Ego

Generally speaking, I find I’m only aware of interacting with the idea of the ego under the ideas of self-importance, self-esteem, and/or conceit. It wasn’t until acting class in LA that brought me back to my Grade 11 studies of psychology on the ego as defined in the dictionary:

the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment”

Acting class truly allowed me to tap into that definition and become aware that the ego within ourselves is what keeps us to believe that we are “in control” of our lives and that we are safe. It was my Oprah “Ah-ha!” moment. If you don’t think you have that ego, well I’m here to tell you that you do.

Do you ever wonder why you can’t seem to quit your job, even though you know it’s making you unhappy, and to pursue your true passion? It’s because of your ego.

Do you ever wonder why you can never confront your best friend that they have hurt you? It’s your ego.

Do you ever wonder why you can’t break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend knowing the relationship is so toxic?  One word: EGO.

The ego is the voice that tries to rationalize so many different thoughts you have in your head to the point where you become out of control, unfulfilled, and confused. Every experience in life ends up becoming stagnant, tolerated, and safe because you don’t allow yourself to confront situations that are out of your comfort zone. Your ego responds by saying, respectively, to the above questions:

“My job is a highly reputable and recognized profession with a secure employment in any industry and a guaranteed 6-figure salary in the future. To be an actress, there is no guarantee I will be successful and prosper”;

“If I confront my best friend about how I feel, I may lose our friendship forever”; or

“I can’t break up with my boyfriend because they’re the only person I truly have and care about in my life right now. Without them, I’m lost”.

Your instincts will appear in a blink of these moments by considering how to confront these conflicting experiences in life that may seem so out of your element that you can’t imagine yourself doing it. But you can. Your ego is just holding you back so that you feel “in control” and rather just “play it safe”.

Since I was 6-7 years old, I always wanted to be an actress. But those thoughts only came for a split second because my ego would intervene and say “You’re not pretty enough, you’re not skinny enough, you’re Asian, etc”. And I accepted those as rational, reasonable responses. And since then, I’ve always played it safe. I asked myself questions like “What is the career that will be easy to get into?  Is this a career where I can make a reasonable amount of salary? Will I be respected among my social network?” I definitely pursued a safe choice in life but it’s left me unfulfilled in so many aspects of my life. So it wasn’t until last year I started to truly listen to myself and asked, “If I had no insecurities and no judgement upon myself, what is it that I would pursue?” And then my inner voice came again for that split moment and said “acting” as it has for many years. And from there, I allowed my instinct, and not my ego, to guide the life that I want, that I am worth, and that I love. And this has allowed me to be at a truly happy state of mind because I now feel I’m doing it for myself and not for the respect and acceptance of others.

I find meditating will help guide you to your inner voice because you free your mind of all the flaws, imperfections, and judgements you have on yourself. Spend some time to just act on your instincts because your mind is telling you something that is important. Don’t over-rationalize every single thought and place judgement on them, especially on yourself. Like I said, that’s your ego talking to you.

Thank you Anthony Meindl & studio staff for teaching me such a valuable lesson.

Happy

On my route to Hollywood for class, it just hit me how happy I am in my life. I haven’t felt this happy in so long. And I can say it was pure happiness because it wasn’t anything in particular in my life that triggered me to be happy at that very moment. In fact, I was stuck in traffic on the US-101 when I had the biggest smile on my face.

Hollywood US 101

Throughout the entire drive, the conversation in my head kept going in circles like this:

I’M SO HAPPY. HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY!
Wait, why am I happy again?
I don’t know — but I’M SO HAPPY.

But what made it the best overwhelming emotion was the fact that I didn’t have any underlying reason for it, whether it be money, a guy, or even career-related. I’m just enjoying everything that life has given me this far and I am grateful.

Nonetheless, I finally feel settled in LA. I’ve joined an acting studio that caters to strengthen and challenge areas of myself; I’ve met some awesome friends inside and outside of class; and the weather has just been gorgeous. 

I’ve set out goals for myself to travel to the best beaches and some fun hikes throughout Southern California within the next couple of weeks, which I will share soon!

Sending love, success, and pure happiness to all my readers. 

Tough Love in Translation

“You’re so fat”

“You’re stupid”

“What’s WRONG with YOU!?”

After almost two years living on my own, I finally moved back home with my parents. Those were the words that spat at me the first 7 days of moving back. Did I cry? Of course. I didn’t even know what I did to encourage those words from my parents.

I knew moving back with my parents would not be easy but necessary given the many changes in my life. But I never anticipated it to be as hard as it was.

Since 18, I knew I had to run away. By that, I mean going to a university that required me to live away from home and near campus. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. At that point, I felt more loved by my parents than ever before. My lack of presence gave them excitement whenever I came home. They missed me and cherished the 48 hours of my weekend that I could offer to them.

Before university, it wasn’t pretty. It never was. I was never good enough, smart enough, skinny enough. You could say it was an “Asian” thing but I’m sure there are non-Asians who had parents alike.

But during university, and into my young career as a professional public accountant, I found my confidence to allow myself to acknowledge that I am good enough, smart enough, and healthy enough.

As a child, your natural instincts is to make your parents proud. That’s all I ever wanted. But somehow, they constantly remind me that I haven’t achieved that yet, despite what they may might say to their friends. And it breaks everything inside of me, from my confidence to my soul.

I spent probably 30 minutes on day 7 [of moving in] just crying my eyes out and wondering why this is happening to me. I didn’t want to talk to my friends because I didn’t think they could understand.

Somehow, through the lowest times in my life, Sara texts me at the most ironic yet perfect times to ask me “how I am”. We probably haven’t talked in months before then. From our conversation, I was reminded that “[my] self worth isn’t determined by what they think of [me] but what [I] think of [my]self”. As much as my parents can emotionally beat me down occasionally, I have to remind myself of where I am today, what my accomplishments have been in the recent years, and how I’ve grown to become successful in my life on my own. It was a relief to cry in the moment at that time, but now it’s time to just move on to keep going and doing what I do because I know I’m at a great place in my life right now and it will only get better from here.

My parents may not have the heart to say that they love me and are proud of me in person, but I know deep down they are. I think they probably have some belief that their negative reinforcement has contributed to the achievements and successes in my life and want to continue to be a part of that in their own way. But I can’t take everything they say to heart because I know myself better than anyone else.

Stay Strong

Not Like Therapy

In acting class, a common constructive feedback in my performance was the fact that I tend to only touch the surface of choices I make in a character’s emotional journey. When I was sarcastic, I wasn’t sarcastic enough. When I was happy, I was still reserved. It was really frustrating for me to think I performed well and only to find I was short on emotions from watching my playback.

The great thing about the instructors I’ve worked with was the fact that they open up to me and ask me why I made such choices. As much as I was told that acting class should not be treated like therapy – I treat it so. I found out through self-discovery that working in the corporate world, I have a poker face. I can’t express too much as it’s considered a sign of weakness, unless I want to get fired of course. But I don’t. Who does!?

My instructors constantly reminded me that acting class was a safe haven to express emotions and carry that journey to places you’ve never been before. And I loved that. And I loved it even more when I saw the class react to my progression in a positive way.

Now that I’ve joined improv at Second City, my first class experience has really let me come out of my shell. To be spontaneous, proactive, and impulsive were things I never knew I could embrace.

There was one game called “Yes, Lets!” where someone would scream out “Let’s do this [fill in the blank]” and the group would scream “Yes, Lets!” and act out what the person screamed out. So when someone in the class screamed “Let’s audition for a reality show!!” and we responded “Yes, Lets!” my instinctive reaction was pretending I was on camera, taking off my shirt and flashing to everyone. Everyone who saw me started laughing hysterically. And to be honest, I was so taken aback, I flushed. I just couldn’t believe the response. But it made me feel good inside because it’s been quite awhile since I’ve made complete random strangers laugh (unless it’s me embarassing myself like falling off a curb while walking, which I’ve done before). And through that, it reminded how I love making people happy/feel good/laugh.

To say to treat acting/improv class not like therapy, how can I not!? I feel like I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. And I can’t thank you all for sharing this journey with me.

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:

Absence

The last two weeks of August have been crazy, yet exhilerating, and its effects are still wearing off on me.

I was on hiatus because I just wrapping up my acting classes. I can honestly say I gave it my all in my last performance on Wednesday. It took a toll on me to be honest, because my character in the script is so emotional.  I had a hard time getting into character and learning to cry, especially since I didn’t relate at all to the story. But once I connected to the character and cried my heart out, I felt like I overcame a challenge that I didn’t think I could do. It was definitely an adrenaline rush and I loved every bit of it! My overall evaluation for my performance was supposed to be released yesterday but I haven’t heard anything back yet. I am so anxious because,  if I don’t get a passing mark, I won’t get to move into the next level in acting class and will be required to do intro all over again.

My initial reaction of receiving no response was the fact that the acting studio didn’t want me to return. But it turns out, a few of my classmates already received a call last night saying that they didn’t get to advance to the next level. So is my lack of response a good sign?? Knowing that I am a very impatient person, the curiosity is killing me inside.

But having such supportive network of good friends has made this “wait” easier than I expected it to be. My friend, Pat, said to me “I’m still excited for you, either way sounds like this has been a huge find for you. Regardless of the outcome, I think if you looked at your expectations 8 weeks ago or whenever it was you started you’d be blown away. From nothing to talk of getting an agent in that time is huge”.

And that made me smile. I have had made huge strives and I finally can share the story to someone that I finally did something that I always wanted to do, and not give some hopeless pathetic speech about how I am so afraid to do something that I would love. If I didn’t try out acting, I wouldn’t realize how much I am in love with every bit of it!

Going back to reality, I have a national professional accounting exam in two weeks. So I will likely be hiatus for another two weeks. Accountant by day, actress-to-be by night. HA! Having this dual identity thing is going to catch up to me one day but for now, I’d like to think of myself as invincable.

Passion Crazy

Relationships with people are similar, if not the same, with the relationships that you make for things that you are passionate about – intangible things, that is.

A representative from the Institute that runs the accounting profession in Canada came into my grade 11 accounting class. The whole discussion of “prestige” and “reputation” and “distinction” were all confident terms to impress me in such a way that was almost like love at first sight.

The relationship grew, and became stronger than ever, by second-year at university. There was obvious battles with jealousy, of people who I thought were better than me, that can take away my dream, or what I called, “my love” at that time. But I overcame that, because I knew I deserved this more than anyone else and I was more capable of achieving and attaining anything I wanted. It was almost like I was unstoppable, as silly as that sounds.

Once I landed that internship out of hundreds of applicants, it was like I was married already. My love renewed and I began that journey of that “honeymoon stage” where, even the silliest fights of late hours, meant nothing to me, but just part of that endeavour to learn more about myself in this relationship.

As soon as my internship became a full-time career, things started to plateau…

And differences that were once so small, grew into bigger gaps. These differences seemed so big, it was almost like they couldn’t repair itself. As a result, I went through a whirlwind of emotions, which I frankly documented in this blog since March.

But then I recently met acting. Acting was always on my mind but I never gave it a chance until just less than a month ago. And now I’m in love, and quite frankly, I’m questioning whether my love for accounting was even love in the first place. Could it have been lust or infactuation? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out myself.

One thing is for certain, is that I am passionately in love with acting. So much so, that, it almost scares me. I feel like I’m cheating what I once knew or loved. I’m honestly confused with my own thoughts.

I’m really looking forward to continuing my relationship with acting. But I know it will only go so far to the point where I’ll have to choose between accounting or acting down the road.

Relationships are truly hard to decipher and translate from emotions to words. But when they do, everything just seems to fall into place. I’m hoping that everything will work out for my highest good.