The 54th Deadline: Rest Required


Note: I am debating as to whether I should keep this random line box in future posts. It was just something I did a long time ago to separate the first picture and the body of the blog post’s text, but I don’t know if I should keep making it.


The 54th Deadline: Rest is just a necessary step toward recovering for another day.


Hi. I hope the holidays have been going well for you all.

For me, I haven’t had much rest, but that’s the nature of things for the time being.

Work, work, work. Oh yeah, more work on top of that. And not much for anything else in between.

It is something I do find a tad depressing about my current circumstances. I hardly get that much time to rest up when it is required. I keep soldiering through it, but I know my well-being can only put up with so much. Still, I have learned to persevere. Well, it’s more like I have forced myself to persevere, if I had to be completely honest.

I say this not out of dread, but understanding, that it’s all part of this ongoing process.

And as the story goes, I found cooking years ago and had to reinvent myself by learning how to handle the literal heat and nuances of being a helper/cook in a kitchen. My resolve was brittle and weak. My body literally had a difficult time handling a lot of pressures and physical labor.

It was incredibly difficult for me at the start, but a lot of patience from great mentors and teachers encouraged to keep my chin up. I eventually learned to cope. You just get used to it over time. Gradually, I developed some kind of backbone worthy enough of sticking around in this particular field.

When you work in a kitchen, I can say it has made me into a grittier, stronger person by all means. Without the kitchen, I don’t know where I would be to this day.

So I do tell people with complete truth that cooking saved my life. And it continues to do so. I thought I would have transitioned into the stuff I went to school for years ago, something in the writing field by now, but meh… I do use my writing for other things, so I am somewhat content with this fact for now.

However, everything has an expense that goes far beyond money.
Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Clues

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The 54th Deadline: Perhaps we leave behind clues with hope that someone finds them.


Lately, I have been feeling uneasy in more ways than one. At times, I think I am worrying about it too much, but part of me wonders if there is something more to my current feelings than I realize.

Even as I write this out, it’s hard for me to be completely, and I mean totally 100 percent, honest about it. There is a line I have to draw for my own privacy’s sake.

But with all of this put into careful consideration, I guess I should just let some aspects off of my chest before it keeps eating away at me.

In short, I think I am feeling weary. And by weary, I mean I have grown so utterly tired.

In mind. In body. In soul, as it appears.

The last time this happened was more than five years ago. After all, this blog received its genesis when I hit rock bottom and needed something to alleviate some of the pain. And thus, this blog was created to act as the buffer against all of the negativity coming toward my direction.

More than ever now, I think it’s time I evaluate what this all means.

It is all so complicated. Unfortunately, it’s extremely complicated that I don’t think I can figure this all out on my own, with perhaps anything short of professional help.

Call it a rut. Call it a phase.

I have been through this kind of stuff before, and it never gets any easier. I do end up, naturally, a bit wiser after each individual trial. However, every small victory seems borderline pitiful in the midst of the war that is fought from within in the name of mental health and my own sense of happiness.

At times, I do think I should be more personal with this blog. It’s not really about readership or anything like that. The main reason has always been about the outlet, but those who stop by are more than welcome to read what I write.

These blog posts are my clues, after all. My eclectic and often confusing clues.

Like a diary, these various blog posts are my thoughts on all kinds of topics. Sometimes, I just write about stuff I like. And then there is the other element to it when I need to write about the not-so-ideal-to-advertise kind this blog has plenty of in addition to the fun variety.

The latter, of course, is all but necessary for this blog to function the way I want it to, especially in terms of keeping me intact. One can only bottle it all up for so long before you inevitably explode in a volatile manner where you’re left just cleaning up the mess afterward. Yikes, I don’t want to go through that again.

The last time that happened, it took me a few years just to get back on the ground (somewhat) running, and it took me a few more years after that to pick up the pace.

Basically, I can’t afford to fall victim to my own undoing. History should not repeat itself if you truly learn your lesson, right?

But yeah, if this blog is my own kind of virtual diary, then it goes without saying that I should admit I have wanted SOMEBODY to swing by and grasp what I am trying to say.

And that has definitely happened. I don’t know a lot of people who stumble across this blog personally, but I sure do hope that my words have made some kind of positive impact.

I don’t want to be viewed as a victim. I don’t want to be viewed as a survivor. I don’t even want to be seen as some kind of martyr or anything like that.

I want to be labeled as any other person, any other human, who has been through some tough times here and there, and yet I continued to keep going forward.

You get knocked down here and there, but you need to get back up every single time regardless.

Perhaps, even if it’s just a reminder that we are all human, and that we all don’t magically coast through life. And it’s normal to fail sometimes as long as you keep trying to make things right.

And sure, life can and will get you down.  Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Stability

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The 54th Deadline: Whether you love it or hate it, money definitely defines what you can do.


Hi there. I hope the winter season has been going well for you guys. Around here, it’s been a basically low-snow winter because the rain keeps washing it away. I don’t really want to deal with driving in the snow, so I have my fingers crossed any snow comes in limited, manageable quantities.

But yeah, I guess the topic of money has made its way up, and it’s something I can’t keep ignoring. And who can blame me? Money is very important from the start you are born in this world.

After all, money defines what kind of life you will have.

And before we go into the shallow implications of what money can entail, it’s key to realize that money is like a measure of progress, so to speak. My parents are both immigrants who came here from Vietnam to seek a better life. When it came time for them to work minimum wage/low-paying jobs, they took them without a second thought.

It was really hard at the beginning. It was beyond difficult, but my parents managed to stick through it all, and from that they tried (in their eyes) to give my two younger brothers and myself the best lives they could do with what they could earn.

Mind you, I will admit our lives were not luxurious. We didn’t have cable the whole time I was growing up.

We rarely went on real vacations, so this meant no trips to Disneyland or anything of that sort. An idea of a big trip was driving across the state to see grandma. And that was basically it, in a nutshell.

My brothers and I rarely got a lot of cool stuff compared to the other kids. My parents could seldom splurge for toys or even video games outside of a special occasion.

The list goes on, but my family was leaning toward being middle class or maybe even a tier below that, if only a little.

Still, I can say with complete honesty that life wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t fancy or something to brag about, but it was my life. Nothing too spectacular, but it was my life.

In my current state, I have learned a lot about how I am when it comes to managing my funds. In short, I am awful at it.

I really need to budget better, but by that I mean I need to start setting aside my paycheck and paying things accordingly versus just doing it sporadically.

For instance, let’s say I need food in my refrigerator. Instead of making one efficient trip to the grocery store to last me the whole week and then some, I find myself taking frequent trips and spending chunks of $20+ at a time.

Obviously, this isn’t how I should do it. What can I say? I was spoiled at one point when I was falling apart and just trying to figure out life.

When you are living at home rent-free and not having to worry about the grocery bill, you just overlook how much everything really costs to feed your own belly.

Part of it comes from me not having a stove, so I need to buy the microwaveable crap that tastes subpar, but it’s quick and easy. As an aspiring chef, I would rather just try to cook my own meals. I would be able to practice cooking and make food that is enjoyable for my taste buds.

But alas, this is the nature of my standing in life and a gauge of (or lack of, depending on how you look at it) stability.

Stability.

It’s such an important word for someone like me. A year ago on this same day, I was unemployed and on food stamps.
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The 54th Deadline: Pressure

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The 54th Deadline: Life often forces some pressure your way to encourage immediate action.


More than five years ago, I was a loser by all means. I never would admit to it back then, but one could call me that now and I wouldn’t get mad at them for it.

That’s what I was. A loser. A bonafide loser. But that doesn’t mean I had to remain one. That’s the key. You can always change.

I was a new college grad, unemployed, just sleeping on a mattress in my parents’ basement. My laptop, my salvation at the time, sat on the desk where the old sewing machine used to be.

Every day, it was often the same routine with little variation.

I woke up. I got ready and all of that jazz. I then parked my butt in front of my laptop. At first, I was genuinely productive for a long while. I applied to many job listings that matched my degree. Granted, that was a rough time to attempt becoming a journalist, let alone getting some small gig to tide me over.

Things are always hard when you’re starting out, after all. The journalism job market at the time was sketchy and very unfriendly toward a lot of new people trying to get their journalism feet wet.

Anyway, the initial months were a constant blur of monotony. I took the summer off to “recharge” from my senior year in college, but the truth is I had a lot of built-up depression systems that lingered after college graduation. I was just in major denial of it.

Regardless, I was hellbent on getting my dream job after summer. I applied and applied, and most of my replies seemed rather pointless. I felt like I was wasting my time, but I knew I still had to apply with some semblance of a chance that things would pan out the way I had wanted.

But what was I to do in the meantime? Because I was so thoroughly weary and exhausted by the time my senior year of college ended, I did in fact needed the rest. So I passed the time mostly on my computer, wasting away hours upon hours while I hoped my “feelers” as you would call them were supposedly working their magic.

I played a lot of video games. An unhealthy amount, no less. I just played a LOT of video games. So many hours. So unproductive.

Alas, I wish my resumes could have told me somehow that their searches were to no avail. Potential employers don’t have to tell you they passed on you. Heck no. Most just ignore you. It’s like you never sent anything to them at all. You become just another blip on their radar they don’t notice. Another message in their inbox they might as well put in the spam folder.

Unless you had a gleaming resume or prior connections, many college grads were basically screwed. I was no different. Unfortunately, I should have known how ill-prepared I was to face the real world at the time.

It would take about two months after summer before I got my first real interview for a potential job, but that’s a different story I have discussed before way in the past. That led to a lot of terrible things for me personally, which added further self-destruction to my name as that particular series of events unfolded.

I might touch up on that later, but for now I want to focus on the notion of “pressure” and why I need it more than anything else in my life at the moment. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Unfinished Products

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The 54th Deadline: Something never becomes anything unless it has a beginning and end.


Lately, I have been realizing I have a peculiar problem I need to fix – I don’t finish what I start as much as I would like.

It’s all been too apparent for me.

For example, I had a smoke detector in my room that was beeping because the battery was dying. I went to the store and bought a new battery. It took me a week or so to replace the dead battery so I could have a functioning smoke detector again, even though I had it all right in front of me.

It’s such a random thing. Literally, getting the smoke detector all set up took less than 30 seconds when I finally just finished the task. It wasn’t hard or anything like that. I just put it off. Still, it was a week of procrastinating before I finally got it done. And thank goodness a fire did not break out in my place during that whole week.

The whole point is, this kind of procrastination is not uncommon or anything. It’s in the same vein when you’re a student and you have assignments you need to finish.

You keep putting things off, you keep telling yourself you will do this at this point, then you keep setting it aside and then it’s been a long time before you realize you should just have it all done already.

Procrastination is just a natural occurrence. It just creeps up at the worst times.

Now, more importantly, when you consider this procrastination for other projects I have had in the works for a long while, it’s just been apparent how counterproductive I have been with my time.

And I realize I have had a lot of life-altering situations that would of course affect how much time and effort I could invest toward a given project.

After all, survival comes first. But regardless, I don’t want to survive all of the time. I want to thrive. And in a big way.
Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Contrast

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The 54th Deadline: To head toward the light, one must spend some time in the darkness.


There are many days that occur where I find myself experiencing the “other” side of me.

One who is mean.

One who is not as forgiving.

One who is not as thoughtful.

Before I go any further, basically, I like to think I can fathom and accept that this other me is very prevalent in lots of regards. I don’t choose to pretend or ignore this side of me. It’s very much a part of me as how a coin shares two sides. It can’t be helped. It’s how things are.

If anything, this other side of me just became more obvious when I sunk to my lowest point half a decade ago, where all I had left at rock bottom was just my self-pity and the other me who couldn’t help but feel a lot of negative things.

Anger.

Disgust.

Distrust.

Fear.

Toss in a lot more hostile, ire-inducing words and you get the idea. It’s the other side of me who hasn’t let go off all of the escalating pain and frustration that naturally built up over time.

On one hand, I felt like an empty husk in a sense. However, the other side of me just kept accumulating more and more reasons to hate. More reasons to attempt justifying, often absurd, notions of “payback.”

Payback for what?

Was it at all personal why certain things did not pan out for me? Why would I need to feel the urge to seek revenge? What good would come out of it?

This is the constant, inner tug-of-war I play within my mind numerous times every week. In fact, sometimes I believe it’s getting worse. I don’t know which side I should let win in some regards because I know both sides have their valid points.

In terms of my current spot in life, if you want to make this a means of quantifiable “success,” I have a ways to go. There are so many things I want to accomplish, but priorities need to take place first.

For a long time, all I wanted was independence. Well, I got it. And plenty to spare.

I need to do grownup things now to get by the everyday operations. I know I am not doing things as efficiently or ideal, but I try. And I guess it counts for something.

Conversely, the other side of me has grown impatient. The other side wants results sooner rather than later.

How long are things going to take? Another few months? A few years? When will something come along to expedite the process? Why can’t I just TAKE what I want by force and then be done with it?

I am conflicted by this contrast. Grossly conflicted to a fault.
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The 54th Deadline: A Particular Feeling

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The 54th Deadline: Sometimes, an “urge” just prompts you to take action.  It’s powerful.


It returns.

I think it’s about time I came up my own name for it.

An urge.

A feeling.

A spark.

Whatever it is, it’s something I cannot ignore. And I’d be a fool if I ever did. The fact is, without this gut instinct, I would have been sunk a long time ago. When you’re literally flirting with losing it all and hanging on for dear life, you need something to compel you forward to tough it out just a bit further.

And I am glad I did choose the scarier option of seeing what the unknown had to offer versus just throwing in the imminent white towel.

I realize I may come off as talking in almost circles about this recurring scenario/ordeal in my past, but it’s been apparent how vital and essential it has been toward sending me in this particular direction.

On some days, I want to call it destiny. I could say it’s in God’s hands. Whatever it may be, everything has been set in motion. I’ve just been along for the ride this whole time.

With that said, I think I need to react accordingly to this particular feeling. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Why would it do it now? Continue reading