Re-visiting Resolutions

Every year I set resolutions for myself and in many ways they end up not being completed, so the resolution rolls onto the next year. Forever snowballing forward into the future years. In the past this really bothered me and made me realize maybe I was not good at completing  resolutions. What I have learned instead is that there is no issue with my resolutions, rather that I may be a bit too ambitious. Read More

Mocha Diaries: Focusing on My Health

Trying to find myself has meant a lot of soul-searching and exploring my thoughts and emotions. While I have been working on the mental side, my physical side was neglected. Our bodies are our temple and if they don’t function well neither do we. It has taken me a long time to realize I need to start prioritizing my health. I am young and in many ways, from an American perspective, I am healthy. Read More

A year of reflection, A new year of change

Goodbye 2013~ Hello 2014!

I make new years resolutions every year. I never follow through with most of it. Then again, I think that stems from a place of motivation and a good mental state. 2013 was a year of change and time for reflection as well. I did a lot of stuff, even though it doesn’t seem like much now.

I quit my job that I had had for almost 4 years. I then moved to South Korea to teach English. I met some amazing people through this process. Some of these people have become good friends and others are like family to me. I learned how to teach from scratch and though I might not be the best at it, I’m always willing to learn. I taught at 3 schools and will now say goodbye to all of my fellow teachers, school staff, and students. (This will be bittersweet as I really loved them all.) I learned to live on my own independently with few people around me that speak the same language. I’ve learned to deal with the things I don’t have for comfort that others do. I learned that I am not to terms with myself and my life. I’m an honest person and I dealt with a bout of depression and no I don’t tell others about it nor do I make waves. It will work itself out. And the year is now coming to a close and there are some things that need to change and some things to be thankful for.

This year I will not be doing New Year’s resolutions. I find I don’t stick with them so they are a waste of time.  Instead I will follow my mom’s request that I pick two things to achieve by my next birthday and make sure that they are achievable goals. I have been thinking for a long time what would be good for two goals. I could name at least 10 that I should really work on but I need to narrow it down to two. After much thinking I have decided on the following two:

1. Let go.

Reading that it seems like a vague goal. The reader might want to ask me, “um…what the hell are you letting go of?” The answer: everything. I don’t register stress well or easily. Meaning I’m mostly unaware when I am stressing myself or I feel stressed. There are quite a few things I am letting go of.

– I am letting go of the past. There are parts of my life that I am not over even though I thought I was. So it is time to let go of those feelings, memories, and thoughts. They aren’t helping me move forward in life so it is time to get rid of them.

– I am letting go of people. A lot of times we keep people in our lives that really shouldn’t be a part of it. You know the people I am talking about. The ones who bring you down or don’t really know that they are a negative influence on your life. Most of the time they are unaware of how they are to others. This also means letting go of people who only want to be friends via social media, but wouldn’t be interacting with me in real life. Time to say bye bye to all of you as well.

I am letting go of expectations. This is a hard one for me. I expected my life to be a certain way at my age and it is the complete opposite. I’m coming to terms with that, but it isn’t easy. Starting over isn’t easy and expecting my life to reflect what I want doesn’t always happen. So I’m letting go of the expectations I have had for myself and the ones I have projected for the future.

– I am letting go of anything that isn’t needed. This can be anything. It can be material items, such as too much clothing. Or whatever else is weighing me down.

– I am letting go of the one way street friendships. I don’t need friends like this anymore. Mainly you aren’t really friends but in name only, but are we even close? Do you understand me, like I do you? I’m tired of walking the two way street alone. Of going both directions for two instead of the one way to meet the other person. Life is a two way street and it needs equal participation, those who can’t be there in times of need when others are there for them. Are not worth my time. I don’t need to say names as if they reflect on themselves, like I have reflected on myself when I was not such a stellar friend, they will know who they are.

– I am letting go of negative emotions. This is one of the harder parts of letting go. I am the harshest critique of myself and the life that I live. I don’t want to be trapped by walls created by myself.

I am letting go of believing the worst about me. This is tied to the one above. Unfortunately, as strong as I appear to others, I am more sensitive than most. And the words that have been spewed at me through the years are on constantly  replay in my head despite my appearance. It’s time to kick those words out.

2. Love myself.

I have a love-hate relationship with myself. I will be the first to openly admit that I don’t like myself. If someone were to ask how I think of myself, I might reply “Okay.” That’s not such a great answer at my age. There have been parts of my life where I liked myself more than I do now. And it is the image in my head that makes me realize I am part of the problem I don’t like myself. Others might like me, but I don’t. So some guidelines are needed to start that way. I won’t accomplish this goal in a year. If I have hated myself for the last 16 years then it is going to take a long time to get to where I love myself, but it will come someday.

–  I will learn to love my flaws. There are a lot of things I am not good at. Or I’m just average at. Maybe it is a lack of trying or motivation to do better, but I settle on that I am okay. Whether it be physical flaws, personality flaws,  or blemishes on life, I will try to embrace them.

I will learn to love my body. To me it always seemed selfish to love myself. So I have been very resistant to it. Not only that, but the perceived image of beauty isn’t exactly a bill I fit. Whether that be the media, friends, or loved ones. What is beautiful? To each person that is different. It means embracing my aging skin and smile lines. It means to admire the stretch marks I have and the shape of my body. It means its okay to love my donut of a belly. Or the three month food baby I have if I let it hang out (as I so lovingly call it.) This will be my biggest challenge but the one that is most rewarding in the end.

–  I will learn to love myself despite the thoughts of others. It really is needed to kick poisonous people out of my life. This goes hand in hand with letting go of those types of people. I no longer need to feel inadequate because of others. I’m tired of hearing,, “You would be gorgeous if you lost weight” or “I don’t understand what is so hard about eating healthy and getting in shape.” “Maybe you should try harder.” It’s no secret that I want to lose weight and want to get in shape. I just have never had what others have to get there. I also wasn’t born with it. Unfortunately, the people who are the worst are also the ones who have never been overweight or struggled in their life to lose weight. 10 lbs is a big deal to these people. Yet, if they can be healthy, you should be able to do it easily too. I’d like to state that sometimes the state of mind needs to be there to actually accomplish shit.

– I will learn to believe I am good enough. I struggle with this one. I do believe I am not good enough for a lot of things. It could stem of a fear of feeling like I am undeserving of what others have. This is a result of negative thoughts and words and of course the human trait to compare ourselves to others. It also stems from poisonous relationships whether it be love, friends or family. If you have never been in one you don’t realize how haunting the feeling of ‘not good enough’ is. Sometimes those words are never said to you, but you can feel it in your bones. I know I am a good person. I know I am good enough and that I am deserving of the things I want in life. The hard part is believing it. That’s where I want to succeed in believing I am good enough.

I will learn to love myself by not substituting food to stifle emotions.  I am an eater. An emotional eater. Oddly enough, I eat all the time. Rarely hungry, always eating. I love to eat and try new foods so it is kind of a bad self-medicating practice. I eat for every emotion there is: hungry, sad, happy, angry, bored, lonely, jealous, nervous, etc. If there is a food to munch on in front of me…my hand is in the bowl eating. Not saying it is a good practice, in fact it makes me dislike myself more because I am eating when I don’t want to be eating, which then fuels me to eat more since now I have upset myself. So for this portion of the goal is to love myself enough not to turn to food to soothe me. It will be hard especially since I have a sugar addiction, but I’m going to try my best.

 I will learn to love my temple. We only have one body. It does a lot of amazing things, which most days I take for granted. Oh yes…I forget it keeps me alive and moving. But I don’t love it. How sad we have such a terrible relationship. So to love this one temple of mine I need to treat it better. Which means I need to eat a little better, exercise a little more, and give it more love. Simple little fixes to keep it running better than ever.

– I will learn that it is okay for life to take a detour. This absolutely goes with loving myself. I dreamed such a different life for myself that now I am confused as to what will happen. I’m also very worried about a deadline for having children, which some people will laugh at but whatever. That’s a very realistic fear for many women my age who are not yet in a relationship or are just starting wondering will this be the person? Will I have to start again? I never thought my life would be how it is now. However, that does not mean that it is a bad thing. I’m doing something I have wanted to do since I was 20 and am now able to do it. It has been an interesting and wonderful journey so far. It is also allowing me to find and love myself in a new environment.

As for reflection of 2013. This year had many ups and downs for me. I wouldn’t call it my best year, but an okay year full of changes. I haven’t had really good years in a while so I am hoping that 2014 will be a better year. When I reflect on 2013, I don’t just look at my highlight reel. You have to take everything into consideration and then say how was my year? How was I to myself? I think if you aren’t good to yourself you can’t really have an amazing year. It might be good or okay, but what takes it to that next level is truly liking and loving yourself and your life. I am not there yet, but I’m planning to carve my own path.

I will be starting in a new place next march and will be closer to my best friend who is like family to me. Sometimes a year of isolation makes you realize though you socialize occasionally, another person you are close to should be nearby. It’s nice to have someone to turn to when you are trying to whether a storm or if you need a slap of reality.

Happy 2014 to all of my friends here in South Korea, to family and friends back home, and to everyone else I know around the world! May 2014 be a great year for all of you!

"Everyone’s goal is to be married with kid(s) by 27?"

“Everyone’s goal is to be married with kid(s) by 27?”

“I have seen too many girls from my high school pregnant waddling down the aisle”,

” OK, you got pregnant you don’t have to rush into a marriage and be miserable”

Three quotes from a friend that happen to resonate with me. While I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that will disagree with me and want to throw shit my way, by all means go ahead. Doesn’t fucking bother me.

If someone were to ask me two years ago, where I pictured myself to be today, I would have given a very different answer than my current reality. I would have told you that I would be happily married with a kid and living in our own place.

Wait. Stop. Rewind.

How old are you? 27.

I’m at the age everyone I know is married, getting married, has kids, or is pregnant. Congrats to all of you. Ahem.

There is this unsaid perception about how life should be. You know…that sequence of life? The all powerful, perfect, traditional life? You know…the one everyone idolizes. The one that people say, “Look at them, been married for 50 years!” Or you see quotes flying around that, “We were born in a time when if something was broken we would fix it, not throw it away…” Good for you.

Let me add to that last quote, that social acceptance was also different 50 years ago. They might fix broken things, however, if you were a different race, interracially married, an LGBT individual, or had mental and behavioral disorders…guess what? You weren’t fucking accepted. Not only that but domestic abuse was common as it is now, and back then divorce was not accepted. Do we look down on couples who get divorced because of violence? Violence is not something that should be endured.

So let’s start there…these old celebrated couples are not interracial marriages. Mine was and if I had been born during that time where things were meant to be fixed instead of thrown away. I would have weathered a marriage, where words and hurtful insults would be hurled at us daily. But I wasn’t married during that time, I was married in the here and now. But that prejudice of interracial marriage is not gone in this day and age. It still exists and people still stare at interracial couples and they can still hear insults from others. Luckily, I never heard any insults, but there was always staring.

But that is not my point. My point is times are changing. The way people view and accept marriage is also changing. My generation is the first generation to live at home longer than any other generation due to being saddled by debt, unable to get a decent job, and the cost of living out of our reach, unless we landed that well paying job with benefits. Or we had parents who wiped our plates clean of debt by putting a second mortgage on their house without so much as a thank you from their children.

That defines a generation of us getting married later and also submitting to the pressure of society to be married by a certain age. To be bombarded by questions:

Why aren’t you married yet?

You should start looking to date someone.

Maybe if you are married you might hear this:

Do you want kids?

How come you are not pregnant yet?

When can we expect the baby?

The problem with these types of questions is they inflict pain on to an individual if you do not know what is going on in that marriage or that person’s life. Most people used to ask me about having a baby for two years. Not once, did someone ask to say, “How’s your marriage going? ” Because had they asked, they would have known there was no baby on the horizon. Why? Because our marriage was falling apart and it was being hidden from others. The question jabs more at someone’s heart if the questioner knew that the person they were asking wanted children.

I’m the type of person who dreamed of being a young mom with kids. I wanted to have my first child by the time I was 25. However, life didn’t go as planned. I was responsible enough to know that having a child does not fix a marriage. I was responsible enough to know before getting married not to have a child and get married because of that child. Why? Because having children does not fix relationship problems between two individuals.

It is a widely believed concept among individuals desperate to maintain a loved one in their lives, or to rekindle some flame, or help the relationship, I will have a child. Don’t do it. Don’t be so selfish as to want a child for your own benefit.

Some people say you fix what is broken. Sometimes what is broken can’t be fixed. Because if you sit and let yourself think, you realize it isn’t right. That moment when you knew you should have stopped and didn’t listen. You were right then, but ignored it in order to go with what family and friends expected of you. Because there is a guide to life and we should all be following that antiquated guide.

Sometimes we make decions that are hard but right. Somedays you have to ask yourself can I see myself with this person in 20 years? That number seems low to some people, but it is a very long time. When the love in your relationship fades and you become mere strangers in each other’s presence with no words exchanged or loving gestures, it is time. It is time to acknowledge that you cannot change yourself to be the person the other individual wants you to be. Because you are you. That person married you for who you are not who they want you to be. Only you can choose who you want to be.

That is a lesson that is tough to learn. It is a lesson I have learned, I have refused to change for anybody again. Take me as a I am, because if you don’t like it, I will move on. You don’t fix yourself to make a relationship work, because you are afraid of what will be said about you for your marriage failing. If the marriage is failing it is, there isn’t much to do, but acknowledge it, realize where it went wrong and how you and your partner played a part in it. Because everything is a two way street, we each have to accept our own responsibility in success and failure in life.

The part about being knocked up and waddling down the aisle might offend quite a few people. I know people who have done that. A shotgun wedding. You are pregnant, so what? I think our traditionalistic society drenched in Christianity still views everyone has a sinner who has a child before marriage. Therefore a shotgun marriage ceremony is the solution. Now when your child gets older and goes to do the math, they will know you got married because of them. You can say we planned to get married anyway, blah blah blah.  You might have! But why rush it for a child? So that you can seem and appear normal and socially acceptable to society?

Is it really such a terrible thing to have a child before marriage? Are those single mothers and fathers raising their kids alone terrible people? Are those couples who can’t afford a marriage ceremony who have been raising their kids for 10 years so terrible, just because they never tied the knot? Is that how we,
as a society, look at unmarried people with children?

If so, it is a shame. It is sad to know that the type of parent and person they are looked at as, is based on how they had their child. And people will refute that it isn’t true. Why hold in your own bias against it, when you will knowingly pass judgement on that person?

I’m not putting people who have shotgun marriages down, rather I would hope they realize they don’t have to have an impromptu wedding they may not be able to afford, because of a child that is on the way. The people who love you in your life, will still love you no matter the choice you make.

My only advice is that marriage is easy to get into. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get married. Most people can get married for under one hundred dollars at their local city hall. Marriage is a relationship that has a piece of paper attached to it. It recognizes that  you belong to each other for the rest of your lives until death or divorce, that’s what it is.  Some marriages are great and some are pretty crappy. But you know it is everyone’s choice to make that decision. Having been married myself, it is a hell of a lot easier getting married than getting divorced. So before you jump in, realize that. You can raise kids without a piece of paper attached. When you are ready to do it go ahead. Don’t let family, friends, and society dictate what you should do.

I wanted to write my thoughts on this, because a lot of people dwell on this issue especially as we get closer to 30. I’m 27, divorced, and without kids. Will I marry again? Only time can tell that. Do I want kids? More than anything else, but I will wait until it is time. I won’t be a young mother like I wanted, but at that time I will have lived enough to know that I made the right choices in life and am happy to have my children when and if they come to me.


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