Thursday, August 21, 2014

To my dad on his birthday...

Dear Dad,

Happy 65th Birthday! I know I may not have turned out exactly how you thought I would, but thanks for always making me think I did. Now, in honor of your birthday... a list of thoughts!

Top 10 reasons I am thankful that you're my dad...

1. You laugh at your own jokes - you taught me that it's important to never take yourself so seriously. And the hamburger joke will live on... forever.

2. You do my laundry - you always try to find ways to help me, and if it's midnight, I have a flight to catch the next morning, and realize I don't have any clean running shorts for my trip, you're the one who stays up to make sure my laundry is ready and in my bag by the time I wake up. And only when I unpack my bags do I notice what you did for me.

3. You never do a half-ass job - you told me that no one forces you to do anything and that if you don't want to do something, don't do it. But if you decide to spend time and energy dedicated to one thing, do it with a smile and a whole heart. Or don't do it at all.

4. You always let me eat ice cream - never have you ever denied me ice cream. Treats before piano lessons. Snacks after tennis practice. On the way home from work. That's all I need to say about that.

5. You think everything I do is the best - when I didn't get into my first choice for college, you never once told me I failed. Instead, you told me that Berkeley had all of a sudden turned into the best college in the universe. And that they were lucky to have me. And still, everything I do seems to be the best something in the universe. And it's in the moments of my lowest self-esteem, I believe you.

6. You trust me - when I needed to pay off my school loans because they were killing me, you gave me your life's savings. Didn't blink. Didn't flinch. Didn't even ask for anything in return. Because you knew I wouldn't let you down or do you wrong.

7. You tell me you love me - Korean dads are notorious for never saying 'I love you'. But you are never afraid to show your emotions. And I know you mean it every time you say it.

8. You love Mom even when she's crazy - you make it impossible to find someone to love me the way you love Mom. But you also make me believe that the kind of love that feels new and fresh and forever does exist.... even when Mom pretends like she doesn't know how to put gas in the car and you do it for her without having to be asked.

9. You always take my side - when a boy breaks my heart, I've never seen anyone as unforgiving as you. It's endearing how well you wish harm upon someone whom you claimed you liked moments before he broke my heart. That's loyalty.

10. You're not perfect - you told me that you know you have flaws, that you could be better to Mom, that you could have tried harder in life and been more successful, but that when you realized your greatest accomplishments were your kids, you knew that God gives gifts to the imperfect as motivation to always try to be better. And I've tried my whole life to live up to that title.

If I find someone who loves me half as much as you do, I think I'll be alright.

Your mangneh,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Girl Growing Up

I think I have masochistic tendencies.

After waking up for the trillionth time with anxiety, that's the conclusion I came to.

N: I kind of hate SF so far. Is that normal?
Me: Oh, that's totally normal. I'm six months in and I've just started not to hate it.
N: I can't imagine not hating it at this point.
Me: It gets better.

Let me be clear. I don't hate San Francisco. It just makes me feel very uncomfortable to be here.

Rewind to the beginning of the year. I had this bright idea to surround myself with challenges in order to become a stronger, more grounded person.

Back in LA, I fell into a routine with friends and family that made me feel like complacency was settling in. As a youth, I thought being complacent meant you weren't driven to reach higher.

I didn't realize I might be tired of reaching.

What happened was unanticipated.

It's like being thrown into an ocean and told to swim. You have no idea which direction you're supposed to be swimming in, but you know that you need to keep going. And all you really need is that one buoy. It doesn't have to be grounded to anything or be all that sturdy. It just has to exist so that even though you find yourself in an ocean, at least you know you can hold onto something. And figure shit out.

I guess for me, I need to figure out what that buoy is. Before I drown.