under the cherry blossoms: dream

It might just be because I have watched too many Japanese dramas, but I want to watch cherry blossoms bloom in Japan. Seeing the skies flood with these beautiful pink flowers is a sight to behold and it symbolizes so many different things: new life, a new year, and new opportunities.

When I started Featherlight, it was meant for me to better understand myself post suicide attempt. I used writing to help me cope with so many different kinds of pains and losses inflicted upon me by people who quite frankly were a waste of my time. But this post is not going to focus on that sort of negativity. I made my one jab and I’m moving on from that. I’m here to talk about cherry blossoms and new dreams.

In an ideal world, we can wake up every morning with a big, bright smile on our faces. There would be no need for negativity or bringing others down. When problems arise, we would simply face them and not make bigger deals out of them: situations would never escalate. Life would be simple but pleasant. With the bloom of this year’s cherry blossoms, I can finally say that I see the ugly side to ambition. The stress of taking on too much, it drives us mad with insecurity, exhaustion, and stress. We rub it in to others that we are doing more, as a facade masking how pained or shaken we really are. We are human beings, not robots. Trying to do so much may look good on paper, but it drives away a good portion of our humanity. It wears on our stamina and it makes us unpleasant to be around for a plethora of reasons, namely that we create insecurity and uneasiness with such reckless or bashful behavior.

I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they are not good enough. We all have the privilege of living life, and nobody should ever tell you that you are not good enough or make you feel insignificant in this world. You have been given an inherent purpose by being born a living, sentient being. Use that sentience and allow it to guide you to where you want to go. Don’t be worried if you’re not getting there as quickly as the person next to you. With enough dedication at a pace that befits you, you will arrive at your destination. For me, that is in Japan, owning a bakery, and being able to watch the cherry blossoms every spring. Even if it takes me until the age of 100, so long as I can get there before death, that is all I ask.

a flash of lightning: dream 32

When I woke up in the woods after attempting to stab myself, I started to realize how much more to life there really was. The sky was cloudy and I remembered hearing the roaring thunder and a flash of lightning. I got up, and kept on running. Even though it hurt, I did not stop. I doubted myself. I got too complacent with being just a baker that when a non-dessert related cooking challenge arose, I felt helpless. My main support, my rock at that time, abandoned me. So, I made the mistake of trying to take my own life, because I felt like my existence had so little to offer. How wrong I was. I had an entire life ahead of me, left to be lived. That was senior year of high school. Seeing the clouds almost part when I woke up from that bizarre limbo, it was what inspired me to continue working hard to improve myself. I wanted everyone to know me for my love of cooking. At that point, I had 2 years of baking experience; I prided myself on being an excellent pastry cook. But I could not hold a knife. I did not have any basic skills needed to operate in a savory kitchen. So that became my goal.

When I cook savory food, I feel like a soldier in a war zone. Holding a knife in my hand, it feels like a saber, carving into the flesh of my enemies. Gruesome, yes, but accurately detailing how dark my start in regular cooking was. I needed to learn so much more. How to butcher, how to make sauces, how to cook fish and meat. I needed to prove to myself and the people who doubted me that I was the capable and talented cook I knew I could become. That warrior-like resolve and need to learn more, it allows me to continue to evolve in the kitchen. Ironically, the style of savory cooking I employ tends to be on the humble and charming side. Despite my focused and relentless approach, my dishes tend to come out like food that would be served in a bistro or a cafe. Not necessarily fine-dining.

Ironically, my experience with desserts and my approach with them is a complete contrast. I started with pastry, I loved baking because it makes other people happy. That sort of happiness is why I have been dubbed a “sweet angel” more times than once. I am much more energetic, friendly, child-like, and somehow, my desserts come out more sophisticated, elegant, and refined. I cannot really explain how that happens. It is almost paradoxical. One would think that my focused mentality would produce fine-dining, while my enthusiastic mindset would inspire the rustic comfort food. Sometimes, life enjoys working in unusual and unexpected ways.

A flash of lightning is what set me forward on this journey. I continued to Hospitality school, I worked for some of the best chefs in America, I continued to grow to the point where I was teaching cooking courses for my own college. I was able to carve my own path. Nobody could stop me from becoming the person I was meant to be. Even now, I continue to learn and grow. I want to absorb as much knowledge as I possible can when it comes to food. Continuing to learn different techniques, cuisines, ingredients. Being completely fearless. I want to know that, no matter what task I am given, I can continue to improve myself. In a world of my feather-light dreams, each accomplishment will be like a flash of lightning. It will shine brightly within the moment, and fade away. Never lingering. Never remaining for me to rest on.

 

Shooting Star: dream 29

Shooting stars make me think of several things: wishes, stargazing, summer nights, and two songs. One of which was definitely overplayed during the summer of 2010 and I will go into no further mention about, mostly due to the fact that I hate this song. A lot. The other is Crystal Kay’s Shooting Star, which is a song she performed with Namie Amuro in her album Revolution. It was an epic song that made me feel incredibly confident, starting with a very upbeat techno vibe and just getting faster and faster from there. The song’s general message is that you and the one you are attracted to can pull each other together, and drive each other forward in unison. It does mirror my personal philosophy on relationships, which is that they should be productive in helping you grow as a person. But the general concept of being a shooting star is what stood out to me.

A shooting star is scientifically an asteroid that is falling out of the sky but has not yet become a meteor. It never goes back the way it came, it generally falls down, and it can actually crash and burn. Yet somehow, it gets the connotation that you can make a wish on it. It amuses me how science and superstitions can have completely different views on the same concept. But for me, being more of a half-cup full type of person, I like to think of a shooting star as something bold, noticeable, does not turn away, and invokes hope for others. In a lot of ways, I wish that I can be like a shooting star too. Never looking back on the past, living without regrets, and being able to inspire others. Parting the darkness as I make my way through life.

The song itself just makes me feel unstoppable. As if I can just walk forward and not be afraid of anything. To be a shooting star would mean that I could break through and past any barrier in my path, and leave my impact on this world. A shooting star illuminates the way. Anything that was once dark or unknown to me, I can bring light to it, and make of the topic or subject as I may. Being able to leave my legacy across the sky and on the earth would be almost anybody’s dream. Who wants to leave forgotten? We all want to know that when we move on to the next chapter of our lives, that there is still some form of a legacy there, just so that everyone will know that we have left our mark.

The biggest message I have taken away from the concept of shooting stars is that they always move until it is not longer physically possible. It reminds me of what I perceive to be my own spirit animal, the dragonfly: dragonflies are nomadic and never stay in one place. They always move forward and represent progression. Shooting stars do the same, transforming from an asteroid into a shooting star and when it comes time to stop, a meteor. I see us all starting as asteroids, but as we continue to grow and achieve in our lives, we become shooting stars. If possible, I would love if we can all be and remain shooting stars forever; constantly moving, learning new things, and not being held back by anything.

 

 

 

 

Perfection: realization 18

We can’t be perfect for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, there is no true definition of what it means to be a perfect human being. We all have different ideas of what it means to be perfect. For a good majority, it’s being good-looking, smart, and athletic; basically being good at everything. But others have lower standards of what it means to be perfect, and some might even have higher. For example, going to school in Harvard might make someone perfect in the eyes of their peers. Going to a college at all could be too. The sad truth is that we can never truly be perfect in the eyes of all. Simply because there is no universal standard, therefore we cannot really ever reach that level.

That being said, I still strive to be perfect. Not by anyone else’s definitions. But rather, my own. I want to be the perfect version of myself. Someone who is caring, hardworking, smart, witty, not-fat, and all around likable. I want to be well versed in my interests and talents. For me, if I am perfect, I would be somebody others would aspire to be themselves. I want to be somebody who can live a life of pure satisfaction, validation, and happiness. However, to reach that standard is still difficult, and would definitely take an entire life’s effort to attain. To be recognized for those traits, to be appreciated and admired, it means that I need to first accomplish something noteworthy.

I continue trying to pursue perfection, because it is unobtainable, and by trying to reach for it, it will only drive me closer to my ideal vision of what it means to be a perfect person. To become this strong, capable, and independent individual would feel fantastic. I want to show the world that I can accomplish anything and everything I put my mind to. Trying to be a perfect person, that to me is a healthy goal. Trying to make everything around you perfect, maybe not so much. I have spoken in the past about needing control and being obsessed with that. You really can only ever control yourself. Your actions, emotions, you have full 100% control over those (with some obvious exceptions, of course — namely when depressed or under the influence). So be the person you want to be.

As a human being, you are gifted with individuality. You can become almost anything, so long as you continue working hard towards it (again, there are exceptions because that’s how this world works, so don’t go around saying you can become a magical fire-breathing unicorn if you try hard to, because that’s obviously not going to happen). Embrace the qualities you are proud of. And keep pushing yourself to grow into that perfect version of yourself. The best version of yourself. Never settle and never peak. It is okay to be happy with who you are, so long as you know you can be happier with who you can become. Always grow as you move forward. Always try to reach for perfection.