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Date Yourself.

19 Nov
Drake Minibus, Kigali

Drake Minibus, Kigali (Photo credit: AdamCohn)

It has become apparent to me, over time that many people don’t think too positively about themselves. duh.

Even Marylin Monroe had negative thoughts. Even Gregory Peck. Justin Timberlake has negative thoughts and so does Drake. So does Barack Obama; so does Stephen Harper. Do not ask me why I picked these names, they simply popped in my head.

We’re insecure. We have low opinions about ourselves. A friend of mine said: “It’s not an attractive quality.” Ok got it. Another friend of mine said that I let people see it. Oops. At least these friends are honest with me.

Didn’t realize there was a stigma on being open. But sadly there is, people judge by what they see and hear from you. Can you catch me while I’m thinking negative thoughts? Nope. But when I voice them; yes you can.

Mental  note: Keep feelings/thoughts to myself.

We continually, measure ourselves to an arbitrary standard. Everyone does it, but it’s whether you notice it or not is the difference.

Your opinion affects me. Everyone’s opinion affects me. But especially those of the people who love me most.

Only because of my insecurities.

My human need and want to please. If I’m not making you happy, than why on earth would I do what I did? Why else would I challenge myself?

For my own gain; to impress myself? No. It’s to impress you, to impress the world. To “stick it” and shout; “Yeah I’ve completed that challenge. What next?” For my own happiness? Perhaps I benefit, but really truly I gain nothing if you aren’t or the world isn’t impressed.

Many people feel the same way.

Some people know, others have heard. Why not make it public? I am an insecure person. BUT who isn’t? The difference here being…I let people see it. Oops. Perhaps I should hide myself a little more from what people see. I used to be really good at that. Maybe I reverted to the opposite extreme.

Where on earth is the middle ground? Did a little bit of research.

There is a significant lack of self-acceptance in our lives. 

We insecure beings have aspects in our lives that will never be good enough. For example, if I think I’m not physically attractive, that will be the hole through which my insecurity flows.

Negativity. It becomes the worst ruler of how you see yourself.  We attempt to hide these faults, but they soon begin to eat away at our perceived confidence.  Soon the person that we’ve built ourselves to be, comes crashing down and we are rubble.

I met a fellow who literally apologized for everything he did. His name was Karl. I could not stand him. Only because I saw qualities in him that reminded me…of who? Myself.

Yeah and he was frustrating. Only because he was quite awesome and didn’t need affirmation. So why should he always apologize?  I mean he was wonderful, why apologize? He was desperate, but he didn’t need to be.

If you’re reading this, you should then infer that I know; I am pretty great. Yup. I am very awesome. And I know it. No doubt about it.

BUT more importantly. So are you. How to make ourselves realize this?

Okay so here is what you and I must do. Let’s work together on this.

Accept ourselves.

Believe and see our weaknesses as aspects that are beneficial to who we are. We are specific, and our weaknesses are what make us human. We are not going forgetting about those things, actually our vulnerability is what makes us beautiful. Are you open about your faults? Good.

Reform it.

Stop it.

Stop thinking those negative thoughts. They’ll not help you. You already know how lovely you are; let’s start from there. Now, put what you see in a positive light.

Make peace with your demons. List everything that has been a deep insecurity, look at each one, work on accepting them and simply come to terms with them. It’ll be hard. But nothing worth doing in life was easy. Am I right or am I right?

We’ll do it together. Arrive at what are our limitations, treat them as attributes and move on. That is all we can do as humans.

Confused? Ok I’ll break it down into one simple sentence:

Get to know yourself first.

Note: I’ll come back and edit this when I’m not sooo tired.

F-dora

3 Nov

So, now I am back in Beijing. If someone were to ask me on Monday if I was glad to be back. I would bluntly reply, “No.” But then maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday, if asked the same question…I’d probably say the same thing.

Come on it’s still only the middle of the week. Cut me a break.

Thursday comes around and that same person asks again, “Tricia are you glad you came back?” I’d say, “Yeah, it’s super great! Couldn’t be happier.”

Yeah, you see, and I’m certain it’s the same for most foreigners living abroad, it’s a day-to-day thing. Maybe for some a week-to-week thing, others a month-to-month…you get my meaning. All of the above to say that well we’re here and not dwelling on why we came back. We should focus on the moment.

Here and Now.

Right now…here and now. I mean if we’re going with this whole “focus on the moment” thing;

I am currently:

  1. Listening to Def Leppard
  2. Wearing a fedora, alone in my apartment
  3. Drinking some wine (it’s cheap stuff)
  4. Writing this post

Seriously. You think I’m joking? No, not even. I even went to the trouble of taking a photo of myself. Here:

Mhmm. Let’s address my current situation.

1. For starters Def Leppard, has been my “go-to” band for music. 80’s rock for something sparks a something in me. Allows me to pretend like I’m in a band or that my life is a musical.  They make me feel awesome when I’m going for a walk, when I’m blowing off steam and even when I’m in the mood to reminisce. I particularly love the song: Pour Some Sugar on Me. Great song. Love it.

Maybe the reason for why I desperately cling to them relates directly to the fact that many of their songs were used in the musical movie Rock of Ages. I watched that movie on the plane ride back from Canada. I was hysterical and I needed something to make me forget…and I was handed a musical. What better way to forget sadness, than to sing through it?

2. Wearing the fedora bit. Well I’ve always wanted one, wanted to be like Marlon Brando, or like Frank Sinatra in “Guys and Dolls.” They are so suave and untouchable it seems. And as pitiful or as amusing as it sounds. I kinda would like to be like them; suave and untouchable. You call it lame, I call it “super-cool.”

3. Bought at the 7-Eleven for about 30 kuai which is roughly 5$ CAD. Good stuff. I am not ashamed. I am also not being facetious.

4. Well, just felt like writing. Haven’t been in the mood lately and suddenly the thought struck me…why not write a post.

Really this post is about nothing.BUT I guess the message I’m trying to send is that I’m okay with it. I am. I mean it. Sure it might not be the most awesome way to spend a Saturday night. But for me the combo (Def Leppard, a fedora, cheap wine and writing) is parfait.

Now this is turning into a self-help post. So if you’re feeling; well alone. Find a combo that transforms  you from a regular drone into a human being and just go with it. All ’em haters (love that term and have always wanted to use it!) will say things; but really, they’re jealous. You’ve found a spark and they’re still searching for it.

Now that’s metaphorical gold that you can take to the proverbial bank.

**it Happens

1 Oct

 

Sidney Poitier's image, cropped from Civil Rig...

Sidney Poitier’s image, cropped from Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., 08/28/1963, an image in Public Domain 

 

Sidney Poitier once said “So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness.” Sometimes without even trying things come your way. Some people chalk it up to “fate.” A friend of mine says “I guess that’s karma for you.” I walk through the claustrophobically close streets in Varanasi, India. I have absolutely no idea where to look. If I look up, I see signs for bakeries, silk shops, jewelry shops.

“Heya, sister, you wanna samosa?” a shop keeper yells after me. I ignore him. It wouldn’t have been the  first time I’ve been called after…and it will not be the last. So I keep walking…oops I slip a bit and look down. Brace yourself. Yes that’s correct I had slipped in none other than the excrement of a near-by cow. “I almost landed in that!” I say to my friend walking behind me. I smile with pride. Crisis averted. I am safe.

Cows are roaming here and there. Everywhere it seems. Flea infested dogs are fighting to my left and I can see through their thin coat of fur to their pock-marked and bloody flesh. These dogs are not at all cute. In fact the cows are in better shape.

The Indian fellow walking ahead of me, smiles. His stained teeth stare at me in a gaping mannar. It’s very popular for Indian men to chew this tar powdery stuff called paan. I smile back but can’t help but curl my lips in a tad bit of disgust.

So we’re walking through a tight, tight street. Like this:

 

I’m distracted by a monkey swinging from an electrical wire above my head and I instinctively reach for my purse to protect it. Sometimes monkeys are trained to steal a foreigner’s bag. Guess who reaps the benefits when that bag gets back to the owner.The person who trained the monkey to steal the purse in the first place. But that’s beside the point. Because right at that moment we are passing a cow who thought it pertinent to let flow some…fluid. So my feet are now covered in cow pee. 

“Do not worry sister,” a voice says, I don’t know who, I’m busy staring in disbelief and anger at this dumb cow. “This is holy piss, it is good luck.”

 

I look up to see whether this person is joking. Nope. Not even in the slightest.

 

How wonderful. I was enjoying my claustrophobic walk, the shops that are so close, they invade my personal bubble. Seriously, sometimes it feels as if I can’t move for how close things are together. I was just beginning to appreciate everything about this place. I had even just enjoyed a treat at The Blue Lassi (gotta have a lassi). Narrowly missed falling in poo and now…this.

“Well its character building if anything,” I say to my friend and we both throw our heads back a laugh. What else could we do? Be angry? Annoyed? Tired?

There are far worse things that could happen to a person than pissed on by a cow. Great. At least it was “holy piss” right? At least I’ll have some luck right? Oh dear. If I had chosen that moment to be annoyed than well I would have lost all the other moments I had attributed to “character building.”

Good old character building. Life is nothing if not character building. That’s proverbial gold  you can take to a metaphorical bank.

 

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Portrait of a Beijinger

17 Apr

I’ve come to realize that I am a city-dweller; I am accustomed to the quirks of a city. I’ve grown to love the relationship I have with it. I’m not talking about any city; I’m referring to none other than beloved Beijing. I’m a “Beijinger”, let me welcome you to a morning of my life.

April 5th 2012, 8:00am

I take a deep breath, press the safety release button on my complex door and step outside. On my way to work; I am ready for another day in beautiful Beijing. I have become a part of the English-Teaching fad, teaching at one of the many English-Teaching schools or businesses in Beijing. Beside the school where I work there are four other English-Teaching facilities each located on the same floor of the mall.

I hear music floating from the park where the elderly are dancing or practicing Tai chi. They are calm and focused while all around the city commences its hustle and bustle.

An occasional call offering services for welding and the cry of a baby mixes together to form an odd, irritating sound that grates upon my ears.

I walk down the street; an old fellow plugs one nostril, bends towards the side of the road and blows. Some would grimace at this sight, but on a typical day I expect to see it. I stop by a nearby stand and order a sandwich with an egg, a leaf of lettuce and sausage. The woman behind the stand smiles and holds up four fingers. Where else could I get a filling breakfast for only four kuai? Taking a bite, I glance at the sky. The smog doesn’t even seem too dense today.

I take another bite. Mmmm the wonderful taste of grease in the morning. There is nothing quite like it. A short man, with hair jelled to add at least five inches to his height hums as he walks past me at a quick jaunt. For a brief moment I try to walk like him but the novelty soon wears off and I decide to walk at a normal gate.

A portly woman sitting on the curb offers me a fake ID for 10 kuai and I shake my head, wave my hand to show objection. Nodding, she props up her overweight baby boy and that’s when I get my first baby-butt view of the day.

I reach the bus stop, throw out the bag, shove my hands in my pockets and wait. A parade of people drive by on electric scooters, peddle and electric bikes. A few stare and I smile in return, then my bus arrives. The door flips open and I press my transit card to the receptor. Beep.

The smell of mixed body odors, gas and heat smacks me in the face. I used to wrinkle my nose. I squeeze in beside a short, stern-faced, middle-aged woman and soon after two more stops the bus is so full that I don’t need to hold onto the yellow strap for support. The passengers are each other’s brace against impact. Soon I’m being compressed and compacted in ways I don’t even know how to describe. I used to roll my eyes; pretend I was in a place with at least an inch of space.

Arriving at work, I rush to the elevator and realize as soon as I reach one that the person inside is already pressing the door to close.

Am I surprised? No. The thing is that I’m used to it now, and if a day goes by when none of the above happens, I’m out of sync. There are other things that happen, not necessarily in one day, but throughout a week that I’ve just come to accept as part of my life in Beijing.

I’ve surrendered to the city; become a dweller of the bright lights. I’ve become what is known as a “Beijinger”. You are too you know if you do the following. I’ve compiled a running list; it reads as follows:

You know you’re a Beijinger when…

1. None of the snot-shots smog-fog, baby-butts or compression on the bus bugs you in the least. You’ve come to expect them.
2. You look forward to a greasy, egg and sausage sandwich for breakfast.
3. You expect the elevator door to close on you.
4. You wake up early just to join the elderly in the park with their tai chi and dancing.
5. You add “er” at the end of everything when you’re talking to a taxi driver.
6. You’re still disgusted at all the spitting in the streets, but you’ve started doing it your-self.
7. You’ve developed the Beijing Lung.
8. You do your shopping on the street, trucks and electric bicycles for food and random racks of clothing for your daily apparel.
9. You sit on your haunches because you’ve fooled yourself into thinking it’s comfortable.
10. You don’t think its quirky that the graffiti in the toilet stalls is significantly lower down for obvious reasons. In fact if you hadn’t read this you probably would never have noticed.

Although some of the above are not what you would call well-bred qualities to attain, nevertheless they have become what make me a “Beijinger”. Of course there are more quirks, other qualities that make an ex-pat a Beijinger. But I’m leaving those for you the reader to fill in if you choose to do so.

Searching for Reasons

1 Apr

I had a thought, I wanted to say something. But my brain is a little more than slightly broken. I have nothing to say…but I must write something, anything. Muse about something.

I posted a link.
And then realized that it is not a blog post really if they’re aren’t any words. So now here is the painstaking process of adding verbage.
It is true that I’ve been hating on Beijing in a big way these days. Not without probable cause.

I have my reasons:

The constant going that I am feeling is starting to suck me dry.
The fog-smog. It should really be its own word…fogsmog…there it’s its own word! As my colleague would say, “Boom!”
Spitting.
Snot shots.
Phlegm.
Elbows in my back.
People, everywhere. Need a moment alone? Search somewhere else!
Women carrying their babies, asking me constantly if I want a fake ID. The baby begins to cry.

Then there is this link:

Olympic song “Beijing Welcomes You” (subbed) – YouTube.

Beijing welcomes me huh?
I’m sure it does.
Things always look amazing when there are theatrical additives.

A friend asked me “Why don’t you leave?”
My answer, “I made a commitment, I will not give up on what I’ve started here. I can’t. I know regret will sink in as soon as the plane left the ground.”

Here is how I encourage myself:

1. This is a growing period of my life
2. It will be something to be proud of later on
3. I am learning to be independent, how to be my own person
4. Building my repertoire of experiences
5. I will appreciate my life that much more when I go home
6. In my mind if I can do this; I can do anything
7. Hopefully I am making a difference in the lives of others
8. Living and understanding in a different culture is a wonderful challenge to accept and conquer
9. Discovering how I am seen by another culture is such a learning curve that is making me a better person
10. A new language opens my mind to more

WOW, that is a pretty big list. I hope it makes sense, but in my own mind I’ve just proven to myself many times over that Beijing is much better than what I’ve known.

Why then, am I feeling suffocated if there are so many reasons to breathe?

Perhaps I am just too picky and expect too much. Perhaps I need to spend more time counting my blessings. Perhaps I need to infuse my life with more thankfulness.

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