Monthly Archives: January 2016

7 Reasons to Blog

Between you and me there may lie hundreds of miles but I am so glad to have the opportunity to share my story.

Blogging has been my outlet to share what I’m passionate about and interact with people all around the world. It has been with me since 2012 when I first decided to post my thoughts. And up to this point, I’m very glad I have made a mark at least on the web where I can glance back to see the progress. I have come very far from the thoughts that once governed me, but now I am beyond surprised to know things and feel things that I would never have anticipated at a younger age.

But even now, I am lucky to be sharing my story. To have the opportunity to share and to have the resources too as well. Thank you for all those supporters and readers who have read my thoughts ❤

Now I want to share a few secrets of my happiness ;blogging and why it’s a great place to start!

And why 7? Because 10 is so overrated and 7 is my favourite number:D

  1. Share your story. What better way to share your experiences and thoughts through a creative medium like a blog?
  2. It’s 2016! It’s your year, tell the world what you’re doing and document whatever progress you want to track!
  3. Introduce a new idea, a new passion, a new product! A blog is so flexible, the opportunities are endless:)
  4. A journal that is with you forever. Once in cyberspace even if it gets lost, there are ways to recover your lost content. Let good things haunt you, not the bad.
  5. You build a habit and live life with a little bit more purpose. Getting up everyday to write or keeping a schedule incorporated with blogging not only gives you a much more structured and purpose life style, it also gives you a mini goal to work to everyday.
  6. Fostering global connections! You meet people from various parts of the world and talk to people you never would have the chance to meet in regular life (how cool is that).
  7. Writing is love, writing is life. Basically no explanation needed.

Why Writing is important

The beauty of writing is that we can all relate to it. In some separate alternative universe, we can with our imagination understand and live the lives of others. And that’s the amazing part of it! Words are what allow us to communicate and build these relationships that are so fundamental to our existence. And I just feel that sometimes it gets overlooked. Writing or words that is. For me words can speak just as loud as actions. Words have the power to be interpreted differently by every individual, shaped and sculpted with each reader’s own background, values, and thoughts. That’s why I love writing because it has a piece of me and I have pieces of it scattered throughout my life. Without it, my life would be a mess because for me words connected my life not just literally but metaphorically as well. They extended my grief into self exploration to empowering others through just simple expression. A simple who I am has connected me to those thousands of miles away. Unbelievable, as it was never even seeable in the past!

Broken

“A River’s Song” Creative Writing Anthology by Young Writers of Canada, Canadian Poetry Institute Inc.  2014

Finalist Xi Yuan (Cecilia) Pang 

I watch my parent’s grief stricken faces, the world crumbling down on me. I viciously rip the flimsy linen sheet, which quickly confirms my worst fears. My running dream has finally sunken to it’s bottomless pit. Where my right foot and lower leg are supposed to be… a humongous white bump. As I close my eyes, the event’s from the past day tumble back.

 

My mother’s wise eyes finally give up what they were trying to hold in for so long. Her eyes are rimmed with tears but they still flicker with hope. She believes in me. She grabs my hand and holds it tight, desperately pleading me to come back.  My dad kneels down slowly, his arms heaving from the weight of my accident. I want to imagine that I can announce that I’m okay. But my helpless heart gives up, dropping deep into an abyss.

The pain I feel, is nothing compared to the infinite pain wounding my heart. It seems like I’m plunging to the bottom but no matter how hard I try, I will never swim to the surface again. All my efforts didn’t pay off.

 

What is the point of living, when the moment and the things you live for, give up on you? Then what are you supposed to do? How am I able to live my life or start to achieve my dreams? I stare blankly at the shattered pieces of my dignity. I don’t have anything left anymore, the last sparks of hope have vanished, faith evanescent, and replaced with anger.

 

I wheel towards the bathroom clutching my running ribbons. My blood crashes uncontrollably inside my heart. There’s a flame inside, an infinite amount of fiery exasperation. I’m going insane. My nails dig deep into my flesh, as I bring myself to look at the crooked mirror in front of me. Who am I? The broken toilets sigh, and flakes of beige wall paint float softly onto my hair My skin is now covered with sticky tears, and my lips are now bleeding heavily from constant chewing. I collapse to the sticky floor, and start to think. I don’t know anymore. I ignore the eruption of pain in both my legs. Missing pieces. I am a failure.

Feather in the Wind

“A World Away” Creative Writing Anthology by Young Writers of Canada, Canadian Poetry Institute Inc.  

Second Place Entry: Feather in the Wind by Xi Yuan (Cecilia) Pang

 

I am meant to fly. Like a feather in the wind, bouncing afloat in the air, held by invisible thread. Then the sky is falling. Everything is whirling and blurring at the soft edges. The waves are welcoming me with their soft drizzles landing on my face and slowly gravity gives in. A sharp pain erupts onto the left side of my chest. Overwhelmed by the salty ocean air, I gasp heavily, trying to regain my consciousness. I can taste the bitter blood, and feel the heavy blanket of water suffocating me. I knew what would happen before I could breathe my last breath. An overwhelming grief started to blossom through my body, and I started to heave uncontrollably from my weeping. Numbness was creeping in and after many minutes of struggling, I begin to give up. I relaxed and closed my eyes, watching my life go by.

 

Earlier that morning, when I had left, I forgot to tell the people I love, that I loved them. My sister, with her flushing cheeks, bursting with happiness every time I hugged her. And my parent’s, the people who supported me in the sidelines, as I ran through the race called life. I won’t forget those memories of when I would run through the cherry blossom hills, embracing each of them and dancing like no one was watching. Those moments when I would be painting, and the zephyrs would dance on my back. Or that time when my best friend and I would climb that big oak tree, watching the splashes of sunset fade away into our dreams. The times that I would jump in big puddles that went to my knees and the melodic sound of rain twinkling in my ears, when spring bloomed in. All the blossoms that bent to kiss my toes will be missed. And most of all, I would miss the times that I wanted a sweet slice of summer, dribbling down my chin. The water was rising over my limp body, and all I felt was a tender hand stroking my cheek. Then a blurry shadow of light slowly pulling me out.

The Book of Negroes

From the perfectly fitting writing style and captivating characters to weaving literature with history through new perspectives, there are many qualities the novel, The Book of Negroes, encapsulates leaving it as a memorable piece in modern literature. However, while teaching readers about the history of the slave trade among various other historical occurences, the author Lawrence Hill focuses on accentuating a woman’s journey of self exploration and her path to empowerment.

 

Aminata Diallo transforms and grows from her various experiences but in an interesting way that allows her to remain true to who she is. She travels various places and acquires wisdom from all the people she meets. Her journey in every sense is a literal journey where she travels across the sea too many times to count. But the real adventure is that through all her trials, she is on a journey to finding herself again and learning more about her potential. The process of picking up the pieces and mending herself back together allows her to discover who she is. From losing herself, she is able to find the “self” that she lost the night when she was captured. She is given a new identity, “A new name for the second life of a girl who survived the great river crossings,” (pg127). But she successfully is able to reclaim her old life again through her journey of self exploration. This determination of reclaiming her old life is shown with, “The power of the spoken word,” when she shares her story. The powerful messages of her story easily embed in my heart.

 

Her story is an amalgamation of strength, determination, love, and beauty that inspires me as a global citizen and as a growing woman. By firmly standing behind her values in an age and culture where women are not allowed to make their own decisions, Aminata is able to blend across different time periods and be a great example of what a feminist is in our modern time. Her resilience and steadfast loyalty to her own beliefs is the definition of what many women are coming forward to stand for today. For instance, when she makes decisions, she does what she believes is the right thing and is not easily swayed by other’s influences. Various times she displays this strength of staying true to who she is. Her marriage with Chekura was a reaffirming statement in that “[She] married the man she loved,” (pg 174). She did not let the circumstances of being enslaved or Appleby’s threats get in the way of fulfilling a value that was very meaningful for her. Furthermore, during the time and culture where she was brought up, many decisions like marriage were often made for her and not by herself. However, despite the risks and consequences that follow, she continues to go with her heart. The courage to be herself and to be able to use the bad experiences as an extension to be better person despite all the terrible things that have happened is exactly what makes her so admirable and a beautiful role model. Her defining characteristics are wonderful examples of how to conquer obstacles and to maximize personal potential. Even as a fictional character, she represents many courageous women who stood for what they believe in. It is very difficult to fight the strong tide of society sometimes, but her power inspires me to continually try to allow my personal voice to speak through.

 

Following her through her experiences, I felt this urge to do something and say something because of all the profound emotions I found myself experiencing. While unconsciously learning through character development and the exploration of many fundamental themes of a tale that is one with history, each page is a piece of the past and the truth. This book is a combination of an intellectual and emotional stimulant, but the real treasure is that it resonates a living message to take action. Through Aminata, I have the ability to see women around the world who live in circumstances where they are oppressed and dominated by men. I see the children and families destroyed by the inhumane treatment inflicted by others. I see the unending cycle of greed and how it ties into the slave trade of the past but also the human trafficking of now. Her story is a catalyst for change, for development of human rights, for the growth of women’s voices. Her story is the connection between my willingness to fight for women’s rights and the understanding of what women in the past and present live through in a society where they are not valued. Lawrence Hill effectively demonstrates his passion for the advancement and empowerment of women by pouring life into Aminata. Her life isn’t just for reading but for understanding.

 

This book catalyzes my growth in regards to strength and purpose. Perhaps in the future I may forget what Aminata went through, but I will not forget her words and how they make me feel. I was with her on her journey every step of the way. I felt the uncontrollable throbbing of anger with the cruelty humans treat one another with. But I also felt the soaring thumps of my heart with the joy of knowing when those who are lost, Aminata and May, are found. Their fight for justice, catalyzes my determination to make a difference. After going through some personal trials in my life both physically and emotionally, this story allows me to firmly believe that everything does happen for a reason and that there is nothing we are not strong enough to handle. Aminata’s story starts off rocky but as a whole, she is a fundamental character in the battle against slavery. Without her experiencing suffering, she would not have been able to empathize with others who were enslaved and fight the way she does for freedom. Similarly, without the personal circumstances that jumble up my life, I would not have been able to find the joy in making others smile. In the case of this novel, suffering led to Aminata’s purpose and like her, my purpose was discovered through growing past obstacles. This revelation allows me to completely immerse in this story because of the similar emotions both Aminata and I went through when tackling challenges. Making this connection to a fictional character, reformed my mindset. No longer am I alone but I am bond to others through a cycle of understanding. Just like when Aminata looked into the eyes of asylum seeking slaves, she saw their stories colliding with hers. And with all these pivotal moments there comes feelings that are everlasting. There is simply nothing more breathtaking when a book anchors itself into real life because the story may fade one day, but the change that accompanies those reading is everlasting. Now as I move forward in life and experience harder trials, I will not be disheartened because I will remember Aminata. I will apply the lessons I have learned to be the best human being and global citizen I can be.

Is it toxic?

A few months back, I came upon the term toxic in the context of describing a relationship or a person when talking to a friend of mine going through a terrible breakup. Not completely new to me because at this time, I had seen many social media posts or articles about breaking off toxic relationships or when a relationship becomes toxic or even when a person is ‘toxic’.

I hadn’t given it much thought, until today when a ThoughtCatalog article, ” Check Yourself: Sometimes You are the Toxic Person,” popped up in my newsfeed. After reading around half a page, inspiration struck and I knew I had to write about this topic.

When I look at my life from the outside in, I see things differently. It might be after some time I’ve calmed down from situations that made me angry or hurt but after time has healed me, I can see more effectively. And what I have noticed about my life are the cycles like currents that repeat. I was bullied back in 2012 for a few years but when I started reflecting, I realized I at certain points in my childhood made fun of others or gossiped. Then when I realized that I was always putting the most effort into most if not all of my relationships, I saw my past. I took a friend for granted in Gr. 5 and that memory will not fade because I saw myself for who I am. Even though I am a person who works hard to make others happy and does a lot of humanitarian work, I am human. I make mistakes, I am dirtied with sin, with wrongdoings because despite my ‘try hard or teacher’s pet’ status, I have hurt others.

Reading into the article today really brought me to fully admit out loud (or in writing) that I was a toxic person at times. It’s so hard to label one as something with a bad connotation but it’s true. With one cycle, I labeled certain people in my life who hurt me as toxic, but in another cycle of my life, I was the toxic person. If it was not giving my best in a relationship, or taking someone for granted it really took away from the purpose of the relationship and in the end destroyed it.

The main gist of this essay is that we’re not perfect. At one point or maybe many points in our lives we hurt others and it isn’t great but what the important thing is to acknowledge that and move on.

On both sides, it’s important to strive to better understand the other person in the relationship. Sometimes we might just be to quick to label others as toxic! We need some time to take a step back and access the situation. Maybe there was a miscommunication (most of the time), or maybe they didn’t understand what you want. All in all, let’s work together to better our mistakes and in the future be more understanding for those who may seem ‘toxic’ first.