Aries Midheaven

I guess it’s time to reflect.

It’s been quite a journey, this past year. Revelations, separations, and far too many nights spent listening to subliminals on YouTube, praying that I’ll wake up in the morning with a straighter nose. Yes, I admit, the last one is kind of odd, but it’s pretty telling of my past 365 days around the sun.

There’s something to be said about growth, isn’t there? Little by little, the Universe sent me moments of growth, often masked as hurdles I was far too scared to tackle (but I took them on anyway). I wrote poems about open doors masked as stop signs, and the funny thing is, I’m still experiencing them today. Because that’s growth, isn’t it? It doesn’t stop. And that’s not a bad thing, not really. A scary thing, sure, but definitely not bad. We never really stop growing, and I think that’s the hardest notion for me to wrap my little head around.

I was so confident going into this fall, riding the high of this past year (I was a new person, didn’t you know.) Was it naïve of me to assume that I was better than before? No, not at all. Because I was. But I ignorant to the idea that I wasn’t finished in my growth, and those launching pads disguised as speed bumps were still there, hidden on the horizon.

This past year had taught me to love myself. Whether that was through consuming 3 albums by a group of 7 inspirational men, all of which possessing that exact same message, or through extracting my heart from situations that did not serve it–I focused on me and what my soul needed. I made life-long friendships, went on adventures 2016 Jasmine couldn’t even fathom, and sought out the pieces of this existence that made me feel alive. I really took care of this sunshine heart. Truly.

But where I failed myself was in thinking that this was the end of that journey. It wasn’t, and, even as I cross the finish line in my current marathon, it still won’t be over. Growth is just that–continuing to get better, improve, and reach new heights. Growth is not stagnant, not in the least. So why did I ever think it was?

I’m in this position where I have to constantly remind myself of this. It’s a daily struggle not to revert to my old ways, compare myself to others, belittle my achievements in order to fit a social norm or rule. But I can’t let 2017 Jasmine back into my life. I love her, flawed and all, but I can’t let the position she was in a year ago shift the focus from where she is now. I’m stronger than that. You know it and I, somewhere in this deep heart of mine, I know it, too.

Remember that.

Until next time,

Jasmine.

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Thoughts when the third eye opens

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past lately. I’m not quite sure if it’s the sentimental lingerings of the passing Cancer season, or just the emotional turmoil of the upcoming eclipse/new moon in Aquarius, but something about me keeps looking back to “the good ol’ days”.

It’s often times like these, where big, life-altering changes loom in the distance that my subconscious needs to take the reins for a bit. It’s almost as if it’s trying to protect me from what’s coming (uncertainty, fear, anxiety, etc.–you know the drill) and, instead, is leading me down an even darker path towards a full-on emotional breakdown. As someone who has lived with depression since high school, I’ve become all-too familiar with my triggers and, lemme tell you, nostalgia is one of them. Perhaps its my Cancer rising or my Pisces moon, but all I know is that thinking about the past makes me even more resentful of the future.

But that’s not how it should be, is it? Yes, the past was fabulous and fantastic and all of my favourite things packed into one, but aren’t those adjectives based on my subjective recollection? How come, when I think about where I used to be, I don’t conjure up images of the year and a half feud Nina and I had? How come I gloss over the eating disorder I struggled with for 4 years? Why do I fail to remember my struggles with friends for half a decade? When I remember the awesome trip I took to Germany after graduation, it’s only images of site-seeing in Berlin, eating pretzels on the train, and bike rides at night the flood my mind. It isn’t the awkward goodbye at the airport upon my departure, where, after weeks of passive-aggressive behaviour, my friend and I realized we maybe weren’t as close as we thought. Nor when I recall my grade 10 year, where memories of falling in love, experiencing high school, and new friends are the only still-frames I can see. Where are the memories of having my heart broken? Fighting with best friends? Feeling painfully insecure?

You see, our memory holds beautiful, heart-shaped but awfully rose-coloured glasses over our mind’s eye. My mum calls it “selective memory” and for years I resented the term, but now I can’t seem to stop agreeing with it. We remember what we want, and toss away what doesn’t serve us. Now this might be all and well for most, but for me, it’s detrimental. The past calls to me, makes me long for something I literally cannot have and that tears me apart. But I don’t want the past. Not really, not the real, literal past that I lived. I only long for the good parts, and if we take that apart and dissect it, then what comes into light is a facade. This is not real. This is not the truth I lived, the life I had, the experiences I went through. These are bits and pieces, like cutting up a magazine to make a collage that only shows what you want to see. It’s not real.

The only truth is the truth I am living now, and the truth I want to live in the future. I can’t control the past, despite what my memory leads me to believe, but I can control how I feel and act in the months and years to come. Yes, my past was great and amazing, and those moments of pure joy will always be true. But longing for something that cannot be serves no one. I don’t have time-travelling abilities, and, quite frankly, if I did, I definitely wouldn’t be going back to visit 15-year-old Jasmine because I’d be too busy having a café latte with Audrey and Freddie in Paris right about now. But I do have the ability to shape what’s ahead of me, and so that’s what I’m going to do. Full force, right into Leo season and beyond.

Stay beautiful, friends.

Jasmine.

Red Pen: Pt. 4

6 months, one awkward dating announcement, and a 24-hour break-up later and there we were, saying goodbye for the two month break. You were off to summer school and I to start my new job at McDonald’s, a feat I was more than proud of because finally I’d be able to have more money for clothes (I was a little fashionista back then). It still felt like a dream, and I couldn’t help but imagine waking up one morning to find that it was. But it wasn’t. You actually did like me, and you weren’t going anywhere (well, emotionally speaking).

I wrote a poem about that day in July when we met at the duck pond by your house. I remember your eyes the clearest–they were golden that afternoon, a colour I had never seen them shine before. It had been about 2 weeks that we hadn’t seen each other, which given our current situation I think is hilarious. This was the longest we had gone apart, and for a new relationship, it was major. It’s funny how far we’ve come, isn’t it?

I remember arriving late, and seeing you, your hair grown out and your worn Aeropostale shirt complimenting your tanned skin. I ran. I had missed you so much and the feeling of seeing you again was overwhelming. I dove into your arms, just like I have each time we’ve been apart, when the Pacific Ocean has decided to separate us in its evil ways. I think about that day, that first time seeing you after so long, each time I see you again. Whether it’s arriving back in the True North after a semester away, or landing in your home country to be reunited once again. We’ve been apart so many times that they’ve begun to blend into each other, but that first time will always be distinct. You, me, a couple of Canadian geese and the hot mid-summer sun above. Just like that time we kissed in the rain on Valentine’s, that moment in our hometown will forever be with me, no matter what side of any ocean we decide to end up on. Because, just like time and time again, I know your arms are waiting.

Red Pen: Pt. 3

I don’t think I could ever forget that night. It’s engrained into my mind and quite possibly into my being. Sitting in front of that computer screen, the glow of white against the black backdrop of a 2:30 am living room. I had to turn the sound off because that damn messenger alert tone could wake up the dead. My heart was racing because you kept pushing for an answer, something I didn’t want to give. There was only two ways this could go and both of them were equally as scary. I knew it, you knew it, hell, even Nina knew it.

You asked. You, the lovable coward that you are, gave me an ultimatum, one that, looking back now, wasn’t the most chivalrous move you could have made. But bringing forth that confession was a risk that I’m glad I took.

You. I liked you. Oh, how the universe must have been laughing at me in that moment. I had no idea what was running through your mind but I knew that you, too, were laughing. You had known this, known it for months now and for some reason you chose December 2nd at half past two in the morning to confront it. I’ll never know why, but I guess the stars told you that this was it–this was the perfect moment to lay it all out on the table.

I waited for your reply with tears streaming down my face. Panic, anger, fear; all of it stained my cheeks as I waited for you to finish typing.

Kyujin: lol
I felt like throwing up.

Kyujin: I know lol
I was ready to log off and never show my face at school again.

1 minute passed. Then 2. I didn’t understand–why had you forced me to say this? To make fun of me? To ditch me like everyone else? Dramatics aside, I had never known you to be this cruel.

Kyujin: I like you too

I screamed. I froze. I smiled. I almost threw up again but for a completely different reason. Even now as I type this, the feeling emerges in my stomach. I’ll never forget it I think, as long as I live. God, just the feeling of my emotions being matched by you, by my feelings being met by you. It’s indescribable.

I ran to my mum’s room, screaming “KYUJIN LIKES ME! HE LIKES ME BACK”. My mum’s agitated but pleased voice telling me “that’s great sunshine but you should go to bed–you have a presentation tomorrow”. But in that moment it didn’t matter; the looming fatigue that tomorrow would bring stood nothing against the sheer thrill and wholeness that your confession gave me. I would face tomorrow’s exhaustion, coffee in hand, with the most amazing smile I’d ever mustered before because finally, finally I had you.

Red Pen: Pt. 2

Let’s fast-forward a bit. Yes we were friends, and yes that friendship progressed into best friendship, resulting in many before and after school discussions about every topic under the sun. This meant the occasional hug, hand brushing, and one infamous rainy day where you walked me home because I forgot my umbrella (if you forgot this you’re dead to me). I know I always claim it was Halloween when I knew I liked you, but that is a lie (I know you hate lies). Realistically, it was one random night at youth when I finally realized I had feeling for you. I don’t remember the exact day, but late September for sure, when we got into our small groups, we started talking about love, relationships, and God’s plan for our love lives. And despite all of this, all I could think about was walking past the room you group was in “by accident” and running into you. I think this was the same night that you drove in front of Maria and I on our way to the church, and I instantly knew it was you, as I proudly pronounced that I “could recognize the back of your head”. This was not some close friendship—I was falling for you and your stupid ASK jeans and worn out American Eagle shirts. You, who still had yet to master the art of the razor with your stubble, and contagious smile. You saved me.

 

My crush on you made me quickly distance myself from you, which I regret now. I was just so afraid of rejection, and given my track record with boys, there was a reason for this. Maybe that’s how I deal with things in my own way—by pushing them to the side and distancing myself. I’m sorry for that.

 

So no, it wasn’t Halloween. But that night, the night we were walking through the woods, when you grabbed my hand—that night will be engrained in my memory for the rest of my life. My heart beating a mile a minute, my stomach in my throat. I didn’t want you to let go. As soon as we exited out of the forest, you let go and I think my heart dropped the pavement below. I knew I liked you, but that physical contact confirmed any doubt I had had in my mind. It also didn’t help you looked extra handsome that night, even with your face paint. That night will forever be one of my favourites.

Red Pen Pt. 1

You know that story, about the red string of fate? The invisible red ribbon that ties us to our soulmates, the one that’s looped around our pinkies and sits there, out of sight but always in mind? Well, I don’t believe in it. No, you see our story of fate isn’t a red ribbon, or string, or even twine—it’s a red pen. It was that day in tenth grade, sitting in a stifling hot classroom, white sheets of paper being passed around as students who hated to admit their summers were over murmured about the lake, their flings, middle school, and starting new. As Mr. Chadsey greeted us with his elated voice and even brighter smile, a panic struck me as I looked at my paper, no writing utensil in sight. Maybe it was the nerves of a new school or the excitement of seeing my peers again after so long, but the thought of bringing my pencil case to the first day of school has completely slipped my mind.

 

And then there was you, sitting in the seat beside me. I had remembered you from leadership camp, where they stuck all 30 of our poor souls on a creepy little island adjacent to what I knew was a haunted power plant and made us “bond”. You were the guy with the cute lisp who had punched a volleyball over the net and claimed it was “your thing” (which you boldly pointed out the moment a certain Swiss exchange student copied your move to impress the cute girls around you. And no, I’m not talking about Heidi, OK. She’s irrelevant to this story and I’m still touchy about it so let’s move on). To be honest, I did know your name because I remember Eugenia mentioning it and, back then, I remembered Korean names easier than English ones. Plus you were pretty much the only Asian guy there so it was a little easy to figure out who “Kyujin” was. I was nervous because I was very sure you didn’t remember me, nor would you know my name (though I was pretty sure Chadsey had said it earlier but who knows if you were even paying attention), but sometimes you just gotta take a risk and ask for a pen. Desperate times call for desperate measures. But boy, did that risk pay off.

 

I remember tentatively looking at you, and in the nicest voice I could muster uttering “Umm, Kyujin, can I… borrow a pen?” You wordlessly looked at me (which, knowing you now is very uncharacteristic of you so… please explain), looked at your pen, and placed it down beside me. Red. It was a red pen which, though unexpected, is where our fate began. Not a chance encounter, or a string that binds us. It was a red pen. Funny that you, a Korean, would give me a red pen to sign my name in but stranger things have happened. Maybe this uncharacteristic thing was the universe’s joke. It’s funny how the world works, and how our lives can become connected by a simple, out of character moment that seals the deal. So welcome to our story: the red pen of fate.

Pt. 6

It’s funny how a song can spark a fire. One minute, I’m sitting there, head in my hands about to cry over some meaningless friendship, and the next a song comes on shuffle that changes the course of my future. Yes, you heard me–a song. By my favourite artist, no less. Sitting there, I suddenly had the epiphany that only I can direct the course of my happiness and my life. If I decide to move on, only I hold that power. I could sit there, feeling sorry for myself and refusing to move on, or I could pack up my emotional baggage, strap on my backpack, and move forward. Change my SNS, turn on a new track, contact a new person, and go do things that make me happy. It’s that simple.

Wow, it’s really that simple, isn’t it?

Pt. 5

I used to think my life would be something straight out of Sex and the City. Happy nights, a good friend group, great clothes, a writing career in fashion—you know, the good stuff. But somehow, I’m found myself smack dab in the middle of Catcher in the Rye. Alone, confused, and not really knowing what direction to take. I have begun to lose a passion for the things I love, like writing, editing, blogging. What is this? I know I suffer from depression, but this is something to a greater extent. It’s like I have bursts of motivation, those fleeting moments where sparks are ignited and oil is burned, but then, inevitably, the moments of lowness follow. And they stay… and they stay some more… and they just… don’t go away. The ratio of productive to uninspired is completely unbalanced. It’s not like I don’t want to do those things. I know I have to and I know they’re beneficial. I like doing them, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I’m not happy. I am happy, trust me. But it’s something else… Something I can’t quite pin down. My head and my heart are not on the same page right now and I don’t have the strength to flip through chapters to get us there. I know what I have to do to get that sex and the city life, but my inner Holden Caulfield is angstily sitting this one out. Again. For the fourth time this week. If this is the quarter life crisis my friends told me about, where do I check out? I don’t need this in my life, especially not at the moment where my future is on the line and the decisions I make now finally, after all these years, have consequences. Not now, Holden. Not now. 

Pt. 4

It’s kinda funny now I’m just never going to get that part of my life back. Like sometimes I actually have to take a moment and realize high school is over. Hell, even university is over, and the ability to go back to post secondary is posing an immediate challenge that my fragile existence cannot handle right now. Sometimes I wonder if I could go back, you know? Like I hate admitting that those times in my life are over. Sleepovers, obsessing over vampires, slushies, and late night McDonalds runs. They’re over. Innocence, ignorance, and youth… while the latter of the three isn’t entire at it’s end, the former 2 are gone. This thing called adulthood has instead taken their place, with responsibility, courage, and… realism. I hate that word. Maybe it’s the pisces in me that rejects it so much, but I refuse to let it dictate my perspective on the world. I can’t grow up when I was raised in an environment that taught me to dream until your dreams come true, or to chase after adventures and literally loath the idea of getting old (and, you know, that a little fairy dust will make you fly). I can’t accept this mundane fate. I just can’t.

Pt. 3

It tasted like chocolate, this daze I was in. Momentarily inspired, I thought hell, it couldn’t hurt to put pen to paper and ignore the buzz around me. Dings and bells were utterly distracting. It’s always those moments where, when you’re really trying to focus, that you just… can’t. Whether it’s studying for an exam, writing a paper, or listening to someone’s breakup story. You really want to care. You really, truly do, but it’s always in those instances that everything could be more interesting than here. The coffee cup ring on the table, the pillow’s threads you’re mindlessly picking at, or the intricate French music playing in the background. Distractions are like little devils waiting to pray on your innocence, your momentarily diverted attention, and they reel you in with their little pitchforks. Damn you, feisty things.

I smacked my face trying to wake up. Why is it always so damn hard to wake up? In the morning, waking up is impossible. The bed is too warm and work is too far to actually put two feet on the floor and make my way to the vanity. In life, waking up from your blissful daydreams is just as hard. Like in that moment. The sweetness of my cloudy state was intoxicating. But something needed to be done because I couldn’t just live my life like that.

I felt a hand on my back, a touch that jolted my tiny soul out of my subconscious and back into my unfortunate reality.