Category Archives: Musings

5 Things Life Has Taught Me about Friendship (So far…)

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ~ William Shakespeare

The nature of friendships has been on my mind lately. I don’t need to tell you the benefits of having a friend because I’m sure we’ve all felt the positive impacts of a friend, especially a good friend. And if we haven’t, we soon will. Sometimes when I emerge for a quick break out of my writing world, I think about how somewhat anti-social I’ve been or rather that I haven’t been as a good a friend as I should be. I obsess over the details of what makes a great friend and that process leads to absolutely nothing because in the end there really is no perfect formula for the perfect friendship. And who wants to stress over friendships? Love and the actions that back it up are the most important things. But, I still want to share a list of what life has taught me about friendship:

1.) Don’t over think it.

It’s better to let things be without torturing yourself over minute details about whether this was done right or wrong, especially when it concerns the past. Just go with the flow, live in the moment, and if there are big decisions to be made, trust your gut to do the right thing. We’re all old enough to have learned a little from life about right and wrong. You should also never ever be anyone but yourself because if you can’t be real with your friends, then who can see the real you? Sometimes we feel we can’t be our true selves around our own families. That’s when friends lend an arm to save us from drowning.

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
~ Bob Marley

2.) A long period of non-communication doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over.

Sometimes you can pick up where you left off. We’re all involved in some project or other, and it can take time away from friendships, but as long as one friend or the other remembers to give that call or send that message, true friends can continue right along as if there was never a lull in the friendship to begin with.

3.) Don’t force it.

There’s a time for everything, and if you sense a friendship is stagnant with no more room for growth, it’s okay to let that person go and move on. Also, if you’re the only one putting effort into a friendship and the other person isn’t, well, that can be a signal to release as well. It’s never a good feeling for both sides when someone is forcing something to exist that is no longer there. People change, and that’s okay.

“Silence makes the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts.” ~ Margaret Lee Runbeck

4.) Don’t mistake companionate love for Eros love.

This one is tricky. There’s this consensus peering over our shoulders that you if love someone, you should tell them, which is true, but not all love is the same. Misunderstandings can take over to bring about painful awkwardness and may even transform a friendship into something else that is less satisfying or poignant than the previous nature of the relationship. However, I’m not saying people shouldn’t fall in love with their friends because it’s been shown to happen, and sometimes friends even marry each other. Shoot, I hope the person I marry ends up being my best friend as well. But, this isn’t always the case, so this is where a little thinking before acting wouldn’t hurt.

5.) You will find a friend who becomes family.

Soul mates aren’t limited to couples that have found eternal romantic love, but include friends too: two people who swear they must have been born from the same mother sometime or another. Or as like to I call my own soul mate of a friend: “My sister from another mother.” You’re in sync, cry and laugh together, share the deepest secrets, reveal yourself completely and truly without fear of judgment or rejection, and love unconditionally. No fear, no pressure, total acceptance, and genuine love for each other and each other’s growth. If something good happens to this person, you feel as if it’s happening to you. This friendship is no accident and has no end.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

These are solely my experiences with friendship. How about you? What do you think when it comes to friendship? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

22 Things Life Taught Me in 2014

2014 is coming to a close and it’s been a so-so year, not necessarily awful like 2013 but not necessarily amazing like 2010. I’m more hopeful than ever about 2015 because it includes one of my two favorite numbers, 5. (0 is my other favorite number by the way.) I graduated high school in 2005, one of the happiest days of my life. And I spent my most incredible year ever so far in NYC in 2010. Maybe 2015 will shed some much needed goodness and adventure in my life. I know I need it or else I’ll suffer a mental breakdown. Anyway, I bid farewell to 2014 by putting up a list of 22 things this year has taught me.

  1. Blind faith doesn’t work.
  2. Some friendships require work; others don’t.
  3. It takes more than a positive attitude to get through things.
  4. You need to give 150% to make things happen; 100% isn’t enough.
  5. You CAN get through the craziest and most discouraging times in your life.
  6. It’s up to you to be happy and motivated enough to live.
  7. You can change some things; you’re not totally powerless.
  8. Taking the initiative is always desirable.
  9. It’s okay that your parents don’t understand you.
  10. It’s not cute to censor yourself.
  11. You are desirable.
  12. Always go with your gut. Stop second-guessing yourself.
  13. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  14. You’re more intelligent and capable than you ever thought possible.
  15. You matter.
  16. Being agnostic isn’t easy. Religion has its merits.
  17. Faking that you’re still a Christian hurts you more than you realize.
  18. Stop expecting so much from people. Let them surprise you.
  19. You finally know what you want. And that’s good.
  20. Getting what you want will take time.
  21. Going after you want will require sacrifice…like sleep.
  22. San Diego, California will be your future home.

How about you? What are some things this year has taught you? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

A Question of Healing

Where do you go for healing when what you once used to heal yourself no longer exists? This question has been harassing my mind since I lost my faith, my main source of self-healing. I’m trying to figure out whether I can still keep the parts that helped and let go of the parts that didn’t. I don’t know what that would look like, but I think I have an idea. Maybe I can run with it and find some answers. I’m considering Buddhism. I just need an outlet for all the negativity and hopelessness that life piles on day after day. A conduit or vacuum that can suck it all out and refresh my soul for a time before the next boost.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t lost my faith. I could just let go all of my problems and leave them at God’s doorstep and let Him take care of it. The Psalms would give me solace in the darkest of times. However, despite it all, I feel and believe it was necessary for me to lose my faith to grow as a person. I’ve become more aware of who I am such as identifying my deepest fears and weaknesses. I see things in my character that faith use to keep me from noticing and understanding. And what’s the benefit of knowing thyself? Better interactions with people. Better decision-making for the future overall in many of the important aspects of life—career paths, relationships, and general attitude.

I think in some way I’m letting the bad things that happen just be sometimes. For instance, my bike was stolen at the hostel where I live and although I’m angry at myself for not locking it because I didn’t think anyone staying at a hostel would steal a bike, I told myself worrying and being sad about it wouldn’t bring it back. I’ve taken the necessary steps of alerting the front desk. If it comes back, it comes back. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ll get a new bike in the future and learn from this mistake to prevent it from happening again. Be a better person. I want to take each bad thing that happens and turn it into something that can improve my life in the future. I don’t want to let any event cripple me in anger, sadness, or self blame. Life already sucks without me adding more negatives to it.

Until I can figure out what I need to do to address the spirituality hole left from my losing my faith, I can take comfort in one true thing: writing heals me too. Writing heals. Something about pouring out all my troubling thoughts in writing cleanses the pain and emotional gunk stuck in the gears of my heart. Once I write it down, I feel like I’m restarting again, capable of moving forward. It’s an understatement to say that writing saves my life everyday. It does in ways that I have yet to understand. Maybe that’s what makes me me.

How about you? How do you reboot your soul?

Stay amazing,

Sammy

Getting over the BLOCK; When Life Chokes My Writing

I’m the kind of person who stops her environment from soaking up every ounce of creative will out of her, especially when a personal writing deadline is up and about and looming. It’s more important to focus on the process and be blind to all the major and minor annoyances threatening to turn me into a zombie. Or a ghost floating through life and waiting for that big spark of inspiration to resurrect me from the dead and get me back on the grind. Fifty percent of the time, I’m able to breeze past the noise of my environment, block it out, and get stuff done. The other fifty percent is when I let the problems fall on my head and shoulders and back one after the other that I’m left gasping for air. Basically holding on to a super thin thread. I can’t think. I can’t write. I can’t create. My words tumble out as boring clichés, uninspiring and worthy of deletion. Delete. Delete. Delete.

I’m working on my new YA manuscript, THE PISTOL STARS, and I had awesome momentum for it last week. Getting 1500 words down every day. Then life comes in and hits the brakes, essentially ramming my ride into a brick wall. I need a whole new car to get riding again and I don’t know where to start looking. That’s why I’m writing this blog post instead of writing the next 1500 words. I’m hoping to find whatever it is that got me through last week’s writing frenzy. I won’t find it. I have to create a different machine to get my brain working again.

In the middle of all this, I’m worried about the other areas of my life that aren’t stellar. Probably suffering. Friendships: I’m losing old friends. A practically non-existent love life: apparently, I have issues connecting with people. Professional life: I’ve been admitted to grad school but have little to no desire to go and will not be going. I’ve been focusing most of my mental energy on writing because it’s the only thing that makes sense to me right now. Only thing I find real.

However, I must admit that I worry about my fixation toward writing and how it affects other areas of my life wanting attention. I feel like I’m not present. That I’m trapped in the storytelling world and see life through a storyteller’s eyes. Life is a story, but it’s still quite different from fiction. My problem doesn’t have to do with differentiating between reality and the imaginary. It’s more like seeing life through an imaginary lens. Thus, I distance myself from everyone more than I intend to probably. Or maybe I believe once I achieve some level of success I can go back and mend all those relationships I’m leaving in tatters. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure things out.

All this being said, it’s not the end of the world. Of course not. I have food, shelter, my health, my family and so on. Compared to other people suffering out there, I’m living in a dream. But like most humans, I’m not satisfied with where I am. I want to improve and get to that ideal place in my mind. To that ideal life I dream for every day. It’s living in a place where beauty sings to me through the sounds of the ocean, waves hitting the sand…

Anyway, updating my blog with this post worked. I’ve created a wagon and found a horse willing to pull me along. Maybe tomorrow I can upgrade to a car, then a train, an airplane, oh, and maybe a rocket ship (that’s 5,000 words in one day by the way).

How about you? How do get over the BLOCK?

Stay Amazing,

Sammy

Why be anywhere else?
Why be anywhere else?

How Bad Do You Really Want This?

It was November 2013 when I began taking my writing career to the next level by querying agents and late December of that same year when I began working with my CP. Today is about nine months later. Where am I? Am I any closer to reaching my goals? Although I believe my writing has improved, I don’t think I’ve done everything I could to get myself closer to getting an agent. I’ve been letting the mundane activities and upsets of life drag me down, almost to the point where I’ve hit a road block. All I do is peek over the wall and see my bright future ahead, waiting and beckoning, angry and impatient at my lack of urgency. Urgency. I used to have urgency but I’ve allowed it to evaporate from my heart. I need to soak it all in again and move forward like I’ve got only one year left to live. If I knew I had only one year left to live, how would I live my life? With urgency. Hunger. While cutting away at all the bullshit stirred up by fear and insecurity and countless reports on the benefits of sleep. Fuck sleep. I can get all the sleep I want when I’ve made it. I want to change. The desire to be different and readjust my pace from languid to unbridled enthusiasm sits at the edge of my brain, ready to make the leap, but I’m holding back. Holding back to everything while living half a life. And maybe that’s where I’ve realized something: the storms in my personal life are choking my writing, creativity, and passion.

If I’m not willing to risk it all, then why choose to live at all? I’m not getting any younger. The more time I let go by, the angrier and more insecure I become. I just want to scream into the universe and say, “Fuck it, I’m gay and I don’t give a fuck what any of you think about it!” Who would have known that staying in the closet could be so toxic to not just my life and relationships, but also to my creativity? That fear of people knowing spilled over to my creative life and stopped it from blooming completely. Stopped me from pushing myself to the lengths that I knew I needed to go, lengths that I knew I could reach but never attempted to reach.

Fear suffocates. Shrivels the soul into dust. And that’s what my heart has become: dust. All because of the fear of everyone knowing. It was time to stop being afraid. Time to stop walking on my tiptoes, always fearful to offend. Time to stop living half a life, for goodness sake. It was time to stop giving the world just a portion of myself when what the world really needed was all of me. And I needed the world, people from my everyday life, to have it all. I desperately needed to stop hiding.

I’ve decided to stop hiding. Because you know what? I really, really want this: to live.

walking to eternity
walking to eternity

Stay amazing,

Sammy

Reset to Zero

I’m not exactly sure how I ended up here. I had imagined my life to be different, to be elsewhere right now. But life has a way of surprising you with detours when you least expect them, and you find yourself living in a hostel in downtown Boston instead of somewhere in Southern California. I’ve been madly craving the west coast for a while now, but I can’t seem to get myself there. And now I’ve decided to go to grad school here in Boston. As if I needed any more reason to endure another New England winter. My life is in a total flux, and only I can save myself from whatever impending doom awaits me before the fall semester. I’ve got only one hope now. My writing. I’ve written a book, and I think it’s good. I just hope I can get some agents to bite, just one person to give me a chance. That’s all I need, I believe, to propel myself forward to the future my heart desires. It won’t be easy, and I never for one second thought it would be…okay, I did once. When I had faith.

When I had faith, I thought the world would fall at my feet. I must have been delusional or something. I was delusional. Illogical. Naïve. And with eyes so bright that I was too blind to see myself stumbling down a dark hole of stupidity and failure. That’s one of the main reasons why I gave up my faith. I believed too much. I had limitless faith that God would help me as long as I did my part. Wrong. There’s no one there to do the extra 50% to my 100%. I had to do it all. 150% and then some.

I can understand why people would cling to their faith, however. It’s scary to accept that there’s no one out there beyond the sky looking out for you. That you’re all alone and that your life is left to chaos. Sometimes even random events. Nothing is for sure. And the only eternity you experience is death. But I’m not afraid of death. I know I’m made up of the stuff of the stars; that I’m made up of this earth. When I die, I simply return to where I began. And that’s okay. All I can do now while I’m alive is make the best of this life by loving my family, friends, others, and myself. And making a lasting change that benefits society in some way. That’s the meaning I have in life. The meaning I make.

The road stretches before me, beckoning, asking, “Where will you go?” I answer, forefinger pointing toward the horizon, “To where beauty lives.”

How about you? Where will you go?

san diego mountains
Mt. Woodson Trail, San Diego, CA

 

 

 

Stay amazing,

Sammy

 

When Everything Goes Wrong

2014 hasn’t been kind to me so far, which bites because 2013 wasn’t a blast either. I’ve been on a failing streak with one setback rolling in right after the other. Just when I think life has decided to give me a shiny gold coin, it pulls it right out of my reach before I can take it. Lucy would’ve been proud. And of course like any normal human being, I’ve buckled under the pressure, cursed the gods, and experience internal torment. Thankfully it’s not my style to stay broken and buried. Even if I have to claw my way out of this grimy pit, I will get out. Strangely enough misery motivates me to change whatever hasn’t been working.

First thing I did was get a haircut. I have this strange ritual where I cut my hair as some sort of external display of rebirth. I look in the mirror and see the new look, thinking about how I’m going to change. But that’s just 1% of the work needed to transform my situation. Usually my gut reaction to my problems is to leave the country. Runaway and teach English in some far off country where I don’t have to think or deal with any of the demons back home. Sadly, I’ve grown practical and can’t bring myself to do such a thing. Running away won’t help because my problems will follow me wherever I go. They live in my head, which last I check isn’t detachable. So what do I do?

Create opportunities. Work harder on my craft. Remember that the bad times won’t last forever. Be a better person to my loved ones and the people around me. Exercise regularly. Eat better. Get help in the form of a therapist. I’m pretty sure I’m holding my breath underwater and it won’t be long before I drown. So I have to keep all these things in mind to move forward and attain the life I want to live. To remember that life is worth living no matter my environment or my circumstances. Life is worth living.

What do you do when everything goes wrong? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

I Want to be a Farmer

I want to be a farmer. A temporary organic farmer to be exact through WWOOFUSA.  Usually, I’d search for something outside the U.S. but my limited funds are keeping my sights stuck on the homeland. However, the U.S. is a big a country, and I haven’t seen much of it, so why not explore it? Two places I’d like to go are Alaska and Hawaii. I don’t see what I can’t split my time between the states. I initially thought I had to commit to one, but now I want to go to both. I love mountains and the beach because they calm the rage and worry bouncing off the walls of my head. And I have too much of both.

farm in Hawaii

What spurned this on you might ask? Every minute I stay in Boston is another minute that a piece of my soul dies. I kid you not. This is not an exaggeration. I’m in purgatory right now, a horrible waiting period where I might have nothing to do for the next seven or eight months leading to school that starts in late August. I’ve applied to several PhD programs and who knows if I’ll get accepted, but I do hope so because I excel at only a few things and they are reading, writing, studying, and teaching. I don’t have much talent for anything else, but I still think I can make a pretty decent farmer, which is why I thought I should give it a go.

farm barn in Alaska

I need to get out of Boston.  This city is killing me because I’m letting it. I’ve lived here all my life, and it terrifies me that despite how many times I’ve tried to escape it (lived in New York and Seoul, Korea) that I keep returning back like some strange curse. I need a new scene, freedom, and independence. I desire control over my life. And I do have it, but I’m afraid to use it. Why? Because my parents. It’s time I take my own advice and confess to my parents that I have the ridiculous idea to leave home and become a farmer who makes no money for seven months.

Reason tell me not to go because I need a real job so that I can save some money for grad school while my heart say screw it, just go with your gut and have an adventure that creates wonderful memories and stories.  I’m confused. I don’t want to think. I just want to go. Go far far away as soon as possible. I have a choice to make and I have to make it fast. No thinking, no second-guessing, just pick and go and figure things from there. I wish I could be that person. I always thought I was that person. That’s the person I am in the future. I’m sure of it so why am I hesitating?

Jump!

How about you? Have you ever taken a big step without thinking it through properly? Would love to hear your responses.

Stay amazing,

Sammy

Doubt

“If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” ― Yann MartelLife of Pi

“Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.” ― Frederick Buechner

 

“Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the world together.”  ― Søren Kierkegaard

“Life is doubt, And faith without doubt is nothing but death.” ― Miguel de Unamuno

Why am I posting all these quotes on doubt? I’ve been struggling with doubt lately, and quite frankly, it scares me. It’s not my desire to give in to the void, to give into to a world where there is no God. I don’t want to live in such a world. I would much rather kill myself now if I knew I existed in such a world. I don’t want to fall into the black, cold, and heartless void of nothing. To see life as a random event. To accept that the universe in all its glory, vastness, and complexity is also just a random event. It chills my bones, and grief overtakes me at the thought. Why live? Why struggle? Why run when the end of the race leads only to eternal death with nothing thereafter?

Death. I don’t want it to have the final say. I want it conquered. Eternal life. I don’t even know what that means but I do know I prefer it to eternal death.

I talked to God about my doubt. I told him I felt that He was in the process of abandoning me. I told him I was tired. Alone. Jaded. And worst, losing what I had once believed was a reserve of endless optimism. I have a whole blog dedicated to uplifting and encouraging the soul, but sometimes I feel nothing I try can win.

I ask God what I’ve done wrong? Tell me how to make it right. I get a response in my heart that surprises me.  It has nothing to do with right or wrong, but rather it has everything to do with character. At the end of this dark period in my life, who will I be? A woman who has given up on her faith because it was too hard, or a woman who has acknowledged her weakness and chose to persevere, coming out with more strength she never knew existed?

I want to be the latter. I see myself as the latter. I know it so deeply in my heart. I still believe in God. My soul cries in anguish but hope lives on even if it’s small. I won’t give up. But in the midst of pushing myself, I need to find my joy because somehow I’ve lost it. Maybe it’s not that I have to find it. Maybe I just have to create it again. Yes, this is what I have to do.

How about you? What experience do you have with doubt? Please do share.

Stay amazing,

Sammy

Excited About My Writing!

Wow, it’s been forever since I last updated, but I have not forgotten this blog. Not at all.

So, I’ve queried about twenty agents and received ten rejections so far. It’s funny, but I expected these rejections, but what I didn’t expect was how they would inspire me to make my writing go up several notches. I’m currently rewriting the first chapter of my book and I find myself falling in love again with the story. Now, this is a story that has been with me for a long time. Even my mother can attest to that. Sometimes she wanders to my computer station and shakes her head. “Are you still revising that book?” she asks. I usually don’t reply because I don’t know how to explain my revision process with her. I usually sigh instead. Great things take time, but I know I can’t work on one thing forever. I have to branch out. And I will, but I’m so close to making COT (that’s my book) perfect that I can’t let go now. Sometimes, you can’t let go. You can only keep going until you reach that horizon and change your life. I believe and KNOW that I’m close to changing my life. I can’t stop now.

How about you? What has you excited? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy