Thursday, January 30, 2014

The past is just a story.

Those who know me, know that I am a very nostalgic person. I could sit for hours just delving into my past memories or read old journals and still be captivated by what happened to the young girl I used to be. But sometimes there are things I don't ever want to remember, things I want to sweep under the rug and pretend they never existed. But the thing is, they did, and I shouldn't hide from it because the past is just a story, it doesn't define me. Though it may shape the present, it has no control over me.

Truth time?

I am overly self-conscious and very insecure about myself.

In my college years it took a toll on me, mentally and physically, to the point of obsession and self-harm. It absorbed me inside and out, and dictated how I lived my life. It was torture, yet it gave me some sort of sick control. I kept it in like a secret, or rather a morbid promise to myself.

I'm not sure what fueled it. Perhaps it was rejection, the fear of being disliked, or maybe self isolation. Or a combination of everything. Every time a pair of eyes fell on me, I felt like they were judging, analyzing, and critisizing. It didn't matter if I was kind, intelligent, or passionate. The superficial eyes wouldn't see those things. They could only see the image painted and etched into my skin.

I'll admit it. I fell prey to the media's standards of beauty instead of recognizing my own inner beauty. It was only until the promise had been too much and was unsustainable that I gave up. But the failure only propelled me in a different direction of self punishment.

And this whole time, I never thought I had a problem. It seemed like nothing compared to other cases that were more dire and severe, but I was wrong. I thought that it would run its course and I could simply sweep it under the rug as life went on, but now I know I can't.

So when life started to get better, the more I buried the problem. I edited my life, cutting myself off from negativity, breaking up with the boyfriend who wanted to 'fix me',  threw away others expectations and pursued what made me happy, and peeled off the person I was trying to be and stepped into myself.

That year, the only thing I wanted more in the world was to love myself.

At the end of my junior year in college, my sister took me to Paris. I've idolized Paris since I was a child. To me the city was a fairytale come true, and the Eiffel Tower my prince charming. I am a hopeless romantic. I believe love is everything. Love for family. Love for friends. Love for others. Love for the things you do. It makes the world go round. So when I saw the Eiffel Tower, this icon of love, for the first time, I realized that I did love myself. It was just so hard to get there because I was listening to everyone else and their opinions instead of listening to myself.

Flash forward to now. Life has been great to me. But a few nights ago Michael said something so normal, so harmless, yet the choice of words triggered the problem that I buried long ago. Like a tidal wave it crashed into me. All of a sudden I burst into tears and all of the horrible emotions I once felt bombarded me as I was suddenly brought back to the young girl in college hiding the morbid promise. It was a side of me I never wanted Michael to see.

But he did. He was there for me. And he still loves me nonetheless, just as I am. Nothing more and nothing less. And I too love myself just as I am.

To this day, I am still self-conscious and insecure, but I will never let it dictate how I live my life anymore. I had buried this for a long while, but I know I can't just sweep this under the rug anymore if it can still effect me now.

I wrote this more for my benefit than for your reading pleasure, because it's time I finally own up to it and realize that the past is just a story. It may shape my future, but it certainly doesn't define my present.

On a final note, I would also like to reshare a poem I wrote in my last quarter of college, called Vanity's Downfall.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grey Days

What a weekend! After having a few too many drinks on Saturday night, Michael and I were completely wiped out on Sunday, only leaving the house to get brunch and to pick up some stuff to make dinner, which lucky for us was only an elevator ride below our apartment! Did I mention I was only twenty-two? In my college days, I could drink, get up and workout with hardly any sleep, go to class, work, and then have another night out full of drinks! Now my night life consists of either two glasses of wine or two cocktails and then I am done! Michael makes me old :P Just kidding.

Yesterday I was a bit down in the dumps. I don't know why. It's just one of those days where you feel grey. I've been working on an account at work which contains so much data that I think maybe I was burnt out? Or perhaps it was the big slab of concrete in the middle of the freeway that I had no choice but to run over, which completely freaked me out. Or maybe it's because it's been so grey out...

Well some good news is nothing is seriously wrong with Michael. After going to the ER in December then having a colonoscopy this January, the major stuff (cancer, collidis, chrone's disease) are completely ruled out!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tim's 30th Surprise Party and Blaire-Filled Sunday

On Saturday Michael and I went to a surprise birthday party for Tim, Michael's brother-in-law and spent today relaxing with Blaire. Not much to be said in this post, just a ton of photos:)


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yoroshiku Date

For our "Friday Night Date Night," Michael and I decided to try something new to keep things interesting. We wanted to have something we don't normally have and decided on ramen. We headed to the Wallingford neighborhood to Yoroshiku for a traditional northern Japanese meal and it did not disappoint!

To start we ordered some drinks, sake and beer for Michael, a french red wine for me, and some pickled veggies. Then we got some yakitori (grilled meat skewers) which were delicious.

From top to bottom: Mochi wrapped in bacon, tsukune, pork belly, and beef. Yumm! I loved the mochi one the best, just because it was so interesting in its texture.

For our entree Michael had the Modern Yaki(soba), and I got the ramen. Both were delicious!

If you're ever in Wallingford, this is a must-go! The food and service was exceptional, and we loved the authentic experience.

What's a meal without dessert though, right? For some reason, on our drive over, we parked in front of this place that served fresh made churros, and I couldn't help myself.

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Red Mind, Red Velvet

My mind as of this moment is red. Not Taylor swift red, head-achy red where I close my eyes and see red. Ow. Perhaps it's due to gluing my eyes to screens: phone screen, laptop screen, work computer screen, kindle screen, tv screens then repeat. Not to self, keep eyes away from screens if possible.

On the topic of red, belove is a photo of a red velvet cake I devoured on Friday night with Michael and his friend Matt. It was delicious, but I've realized that I've been eating a tad too many desserts! But it was our first time at Kingfish Cafe, which did not disappoint. I don't normally eat southern food, so it was definitely amazing letting loose with some chicken wings, fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and some collard greens. My mouth is still salivating and that's a lot of chicken I ate in one night.

My weekend was pretty productive writing-wise. I hammered away on my second draft that I feel very burnt out today and my mind is somewhat a mush. It's really crazy how not much of the first draft is kept in the second. It's like writing a new story, but not, since it's just rewriting the clearer version of the original story. Does that make sense? Perhaps not since my brain is red achy.

Oh yeah, and that Seahawks won their championship game which is pretty cool. Not really into football, but it's nice to see work and the city decked out in blue and green.

Hoping you all have a good Monday that isn't so red :P

Friday, January 17, 2014

Writing is a marathon.

Volunteer Park during my run on Wednesday.
I always wonder when it'll be done. I can make timelines and set deadlines as long as I want, but it's the matter of getting it done. How many drafts will it take until I know it's complete?

I'm about a fourth done with the second draft of Manuscript #2, but even now I can already tell that there will be a need for a third draft. So I wonder, how many drafts will it take? From the several books and writing blogs I've read, it averages around four to nine drafts, but really, it's difffernet for everyone. I can only hope I'm in the lower spectrum of the range. But boy am I getting worn out and completely fatigued. I feel like although I keep going, the end is never in sight...

So I'm writing this post to lift my spirits. Writing is a marathon, Michelle. And from the experiences of running half-marathons, I should know that the middle of the run is the worst part. So, think of this writing part of the journey as the middle of a run. It sucks like hell, but the only option is to keep going. Not only that, the beauty of writing is in the attempt, for one cannot succeed without trying. I just need to remind myself that. I truly enjoy the story I'm writing. I love the characters I have created. I gotta keep going.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be a published author. But then I remind myself that it doesn't matter if I'm published. And it doesn't matter if my novel isn't finished this year. What matters is that I keep working at it because I can't imagine my life without writing. Yesterday I finished yet another journal. I'm definitely over 20 completed journals, that's for sure. So doesn't that tell me something?

I just can't seem to stop writing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Monday mani's and pedi's and good-bye's

The weekend went by too quickly. Monday I woke up slightly bummed that my sisters would be leaving in the evening. It's strange living away from my mom and sisters when they've been around me my whole life...

For brunch we went to Coastal Kitchen, which turned out to be a hit. I love that place! Gingerbread waffle with orange butter, marionberry jam on whole wheat toast, fresh cut fruit, spicy hashbrowns, and awesome veggie stuffed omelettes. Yummm.

Afterwards we went to get mani's and pedi's, which was a treat for me, since I don't normally do that kind of thing. Most of my leisure money is spent on books, coffee, and wine :P So it was really kind of my eldest sister to take us out.

Then we went back to my apartment to relax, read, and catch up on some tv shows. I'm currently obsessed with HBO's "Girls." Then the time came where I had to take them to the airport, which was a major bummer for me to go back home to the empty apartment. However, Michael did return late that night. So now the apartment isn't too quiet.

It was a very great weekend overall, which kind of makes it difficult to get back into the groove of  a routine. Not to mention exercising and eating well after all of the deliciousness the past weekend! Luckily, the weather will be nice this week so I really don't have any excuses to get a few runs in!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Staple and Fancy Sunday

At Kerry Park to see the skyline. Kind of horrible and windy photo, but it's the only one we have together.
On Sunday we took it very easy. I made breakfast for my sisters (gluten-free pancakes with agave, eggs, and sliced oranges) and then we all kind of just started reading in the living room.

Once the afternoon hit, we got ready and headed to Kerry Park in Queen Anne to the see skyline. Afterwards, I took my sisters to see the Ballard neighborhood. We had some wine and snacks at Portalis before heading to Staple and Fancy for our reservation.

Mac n' Cheese at Portalis
Veal pot pie at Portalis
Staple and Fancy was one of the first restaurants that Michael took me to. Ever since I've met him, we've gone three times, but this fourth time around was with my sisters, but all thanks to Michael of course, who paid for our meal even though he wasn't able to be there with us.

The cool thing at Staple and Fancy is that you have a choice of not ordering and simply letting the kitchen take care of you. We opted for that choice, so every dish that came to our table was a fun surprise (so forgive me, I don't know what they all are). The dinner was split into four courses: appetizers, pasta dish, the main, and then dessert.


That's mackeral on top
Soup, though I forgot what kind it was :/ It was very delicious though!
White fish with blood orange and olives
Dungeness Crab fritter with aioli
Caesar Salad
Some type of delicious meat with pomegranates and a wine reduction
Pasta Dish:

Spicy potato gnocchi with clams

An amazingly delicate trout fish with cucumber and radish salad on top
Not sure what the meat was, but it tasted super tender and savory with the onion puree, roasted potatoes and carrots.

Cheesecake with huckleberries 
Coconut cake topped with gelato.
It was a great way to spend our relaxing Sunday. My two sisters have already been to Seattle before, so since there wasn't much sight seeing left to do. The trip was more of an exploration of food in Seattle. Or at least, my favorite places to eat and drink :)