周迅 《爱恨恢恢》

Zhou, Xun “Love is Dusty”

@6 months ago with 2 note and 871 play
#Zhou xun #love #chinese #music #ballad 

Family: Made

I have never been so touched by friendship in my entire life.

My 21st birthday was one I expected to be uneventful, particularly coming in the gloom of upcoming finals in an intensive graduate school program. I have never had an exclusive birthday party, never planned one, much less considered holding one for my magical legalizing birthday.

Thinking back, the last time I ‘celebrated’ was with my best friend as a young teenager. 14 was the last time we had our annual ‘meet-in-the-middle’ dinner with our families. For my 20th, I celebrated by working a 15 hour work day, complete with chasing deadlines for papers and assignments for my online class. On my 19th, I can’t even remember what I was doing that day. For my 18th, my Chinese relatives bought me a cake and my roommate and I enjoyed a slice or two before crashing early to go to our respective internships the next day. For my 17th and younger, I can’t think hard enough to remember how I celebrated.

My birthday has largely been a very solitary, singular, simple ‘celebration’ involving me writing a lengthy letter to my mother and father, telling them how much I love them and am grateful to them for raising and having given birth to me. It’s always been a family thing for me, and one where I remember how much I need to cherish my parents and family.

On my 21st, two of my close friends at IR/PS took me out the night before to stuff me with delicious food and cakes. I was already incredibly touched and mused about how lucky I was the entire night and next day (even though I was too drugged with sleepiness to exhibit any real joy). So when I finished my longest day of the week, all I could ask for at the end of a full day was an early sleep and fond memories of the day’s love, gifts and excitement.

So when my friend called me to tell me he and another one of our friends had something to give to me right before I was planning to eat dinner, I threw on a grimy scarf and walked barefoot with him to her apartment.

I honestly couldn’t figure out what was going on, with the dark and lighted fires of candles on cupcakes. An overwhelming sense of shamelessness and unbridled happiness exploded, however, when I finally tuned into the chant of a birthday song. For me.

Truly, I could not explain how overwhelmed I felt as a few tears pooled, and streaked past my end-of-the-day eyeliner.

Our grad program is by no means easy, and for all the stress it has caused, I could not mask how touched I felt to see so many of my friends show up at all to a quickly assembled party on a late Thursday night.

I felt so incredibly loved. So, very loved.

These last two weeks, I’ve been unexplainably emotionally volatile, constantly thinking about my father. Thinking about what could have been, what had been. And looking through his photos, old videos, and crying. Constantly crying. Missing him.

My family has always been my main form of support. My birthday has always been full bullet-proof level of  that. But on this birthday night, as I read through the loving messages, birthday cards and voicemails from my friends, family and fiancee, I realized how incredibly blessed I was. Now supported by an extended family composed of incredible friends that I could never ask to replace.

For that, I am grateful.

Alhamdulillah.

@1 year ago
#family #love #birthday #thegradschoollife 

Parental Love

I love my mommy, but sometimes…

…please excuse me as I go bury my head into a hole and pretend I’m a llama.

@1 year ago with 1 note
#love #mom #butomg #embarrassedforlife 

I Love You, Dad.

Dear Daddy,

I miss and love you so much. And I’m so glad God made me get over that silly thing called embarrassment and shame years ago. I’m so glad that every time I called you or saw you, I would tell you over and over that I loved you. Even if I knew you got a kicker from the cheese of it all. I am so glad and thankful God gave you the strength to tell me you loved me back.

I’m so grateful that God granted and blessed you with the measure of love to support me through thick and thin. I’m so grateful for our little moments together when mommy would say something, that we all knew showed who was really the boss of the house, and you and I would giggle and nudge each other secretly behind her back, only to pretend innocence when she turned around at our mischievous laughs.

Oh daddy, I love you so much. But dear daddy, I miss you.

I know you’re in a better place, God Willing, daddy. Because you were such an amazing father, husband and son. Daddy I have never known a person to be more loving than you.

And daddy, you were my role model. You still are. Always will be.

And daddy, I won’t wail. I won’t lament. Because I know you’re at peace now. All those years, daddy, that you were lonely, all by yourself in a country so far from the rest of us, and I couldn’t even think to spare a moment to write you an email, daddy.

Daddy, I’m so sorry.

Dear daddy, I’m so sorry I couldn’t have been a less of a burden on you oh daddy. Dear daddy, I wish I had been the one supporting you. I wish you were the one staying in one place and I were the one traveling to see you and bring you monetary support. Daddy, I know this is the now, and I shouldn’t dwell in the what-ifs, but I know there is so much I could have done to make life so much less hard for you, daddy, and I regret it. And oh daddy, I won’t cry over spilt milk. I know you’d hate to see me sad. I’ll be strong, because I know you need that daddy. I’ll be strong, dad, because you’re in a better place, and God is the Best of all Planners.

Dad, I am crying tonight because I know I must be strong tomorrow on. And in the darkness of this night, I will cry and mourn for you, daddy dearest. Because come morning, when I come to greet your body for the last time, oh daddy, I need to be strong. To be strong for mommy, nai nai, and the girls. I cannot waver. And daddy, I know you’ll hear me. So I won’t cry. Because I know you need me to be strong. And I will be. For God, for you, for the family, for the community. To remind us all, that death is a part of life. and that Daddy, you took it so well.

Dear dad, I love you. I miss you.

And oh dad, for those 57 years you lived. God knows you lived a full life. And dear dad, as your eldest daughter, I will make you proud.

Dear dad, when God blessed you with the heart and personality to love us, your family, as you did, he also blessed you with the peace of an early closure. Dear dad, I prayed everyday for your peace and health, and that you’d come to a time of rest.

Oh Allah, You in Your infinite Wisdom, have answered my prayers.

I am so grateful. I am ever-grateful.

Dear dad, I love and miss you. But I am so happy for you.

Daddy, please finally be at peace.

———————————————————

With all the love in the world,

Your daughter

@1 year ago with 7 notes
#daddy #dear #rip #love 

Ohh China: A Reflection

“你爱国家,国家爱你吗?”

"You love this country, but does this country love you?"

- 《苦恋》1980

————————————————————————————————————

It’s been two years since I left China, but a recent article on The World of Chinese sent me home to memories buried in a year’s worth of pain, anger, frustration, happiness, unspent excitement, anticipation and love in a country I still on occasion, consider my motherland.

When I speak of China, multiple emotions arise. It’s hard for it not to be so complex. 

It is hard when I recall the pain, sorrow, happiness, tears, and anticipation that I experienced in a year’s time as an identity-destroyed late teenager. 

Looking back, the emotions were a torrential rain of the cumulative sorrow and extreme pain I have felt in my exposure to the deterioration of basic human consideration and rights in the mainstream social context. 

Perhaps I’m just as little entitled to my opinion. As my experience in China hardly rounds off to a year. 

And to be honest, growing up as a Chinese-American with a pre-Communist-escaping grandmother, Singaporean father and Taiwanese mother leaves me with very little exposure to the socio-cultural normative of modern China. But maybe I have a little bit of reason for feeling this way.

China reminds me of me.

I’ve always been an empathetic person. And the fact that China resembles a bluffing 15-year-old teenager fresh out of high school, in an accelerated college program, makes me want to give her a hug.

Tell her it’s okay. There’s no need to pretend to be strong when you’re still unsure about who you are. It happens to us all. Don’t put on heels when you don’t know how to walk. Don’t think you need to assume someone else’s identity to be popular. You can be strong. But you need to come to terms with your own body first. Love every part of yourself. Don’t force yourself into a diet. Don’t gorge on fast food when you stress out, unable to control the factors around you.

Eat healthily, simply, well. 

Most importantly, you are young. You need time to spread your wings. Find yourself. You have so many who love you; you at the very bottom of these allusions, illusions, mirrors and smoke. We love the you who we know resemble what you truly are at the bottom of this whole ordeal.

But you need to accept us. We are not the social butterflies or popular queen bees, but you don’t need them. Societal fluff, decorative markers and badges are your least concern. You need sincere, true, proactive love. And you need it badly. 

When fingers point towards you and ask you to take ownership of yourself, you can only curl back, feeling stung, cornered. And that’s understandable. Because really, you’re only in your late teens, 20’s. You have been enclosed on a track straight towards college, straight into the real world from your tight-knit circle of strict educational regimen, nourishment pills, babying parents. You, who only knew the world of textbook reality, were suddenly expected to flourish in a world interconnected without your existence and participation.

It was a harsh exposure. Blinding your naivete.

But, darling, you need to also stop using your youth as an excuse. Ignorance is never an excuse. And as you grow to be an adult, you need to accept your flaws. With dignity. With respect. As you mature, grow and begin to shed your downy feathers, remember your internal self. What is on the outside will never fully encompass your full beauty until you can come to terms with your internal identity. 

Oh China, 我真的好爱好爱你. 

But I can’t do anything if you don’t even love me back.

___________________________________________________________

“你爱国家,国家爱你吗?”

"You love this country, but does this country love you?"

Love,

A Concerned Loved One

@1 year ago with 20 notes
#china #rambles #rant #love #change #culture #society #chinese #muslim 

Part I: The Story of He and I (and Social Analysis later)

Besides being a part of my personal interest to write about the story of how my husband and I got together, I think my experience with the courtship process prior to marriage really emphasized the ongoing prejudice I felt was projected onto me (perceived or real, hard to justify either way) as a social norm.

This story will be told in parts as I am inclined to feel motivated (probably when homework gets heavy) to write. When I was wading through the painful movements of early courtship, I was constantly terrified that I was doing something wrong. I felt completely alone, and totally unromantic. I was stuck between the spectrum of input from an overture of romance on one speaker and a description of an extraordinarily awkward dance of arranged courtship on the other. Both of which did nothing to resolve my increasing levels of uncertainty on a totally different experience of courtship.

Oftentimes, we tend to skip straight to the wedding ceremony of the process in the circle of Muslim community that I live within, and everyone squeals and celebrates the newly formed couple. But that complete void between being totally single (and not looking) to married and bam perfect beautiful couply bliss is almost completely disconcerting to the untrained individual in matters of our community.

When my friends got married, and I squealed to know about the details, the courtship was romantic. Beautiful. Adorable. Cute. But somehow when it became my turn, I was embarrassed, ashamed, completely unwilling to talk about it. In large, because I was the initiator. Not the prettily sitting bride-to-be, courted by a husband who was head over heels in love with me, dying to take my hand home. So how could I proudly talk about how I struggled to even begin the courtship process through a proxy?

I know some would argue that this is too personal. But I think it’s something I wish I could have read more about before I danced that awkward dance of courtship. Beyond being cathartic, it is a stream, a dialogue of openness that I wish I had the ability to access so much earlier.

Prior to signing my nikaah, I was overwhelmed in feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment. I knew I was talking to him for purposes of marriage RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FAMILY. But I couldn’t erase all those insecurities and fears of being judged. And it fed right into that courtship process. Right into my bucket of insecurities.

Only three months of living with my husband post-Walimah, loving him more every day and understanding both of us better helped dig me out of that terrible place of uncertainty. That well of feeling incompetent as the initiator of our marriage.

[Note: As a post that’s really not edited to any degree, these are fresh emotions and thoughts that were raw and true to my experience. I have chosen not to analyze these feelings in Part I as reflectors of how society has shaped my personal identity of self and projection of self-worth. That’s something I plan to address in later posts. In the meantime, the focus here is to lay bare my original emotions as close to the original as possible. So please bear in mind throughout.]

Read More

@9 months ago with 5 notes
#muslim #community #religion #marriage #love #china #courtship #romance 

Artist: Anson Hu 胡彦斌

Song Title: 在一起 To Be Together

—————————————


胡彦斌 在一起普通歌词
在一起
演唱:胡彦斌
你说你有个性
她说她有脾气
你说你很帅气
她说她很美丽
你说你有诚意
她说她还很年轻
你说你不花心
她说她不相信
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
有个人你说不出他什么好
可就是谁也代替不了
这也许就是一种暗号
这个暗号叫做心跳
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
从来也没有什么天生一对
这些年错过了多多少少
想有人陪你慢慢变老
把握时间很重要
我要你们在一起

你说你有孝心
她说她很任性
你说你哄她开心
她说你有爱心
你说你不够细心
她说你总花言巧语
你说你们会在一起
她说这可不一定
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
有个人你说不出他什么好
可就是谁也代替不了
这也许就是一种暗号
这个暗号叫做心跳
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
从来也没有什么天生一对
这些年错过了多多少少
想有人陪你慢慢变老
把握时间很重要
我要你们在一起

@1 year ago with 6 note and 39 play
#anson hu #胡彦斌 #chinese #music #pop #to be together #love #song 

Surrounded by Love

It’s been 3 weeks. 

And the pain persists.

I doubt it’ll ever leave. It’s a pain I’ve become reconciled with. And sometimes, perhaps,oftentimes, grateful to have. It hurts, but it’s a pain that I yearn for. A pain that reminds me of what blessings I had. A pain that forces me to look forward at my now and future and think about how to become a better person.

When I think about my family, and the pressures they are subject to, there is a pain in my heart. A full-on stab. And I feel ever so useless. I cannot be there to provide financial help. And it hurts. It hurts so much to feel so incredibly useless.

I can’t make time slow and speed up at the same time, but I know that I can only be the best I can be by providing emotional support and making myself earn this degree. Earn a degree to be the most useful I can to my family. To become my mother’s pillar.

To an extent, I have begun to let go of so much. I feel so little control. And most days, I simply have no motivation to do anything whatsoever. It feels terrible. There are days when I look down at myself, when I feel like my soul has departed from my physical body, and I cannot help but feel so incredibly detached from reality and the hustle and bustle of ‘life’. 

What I would do to have one more hug. One more, dad-filled bear hug that tells me from his loving pat that he is proud of me, loves me, regardless of whether I fail a math test, cry from making a terrible dinner, have a disagreement with my mom, bicker with my siblings or lament about my instrumental skills. One more dad-filled hug that takes away all my frustration and pain, and reminds me of the safe haven in his arms. The arms that raised me. 

The arms that threw me into the air as a child. The arms that patted my head for getting straight A’s. The arms that stroked my hair for being ‘economical’ and not wasting food by making weird dessert concoctions. The arms that patted my back for controlling my temper. The very arms that pushed me off the wall in swimming exercises. The arms that carried water coolers, umbrellas, and beach-chairs to our many swim meets. Those arms. They meant the world to me. They created a world of love and acceptance, regardless of who I was and who I chose to be.

And if he’ll ever hear me again, I want to tell him that I love him. I love him, so, so much. The love I have for him is reserved for him. No one and nothing can take the place of the love I have for him. 

And that everything he has ever taught me, my siblings, and given to my mother, my grandmother, and his brothers and relatives; it has come around and blessed us in return. Even in his passing, he has found a way to provide for us. God rewarded his goodness by Blessing us with the fruit of his hard work. 

Daddy. 

As time pushes forward. The type of pain I feel has morphed. My heart is wrenched in a different kind of pain. A different kind of tightness in my chest. It’s a pain I welcome. A reminder. 

Three weeks out, I’m still crying. But the crying is a happy kind of crying. It’s painful. Even more painful than the beginning. But I cry for happiness. That I can remember so many happy memories. That I am surrounded by love. Love, everywhere. That my friends are supportive. That my family is well cared for. That I still can cherish my mother and my grandmother. And the countless human beings in my life that I have yet to love properly. 

It is a reminder. Everyday. 

A sting, when death is brought up. 

A stab, when I see someone who resembles to me, a fatherly figure. 

But ultimately, I am happy. I am a strange happy. A grateful happy. A sad happy. A crying happy. 

Because I have God. From Him we come from, and to Him I will return. Alhamdulillah.

@1 year ago
#reflections #3 weeks #love #daddy 

To Be At Peace

Yesterday, I attended our Mentor-Mentee Meet and Greet as sponsored by our Student Organization and spent some time hanging and socializing with 1st and 2nd years alike. 

It’s become natural to me now, as I avoid the alcohol, enjoy myself with friends, and then leave early. I am content and happy and fulfilled that I have enjoyed my time with precious friends and feel at peace that I have not traversed past my personal boundaries. 

And though I do not drink myself, I have never given much thought to those who do and its fulfillment in their lives.

Yet after a night of general love and fun with friends, I felt a catch in my throat when one of my friends gave me a loving hug (after many) while downing the last of her drink and saying with a slight slur, a light smile on her lips, “I wish I could be more like you.”

As usual, I laughed, patting her back lightly, “What are you talking about?” 

She continued, the smile on her face still plain, but her expression and eyes slightly offset, repeating, “I wish I could be like you, where I can enjoy myself without alcohol.”

My heart stopped.

And though she pulled a tighter smile, her grip tightened on the glass as she set it further away on the table.

"But you are." I smiled at her, "You do enjoy yourself, even when you’re not drinking.”

And then I gave her a hug.

A hug to remind her of the love she gives, regardless of who she meets.

Her arms were tense as she sighed into my shoulders. Breathing, she smiled back at me, her eyes a little red, a little unfocused. 

And a quick squeeze of the hand.

@1 year ago with 3 notes
#friendship #love #grad school 

"The Prophet Muhammad was an amazing parent and grandparent. He would play games with his grandchildren Hasan and Husain, tell them he loved them, and be there for them in so many different ways. His relationship with his daughter Fatima was so beautiful. She is said to have resembled him more than anyone else and she would be with him in many different gatherings and meetings. When he was in final stages of life, he was seen whispering in her ear. At first she cried and then she laughed. When asked what is it that was said to her, she responded, “The Prophet first told me secretly that he would expire in that disease in which he died, so I wept; then he told me secretly that I would be the first of his family to follow him, so I laughed.” When she is about to pass away months later, we are told that she readies herself with a bath and clean clothing, eagerly anticipating being with her father again. Would our children react the same way if they knew they were going to spend an eternity with us?"

Khalid Latif, Huffington Post, Article: Ramadan Reflection Day 20
@1 year ago with 16 notes
#khalid latif #ramadan #prophet #saw #fatima #parents #love 

周迅 《爱恨恢恢》

Zhou, Xun “Love is Dusty”

6 months ago
#Zhou xun #love #chinese #music #ballad 
Part I: The Story of He and I (and Social Analysis later)

Besides being a part of my personal interest to write about the story of how my husband and I got together, I think my experience with the courtship process prior to marriage really emphasized the ongoing prejudice I felt was projected onto me (perceived or real, hard to justify either way) as a social norm.

This story will be told in parts as I am inclined to feel motivated (probably when homework gets heavy) to write. When I was wading through the painful movements of early courtship, I was constantly terrified that I was doing something wrong. I felt completely alone, and totally unromantic. I was stuck between the spectrum of input from an overture of romance on one speaker and a description of an extraordinarily awkward dance of arranged courtship on the other. Both of which did nothing to resolve my increasing levels of uncertainty on a totally different experience of courtship.

Oftentimes, we tend to skip straight to the wedding ceremony of the process in the circle of Muslim community that I live within, and everyone squeals and celebrates the newly formed couple. But that complete void between being totally single (and not looking) to married and bam perfect beautiful couply bliss is almost completely disconcerting to the untrained individual in matters of our community.

When my friends got married, and I squealed to know about the details, the courtship was romantic. Beautiful. Adorable. Cute. But somehow when it became my turn, I was embarrassed, ashamed, completely unwilling to talk about it. In large, because I was the initiator. Not the prettily sitting bride-to-be, courted by a husband who was head over heels in love with me, dying to take my hand home. So how could I proudly talk about how I struggled to even begin the courtship process through a proxy?

I know some would argue that this is too personal. But I think it’s something I wish I could have read more about before I danced that awkward dance of courtship. Beyond being cathartic, it is a stream, a dialogue of openness that I wish I had the ability to access so much earlier.

Prior to signing my nikaah, I was overwhelmed in feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment. I knew I was talking to him for purposes of marriage RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FAMILY. But I couldn’t erase all those insecurities and fears of being judged. And it fed right into that courtship process. Right into my bucket of insecurities.

Only three months of living with my husband post-Walimah, loving him more every day and understanding both of us better helped dig me out of that terrible place of uncertainty. That well of feeling incompetent as the initiator of our marriage.

[Note: As a post that’s really not edited to any degree, these are fresh emotions and thoughts that were raw and true to my experience. I have chosen not to analyze these feelings in Part I as reflectors of how society has shaped my personal identity of self and projection of self-worth. That’s something I plan to address in later posts. In the meantime, the focus here is to lay bare my original emotions as close to the original as possible. So please bear in mind throughout.]

Read More

9 months ago
#muslim #community #religion #marriage #love #china #courtship #romance 
Family: Made

I have never been so touched by friendship in my entire life.

My 21st birthday was one I expected to be uneventful, particularly coming in the gloom of upcoming finals in an intensive graduate school program. I have never had an exclusive birthday party, never planned one, much less considered holding one for my magical legalizing birthday.

Thinking back, the last time I ‘celebrated’ was with my best friend as a young teenager. 14 was the last time we had our annual ‘meet-in-the-middle’ dinner with our families. For my 20th, I celebrated by working a 15 hour work day, complete with chasing deadlines for papers and assignments for my online class. On my 19th, I can’t even remember what I was doing that day. For my 18th, my Chinese relatives bought me a cake and my roommate and I enjoyed a slice or two before crashing early to go to our respective internships the next day. For my 17th and younger, I can’t think hard enough to remember how I celebrated.

My birthday has largely been a very solitary, singular, simple ‘celebration’ involving me writing a lengthy letter to my mother and father, telling them how much I love them and am grateful to them for raising and having given birth to me. It’s always been a family thing for me, and one where I remember how much I need to cherish my parents and family.

On my 21st, two of my close friends at IR/PS took me out the night before to stuff me with delicious food and cakes. I was already incredibly touched and mused about how lucky I was the entire night and next day (even though I was too drugged with sleepiness to exhibit any real joy). So when I finished my longest day of the week, all I could ask for at the end of a full day was an early sleep and fond memories of the day’s love, gifts and excitement.

So when my friend called me to tell me he and another one of our friends had something to give to me right before I was planning to eat dinner, I threw on a grimy scarf and walked barefoot with him to her apartment.

I honestly couldn’t figure out what was going on, with the dark and lighted fires of candles on cupcakes. An overwhelming sense of shamelessness and unbridled happiness exploded, however, when I finally tuned into the chant of a birthday song. For me.

Truly, I could not explain how overwhelmed I felt as a few tears pooled, and streaked past my end-of-the-day eyeliner.

Our grad program is by no means easy, and for all the stress it has caused, I could not mask how touched I felt to see so many of my friends show up at all to a quickly assembled party on a late Thursday night.

I felt so incredibly loved. So, very loved.

These last two weeks, I’ve been unexplainably emotionally volatile, constantly thinking about my father. Thinking about what could have been, what had been. And looking through his photos, old videos, and crying. Constantly crying. Missing him.

My family has always been my main form of support. My birthday has always been full bullet-proof level of  that. But on this birthday night, as I read through the loving messages, birthday cards and voicemails from my friends, family and fiancee, I realized how incredibly blessed I was. Now supported by an extended family composed of incredible friends that I could never ask to replace.

For that, I am grateful.

Alhamdulillah.

1 year ago
#family #love #birthday #thegradschoollife 

Artist: Anson Hu 胡彦斌

Song Title: 在一起 To Be Together

—————————————


胡彦斌 在一起普通歌词
在一起
演唱:胡彦斌
你说你有个性
她说她有脾气
你说你很帅气
她说她很美丽
你说你有诚意
她说她还很年轻
你说你不花心
她说她不相信
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
有个人你说不出他什么好
可就是谁也代替不了
这也许就是一种暗号
这个暗号叫做心跳
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
从来也没有什么天生一对
这些年错过了多多少少
想有人陪你慢慢变老
把握时间很重要
我要你们在一起

你说你有孝心
她说她很任性
你说你哄她开心
她说你有爱心
你说你不够细心
她说你总花言巧语
你说你们会在一起
她说这可不一定
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
有个人你说不出他什么好
可就是谁也代替不了
这也许就是一种暗号
这个暗号叫做心跳
你们要在一起
在一起在一起在一起在一起在一起
从来也没有什么天生一对
这些年错过了多多少少
想有人陪你慢慢变老
把握时间很重要
我要你们在一起

1 year ago
#anson hu #胡彦斌 #chinese #music #pop #to be together #love #song 
Parental Love

I love my mommy, but sometimes…

…please excuse me as I go bury my head into a hole and pretend I’m a llama.

1 year ago
#love #mom #butomg #embarrassedforlife 
Surrounded by Love

It’s been 3 weeks. 

And the pain persists.

I doubt it’ll ever leave. It’s a pain I’ve become reconciled with. And sometimes, perhaps,oftentimes, grateful to have. It hurts, but it’s a pain that I yearn for. A pain that reminds me of what blessings I had. A pain that forces me to look forward at my now and future and think about how to become a better person.

When I think about my family, and the pressures they are subject to, there is a pain in my heart. A full-on stab. And I feel ever so useless. I cannot be there to provide financial help. And it hurts. It hurts so much to feel so incredibly useless.

I can’t make time slow and speed up at the same time, but I know that I can only be the best I can be by providing emotional support and making myself earn this degree. Earn a degree to be the most useful I can to my family. To become my mother’s pillar.

To an extent, I have begun to let go of so much. I feel so little control. And most days, I simply have no motivation to do anything whatsoever. It feels terrible. There are days when I look down at myself, when I feel like my soul has departed from my physical body, and I cannot help but feel so incredibly detached from reality and the hustle and bustle of ‘life’. 

What I would do to have one more hug. One more, dad-filled bear hug that tells me from his loving pat that he is proud of me, loves me, regardless of whether I fail a math test, cry from making a terrible dinner, have a disagreement with my mom, bicker with my siblings or lament about my instrumental skills. One more dad-filled hug that takes away all my frustration and pain, and reminds me of the safe haven in his arms. The arms that raised me. 

The arms that threw me into the air as a child. The arms that patted my head for getting straight A’s. The arms that stroked my hair for being ‘economical’ and not wasting food by making weird dessert concoctions. The arms that patted my back for controlling my temper. The very arms that pushed me off the wall in swimming exercises. The arms that carried water coolers, umbrellas, and beach-chairs to our many swim meets. Those arms. They meant the world to me. They created a world of love and acceptance, regardless of who I was and who I chose to be.

And if he’ll ever hear me again, I want to tell him that I love him. I love him, so, so much. The love I have for him is reserved for him. No one and nothing can take the place of the love I have for him. 

And that everything he has ever taught me, my siblings, and given to my mother, my grandmother, and his brothers and relatives; it has come around and blessed us in return. Even in his passing, he has found a way to provide for us. God rewarded his goodness by Blessing us with the fruit of his hard work. 

Daddy. 

As time pushes forward. The type of pain I feel has morphed. My heart is wrenched in a different kind of pain. A different kind of tightness in my chest. It’s a pain I welcome. A reminder. 

Three weeks out, I’m still crying. But the crying is a happy kind of crying. It’s painful. Even more painful than the beginning. But I cry for happiness. That I can remember so many happy memories. That I am surrounded by love. Love, everywhere. That my friends are supportive. That my family is well cared for. That I still can cherish my mother and my grandmother. And the countless human beings in my life that I have yet to love properly. 

It is a reminder. Everyday. 

A sting, when death is brought up. 

A stab, when I see someone who resembles to me, a fatherly figure. 

But ultimately, I am happy. I am a strange happy. A grateful happy. A sad happy. A crying happy. 

Because I have God. From Him we come from, and to Him I will return. Alhamdulillah.

1 year ago
#reflections #3 weeks #love #daddy 
I Love You, Dad.

Dear Daddy,

I miss and love you so much. And I’m so glad God made me get over that silly thing called embarrassment and shame years ago. I’m so glad that every time I called you or saw you, I would tell you over and over that I loved you. Even if I knew you got a kicker from the cheese of it all. I am so glad and thankful God gave you the strength to tell me you loved me back.

I’m so grateful that God granted and blessed you with the measure of love to support me through thick and thin. I’m so grateful for our little moments together when mommy would say something, that we all knew showed who was really the boss of the house, and you and I would giggle and nudge each other secretly behind her back, only to pretend innocence when she turned around at our mischievous laughs.

Oh daddy, I love you so much. But dear daddy, I miss you.

I know you’re in a better place, God Willing, daddy. Because you were such an amazing father, husband and son. Daddy I have never known a person to be more loving than you.

And daddy, you were my role model. You still are. Always will be.

And daddy, I won’t wail. I won’t lament. Because I know you’re at peace now. All those years, daddy, that you were lonely, all by yourself in a country so far from the rest of us, and I couldn’t even think to spare a moment to write you an email, daddy.

Daddy, I’m so sorry.

Dear daddy, I’m so sorry I couldn’t have been a less of a burden on you oh daddy. Dear daddy, I wish I had been the one supporting you. I wish you were the one staying in one place and I were the one traveling to see you and bring you monetary support. Daddy, I know this is the now, and I shouldn’t dwell in the what-ifs, but I know there is so much I could have done to make life so much less hard for you, daddy, and I regret it. And oh daddy, I won’t cry over spilt milk. I know you’d hate to see me sad. I’ll be strong, because I know you need that daddy. I’ll be strong, dad, because you’re in a better place, and God is the Best of all Planners.

Dad, I am crying tonight because I know I must be strong tomorrow on. And in the darkness of this night, I will cry and mourn for you, daddy dearest. Because come morning, when I come to greet your body for the last time, oh daddy, I need to be strong. To be strong for mommy, nai nai, and the girls. I cannot waver. And daddy, I know you’ll hear me. So I won’t cry. Because I know you need me to be strong. And I will be. For God, for you, for the family, for the community. To remind us all, that death is a part of life. and that Daddy, you took it so well.

Dear dad, I love you. I miss you.

And oh dad, for those 57 years you lived. God knows you lived a full life. And dear dad, as your eldest daughter, I will make you proud.

Dear dad, when God blessed you with the heart and personality to love us, your family, as you did, he also blessed you with the peace of an early closure. Dear dad, I prayed everyday for your peace and health, and that you’d come to a time of rest.

Oh Allah, You in Your infinite Wisdom, have answered my prayers.

I am so grateful. I am ever-grateful.

Dear dad, I love and miss you. But I am so happy for you.

Daddy, please finally be at peace.

———————————————————

With all the love in the world,

Your daughter

1 year ago
#daddy #dear #rip #love 
To Be At Peace

Yesterday, I attended our Mentor-Mentee Meet and Greet as sponsored by our Student Organization and spent some time hanging and socializing with 1st and 2nd years alike. 

It’s become natural to me now, as I avoid the alcohol, enjoy myself with friends, and then leave early. I am content and happy and fulfilled that I have enjoyed my time with precious friends and feel at peace that I have not traversed past my personal boundaries. 

And though I do not drink myself, I have never given much thought to those who do and its fulfillment in their lives.

Yet after a night of general love and fun with friends, I felt a catch in my throat when one of my friends gave me a loving hug (after many) while downing the last of her drink and saying with a slight slur, a light smile on her lips, “I wish I could be more like you.”

As usual, I laughed, patting her back lightly, “What are you talking about?” 

She continued, the smile on her face still plain, but her expression and eyes slightly offset, repeating, “I wish I could be like you, where I can enjoy myself without alcohol.”

My heart stopped.

And though she pulled a tighter smile, her grip tightened on the glass as she set it further away on the table.

"But you are." I smiled at her, "You do enjoy yourself, even when you’re not drinking.”

And then I gave her a hug.

A hug to remind her of the love she gives, regardless of who she meets.

Her arms were tense as she sighed into my shoulders. Breathing, she smiled back at me, her eyes a little red, a little unfocused. 

And a quick squeeze of the hand.

1 year ago
#friendship #love #grad school 
Ohh China: A Reflection

“你爱国家,国家爱你吗?”

"You love this country, but does this country love you?"

- 《苦恋》1980

————————————————————————————————————

It’s been two years since I left China, but a recent article on The World of Chinese sent me home to memories buried in a year’s worth of pain, anger, frustration, happiness, unspent excitement, anticipation and love in a country I still on occasion, consider my motherland.

When I speak of China, multiple emotions arise. It’s hard for it not to be so complex. 

It is hard when I recall the pain, sorrow, happiness, tears, and anticipation that I experienced in a year’s time as an identity-destroyed late teenager. 

Looking back, the emotions were a torrential rain of the cumulative sorrow and extreme pain I have felt in my exposure to the deterioration of basic human consideration and rights in the mainstream social context. 

Perhaps I’m just as little entitled to my opinion. As my experience in China hardly rounds off to a year. 

And to be honest, growing up as a Chinese-American with a pre-Communist-escaping grandmother, Singaporean father and Taiwanese mother leaves me with very little exposure to the socio-cultural normative of modern China. But maybe I have a little bit of reason for feeling this way.

China reminds me of me.

I’ve always been an empathetic person. And the fact that China resembles a bluffing 15-year-old teenager fresh out of high school, in an accelerated college program, makes me want to give her a hug.

Tell her it’s okay. There’s no need to pretend to be strong when you’re still unsure about who you are. It happens to us all. Don’t put on heels when you don’t know how to walk. Don’t think you need to assume someone else’s identity to be popular. You can be strong. But you need to come to terms with your own body first. Love every part of yourself. Don’t force yourself into a diet. Don’t gorge on fast food when you stress out, unable to control the factors around you.

Eat healthily, simply, well. 

Most importantly, you are young. You need time to spread your wings. Find yourself. You have so many who love you; you at the very bottom of these allusions, illusions, mirrors and smoke. We love the you who we know resemble what you truly are at the bottom of this whole ordeal.

But you need to accept us. We are not the social butterflies or popular queen bees, but you don’t need them. Societal fluff, decorative markers and badges are your least concern. You need sincere, true, proactive love. And you need it badly. 

When fingers point towards you and ask you to take ownership of yourself, you can only curl back, feeling stung, cornered. And that’s understandable. Because really, you’re only in your late teens, 20’s. You have been enclosed on a track straight towards college, straight into the real world from your tight-knit circle of strict educational regimen, nourishment pills, babying parents. You, who only knew the world of textbook reality, were suddenly expected to flourish in a world interconnected without your existence and participation.

It was a harsh exposure. Blinding your naivete.

But, darling, you need to also stop using your youth as an excuse. Ignorance is never an excuse. And as you grow to be an adult, you need to accept your flaws. With dignity. With respect. As you mature, grow and begin to shed your downy feathers, remember your internal self. What is on the outside will never fully encompass your full beauty until you can come to terms with your internal identity. 

Oh China, 我真的好爱好爱你. 

But I can’t do anything if you don’t even love me back.

___________________________________________________________

“你爱国家,国家爱你吗?”

"You love this country, but does this country love you?"

Love,

A Concerned Loved One

1 year ago
#china #rambles #rant #love #change #culture #society #chinese #muslim 
"The Prophet Muhammad was an amazing parent and grandparent. He would play games with his grandchildren Hasan and Husain, tell them he loved them, and be there for them in so many different ways. His relationship with his daughter Fatima was so beautiful. She is said to have resembled him more than anyone else and she would be with him in many different gatherings and meetings. When he was in final stages of life, he was seen whispering in her ear. At first she cried and then she laughed. When asked what is it that was said to her, she responded, “The Prophet first told me secretly that he would expire in that disease in which he died, so I wept; then he told me secretly that I would be the first of his family to follow him, so I laughed.” When she is about to pass away months later, we are told that she readies herself with a bath and clean clothing, eagerly anticipating being with her father again. Would our children react the same way if they knew they were going to spend an eternity with us?"
Khalid Latif, Huffington Post, Article: Ramadan Reflection Day 20
1 year ago
#khalid latif #ramadan #prophet #saw #fatima #parents #love