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The "Wu Word" Blog

March 2016


I get ideas in my head.  I call them my ‘light bulbs.’  These ideas will happen in the most unexpected moments that take me by utter shock: When I wake up from a vivid dream, when I am driving in the car listening and singing along to my favorite songs, when I am underneath water holding my breath, or when I am steeping in a whirlpool of hot bubbles and jets.   Some say my ideas are crazy. Many more may even think I’m crazier because the thing about my light bulb moments is they burn so bright in my head into near obsessions that I have no choice but to go into execution mode to see if they take flight or fall flat. 
My latest idea, or light bulb moment, burnt bright when I started to suddenly ponder about superpowers—don’t ask me why I was thinking of superpowers because I do not have an answer.
Growing up, there were many superpowers I wished for.
The very first superpower I wanted was to read people’s minds, but then I realized how scary that would be to read the bad thoughts that people had of me.  Of course, if you are going to read the good in people’s minds, you are also going to have to take on the bad.   More than that, the intrigue and fun in getting to know each other is removed with the ability to read people’s minds.
Then, I wanted to have superpowers of time.  Go back to undo the mistakes I made that resulted in pain, anguish, guilt, and remorse.  Go way, way, way back when times seemed simpler and easier.  Fast forward to the future to see how everything I dreamed and imagined would come true.  I also wished I could freeze time.  However, I realized that I was not living in the present and how I live my life without any regrets.  Nothing and no one is waste.  Everyone has and will serve their purpose in my life and in the bigger picture of this world.  Mistakes are gifts because that is how we learn and live on.  Time has always been the greatest fascination to me. 
However, out of all the superpowers I could have and all I really wanted and not just merely wished for was this: Fly. 
This is why you will find me looking up to the sky at puffy clouds, the blinding sunshine, the twinkling stars, and the swollen pregnant or crescent teardrop-shaped moons.  This is why I am fearless to board an airplane to travel 14 hours to Hong Kong rather than an hour or more drive outside of where I live.  This is why in every single place I have traveled to, I request and gallivant to the sites where I will force my body to climb to the very highest point to be and feel the power of being on top of the world.  This is why my #1 Live List item is to get on a hot air balloon so I can feel absolutely weightless without any worries in this world. 
My love and wish to fly has followed me throughout my life.  But, I could never fly.  I was always literally and physically behind trying to catch up.  I did not start walking “right” until I was 5-years-old.  I could never skip and run.  I never learned how to and could not ride a bicycle—maybe I can now (this is another live list item).  I limped and was on crutches and was in a wheelchair as needed starting at around 9 or 10-years-old.   My legs were too weak to kick in the swimming pool and I forced myself to learn to swim to face my fear and embrace my fascination with water by the time I was 10-years-old.   Water was the one sanctuary place where I was physically limitless and free from pain. 
Over 30 years later and after only knowing basic strokes of free style, backstroke, breast stroke and, my favorite, floating, I returned to my superpower wish to fly by announcing to my swim coach that I met two years ago when training for the first time at the Transplant Games of America:
“I want to learn how to dive or jump into the water.  I want to fly.” 
So, for nearly a month, I’ve been trying to spread my wings and fly.  My ‘wings’ are weak.  I come away from my once 30 minute swim sessions to nearly an hour now with my body screaming soreness in places I’ve never experienced to a soaring determination spirit that I can overcome both my physical and mental hurdles—and this is not me even jumping off the edge of the pool yet, but only sitting on the edge in streamline position to do a semi-slide dive in the water.  I’m so excited and scared.  There is something so exhilarating and so terrifying to stand up tall in a place where you are all alone and to see your reflection that you are about to plunge into.  There is nothing so challenging as to try to bring together the mind and body in a happy marriage of limitless and limitations.  
No one has seen my practice sessions.  No one can feel my fight of trying to bring together my wired and fired mind with my even more hyper sensitive body.  Only lifeguards and other swimmers who probably wonder who is this girl with her hands up in the air.  They have no clue that I am fighting so hard to face my fear and make my dream to fly a reality.  It is easy to dream, say, and wish, but it is a hard as hell to make it come true.  No one has or will experience my process or progress.  Everyone will just see my final performance and end result.  People do not know of the struggles faced to try to succeed.  People will only see, focus, and judge on the end result.
But, I know and feel all my process, progress, pains, practice, and perseverance to my struggles.   Because of and for all of this, I already feel like my dream to fly will come true.  I already feel like my dream of flying is coming true.
Have you ever wanted a superpower and what would it be?  Have you ever wanted something so bad that it hurt because of the struggle of mind vs. body and idealism vs. realism?  What have you wanted and worked so hard at behind closed doors that you wished people could see and understand your fight and not just the final performance out in an open crowd?  

Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-) 

Handle with Care

Recently, I did something I rarely ever do: I had a hearty one hour lunch with a couple colleagues.
Many do not believe me when I say that I prefer and like to eat lunch alone at work.  I think many see me as this social animal of a person that cannot be alone and constantly needs companionship.  On the contrary, as much of a social animal and extrovert as I can be and am, I can be just as quiet, introspective, reflective, and isolated.  My mentality has pretty much always stood that I have to enjoy my very own company first and foremost before enjoying the company of others.  After all, if you can’t enjoy your own company then how can there be the expectation for others to enjoy your company?  I need my alone time.  I require me time.  So, yes, cheers to me, myself, and I—alas, I am okay and more than happy in my very own company. 
Unfortunately, the people I sat with talked about a topic that made me very uncomfortable and nearly regretful of NOT eating lunch alone.  They began to talk about all the various revolving doors of ‘relationships’ they have been in.  I had little to contribute.  Even less to say.  Actually, I had nothing to say.
I never felt like I fit in and belonged with the many who go through people faster than creating and throwing out garbage or reduce, reuse, and recycle items.  I do not understand people ‘test driving’ people like they are cars or treating objects better than people because people have feelings and emotions.  I never understood such terms as ‘one night stands,’ ‘hook-ups, and ‘friends with benefits.’ I do not understand having sex, having children, and living together before marriage.  If you love someone, why are there all these ‘prerequisites’ of sexual compatibility and experimenting that everything works out with living together to then agree to marriage?  Especially, when life is forever full of tests and challenges?  Most of all, I never understood how people can claim they are in love and stare all googly-eyed at one another and compromise their morals only to break apart and break and hurt each other later on when life intervenes with the hardest of times challenging how strong a person and a relationship can be.
People say that I am old-fashioned—too fussy, too rigid, and think too much.  All these words said to me come off almost as accusations, as though I am the one to blame for believing in me, myself, and I as well as my morals.  It’s hard to stay strong and stay true to me and my principles, morals, and beliefs when I am the minority, but I know it would be even harder and downright impossible for me to go against all that I stand for and all that I am.   I take my relationships very seriously. I am all or nothing—all in or out of a relationship.  I am not a one-night stand and revolving doors of ‘relationships’ kind of gal.  I believe in nurturing relationships with people with time, listening ears, big hugs, my complete presence in the best and worst of times, patience, and love.  Believe me, I am not saint in that I have hurt people as well and that has hurt me just as much and if not more.  In general, I do not think people mean to hurt others, but I tell you this much that I rather be the one getting hurt than hurting someone else.  As painful as it is to be on the receiving end from someone who has hurt me, I never want to be the one who was the cause and effect to someone else’s pain resulting in distrust, disloyalty, and disrespect. I want to handle my relationships with care because it takes the longest time to build a relationship, but it can take just one thing for a relationship to crumble to the ground. 
Probably one of the most important things to me is how I treat people and the relationships I have with people while staying true to my supposed ‘old-fashioned’ ways.  As a young child of divorced parents and having experienced the indirect yet direct receiving end of betrayal, abandonment, and the ugly disintegration, I see and stay strong to how I want to and work to be.  I want to be that person who handles my relationships and people with care and, sadly, I increasingly feel that we live in times where people do not handle these precious gifts with care, consideration, love, and respect. 
We have all been hurt at some point by someone, but how has the pain affected you and how you treat people and yourself?   Can you be in and are you happy with yourself and your own company before the company of others?  Who do you handle with care? 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-) 



My body finally crashed.  My mind was finally drained.  Now, I had to retreat and recuperate to revitalize myself once again.  So, here I am.  In one month, I canceled two kidney activities/events that I had greatly looked forward to and planned in advance.  I no longer make concrete plans and promises days ahead with people and my famous one liners are: “I’ll try” or “I’ll let you know as it gets closer.”  I can no longer fully commit or plan because, you see, nothing can really be planned in life and all you can do is take one day at a time and walk one foot in front of the other with every effort to refrain from backward glances as the regret cloud will sometimes hang and hither to and fro. 
I have always been a sprinter and a doer.  I am not one to do nothing.  I am always doing something.  I love keeping busy.  I do not know what ‘bored’ or ‘boring’ actually means.  I do because I know that there will come a time that I will not be able to do anything anymore when I am dead.  I thrive on the taste and sudden surge of adrenaline that pumps me full of fuel to go at everything and anything boldly and without thinking clearly at times and then, out of nowhere, my body throws a massive unwarranted temper tantrum and I am forced to do absolutely nothing. I can now feel my body ready to crash and burn as opposed to when I was a youngster, which has made me proactive versus reactive.  Yet, even when my body says and even screams: “Mary, PLEASE do nothing,” I fight back with a loud struggle to try to be the artist to my canvas of life to do nothing.     
My father has lectured me throughout my life when my body throws its temper tantrums: “You need to put yourself first and take care of your body in and for the long haul.  You need to listen to your body throughout and not when it finally rebels against you.  Instead of fighting to find the answers as to when your body rages and giving yourself more stress and anxiety, you need to listen to your body continuously.  You need to slow down and pace yourself in little bites and not huge chunks.  You need to do nothing.” 
I try to explain, “I will be inactive when I am dead so I’m staying as active as I can when I am alive.”  This mask translates a deep-rooted fear: “I am scared to miss anything more in my life when I feel like I have missed out on the ‘normal’ rites of passage in life of the majority.  I know that I am not invincible, but I do not want to be invisible to my life.  I want to be the player playing the game in life and not sitting on the sidelines on the bench watching my life just go by.”
 For as long as I could remember, one of my biggest fights and struggles was “Endurance.”  I fought my entire life for endurance in pacing myself and slowing down before the crash and burn for all I had to endure in my life.  I do not say this as a “please pity me for all I endured,” but I say this factually that we all endure the hurdles of life and endurance for the long-term is needed and often not thought of for the vast majority.  I envy the many that live in the here and now and are happy with a quick fix while I wonder intensely and intently about the long-term and if what I do with my days and time will blow up in my face down the line with my body’s explosive temper tantrums.  Please do not mistaken this for worry about the future as I learned long ago that this worry is pointless, but I now think twice and even more than about spreading out the plans I do make, the priorities in life, and what I am doing and making of my time.  As a wise friend said to me, “We all have the same amount of time in the day, but it is a matter of what we are doing in that day.” 
Do you ponder and proactively make efforts to possess endurance in the long-term for all that you have endured?  How do you know when to do something versus not do something? How do you try to take in the small bites on a plate that is too big with too much on it? How does one balance and pace for long-time endurance and care than short-time bursts and sprints? Do you think about what you are doing and deciding for down the line of life?  Endurance is a choice when we must endure what is not a choice.
I still do not have these answers as I am living through the questions.  Now, however, a new line has come as I have aged in playing this game of life and ensuing in prioritizing and boundaries-setting: “I want to be wise by playing smart in life so I do not end up on the bench sooner than later in life.”
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-) 



 In this past week, I went to the outpatient laboratory three times for needle pricks and stared in fascination as my crimson blood from my veins filled the multitude of vials, received excellent news on one blood test that had me cheering and eternally grateful to my ‘earth angels,’ had a CT scan, met with at least three doctors in person, had a doctor apologize to me after I snapped at her for being my adversary rather than my ally, talked on the phone with at least four doctors, reunited with one surgeon, was introduced to a new ex-surgeon who walked away from the high-paying position after he was living the dark side of insurance companies monopolizing healthcare and his own health ailments, forced myself to stay strong in my ever-present father and stepmother, and was reminded yet again of the extremely small select few friends who routinely checked on me and are strong and know me well enough to handle my crazy during this time versus those who care deeply about me but do not know what to say versus those who just are so wrapped up with their own lives to check on me even with the factual knowledge that I am walking a tightrope of life fighting not to fall down.  

Yeah, I’ve had a week of rough water waves.  I’m still riding them.  Honestly, what other choice do I have?  Drown.  Not happening.   Swim.  Yes, I must.  Even if that means swimming with the sharks when I rather be playing with the dolphins.  Personally, I rather just be a killer beach whale.     
By the end of the week, I went into isolation and only popped my head out like a slow-moving, tired turtle when I was forced to.  One of my forced head-popping out moments was when I visited my eye doctor.  Out of the page and a half of doctors, my favorite doctor is my ophthalmologist. 
I probably love my eye doctor the most because I see him the least.  I love that he is the ONLY doctor that I found through my medical insurance and happened to hit it off with when a rather odd occurrence happened at least five years ago to my right eye that had an ingrown eyelash and made my eye feel like someone was squeezing it so hard that it would fall out of the socket and roll on to the ground.  I love him because he is the only doctor who reports good news to me.  Most of all, I love his meditative voice as he experiments and presents blurry shards and slices of light to me for my eyes to focus and see clearer than ever from a distance rather than so close-up that all the little details become all jumbled up and confuse the heck out of me. 
In his soothing voice that could lull anyone to sleep, he concluded: “Just a slight change.  Your eyes are definitely strained—probably from all the computer work.  Remember to get up every now and then to look to the distance to give your eyes a breather and break for you to see clearly and better again.”
He jotted on his prescription pad my newest degree of eyesight for glasses and my prescription goggles.  With prescription in hand, I suddenly had a greater sense of clarity and seeing than I had in the beginning of this week and even before this all started roughly a month ago.  I suddenly knew what I had to do.  I had been fed as much knowledge from doctors as possible.  I had turned to a select few for advice on how to proceed.  I had fought and did the best I could.  Now, I had to slow down and stop to try to gain a greater sense of clarity and focus. 
It is very eye-opening what the crushing weight of pressure and stress brings out in a person.  Many sides to a person rear and reveal on the very breaking point or edge.  For me, I had fallen prey to one of my biggest downfall traits in that I am the most meticulous and detail-oriented person there is that I look and examine so microscopically hard close-up that I fail to see the big picture and purpose by stepping back and even walking away for a little while.  On the very edge, the pulverizing pressure and my worst enemy self and all my demons were bringing out the negative and even ugly sides to me.   Sometimes, the only way we are able to focus in the blurry moments is when we remove ourselves to give space and distance. Truth is revealed and beauty is seen from far away rather than up close and personal.  Yet, how hard is it to welcome space and distance with open arms and without any answers it appears in near future.  Extremely.  To say the least.
Life is made up of many broken and shattered puzzle pieces to make up the whole picture that we cannot and will not understand in the moment.  Within these broken pieces, you see in yourself how you can be and are when pushed to the very edge.  You end up seeing all the truths in the people you thought would be there for you in the most difficult of times and the people who surprise you by being there for you when you least expect it.  You see that the ONLY way to really see is, maybe, by not seeing…if that makes any sense.  For me, I see that I no longer have time to beat around the bush on the brink of the edge and so I say things as it is AND I spend my energy and time on the people who really and sincerely care for me.  Focus most definitely comes out in chaos. 
How do you handle stress or pressure? What pushes your buttons to the very until the other sides of you come out?  Do you tend to hone in on all the tiny details rather than the big picture?
How do you, ultimately, focus in the chaos? 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-) 

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