Driving

One of my biggest revelations of self-discovery on this trip happened while driving. It comes to no surprise, to me at least, that I would find myself reflecting a lot about my life on my drive to class or my usual mini road trips exploring southern California. I literally spend almost as much time either in class or exploring various cities as I am sitting in my car stuck in traffic.

My drive to Santa Anita Canyon

My drive to Santa Anita Canyon

What I discovered was that my way of driving is exactly a reflection of challenges of myself. I don’t mean to say that I jump lanes without signaling, or skip stop signs, or even go 50 miles above the speed limit. I do admit – I’ve done some crazy things but who hasn’t? No one is ever a perfect driver. Even the drivers who abide by the speed limits on the highway can get themselves in danger if the majority of the drivers on the highway are going at least 15 to 20 miles greater.

There is ONE major thing I do wrong while driving:

I focus A LOT on the driver behind me.

Problem: This may sound so silly to you but when I’m stuck in traffic, and it’s stop-and-go, there are moments where traffic starts to lighten and speed picks up really fast – and within a matter of seconds, the car in front is at another halt out of no where. I obviously panic and press on my brake so hard. But while I’m braking, I’m staring at the car behind me hoping he doesn’t slam into me or that he isn’t pissed at me for whatever reason. While all this is happening, I’m about to hit the car in front of me because I don’t stop early enough because my eyes are facing the mirror to face the car behind me as opposed to the car in front of me.

Root cause: I discovered two reasons why I do this: a) I have a tendency to always look behind me – which is another way of saying how I tend to hold on to my past and past experiences. Sometimes I catch myself at random times just having a hard time of letting go certain aspects of relationships that went wrong (whether it be with parents, siblings, friends or boys) in the past when I know I have no way of going back to fix them; and b) I care too much about how I am/was being judged.

Solution: I learned in acting class last week that it takes less than 90 seconds for an emotion to be triggered, go through the blood stream and be flushed out. My point: who cares what the guy behind me thinks about me. If he’s pissed at me, it’ll be for no longer than that 90 seconds and we’ll forever never see each other. I could get myself in far worse danger in front of me anyways. Same goes to letting go my past experiences. It’s all about the present  moment and what’s in front of me because that’s what I can control and make a difference.

Ever since my self-discovery, I’ve taken every effort to just let go, breathe, and focus what’s in front of me. I can actually say I’m a better, more confident driver, and I’ve allowed myself to forgive the things that’s happened in my past. This has all transcended into feeling more free than I ever have before.

In fact, I made a great stride today to prove my point. I took a mini road trip to Laguna Beach, and because my GPS is outdated, it can’t navigate me to a location without a specific address. So I had to print out directions from Google Maps. From there, I successfully reached to Laguna Beach without any mistakes. I was so happy and proud of myself because it’s a huge change from the old me a month ago. And best of all, I was on this trip on my own and it didn’t phase me one bit. I had butterflies inside of me because I was so excited to see the most wonderful beach in Southern California.

Laguna Beach

I hope I’ve allowed you to have the opportunity to reflect on the things you do and how you do it, and discover the root causes for those doings. It’s not about judging yourself, but being open to being a better you.

Game Changer

The best of friends are truly the ones that inspire you to be a better person than you already are. So I dedicate this to few of my best friends who inspired me this year to come up with an action plan, which I am so excited to share to everyone. But first, I want to acknowledge the few friends who have inspired me at this point:

Sara: I still remember the  random call I gave her back in March, after several months of disconnect, breaking down about the career path I was in. She inspired me through her own personal story as she shifted gears from the professional marketing guru that she was to now becoming a naturopath. Follow her blog here. Her fearlessness made me realize you can make changes happen at any time and no one can stop you but yourself.

Allen: To be honest, when Allen told me he wanted to start a food truck, I giggled. He graduated from university studying economics. So from there, you would think the typical path would be somewhere in the corporate world. But not for Allen. He’s on a mission to start a food truck in Toronto, by traveling to L.A. and Asia for food inspiration. He knew the corporate, white collar job was not for him. And he’s not afraid to talk about his mission to start a food truck on his website, twitter, or tumblr. Alllen’s drive and passion for food made me realize you need to love what you do – and people will love you for it too.

Bryan: Bryan is probably one of the smartest friends I know from university. He could be anything he wanted to be without even trying! After a short stint doing the office job, he just had the bug to do what he always wanted to do: teach snowboarding in Vancouver. I couldn’t be happier for him. And with that said, I wanted to try something I always wanted to do too: acting!

So what’s my game plan???

I’ve decided to accumulate all my vacation days (and some additional leave of absence days) at work to take two months off next summer to travel to LA to learn acting and find opportunities for some acting gigs. It’s always been on my mind to go back to the City of Angels since my last visit in June! To do what I love to do in the city I love would only be a dream come true. As they say:

Becoming An Actress

As you perhaps already know, I rarely hide my true emotions from my readers. And to say that I never thought that I wanted to become an actress at various points in my life would be a complete and utter lie.

At the age of 7, I thought I could make an awesome Sailor Venus actress if they ever made a live version of the movie.

By the age of 13, I went on a tangent and thought it would be fun to be a model. So I attempted to do some auditions but only failed as I was unable to get a single booking. (I wish I had my portfolio with me so you would laugh at my headshots as I proudly smiled with my brace face.)

And by 17, I auditioned and landed a (un-paid) role in a commercial that was dubbed in Cantonese, to which I never even actually seen on TV.

Since then, I never thought once to ever go back into acting.

Until now.

I truly thought that the idea of doing acting was a dare to try something that is so out of my own comfort zone. But I still didn’t get the concept of WHY I was doing it – especially out of all things that I could dare myself to do.

I finally found the answer on the first day of my acting class.

I had my first session this past Monday at Armstrong Acting Studios. My instructor, Laura, gave me my monologue, from the movie, The Social Network. I was playing Erica Albright, the “ex-girlfriend” of Mark Zuckerberg. It was the scene where she bluntly tells Mark that he’s an asshole for insulting her family’s name, her bra size and rating women based on their hotness. I memorized my lines off by heart, recorded my voice, and watched myself act in the mirror for two hours. I was confident. I was ready.

I walked into class and met a bunch of beautiful, and quite lovely, people from different walks of life: models, economist, stay-at-home mom, etc. All of us shared one thing in common: we were always curious about pursuing a career in acting. And as Laura put it “we’re crazy enough to do it now”.

Right off the bat, she made us perform, one-by-one, our monologues on camera in front of EVERYONE. I was nervous. I was petrified. As soon as it was my turn, I lost all my lines. I completely blanked out. I was so dissappointed in myself, that I did not hide my frustration while the camera was still recording.

Everyone around me was so supportive and encouraging me that it’s okay and that they screwed up too. But I felt like I did the worse out of the entire group. I let myself down so hard.

As the monologue performances were done, Laura gave us general pointers about how to improve but told us we need to study our performances (as they were individually recorded each on a separate dvd) and ask ourselves the following question:

  • What did you do well?
  • What did you need to improve on?
  • Would you hire yourself?
  • Did you tell a story?
  • Etc.

Throughout the rest of the class, I was absolutely bitter about my performance. I never felt so low about myself in a long time. I really felt like giving up.

But then Laura gave us one pointer that stuck to me to this day. She actually explained the WHY that I needed to hear.

She said, “In acting, the power is in the NOW. Being in the present has so much power”.

And that was my “AH-HA!” moment. I was meant to be on this path in taking acting classes because I have struggled, and still do, in living in the present moment. And if there was one thing that I learned from Louise L. Hay’s book, it was that the power of the present moment can make you absolutely unstoppable in achieving the best in life that you deserve.

I just find it so amazing that even in my acting class, itself, is teaching me about personal life lessons that ring true to me. I’m actually still in awe about it in this very moment.

So after reviewing my embarassing video of myself, I realized, I can only improve from here. It was my first day, and as long as I stay committed, I can improve.

I am truly so grateful to have such loving friends who support me through this crazy adventure. It’s insane but I love every bit of it.

City of Angels

Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

For the last month, I’ve been preparing my two-day professional accounting exam, 7 days a week, 8 hours a day. [Yeah, I’m still doing this accounting gig.] I knew by the end of it, I just had to celebrate and go away for a bit. I spontaneously took an extended leave of absence from work and booked my LA trip with my study buddies.

I’ve been to LA numerous times in my life. Coming back to LA always felt like I was coming home. Toronto has and will always be my first home. But there is no other city other than LA that I have returned so frequently too. Ever since my first trip in LA, at the age of 7, I didn’t hesitate a second to believe that I could see myself live here.

Whether it be the weather, the palm trees, the friendly people, the celebrities or the fashion, everything seems so much brighter, fullfilling, and content in the City of Angels.

At the end of the trip, I told myself I’m coming back to LA again – but this time, I’ll have a job there. Who knows what or where I’ll be working, I just know I have to go back for a purpose this time. And I’m going to make it come true.

I know where I am right now isn’t exactly where I want to be. Today – especially – proved my point. To be honest, it wasn’t a terrible day at all. It was my first day back at work from my study leave and I just felt “not right” about it. Something was off. And I was nervous – like it was almost my first day at the job altogether. I caught my hands shaking out of no where and I told myself to stop. I told myself to stop being nervous and that there was and is nothing to be nervous about. It was such a strange feeling. I couldn’t explain why this was happening to me. This situation sounds silly come to think of it. But I know deep down that I have something bigger and brighter in my future and being here right now in Toronto doesn’t seem to cut it for me anymore.

I really have to take time to pour out my thoughts in an organized fashion because I feel like a loose cannon right now. For now, I just need to catch up on some rest.