Bad Together: Chapter 4

A couple days had passed and it was already the next Friday. Farina stood in line, waiting excitedly. “Ah crap, I’m running late.” Jamie sighed as he got out of his Uber and darted off for the London Eye. Neither of them have ever been and it was the sight of their next date. Jamie was slightly nervous; one of his fears was heights and being out of control of his own fate. Planes, roller coasters, trains, and ferris wheels, they all made him feel uneasy, especially knowing that he has to entrust his life in the hands of some complete stranger. But he wanted to do this. It was about time he conquered a fear, and especially in front of somebody he really liked. But he had to make sure he did not keep her waiting for much longer. “Farina?!” He shouted, finally running into a crowd of people waiting to board the attraction. “Hey, wait in line!” An angry tourist barked at him. “Oh, no. He’s with me, sir.” Farina poked her head out of the crowd, certain she heard her name being shouted by Jamie. “Hey, sorry for the wait.” He felt bad for making her stand there for him. “Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m the kind of girl who likes to come to things 15-30 minutes early anyways.” She shrugged. Farina was used to waiting for others, so this nothing out of the ordinary for her. Patience was something instilled in her from a young age, hence why the theatre student was able to befriend almost everybody, especially people like Jessica. “Well, are you ready for the ride? I’m so excited!” She clapped her hands. It was a new side to Farina for Jamie to see. Normally, she was somebody who exuded low energy, so an enthusiastic Farina was a rare sight to behold. “I just love city views. Seeing the giant buildings and landscapes, it helps remind me why I wanted to be an actress in the first place. I wanted to be a famous actress who can hit the big city and enjoy a civilized lifestyle.” She beamed. “You mean you weren’t always a city girl?” “Oh, of course not!” She laughed.

Farina was born in Guangzhou, China, but moved to Linkou, Taiwan, when her parents relocated for work. Back then, she went by Liu Xiaofei, which was to represent her spontaneity, creativity, and easygoing nature, according to her mother. Once she enrolled in the Taiwanese European School, she changed her name to Farina Liu, since they were required to have Americanized names. Since she was specifically in the British school, she was taught English and was given an immersive experience in British culture. However, she was raised in the Yangmei District of Taiwan, where the lifestyle was more low-country and suburban. Ever since she was young, Farina was already scouted by agencies for commercials and advertisements; she started modeling on and off from the tender age of five, and since then, she had never stopped, even when she tried to. While she did commute for school and modeling work every day, she hardly ever considered actually living in a city environment until she had to get ready for university applications and visited universities and schools throughout Europe, China, and Taiwan. Traveling through the city after city, it was an eyeopening experience for her. She had always known she wanted to do something either modeling or acting related, but it was not until she saw the plays on Broadway that she set her sights on London. While she was more interested in becoming a film actress in China, seeing these performers and how impassioned they were on and offstage, she wanted to bring that level of artistry and dedication back to screens all over Asia. It was when she got into Central Saint Martins that she felt a sense of self confidence in what she was doing. Farina felt like she was heading in the right direction with her life.

“Wow! Look at it! It’s breathtaking!” Farina was too busy admiring the view of the entire city to realize that Jamie was trembling. All the former stockbroker was thinking about was the cart and hoping that the screws stay intact and that they all don’t plummet to their deaths. “It’s beautiful.” Jamie murmured, still trying his best not to let Farina realize that he was internally terrified beyond belief. “Hey, what’s wrong?” She finally turned over, realizing that Jamie had been acting strange the entire time. “Oh, nothing.” He tried to lie through his teeth, but was clearly failing to do so convincingly. “You’re lying.” She raised an eyebrow at him, frowning. “Okay, well I should have told you this beforehand, but I’m…. deathly terrified of heights and being in vehicles like roller coasters and planes. There’s just this feeling of helplessness, like not being in control of my life, that I don’t like.” He confessed. “Oh… well, I feel bad now. I just made you do this. I’m sorry.” Farina could not help but feel horrible for subjecting Jamie to this uneasiness. “No, I wanted to do it, though. It was about time I confronted my fears. I’m 26, I own my own business, and I’m still afraid of heights? I can’t let that be the case anymore.” He insisted, much to her surprise. “Wow. I appreciate that mentality.” She beamed at him, holding onto his arm. “And don’t worry. If we do fall, at least we have each other. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true, right?” She giggled. “You’re right. On both counts. That was way too cheesy, and I’m Italian!” He chuckled back at her, adding to the incredibly bad jokes. But it was that sense of comfortability that helped Jamie through the rest of the ride. He forgot about possibly falling to his demise. All he was thinking about was being with Farina, and how it made him feel invincible. Nothing scared him anymore, with her by his side.

“I had a great time tonight.” Farina smiled at Jamie as he walked her back to her apartment. They had just finished dinner and were ending yet another date. This was number five now. “I know it’s a bit forward for me to ask this, but Farina, I really like you.” Jamie started. She could already tell where this was going, and the aspiring actress could not withhold her excitement. “Farina, would you-” “Yes! I will!” She smiled. Jamie frowned. “You didn’t let me finish there.” He shook his head. “I think I know what I’m agreeing to.” She insisted. “Alright, perfect. So I’ll come by tomorrow to harvest your kidneys and sell them on the black market.” He teased while she smirked at him coyly. “Boy, you can harvest my kidneys any time, okay?” She offered jokingly. “This is why I like you so much. And that is why, beyond obviously wanting to harvest and sell your kidneys, I was wondering if we can finally put a label on this? I’d like us to be exclusive. Somebody as incredible as you, I want you to be my girlfriend.” He confessed. “Jamie, all I can say is no. To harvesting my organs or whatever. That part is really weird. But yes, I would love that.” She beamed at him as they kissed. It was not the first time they had done that, but it was the first kiss they shared as an actual couple. It felt like it lasted for a second, but it lasted much, much longer than that. Then again, that was with anything enjoyable in life. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, boyfriend.” She smiled as they finally parted ways. “Sure thing, girlfriend.” Jamie beamed back at her as he watched her walk into her building. They were both the happiest they had been for a long, long time. In Farina’s case, she wanted to move past Joseph. In Jamie’s case, this was his first relationship ever. They both had felt like they were meant to be together. This relationship was supposed to happen. Without a doubt.

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transcendence – dream

We often get lost in the bustle and demand of our every day lives and it drowns away our own thoughts, dreams, and desires. It sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s the truth. High stress and commitment, from things such as jobs, rent, paychecks, often causes us to forget about our own needs and concerns, our dreams and aspirations. Why would we be able to think about what we want out of our lives in the next five years when we have a task or chore that needs immediate attention, and therefore preoccupies our present? I wish there was a way for us to just turn this need to address the short term issues on and off, like a switch if you will. When it is off, we do not think about anything other than how and why we want to grow in the long term. Where do we want to be? How can we put the mundane or the painfully boring routine that we are slowly outgrowing behind us? These are the sorts of thoughts that litter my mind as I run through the motions and live in this cycle of waking up, going to work, working out, and going back to bed every day. Now I am grateful that I have this constant, but I would be lying if I said I never thought about breaking it to be a free spirit.

Why do we work? Why do we chase these titles and have the jobs that we do? Often times, it’s for the money. We need to pay bills and feed ourselves. Now I would never, ever become a transcendentalist, mostly because that sort of isolated, almost hippy-esque lifestyle does not fit me, but wouldn’t it be thrilling to have that same sort of liberation, minus the living in the forest? Just being able to cut free from expectations, be it your peers or your own, and just living life, enjoying every second of it. I could just go anywhere, regardless of the time of day, distance, or convenience or practicality. I could eat whatever I want, even if it is normally out of my budget or would be extremely difficult to procure. Why should I have to cut off that sort of freedom? Because I have to wake up at 7am the next day to get ready for work? Why should I not buy that basket of black truffles? Because it would take me 2 hours of driving through traffic to go to the market, and because $500 for one purchase would break my wallet?

A sad, but unfortunately expect truth, is that money is what ties us down. Now, I would never want to be a farmer or somebody who lived in the time of bartering, but I wish we could only get the things we want because we ask for them, knowing full well the consequences we would be walking into. Or better yet, we do not have consequences. Now, that would be impossible. Every action has a reaction, and typically one is at the expense of another. Wanting something comes at a price. But either a world where you do not have to factor that in, or for the price to not exist, imagine such a world. No stress, no concerns, no worries. Impossible, but it fits a world of our dreams. You can be a king or queen (or non-gender binding monarch, given how progressive we are these days) of your own life. You do not have to feel like you are just a small part of some large operation where you feel insignificant or unimportant. Easily forgotten.

Within such a transcendent world, you would not have to feel imprisoned in your job or obligations. You could feel like a somebody and not like wallpaper or in the background. You could feel significant, because the only person whos opinions or needs matter would be your own. You would be rising above everything else, and you would be your own number 1 priority. Nobody else would matter. To me, that sounds exhilarating. To know that you are freed from the burdens of being an every day person. You are still the same you, but with more focus on you. That sort of lifestyle would be ideal in my dreams. In my feather light life.

Bad Together: Chapter 3

“So how was it?” Olivia looked at Farina eagerly. The two were with another one of their friends, a tall tanned girl named Patricia, working together on a project for their graphic design elective. “I can’t believe you guys actually got into Raise. And that you spent one on one time with the owner! That’s crazy.” Patricia laughed in disbelief. It was not an everyday thing to see Jamie Cortina, the young-gun owner of Raise, let alone spend the night with him. “Well, he is not as tall as the photos make him out to look.” Farina laughed. “Says the pot to the kettle.” Olivia snorted. “What’s that supposed to mean?” The Taiwanese girl rolled her eyes at the remark. Olivia was referring to Farina’s modeling career; despite being only 5’1”, Farina was already a model, and every time she goes to an event, the first thing people tell her is that they thought she would be taller in person. “It sounds like he’s perfect for you. You guys can be deceptively short together!” Patricia teased. “Oh, shush. But it was a magical night, for sure. The height only bothered me for a second. And he was just a really… kind and considerate person.” She sighed, contently. Every single thought she has had since she went to Raise yesterday was of him. Whether it was just imagining what his childhood was like, or thinking about how kind and selfless he was, letting her in despite the drama Jessica caused, giving her a private tour of the club, and even giving her his jacket when he was worried she was cold. Most guys just wanted to sleep with her. But he seemed different. He seemed to be genuinely interested in learning more about her. They had been texting each other constantly since then, talking about the little things in their everyday lives, and even now, she was eagerly waiting for him to text her back in regards to what he was up to that day. Talking with him, it was fun. He lived such a different life from her, and being able to have a peek into the life of a successful club owner, it was really interesting. She was enjoying herself, and it seemed that the attraction was mutual. Or at least that’s how she chose to view it. He did not seem completely repulsed by her, nor was he just giving her short, one word responses that would insinuate a lack of interest. But all she could do was assume and hope that whatever feelings she had for him, they were reciprocated.

In his office, Jamie was looking at the numbers from the previous night, while also looking at his phone, waiting for a text notification. Their texts started with small talk, such as talking about what they were doing that day, but he just wanted to get into the deeper topics, about things like life aspirations. Having dealt with a lot of fake backstabbers in Wall Street, Jamie was a bit nervous to be pursuing a relationship with somebody as outwardly beautiful as Farina. At the same time, he felt that her personality, it was kind and gentle. She did not look like the type of person who would just use him for a free tour of Raise. “You seemed to have a fun night, yesterday.” Andy smirked, walking into the room. His arms were visibly bruised from having to separate a few fights the prior day, but he was used to being the brute force and last resort when the bouncers and security guards could not handle riots caused by the club-goers’. “You’re looking really peachy. I haven’t seen you this happy ever.” He continued, much to Jamie’s embarrassment. “Well, she’s banging. But she’s got a great personality too, and she’s smart and really talented, so she’s the total package.” He sighed, enamored by Farina. During their night together, he got a chance to see her acting and modeling portfolios, and she was definitely going to be a successful actress down the line. She was gorgeous, great at playing a variety of characters, ranging from a successful businesswoman to a high schooler to even a young nun. He had never quite met somebody like her. She was unique, and a breath of fresh air for him. Most women only ever wanted to sleep with him for the perks. But with her, she did not try to do any of that. Granted, he never really gave her the opportunity to try any of those moves on him; Jamie was too quick to offer up free admission and a one on one tour. But she seemed to be genuinely interested in knowing more about him. Suddenly, his phone buzzed. The club owner could feel his heart skip a beat as he scooped up his phone and read the text, wanting to respond as quickly as possible. “Hey, did you want to go out on Saturday?” He needed her to know that he really wanted this conversation to keep continuing. He never wanted it to end. “What time?” She sent back.

It was a foggy afternoon in London that Saturday. But she didn’t mind it. Farina was not thinking about anything other than meeting up with Jamie. They were going to spend the day over some afternoon tea, something a little more casual and laid back. Farina smirked to herself. Even though she had been going to school in London for three years now, she had never been to afternoon tea; she was always too busy with projects or internships, and she really never had a reason to go. Until now, that is. Her first high tea, and with somebody she genuinely wanted to spend time with. It had been a while since her last relationship, which happened back in Taiwan. It was with a young man, Joseph, who she had been dating since middle school, until halfway through high school. He was a charismatic young man, at least that was what she thought when she first dated him. Everyone like him for being this tall, smart, and handsome jock. But he turned out to be a elitist, rude, and condescending person, and he broke up with her the moment she confessed to him that she wanted to pursue theatre. “Good luck finding a job with a theatre arts degree. I refuse to date somebody who is trying to leech off my success.” He rolled his eyes before walking away. It devastated her at first, but Farina managed to pull herself back together, and focused on her career. She took every opportunity to model and act, and did whatever she needed to do so that her name could get out there. Commercials, internships, modeling gigs, networking events, awards shows, she attended everything, head shots and business cards ready, in hopes that she would get discovered. And while she did get into quite a few small things here and there, she knew that her big break had yet to come. 

“Here it is.” Jamie looked up from his Google Maps app. It was a very neat, clean white building. The Eccleston Square Hotel, a boutique property known for their tea parties. This was where he was meeting Farina. It was an exciting feeling. He could not wait to see her again. Surprisingly, the Italian American was not nervous. He was looking forward to spending more time with her. In a lot of ways, Farina was mysterious, but beautiful. He wanted to uncover the question mark that was this gorgeous, seemingly perfect person, and learn to love her for both her perfections and faults. Growing up, Jamie never had the time to date. He was busy putting himself through school, college, and making as much money as he possibly could. But he never understood the need to be nervous for a date. It was just another interaction between people, where you learn more about each other. It was almost no different from a business meeting for him. Maybe with less formalities, but that was how he talked himself out of being scared or uneasy about meeting up with the model and aspiring actress. Business as usual. He thought to himself. Opening the doors, he was just thinking about her and how much he could not wait to see her again. “Jamie!” She smiled, waiting inside of the lobby. Walking over to him, they met in an embrace. “I’m so glad to see you again!” She started. “You look gorgeous, as always.” He smiled at her, admiring her outfit and appearance. While she was wearing quite a few expensive labels, Farina could have worn a garbage bag and still looked beautiful in Jamie’s eyes. She was the textbook definition of the word ‘gorgeous’.

“So you’re telling me that you’ve never been to afternoon tea before?” He raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “I just never had time or really a reason to try it, you know?” Farina shrugged, taking a sip of her tea. It was a dark Darjeeling, aromatic and bitter. Quickly offsetting that with a white chocolate and cranberry studded scone, the fine arts student was enjoying her time. “But I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I got to have my first high tea with you!” She smiled. “Wait, is this your first time?” Farina asked, wondering if this was something Jamie did on dates with any girl. “Oh, no. This isn’t. I went with Andy when we first moved over here. And then a couple times with business partners and investors. I just like the environment. It’s relaxing.” He chuckled. Farina tried her best not to laugh at the image of Jamie and Andy attending high tea together. It must have been a sight to behold, seeing two fully grown men fumbling with tiny tea cups and even tinier treats. “Hey, what’s so funny?” He looked at her, clearly noticing her failing attempts to refrain from laughing. “Oh, it’s nothing. What’s your favorite thing that we’ve had so far?” She tried to change the subject, but to no avail. “Okay, for an actress, you’re not convincing me that something’s off. Just spill it. I’m a grown man. I can handle the truth.” He insisted. “Well, it was just the thought of you and Andy having tea together. It-” “It must sound hilarious, right? Trust me, we were laughing our asses off the whole time.” He finished. It was obvious this was not the first time he told this anecdote to somebody. There was something about his directness that appealed to Farina. Unlike a lot of the young men in her classes, Jamie was not this flamboyant, over the top, or passive aggressive personality. He was direct and clearly no-frills. She felt like she could be herself around him. It was clear that trying to put on an act just did not work for the club owner. And yet she loved it.

combating opposition – realization

When I became an editor in chief for a food publication (this was back in college), I had several hurdles I had to overcome. The first was that the publication was handed to me in really bad condition; we had no writers or photographers, and our editing team only had myself, my second in command, and one new editor as the only people who were actively trying to effect change. So already, we had run into the issue of having the weight of an entire organization on just three people at that time. And it got worse. One of my former writers, who felt offended that I removed the parts of her one submission that entailed basically trashing a restaurant where one of the publication’s alumnus worked, decided that she could run a better publication and went off to start her own. I found out about this during the summer before my term officially began, when she thought it was a smart idea to post a Facebook status about it and had her publication follow all of my publication’s Instagram followers. She attempted to take the few members and followers we still had with her, with some varying levels of success – she definitely took at least a third of our basically defunct team’s writers, which at the time, it shook me. We had two major challenges in total: reviving a basically dead organization, and combating opposition from people who felt so disrespected by us that they wanted to take us down instead.

At first, I kept the news about this new publication to myself; I did not want to stress my already small team as it was when we had to focus on ourselves. The only person who I wound up telling was my second in command, because I needed her to be on the same page as me when it came to our strategies on how to beat them. We first went over why this happened. Those writers must have felt neglected, disrespected, and just all around stifled. We had to change the environment within our publication. We had to increase our engagement. So we expanded our team to make that more possible. I took it upon myself as the editor in chief to do a lot of outreaching with members, personally messaging them and congratulating them for their contributions, even doing a member of the month page with a detailed tribute to members who we felt deserved the mentions. We also got aggressive with our recruitment as well, advertising on several platforms and pages, just to make sure that we had as many people added into our roster as possible. Once I taught my team how to be good at involvement and engagement, I decided to focus on tackling the other issue, being the enemy publication.

We already succeeded in stopping more people from joining the dark side, as we would refer to it as, because we created this happy community environment where everyone felt welcomed, appreciated, and involved. Luckily for us, that was really all we wounded up needing to do to dry up that publication’s resources: since their editor in chief was the same girl who wanted to dirty restaurant’s reputations, they did all of the damage to their own publication without me needing to employ underhanded methods. Their own aesthetic, culture, and image only attracted a small, small handful of people, who were likely just that girl’s friends. Meanwhile, the publication team was growing to the point where I literally had no time to focus on the opposition. I had so many writers and photographers to engage with that I really started to forget about the other side. While I harbored these deeply negative thoughts towards a group of traitorous people, I really did not need to, because by focusing more on my members and expanding our member base, that was all I needed to do to be successful as an editor in chief.

The best way to combat the doubters and the haters is honestly not to think about fighting them. Think about what caused them to act so negatively, and improve that aspect so that nobody else will think that way about you. Self reflection is the best defense against negativity like that. You don’t need to worry about those who think little or less of you anyways. They will be too busy thinking so highly of themselves that they will not even realize when you have surpassed them. I looked into the enemy publication recently and to my amusement, their last post was in September… of 2017. While my initial goal was to smite them, I managed to have that accomplished without having to resort to the same underhanded methods that they took. I did not need to poach their members, or steal their article ideas, or steal their following. By just working hard on the product, culture, and environment of what I had already, we superseded them. Looking at our publications side by side, there was no reason for anyone to go to them, because they were just a bunch of backstabbing, conniving people anyways, while we were longer established with a much more positive and supportive working environment.

New story series announcement: Bad Together

Bad Together is the story of two young people, Jamie and Farina, and their intertwining lives in London, England. Jamie is an Italian American transplant from Long Island, New York, while Farina is a Taiwanese performing arts student who is currently at Central Saint Martins. The story will tackle themes of toxic relationships, abuse, addiction, and overcoming them.

the leech – realization

I spoke about the fearmonger, who was one of two previous bosses I had the misfortune of working with. The other person who plagued my nightmares and fueled my hate-filled thoughts, I refer to him as the leech. Shamelessly a parasite, willing to make others do all of his work, and on top of that, also willing to throw you under the bus for not doing the work that he was supposed to do. I still remember feeling overwhelmed, because I had to handle bank statement reconciliations, requests from corporate, cash transaction variances, and journal entries on top of my own work. It was exhausting, stressful, and I remember that there was one moment when I genuinely could not handle doing it all within an eight hour day; they refused to pay us overtime as well, so I could not stay for long to handle the issues that plagued me.

I recall at the end of April, I had tried to get everything done, but I could not manage it all, due to having so many different processes; on top of what I had to do for the leech, I had to handle all cash distribution for a massive hotel, as well as the accounts payable side. So having to do all of that, it was impossible. And when I could not manage everything, he had the audacity to tell me that I was getting a written warning for not doing it all. That was when I put my foot down. Within the corporate standards, there was nothing written about me having to handle all of these things. While I managed to do my job plus his corporate request, bank statement reconciliations, and journal entries, I could not manage his cash variances for that month. And I knew for a fact that I was not supposed to be doing these things. I took it to human resources, and I actually won that case. It felt liberating to know that I did too, especially since human resources were just another set of eyes and ears for the fearmonger.

This man, if you could even call him that, he was painfully incompetent. For somebody claiming to have 22 years of experience, and is a CPA in an accounting department, he was useless. And that was the most polite way of putting it. Whenever I would ask him for help, he could not help me because he did not know how to do anything. Yet, he expected me to do everything for him, because he was that incapable. And he had no shame about dropping entire binders of work on my desk, leaving me with nothing more than a post-it with basic instructions on it, and asking me to do that work for him. I would come into work feeling anxious, because I dreaded walking up to my cubicle and seeing what fresh hell I had to tackle today, because he was so useless. There were multiple instances too, where he would come harass me to do his work when I was not in my cubicle. Seeing his shameless smile when he told me to help him, it was annoying. I rarely ever wanted to punch somebody so badly. It was like being electrocuted and being told that the more I screamed, the worse it would get. I had to keep silent.

People like that, regardless of how they are as a person, they’re a liability. They offer nothing to a high-functioning team and deserve to be removed. It was funny that human resources insisted that he was an asset and deserved his position when I initially complained to them about him, but when, for a lack of better vernacular, shit hit the fan when he epically dropped the ball to the point where everyone was throwing him under the bus, and they told us that he was an on-going issue that they had been trying to get rid of, I had to call them out on their lies. It was frustrating to deal with that to the degree I had to, but I could take solace in knowing that I got him fired. Upon leaving that company, I had to do an exit interview. I was completely honest, knowing that I had nothing left to lose. And I am glad that I was. Four days after I left, he got canned. 22 years and a CPA background can only do so much to save you when there was overwhelming evidence of your idiocy and incompetence. The leach shriveled from my salt, is the most fitting way to put it. And that is how it should be. Anyone who tries to use or manipulate you, salt them. Let them shrink away and die off. Removing those burdens is one way to live your feather light life.

fear-mongering – realization

I used to work in a very unpleasant, high-stress environment where my (thankfully) ex-bosses basically stopped short of assaulting me. It was and still is a hard thing to overcome emotionally, knowing that people who are old enough to be your parents, as well as have decades of experience, can act so immaturely. This will be a two-part realization, focusing on the two different kinds of personalities that these two bosses employed. For the first, we are going to be talking about fear-mongering. When you feel like the only way to get somebody to do anything is to act in a condescending, cold, and bordering on emotionless way. To make somebody feel like they are helpless, hopeless, and cornered. To reduce anyone to the point of tears and to strip them of any dignity that makes them feel like a human being. You might think that I’m exaggerating, but this is how that employer made me feel.

Me being the inherent people-pleaser that I am, I tried my best to make the most out of a really negative environment. But this boss, she was something else. She raises her voice and makes threats when things do not happen the way that she wants them to, and yet in any other situation, she acts ungracious, emotionless, and cruel. She also plants eyes and ears throughout the workplace so that you cannot hide from her or run away. I felt like a hostage in this situation. Like my entire career hinged on doing right by her and when I could not because I was being overwhelmed, I felt ashamed. I resented myself because of the environment I was in. It was either work towards making her happy, an impossible task when she was such a negative, ungrateful person, or feel like a failure in life, inside and outside of work, because she would threaten to send me to another branch for additional training.

I had to think to myself, why would she act this way? Why did she think it was okay to treat people as if they are far below her? I came to a conclusion for this particular situation, which was that she did not know how to operate in her department, which led to her acting the way that she was. By putting up airs and this feigned confidence, she appeared to be highly knowledgeable, however, when it came to answering questions, she had no idea what to do. It became slowly but evidently apparent that she was in over her head, and rather than admitting to her fault, she continued to pretend that she knew what was going on and how to solve the on-going issues that she herself had no control over. And rather than trying to at least learn how to handle the situation, she instead shifted the blame and fault onto others, making them feel worse about themselves, when in reality, she could not have resolved the issue any better or prevented the problem from happening in the first place, due to her limited knowledge and experience. 

Fearmongers are easy to deal with outside of a workplace setting. However, when you have to interact with them every day, and not only that, but report to them, it becomes difficult. You have to tread through a minefield essentially, because you do not want to set off an explosion. And on top of that, you have to do it for your paycheck. It is unfortunate that you cannot simply quit and say that working for them is not worth it, because it is what puts a roof over your head. However, being around somebody like that does not have to be a permanent thing. You can always find a way out. Patience, reassurance, and striving to perfection were how I managed to work my way out of a horrendous situation. I was able to close that door and leave that fearmongering, toxic person that I had to call one of my bosses behind. While yes, there are emotional scars and yes, I am still healing from them, but I am no longer exposed to that sort of hideous behavior, so I am taking steps back towards living my own feather-light life.

2 faced – realization

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on this blog, but it’s mostly due to being very busy with work. I was recently catching up with a friend who spoke with me about certain individuals who happened to have harmed me in the past and it did bring up some really vile memories. Thoughts of being vilified by a group of narrow-minded and outright awful people, who feel the need to play victim to my existence. These same people put up a front that they’re nice and kind, but behind your back, they like to speak ill and spread rumors. Two faced people like that, who sing different tunes  on the same topic, depending on who they are around.

I started to wonder, why are people like this? Why do they think it’s okay to treat others this way? Saying that you’re their friend, but basing the entire friendship off of using you, and when things go wrong, acting like they are the victim when in reality, they’re the ones who are making the situation bad to begin with. People like that are just deep-seated with insecurity. Rooted in the core of people like that is this need to justify their bad behavior by saying it was a reaction to somebody else’s. When in reality, that supposed villain did not do anything to warrant the supposed reaction they were subjected to.

Insecurity like that, I cannot ascertain where it stems from. I would think it would be from the environment you were raised in, since that would be the foundation of your entire personality. But overcoming those sorts of abusive or toxic backgrounds is part of maturing. People who cannot be completely honest, or have the instinctive need to put others down just to make themselves feel better, they just need to learn to love themselves for who they are, so that they can stop inflicting their dissatisfaction with themselves on others. That sort of toxic behavior can really dampen not only ones day, but ones life, as that behavior did to me when I first started writing on this blog.

If you ever encounter somebody who is like that, where they are dishonest, indirectly rude, or two-faced, just remember that they are not worth your time or your emotions. Learn from my mistakes and do not allow yourself to be affected by their petty behavior. They are simply people who do not love themselves enough, which is why they feel the need to put others down the way that they do. They do not have enough self-assurance to even say these negative things to your face. Those kinds of people, even if they claim to be your friends, they are not good friends, nor do they love or trust you enough, if they cannot even do that much in being 100% upfront with you. Two faced people like that, it is better to cut them out of your life. That will help in making you feel feather-light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

disproving the doubters – realization

Something we have all experienced at some point in our lives is a moment where people think we are wrong. I cannot even begin to personally count all the times somebody has either thought or outright told me that I was not good enough. But there is a huge, overwhelming sense of satisfaction with proving them wrong. Telling them is one thing, but showing them really does drive that message home. For me, I think about how I was in high school, and how much I have changed since then, and continue changing. I was meek, quiet, and mild-mannered. People thought little of me, because I was not particularly outstanding. I was typically ignored, or picked on by people who felt like I was a doormat because of how invisible I was. Everyone only saw me as the person to beat in class so that they can guarantee their acceptance into a good college. I was their stepping stone. I lacked self-esteem, I felt unaccomplished, and most importantly to me, I felt like I had nothing to show for my then-17 years of living. But what I had to realize was that I had no peaked yet. I was nowhere near that point. The culmination of my potential was, and still is, a far way from coming.

In college, that was where my confidence started to grow. Everyone treated me so differently at first. I was given a lot more respect and appreciation than I was used to. It felt like I was accepted. I still remember that even then, I still faced some rejection throughout my time. Freshman year, I ran for a representative position for a culture club. I did not wind up getting it. However, everyone in the club basically begged me to run again. I kid you not. I was being volunteered for events that I was not made aware of, board members went out of their way to find me and talk to me. It was unusual, going from feeling unwanted and ignored to being treasured. I remember running again for an events coordinator position for that club, where I was up against 11 other people. And I got the position. And since then, I never got rejected for anything I ran for in that club again. It helped build my confidence. I slowly grew with several organizations and I remember that several people knew who I was. It was such a contrast from being that invisible person in high school. But that did not last long.

During my senior year, I was goaded into running for a public relations chair position for another club, basically being guaranteed the position by multiple people. At that point, I was already a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary for four other clubs, but I just felt like this would make me better rounded, so I figured, why not? So I ran, and I got rejected. And those people were fake to me. Completely two-faced. And to make manners worse, those same people who rejected me kept popping back up in my life, coming into my apartment every day because my roommate got on their board. It was slowly deteriorating my self-esteem because they were complaining to me about issues in their club, as if I could do something. It was a reminder of my failure. And when I offered my input, they would put me down, telling me that since I was not a part of their board, my opinions basically did not matter. Having to put up with that sort of childish, inconsiderate, and just rude behavior for three straight months definitely left a sour taste in my mouth. And feeling like I was being attacked in the comfort of my own home, it was this suffocating feeling. I felt like I had nowhere left to go for safety or reprieve. Feeling cornered, I tried to take my own life.

Hitting rock bottom was rough for me. I wound up moving out of that apartment. That group cut ties with me, acting like I was the villain in this situation. They can think what they like. Bottom line is their opinions do not matter to me. They do not matter to me. They established that by pretending to be my friends, only to turn on me when I felt like I was being subjected to passive aggressive and just rude behavior. But I found my way back up. I realized that while rumors about me spread, it helped me filter out the people who actually do care about me, and the people who really ought to be tossed aside and ignored. Life is too short to be dealing with rude, immature, narrowminded, and ignorant people. I found the people in my life who I came to love, and the people in my life who helped me back up on my feet when I was feeling down or sad. They gave me the push to keep on living and to strive for more.

Since graduating, I had been employed by a really well known company as an accountant. While I felt proud of myself at first, I knew I could not settle. Especially knowing that the bosses I was working for were just toxic and quite frankly, morons. So I pushed through, buffered my resume with a variety of certifications, and managed to find a much better job, where I can relax, and feel at peace with the storm that had brewed in my life for the past two years. A lot has happened since 2016, but I can say that I have come a long way since then, and even before. I am infinitely happier now than I was then. I am still en route to wherever it is that I will end up, and I can look forward to that journey. I have been through a miniature hell already, being treated or outright told that I was not good enough for the past however many years I have been alive, but I proved those doubters wrong. My potential has not been reached yet, and that is the most exciting part about being alive. I can continue to work towards and peak, and when I finally get there, I can look down and enjoy the journey that took me there, and look forward onto that view of what is still to come.

 

The glass half-empty mentality: realization

I mentioned in my story, Sky Bird, that the main character Kendall was inspired by somebody who bullied me in high school. One of the biggest qualities behind Kendall’s character was his inability to see past certain aspects of another person’s upbringing or lifestyle. Passing off failure or the inability to match another’s performance for external reasons, such as the other person being richer or having access to more resources, it is a very defeatist attitude. While yes, those who are more fortunate are born with more opportunities, that does not mean in any way that somebody who is less fortunate cannot work towards those same experiences, if not greater ones. Potential is by no means defined by what you are born with. It is based on your perspective and ability to work towards your end goal in sight. You could be a waiter at a restaurant, and with the right attitude, become the general manager of the same establishment in a manner of years. Or you could be a waiter at a restaurant, and be, for a lack of better words, pissed off and grumpy, and never be promoted.

While people who come off as optimistic are often looked down upon, or written off as naive, having that positive attitude, especially an infectious one, it goes a long way. Nobody wants to stay around a pessimistic. They may relate to them better, because they tend to be more realistic, but that negativity is draining and it often times, causes an individual to be anchored down by one especially spite-filled fixation. I think about the person who Kendall was inspired by, and how even after all of these years, he has not come anywhere since high school. We both went to the same high school, and more or less started out on the same foot. The difference was that I refused to stay complacent: I took more APs and Honors classes, and I took risks, even though they did not pay off. He chose to stay in his comfort zone, or at least more so than I did. Yet, whenever I tasted success academically, he would write me off as being lucky that my parents could afford me tutors or external help. Yet, was I the smartest person at our school? Absolutely not.

While I was blessed to have the additional help, it did not, by any means, give me a completely unfair advantage over any of my other classmates. There were people who were around the same financial standing as him, but they were leaps and bounds smarter than I was. It was because they pushed themselves and tried even harder than I did. And I genuinely applaud them for that too; I think about a girl named Nicole, who comes from a five person family, and they all live in a modest-sized apartment. She went on to graduate from USC and become a CPA before she even graduated. If you are somehow reading this, Nicole, I don’t meant to embarrass you by mentioning you. You just are somebody who shows others how you can humbly achieve a lot despite not having the same kinds of advantages that I had. You are naturally smart, have a great attitude, and are a phenomenal worker, so everyone in the world can take a page from that. As for the person Kendall was inspired by, he is still pursuing his undergraduate degree in college, even though he should have graduated with my year, back in 2017. He is set to graduate from community college in 2020. And his only professional experience is working as a cashier at a Mitsuwa supermarket.

Now I am not saying that going to community college or working at a supermarket are bad things. I am, however, saying that being pessimistic and close-minded, it hurts you. He is too busy being bitter at the world, making excuses for why other people are more successful than he is, to make the most of the opportunities handed to him. I am more than certain that if he was told about Nicole’s success, all he would have to say about it was that if he went to USC, he could have become a CPA too. But in reality, that is not the case. He did not get into USC, nor is he nearly as persistent or quite frankly, hardworking as Nicole, so he would not have ever gotten as far as she did, even if he was accepted into the school. His inherent behavior and attitude, being a glass half-empty, that closes doors before they could even open. He gets defensive at the success of others, and shuts himself away from them and their accomplishments. Rather than feeling motivated by the accomplishments of others, he grows angry and resentful. While it all boils down to a sense of guilt, him feeling unaccomplished, the only way for him to use that energy in a productive way is to adopt a “I can do it too. I just need to work towards it”-sort of viewpoint, rather than a “if I had that, I could have done it too” mentality. Perspective is something I stress a lot about, because it really does make a difference. So rather than being a pessimist all the time, live a healthier blend of positive and negative. You can be realistic, but you can also be ambitious. Never forget that, so that you can live a feather-light life.