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The "Wu Word" Blog

July 2017

A Matter of Trust

“You have trust issues,” she spouted off bluntly to me.
 
I paused.  I prided myself in coming up with a quick response back, but, this time, I could not because what she said was the God’s honest truth.  The unsettling part was that this person who said this to me was not a close family or friend.  She wasn’t even an acquaintance.  More often than not, it takes someone who is not so emotionally attached and from the outside to really SEE you.  Has that happened to you?  Maybe strangers are not so strange. 
 
I said slowly, “I admit it.  I have major trust issues.  I put up an invisible wall, but who doesn’t?  Who can you say has been free hurt, pain, and rejection from another human being who, naturally, does not intend to inflict harm?  Can you blame me or anyone who is increasingly suspicious and mistrustful of others in the times we are in?  Can you blame anyone who becomes more jaded and bitter in life?  No one is REALLY going to help you and be there for you at your worst unless they are a family member, a close and rare and true friend who teeters on a family member status and who genuinely cares about you or is a caring person, or if you pay them because money talks. You know who cares about you and who does not, and the only way you know that is when you are at your worst rather than your best.” 
 
She looked at me with big and sympathetic eyes and said, “No, I get it.  And, that’s sad.” 
 
Yes, it is sad.  It is even sadder to say, but I trust people less and less.  Has anyone ever said to you that you have major trust issues?  I rarely ever go to or ask anyone for anything and, when I do, it is because I REALLY need help AND because I really trust the person. I’ve grown accustomed to doing everything on my own and depending on myself first and foremost.  People have commented that I am fiercely independent, but only if they knew how difficult it is for me to ask for help and how I only go to maybe one or two people for help excluding my parents.  I probably go to my parents less and less for help and as a last resort now as that comes with the territory of growing up and independence. 
 
I am understanding now just how incredibly limited and flawed we are as humans and how we are so wrapped up with our own problems and issues that we cannot, will not, and, most of all, are simply unable to even meet people’s certain needs and especially go the extra mile.  We all have different needs, weakness, and vulnerabilities.  You never know what another person’s history and really what that person endured and how the person was burnt or hurt.  Your reference point of meeting someone and getting to know them as at that point and nothing beforehand.   Everyone needs help and people do need people.    
 
People also have different gifts to give and varied purposes to serve in their live and in the lives of others, and we learn who we can go to for what through the slow development of getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.   I have also become increasingly selective with who I go to for what.  You really cannot expect anything from anyone.  I no longer believe in words, and only believe in actions.  Anyone can say anything.  Not just anyone can act upon easily spoken words.  I also understand how we become more jaded and bitter of others after being hurt and rejected so many times.  With that said, as much as we learn from being burnt and the biting truths of reality, I still hold on to optimism, hope, and the goodness in people that I believe exists in everyone.  Being burnt by the many makes me all the more grateful for the few and far between who not only come through, but exceed anything I could have ever hoped for or imagined.   Perhaps I am naïve, but kindness, optimism, and believing and seeing the best in people matters.  All of this matters in the matter of trust. 
 
I can now understand how people become increasingly jaded, mistrustful, and suspicious of others after being burnt and hurt one too many times.  Trust is a precious and delicate beauty that grows and stretches over a long period of time, yet it will take just one bump that can destroy and bring that relationship down.  Do you easily trust others?  Have you come to trust people less and less as you have grown older and older?  What are your weakness and vulnerabilities that people know about you and have managed to come through to meet your needs, or you vice versa? Who do you REALLY trust? 
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-) 

Trial and Error

Growing up in the Wu household with a father who was once a chef at a Chinese restaurant in Canada, I was exposed to REAL Chinese food.  However, I turned up my nose to such food.  As an ABC (American-Born Chinese), the ONLY Chinese food I craved and wanted was from the greasy hole-in-the-wall take-out Chinese restaurant close to our red brick house.  My menu was predictable: chicken with broccoli, pork spare ribs, egg drop soup, and fluffy white steamed rice.  I was also as ‘American’ as could be as I ate with a fork and knife over a pair of ivory chopsticks and gorging on Velveeta Mac N’ Cheese over a bowl of piping hot noodles.  To make life easier for my dad, he did not argue with me and just gave in to my very specific and limited taste requests. 
 
My persnickety taste buds were forced to come to a halt in the summer of 1992 when I went to live with my aunt and her family in Canada.  In her sunlit kitchen with a yellow canary that whistled while she prepped and cooked food, I was exposed to live blue crabs, pink salmon, soya sauce and sesame oil, slivers and slices of ginger, and other odd concoctions that I scrunched up my face in fear and disgust.  I made it clear that the ONLY food I wanted my aunt to make was her signature spaghetti that was a unique and tasty blend of saucy and spicy.
 
I still remember when my aunt put a bowl of steaming rice and what looked like a pink blob to me in front of my face.  That pink blob turned out to be salmon. 
 
“I don’t want to try it,” I whined with my arms crossed over my chest. 
 
“How are you supposed to know if you like or not like something until you try it?” my aunt asked me.
 
I paused and tried to come up with a quick-witted response.
 
My aunt said, “You won’t know until you try.  Here, try.”
 
She gave me a pair of chopsticks.  I was 10-years-old and did not even know how to use chopsticks.  I struggled to pick up the slippery fish.  I finally resorted to spearing a piece on the chopstick.  I wrinkled my nose and tentatively bit into the fleshy pink salmon drenched in fermented and black as ink soya sauce.  Salty, chewy, fleshy and fatty….it was absolutely delicious!!!  My eyes lit up like lights on a Christmas tree.   It was the most delicious piece of meat I have ever had.  Not to mention that it was incredibly pretty in pink. 
 
After that summer, I was an adventuring risk-taker with food to try everything and anything.  Gone were the days of typical and predictable chicken and broccoli, spare ribs, and egg drop soup.  In were the days of abalone, shark fin soup, sea cucumbers jellyfish, pork belly, dumplings, fried rice, plump udon noodles, bok choy, shrimp, hot chili sauce, and a vast array of flavors and tastes that I was falling in love with.  My father and all my relatives were excited as I was psyched to be a guinea big.  Bring on the experimentation!
 
Since then and with many other experiences I lived through, I am bold and fearless to try anything and everything.  I was open to screwing up, making mistakes, and flying to either take flight or fall flat on my face in failures.  We learn from our trials, failures, mistakes, risks, errors, and experimentation in process.  When I’ve fallen and fallen hard, I find myself saying that at least I tried.  At least I know now.  At least I’ll know going forward to try not to repeat history and to make my future.  My trying, learning, and knowing are my successes. Of course, this is all easy to write down and I do not minimize the feelings of crap, screw up, and mess up that I have and we all feel.  I just do not want to live a limited life of impossibilities; I want to live a limitless life of possibilities.  My aunt’s words have stuck with me: “You won’t know until you try. 
 
There is a fine balance of experimenting, taking risks, and trying even with the knowledge that we could fail and fall hard and when we actually do fail.  But, do we ever really fail if we tried?  What is failure and what is success?  Would you consider yourself a risk taker?  Are risk-taking and trying along the same lines?  When have you tried and failed miserably, only to get back up again and try again until you got it right? 
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,
Mary ;-)

 

Loser

It seems as though I am attending more funerals and memorial services lately.  Sure thing—I know by now that we all get older and death is a part of life and birth.  Nonetheless, death has a much more different and devastating impact on me now than when I was a little girl.  When another death is announced, my own mortality and the mortality of all the people I love overcome me with such deep and penetrating contemplations and emotions. 
 
June was particularly a bad a month of death.  In less than two weeks, two people who had significantly impacted my life had died.  One was a tragic, sudden, and unexpected.  The other, though expected, was just as upsetting and breaking.  It was a time of deep remorse and reflection. 
 
I attended one of the memorial services and got that suffocating itch in the back of my throat that resulted in fat tears rolling down my face and as though I may just explode from such sadness.  It did not help that I was by myself, but familiar faces associated with the dearly departed wrapped me up in warm hugs as we viewed pictures and reminisced about this person’s life.  For the other person that died, I woke up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat with a deep desire to find long-lost photos of her in her youth. 
 
With these two people, I thought about how I remembered them, how others remember them, and, most of all, how did they want to be remembered? Would they be happy with how they have been remembered and honored?   Did they want to be remembered for their ‘roles’ they had almost half their lives as a parent and/or as a mentor?  Did they want to be remembered for the money they made or the time and energy they gave to care deeply about those they loved and even strangers who could potentially or have become friends?  Did they ever felt like they were never good enough and had not accomplished what they sought out to or hoped to when growing up into growing old?  Did they die feeling peace with their lives and themselves? 
 
I think about the world and times we live in and how we measure success and accomplishments with how much money we make, a paying job, a place of our own, and having our own family or children.  I wonder if all these literal ‘things’ are how we want to be remembered?  In life, we will often get into dark places of a ‘rut’ of feeling we are ‘losers’ of not and never good enough and then fall into the clutches of our own worst enemy and critic with comparison as the ultimate thief to our joy and staying focused in the one life we must lead and live.   I think we remember others for the immeasurable and intangible through love of how they made us feel and the time and energy they gave, or even through pain and hurt.  We remember and see public successes, but not and never private struggles and all those times people may have felt inadequate and like losers.    We see their smiling and winsome faces and all their ‘accomplishments’ on the surface, but not their tears or feelings and thoughts of doubt.  It is hard to be human. 
 
We are truly our own worst enemy and critic and there are many moments we feel like losers.  We feel like we are never good enough and what we did was never good enough.  When have you felt like a loser?  Have you ever questioned what have you accomplished?  How come accomplishment and success seems to come in forms of the tangible materialism as money, a house/home, job, etc.?  What are some of your public successes that were laced with private struggles?  How do you wish to be remembered and honored? 
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-) 

Easy

I am a planner.  In fact, I would even say I am a pre-planner.  I am also an over thinker and over analyzer.  There have been so many times I wished for a temporary off-switch to my brain.  I have never made things easy or simple.  I have never taken the easy way out.  In fact, when there have been such easy moments and processes, I was suspicious that this was “too good to be true.”   Only in certain times is my abundantly hyped brain quieted, particularly when my body melts and soaks up water when I swim, when I write, when I cook/book and do anything food-related, when I am with my closest family and friends, and, most recently, when I am with animals.
 
Growing up, I was never an animal lover.  Probably because I was rarely exposed to animals.  We never had pets, mainly because I was immune suppressed and so there was an intense fear of exposure to germs and foreign substances from animals.  Keep away and I would be safe.  The funny thing about the immune system is keeping away ‘foreign’ can also weaken your immune system even more.  We need to be exposed to the foreign and uncertain to try to build up a stronger immune system, tolerance, strength of character, and understanding.  I am not saying that those who are immune suppressed as myself should go out there and be attacked by germs and the foreign, but I am saying that it is in small steps and slow exposure that we can build up the strength and the long-term endurance. 
 
I wish I could tell you what was the catalyst to me deciding to volunteer at an animal shelter. I think it was a combo catalyst of boredom and curiosity.  I fell in love with one cat after another, but kept putting it off saying that I would finally bring home and rescue a kitty cat in June.  In the meantime, the pre-planner in me went into high gear with researching possible cat transmitted diseases, kitty litter boxes, cat scratching posts, etc.  The months passed by and one by one, each cat I fell in love with was taken and homed by another.  It made me sad, but it made me happy.  It also made me learn about love. 
 
I asked the cat manager time and time again: “How do you continue to love all these cats when you know they will leave and you will lose them?”
 
She said: “I didn’t lose.  I loved.  I love.  The cats are going home to a better place to receive and give love.   How is that a loss?” 
 
Love is knowing that you will eventually lose or there will be a loss and it will hurt like hell and be as risky as heck, but to keep on loving and risk-taking because a little love goes a long way as the greatest gain.    
 
I never ever saw myself with a pet.  A living and moving creature in my comfortable and secure place. 
 
Then, Ricky came in the picture.  Ricky was not a shelter cat.   On the contrary, he was a friend of a friend.  All his basic needs were met: Food, Shelter, Kitty Litter, but the one thing that may be the greatest thing he needed was love.  In the two times that I spent time with him before bringing him to Casa del Wu, he jumped in my arms and stuck on to me like glue to curl up in a ball and soak up the lap and love that I wasn’t sure I could give.  But, I’ve learned that you can always give love.  And, anyone or anything living and breathing from the humans that walk on earth to the plants that sit in soil to the animals that roam are always happy to receive love.  We all need love.
 
I planned everything down to the wire for Ricky’s arrival.  I was shocked how ‘easy’ it was and how the timing worked out perfectly for Ricky’s arrival.  Rather than joy and ease how everything was falling into place so flawlessly, I was suspicious that this was way too good to be true.  Ricky thrived on the planner in me without any behavioral issues at all by using his kitty litter, gobbling up any food I put in front of him, curling up on my lap, playing with toys, and not scratching one piece of furniture.  What I didn’t plan was him keeping me awake for the past week and particularly the two days meowing up a storm and taking extra minutes and moments out of my time and day for cleanings and feedings.   In the first couple days, I was sleep deprived and stressed with trying to get used to a new routine and combine it with my old routine.  The mental bully was definitely out and about. 
 
My well-seasoned cat friends came to my rescue and chided me gently, “Shows you can plan and prepare for everything, but there is so much you can’t plan for.  It is really not so complicated, Mary.   The cat will tell you.  Animals tell you even more and honestly than humans do.  The two of you will get it.  It is easy.  It is easy to love once you are really willing and in it to love, learn, and give.”
 
So, I’ve been trying to be like Ricky.  I’ve been trying to make it easy.  To be easy.  To be simple.   There are still times it is not so easy and it sits with me that anything too overly easy and so immediate is not worthwhile in the long-term.  It is fine balance of easy and complicated.  As humans, I think we tend to make more complications than simplicities from our mind that can be the greatest bully or best friend.  Animals are happy with the simple and easy and can do and be just that.  When have you made matters much more complicated?  When have you taken the easy route?  Was it worth it in the end for you or did it mean even less or not as much?  Do you tend to over think and make much more complications than simplicities? Do you tend to over plan and did all the plans you had fall into place with the unplanned coming in and totally throwing you off? 

It is getting easier.  Ricky is happy with the easy and simple of food, shelter, a kitty litter box, and love.  I never thought an 8-pound furball could teach me so much about love, giving, and easy.  And, really, how easy and uncomplicated everything really can be and is. 
 
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-) 
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