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.

Playing the Victim

I am back! And I didn’t want to come back without having been inspired by something to write and share to my readers.

Once again, I am fixated by a recurring theme in my acting class that resonates so much in my own twenty-something life.

I was given a monologue where my character goes on about a fun, light-hearted memory of her and her brother, as kids, playing a prank on their mother. My character jokingly tells her mother that her brother died from a bad car accident while her brother hid in the backyard. When the prank was done, her mother cried not knowing it was just a joke. My character’s innocence at the young age didn’t understand her mother’s cry until years later, when her brother ultimately passed away and was never coming back.

My initial performance of this monologue was what my instructor deemed as “playing the victim”: feeling guilt, remorse, sad, and nothing more. He said that playing the victim makes the scene “boring” because the character has given up and that there is no sense of hope. Whether the character should use her loss as a fight of frustration or hope that things get better, makes it all the more entertaining than just to “give up”.

Take Gladiator for example. In the very last fight scene, Russell Crowe’s character was stabbed right before he entered the Colliseum. Did he show a sign of loss hope in his last battle? No, he fought until he won before he fell upon his death.

Sadly, I do “play the victim” in my life on my lowest days, whether it be at work, relationships, etc. I let things get to me, and hold on to it with no sense that things will get better or accept that it’s for my own good. It’s not that I’m pesstimistic about life, I just surrender and accept that things are the way they are, and I have no control over it.

But that’s not at all true. I do have control of my life!

I know this sounds like my typical inspirational blurb, maybe moreso to reassure myself more than anything. But the truth is, two random strangers confronted me at two separate clubbing events about this in the past three months. The first person (female), intoxicated as ever can be, walked up to me and held her hands on the sides of my cheeks and said, “You are so beautiful, you should not be sad”. I didn’t even realize I had a frown on my face before she came up to me. I do admit, though that I was not having as much fun as I should because I ended up submerging myself into thoughts of loneliness even though I was accompanied by a group of friends.

The second person (male) that confronted me actually walked by me twice and stared at me. I couldn’t tell if he was drunk, but I think he was fed up with my sad face that as we passed by each other again, he said to me “You need to smile”.

And that’s when I had it – not with these people – but with myself.

I’m playing the victim where I have found myself to not think I’m worthy enough of being in a relationship, that no one would ever want to date me, and that I should give up and accept the fact that I’m going to be single for awhile.

And because of that, I think I actually push away guys from approaching me.

Playing the victim is not only boring, but it’s unattractive.

I know I am more worthy than I come off to be, but I’m still in search of defining who I am. That’s all it really comes down too.

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.

Happy Two Year Anniversary…

.. to me.

It’s official: I’ve been single for two years – roughly. I don’t recall exactly the date of when I broke up with my last “real” relationship. But who wants to remember that date anyways?

I’m not absolutely depressed about being single, but I’m not exactly ecstatic about it either. I embrace the days where my friends are fighting with their boyfriends/dates (which is ever so sad), but I also throw fits of jealousy when I see them happily engaged in such a loving relationship.

Hey – at least I’m honest.

When I visited my aunt in LA, she asked “Do you have a boyfriend?” I responded “No… no time”. That is essentially true when you’re a young female professional! My aunt responded so proudly “That’s a very good way of thinking!”

I feel as though my entire family approves of being single … until you suddenly get married. As if there is no “actual relationship” that goes on in between single life and marriage.

When I came home to Toronto, I told my mom about the conversation with my aunt. My mom  said to me “It’s not so much you don’t have time.. it’s just that you haven’t found the right one.” You always were too smart for my own good, Mom.

With that being said, here is a short list of why I have loved being single thus far:

  • I can dress super scandalous and sexy on my nights out without having to worry about what some boyfriend would think
  • I can give more time and love to my closest and best friends and family
  • I can meet new guys and flirt with no feeling of guilt  or commitment
  • I can focus on achieving my dreams of moving to LA without worrying about leaving behind someone I truly love
  • I take more time in learning about myself in new ways and new experiences
  • I travel way more than I ever have in my life and met new and interesting people

At the end of the day, if I really wanted someone in my life, I could have him right now. But I’m just not willing to settle. Being single can be hard at times, but my life wouldn’t be adventurous and interesting if it was too easy.

The Truth

I have a confession.  I truly believe my breakdown this year was caused by my unfulfilled life since high school – and not the events in my life that happened just recently. As I was reading Louise L. Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, she stated in the very beginning that our thoughts in the past has brought us to where we are now. It took me awhile to really define where in my past led me to this path. But I eventually realized that it had really nothing to do with my job, family, or personal issues at this moment.

The Truth. My parents came into Canada as refugees: no money, no stable job, and a lot of hardship. As I was growing up, I played only with dolls and my piano because my parents could not afford to have me partake in any extra-curricular activities. All my other friends had ballet, swimming, soccer, basketball, dance, and so on and so forth. By the time I hit my preteens, I really felt like a Plain Jane: average, untalented, and most of all, boring.

Compensation. Because I didn’t feel like I had anything going for me, I consumed myself in thoughts of another me, who was talented, beautiful, smart, and sophisticated. Some days I pictured myself as a dancer, some days I pictured myself as a hero,  or some days I even pictured myself as an actress. It’s one thing to daydream about a silly crush or who we will be in the next 10 years, but it’s another to completely imagine another self beyond reality and believing I will never be that person because it’s only just a dream.

Reality check. Since reading Hay’s book, that “other self” is ceasing to exist because I am now on that path of living a fulfilled life just by changing my thoughts. I can be who I want to be now, if I wanted too. I may have not had the opportunity to take dance classes or even acting classes as a child, but it’s not too late now. Afterall, I’m only 24!

Action plan. I find myself enjoying new ways of expressing myself and I think taking on acting and dance classes will enhance that skillset. I think it’s time that I break that invisible shell and open up to new experiences and new faces. To my young female professionals, it’s time to break free. Follow with me on this path.

New Hope, New Me

I thought I was beginning to lose faith in this World. I felt like everyone and everything in my life was turning against me, and it was never going to end. At the end of February, I had my breaking point. I said to myself, “You know what, World, just keep making everything miserable for me.  As a matter of fact, if you want my life, just take it. I give up.”

By March, I told my manager I wanted a one week leave of absence. I just needed vacation to rethink things in my life, even if I had to fly solo on this vacation. I left to South Beach and felt liberated. My best friends came on the third day of my stay. Upon my return,  things were falling back into place in my life – or so I thought.

Work became an unhappy place for me again and I was involved in a relationship that constantly made me feel unwanted and unworthy.

Fortunately, I just snapped one day. I spent a Saturday morning in class writing a 5-hour accounting practice exam and I could not focus. I just watched time eat itself while I stared blankly at my paper asking why am I here, why am I doing this, and how I wish I could be somewhere else right now. Then I started writing things on my paper on what I can look forward to after my exam to keep me motivated to continue to just stay focus. I wrote:

  1. Stay Focus
  2. Look forward to hot yoga
  3. Look forward to self-help books

I don’t know where in the world the third point came from, but it just came to me that day. Then I recalled talking to my friend Sara months back about how she read this self-help book that really made changes in her life. To be honest, I was really resistant to reading any self-help book. How can a book change my life? I have read, watched, and listened to many inspirational stories but they only really hold onto me for that time that I have acknowledged it. Beyond that, I’m back to where I am.

After giving the practice exam my “best” effort, I was finally free and I charged straight into the book store to search for that book. The sales associate at the store assisted me in search of this book and told me how popular it was. Once I found the book, I felt like I struck gold:

"You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise L. Hay

The difference between hearing others talk about their inspirational stories versus a self help book like Louise L. Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, is that she’s talking to you to change. And the power to change is and has always been within you. When I first read the book, I was really resistant to her theories and ideologies. And soon enough, about a few chapters in, Hay responds to me as if she is talking to me saying that resistance is the first step to acknowledging the fact that you are “willing to change”. So, I practiced like she said in her book and looked into the mirror and said to myself “I am willing to change”. You may be thinking – that’s so easy – anyone can do that. But really, it was so hard for me. I came into this thinking everything around me needed to change – not me. Why am I the problem?

As soon as I was able to finally accept that I was (and still am) willing to change, I worked on documenting how I felt with certain aspects with my life as follows from Hay’s exercise:

  1. Work: “I’m not good enough”
  2. Relationships: “I’m not lovable enough”
  3. Family: “I’m not cared for enough”
  4. Friends: “I’m not important enough”
  5. Body/face: “I’m not skinny/pretty enough”

Instinctively, I have always responded to the above as to how I’m going to fix these negative things in my life. But according to Hay, “fighting the negative is a total waste of time if you really want to make changes in your life. The more you dwell on what you don’t want, the more of it you create”. And that was the turning point in everything I ever thought of myself in the past. I always fought against the negative, but I never ran and embraced with the positive things in life.

So everyday, every moment, I think of something in the past that is holding me from willing to change, I tell myself things that are positive to create the place where I do want to be now and into the future:

  • I now create a wonderful new job
  • I experience love whereever I go
  • I am self-worthy of good things in life
  • I approve of myself and all aspects of who I am
  • I have a happy and healthy body
  • Most importantly, “all is well in my world”

These are just small snippets of what I really practice each day. But since I’ve started, I’ve been seeing little changes in my life slowly progress to things I didn’t imagine that could happen to me [good things]. As much as I used to say it’s all coincidence, it’s really not. I’m taking the time to finally recognize my self-worth and my self-approval in this world.

I can sense that great things will come into my life eventually and I plan to share that with you all as they come.

I can’t thank enough Sara for recommending this book to me and Louise L. Hay for giving me a new outlook on life.

Good girl, gone bad

Generally speaking, I’ve always been a “good girl”. I don’t even recall a time where I pushed or tested my parents’ limits such that they lost full control of disciplining me. There were obviously times where I yelled back at my parents when they were completely unreasonable. But at the end of the day, I listened to what they had to say and gave in.

But somehow, I remember a definitive point in my life where my rebellious stage kicked in. I was visiting my aunt (mom’s sister) in Sydney, Australia for the first time when I was 12 years old. My mom and aunt looked so much alike, but they were very two different people. My aunt was young and hip. My mom, on the other hand, was, and still is, conservative and traditional. I was shopping with my aunt at a department store and she pulled out the shortest denim booty shorts ever and forced me to go try them on. I was embarassed and shy. But I couldn’t be rude to her and say no. I got into the changeroom, threw on the shorts, and felt nervous, exposed, and shaken. I opened the door and my aunt’s jaw drops. The next thing I know, she spanks my butt and admires how cute these daisy duke shorts make my booty stand out. I smiled nervously back to her and told her “My mom would kill me if she saw me wear this” but my aunt didn’t hear a single word of it. All she did was asked if she could buy it for me as a gift from her. I kindly said no knowing what my mom would think. But just the concept of exposure of those short shorts made me feel different, like I was deviating from the norm and taking risks. Who’d knew that a pair of short shorts would symbolize something in my life?

I was still a good girl even after this event. My style was conservative; I wore no make up; I never did my hair – or even knew how to; I was just plain Jane even well into most of university. Towards the end of university, things started to change faster than I could even keep up.

I ended my three year relationship because I couldn’t grasp the idea of settling into a serious relationship in my 20s. I felt I played it safe all my life and I couldn’t live not knowing what it would be like to meet new people and expose myself to new and exciting things in life. I didn’t know what these things were, but I just knew that that long-term relationship was not fit for where I saw myself at this stage in life.

As soon as that relationship ended, I opened up a lot to new people and became friends with many. Then I did the unthinkable. I had my first hookup. The guy involved was a good friend of mine for months prior to the event. There was always the intention and attraction, so it was really just a matter of time. But I couldn’t believe I did what I did. My friends didn’t either. But what I did I had no regrets.

It lasted for three months until I started to have feelings for him that he did not share. So I had to end our “friendship”. It hurts me then, and it sometimes still hurts me now. But for the most part, I moved on.

As it stands now, work has consumed my life. I rarely am able to see my friends and family because of the amount of commitment and hours that are involved in the nature of my mundane job. I felt like I wasn’t taking any risks and there was no longer any excitement in my life. As I began to lose sight as to why I was here, I wanted to feel something again.

Three weeks ago, I went to my first rave. I was nervous, yet excited. I knew the risks of exposing myself to such an environment would require some caution. Let’s face it, it’s obvious the “illegal activities” that go around in raves. But from the moment I got there, I was excited. Dark rooms, laser-type lights, insane dance beats, I just felt like I was on a high without any drugs or alcohol. My mind, body and soul was hypnotized by the dance music and I let it take over me. I began to feel again.

Since then, I’ve been pushing my own limits to feel more and more and it’s taken over me this past week. It was 10PM last Monday and my friend and I were the very few last people in the office still working. He says to me “I need a drink.” and I responded “Let’s do it”. My friend was like “Seriously!?” And I wanted to say the same thing to myself. Did I really just agree to drinking on a Monday night knowing we had work the next day? The next thing you know, we eventually found a cute Irish Bar just five minutes from our office. What ended up supposed to be one drink, ended up with several more drinks. We talked about life like we were 50 and wise and stayed up until 2AM. I had to wake up four hours later to get ready for work. It was insane but I had so much fun.

I’ve just been driving myself down this road and I don’t know where it’s taking me but it’s almost like an addiction. I don’t know if I can stop but I know there has to be a limit to these things or else consequences will follow. I am a little concerned at the state I’m in but I feel as though my career right now is limiting to what I really am passionate about. So I compensate the emptiness by wanting to feel, do, experience something different every time. Have I really lost control or am I overreacting?