Brotherly Love

I’ve been wanting to postpone this post for quite some time because I wanted to build up to it, but I realized that the genuine self that I am now didn’t come to life until this situation occurred in my life. It was a blessing and a curse all at the same time. So here goes! =)

Do you have someone in your life whom you bond with like no other person in the world? This person could be your sibling, parent, friend, colleague, anyone really! But this person brings out the best in you. They nourish your growth and are the most supporting person in your life. There is no jealousy, bad intentions, trust issues, or back stabbing. The relationship is made up of genuine pure love. This person is the one you call when you’re sad, mad, happy, proud, excited, scared, lost, alone, or bored. This person for me, is my brother, Jeffrey.

Not many can say the bond between their siblings are this strong. I hear some say, “blood isn’t always thicker than water,” “friends are family that you choose,” “blood is thicker than water,” the list goes on. But from day one, my brother has been there for me through the good and the bad. When I got an award at school or a promotion at work, he was the first one I’d call and we would celebrate my successes together. When I got in to a car accident and my niceness took over my logic, I’d call my brother to come check that asshole who wouldn’t let me go even though they were at fault. When I was asked out on my first date, I’d call my brother to cover me so I can go. When I got my heart broken, he was there to console me and make me feel like superwoman. When I got bad grades, he was the one who checked me and put me in my place. When I threw attitude at my parents, he was the one who yelled at me and made me realize how unacceptable it was. When he came home drunk and wanted to get his drunchies on, I was the one he’d call to get fat with. When he was bored and wanted some entertainment, I was the one he’d call. When he wanted to punk someone for the fun of it, I was the one he’d call. When he felt like playing Socrates and talk about life, I was the one he’d call. When he wanted to grab lunch, I was the one he’d call. When I forgot to bring something to school or work, I’d call my brother to come drop it off for me. When he needed a costume for Halloween but wanted to be cheap, I was the one he’d call. When he needed someone to help him with his first Humira shot, I was the one he’d call. When my parents got in a fight when I was younger and I was scared, he took me out of the house so we can get away from it together. You get the point.

My brother was my everything. My number one cheer leader. My number one man. My inspiration. My foundation. I felt like he was my twin. We just got each other. Till this day, I still hear people say how similar I am to him. It’s almost unbelievable that we were 9 years apart.

My brother taught me a lot. He taught me how to be human, how to love, how to be kind, how to be genuine, and how to let go. He taught me how to look past people’s faults and to understand the way they were was a result of how they were raised. He taught me how to give second chances because he always said, “people change.” He taught me how to think critically, how to think philosophically, and how to love genuinely and logically. He taught me what selflessness meant. He taught me how to give. He taught me to be grateful. He taught me what’s right from wrong. He taught me how to appreciate and strive. He taught me how to stay loyal. He taught me what being a true friend really means. He taught me how to be weary but still give chances. He taught me how to live. He taught me not to half-ass things. He showed me that hard work pays off. He taught me how to laugh. He taught me how to be. He taught me how to be who I am today. 

My brother left my life on September 18th, 2010. It was the most traumatic, tragic, and saddest day of my life. 

At the time, I was working 3 jobs, going to school full-time, and trying to manage life all at the same time. That particular Saturday, I worked at the bank from 7am-2:30pm. Right after, I had to private tutor till 4:30. I came home, saw his car, but noticed he had gone out riding on his motorcycle. As like any “normal” Saturday, I went out with the boyfriend. We were getting ready to go to D&B. At 7:00pm, my Dad calls me and says, “Helen, you need to come home, it’s an emergency.” Something was not right… I thought. My dad never calls me when I’m out… When I got home, I saw my brother’s girlfriend standing at the door, staring at me cold……… She didn’t even have to say a word. I knew. She said, “Helen, your brother is dead.” I still remember the feeling I felt. You ever watch those movies where the person hears bad news, drops to the floor, and starts wailing/yelling/screaming? That was me that night. I dropped to the floor in tears. I was in total shock, my knees were weak, and I could barely speak. Did I really just lose the most important person in my life? Did I really just hear those words? How could this be? He was only 30 and had a whole life ahead of him. I couldn’t and didn’t want to believe it. I needed to see proof. Where was he? How did it happen? My brother’s girlfriend informed me he had gotten in a motorcycle accident and was pronounced dead on the scene at 4:36pm. 6 minutes after I had ended my tutor session. 20 minutes before I got home from tutoring. We went to the scene to light candles, bring flowers, and mourn. When I got there, there was still a puddle of blood by the sewer. This was the closest I could get to him at that point. He was immediately taken to the coroners. I couldn’t even see him one last time. I couldn’t go and visit him in the hospital and say goodbye. I had to wait till the day of the funeral to see him again, which was the last time me and my whole family would physically be together. 

That night he passed, I remember his closest friends came over, my closest friends came over, and we sat there in silence for hours. I didn’t sleep that night. I’d call his phone hoping that he’d answer. I’d text him, waiting on a response. I cried so many tears I never even knew existed. I really did just lose my MVP.

After a couple weeks, I needed to get my life back. I had stopped eating for a couple weeks and dropped about 15 lbs. I had to get a leave of absence from work.I had never failed a class before, I failed two after that, and I was only 1 semester away from graduating with a Bachelor’s. I hit rock bottom. I had to force myself to get moving. Not only did I lose my brother, I lost myself. It took me quite some time. But because my brother taught me how to be, I regained consciousness. I started thinking about how much more painful it was for my parents, and I started to live again. You see, when someone you love dies physically, it should give you a reason to live spiritually because they live through you. All that they’ve taught you can be radiated by you. He taught me how to appreciate my parents and to live for them because they came to America to live for us. This appreciation he taught me helped me grow even stronger than I was. I gained strength to overcome my battle because we had such quality time together. It’s not about the amount of years they’re here. It’s about the quality time spent when they are physically here.

I failed to mention, not only was he a good brother to me, he was a good brother to everyone he met. At his funeral, there were over 200 attendees. Some people I’ve never met or seen before. The chapel was filled all the way out to the street. Flowers were presented from the front of the chapel and wrapped around to the other front side of the chapel. There were so many flowers it couldn’t fit in the chapel, and some where placed in the back. This showed me how great he was. This taught me how to love and how to be a genuine good person. This taught me that it’s not about how many breaths you take, but how many breaths you take away. Words couldn’t express how awesome my brother was.

 

I feel that it is my responsibility to share some of that love with all of you. Because, he taught me better than to keep shit inside and let it be a burden. I want to share my experience so that you can gain from it. Don’t wait till tomorrow to call that someone. Don’t wait till tomorrow to eat lunch with that someone. Don’t wait till you feel better to start being nice. Don’t wait till next year to plan that vacation. Don’t let stubbornness get in the way of any relationship. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t think you have forever. Simply don’t wait. Tomorrow is never promised. As cheesy as that sounds, it is true. Laugh as much as you can. Love as much as you can. and always always be grateful.

You see, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing of. Treat others with respect. Give them a chance. For those of you who have lost someone you truly love, please know you’re not alone and there is a way out of your depression. There is always a way out if you allow it.

 PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR MOTORCYCLES. While you’re in a rush to get home, it might cause someone to never come home. 

I love and miss you so much, Jeff. May you forever Rest In Peace. See you and Princess when it’s my time! 01/28/80-09/18/10~Helens Camera 577

 

Women & Feminism

First let me define feminism (via google): the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I’ve come across many who seem to think feminists are man haters, this is so wrong. Feminism is the want and fight for gender equality. You see, from the very beginning, it has been instilled in society that men are superior to women. Here is a verse from the Genesis which proves this true.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

Since we live in a nation that believes in the bible/God, this means people actually believe this and live by it. This means, without men, there would be no women. This then stems in to the belief that men are superior to women. TOTAL BULLSHIT. Not only does the Genesis imply that men are superior to women, Lord God PUNISHED Eve for listening to the serpent who deceived her. This puts even more of a stigma on women!

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

What? Lord God created the serpent, the serpent deceived Eve, Lord God is now punishing Eve and making Adam rule over her. But why? Why didn’t the serpent go and deceive Adam? If the bible is what us humans have been reading since the beginning, this is exactly why society is the way it is. In another excerpt of the Genesis, it says 19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.

What? Now a man can have two wives? But then why is it that when women cheat, she’s a whore and when men cheat, he’s a stud? This is exactly why society is the way it is. Us humans have started this all wrong. Everything has a cause and effect, because of these teachings, it enables men to feel superior to women. And this is why women of the 1900’s have fought so hard for gender equality. Us women never started equal to men. We were punished because of deceit. We were already made less of a woman by coming from a man’s rib.

There are still women who believe they should be at home in the kitchen while their men are hard at work bringing home the bread. But this angers me. I truly feel if women empowered each other instead of fighting with each other, we could reach 100% gender equality. Instead, we have women blaming women instead of men. Instead, we have men who choose submissiveness over independence. Instead, we have women settling for less because men can’t handle a strong woman. Can you imagine if Adam was created from Eve’s rib? Can you imagine if Adam and Eve were created separately? If Lord God could create Adam from dust, why couldn’t he create Eve from dust? Are we humans not comprised of the same functions? The only difference is obvious.

I wish the world would come together and really see what caused us to be this way so we can deliver a different outcome/effect.

Today, I empower you to view men and women differently. I want this world to see that women are just as capable as men are. I want women to feel free as men do. I want women to be strong and embrace their independence. I want women to be able to live a life as fruitful as men. I want men to view women in a way where they stay faithful and loyal.

Stay conscious, your every action depends on it.

What are your thoughts?

The Difference Between…

Screenshot_2016-02-24-08-39-31-1.pngGrowing up in this free land we call America as a traditional Asian Family takes a lot of understanding and patience.

Through my eyes, we have all the freedom in the world. With hard work and determination, our dreams could easily be accomplished. Even with no funds, we could figure out the solutions later, our resources are simply there. Something we truly take for granted.

While shopping today, I wanted to look at different things around Target to see what I could get for my nephews, teenage cousins, and other kids I know. My mom was beside me, she kept on saying, “Are you really getting something for so and so? But why? Don’t waste your money, they are just kids, they don’t know any better.” I quickly snapped and said, “Forget it, Mom, I just don’t want to shop with you with that attitude, it is a time for giving, I don’t want to hear you nag.” Then we continued to make our round back to the cashier to pay for the bread my Dad had asked for. When we got home, my Dad said, “So you guys only went to Target to buy bread?” I said, “Yes, I wanted to shop but Mom said I shouldn’t buy any presents.” (What a freakin brat move, seriously!) My Mom then got a little sad and said, “Wait, I was just wondering why you want to get them something, I didn’t tell you NOT to buy it for them.”

I wanted to point out that, this was not supposed to happen, I wasn’t supposed to be offended by my Mom trying to talk me out of buying something for the kids, I should’ve understood what she was telling me. I should have recognized that my Mom only wanted me to really think about my wallet because I spent so much in the past few months for various important things. I should have said, “That’s ok, Mom, I could just buy them something small so they have something to open on Christmas,” and continued shopping.

Through my parents eyes, we don’t and can’t make all the money we want in the world because they didn’t grow up with that opportunity. They came from Vietnam, a communist country, where their fortune was their family, not money nor prized possessions. They needed to work their asses off with hard labor to make minimal money to get by and feed themselves/family. They had little markets in front of their homes in which they sold items like that of a mini mart. That was their whole family’s source of income. Although they’ve lived in America for quite some time, I’ve come to the conclusion, their hearts will always be in Vietnam because they grew up there and that is what life is supposed to be in their world.

Takeaway: As a child of the 1st generation in America, it is important for me to understand where my parents came from so I can truly understand their motives. A lot of what is communicated between my parents and I could easily be taken as an insult without understanding their background… The true difference between my parents and I, is the way we grew up. To better understand and to get along better, we must strive to communicate with our parents about their history and their culture before we were born. I can’t stress enough how important it is.

If your parents are immigrants, you better know that they moved here to better your life because we have the opportunity to live the American Dream. Now that, is pure love. They gave up what they grew up with and sacrificed their well-being for you to have the opportunities they didn’t have.

Appreciate your parents, often times as we are growing up, we forget our parents are also growing old.

P.S. An article about my take on the Fresh Off the Boat series is forthcoming.

Bigger is Better!

Have you ever gotten in an argument and stood your ground so much so that it ruined your friendship/relationship? I have. I used to think I was always right, because come on, it’s me, I’m ALWAYS right. Even if there was no research, the logic behind it makes sense, so it must be true!

Sound like you?

I’m an observer, I observe all types of behavior when I hang out with a group of people. As annoying as that sounds, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about socializing and how people (even the best of friends) interact. I often hear people sharing stories about other people, and not about themselves. I also hear people telling “facts” that they:

  1. have no research on
  2. so convincingly share and when questioned, gets defensive
  3. simply passed on from a Facebook post without further research
  4. have heard from other people

I’ve learned that no matter who you talk to, they will stand their ground and convince you that they are certain and correct.

In a world where being strong and maintaining your “reputation” is a lot more important than peace, pride has become such an issue in today’s society. I agree that individuality should be celebrated and respected. However, I feel as though many can’t differentiate between individuality and straight asshole. No, I’m not a sensitive bitch. But I’m sure you’ve been there, you’re innocently talking to someone with more expertise about a certain subject and you say something out of context (to them), instead of enlightening you to build you up, they then start to judge you and think you’re uneducated!

Humans were created with the brain capacity to learn and absorb like a sponge. We might think we know something, but things often change, what was once true, might not be true today. Be the bigger and the better by enlightening someone so they can grow. Take your losses when you should and put away that pride! It is OK to be wrong, often times you learn the most when you’re wrong. I always go back to Fabolous’s song lyric, “It’s okay to lose your pride over someone you love, but don’t lose someone you love over your pride.”

I want to challenge the thought of being “right”, I want to challenge it because we as humans, do not know everything, and we should be supporting each other to learn more to be better.

If everyone understood this and supported each other, I think the world would be a lot more peaceful!