This is my final post on this blog. While I have been absent from blogging publicly for a year (and admittedly guilty for not following through with our blog goals), I want to come back to tie everything in an open ending – I am graduating from college in a week.
Four years ago, when starting this blog, I wrote:
The idea is simple. We wish to discover, write, draw, talk about hobbies that shine like little lights in our lives. We also want to share with you stories and photos about people and things that we consider lovely enough to light up this world. Yes, this blog will make us live slower, enjoy more and love more.
Many things have changed (or rather, evolved) from this simple idea for the past four years, but at the same time, things seem unchanged. Both of us still use this simple philosophy to navigate through tangles of life, embracing its uncertainty and complexities with curiosity, depth, and appreciation. While I can’t speak for my friend, today, I still pondered over the delicate beauty of flowers’ petals in an unusually late spring. In that still silence of the inner peace, warm rays of afternoon light pierced through busy beats of life, surrendering me into appreciative moments of photographic memories. And my heart remains pure and passionate.
I started out this blog, or rather college, wanting to be a writer, reader, photographer, video-maker. I ended college, aspiring to be someone else – a more whole self with all of those identities mixed together for a particular purpose I found meaningful and worthwhile. It is not that I no longer want to be a writer, a photographer, or a video-maker. But I have learned the for what of all these skills. The answers to these for what are what move me – keeping me up at night, pushing me to move fast, overcoming those little disappointing moments and going forward.
And by no doubt, it will help me grow. I am, just like many things in life, work in progress.
I recently read The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and it is unexpectedly a read that responds to where I am in life (it is an important book – go read if you haven’t). I have been struggling internally for the past six years with my identity in America, and this book helps me see through my dark moments of uncertainties and embrace my own limits. This is me, I realized, I have an identity. I have never paid attention to how little I know about myself, because I have always tried to be spontaneous – a more socially acceptable way of saying that I want to break away from the conventional, reject social assigned identities and not be tied down to any social groups. I didn’t want to be seen only as a student, a millennial, a woman, an international student, a Vietnamese, an Asian female, or a Communications professional. I want to be seen as me, when I am with you. But in that exciting process of trying to be different selves and let people bring out different sides of me, I also don’t know who I am and accidentally reject other people’s identities. I want to see them with more than what their identities with me tell. And then along the way, I get hurt, feel lonely, hurt people, get confused, and think with no direction.
But that is okay. For all the learning and relationships that have become a by-product, or rewards, of this ongoing process, I am grateful and appreciative.
All this talk about confusion aside, on a more simple note, I have found Anne of Green Gables, nature, Passenger music, children, and simple kindness to be my source of inspiration.
…Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
And I have also found people who I learn, unlearn, and re-learn about. My best friend, the person whose identity is a part of mine and mine of her, for the past 8 years, even though we haven’t seen each other in person 90% the duration of our friendship. Our deep friendship is simple and kind. I hope I have been as good of a friend to you as you are to me. My parents with whom I will forever be indebted to and respect, while working through our complicated differences and delicate moments of closeness. My longtime friends, who have remembered me in ways I don’t remember myself, and stay with me while loving me in their own ways. My mentors who I respect and love with my sincere heart, because they have taught me once about my worth, and what it means to be a growing self. My brother who had no idea that his presence has changed my life forever. I would never be who I am today without you. My grandparents and family, who I won’t be able to give back to as much as they have given me. I choose to give back to the world because I am indebted to you. My new friends who I have shared a part of myself with while being unsure which part is me, and they sincerely appreciate me for reasons I haven’t fully captured. I want to keep you, so I can share more parts of myself, and grow together with you. Different people who have taught me that we can change the world in our own way. Whether it is through helping people directly, writing, listening, caring deeply only about those who matter, sacrificing our own ambitions to take care of your children, being kind, smiling at a stranger, having good thoughts or being happy. We all contribute in some way, even when we don’t know it.
I will by no doubt keep creating even when I am no longer publishing on this blog. For those who have been following, I write this for you.