Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2014 - the year it all sunk in

We've gotten pretty deep into January now but I figured now is a time as good as ever to formally say farewell to 2014, or rather for 2014 to say farewell to me, because I'm the one that's going to leave and move forward. Heu. 

Excuse the duckface but this was how I looked at the start of the year. Microbangs and thin eyebrows D:  I had a really short-lived Bettie Page phase.
I spent my birthday with a couple friends and a makeshift home theater!

I'm making this post about my whole year to look back and reflect on the past year and to move forward into 2015, bringing with me all the good stuff that 2014 has brought.

I started 2014 with my eyes completely set on going to France for the summer. I re-shaped my entire life in order to make that happen, but in the end it wasn't in the cards for me yet. But during the months prior, I found myself expanding as a person in an effort to reach that great height, and even though at the end I didn't make it, I was still a bigger person than I was before.

I also had my camera fixed this year! These are some pictures I took when the shutter was still bad, with the weird bar
Still cute though this dog.
And this was after I had it fixed :D Byutifule.

Looking through these pictures, I am reminded of what my state of mind was like at the start of 2014, and how it compares to now... And the difference is surprisingly huge. I've always said that I feel like I haven't been changing much year-per-year since college, but that sure wasn't true this year.

As vague as this might sound, this is the year that I found myself. Recently, I found out what Being Sure of Oneself means, and that I actually never knew what it truly meant, because I have never personally experienced it. That still sounds vague, but it's such a sublime thing that I can only further explain it by adding more vague ways to describe it, such as:

  • It is when you give yourself space to just be, wherever you are and whoever you're with. Letting your freak flag fly, so to speak. To not feel like you have to change to be worthy of the space you are occupying, to not constantly feel like you have to impress people or to blend in with them to prove yourself worthy of their respect or admiration.. this is pretty cool because it also lets you make other people around you feel at ease. and opens you to who they are too, not just who you are. Everyone else is also just wanting to be accepted, better that you be the example by being authentic rather than be the same with everyone who's just following everyone else. If you act like it's okay to be weird, other people will feel better about their own weirdness. Most of the time, anyway.
  • It is when you know, embrace, and stand by what you feel and think, instead of being overly occupied with what people around you might feel or think.. This one was really hard to get into, it's easy to convince oneself that they are not guilty of this, but it's such a sneaky dull itch deep in the chest that can easily be simplified as just general unease, especially to naturally anxious persons like myself.
  • It is when you are able to give space for the spaces between to just be - to respect the silences within conversations and let them be part of the moment's beauty... To allow moments of having nothing to do to be enjoyable rather than be perceived as time wasted... To allow yourself to search for your words rather than filling in the silence with something less sincere. To allow disagreeable moments between you and loved ones to just be, without thinking things will end, but instead holding on to the knowledge that you love each other and are just sorting things out at the moment. 
  • It is when you bask in the beauty of the moment without straining to save it somehow, knowing it's a part of you even if you don't take a hundred pictures of it.

And it's not so much that it's something that I didn't know how to do before, it wasn't a lesson I just haven't learned before - in fact, everything I've been reading have been more or less about this stillness that I just recently gotten to access. It's more of having to practice it enough to be actually sort of good at it. It's like a muscle - I just needed to use it more for it to get stronger. Or maybe my personal Dark Ages were just brought about by hormonal instability from puberty and it had just waned away, who knows.

This year I got my hands dirty
what we made wasn't made to last, but it was beautiful and it was real.
This year I learned to just patiently do what I can do, whatever it was that was happening in the periphery. What was important was that I was walking my own road, being authentic, not giving up, and always trying to work from where I am towards where I want to be. So I got to try and rekindle my old passions like music, painting my nails, stuff like that. Nothing feels as intense as before, but I've also never felt this stable mentally, so meh. I also started new stuff like playing the uke, tarot cards, calligraphy, and watercolor. And there are stuff I was always interested in but didn't really feel like I was good at them till now, like make up.

my under-eye circle correction kit !

..Still not 100% stable, but.. that's just who I am I guess.

In a way it is counter-intuitive; I myself had preconceptions of stillness being tantamount to inaction, but in fact, it's more like my old Float philosophy... Being still enough that you are able to use your surroundings to move up instead of panicking and moving about aimlessly and causing yourself to sink even more. 
This year I also felt more comfortable about the vast difference (haha sounds like something else) between me and the people around me, specifically about faith. I'm finding it less stressful to be an Atheist in a Catholic community. It's a long story, but it's mostly just a change in perspective.

As much as I've always tried to accept things the way they are, I guess I've always had a heavy feeling in my chest that felt like things are not what they should be. But looking back, I didn't need everything else around me to change to get rid of that feeling. I just needed to change myself ,and feeling like I was working towards the changes I desired was calming to me, more than if things just magically changed. Maybe that's why I feel at peace this time, with everything that I used to always complain about in the world around me - I took risks, and didn't just try to shield myself from pain. I felt the pain. And I got out alive.
(One of these days I might talk more about our Singapore family trip if the mood strikes me.)

And it wasn't even damning pain - in the end, Beardy just came here again. Not just once, but twice! And I still got to have an out-of-country trip to Singapore/Malaysia. It all fell into place in its own way, but in a way that's better than it could have been if I didn't even try. 

Beardy blends in more and more with my family. It's very cute.
On both days when he was about to leave, we always end up watching Bob's Burgers, both times we had McDonald's for lunch, too. This was breakfast in August, though.
He and I are settling really nicely into our relationship too... Not in the stuck-with-you kinda way, but in being more and more open and loving and caring and genuine and all the good stuff. Here is a post on my tumblr about a very special moment we had in the summer that I wanted to always remember. Even though I didn't really write it so eloquently.

I have to admit that during the times where I'm actually in the thick of the chaos, I didn't actually feel very zen. It came to me in flashes at first (like when Beardy was here in the summer) and then became more constant later in the year, after everything was settled. I noticed it within my interactions with people, and with myself when I'm alone. I communicated myself more, I was less closed off, and I was able to love bigger, to share myself fuller. I even witnessed my surroundings in a more reflective and happy manner. Birds that would rest from flying near me, or good food, slow mornings... And when happy times were happening, I don't feel like I'm holding on trying to make time stop anymore. And funny enough, this made time go slower, because I'm more present and aware of my surroundings. This part still isn't perfect, but I'm headed towards the right direction.
desserts and baths are very helpful for slowing down/ winding down.. unless you eat everything in one bite

All in all, even with the obvious mishaps and plans that didn't go through the way I wanted, this year was very good to me in other aspects. I spent a lot of time with people I loved, had really great conversations during which I felt very comfortable, open, and alive... And I'm also a lot closer to figuring out what I really want to do for the rest of my life. 

Also, I've been trying to chuck out some baggage from past years where I've felt stagnant like re-evaluating my bookmarks, notes, and to do lists.. Removing stuff that just aren't me anymore, and incorporating the rest back into my life. Like exercise, which I've mostly abandoned the whole year haha.
I've done a lot of redecorating and organizing in my room. It felt great every time.
i also finally bought my very own computer and have successfully migrated my files into it :D

I'm nowhere near I wanted to be by now many years ago, but I'm still far far away from where I started, and as long as I'm moving forward, I can stay happy.

Beacons of Inner Peace: I was going to up-cycle this clock but when I removed the cardboard design I found that it looked good just the way it wasin a rustic unfinished kind of way. Also here is a butterfly that chilled out in my room for a bit one night.

Things around you just fall into place beautifully if you move and exist from a place of awareness and purposeful, thoughtful action.

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