It’s May again, the month I dread, and every year for the past five years, I’ve written similar blog posts for Mother’s Day.
2012 is exactly the same.
Five years after my Mother’s death, I have nothing new to report, no wisdom to drop, no life changing epiphanies about dealing with grief which sounds somber, but really not. The death of a parent is tricky, but even more, confusing. There is no one magical formula or guideline, step-by-step instructions, something – anything, on how to feel, what to feel and why.
For the longest time, I thought there was something wrong with me. There were no unanswered questions, zero regrets. No confusion, extreme sadness, just logic. My Mother was no longer on the planet and I immediately dealt with that reality which didn’t seem…normal. So I questioned myself. What’s wrong with me? Do I not know how to feel? Am I out of touch with my emotions? Is my coping mechanism abnormal?
I would search deep within for indicators of hidden feelings but nothing. I was simply dealing with my reality. Then, I start questioning myself again: what is wrong with me, this doesn’t seem right. Where are my feelings? Perhaps I am selfish, self absorbed or worse, a sociopath…then I look for feelings again. That process is a bit of nuisance and sometimes, it drives me so batty I’d want the voices in my head to stop. Then as I am annoyed with myself and the voices, it’d start all over again: stop that, self reflection is important. What’s wrong with me, am I selfish, etc., etc.
Back to square one.
Recently, an important person in my life lost their mother. I wanted to have all the right things to say, but aside from condolences, the words from my heart were: it’s ok to feel however you want. Whether it’s anger, sorrow, confusion, regret, relief that she is no longer in pain or even numbness, there is no one way you are supposed to feel so allow yourself to just…be. I know. I was there. I am still there.
Then I realized, I wish someone had given me that advice.
It took years and someone I deeply care about to lose their mother to see: we are different. We have different relationships with our parents, different coping mechanisms and various life experiences that make it necessary for us to come up with our own answers. It’s scary and unsettling but that’s the way it is. The way it has to be.
Hindsight, perhaps that is the life lesson that comes from death. That as we seek answers, we soul search and face demons that help us grow and become better people. If anything, my Mother’s death has taught me to be vulnerable and more open with my feelings. Something I always thought of as a weakness but more accurately foreign, as we are not taught to be emotionally attune in our culture. Emotional intelligence is something I force learned and still learning every day. See? We are all different.
So if you or someone close to you is dealing with death, please remember to allow yourselves / themselves to feel however you / they want. It’s ok. It’s the way it has to be.
In closing, I will share the story of my mother’s death which is more inspirational, than sad. Just like I do every year.
Happy Mother’s Day :)
Mother’s Day 2007 to 2008…
…what a difference a year makes.
As some of you may or may not know, I lost my mom to cancer last year around this time. Since it’s Mother’s Day, I wanted to do something for her but wasn’t sure what…
After some thought, I decided to share what I wrote after she passed. I am normally an extremely private person, but her story is so amazing, if anyone (aside myself) is inspired, that would be the best ode to her… :)
Read the rest here.
People have contributed their own stories and feedback on my G+.
If only I were 5″7 instead of 5″4. I wish I were five lbs lighter. I’d rather have straight than wavy hair. If only my eye sight were 20/20. Shoulda gone to Harvard. Or Stanford. Or maybe Yale. Why didn’t I marry the one who got away? He was and still is the perfect man, you idiot. Would life be easier if I weren’t Asian? Do I lose out on opportunities because I’m female??
…we all have them. Secret desires. Insecurities. What ifs. Traits we wish we could change, because we think of the cards dealt to us as flaws, holding us back from being a CEO. Having the perfect man/woman. An A-list actor. That famous singer or even a super model. We are the hardest judges of ourselves, for not being __________ enough and allow so called shortcomings to hold us back.
Knock it off.
It is impossible to be Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Bill Gates, President Obama, Tom Brady or even the colleague, friend or family member we envy. We are all different and that’s what makes life so fucking fantastic.
Do I ever think any of those thoughts up there? Sure I did. But I learned as a child, dwelling on things we cannot change, 99% of the time leads to negativity. I’ve attempted reshuffling the cards that were dealt to me, by trying to be someone I am not. I’ve watched others live as people they thought they wanted to be. In the end, that mentality of our twisted minds leads to endless misery.
Success, only comes with confidence. Confidence is bred through a mindset to know, accept and use our strengths and weaknesses to achieve goals. It’s the only way to live. The only way to succeed.
Why am I bothering to blog about this?
Well the other day, I came across this piece: “Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally” via HBR. The gist, is how an extensive study via Europe’s Institute of Leadership and Management, found women in the workplace generally have less confidence than men, and how that gap holds women back from achieving our full potentials.
But this excerpt in particular, resonated:
The study also found that this lack of confidence extends to a more cautious approach to applying for jobs and promotions: 20% of men said they would apply for a role despite only partially meeting its job description, compared to 14% of women.
Lack of confidence, doesn’t apply only to females. It applies to 80% males, too. Sure, with females, we tend to be more timid but if you ask me, the number of people -male and female- going for the ask, is too low.
So if you are one of the % of people holding back from reaching your potential: whatever the mental block may be, tell it to fuck off. I say this over and over and will continue saying:
Life is too short.
We are 1 of 7 billion on the planet. We have nothing to lose, but time.
So screw pride.
Forget your ego.
We only have one life. Just fucking LIVE.
The worst that can happen, is a no. Don’t let fear of rejection ever get in the way of living. Who cares what one, two or even ten people think about you.
There are 7 billion people on this planet.
There is only one life. Don’t ever waste it. LIVE.
(ps: thoughtful comments here, too.)
The last time I felt this numb was when my mother left the planet…which probably sounds silly, dramatic and insane, to compare a complete stranger’s death to my own flesh and blood’s.
You see, I was taught to suppress emotions. To be as private as possible, and sure enough, that is the way I have always been…or was. Recently, I started noticing that I may not be the person I was raised to be, for with every instance I do open myself up, I realize I am growing stronger. The more vulnerable I become the stronger I feel, which is something completely new to me. Fast forward a few months of trying this thing called opening up, and I am now a believer in the power of vulnerability.
With vulnerability, I now have the strength to be honest with myself. That honesty, is enabling me to be more in-tune with myself than ever before…and because I know myself, there is nothing — nothing, that scares me. Don’t get me wrong, I have always lived life with almost zero fear, taken risks, never afraid of failure, followed my gut and found ways to just…figure it out — traits that were passed down from my father. Because of that DNA, I have seen things, been places, experienced more lives that even I at times have a hard time believing.
Then, my mother died.
Pick one: love or money?
Seems like such a simple question with a no brainer answer. When I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends, I got a bunch of immediate responses. Of course, most said ‘love’.
After purposely waiting for some time, I then asked:
I’ve had someone choose money (well, a lifestlye) over me – and it sucks. I have and always been a person who places more weight on a person’s abilities to be honest to and with themselves. It’s near impossible for humans to always say what they mean or mean what they say. To me, it’s more about having the courage to be honest with yourselves and those you care about. Though lately, I’m starting to wonder if this is too much to ask of others.
But at the end of the day, I’m with Arrington all the way who expressed it best:
Dear self, permanently bookmark this post as a reminder you choose honesty. That you are honest to yourself and those around you. That there are others like you who can be honest to themselves and those they love. And most importantly, do not ever doubt yourself for having standards and expectations.
(ps: I know the math up there is wrong — silly little thing called details ;))
The other day, a friend mentioned in passing how I am very zen-like which made me, well, a little uneasy. Me? The one with no filter? The one who inappropriately curses like a truck driver?? Zen like? ZEN LIKE? Really? REALLY??
After skimming through my Twitter and Facebook, my face flushed. He was right. A lot of my shares lately have been cheesy inspirational crap. An over abundance of Steve Jobs quotes. Tips on minimalistic mindsets. How to find your center, balance, how to hold hands with your worst enemy, etc. etc.
Seriously. I should rename my blog to butterflies-and-rainbow-kumbaya-vomit.
Well. Perhaps it was the rough month of August. Or it could simply be my old age but all the inspirational reading helped a lot. Needed a few reminders about what I knew. Or what I thought I knew as the more I grow-up, the less energy I spend on things that are out of my control. On a superficial level, it’s easy to be and stay composed, as I’ve mastered the art of determining how much time, effort and emotions I want to invest in almost every thing I do in life. That way, if I make a mistake or bad judgment call, I brush it off and happily go on with my day. But on the true, real, where it matters the most level? FAIL.
The one thing that’s helped me, is figuring out long ago: people do not change. Since the only thing I can change is my self, subconsciously, I became well versed in self-control and discipline (or stubbornness) especially when emotions are involved.
But as I become more honest with myself, the more I become in tune with myself. The more I become in tune with myself, the more I see: the majority of my displayed strength is a facade. A defense mechanism, if you will, to never let anyone see my weaknesses. Vulnerabilities. Frailties. Now that I identified, acknowledged and embraced weakness, vulnerability and frailities, the need to work on how to be strong and weak at the same time. To find balance. To remain true to myself, while allowing myself to live. To love…is clear. Crystal frickin’ clear.
So I’m learning. I want to learn. I have to learn, to be the best I can be every second of every day.
So pardon all the cheesy junk that may flow through your streams.
My hope is, if articles that touched or inspired me affects even one person, I will happily take all your smack talking. Because I am still me. The one who has no problems telling people to ‘SHUT YOUR TWITTER/FACEBOOK/INTERNET-HOLES’ ;)
Until then, remember that I am perfectly flawed. A constant work in progress. I am weak and fragile just like any other person.
I am human, too.
(Ok, fine. Sometimes binary. 0101, Mona)
“It’s ONLY 3.5 blocks. Any human with two arms, two legs and a pulse should easily move four – no – three and a half short blocks . If they rely on others, they should just get the F out of NYC.” …was what I repeatedly told people while turning down offers to help me move.
What a gigantic mistake. I was wrong.
Boy, was I wrong.
It started with underestimating the distance. Then, overestimating my superpowers equals formula for Fin disaster. You better believe I paid for it. Big time. What – in theory – was only supposed to be a 3-4 hour move? Ended up taking all. frickin’. day.
After about the fourth-ish leg, I knew that in order for me to keep it together, I needed moral support. Turning to friends via phone calls / texts / Facebook something, anything, to find people I love cheering me on was exactly what I needed. Encouragement helped me push through. And it worked. I did it.
Ok, fine. So it took about a good eight hours. A few ‘I am independent and bad-ass yet still can be a damsel in distress’ acts for kind strangers to help with the super heavy stuff. But still, I hauled most of my crap all by myself. Didn’t call the people who offered to help me move. I didn’t even cab it! And you know what? It feels DAMN good. I don’t remember the last time I felt this empowered (in my personal life).
So New York? You may have kicked my ass through the apartment hunting process but in the end, I OWNED YOUR ASS, BITCH!
It’s true when they say if you make it here, you can make it anywhere. I feel like I can conquer the world.
Next up: world domination.
This month was one of the worst of my life.
Things cannot be better on the work front. My personal life, is a another story.
In case you hadn’t noticed, August was all about:
- my stolen phone and how I hate the East Village
- the apartment hunting pity parties and how I wanted to kill myself ten times over
- cryptic emo FB updates (sorry, this one is too personal to share)
(God, I’m cringing writing this.)
Over the past week several friends went out of their ways to ask if I was ok. They all knew something was wrong, since I consistently keep my composure. Rarely reveal intimate details of my life to the public.
“So unlike you…” they all said, of my semi-public meltdown. And they are right. I have always been private about my personal life but lately, not so much.
When I finally slowed down, I figured out why.
Came across this post about dating a female entrepreneur.
Male vs female pontifications bore me (frankly), but boy, am I glad I clicked.
Specifically, this part:
[...]Don’t try to stop her – there’s no point.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Fail her. Because an entrepreneur knows how to create opportunity from failure. Because an entrepreneur understands that nothing truly comes to an end. That you can always create something from nothing. That you can recreate again and again and still be the heroine. That life is meant to have a challenge or two. Besides, it’s a good reminder that she has to focus on being the best she can be – for herself first.
Why be frightened of everything that you lack? Entrepreneurs understand that people, like companies, grow. She will help you realize your potential. She will study you more than anyone. She’ll figure you out. That’s when you’re really in trouble.
Clarity – finally.
I always thought something was wrong with me, as my friends have been giving me crap for as long as I can remember. Apparently I am too understanding. Too patient. I have too much empathy and forget to put myself first. They repeat how I need to be with someone who loves me more than I love them — blah, blah, blah, you get the picture, right?
But you see, I rarely open my heart. So when I do, I am all in. And with my heart, comes a love that is full of patience, understanding and most importantly forgiveness.
I’m not going to lie.
At times, I wish I were different. Saves heart ache by being stupidly blinded from love. It sucks being such a clear-cut person, for I suscept myself to unnecessarily hurt. But again, when I’m in, I’m all the way in and it takes a lot for me to give up. I may not be a lot of things, but what I am is fiercely loyal. I fight, until the very end. It takes a lot for me to give up. So when I DO give up, I am able to move forward, never to look back, always, with zero regrets. And I know, from inside out, I possessed the courage, strength, honor and respect to myself and for the other person that I gave it my all.
It’s who I am, personally and professionally.
Which is also why I am an entrepreneur.
My philosophy? Go big or go home.
And even if I have to start from scratch, I always move forward with dignity.
“I never look back darling, it distracts from the now” – Edna, The Incredibles
You know? I used to love May.
May has a significant number of holidays in the Japanese and American cultures. It’s also the time of year when it starts warming up. There are many things I loved about May growing up — especially Mother’s Day. This was the one day, my mother loosened up and let me and my brother completely spoil her. The only day in 365 days where she showed appreciation.
Four years ago, everything changed.
My mom died on May 23rd, 2007 and since then, things have never been the same. This is the one month I dread and still figuring out how to cope. They say it gets better with time. Well. I’m still waiting. Processing. Wondering, when it actually does. Though this year, is the first year I’ve been able to – or allowing myself to – vocalize my vulnerability. Perhaps it is getting better and I’m just caught in this spin cycle of empty, thus unable to objectively see myself.
Who knows. At least I’m keeping myself busy. Or attempting to.
So I leave you with the same thing I do every year: I am normally an extremely private person, but her story is so amazing, if anyone (aside myself) is inspired, that would be the best ode to her… :)
You know. I’m glad the public is aware of the education crisis in America and I’m not gonna lie, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah are the reasons people finally, well, seem to care. I can not be happier. What makes me sad are the cynical comments.
Mark Zuckerberg doing good for positive press because of some movie — ok, fine. The timing is bad and I can see why people would think that, but you guys. What motivation do Mayor Cory Booker or Governor Chris Christie have? Have any of you actually been to Newark? Or New Jersey? (Teterboro and EWR don’t count.)
So I challenge all of you, on the Internet, to please learn more about why Newark deserved the grant before spewing negativity. Here are some resources to get you started: The Oprah clip: click this. Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts: click here. My first hand experiences in New Jersey and thoughts: click this one. Slightly outdated round-up of Mayor Cory Booker’s background and accomplishments is here. More on the challenge grant via the WSJ. The thread where I posted that comment is on StartupEducation’s FB fan page. Click this to see the thread and while you’re at it, fan the page. Follow along. Then decide to critique.
There is nothing worse than seeing a person I like, being nasty to another person for no apparent reason.
I’ve walked out on dates who were rude to staff. A person I’ve admired online, was so grossly foul while ordering coffee, I lost all respect for (s)him when we met in real life.
The way a person treats another is really that serious.
My father taught me that by his actions, not words. He was recruited by M.I.T. from Japan and came to the U.S. speaking only two languages: Japanese and binary. Even after living in the U.S. for 20+ years, he still spoke broken EngRish.
I used to be mortified in public with him. His voice was loud. His English was poor. Yet no matter how atrocious his grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, he still talked to everyone in a pleasant manner. And I mean e v e r y o n e.
At restaurants he frequented, the entire staff knew my farther. From the valets, wait staff to busboys and the kitchen. The chefs would take my brother and I to the kitchen for special menus. (These were 5 star dining rooms.) When we drove through Half Moon Bay, my father would stop by his favorite farms and greet farmers working the fields. They only spoke Spanish and he spoke zero Spanish but somehow they were able to communicate. At his work, from security and maintenance staff to his assistants, colleagues and C-level execs, people would smile and wave hello as he walked by. He took after my grandmother, who treated every single person the same: like they mattered.
Conversely, my mother was snooty and condescending to people who she thought were beneath her (gardener, cleaning people, store clerks, servers, etc.) I used to apologize for her vile behavior. She’s no longer with us anymore but when I read her journal after she passed, I understood why she was the way she was. (More on that some other time.)
Anyway, this past year or so keeps iterating why I am eternally grateful to my parents for teaching me such an invaluable life lesson. They are the reason I live by these words:
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. – Samuel Johnson
Abide by that single sentence with personal and business relationships. You won’t be sorry. #tuesdayZen
This post was inspired by this Facebook exchange.
A lot of people have been asking if I moved to L.A., and I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure. Since last year, I have been contracting with MySpace and only told a few close friends. However, as more people are starting to find out I thought it was time I finally talked (or blogged) about my move and what not.
Are you cringing right now? It’s ok if you are, I completely understand. Heck, almost everyone I told’s first reactions was this hilarious face — like they guzzled a jar of pickle juice type sour face — immediately proceeded with a WHY?!? People have also told me the same bajillion reasons why I am out of my mind to want to work there, followed with the prying: “What’s going on? Are you guys tanking?” etc., etc., so when I say it’s ok, I understand, I do.
However, I am proud and honored to be a part of this phenomenal team and MySpace is far from dead. It’s funny how one of the first things out of people’s mouths are: “MySpace isn’t going to beat Facebook.” and that’s completely ok too, since MySpace isn’t trying to be “a Facebook.” Yes, we are both social platforms but what we leave out of the equation is the most important piece: target audience.
An excerpt from a “MySpace isn’t dead.” piece:
If you check the most recent comscore, MySpace has grown 2 months in a row, and is back up to 120MM users worldwide. That may not sound huge compared with Facebook’s 350MM, but it is still 2X twitter’s audience, and blows almost any other site out of the water. We in Silicon Valley tend to think that when something is not hockey-sticking anymore than it is dead. That is not true. If MySpace lost 1MM users a month it would take 10 years to disappear. That still gives them some time to figure out what to do. (read the rest here.
MySpace still owns the 0-17 and 18-24 age groups. We tend to forget — especially, since we are no longer in those age groups. ;)
I believe in MySpace for many reasons and thrilled to be a part of this organization. The team — my co-workers and bosses — rock my socks off, you have no idea of the collective brain power and charisma (pertinent to leadership roles) this group has. The camaraderie and creative energy is something I definitely want to be a part of. I wish I can introduce you guys to everyone, for they are an exceptional bunch. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with and learn from these individuals, respectively.
There are still many many reasons, product related reasons — most I cannot talk about — all I will say is stay tuned. ;)
So to all of you asking me about my So Cal Foursquare check-ins or L.A. Yelp reviews: Yes, I moved to L.A. for this once in a lifetime opportunity. :) If you are ever in the area (or even live down here) you are more than welcome to stop by. We’ll go have tater tots from @grlldcheesetruk, they come once a week!
ps: there is more after the jump, but it is all personal (sappy) stuff, fyi. Continue reading
Oh, well hello there emo blog. What in the world got into me this weekend? My first thought was to delete (or make private) all of these personal posts. Seriously. What was I thinking? In two days, I managed to word vomit all this stuff… and then some. Oh, well. Maybe I will make this a regular practice. As in, weekdays equals nerdy posts, weekends saved for my personal crap? Or perhaps I should make another blog? Oh, I know. I’ll just delete the WordPress app from my iPhone. Invest in a moleskin to journalize the old school way? Maaan. All this thinking is too much effort. I’ll knock off the personal junk and keep this blog ‘formal.’
Naaah. I’ll just be me, and PixelBits will remain the same: random bits of pixels. Welcome to 2010 me. I hope you’ll stay. :)
You know, that feeling? I am about to get personal and it’s all Betsy‘s fault. Ok. Fine. It’s not really her fault, she just Tweeted a piece by Tara Hunt and suddenly I felt compelled (empowered?) to write something too. Since that sudden burst of motivation, I’ve been staring at a blank page for about three days.
You see, I am more nerdy than girlie — check out my tag cloud: Star Wars, LEGO, awesome, LOL, FAIL, and Social Networking…? Uhhhh ok. Fine. That is another excuse. Thing is, I am a scatterbrain — or more accurately, a nutjob. (don’t worry, I am ok with my nutjob self.) I am even more all over the place when it comes to this emotional stuff. My thoughts are rarely in order to properly articulate my feelings — emotions, sap, whatever — so I rarely feel comfortable enough to write about it. But Ms. Hunt shared many personal thoughts I too, thought hey, what the hell. So after three days to muster the courage and another three to organize my thoughts, I decided to finally document my two cents on love.
In moments of utter weakness we tend to misplace trust. When we trust the wrong people, shit hits the fan. Then, bonds — no matter how strong — can be broken. Just like that. Relationships are so fragile. From family, friends to even loved ones, one can never be too careful. 2009 was one of my worst years. Even worse than the year my mom died. But as crappy as it was, I learned who my real friends are…and for that, I will be eternally grateful. It’s almost three months into the new year and things are finally falling into place.
2010 and me? I think we’re gonna be really good friends. : )
It’s 4:30ish am on the last day of 2009 and by now I should’ve had a post about 10 predictions for 2010. Or how to convert social media efforts to show meaningful ROI… with perhaps a paragraph or two on SEO tactics. Or something smart like that. But no, I am sitting here, surfing the Internet looking at photos of pandas on Buzzfeed and reading random articles like a Wharton Econ Prof. comparing relationship to stocks.
Uhhhh really, Mona? REALLY? Well, yes. Really.
Part of being so unmotivated to work on a meaningful post is because this year sucked so bad. It started out absolutely, positively amazing until I made a mistake. A huge life altering oops of a lifetime – things I will eventually share, but not right now. Especially since I am still completely livid and bitter about the situation. Bottomline: I learned a very very important life lesson. Things are finally falling into place and I am so ready for 2010.
Being a geek girl rocks, but at the same time sucks. There are way too many assumptions and conversations take too long because I have to start by explaining and or proving myself. Otherwise, people are condescending.
“Aw, there’s something wrong with your PC? Is it plugged in?”
Please do not address me like a grandma on AOL. I’ve clean installed Windows, set up home networks and servers. Wha chu kno ’bout that?
“How cute, you like the Palm Pre. Not sure if it comes in pink.”
“You should install this browser called Firefox and rid IE, you know.”
Uh, I switched to Firefox in 2003. Been using WebKit’s nightly build for quite some time now, thank you very much.
…on and on, the rude comments continue.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind AS much but people freak out when I can VPN, know how to get into terminal, troubleshoot CSS (if need be), use Google’s unofficial shell, know that cloud computing isn’t a computer thrown away by tossing into the sky, and hold my own in OpenSource, enterprise convos. I even have Dave Winer’s OPML editor installed and running a beta tool.
And yes, I am aware I wrote a paragraph justifying myself.
Anyway, as if that’s not enough to deal with, it sucks even more being a SINGLE geek girl. Why? Well: