Flawed Fem

My Flawed Life as a Mother, Sister, and Daughter -To my Family, With fellow women, & In Christ.


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My Reasons Why

A few weeks back I finished the show “13 Reasons Why.” The show was disturbing and compelling. Love it or hate it, it forces dialogue about bullying and mental health. I was personally affected. Deeply affected. I was pulled back into the pain of my past. Into my own dark abyss filled with a broken heart and a damaged mind. I do not have 13 reasons why, but I have an idea of my what, some whys, and the reason I am here today. This is my survivor’s story:

My early childhood started out innocent and happy. I grew up simple, but I had the assuring love of my family. We moved around quite a bit, and I experienced my first bullying when we moved to a new grade school. I was a tiny and painfully shy kid,
and I was easy target because I don’t talk much. Two girls decided to take my things
on a weekly basis. Pencils, pads, cases, hairclips, money. My mom started getting
suspicious because I wasn’t the type who loses things, so when I keep coming home
with lost items, she knew something was up. But I didn’t want to say anything because
these girls would threaten me bodily harm if I talk. One of them would pick me up and squeeze my body hard to show me that they were serious. I was horrified. Suffice it to say, it was my first rude awakening to the world of bullying and mean girls.

But that was just the beginning. Grade school got better when I made a few friends and fell in love with learning (aka I’m a nerd;). Then high school came. I was transferred to a new class and it was like the first day of grade school all over again. Oblivious to the high school hierarchy, I offended a Queen Bee (one of several, I later learned.) At that time, I was fairly soft spoken, so I must have uttered one wrong thing her way, and the war was on. Unfortunately for me, this war was pretty lopsided- since I was the new kid, she rallied everyone against me, she would make snide remarks loud enough for everyone to hear, she would make sure the other Queen Bees (or Queen Bitches, really) would spread the word against me, so that even people who barely knew me would think the worst of me. It was the war of the words..  Except I barely uttered one.

As much as the physical side of bullying hurt me in grade school, the emotional toll of gossip and ostracism in high school devastated me more. I was always a positive person. But I found myself slowly clouded with pessimism: First there were tears of disbelief and sadness. Then a heaviness and weariness overtook my body, making me sick and weak. My mind was filled with confusion and I doubted my self-worth. And finally, my soul was drained. It felt empty, with nothing left to give, and with no one to turn to.

I was almost completely taken over by my darkness. Almost. My story could have ended tragically if it did. I had some reasons to die. But I was blessed to have found better reasons to live:

  1. Parents- specifically my mom. They never knew how deep the darkness was, but they knew I was lost. For parents that value academics, they did not hesitate to pull me out the end of the semester to take me out of my personal hell. They did not know it then, but they literally saved my life when they did.
  2. Music/Poetry- my songs were my only outlet of expression. I couldn’t turn to friends for fear of betrayal (which some did) My early songs of love and rosy gardens turned into songs of heartbreak and loss. Edgar Allan Poe fascinated me. Nonetheless, dark songs and poetry gave me the courage to express the dark side of me and allow me to release them.
  3. Friend(s)- One particular friend is most significant. She remains one of my best friend to this day. I’m not sure she remembers this, but on one particular event when another Queen Bee (or King Bee) started another round of malicious attacks on me, she gently held my hand and smiled. No words, just the simple but most valuable touch of friendship. She had offered me the saving grace I needed on my most hopeless moment.
  4. GOD- the most important one. the one true Savior. First off, he gave me #1-3, so that in itself were more than enough reasons. He also revealed Himself at my lowest point. In the midst of tears and weariness, when I had wanted to give up, He came to me. His presence enveloped my heart and protected my fragile soul from completely losing it. My heart started to sing His songs, and my soul started seeing His hope. Through it all, He walked with me. And He carried me. And He lifted the burden that was long wearing me down. And as my circumstances pushed me towards darkness, His grace and love lifted me back up to the light.

(To the above reasons, I may have been too consumed by my sadness in the past to have expressed my gratitude then. Allow me to express my eternal thank you now. You have and always will be a most valuable part of my life. You have no idea how you saved me then. And continues to save me still.)  

I struggled to write this post… I am struggling as I am writing it now.  Digging into my past is never an easy thing. Bringing up a time full of shame, anger, and sadness can be overwhelming. And emotionally exhausting. I am in tears reliving my ordeal through this post. But as hard as it is, it is also freeing. And I do not write/blog just for personal venting alone. It is my one hope that one lost soul can read this, and know that there is light, that there can be light at the end of it all. Then I would feel that my difficult past was not for nothing. And my darkness would have served it’s purpose for the higher good.

SUICIDEPREVENTIONLIFELINE.ORG 1-800-273-8255

STOPBULLYING.GOV

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13 reasons3

homage to the show

 

13 reasons2

(I actually had the same nail polish as Hannah’s, by chance;)

 


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This is Us…This Me.

this is us.png

So… I’ve been dying to write about this show since day 1. But I held off until the end– This is Now.

A little background: This show is co-produced by Ken Olin- the star of another favorite
show of mine Thirtysomething. This is Us’ original title is “36”. 30something, 36- hmm
that has to tell you something! That cannot be a coincidence! This guy is making this
show from the heart! And at the heart of this show is a story about family- being in that life stage now- This- is Us  also…-is Me.

This is Us is a collection of stories. About a mother and a father’s sacrifice, about a husband and wife’s love, about a siblings’ collective bond and individual struggles. What makes this show so universal is that in whatever life stages you are, there is always one (or more) story that you can relate to. For me, there is something in each character’s story that moves me:
~There is young Randall, eager to learn about his African American culture as a black kid with white parents- I am not adopted, but I was a Chinese kid living among Filipinos, trying to balance my Chinese roots with the Filipino culture on which I was raised. ~There is Kate, with weight, body image issues- things I struggled with as a teen. ~There is Kevin, struggling in his craft/profession, trying to change his work to reflect his true passion- I uprooted thousand of miles from my happy home to practice psychology, if that is not parallel to his career storyline, I don’t know what is.

As a wife and a mama, I relate the most with the central characters- Rebecca and Jack.
At first glance, the obvious person I would most identify with is Rebecca- a SAHM with musical dreams. And I do. I definitely see my struggles in hers. When some people are hating on her, I want to shout to them- you don’t understand! Put yourself in her shoes, try raising many kids, on your own, without family support on both sides, leaving your dreams behind, and doing that over and over again for many years. I am luckier as it is, I don’t have triplets and my parents are very supportive (but they do live far, so I am lacking in family support too). But the mommy part, the feeling isolated part (most of my best fam and friends live elsewhere)- it resonates with me. The show mentions it but cannot really show 15 or so years of stay at home scenes. I am only on year 5-6 and much as I am fulfilled, I am exhausted. Imagine 15 years with triplets! Also remember that this is a woman who was hesitant to have kids to begin with, and have unfulfilled aspirations as a singer. I am not questioning her commitment to her family, but she definitely have that unfinished business that she suppressed for many years. And all the feelings she bottled up, unfortunately came up and it expressed itself as resentment towards Jack. Hers is a life of restlessness- of longing for her personal dreams vs. the mama guilt she carries for being her family’s caretaker all these years. And when she finally sees the fulfillment of one dream, it also threatens to shatter her family dreams

And Jack. Oh Jack. The beloved patriarch. The father role model. People will assume I
love Jack because he is perfect. Flawed but close to perfection right?! How many times
have I (and I’m sure most of the audience wives) have turned to their husbands and
say, “why can’t you be like Jack?” “See that, that’s how you’re supposed to do it.” Many
people are hating on Rebecca precisely because Jack is perfect and Rebecca is, well, for
lack of a better word, opposite of that. Extremely flawed. Always complaining. Selfish.
And the list goes on…
But if there’s anything about the show one must learn, is that it was never a straight
forward storytelling, and it’s multi faceted, and that’s what makes it riveting to watch. For me, more than Jack’s goodness, I see a man whose identity is tied to his family. He was the one who wanted to start a family. He was a man whose personal dreams take a backseat for his family. He was the one who, when the kids were getting older, desperately wants a baby (or a dog) to cling on to their cherished childhood. This is a man who vowed to create a family so unlike the one he grew up in. And he did. He was saved by family, his happiness lies in his family, his life is his family. And although that may sound like the best thing in the world, it also makes him easily frustrated and volatile when it comes to his family. And how far that will lead to his self-destruction remains to be seen

And all these characters come together to create these rich complex and loving
relationships that we call family. What makes this show stand out for me is the realness
of each relationship, and how the sweetest moments come with human flaws. How
selflessness needs to be balanced with self-love. And how underneath the conflicts,
after all the mistakes and misunderstandings, hope is always around the corner.
Because a family is what you make it to be. A house is not a home until love prevails.
Life is not about one perfect act, but a series of choices to keep it together. That this is not about one’s self solely, nor is it about others always. This is about both. This is the collective and personal journeys we take together as a family. ^This- makes- This is Us.