Ngày cuối của tháng Một

Giây phút mình thấy cả thế giới của mình như sắp sụp đổ, mình nhận ra mọi thứ vẫn diễn ra theo đúng chu kỳ của nó. Mình bảo mình buồn không có nghĩa mình được miễn bài kiểm tra ngày mai. Mình bảo mình buồn không có nghĩa mình được miễn làm, miễn việc. Thế giới đang diễn ra một cách vô cùng bình thường.

Mình nhận ra:

1. Câu chuyện làm mình đau lòng chẳng là gì cả – Nó chẳng khiến ai bận lòng ngoài chính mình!

2. Có buồn cũng không thay đổi được gì cả, nhỉ? Vẫn phải để người khác thấy mình bỏ 100% vào những việc mình làm, vẫn phải gắng gượng tươi cười, gắn gượng chào hỏi.

Mình thấy tay mình làm những chuyện ngu ngốc. Mình không bao giờ muốn đọc lại tin nhắn cũ, vì mình sợ mình sẽ cứ thế mà yếu lòng, mà khóc và khóc thật nhiều. Mình không dám đóng lại những thứ đã cũ, nhưng vì vẫn còn kẻ hở nên mình cứ len lén nhìn vào, chút rồi chút.

Rồi lại mềm lòng.

Mình trân trọng những câu chuyện đã đi qua. Mình ghét bản thân mình vì những lời hứa chưa kịp thực hiện.

– Anh chỉ em cái này đi. Em trả công.

– Ừa, trả anh một buổi mười cái ôm.

– Một.

– Anh chỉ em, anh quyết định.

Mọi thứ trở nên hỗn độn dần. Cứ ngỡ sẽ dễ dàng nhưng lại đau đớn đến lạ kỳ. Cả hai tụi mình đều vậy, nhỉ. Tụi mình cứ tưởng sẽ vượt qua được, nhưng từng giây trôi qua là một phần sức lực bị tước khỏi lớp cơ này, mệt mỏi và vô định.

Mình ngồi sụp xuống. Sợ sệt đến mức chỉ muốn che mặt và gào lên.

Mình đã làm gì thế này?

Sự nhẹ nhõm ban đầu được thay thế bằng những tảng đá đè nặng. Một nhịp thở tốn ba bốn lần sức lực.

Mình đã chọn gì thế này?

Người mà mình nghĩ sẽ chia sẻ được và hiểu mình trong chuyện này nhất, là người mình vừa chia tay.

Buồn cười vậy đó. Một mối quan hệ mà bạn nghĩ hai người hiểu nhau nhất lại là mối quan hệ chỉ có thể kết thúc bằng việc làm như hai ta là người xa lạ hoàn toàn.

Green garden

The bus engine stopped in the middle of the street, and we all were told to wait for about thirty minutes before the “rescuing” bus come picking us up. I live half an hour away from the main bus station.

I did not say anything. I did not complain, even though I was worried that I might miss a apart of my Geology lecture. Last time I checked, I left the class 5 minutes early, and I failed to answer a question on the quiz.

Chaos. People tried to talk, as though they could fix the problem by words. People spoke so loud that I could hardly hear myself. But in that moment, I was surprised seeing how peaceful I was. That was strange of me. I would not be calm when these things happen. I would try to blame someone for making me late for class. I would tell those people to be quiet. Now I imagine all sorts of things that I could do. But I had remained in peace.

It is o.k. for the bus to stop. It is o.k. to wait for thirty minutes. Everything is o.k. I just need to be patient. And patience brings me joy and peace.

Lifting my eyes off my laptop, I looked out of the bus’s window and witnessed how beautiful the sky was. It was a blessing for me to see how day time extends every day. I leave the house at seven, and while before I could see stars shining on that dark background, now I see that gorgeous pink sky. It is time for me to feel happier, and complaining about uncontrollable events like out-of-service buses does not help.

Many of my friends, when they pray for me, they say they imagine me being in a green garden or surrounded by trees. They even saw daikon, and this trigger my curiosity – why daikon?

Daikon always reminds me of a story I read many, many times when I was a kid. There was this family with seven members, and their lives depended on a farm. Dad was in charge for taking care of the farm and the whole family. One day, Dad came out to pick up daikon on the farm. However, he couldn’t make it move. He asked his oldest son, his other sons, and then his wife, his daughters to help. But nothing happened. At last, his rabbit, dog, and cats also helped pick up daikon. It shaked slightly, and eventually a huge, huge daikon appeared from the ground. They, the family, could have never predicted that it was this big, for its appearance above the ground depicted it as a weak plant.

When I think of this story, I think of how great power might be well hidden. There is something deeper, deeper, that not many people know about, and moreover not many people are persistent enough to try their best in revealing it.

Nature always brings up in me that feeling of admiring, of love and peace.

This is a photo my American teacher provided in class. Small plants like prairie plants seem to have no meaning, but, as it turns out, their roots are pleasant to the soil. When America experienced industrialization, these landscapes were underestimated – people got rid of it and made way for corn crops.

But they never know how this root system was the heart of the ground.

I always think the picture above is meaningful to my life, as well as the story about daikon and the small green garden that my friend thought about when they prayed for me.

I always think of myself as someone who has nothing on the inside, and even though I know I should be humble, I believe that me on the inside makes the difference. At this point of my life, I want to interpret myself as bearing richness on the inside, and that I ought to trust myself – believing that I have that ability to pursue God’s plan for me.

I also want to interpret myself as that root system, connecting others together. The message is great.

While I am small.

I don’t know what I have in me. I don’t know what I am capable doing. I don’t know anything, and the unknown stops me from giving my best.

I am now not the green garden, but rather a leafless one, because it is winter. Countless times I thought a gray garden will have nothing to offer, but I suppose it is waiting for spring time to blossom. Life cycle. Leaves fall to the ground. But soon they will be lively.

.

.

These thoughts, to me, are fragmented. I wanted to write something new for days now, but I could never finish one draft. Today, I decided to just go with it. It is o.k. if the words are falling apart from each other.

It’s just that… At least I have something. Flowers will blossom when spring comes along.

write and recharge my battery

I have been…

Running more lately.

Reading more lately.

Working out more lately.

I am becoming better in many things – finishing homework before bedtime, being on time for work and classes, being open to advice from others, and changing those few bad habits bit by bit every day.

But the weather has not been nice to me. It takes all my energy, leaving me with this emotion mess. But I assume there are still ways to get out of it without moving to somewhere warmer.

Be optimistic.

That sounds counterintuitive, I know! But isn’t that all we need to be happy? It’s truly hard for an introvert like me to work in groups and talk with people at work and class all day long. I always imagine that every second when I open my mouth to speak, my energy slips out of my body.

That does not mean I will lock myself up forever to preserve my energy. I think after a while, a long while of encountering people for different reasons, I have learned to expand my limitation. I still need time to think through things before sharing them with teammates, but I also learned to initiate conversations in groups. Those “turn to your neighbors and discuss this problem” no longer seems to be annoying, but rather a way for me to use my energy sufficiently to learn from friends, I suppose.

Today, I read this great, great paper of a guy in his English Composition class. What I loved about it was how his sentences were fragmented, but they also connected so well. The structure was not something teachers teach at school, but it’s how he communicate with English, with the world. And that fascinated me.

Today, I realized that there is always this feeling in me that bothers me so much. That I am different stops me from telling those who care for me my thoughts. I always assume people will judge me for who I am and for what I do.

I never get to test if that is true. I might be able to find joy in those moments of sharing, but may I have a little bit more time? More time for me to process my thoughts, to be sure of what I think, to keep those precious thinkings for myself.

Because they’re all I have.

Those words you said, they hurt me. I would love to walk instead of taking the Uber, because I think it’s a great way to be closer with nature and with my mind. Yes, you might say I make way more money than you and I am stingy, but forty-five minutes walking under that cozy weather energizes me. I know there were other ways to do things, but I wanted to use that walking-running time to talk more with my housemate. Perspectives are dangerous and are something you cannot judge. So I beg you, for once, just listen to me, and that’s it.

Being nice is a choice

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I’d like to share some Bible verses that I really, really love. I am inspired by these, and I want to keep on living my life following God’s words, his words in these verses specifically.


14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:14-21

For a long time, I always believe that being a kid has many limitations. I always had to ask for permission whenever I want to do anything. I couldn’t work, for back in my home country, you cannot work until you’re eighteen. I couldn’t do so many things that I wanted to be bigger, although I understood these come with responsibilities.

For a long time, I haven’t had this feeling of wanting to be younger, to be such a kid that doesn’t care much about her own benefits. Being nice, to kids, is a natural thing to do. It is not a choice, it’s a must.

But it is also true that kids don’t know how to forgive. They can care for others, but it’s harder for them to not revenge when being hurt. I recall memories when I was in middle school, I wasn’t forgiven when I say something wrong, and I neither set in peace with others when they looked down on me.

Being nice to adults is a choice. And each person chooses different things. But I think adults also have a choice to forgive that kids don’t. God said befriend with your enemies, and let him revenge for you. He is justice, so He knows what He needs to do. When I heard that, I think it was a blessing. I realized how much love God has given me, when He takes all my concerns, my enemies, my anger, leaving me with peace and joy among others.

It’s hard to be nice when you’re hurt. I understand that.

But let us think of it this way: bitterness brings us no good. Our minds would be filled with negative thoughts that might prevent us from living our own lives. Bitterness associates directly with health problems. Bitterness stops us from seeing the beauty in others, as well as others seeing beauty in our souls.

And the good news is: God offers to take them all for us! How nice is it?

So now, would you leave it all to him and continue to live your own free-revenge life. Be joyful and be loving, because the best way to get rid of your enemies is to become friends with them.

The Mansion

I asked for more hours of work, until I realized I couldn’t take no more. Things truly seem to be always easier said than done. When I was younger, I told myself so convincingly that I would only get paid for a job that I love, and I would keep on studying no matter the circumstances. Until the day I understand that was a hard promise to keep.

I worked 17 hours last week. I did not have enough time to hang out with friends or even to call my parents, because I was either at work or in classes. I thought I was so productive that I hoped I could do this every week from now on. Therefore, when I looked at my permanent work schedule for the rest of the quarter and saw my name appeared less with less shifts, I was disappointed. For a moment, I doubted my performance at work, thinking that I was not good enough that my hours should be cut to, leaving space for other better readers.

But I never knew that was a relief God gave me. As in the book of James,

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

Proverb 16: 1

We humans make mistakes. We try to do everything that we like, but we never even once in doubt if the things are proper. But God does know. I commit myself to him, being humble and patient. I was upset with working less, but I realized he has a plan.

Two days ago was the very first time I went to a Club Fair at my school, and I was fascinated about the diversity of clubs – from academic ones such as physics, programming, or business clubs, to cultural ones like Spanish, Vietnamese, or Japanese association groups. I never realized I have missed out to much that now I don’t know whether I have time to make it up – I will be leaving here this June. Therefore, working less seems to be a good sign, indicating that I will have more and more spare time to go to those interesting clubs.

For one extra hour of work, I obviously will get paid some extra bucks. But does it worth it though? I discussed this with my friend, and he said that spending his teenage years just to work and study, missing out everything that is meaningful, isn’t worth it. Life is more than that. It is more than black and white – it’s colorful with things we can do outside of classrooms and offices.

Black and white and more than that.

I have always thought I would work for the rest of my life, so it is now better for me to be wild, be crazy. For a long time until I actually get an on-campus job, that was what I have always been thinking about. And you can see how my belief has changed in reality. And I am trying to get out of that.

Perhaps on these teenage days, I should be trying my best, but not for money or for materials. It is the time for me to try my best in gaining experience, spreading love, and building my understanding. Every day, I remind myself to choose love, generosity, and knowledge, because I know, with these tools, I will be prosper, I will be wealthy, living in a mansion of love and care, for others and for myself.

a battle

Writing, to me, is a way to keep track of events and also to make my thoughts become real. I believe that words are sincere. When I write, my personality reveals on papers, and it becomes so vivid that I am afraid people will see me and judge me. What if they are so smart that they think I am childish? What if they will laugh at me because of what I write? These questions were why my social media account is full of notes but has no “likes” and “shares”, for I set them private, and why I had a blog for a long time, but no one ever knew about it. Words were so sincere that the idea of sharing them was like putting myself to trial.

Until I went to high school.

I was a part of a literature honor program after two years devoting my time to Mathematics and Science. Up to that point, I had learned to write just through reading and personal writing experience. However, here, any writing styles were valued, as long as they convey the fully author’s messages. For class assignments, we would put on papers thoughts about intriguing topics such as what I would name the classroom or what it felt like to be an adult. Then, we secretly traded our papers with other classmates to get feedback, and I was surprised about how most of my friends were honest about what they wrote and appreciated my writing by giving good reviews. When getting feedback on how to change my tone or how to put more details to make words become appealing, I found myself growing more in this.

And here came the hard part – the battle between my mind and my heart.

On papers, I would affirm people about what I appreciated, while I also wrote what I did not feel comfortable about. I realized sending letters to others was a great way to tell them what I thought they could improve more. Therefore, for the very first time in my life, I wrote a long note for a teammate who did not cooperate with the rest of the team on an important class project. I revised the letter time after time, making sure my language was appropriate and that I was making the group environment better instead of breaking our bonds. But giving it to someone seemed to be impossible.

Should I do that?

The mind said, “Yes, you should tell him what you truly think.”

While my heart was roaring, “No, you will become a bad person in his mind!”

It took me a week after witnessing my group project making no progress to eventually give it to him. My heart pumped fast and my face turned red when waiting for him to finish the letter. Seeing his facial expression, I felt even more nervous. I did not know what he would react, and I was so scared that, for a moment, I kept thinking I would never write to anyone else.

The result, turned out, was he thanked me for pointing out what he did wrong while still showing my full respect. Meanwhile, he also shared his personal reasons for not doing well, and I became more understanding of his situation – his grandfather recently passed away.

After that event, there have been countless cases when I think more than twice about sharing my online journals. I decided to send close friends the link to my personal blog after months of hesitating. Eventually, I realized that for those who love being a part of my life, going through my daily journals is a way to both knowing more about my deeper thoughts as well as “talking” to me despite different time zones and conflicting schedules. The battle between my mind and my heart, between sharing and hesitating about the potency of being judged, ends with my mind won. I came to believe that sharing was a way to grow – for only with others’ feedbacks that I could write better – and to “turn my tongue seven times before speaking”.

Chuyện một buổi chiều không lạnh lắm

Những ngày tâm trạng lại lên xuống như hôm nay, mình ngồi lại tự ngẫm nghĩ xem mình đã làm gì và đã được gì. Và mình kết luận, mình đã cố gắng, rất cố gắng, cho những thứ mà đến cuối cùng mình thật sự không rõ hình dạng. Mình cũng không biết những thứ đó là gì luôn.

Một cuộc tình không nhìn thấy đích đến.

Những tình bạn phai mờ dần đi.

Sự nghiệp mà bản thân mình còn không biết nên bắt đầu từ đâu.

Mông lung và xa vời đến kỳ lạ. Vậy mà lâu lắm rồi mình không nhận ra.

Còn mình thì mệt mỏi. Một ngày đầy ắp những dự định mình muốn làm, những nhiệm vụ mình phải hoàn thành, và những mối bận tâm chiếm hết suy nghĩ. Mình miệt mài làm hết tất cả, chỉ để khi dừng lại ngẫm nghĩ, chẳng rõ mình còn ai ở bên mình hay không.

Mình bỗng nhận ra quyết định quan trọng nhất của bản thân, mình đã quên nói với những người mà mình coi là quan trọng nhất. Hay vì chính bản thân mình cũng đang hoài nghi liệu họ có còn đủ quan trọng hay không. Mình không biết nữa.

Mọi thứ mờ nhạt dần. Thế giới của mình dường như chỉ có một mình mình trong đó. Dường như chỉ thật sự có một mình mình thôi. Mình thức dậy, chờ đợi một vài lời hỏi thăm, nhưng cuối cùng lại quay cuồng trong mớ hỗn độn của công việc và bài tập về nhà. Làm để rồi nghĩ lại, ai cũng sẽ chết thôi, làm nhiều vậy thì được gì.

Tương lai mà mình mong muốn cứ mờ nhạt, mờ nhạt dần.

Hôm nay có người hỏi mình, ai là người mình hay chia sẻ mọi thứ nhất. Mình nghĩ rất nhiều rồi bịa đại hai cái tên, nhưng không có cái tên nào mình tin là thân thuộc nhất. Mọi người rồi cũng mờ nhạt đi như chính tương lai của mình vậy. Định nghĩa là bạn thân, người thân, mình thật sự không biết.

Bên trong mình đầy ắp những suy nghĩ riêng tư, những hoài nghi khiến mình trở thành một người rất khác với những người còn lại. Những câu chuyện trong đầu mình khiến mình trở nên cô lập, khiến những mối quan hệ của mình với mọi người dần mất đi tiếng nói chung. Mình mệt mỏi.

Hôm nọ mẹ gọi, và mẹ nói đi nói lại bảo mình đi học đi, mẹ đi ngủ. 3 lần, nhưng lần nào mình cũng tiếp tục nói và nói. Bây giờ mình nhận ra mình đã không nói chuyện với ai thân mật như vậy trong một thời gian lâu lắm rồi.