Swamp Girl

Take me out of the swamp
I’ll reek less of the stench

Take me out of the swamp
I’ll do everything to wash out the mess

I’ll walk like you, talk like you
Do everything just to be like you

Take me out of the swamp
No one will know where I’m from

I’m ashamed I was born of the swamp
But the swamp is my home

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Confidence is not arrogance

And so I finished another book.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

The reason I asked for this book last Christmas was that Shonda is a great storyteller. She is adult Disney filled with dramatic twists and epic female heroes. She created the modern day Wonderwomen with Olivia Pope & Analise Keating. (I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy but I’m sure Meredith Grey is a celestial superhuman too). The book was to serve as my inspiration to be as successful and amazing as Shonda.

The first few chapters were a great background build ups to her life bubble and towards the mid section I started to feel disappointed. I thought Shonda was coming off a bit conceited. She praised her work left and right and it felt snobby she was invited to all these A list parties and rejecting her attendance. But in the later chapters, she taught me to realize that I shouldn’t be judging her own praise and success for herself. Too often we shy away from our accomplishments because we’re “afraid” of coming off cocky. But why should we? Hell, we bent sideways and backwards to get where we are with our own success and we have every right to put our hands to our waist and raise our chin above it all. We earned the right to feel good about kicking ass and taking names. As I salivated over each page in the end, I grew to appreciate her self-love more and more. Shonda taught me not to hide my strengths. Shonda gave me confidence and proved to me it’s not conceit.

I once believed I didn’t need a Year of Yes because I already did everything I wanted and went after what I desired, but her autobiography is so much more than just a journey into 18 months of saying Yes. It’s her insight to what loving yourself and the choices you make means. I’ve never related closer to someone who didn’t want marriage. She doesn’t need to justify it to anyone so why should I?

I’m so glad I finished the book during the last couple days as I’ve been on bed rest from getting my wisdom teeth pulled. I lost a couple of wisdom but gain a whole wealth of experience and knowledge through her journey.

Thank you Shonda -for the wisdom, the laughs, and opening up your life from the sacred pantry.

  • Meditation by Marcus Aurelius
    • Progress Report: arrived and ready to start once I can finally finish out the other 4 books I’ve started.
  • The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
    • Progress Report: I’m about a quarter through my re-read and now realizing I should also keep a log of all the activities instructed by Tim. So this one’s going to take a bit to finish. More of a marathon than a sprint.
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • Progress Report: oy, self help books like these are just so hard to get through for me but I’m working it!
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • Progress Report: arrived! on my next task once I finish out at least 2 more
  • Wildcard by Marie Lu (out 9/18)
  • The Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    • Progress Report: Love love love! I’m halfway through and love the blend of history with tools to utilize in daily life.
  • Bonus: We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • [CODENAMED] My friend is writing a Trilogy and I’m beta reading Book 1
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I used to think you were my forever

“I love that word. Forever. I love that forever doesn’t exist, but we have a word for it anyway, and use it all the time. It’s beautiful and doomed.” – Viv Albertine

There was a time when you were my here and now
I thought you were my person
Like how everyone is destined to have their own unique soul mate
The other half I saw myself in a cliche future with
Reading on a rocking chair staring out to nature when we’re old and weathered

Forever meant I would think about you every second I had to myself
Those sacred moments I invented about us together

You were the air that hugged me tight as I walked in the park
The dream I wasn’t willing to let go even as you started slipping through my fingers like when you’re trying desperately to grab onto water

Forever
That means here and now
That means tomorrow and beyond

But you’re not here
And forever doesn’t exist

It’s a romanticized fantasy
An impossible feat
Like desperately trying to grab onto water

Astroturf & the Sky

Sleep on AstroTurf in the dead of night with your two best friends
one with the hiccups
one drunk
one laughing her ass off each time the boy hiccups.

Be 27
but also 6 years old

Escape reality because your time together makes the world stop

The stars pepper the sky looking down at you from their vantage point
smiling and shining at your pure joy in each other’s company

A lot of innocence slip away as we enter our late twenties
but when you’re laying uninhibited staring into the night
A piece of your innocence revisits
bringing fondest memories of forgotten friendship and youth.

 

 

My 5 Year Plan

So imagine grabbing a latte with an old acquaintance. Almost always, this is how the conversation starts out:

What have you been up to?

How is your relationship going?

How’s work?

These common 3 “small-talk” ice breakers are everything I dread about going out to see a friend I haven’t connected with in a few months.

The next question I absolutely resent people for even bringing up is, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

The younger me (okay so last year) would have mouthed off something to my interrogator and stood up on a soap box preaching the futility behind this inquiry. Partially for the below reasons:

  1. There’s science behind those who talk too much about their goals and never achieving it. So it’s better to keep tightlipped until the deed has been done. What’s the awesome term for this? Oh yes, hubris.
  2. Most people use this to evaluate what my priorities are. If I’m on a date for example, and I say I’d like to become director in the next 5 years, the other person would assume I’m too career focused. If I say, marriage, they probably would have bolted for their car on our first date.
  3. A real goal feels too intimate to share with anyone. I rather not have my secret hopes and dreams passed on, then having them tell their cohorts, thus creating our entire social circle focusing on my foreseeable future at tea time.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

So here’s my 5 year plan. The goals I hope to achieve that aren’t wasted on defining who I am by who I will be bound to, or what desk I’ll be chained to, or which professional title to brand me for the new few years. My goals in life transcend beyond the mundane.

Year 1: Fill my brain with beautiful stories – as many books as I can possibly read

Year 2: Master flexibility outside the physical entity of my being

Year 3: Understand the value of success is more than the digits in my bank account

Year 4: Observe and indulge in other cultures. Distance away from the routine provides fresh perspective

Year 5: Persevere through all things that pass through my way and just continue spreading positivity

This is what I want to discover in the next 5 years. Career or love life… they’re just small percentages of our daily life and yet we attribute way too much in both. There’s more to our existence than how we make our fun coupons and who we choose to spend it with.

Progress Report – Post Shanghai

Okay so I definitely have reader’s ADD. If that isn’t a thing, I just totally made it one. Here’s a progress report with about 5 months left to finish out my reading list.

  • Meditation by Marcus Aurelius
    • Progress Report: arrived and ready to start once I can finally finish out the other 4 books I’ve started.
  • The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
    • Progress Report: I’m about a quarter through my re-read and now realizing I should also keep a log of all the activities instructed by Tim. So this one’s going to take a bit to finish. More of a marathon than a sprint.
  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
    • Progress Report: Light read I find enjoyable when I just need something not nonchalant
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • Progress Report: oy, self help books like these are just so hard to get through for me but I’m working it!
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • Progress Report: arrived! on my next task once I finish out at least 2 more
  • Wildcard by Marie Lu (out 9/18)
  • My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
    • Progress Report: Removed. I recently discovered Power of Now and have this incessant hunger to feed my brain with Eckhart Tolle’s spiritual guidance.
  • Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • Progress Report: Heavily debating if it was a mistake to purchase this. However, I’m weathering through. The first few chapters are a bit dry but I aim to really try again since I want to take this meditation routine seriously.
  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    • Progress Report: Love love love! I’m halfway through and love the blend of history with tools to utilize in daily life.
  • Bonus: We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • When I went up to Sonoma two days after I got back from my Asia trip, I went to my friends room and gunned for her bookshelf. Everything was color-coded with an invitation for my hands to grab and take in all the literally beauty. This particular short read stuck out to me and I finished it that morning. It’s super short and if you don’t have the chance to get it, just fully steep in her Ted talk. Wait! I actually found the PDF as well. Please please please give it a chance. It enlightens how we educate the new generation on gender and to depart from old traditional values. We, women, will understand everything she’s preaching but we’re not really changing our daily lives and cultures to move away from this ancient split between man and woman. We must really acknowledge what she’s teaching and pass it on to future children.
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • [CODENAMED] My friend is writing a Trilogy and I’m beta reading Book 1
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The heart, the mind, and the soul

Time passes and I’m completely unsure now at this point what I want.

The head convinces me I haven’t matured,

Girls just want to have fun

The heart yearns for a meaningful companionship.

It’s time to open yourself up 

The war between the two is at a standstill however eventually one stronghold should have bent to the other.

But, whom is deemed victorious?

The head proclaims out of silence, “Patience child. The time will come and enlightenment will arrive.”

Then the heart steps forward and pleads, “Dearest one, understand prospects will show but what if he’s been here the whole time? Why not give it a chance? How many prospects will pass by before you realize you’re now bewildered by options that only confound what is actually right?”

Soul eventually breaks the dichotomy.

It says it’s piece and vanishes back in search.

What the fuck are you holding out for?

 

 

I Escaped and Experienced WWII

I have yet finished another amazing book. This time it was Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer fiction about Marie-Laure and Werner’s insufferable childhood, then adolescence, during the Second World War and their brief encounter that changed both their fates.

I’ll admit, All the Light We Cannot See completely gutted me and left me hopelessly heartbroken near the end for our main protagonists as any World War II novel should. It was the first book to ever induce tears three times in one sitting as I reached the finale of my adventures traversing through European history.

Imagine reading and feeling the full threshold of fears as you hide out in the Diary of Anne Frank and explore militia advances and being entombed in trenches from The Things We Carried all intertwined with emotional prose on steroids. That was the outcome in Doerr’s narrative. His capacity to paint with words and take me through all five senses enduring the terror of war still makes the hairs on my arm shoot up.

I found an escape this morning for a few hours sitting on hardwood floors with my derrière almost cramping and locking up, but it was an epic few hours that taught me human resilience and kindness even at the brink of one’s final few breaths.

Read it. I’m deeply envious you’ll be opening the book for the first time and living it with fresh senses.

 

8 Silly but Important Things to Always Choose

1. French fries over Fruit. Are you kidding? This is a no brainer. You can’t make crispy golden french fries at home, but fruit? Fruit you can get anywhere. Yes, you’ll feel like a heifer for maybe an hour after you consume all of it but at least in the moment, you enjoyed every freaking second of those delicious oily fattening awesome things. Fruit? Get that shit at the market and eat it at home. When you’re out, indulge yourself.

2. Unsubscribe. I’ve recently purged myself from online shopping after realizing about 70% of the emails I accrue on my personal account were from Forever21, Groupon, Sephora, the like. It feels a bit insipid when now I wake up and I’ve got 18 emails vs. 60+ but at least I’m not wasting precious time deleting meaningless “SALES” and breaking my wallet. Now each morning I focus on positive affirmations from my virtual yogi on YouTube and success stories shared on Gates Notes.

3. Bring a book wherever you go. Apps on our phone are endless as such are puzzle games with infinite levels. (Trust me I work in gaming, I know how many levels there are ready for the player to trek through, and beyond that there will always be another map, another dungeon, another challenge). But the greatest lesson you absorb is those from stories and historical documentation. I’ve learned resilience through Marcus Aurelius and strategy from Sun Tzu, valuable knowledge which otherwise wouldn’t have been taught via mobile games.

4. Chop it off. In 2013, I got bangs that basically ruined my life. Or so I thought. In retrospect, I was young and naive; time felt longer than what it really stood for and I cared way too much how “swoop” my bangs were. The stylist had cut it too short and I swore everyone could see the extra centimeter he took off. 5 years post trauma, I’ve now gotten the shortest haircut I’ve ever underwent and it’s been the best decision of my life. Time will tick as hair will grow. So choose to get that haircut you’ve always wanted to try out. If it sucks, it’ll grow back in 6 months. And if it shines, you’ll love eliminating the fear of going shorter.

5. Keep a notebook & pen. First, always have a pen on you because when you fly, you don’t want to be that person bothering your neighbor for theirs to fill out a customs form. Second, notebook & pen helps jot down your consciousness. I don’t know how many great ideas have gone out to the wild to never return because I failed to remember what they were by the time I got back to my laptop.

6. Daily Notecard Trick. This is courtesy of Tim Ferris. He jots down things that must be accomplished by the end of that day on a notecard and once they’ve all been finished out, he rips up the card. It’s so cathartic to start my day with goals then completing each task and finally being able to toss the card as a part of the exercise.

7. Run on your own damn time. Never wait on anyone not worth waiting on. If you’re just sitting there waiting for the phone to ring or someone to eat with- go enjoy time alone. Cook something healthy and enjoy it with FRIENDS on Netflix. Time is too precious spent waiting on others.

8. Never commit to lukewarm. I don’t know how else to explain passion as an extreme. This an important lesson I learned from mommy dearest. If you’re at a store and you see this red dress but it just makes you feel 50% while you put it on, DO NOT BUY IT. No matter how many accessories pieces you dress it with, it won’t make you feel 100. Buy the dress if it makes you feel like hard 10, otherwise, that garment on the hanger will only sit in your closet collecting moths and dust. This philosophy can be applied to most life decisions. The dress was just a recent example I had whilst shopping with Momma bear.

 

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