Category Archives: I Dare You To Write

Writing is my passion. I love it because it’s something that is clearly able to define my feelings, and show who I am. I am a budding writer, so please provide feedback or criticism at any time, it would be greatly appreciated:)

I’d like my rainy mornings with a cup of love

This is an essay that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did when I wrote it ❤

 

I’m not ever this happy to see rain but as it comes barrelling through the dusty mountainous terrain, I can’t stop myself from smiling. Looking into Arturo’s eyes, I see the miracle. As the big drops of rain mix with the tears on our faces, I am taken back to a decade ago.

 

—If I stared long enough then squeezed my eyes, I could envision myself living the world through a new set of eyes. Perhaps, many would call it a knack for concentration or too great of a dependency on imagination, but I called it a superpower.

 

“Xixi!” my mother called out. My dazed eyes began focusing past the frozen raindrops to the glowing ZELLERS. Excitement was an understatement, because shopping was such a rare occurrence. Grabbing onto my mother’s hand, we walked through the parking lot.

“Excuse me, would you be able to spare some change,” a gentle yet desperate voice cut through the humdrum of the rain.

 I looked back then blinked once. Twice. Nothing. I couldn’t see anything from the man’s eyes! The thin man had now stood up from his crouched position and held onto the parking column for support. My mother tugged on my raincoat gently, but I couldn’t move.

“There s’a McDonalds,” my father emphasized pointing diagonally in front of the man’s view as he rummaged for a couple loonies and toonies. The transaction was quick and soon the money was graciously accepted.

“Thank you sir, thank you,” the man looked at me briefly but I saw it: a beautiful shine in his eyes reflecting belief in another day. Closing my eyes, I felt Happiness bloom in both the stranger and I.

 

But it quickly dissipated into disappointment in the store when I saw the hundreds Hello Kitty umbrellas. I saw the no before it rolled off my father’s tongue.

“We can afford it just this once, it’s almost her birthday!” my mother sighed.

 

That day, I didn’t get what I had wanted, but I received something much better. Within the smell of rain and its weighty dampness is my first memory of love and the sweet aftertaste, a constant reminder of the everlasting impact compassion has. As the years go by, the importance of that rainy morning only grows stronger and has become an extension of who I am.

 

Now, I won’t be able to remember what the man looked like, but I will never forget the feelings that came in the fleeting moment when I caught his quavering yet strong eyes. It seemed as if our paths were meant to cross. The unusual encounter made me feel a normalcy that I could not comprehend, but my father catalyzed the start of my understanding through his actions. Even if he couldn’t set enough food on the table each night, he never hesitated to help those around him. By leaving fragments of hope, he taught me that in everything I do it is important to unlock potential in others.

 

While fulfilling my innate thirst through volunteering and expressing myself through the arts, I would have never known if it wasn’t for the rain’s constant reminders that it was actually a longing to become one with the words inscribed in people’s hearts. The rain opened my heart to a natural tendency of living through empathizing with others and allowed my superpower to collide with my passion for helping others—

 

We stand drenched in Arturo’s wilted fields as the rain pours over the building site. I see helplessness washing away from Arturo’s eyes, and in it’s place, a strong flickering hope that there will be a harvest next year. Making eye contact with this phenomenal man who has helped me build the El Trapichean school that will be the foundation of hope for the next generations, I say, “Perfecto,” and he can only laugh, “Perfecto,” as we look up into the sky together.

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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.

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.

Smiles

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“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”-Henri Miller

It was past midday now, and the sun beating heavily. The rumbling of the people and the peaceful chaos of the markets were different then they were back at home, but I felt more than welcome in this city as the heavy air swirled around me. To the west, the soft waves of the Pacific nipped the Nicaraguan shore, while on the east, brick walls painted by the locals contrasted heavily against the backdrop of the mountainous terrain.

 

Granada featured an astonishing amalgamation of Spanish, English, and French architecture. And as I passed the pastel coloured shops, I couldn’t resist the rich taste of coffee that spiraled its way around the road. As I entered Café de Las Sonrisas, rusty voices and the sound of spluttering car exhaust outdoors were the only disruption to the silence of hard work. All workers were engrossed with serving customers or threading hammocks. but still enthusiastic to converse with me despite my broken Spanish.

 

“Buenos, comment éstas,” my conversation would begin and from there I could pick out some main words from the worker’s lives. During the brief time I spent at the Café of Smiles, something magical happened, I discovered the language of empathy. I had thought that if I couldn’t speak the language it would be a barrier for me to help in the community, but through exchanging smiles, something clicked within me that allowed me to understand the worker’s lives. The workers here were different in every aspect compared to the workers I knew at home. Despite having physical restrictions or being born with limitations, they did not let it get in their way of happiness. As I left, all I could remember was the tinkering laughter and the joyful smiles in response to my smiles.

 

The magic didn’t stop there, just across the province of Managua in the rural city of El Trapiche more smiles anchored me back down. While I communicated with the children by teaching them how to draw Snoopy, they answered back with their gratitude by smiling. Doing silly faces to make them laugh and see their frowns turn upside down may be such a simple thing, but to see how its influence on others can bring such joy means the world to me. This is why when I first met little Mario all I could remember was the way his eyes lit up when he talked about what made him happy.

 

“Hola, mon numéro y Cecilia, y tu?” I hesitated slightly when I approached him. At first confusion clouded his eyes but he quickly recovered, “Mario,” he grinned. He was a smart seven year old to understand me despite my mistakes! His teacher even told me that he wanted to become a teacher so he could help other people in his community. Just like Mario, I also wanted to unlock potential in others but if I hadn’t gave him a reassuring smile I would have never been able to make that connection.

 

In hindsight, the prospect of visiting the country I was helping was exciting but frightening at the same time. I wasn’t sure what to expect in a developing country but I am so fortunate to have a familiarity with smiles that allowed me to feel at home. Because whether in the sunny Nicaragua or rainy Vancouver, a smile is a smile.

 

A smile paints so many beautiful characteristics in the people around me. I see courage when my friend decided to keep living despite abuse in her home. I see a passion for learning at the local church and where I teach art. I see acceptance for life’s circumstances among the seniors at the city senior center. And I can see that under the surface of every smile there is the want to love and to understand.

 

For me, genuine smiles will always be token of remembrances as they exemplify true happiness beautifully. They are the pursuit of warm fuzzies, and most importantly, they are my home.

The Great Unknown: a glosa poem

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Hey everyone I wrote a poem in English class and thought I would share. It is in the form of a glosa which is an extension of another poet’s piece. I hope you like it:)

The Great Unknown by Cecilia

until the light of the world

has the unity of the ocean,

a generous wholeness

a fragrance alive and crackling   “Too Many Names” by Pablo Neruda

 

Look within thoroughly

under, around, and all over

do you see the moon continually

chasing the sun-

tumbling into the spread of glittering stars

Do you feel the humming of these mysterious kinds

an unacknowledged quietness stretching out to

the depths of the universe and curves of ourselves?

There is much to find in all the life provides

but until the light of the world collides

 

with our beating hearts

and makes itself known within,

We won’t understand who we are.

Do you understand that it is

the spider’s intricate web adorned with perfect

dew drops-an almagamation

of simplicity and beauty?

The grasp of Love encompasses so many things

like the tumbling commotion

of the waves but has the unity of the ocean

 

A simple miracle living

through each and every single one of us.

Coming together, falling apart-

sinking into a single defining point.

this is it, what we need, what we breathe.

In all its goodness

Love unites, revives, and sacrifices

Takes the bad—

makes it better in its completeness.

Leaving us showered with a generous wholeness.

 

So now as we stand fully revealed

in what is our newly found content.

We will still stand together

when the storm comes.

All it is, is the sprinkling of the rain’s kisses,

the drenching of Grace revealing

Itself time and time again

(not always within)

but among us- brightly intoxicating

like a fragrance alive and crackling

 

Pablo Neruda is an amazing poet! I was just recently introduced to his works and I was just shocked at the vibrancy with which he writes and the connection he is able to make with readers. My poem is an extension of what I felt his poem, “Too Many Names” is about among many different themes as well.