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

PACER.ORG/BULLYING

13 reasons3

homage to the show

 

13 reasons2

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

 

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Love x10

So the hubs birthday and our wedding anniversary just passed. With two sick kids, it’s been low key. Both of us exhausted and cash strapped, a lavish 10 year anniversary seems unnecessary. But it would seem awful to not celebrate such a milestone, for surviving a decade with each other! (I kid. Or not. Haha.) So to commemorate this special time in our lives, I dedicate this post to the Man, the Dude- as I celebrate his birth and the bond we shared all these years.

According to tradition, the 10th year anniversary is referred to as Tin/ aluminum=flexibility. Modern times allude to the diamond=beauty and strength. This makes perfect sense to me- for any marriage to last 10 years a lot of patience and flexibility are required. And in being flexible the bond is strengthened and made more beautiful each day.

In the beginning, our ‘diamond’ shines bright. When we first met, we were enamored with each other, we bonded over our similar interests. I always tell people our first date was the best date of my life! A simple lunch date became an all nighter- we wanted to know as much as we could of each other. Even in our differences, we compliment each other. I.e. our idea of romance: In our relationship, I am the cliched romantic- love notes, random trinkets. I even framed our wedding poem. My man’s idea of romance is a little different. He likes to do things- Midnight runs for snacks and NYC commutes for dessert gifts. But the ones I am especially turned on to are the times when he does chores. You know, mundane chores like laundry, washing dishes, vacuuming. He thinks I’m weird, but I always say- who needs the sparkle of a diamond when you got the bright sparkle of dishes and floors?!

Time passed. We both evolved. We also both discovered opposing values. And with that comes conflicts, and change, and conflicts because of the changes. Our rosy beginning started to show its thorns (reference to “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” a fave song for us both:) The good times were great. But the hard times, they were very trying times. Some differences seem irreconcilable, some conflicts seem to have no resolution. Marriage is a relationship where you are committed to be close to someone. And that closeness is bound to produce sparks. Some become great fireworks, and some turn out to be destructive bombs. And in order to survive, bombs needed to be diffused: pride needs to be killed and in its place, grace.

Aah GRACE. I love that word. It is a word that holds so much beauty. But that beauty requires selfless compassionate love. And when you’ve been together for so long like we were, and you’ve seen each other’s ugliest, that is not an easy feat. It requires the willingness to embrace each other’s worlds. It also requires freedom and space, to allow each other room to grow, room to change. And therein lies the challenge for us. While one submits, the other resists. While one seeks new things, the other finds comfort in consistency. Most fights result from both of us insisting to be right, neither one willing to give in and give grace to each other, and to some extent, grace to ourselves.

But I wouldn’t be here writing about a 10 year anniversary if we haven’t survived, right? I can’t say we have it all figured out, but by the miraculous grace of God, we are still here. I quote from a fave movie, “I’d rather fight with you than make love to anyone else.” Despite all the hurdles, all the hurt, we have stayed committed to each other. I think we call that LOVE. And when I watch a scene from my fave tv show, where in the middle of their biggest fight, Jack started telling his wife what he loves about her-that hit me big time! Because that scene is my life- In countless fights my own beloved had uttered similar words of love to me. And I have done the same. Words of praise when we don’t like each other at the time. I think we call that GRACE. And somehow, when love and grace are present amidst turmoil, this marriage has lasted this long. 10 years. And hopefully for another 10…And more.

So to end this extremely cheesy post on an even cheesier note, I will expose my penchant for poetry. As per our tradition, I made hubs a poem this year. Please pardon the quality of the poem- It was written with very little sleep 😉 —

To My Dude,

There are times when my body feels drained
There are days when my head is wrapped in chaos
You feel my pain. You ease me.
On the times I don’t feel happy
On the days we don’t feel synced
You move forward. You push through.
Life with us is never easy
Love we share is never smooth
But this is us. This is we.
We are one. We are true. We are free.
I am the bones of your bones,
the flesh of your flesh.
Apart we are torn, together we heal
What God has joined together
Let no man put asunder.
So today on our special decade long love
Here’s to cuddles, neck rubs and heat wraps.
As our bodies grow frail may our souls grow strong
As our eyes grow dim may our hearts glow more.
My RomComs to your Freakshows
My Country to your Classic Rock
We doth share love for mosh and comiccons
And pledge to honor scifis till we grow old
For every difference lies a common ground.
For every conflict lies hearts that cries aloud-
I LOVE  YOU
— So here’s a happy anniversary to me and you
The Man The Dude The One
Here’s to a decade more of living
Less fights more love more spirit filled fun~

 

 

 


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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.


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The Child I Am

CHILD SERIES #3

“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” -Viola Davis

Without intending to, I had unintentionally started a Child series, writing about my
children in my first two posts. Different child, back to back periods in my life. So to round
it up, I would like to end right back at the start. As the Child I Am.

The Child I am. I am the child of my earthly father and mother. Their blood runs
through me. Their essence becomes me. I learn what I want or not want as a young girl
surrounded by male siblings and cousins. My identity as a woman was formed in
response to my family traditions- demonstrated by the fears, guts, and faiths of my
mother and grandmother. My mother uprooting herself in the city. My grandmother
taking pride in her work, when women don’t work. My mother juggling work and rearing her four kids, being truly present in both. My grandmother travelling around the world in her 50s-60s…I am feminine & feminist through their independence, their support systems. Their capacity to love, their love boundaries. Their many strengths, and their valuable flaws.

The Child I am. I am the child of two lands:
To my motherland- I bleed when she bleeds, I rise when she soars to new heights. I
have become aware of politics in my teen years, but it is only in the recent years that
my heart for social justice has grown deeper. Ironically, it is being away from my home
country that I have begun to search my soul and feel regret for being blind to the poor
man’s plight, and deaf to their desperate cries for justice. I had to be ripped apart from
my comfortable life and as I start to live a life of hard work, I have begun to appreciate
the same hard work my countrymen have done. Yet I succeed, while most of them perish in the cycle of poverty, corruption, and blind religion.
To my adopted land, my second mother- I have dedicated many years of social work to
you. And what I had only hoped to do in my motherland, I have achieved here- to do
good work with your homeless, oppressed, and sick. You have made me more aware of
race, and a vast array of cultures, which both exhilarates/excites me and frustrates/cuts
through me. And as much as the current political air angers and terrifies me, I continue
to hope and pray for my children’s sake, for their future’s sake.

The Child I am. I am a Child of God. Above all else, I define myself in Him.  I am loved just as I love. His love is unconditional. And in spite of my imperfect love, I am filled with His grace and mercy everyday. I am wonderfully and uniquely made. Even as I am not without doubts. Even as I question my existence. Even as I am nagged daily by mother’s guilt. And even as I am a human forever bound by flaws–  My Father’s Spirit inspires me to live supernaturally. To aim beyond my limits. To live a life on fire. To bear the fruits of patience, kindness, and love:
“So my Lord, I bring this offering;
A stubborn heart of stone
And ask You, in its absence
Please exchange it for Your own.”- Beth Moore

The Child I Am. Of many mothers. Of two fathers. Of one Spirit. They have mold me. They have become me. They have formed The Woman I Am.

 

IMG_20170308_092113699

A symbol of Me ~Live Love Laugh~

 

 


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The Child I found

 

blogdoggy
For this blog, refer to the left child only;)

While my last blog was somber- talking about the child that I lost, this one will be a love tribute to the child that I found:

Let me start from the beginning. The decision to have a dog in the family was a no-brainer. Me and my husband were both raised with dog pets, and we both love animals. So it was only a matter of time before we would get one. When we finally did, hubby did the choosing, and he decided to take this dog that kept coming to him, even when he was holding other dogs. Hubs thought this dog was very sweet. Turns out hub’s instinct was right. To this day our dog is the sweetest child in the family, cuddling and sitting beside us, placing his cute lil butt next to us every chance he gets.

When hubby got home to surprise me with a dog, I was hesitant at first. Not because I didn’t want a dog, but I wasn’t sure of the timing. This was around the time of my miscarriage, and I wasn’t sure I could take care of another being when I just lost another. I didn’t trust myself to work hard (hello potty training!). I didn’t know if I could meet his basic needs (food, bath, and those damn eye tears). Most of all, I was uncertain if I can love him while my heart is still breaking.

It turns out I didn’t need to rely on myself to feel love. Because it was his love that enabled me to feel again. With every nudge, every lick, every cuddle- each one peeling off the layers of darkness engulfing me. Day by day his unwavering loyalty opened my eyes to lightness. And willed me to live. To love. And to dare dream of a family again. We might have thought we were the ones who saved our dog when we got him, but it was really him who ended up saving us. Saving me. He gave love when I have little to give. He stood still when my world was a confused chaos filled with a roller coaster of emotions. When I asked God to show me light, He gave it in the form of this white fluffy ball of light, whose sweetness know no bounds (no really, his licks never ends- it’s literally a slobbery mess:) And in the end, my dream for a child came true with him- because our dog became more than a pet. He was, is, and always will be, family.

 

 

 

 


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The Child I Lost

blogbaby

“There is not a single day that goes by that I didn’t think of the child I lost.”-Dr.K, This Is Us

Those words bring me back in time. It was not too long ago that my heart was ripped in shreds. My lifelong dream crushed. My soul felt anger, grief, and numbness all in one very confusing despair. And at that moment, my life stood still and my heart stopped beating. My whole being was frozen in the cold harsh reality of losing a child I have dreamed of all my life.

                           ~~~~~~ § ~~~~~~

Ever since I was a kid, I always liked to play with dolls. Baby dolls. I am the eldest child, and I like to baby my younger siblings growing up (sorry guys!) In fact, I credit myself for my mom getting pregnant with my youngest sib-  I prayed really hard for a sister! So it was a foregone conclusion that kids are a definite part of my future. I didn’t want them right away, but I know I want them soon. What I didn’t know was that it was going to take me longer to get them. And that it was not going to be without pain. A lot of pain.

The first time I got pregnant I was ecstatic. I felt the morning sickness and knew right
away that that was it! My husband was no less, if not more, excited than me. When I casually asked him to bring me some stuff from the pharmacy- including the pregnancy test- his reaction (shock) was priceless! It was one of the happiest moment of our lives.

Then one day it happened. Twelve short weeks later, two days after I made the surprise baby announcement to friends, I felt it. I saw it. My gut instinct was telling me something was wrong. My brain was trying to deny the possibility. It took all my courage to pick up the phone and call my doctor to see me that day. And the moment she turned the monitor away from me, I knew that my happy moment has turned into my worst.

“It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” My doctor kept saying those words. I looked at her like she was talking crazy- I don’t think it’s my fault! Why would you keep telling me that?! Maybe her other patients are weak, but not me. I’ll be fine. Or so I thought. It took me a good few weeks to feel the loss. And when I did, the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I have visions of my baby’s strong heartbeat stopping – this kept replaying in my mind and I thought I was gonna lose it. My husband was supportive, but it was my body, it was my vessel that lost our child. I then realize what my doctor was trying to tell me. I did blame myself for the loss. And even though I didn’t believe it at that time, it was not my fault.

It was not an easy journey back from my loss. I wish I could say that realizing I’m not to blame made everything ok, but that’s not how it went. My head was filled with unanswerable questions, my heart was aching with inconsolable sadness. Feelings of indignation and despair would overwhelm me at times, even as a sliver of hope was starting to break through the darkness. It was a long battle back into the light, but over time, simple joys and a renewed faith allowed me to regain my laughter and love of life.

~~~~~~ § ~~~~~~

This is my story. This is my truth. It is my hope that in writing this, I can reach out to those of you who have experienced this loss. For you to know that it’s ok to mourn. For you to know that it is not your fault. For you to know that you are not alone. To seek help when you need them. And to know that in the midst of despair, grace is possible, and life will reappear, however long that takes.