catch a 5:30pm ferry to Bainbridge Island. I made it on at 5:25pm and sat with commuters who were coming home from work in Seattle. One of them was so kind enough to drop me off at the main street where I walked and popped into a few stores just as they were closing. It started to get more and more chilly. Bainbridge Island is a small, quaint little island with a population of less than $25,0o0. Also, fun fact Snoop Dogg will be performing there April 18th if you wanted to go. I walked along a small pathway along the harbor and passed a few places that were all flipping the Open sign to Closed. Just as I contemplated heading back to the ferry I stumbled upon a very alive, happening spot. I opened the door and headed to the bar and squeezed between an older couple and two ladies. After ordering a Springtini and a few raw oysters, a girl asked me if the seat next to me was taken. We hit it off! She was traveling alone as well from North Carolina. We talked about Southeast Asia as she’ll be taking a solo trip there in the summer and I had done the same thing about two years ago. It was so nice and couldn’t have been planned that we met there and talked and talked about travel.
I politely excused myself and left after a while because I wanted to make the 8:55pm ferry and she wasn’t sure how long she was going to stay. I walked fast back to the ferry because it was FREEZING. The ride back was gorgeous and Seattle’s skyline all lit up was a sight to see. I met up again with the girl I had met at Harbour Public House, lovingly referred to as the Harbour Pub, and we split an Uber back to each of our prospective hotels.
The next day was my last day in Washington and I wanted to make it count. I booked a car at Enterprise. Unfortunately, if I wanted to drop off the car at the airport it would be an additional $100. But when I went in I asked again if there was any way. The manager overheard and said, well if you take one of these pick up trucks you can do it and we’ll waive the fee. I was floored! It has always been my dream to drive a pick up truck so I shook my head eagerly. They asked me if I wanted black or gray, I said black duh. When they handed me the keys and “Riptide” by Vance Joy was playing on the stereo I was SO excited. I packed in my luggage, got behind the wheel and went on the road for about 60-70 miles North on the 5. It was super easy to get to Skagit Valley from where I was and it was the best feeling. The tulip fields were crowded with humans and selfie sticks. I was quite honestly disappointed with the whole thing but the sights themselves redeemed my annoyance. Although it wasn’t the calm, peaceful, and serene experience I had imagined it was still the most breathtaking and stunningly beautiful sight. After meandering around rows and rows of tulips I jumped back in the pick up truck and headed to the airport. Something about having 50+ miles to go really helps to clear your mind.
Which brings me to being picked up by my dad and offered In N Out. I know that was a really long winded story but the thing is traveling alone is what you make it. Some people love it, swear by it, and will do it for the rest of their lives. I’m actually not one of those people. I love to do it and I love that I put myself out there to try it, but I’ll be the first to admit that it can be challenging, awkward, and lonely at the same time. Traveling alone CAN mean riding a bicycle up hill in a green helmet, tripping in your brand new Birkenstocks every 30 seconds, and asking Chinese couples to take your picture in front of flowers. However, traveling alone is something I will cherish for a long, long time as well. The goal of learning and loving to be with myself, for the rest of my life, was also accomplished. Rihanna once said “The minute you learn to love yourself, you will not want to be anyone else.” That was another lightbulb, I learned to love myself and I stopped wanting to be anyone else.
Today was another one of those amazing Sundays.
I went to Boomers with some of my favorite kids, we got soaked in the boat ride, we dried off by going go kart racing several times, we spun around and around on dizzying rides. I laughed and screamed, ate overpriced pizza and drank a lemonade sprite.
On my way to the bathroom with the group, something caught my eye and I saw a group of three young boys, probably around the age of 11 or 12 on the driving games at the arcade. They were horsing around and two of the kids were pushing one kid in particular. I didn’t think much about it. Moments later we were about to get in line for laser tag and I saw the same trio sitting on the couches and that one kid in particular was definitely being pushed around and the two boys on each side of him started to mess with his face, squeezing and poking as he sat solemn and silent. I was infuriated with a rage I didn’t even know I had. I backed up into the air hockey table observing with unspeakable anger boiling up. Someone behind me shoved me off, they obviously were playing the game but I was too bothered to notice or look behind. Their shove positioned me right in front of the boys.
“Does he want you to be touching him like that.” My tone was stone cold. I surprised even myself.
The two boys quickly dropped their hands, turned a little red and kept repeating “I’m sorry.”
“I don’t think it’s right to treat people like that.”
At that point, one of the youngest girls we were with came up to me and asked me to go with her to the bathroom. I went with her and as I walked away I never felt so empowered!
That was not easy for me. Even if I notice something that’s wrong, I usually don’t say anything. I’m one of the most self conscious people I know. And usually so many things stop me from using my voice. “Someone else more brave will deal with this.” “Maybe they are brothers and this is how they always act.” “What if they laugh at me.” This was one of the first moments in my life where I used my voice, despite the voices in my head, and it was the most empowering moment OF MY LIFE. I wanted to live my life like this. Not afraid to step into the awkward moments and say what’s on my mind.
Later, I saw them in the same line for laser tag no longer pushing each other but standing there and talking. I saw the boy who had been pushed earlier several times this day. What struck me was I saw his eyes for the first time. Earlier, his head was always down and eyes always glued to the floor. This time, he made eye contact with me and had a hint of a smile on his face.
“There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice.”
I’m realizing more and more I write about the MOST vulnerable topics.
Today, I want to write about something I’ve been working through recently. And by recently I definitely mean since I was 5 years old until last week.
When I was small, I met a girl who became my closest person. She was everything that I wasn’t. Which from a healthy standpoint, would be great. Two friends who complement each other. But from the scarcity mentality, it was not so great. She was Type A, I was Type B. She was an A student, I was a B student. She was on the dance team, I was in band. I know this sounds reminiscent of a Taylor Swift song but the point is I always, always compared myself with her. Being an only child, she was basically my sister. And I felt I always fell short.
The most vivid example I can give is our closets. Her closet was COLOR coordinated at age 13! I remember enviously eyeing her gorgeous clothing and feeling super inadequate. My closet didn’t even have clothes. Not because I was poor, well that’s another story truthfully, but because I moved all my clothes out of it and put a sleeping bag, a lamp, and pillows in it. Think Lane in Gilmore Girls meets Harry Potter pre-Hogwarts. I transformed my closet into a mini room where I felt I could reflect and journal. Which is kind of cool, actually. I now believe that those are the things that make me different and who I am. But back in the day, man, her closet was all I wanted in life!
Comparison has been the one crippling weakness that has worn me down over and over again. In a conversation with a friend, I realized what we do when we compare. We compare, we glorify what the other person has, and then you end up condemning ourselves because we feel like we’ll never be that, never have that.
A lot of us, perhaps, live our lives feeling the lack of what we are not. This is what I want to call The Scarcity Mentality. The scarcity mentality, is a mindset in which you focus on your lack & inflate other people’s strengths to the point where you feel like you can’t measure up. The scarcity mentality holds you back from living fully and applying your own personal strengths and gifts.
The scarcity mentality can also include feeling like there’s not enough to go around, like someone else’s success means your failure. Or when someone else is highlighted you feel diminished. I’m not proud to have felt this way, but I’ve felt this way for a long, long time. I’m learning to break out of it and hoping that if this resonates for you it can help you too.
The truth is that we have ABUNDANCE if we would only realize it. Abundance in so many ways and things and truths but we’ve become blind to the abundance because of our stubborn fixation on our lack.
Let’s talk for a moment about Christmas. That is where my scarcity mentality kicks into full gear. If I hear the word “potluck” one more time… I just can’t cook well! Potlucks are my worst nightmare. Once, I contemplated on bringing just beer and candy to a Christmas party because I can’t even. And then when other people cook well I’m just like well that will never be me because I can’t even cook toast properly at this point in my life. Do you get what I’m saying? I’m exaggerating, by the way, I can cook toast.
Wrapping gifts? Same deal. And with the people who CAN wrap gifts, I’m just thinking like… “Them. Those are the ones that are going to make it in life.”
Christmas Comparison, is a thing. And something to be mindful of…especially for those who are prone to the scarcity mentality. Switch to the abundance mentality. I’ve learned that the more you can feel confident in your strengths, the more you can appreciate and celebrate others freely without condemning yourself!
~Comparison is the thief of joy~
Not because it’s my birthday. Not because 83 people wished me happy birthday on Facebook. Not because 65 people just liked my latest Instagram post, but to those of you who did…thank you, that did make me feel good. I am just feeling loved because for one of the first times I’m letting love in.
I’ve heard from some people that when they talk to me it’s like all of a sudden I’m not there. I’ve heard before that all of a sudden it feels that I put up a wall and suddenly they are shut out. I know exactly what they are talking about. It’s almost an out of body thing where I know it’s happening but I can’t do anything about it. Can’t keep the gates open long enough because the self-conscious or negative thoughts just come flooding in and social anxiety forces me to excuse myself as I withdraw to emerge later after a little alone time.
The idea that I am loved should not come to me as a surprise. But for some reason, my whole life I feel like I’ve had this desire to SHOW that I am loved rather than to stop and accept it for what it is: I am so loved. It’s almost that the perception that I was loved was more important to me than just knowing.
Today’s breakthrough was loud and clear. I am loved. You are loved. And it has nothing to do with me, it just is what it is.
My grandpa’s love was my favorite kind of love. My being born made him a grandpa and he was thrilled just about ME. That’s a fun kind of love to have for 25 years. Starting from 13 years old, when my grandpa saw me with my full set of braces, pig tails, and harry potter glasses he said “Ah, it’s Miss California!”. Talk about not only a completely false statement but also a complete confidence booster. I was excellent, in my youth, at collecting Honorable Mentions. I’ve gotten about 8 to 10 of them and my grandpa showed up at the ceremonies and cheered me on when my name was called. Didn’t matter that the fact that I got honorable mention meant I simply showed up on the date the competition was held.
I lost my grandpa a few weeks ago. I was able to reflect on the time we shared and just realized how much this one man loved me. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Don’t wait until the end, to realize how much someone loved you. Don’t wait until a break up to realize how much that person loved you. Don’t wait until the end of your life to realize you were so dang loved. Don’t wait until becoming “perfect” to accept the love. That one is huge. For me sometimes I fall in the trap of “WHENIME” WHEN I’M Skinnier, WHEN I’M 1st place and not honorable mention. When I’M More Like Her. When I’M More secure. Please stop talking when you start doing “WHENIME”. There’s no such thing. You are Loved and fully worthy of being loved. Let that love in!
You are loved.
You are loved.
You are loved.
My dad woke up early today to take my car to get the oil changed. Not a problem but then towards 12:30pm I was at work and started to realize I was really hungry but didn’t have my car because my dad had it. He said he would come by and I could drive him to my mom and then come back to work.
I didn’t realize but as I walked out of work I was one: hangry, two: ashamed that my dad had to do errands for me (but he truly did it out of the kindness of his heart I didn’t demand that he do it) and three: in such a work mode I hated to be pulled from work at that moment.
As we drove all these feelings kept building and I was the rudest. I was on my phone. I didn’t listen to anything my dad was saying about how he got the best deal. I was a brat and said things like “I didn’t ask you to do this!” As we got to the food place, my dad sensed my mood and said it’s fine I’ll pay for your food and then go wait for mom somewhere else.
I exclaimed, “No! You already did my oil change for me you cannot pay for me too I feel like I’m four years old!” and I was half laughing but also so serious. And the thing is too, I never thought I was the kind of person who was the “I have to get back to the office” kind of person. It scared me a little. At Champagne French Bakery, I ordered but not how I usually order…I sort of barked at the person behind the counter and said “What’s vegetarian here?” And he told me everything with a leaf next to it is vegetarian. I saw no leaves. I chose something and sat down and scowled next to my dad. I bought him a Diet Coke to make ME feel better. My mom joined us and I continued to scowl. In the span of 10 minutes I got up and checked on my food three times, glaring at the workers each time I went in. In that exact one moment I knew that I was living a lesson. If you haven’t seen About Time you absolutely must. It is the best movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Pretty much the movie and the quotes came rushing to me full force and I couldn’t help but smile inwardly even though outside I was this scowling high heeled no funny business baby adult lady.
Tim: And so he told me his secret formula for happiness. Part one of the two part plan was that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like anyone else.
Tim: But then came part two of Dad’s plan. He told me to live every day again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing. Okay, Dad. Let’s give it a go.
Tim: And in the end I think I’ve learned the final lesson from my travels in time; and I’ve even gone one step further than my father did: The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.
I don’t know if you’ll fully understand this blog post without watching About Time. But the point is, I…happiness seeker smiley quote-loving Andi… slip. I get in these foul moods where I’m a wrecking ball of anger and sadness. It like seeps onto people and effects the atmosphere. I focus on things like work and getting $ over cherishing time with people who love me. I can be ungrateful, selfish, and unkind. Just the absolute worst. But the pivotal thing is to just realize. Just realize that life comes with tension and uncomfortable moods and circumstances, and that’s the beauty of life. You have to live it, but live it appreciating. Appreciating every little thing. Breathe. Several times a day, just breathe. Things aren’t as bad as they appear. They never are as scary as you imagine. Scary things will happen…
Tim: There’s a song by Baz Luhrmann called Sunscreen. He says worrying about the future is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life will always be things that never crossed your worried mind.
But I assure you, you have everything within you to face whatever life is throwing at you. Breathe it out. Live with all those little things. Tim has an ability to live things twice. And we only get to once. But when you’re living, live the second time. “The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.”