Friday, July 15, 2011

Justifying the size of my engagement ring.

We’ve got some exciting engagement news…

No, Patrick didn’t go down on one knee and profess his everlasting and unwavering love for yours truly (at least, not yet), but someone did! Dennis, whom I also refer to affectionately as my frenemy, proposed to Carly last month while we were visiting Taiwan.


You may remember blond-haired and blue-eyed Dennis as the “Golden Boy” in my family from this interview many moons ago on the trials and tribulations of undertaking the daunting task that is dating a pair of twins. We call him “Golden Boy” behind his back because he is everything Patrick is not—stable, quiet, Mr. Always Does the Right Thing at the Right Time…I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t love this guy?!?

Well, after four years, two breakups, and lots of family drama mostly instigated by me, Dennis somehow survived and decided to jump headfirst into the deep end, finally slipping a pretty little one on my twin’s ring finger. Atop the most pristine and heavenly mountains in Taiwan, Dennis asked Carly to “be his baby forever” late one night as the stars peek-a-boo’d from the blanket of velvety night fog. *sigh*


Their engagement was and wasn’t a surprise to my family. We’ve known that something was coming for a while now but because we’ve known for so long, at one point we weren’t even sure it was coming anymore! Of course we are all thrilled for Carly and Dennis (when it was first confirmed to me he was going to propose in Taiwan, I had tears in my eyes!) but their elation can't quite mask the white elephant in the room.

“Do you feel upstaged by your sister because she and Dennis are stealing the spotlight from you?” my dad asked me sincerely after the engagement.

“Oh my gosh NO! I am so happy for them. Carly and I never compete about anything. Her win is my win,” I respond truthfully. But I knew why my dad was concerned for me since hearing the word "marriage" still gives me the hives. Because I don't know what it'll take for Patrick and me to once and for all take that leap of faith towards blissfully engaged. Because I keep telling the world marriage is a dying institution even though deep down... deep down...ugh.

Dennis asking my dad for Carly's hand in marriage on our back porch.

“Patrick and I are like a married couple anyway, and a ring won’t change much of anything for us right now,” I reassured my dad just as much as I was reassuring myself. You see, something very few people know about is that I DO have a ring. And a big one at that. Its hiding place changes from week to week but it’s still supposedly mine and when I feel all romantic and giddy, I try to wear it around the house.

When Patrick and I were planning our wedding that never was, he put down a lot of change for a very big ring for me. White gold, princess cut, a band of diamonds, and three whole carats, it is quite excessive and definitely more than a simple girl like me could ever wear. Sometimes when I look at it in its polished mahogany case, I wonder why I ever hinted to Patrick that I would want something as big as he could afford. I almost feel guilty he spent so much money on a ring I don’t even get to show off, money that could have been invested or saved as a down payment for our imminent house purchase. Sometimes I am embarrassed or even ashamed thinking about the prospect of having to wear such a rock in front of his family one day, scrambling to justify to them why on earth I ever had their dear son waste so much money on me.

Ok, I lied. We don't really live here. This was during our Asia vacation.

The worst part of it is I can’t even wear the ring right since it is almost three sizes too big for me (the ring was bought unsized). So it has been floating around in a bookcase or bathroom cabinet for going on two years now, its misfitting ways symbolizing all that went wrong and all that is broken in our relationship. There it has been sitting and collecting emotional dust, representing all that could have been and all that still has to happen for Patrick to finally say to me, “Yes, you’re it. Let's do it, girl!”

But last week, on a weekly cruise through the mall, I stumbled across a newly opened jewelry store that promised fast fixes for any jewelry or watch problem. The man behind the counter told me it would cost $50 to take my ring down to a size 5.25 and $50 on that day didn’t sound like too high a price to once and for all resize my ring. I texted Patrick to ask him what he thought and he said, “Sure, go do it.”

And so I did the very next day. I brought the ring in like a nervous high school girl in love, watching the jeweler precisely laser the band apart only to put it back together a few minutes later. I guarded the ring like a new father would his baby in the NICU, making sure every step of the way my baby was treated with utmost care. It came back to me clean, polished, and MY size. The man behind the counter slipped it onto my finger and said, “You can wear your ring now. It fits perfectly. By the way, how long have you had it?”

“Oh, um, a while…”

“That’s a shame you couldn’t wear it for so long,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. No, you don’t understand, I wish I could tell him the story. It was not mine to wear this whole time. But thank you for making it feel more like mine, and maybe I will wear it more now. But just for fun because I’m not really engaged yet.

Looking at it on my finger as I type this post that has gone on for too long, my ring doesn’t seem too big anymore. Perhaps it was wrong of me to ask Patrick to prove the magnitude of his love in carats when we first found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. But Patrick, after all we've been through, can you honestly tell me I'm not completely, utterly, MAGNIFICENTLY worth every penny you've spent?


*cricket chirps*

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Traveling and searching for purpose.

I've disappeared to Asia and back...with babes in tow...

I keep running away. But from what?

Some of you may have noticed I shut down the blog for a while. It was spurred by spontaneity one night when I was alone watching a show about Internet predators. It struck a chord with me because I've exposed a lot of information and details of my family on this blog and guilt and regret rushed through me as I scrambled to protect our privacy. I sent a text message to my immediate family to apologize for giving others an intimate look into our lives and let them know it will no longer happen again as the story can't go on.

But something still didn't feel right about my decision because for most of my life, I've let fear and pessimism limit the roads I take. When you don't let yourself believe and choose to see the good and bright side, you've already written the end of your story. I truly don't know why I've had such issues in the past year writing on my blog. Part of it was because I fell into deep postpartum depression during the winter months and have been struggling to pick myself up since then. The other part was simply due to the fear of the unknown. I didn't know where I was going with my blog anymore, who I was writing to and for, and what others were thinking of me.

I felt limited with what I could say and how I could present things in my life because I was afraid of losing readers and offending people. I was helplessly lost in my depression but so desperately trying to hide my inner struggles from the world that writing became a chore. I was putting on a meaningless puppet show for the sake of performing.

I was afraid of sharing how things truly were for me because I didn't want people to laugh and say "I told you so."

I told you so because I chose this path for myself and YES, there are still days I wonder how life could have been if I never had my baby. The road getting back to even, getting back to where I was two years ago before my life spun off-course has proven to be an on-going battle. A battle of aimlessly searching for what once was and what I could still recoup and have.

Or am I fruitlessly trying to regain and repair what is no longer mine? A singleton life without limits and bounds? I am a mother, a partner to someone who loves me very much, and things are different now. This is life, evolving, changing, and moving towards a new normal instead of constantly checking over your shoulder and checking in with what could have been.

In this past year, I've lost weight, friends, happiness, career ambitions, and many other sacred and defining parts of me. But what I refuse to let slip through my fingers is my voice even when it's muddy and unclear.

I am lost because I don't know what I am doing anymore. But my twin, Carly, reminded me this morning that nothing in life matters if you don't do things with purpose, passion, and gratitude. So that is where I am at now: I love to write. Period. I love to write about feelings, emotions, relationships, family dynamics and drama... I love to read and write things that make people tingle on the inside. I love to read and write things that tug at heartstrings and make people breathe "Wow. I totally get it."

I once thought I wanted to be a rock star. But money and notoriety aren't things that matter to me or would make my life any more worth living. It's time to scale back, to break things down to the basics, and do what I love unabashedly and without fear. Write without an audience in mind, without limits, and without anxiety. A blog is a personal space and outlet, and readers will hang around if you add value to their lives.

King is literally clawing down his playpen as I write in frustration that his ever-attentive mother has put him down for a few minutes so she could possibly hodge-podge together some words. Ah, my time's up again for now.






Monday, May 9, 2011

One trip around the sun.

Dear King,

I’ve spent the weekend reminiscing about this time last year. It was as if summer had arrived early, the weather sparkling with our famous Californian sun. My coworkers bid me a proper farewell on my last day of work before maternity leave and left me riding into the sunset with two trunk loads of baby shower gifts for you. I moved all boxes and trinkets into our cramped living room, silently vowing to spend the next two weeks before your arrival finally getting things ready for our new life.

On Saturday, on a whim, your daddy and I decided to go on a shopping trip together. Whilst I was preoccupied with my job, I hadn’t a moment to even begin thinking about how things would change once I had you but now that I would have this mini-break before your due date, I suddenly became neurotic about cleaning up, about being a perfect mom. Somehow, retail therapy that weekend seemed to temporarily provide a calming and reassuring fix that things could, maybe, turn out fine.

And then—on another whim—I decided I wanted to recreate one of your daddy and my first dates together at none other than greasy Red Robin. I indulged in the meal of all meals, stuffing what little stomach space I had left with a double punch of cheeseburgers and fries. Little did I know said burger would send me straight to labor an hour short of Mother’s Day 2010. I remember I kept asking the triage nurse in disbelief, “You mean I’m going to have a baby today?? Within 24 hours?”

“Yes,” she confirmed. “You will definitely have your baby on Mother’s Day.”

Just like that, I had my world’s most precious baby. Childbirth left my body in tears and pain but every time I looked at you, I couldn’t help but breathe a “Wow.” I’d never really won anything before but with you, I felt like I was gifted life’s ultimate prize. That Wow, I’d finally done something good and right. 

Your aunt Carly told me months after your birth that right before you came, she had a dream I had just had you. It was just the two of us in the middle of an iridescent forest and we were cuddled up in a sacred sphere of twinkles and buzzing fireflies on a center patch of wispy green grass. And above us: a glowing sky burning with shooting stars pulsing with light in quiet celebration and magical peace. Crazy thing is I couldn’t have described the birth experience better myself.

Today is your birthday and my stomach is left in twisted knots of disordered emotions. Watching you grow has completely eradicated all that I thought I knew about life and reshaped it into something at once gentle, real, and incredulous. It is an honor to be part of your soul’s journey through this world but if I’m being completely selfish, I want nothing more than to cradle you in the palm of my hand and safe-keep you forever in my left pocket.

My year as a new parent has been a mixed bag of good, hard, and harder days. But no matter the challenges life brings, one thing I often remind myself is one day your daddy and I are going to look back and probably confess these were, indeed, the best times of our lives.

Your mommy <3



Monday, May 2, 2011

Almost ONE.

UMM... He's almost one.

Quite shocking we've somehow managed to keep him alive for so long. I know.

True to my terribly anti-climatic nature, we're not counting down the last week and there's no party planned unless something in the universe drastically shifts.

But I WILL write something about it come his birthday because ONE is sorta big...ain't it?

For now, a few pics we took this past weekend:









Wow my HEART. <3

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Incredibly dull and boring.

Yesterday was the first time I didn’t end up running away.

The hours were folding fast into the time of day I refer to as the “Exhaustion Overload” period, somewhere between the deadly hours of 4-7 PM. You know, the time of day when all hell seemingly breaks loose after already an accidentally full schedule jam-packed with fussing babies, email server errors, the odd telephone spat here and there with Significant Other over things I don’t quite recall anymore. And then there’s the dinner I need to have hot and piping on the table timed exactly so when Significant Other walks through the door of our apartment at 5 (give or take 15 minutes), he feels “taken care of by his sweetheart,” as his father likes to remind me to do.

It’s the time of day when my nerves are so shot the smallest road bump manifests into a semi-crisis, the time of day when if anyone gets in the way of my survival-mode mentality, I spiral out of control into a crazy shadow of the woman I’d hope to be for Patrick, not the person I so easily become during EO period.

Around 7-9 PM, things usually find a way of miraculously self-resolving, and it’s a beautiful thing since it coincides with some of my favorite television programming. My eyeballs retract back into their sockets, my muscles relax a bit, and if the stars are really aligned, I might even locate an opened bottle of red wine with exactly 6 ounces left in it. Life’s pretty good around now.

And then comes the Incredibly Dull and Boring, the limbo hours before bedtime when I often find myself slowly—perhaps even aimlessly—picking up the pieces of another day I somehow managed to get through. ID&B involves dirty dishes, paperwork, painstakingly collecting breadcrumbs on the carpet my dear baby likes to leave behind for me…and my mind naturally escapes into a parallel fantasy life.

A fantasy life of exotic residences, paparazzi, and maybe a pair of Christian Louboutins because I’m really dreaming big now, folks. But the gentle clamor of pots soaking in the sink interrupts my trip down La La Land and I downsize to a cozy cottage next door to my parents’ house in Northern California. It would be so nice to be anywhere but here, I think selfishly but not without guilt. King tugs at my oversized sweatpants (I’m truly rocking SEXY these days) and something deep down inside of me knows I CAN’T be anywhere else but here.

I want to escape because don’t we all once in a while? During the Incredibly Dull and Boring my mind races with alternate endings, with a life I could be living if I chose A instead of B or followed through with XY&Z but don’t run away now, Missy. Just live, relish, enjoy, and STAY.

Sometimes to get somewhere you simply have to stay put.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I’m afraid of my blog.

I truly am. Really.

It’s sort of like having an intimate relationship fall apart suddenly for ambiguous reasons. And then you spend the next couple of months tiptoeing around each other afraid to make the first move lest you delve into a conversation you don’t know how to start. Or end.

I liken my blog to said friend who’s been left high and dry these past few months and I often find myself “afraid” to log in or emotionally unavailable to write and post pictures. But I think about Blog every day, wonder what Blog is up to, how Blog’s managing on his own in Internet-sphere.

You see, Blog came to me one night as I was feeling sorry for myself after being laid off by my company the day I returned to work from maternity leave. Overnight, I became a housewife and stay-at-home mom not because I chose to be those things but because I had no other choice. I was hurt, sad, angry, lost, but one look into my new baby’s eyes and I promised myself I would make the most of my time at home with him. I set out to document the lull of days spent in Mommydom and hoped in doing so, I could find some peace and beauty in a lifestyle I never knew I would or could have.

So have I reached Mommy nirvana some 11 months later? As with all things, the answer is gray and somewhere in the middle which is why it’s been much harder for me to express myself with Blog as of late. Because I am no longer that reluctant and throw fewer pity parties for myself when I miss out on a wild and crazy night out on the town with fellow 20-somethings. Because I no longer feel like I am missing out.

Thank you, readers, for being there and offering so much support and inspiration. I know I’ve gone from almost daily updates to weeks without so much a peep. I’m happiest when I write everyday and have some sort of human contact with the world that is swirling fast around me. And you offer that to me.

Blog, I’m afraid of you because I don’t know what to say. I can’t be honest when right now I don’t know exactly how I feel about things in my life or what can transpire from this adventure I’ve set out with you. Please pardon a few more months of reckless intermittence.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I love L.A. pt.2

My love/hate relationship with L.A. is currently swayed slightly towards the warm and fuzzy side because of night hikes as twilight falls upon us:

King enjoying some bonding time with his Uncle Dennis.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This is not my baby.

This is not my baby.


Because my little baby weighs 7 pounds, cannot crawl yet, and does not know how to eat a graham crack cracker on his own.





Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthdays are for breakups.

A highly scientific examination on why birthdays are the most popular day of the year to leave behind the comforting terrain of couplesville for the thrilling territory of singletons. At least for me, that is.

The odds of breaking up with your significant other on your birthday are 1/365. In my case, however, I’m grossly off the curve as I’ve been batting closer to a .50 average. I never placed much thought on how “ahead” of the game I was until the year my 21st birthday rolled around. Twenty-one, that delicious age where the once pimply and awkward magically slip into a realm of adult possibilities. That darling age where all the teenage angst and attitude are traded in for a heaping helping of divine sophistication. Sophistication, maturity, growth…oh how the pressure of hiding my past was becoming all but too much to handle in stealth so I promised myself that before I turned the big 2-1, I would finally reveal the most uncomfortable secret I’ve had to hide for the past few years: I was dumped on my 18th birthday.

He was someone I shared a class with and on my birthday, he took me to see an esteemed jazz ensemble play at one of the premier concert halls in our area. It was all fun and games until a close girl friend of mine tagged along for the second part of the date (hitting the local arcade!) but because it was MY birthday, hormones and emotions ran rampant as I flipped out on the guy when I suspected he was getting too close to my girl friend. He promptly dropped me off at my house, bid me a “buh-bye,” and left me in an embarrassing chaos of tears and regret as I spent the rest of my birthday rolled up in fetal position on my bed.

The whole story was a bit more complicated than that and in recent years I’ve confused some of the details to add drama and tragic flair to my unfortunate tale. I maintain the guy was never my boyfriend to begin with (it helps me mend and defend a broken ego) and like to exaggerate the scene where he mercilessly left me on the streets in the middle of a cold night for dead. Because after all, who dumps a girl on her birthday?!

I simplified the “event” in a four-part blog post I rolled out the week before my 21st birthday. It was sort of my way of saying, “Yes, everyone, I was indeed dumped on my birthday but yes, everyone, I am SO over it now” and continued to repost the story each following birthday on whichever blog I happened to be nursing at the time. Which means I should be posting my epic 18th birthday story around now BUT remember I said breakups on my birthday is kind of an ongoing thing?

Well, on my 21st birthday, no less than two days after I first posted about my 18th birthday, I broke up with a new guy I’ve been seeing for a while. It was an ill-managed long-distance relationship and the piss and vinegar was he didn’t call me on my 21st birthday to say, “Hello, beautiful. Happy birthday.” In fact, he forgot to call me altogether so I was left with no choice but to give that one the dreaded ax. Striiiiike two for me.

Which leads us to wonder, what is it with me and my birthdays? Why is it the hours confined within one particular day each year such prime time for shattered hearts? How is it I’ve let go of half of all relationships that have ever meant something to me on a day that’s supposed to be filled with cakes, balloons, and kisses rather than Dear John letters?


Maybe it’s just that. The mere expectation of feeling special on a day to honor my existence is killing my chances of having long-lasting relationships because each year “that” day turns the corner, I shed my I-don’t-like-attention-from-anyone disorder for a secret desire to be treated like, well, a queen for the day. Maybe I publicly dismiss any form of recognition on every day of the year EXCEPT that ONE day where I develop and harbor an intense appetite to be…loved.

Inevitably, the heightened anticipation of all things warm and fuzzy on my birthday invariably supersedes the reality of a day that is mundane and normal for everyone else so my relationships have suffered as a result. The events of the day usually culminate in a disaster of misplaced emotions and disappointment but I’m not asking for much, people. Simply don’t flirt with my friend and just CALL ME and we’ll more likely than not see another year together.

So birthdays are for breakups but I’m sort of in a relationship I can’t lose right now. When Patrick asked me last week, “Your birthday’s coming up. What do you want to do?”

I could only answer, “Um…” Take the baby for a day, treat me to an hour-long massage at Burke Williams, buy me a dozen Forever Roses, sell your baseball card collection to make more room in the closet for me, love me, LOVE ME, SPOIL ME!!!!! “Um…” I continue, “Just…be sweet.”

“I’m always sweet,” he tells me.

“Yeah, for the most part,” I say. “Just be sweet.”

“Sounds good. You’re easy,” he decides.

Happy almost-birthday to me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dark blue.

“Patrick, I’m going crazy. And I don’t know how to make it stop.”

It’s 3 AM in California as I lie awake in our “spacious” queen-sized bed. I say spacious with a smirk and raised eyebrow because two grown-ups and a 30-lb baby can hardly fit between the sheets without some spare limbs dangling lifelessly off the edges of the bed. I’ve come to accept I shall never be able to experience the absolute luxury that is sprawling freely in one’s own bed so long as I continue succumb to my son’s adamant desire to slumber between his parents’ warmth.

It’s 3 AM and I cannot make the voices inside my head stop. My thoughts vacillate through a maze of the mundane and critical: Why is it so cold in here? Are Patrick and I ever going to get married? When will I make a million dollars? Will King be embarrassed of me one day?

I turn and see King, my life-changing baby, and kiss him gently on the lips no less than ten times before I can pull away from his velvet skin. I still can’t sleep and inform Patrick I’m going crazy. But he’s down for the count and if he heard me, it was in a mess of dreams.

“Patrick, I’m going crazy,” like I told him a month ago. Late December, King had a really bad accident and it was my fault. From guilt, pain, and complete devastation I shut the whole world out and became perpetually lost in my internalized self-torment. I wanted to make everything go away, to make King better, and found every excuse in the universe why I wasn’t happy to blame them all. Because it’s never me, it’s never my problem, because “I’m perfect” as I so often tease Patrick.

I turn and see King and pray he doesn’t turn out like me one day. Just be happy and take things slowly because you will grow up faster than you’ll ever know.

The room is blanketed in dark blue and a light flickers from the nightstand. I can’t sleep I can’t sleep so I open the screen of my laptop and log into my blog. Artemis Clover: The Real L.A. Love Story. Artemis—heh—here we go again.

Keep writing the story.

King with Grandma.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Walking underwater.

Your body knows what to do.

After pushing a 7-pound baby out, something in my blood changed seemingly overnight. My veins ran fast and clear, my skin tingling with electrifying intensity as I floated on cloud nine with my new baby King wrapped up in my arms. I felt perpetually drugged—as if I had overdosed on caffeine and other unnamed stimulants—and could whisk, wash, and fold my way around the kitchen and endless loads of laundry. “AND, I could be making dinner with one hand while breastfeeding with the other,” I often bragged to bemused friends. “I am THAT good at being a mom.”

Yep, my body did what it was supposed to do, and my brain knew better than to lag too far behind. Just as my body was running circles around the apartment, my mind raced with fantastic creativity. Blog, book, art, photography, music—I plotted them all and couldn’t wait to wake up each dewy summer morning to polish and refine the ideas I had spinning inside of me. Right after having a baby was a glorious season of everything new, powerful, and magnetic. A glorious season of wonderlust.

And then, just as quickly as I had entered the realm of divine living, I suddenly fell from the sky into the deep and dark end of the pool sometime in October. The fluffy clouds dissolved into molten lava and I could no longer stay standing as the demands of motherhood—of life—consumed me with hopeless tenacity. My words started coming out thinly and crude, the computer keyboard untouched for days on end. I desperately tried to find joy in writing, in my relationship, in my baby…but couldn’t. My “can-do’s” became “cannot’s” and all of my “possible’s” crumbled into an abyss of impossibility. Since then I’ve been walking underwater.

Today I think back to the last time I was truly and blissfully filled with happiness. Patrick, King, and I were already a few days into our Hawaii vacation when we decided to visit the beach for a late-afternoon swim. Because King was a mere 4 months at the time, Patrick and I had to take turns swimming in the ocean and watching King on the shore.

When it was my turn to jump into the turquoise water, I let the cool waves pull me farther and farther away from the glistening sand. I could no longer feel the sharp rocks beneath me when I turned my head to see Patrick and King waving “hello” to their mommy from the dry land a hundred feet away. I felt so free as elation filled my tanned body buoying up and down with the rhythm of sea. So free and joyful as if I were ten years old again with all the childlike promise and hope of a new day.

I want to be back at that place.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Pomegranate skin.

King chews on pomegranate skin and I go to a basketball game with my brother to kick off 2011.

I'm still playing hide and seek with my life in Northern California but I'll go back to Los Angeles one of these days. I have to.

I miss Patrick.









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