Imagine Yourself…

Close your eyes and imagine yourself facing you as a young child or baby. What would you tell yourself as a child/baby knowing all the life experiences you’ve been through thus far? Do your instincts tell you to tell that child you love them? Do you tell that child that there is a bright future ahead of them and that everything will be okay?

A few days ago, I was looking for a photo inspiration for #tbt (“Throwback Thursday) to use on Instagram and I found a picture of myself in my room as a baby:

Baby Anne

As I was looking at this picture, I thought to myself that if I had a chance to go back in time to hold this baby [me], what would I tell her based on everything I know that’s happened in my life? The first instinctive reaction was to tell her how much I love her and how beautiful she was. The second thought that came to mind was to ensure her that everything is going to be okay despite the challenges that life will bring. The third and final thought was to let her know to just continue to be happy because life is truly a joy.

From that exercise, I thought to myself as to whether I tell myself these things. After all, I am telling this child everything I feel right now, and in essence, that child is me. Since I regularly practice positive affirmations, I do believe in everything I would say to that child with integrity and honesty I would definitely say to myself as the 25-year-old adult that I am today. But if you asked me a year ago, I don’t think I could say the same and I would feel like I’ve disappointed this child to believe in something that were not true. How can anyone confront any child with a negative outlook on life? As human beings, we tell our children that they deserve the best in life filled with love, happiness, and success. But are you telling yourself the same?

Never forget that we were once all babies, and that everyone who held us as babies, saw us with so much love and hope. And you would had felt the same way if you could go back in time.

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Success

Happy new year to all my readers! It’s been a whirlwind of chaos (good and bad) since my last post. But to say the very least, I have made huge achievements in both the professional sphere and in my life in the last few months of 2012. In fact, I successfully passed the CPA/CA national exam and advanced to the next level in my acting classes. What a great way to end 2012!

I find a lot of people don’t take the time to really reflect on their achievements over the year . It seems as though everyone looks at the year at a high level and quickly move on with their lives for the new year. But I’m a true believer that it’s really important to give yourself some self-recognition, if not, A LOT! Of course there’s going to be some bad or embarrassing moments in your year but they definitely don’t define who you are today. Every moment has its place.

So without further ado, I’d like to highlight my successes in the year in hopes to inspire you to reflect on your own achievements:

  • Passed my CPA/CA exam at my first attempt!
  • Took on acting class for the very first time. Even though I didn’t successfully advance to the next level at first attempt, I didn’t quit. After my second attempt, I successfully advanced. And I can definitely say I love it more every time I do it.
  • Took on dance classes for the very first time this year and eventually worked my way up from the back of the class to the front of the class
  • I began this blog which allowed me to channel my creativity and spark conversations with close friends on similar stories of inspiration, hope, struggle and challenges
  • I committed to making positive changes in my life by doing things that I love to do, reinforcing positive affirmations, and maintaining and strengthening genuine relationships with loved ones

I have a gut feeling that 2013 is going to be a great year and I can’t wait to share my stories to you along the way. I have some big plans coming up so it’ll be interesting to see what will happen next. For now, I can only dream with excitement.

Dream Your Heart Out!

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.

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.

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.

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.