106

perfectionism, permeating
everything I do
making competitions out of conversations
hoping, always, for a bronzed statue in my name
for a race that didn’t exist

I fought myself to push harder
to be better when I was fine as is
exhausted to impress others
and maybe even me, too
perhaps the silver lining
is that I grew weary of winning
when everyone I met was my opponent

I’m passing the baton and
throwing some matches
catching up with myself again, I’m
watching sunsets, golden
emboldened to be calm
to be anything I want to be
in any given moment
even if I’m not a winner every time

summer in september 🍂

dear, you (1)

 

Can you believe September is nearly over? Where did all that time go! I’m sure you’ve had quite the month yourself—I hope you’ve taken some time to catch those last few rays of sunshine.

When summer ends, I feel nostalgic. Nostalgic for the warm weather, the scratchy picnic blankets, the let’s-meet-anytime-anywhere mentality that seems to only live in summers. If you’re anything like me, you wrote a list of things you wanted to do this summer. And if you’re human, you didn’t quite cross everything off the list.

Truthfully, I get frustrated when things are left unfinished. Like I’m forgetting something, I feel as incomplete as my list.

But that’s the thing – your life is not a list. It’s not predetermined life milestones that you must adhere to in order to move forward. It’s not Get Married by 28 and Have Kids by 30. We’re so used to hearing about how other people are crossing things off their to-do’s and how we just aren’t quite there yet.

Sure, I didn’t end up writing for a publication or learn how to make macrons, but I did start a new job and have the most life-changing experience doing something I truly loved. And I did buy a bike, so there’s that.

A lot of the most fun parts of life are unplanned. Summer is for pints of ice cream or fresh flowers or how grass stains your new white shoes. I like to think that there is a beginning and an end to the lives we lead, but everything else that happens in the middle is up to us.

Curl up with a new book. Drink a coffee and stare out the window. Pick up a pumpkin pie on your grocery run, especially if you weren’t planning on it. Embrace the way life goes in the same way that you bring a jacket out when seasons change. We’ll all end up where we’re supposed to be eventually, so just enjoy it until we get there.

 

***

Did someone forward this to you? Subscribe here to receive a pep-talk straight to your inbox on the last Wednesday of every month. See ya then!

love,
ELLE

fake it til ya make it

dear, you (1)

Let’s talk about confidence.

I’ve known plenty of successful, confident people who didn’t know what they were talking about—in this case, let’s call him Steven. I can objectively say that the Stevens I’ve met in my life are rambunctious, driven and hold heads up high despite (and let’s face it) we know a lot more than him. But he is so confident in his abilities that he convinces others of it: he moves up in the ladder, gets the promotion, gets the better grade or whatever it is, while it always seems that you get left behind.

Now, that’s not any fault of Steven for being able to portray that level of self-esteem and leverage it to get what he wants. But it does provide a disservice to us if we don’t do the same—especially if we have the same (or better!) capabilities that he does.

And while you and I both know that Steven may not be the smartest guy in the room, we also know for a fact that it’s the confidence that got him there. This week, I want you to walk into every encounter with the exact same level of confidence that Steven has. Even if you feel like you may not totally know what you’re doing or if you feel completely out of your depth. Hold your head up high. Drown out your insecurities. Believe in your own ability.

I know that sounds terrifying and uncomfortable to be so self-assured, but you know that you know your stuff. People like Steven have faked it until they made it; lucky for you, you already have it. You just need to be ready to share it with everyone else.

Be assertive. Be confident. Know your worth. If Steven can win over a crowd and have no idea what he’s talking about, you can walk in with that same enthusiasm, a lot more knowledge, and woo the crowd over, too.

 

***

Did someone forward this to you? Subscribe here to receive a pep-talk straight to your inbox every Wednesday. Until then, see ya next week!

love,
ELLE

This summer, I swear I’ll…

Dedicate time to be a better me!

As the weather gets warmer, I’m feeling productive. I’ve created a summer bucket list of things I’d like to accomplish by September to keep myself continuously improving, creating and being me, more often, and I wanted to share it with you all. Feel free to take it for your own!

  1. Write and compose a song (This one terrifies me because I know I can write lyrics but I’m not sure I can compose. Any advice, PLEASE sound off below!)
  2. Write for Medium
  3. Write for Globe and Mail
  4. Go swimming!
  5. Write for ten minutes about the Word Of The Day, everyday
  6. Buy a bike
  7. Go to two concerts
  8. Learn how to and bake macrons
  9. Go to Canada’s Wonderland (I haven’t been in years, and I LOVE roller coasters)
  10. Have three picnics (High Park, Toronto islands, Trinity Bellwoods)
  11. Go to a kickboxing class
  12. Save $4,000 (not including tuition)

aaron-burden-292599-unsplash.jpg

What are some things on your list? Do you have any advice for songwriting? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Love,
ELLE

86

I spent a lot of time trying
to fit into another skin tone –
dyeing my hair lighter
wearing muted clothing
pretending to dread the lunches my mother packed
that my friends always made fun of

Today, my jet-black hair requires no comb
I pack delicate, complex meals
speak three languages and
languish, knowing
what an honour it is
to just be asian.

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

79

of the love and lack thereof
I’ve cried over and ached upon
I can’t seem to will myself
to go back and wipe up those tears
erase those scars-in-the-making;
because everyday since,
poetry has melted off my skin
and onto pages and pages and pages.

 

 

A year and half since my launch on October 1, 2017, I hope you enjoy this refreshed look to the blog. I started this blog with no intention of where it is today–and I’m taking this 18-month mark to declare that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Thank you for your support on this whirlwind.

Love,
ELLE

67

Find discomfort in the hem
of your occasion dress
zips on the side–
boys left behind
gawking at the sheer sight
of your lacy best.

Have you ever entered
a room filled,
familiar-faced
but not acquainted enough to
strike the ice?

All dressed up, nowhere to go
you arrive and yet
feel uninvited before
opening your lipstick mouth.

Surface-level small-talk: to
ask questions of others, to
keep conversation alive
I wonder if they sense my
mild polite engagement
as attention nonetheless.

My discomposure
a child nagging at my leg
pulling the sewn thread
and unravelling until I look
as naked as I feel.

60

I once had this beautiful silk dress
dotted with oil stains
I couldn’t get out.
I’d wring my knuckles raw
trying to scrape this pattern
from a spot only I could see.

I would question everyone:
“Do you see a difference?”
“Can you tell?”
I could feel it on me
like bullet holes in my shoulder blade
lodged into my skin
and yet I only quantified myself
if someone else noticed, too.

an impurity
a part of me
that ached from the inside
at a time I used to count calories
and revel in my whittling
8, 6, 4, 2, 0
I embarked to be even more invisible than
those defects I desperately wanted someone
to notice

I wonder if that girl with the silk dress
understands why I gave it up
and why it was that
she so desperately tried to
erase an imperfection that wasn’t really there.
I certainly don’t fit in those
clothes of a time long past
and I may never get to 0 again
but at least
my knuckles are soft again.