The "Wu Word" Blog
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
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
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
Recently, I did
something I rarely ever do: I had a hearty one hour lunch with a couple
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.
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
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
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
Keep smilin’ until we meet
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
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
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