Life is by far not perfect, but incredible things have happened over the past few months.

I’ll be bold and say, at the very least, the uncertainty and the chases in my journey are more exciting than “happily ever after.”



A few weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that I do not love unconditionally. I love, and I love fiercely. Although I may come across as aloof and detached, I care immensely for friends, family, and the elusive partner.

One thing that’s for sure, though? I’m too hard-headed to stay hopelessly in love with someone that disrespects me. I mourn the loss of comfort and familiarity and the fictional future I hoped for when these things happen, and I can stay in that phase for a long time. It happened when I was in high school that way, and no good came of it. In my “adult” life, I have had my share of heartbreak–as faithful readers probably know. I hate being hurt, and I tend to internalize the other person’s actions for awhile. At some point, however, something happens that flips a switch–whether it’s an internal realization or an external influence–and I find stability somehow.

When I found out a person I had fallen for was going behind my back, making me look like a fool, it shut off that romantic love. What had been, in my eyes, inimitable was that way because it was false. I wouldn’t trade in the time I spent with that person for anything, but I will always be disappointed in the reality of the situation. This was someone who had awoken a resonance I didn’t know existed. But, on the other hand, this person also disrespected me completely.

When that happened, I felt sorry for him. It pained me to know that he placed no value on himself or the relationship. And most of all, I felt sorry that he had utterly ruined all chances of romantic reconciliation with me. I’m too good to go back to something like that, even if I hoped with all my might that reality could somehow shift and change the course of events.

Maybe in another lifetime.

When a person devalues me that much, I cannot let myself be in love with him any longer. So yes, I loved him, but in his words: “it’s not enough.”  In hindsight, it never was and never will be enough. Not because of any shortcoming of my own–like he may have made me believe–but because of the lack of integrity and respect on his end. Upon further examination, I clued in on the mind games and realized I was very, very lucky to have had something so sudden and blatant tell me, “This is not the guy for you because he’s juggling other women and lying about it.”

Funny how that works.

There was no question of waiting anymore. There was no more wondering if he would change his mind and sweep me off my feet in a chivalrous show of romance and self-sacrifice. That book closed because I determined that I deserved a real love story, one that I am still waiting for.

In the meantime, I’m learning to be alone. For the first time, I am single and happy with who I am as a whole person. I believe strongly in my personality, my abilities, and my goals. Forgive me if it sounds like I’m bragging–because really, I am–but I finally believe with all my heart that I am great. I continue to learn and grow, even if the valleys are incredibly daunting, but I’m making it.

I’m doing it my way. And it will stay that way unconditionally.

Story of my Life

Dec. 31st

Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Harper Collins Children’s @molly_oneill)

Last post of 2010.

We are the hero of our own story. – Mary McCarthy

This is the simplest way of wrapping my life up into a nutshell. Look at it this way, if I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry over the disappointments 2010 brought, I could. I could drop out of school and let the challenges win.

That’s not my thing.

Believing in the impossible is my thing. Looking each day dead in the eye and saying, “I’m going to get through this, whether you like it or not,” is my thing.

What I’ve learned is that nothing is perfect and nothing is totally in my control. What I can do is look for meaning in the chaos and become a better person.

I’ve been blogging long enough to realize that this has become my theme. I’m working on my 2011 theme, too. Can’t wait to unveil it.

In the meantime, please please please be safe tonight and have fun. And if you’re in a time zone that already rang in the new year, well… here’s to you!

You’re Beautiful

Dec. 8th

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (The Beauty of Different @chookooloonks)

What makes me different than others? Oh goodness, haven’t I spent enough time reflecting on this in the past year?

Look at me– there is no one quite like The ‘Dith. I’m a Jack-of-all-trades– I write, I dance, I play music, I tell stories, I laugh, I thrive in the academic world. I dream of seeing the world. I daydream. I’m physically awkward, but I’m really cute, too. In the past few years, I’ve grown into a sense of confidence. I’m still working on outgrowing some insecurities, but what a world of difference from seven or so years ago. I’m always on some sort of adventure.

I’m driven like no one else I know. I have goals and dreams, but I try to live day-to-day. Sometimes, I worry that my passion for what I want to “do” or “be” will make me miss out on love– and I’ve been likened to the character of Robin Scherbatsky. In all honesty, though, I’m more of a Lily Aldrin. I’m just missing the whole “love of my life” piece, but like Lily, I went through a crisis (a.k.a., a decision-making point in time) in which I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I tried to run from the obvious (education) and went in circles for years, until I finally arrived at the fact that I wanted to work in higher education. Sure, I still possess some tomboyish aspects– but that’s because I was cast out by other girls for being smart. And being smart is weird in the world of children. How obnoxious is that?

One other thing that I really value about myself is the fact that I grew up in such a mixed household, generationally- and culturally-speaking. As I’ve said many times before, I have a lot to prove as the daughter of someone from The Greatest Generation. (I’m just lovin’ up on Wikipedia today, aren’t I?) It puts a lot of pressure on me, but it’s pressure that I can handle. I believe that cultural fluidity and empathy are key to the success I’ve found up to now.

I was blessed with a unique name, a unique family, and a unique personality. I’m writing my own unique story, and I’m not in any hurry to end it. This is what makes me beautiful– the ability to step back and appreciate what I have and where I’ve been. I’m making meaning out of these life lessons, and while it may be overwhelming at times, it is all worth it.

What is My Culture?

I have an assignment in one of my courses to explore and discuss my ethnic background and my culture. In just the past few days of thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I am the daughter of story-tellers.

I grew up in a mixed household, not just ethnically speaking, but generationally speaking. My mother was born at the beginning of the 1950s in the Philippines; my father was born in Washington state before the 1920s. To most people, my parents’ age gap throws them for a loop. To me, as a child, it was difficult to explain away to people. Now, though, it’s a matter of pride– I don’t know very many people my age that can say their father was in World War II.

I didn’t give too much thought to what my identity meant outside of music growing up. I was a musician first and foremost. My interests in dance and cheer, or schoolwork, or being of mixed race, or anything really of substance– that never really came up. I wavered in my identity, aligning myself with musical cultures for a good portion of my life, making that my identity.

In college, though, I became gradually aware of my non-whiteness. Before, my non-whiteness had meant simply being “the token Asian friend.” By being around other people with similar backgrounds, primarily my friends in FASA (Filipino-American Student Association), I began to explore what my heritage meant and how it affected me. I viewed it as something to be proud of, and luckily, I had few experiences in which people questioned my full-belonging to the group, even though I am of mixed background.

I have also always appreciated my Irish and Italian roots. I am a Casey by my Irish grandmother, and my rare, Italian last name showcases another particular aspect of my background. I love it– especially for its difficult pronunciation on this side of the Atlantic.

I could have had a mass identity melt-down. However, I think because I always lived in confusion, when I began understanding more of where I came from, appreciating its richness, the puzzle began to come together. As it did, a beautiful picture emerged.

I made sense of who I was through stories. Stories of my father growing up in the era of the Great Depression. Stories of my mother growing up in a faraway chain of islands, being one of the first families to have a TV in the neighborhood, playing games that needed no elaborate set-up or checker pieces. Stories from all my family members that made my face hurt with laughter. And as I grew older, my peers told me stories that sounded like mine– eating rice with every meal, getting confused stares from strangers while they wondered, “What are you?”– and I began to figure out just where I fit into the world.

I am the daughter of many stories, and I am the hero of my own.