Category Archives: Turning One’s Life Around

Mr. Coffee Who Managed to Turn His Own Life Around

Translated…

The very last session of the semester, I’d had a barista, to come to my class, to speak to my students about his life.  He’d opened with something, that shocked all of my students.

Compared to the past guest lecturers, who’d ranted on the glories of their work, this barista told my students, that he’d only had a technical high school degree, worked as a bar boy, a construction worker, a parking attendant……anything that makes him the money, he’d done.  He’d once lived, a life of carelessness, until four years ago, by a chance encountered, he was introduced to coffee, learned to make coffee, and to taste it too.  This, was not only the turning point in his life, it’d also made him the top barista at a certain coffee house.

In order to keep his taste buds sharp, he’d decided to quit drinking, and smoking too, and, he’d stopped eating the foods that may damage his own taste buds as well, and altered his own diet too.

When he’d made the coffees at the bar, he’d often needed to get engaged in conversation with his customers, had, through the cups of coffees he’d made, it’d shorten the distances between him and others as well.

He’d talked of how he and I met up, it was, an afternoon shortly after school had started, I’d walked out of the research lab, carrying my bad mood with me, I’d entered into a nearby café.  It was, a modern place, with the bars.  I’d never sat at the bars, that day, I’d especially wanted to try it out, and because of my wanting to try sitting at the bars, I’d met this coffee man.  I’d struck up a conversation with him, and enjoyed the way he looked, making the drinks, and, each and every cup he’d made became a perfect work of art of his.

I’d asked him, “Can I take a picture?”, Mr. Coffee said, “I’m more than happy to oblige, and you can also, video record me too.” All of a sudden, I was able, to feel his passion about his work.

From that day on, I’d started enjoying sitting at the bar, and, watched Mr. Coffee’s expressions and gestures, as he’d made each and every cup of coffee to serve to his customers, in the end, I’d decided to ask him to come give a guest lecture to my class too.

Most of my friends are those with the high-end degrees, and smooth rides to the top, on this day, after I’d heard him lecture my class, I’m not only in awe at his courage to change himself, and I’m even more impressed at how truthful about his ridiculous past he was toward my students.  From him, I’d seen the philosophy of how everybody is NOT destined to live a certain way, that life can still be changed by oneself, so long as one is willing to change, there would be opportunities in life.

And so, this man was able to turn his own life around, because he’d had a ridiculous past, and, he must’ve learned his lessons the hard way, which, was why he’d become, very focused, doing what he truly loves, and, he’d done some soul-searching, to finally find what is meaningful and worthwhile for him to do, and that, is just how sometime life goes, and, he was able, to make it, because of his hard-working mannerisms.

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Filed under Fate, Interactions Shared with the World, Lessons, Life, Observations, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Story-Telling, Translated Work, Turning One's Life Around, Turning Over a New Leaf

Without the Darkness in His Past, He Couldn’t Have Produced Such Inspirational Works

Without the darkness in his past, he couldn’t have produced such inspirational works, I know, it’s odd, how someone with such a dark past, can produce so much brightness in his work, right???

But, perhaps, it’s because of ALL that darkness, that enveloped his past, that he felt compelled, to produce those works of light, who knows.  One thing’s for sure though, his work had, inspired a lot of people, helped a lot of lost souls find the light.

Without the darkness of his past, he couldn’t have produced such inspirational work, he’d managed, to turn his own life around, and left it all, behind.  His “former” life was filled with, a TON of uneasiness, a lot of pain, suffering, discomfort he can’t run from, and so, he’d faced them all, HEAD-ON.

And now, he’s out of the dark, and he’s using his own experiences, battling with the addictions, the pains, to help others, hoping, that his life can be something that motivated others.

It’s just, hard to imagine, that someone, whose work is filled with so much hope, so much goodness, came from this awful a past, and, after knowing this, his audience applauded him even louder, because we ALL know how hard it is, to overcome, and he did, MORE than that already!

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Filed under Being Exposed, Cause & Effect, Coping Mechanisms, Expectations, Inspirational Tales, Life, Nature vs. Nurture, Overcoming Obstacles, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Socialization, Turning One's Life Around

Fallen

Tripping and Falling, and, Acknowleging it…the very first step to starting to heal…

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Filed under Downward Spiral, Healing Process, Loss, Socialization, Turning One's Life Around, Turning Over a New Leaf

Penning Down the Lyrics, Writing the Music, Writing the Novels, He Was Able to Find Rebirth in Prison

Turning his life around here, from the Newspapers, translated…

A man, Chang, was jailed because of drug possessions, in the prison systems, he’d learned to play the electric guitar, and managed to write songs about love, about the relationships of him and his families, as well as stories of his drug use, turned them into songs, and, sang his original work, “My Father”, through the windows to his own mother, both were crying at the moment; he’d written over a hundred verses, and, his novels had won him the third-place prize, and he would be, making good on his promise to become a brand new man again.

The thirty-year-old Chang stated, that in the past, he’d gotten drawn into the temporary bliss that illegal substances gave him, and, it’d made his loving parents give up on him, until he’d received the notice to serve his time in jail, did he realize, that his life had gone awry.

The moment before he was about to serve time, his father died of illness, before he had the chance to repent, before he could beg for his father’s forgiveness, he was overwhelmed with guilt, the first six months of his time served, nobody visited him, he felt, that his mother, was determined, to give up on him as her son.  In order to show, that he’s a changed man, he’d written a letter by the week to his mother, and the over thirty letters had, finally, moved his mother.

“In my heart, the luckiest thing is your taking care of me, if I’m not kind to you, I will definitely regret it later on, my dearest father, how old are you now…”, this song called, “My Aging Father”, was written in dedication to his own father, at the end of last year when his mother visited him, he’d sang it a capella to her, it’d touched his mother.

Chang said, that he’d started playing the electric guitar in prison, it’d allowed him to write the music to fit with the lyrics he’d already written, “The Signals of the Street Corner”, “The Youthful Rebellion”, in the two years’ time, he’d written out over a hundred songs in Taiwanese and Chinese, not only are his songs dedicated to his families, he’d also written about how loving others feel.

Last year, he’d won the third-prize of novel writing with his “A Gram’s Worth of Bliss”, and for now, Chang used his free time at dusk, to create freely, and is now, the author of four completed novels, and, after his release, he would work towards his goals in music and novel writing.

And so, this man had found his salvation through his own writing, and, his father’s death probably played a huge impact on him, turning over a new leaf, because, he’d realized, that while he was in jail, his father had died, and, that left a regret, that nothing can ever fill, which became the drive for him, to turn his own life around.

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Expectations, Life, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Turning One's Life Around, Turning Over a New Leaf

With a Change of Thought, I Had, Finally, Come Home

An article from a magazine online, translated…

When I was in the fifth grade, my mother had left home with some of her friends.  Before that, she’d always brought home her friends who don’t look male or female, to smoke, to drink with.  I’d told my mother, “The friends you brought home were awful!”, she’d hit me on the head, and locked me up, inside that room, in the attic.

On an evening, when the rain was pouring down, my mother didn’t come home, so, my father went, to look for her.  At the time when I was worrying about whether or not my father was going to get run over by a car, he’d come home, with my mother, drunk.  My mother who had passed out, couldn’t stop herself from throwing up, the three of us kids, cried, and kneeled before her, only I, stayed in the bedroom, as my third-youngest brother came knocking, “We’re all out here, begging mom, to stop what she was doing, won’t you come with us, and do the same too, eldest brother?” I’d only had one reply, “I’m asleep”, but, I was, actually very much awake, I’d told the walls, “I do not have such a mother!”

And from then on, I’d not viewed my mother as my mother again.  But my father, he just won’t give up, it took him, twelve years, to finally, divorce her.  Even if I’d called out to my mother’s friends, and her friends managed to find someone they knew, who just got out of prison, to come and kill me; and even if, the only time my mother came home was, when she needed money, to scam my father out of his earnings, he’d still, wanted her.  I was very furious, I’d asked him to get a divorce, but he’d told me, “a home is when we all get together, no matter what she did, she is still, your mother, I will, pull her back home to us again.”  My father grew up in the warring times, he had another wife in China, and his eldest brother in China is already in his seventies, and his persistence toward my mother made me feel less about him.

A Father Who’s an Educator, With Trouble-Making Children

My father was an educator, when I was a teenager, he had to face the doubts of his school principal, “You’re a discipline instructor, and yet, you couldn’t even manage to, control your own children, how, did you educate them?”  My father could only, transfer me out of that first school, I too, wanted to be good, it’s not that I can’t, I just, didn’t know how.  I felt so borderline, often got upset, depressed, but at the same time, I was, filled with energy, and I’m often on edge, in my psychological state of mind.

The four kids from my family, before we were twenty-five, none of us behaved.  I was the eldest, played the role of the “savior” of my family, I’d disciplined my own younger brothers and sister.  I wasn’t at all studious, but at the same time, I was forcing my younger sister, to recite the poems; I’d run off to hang out with friends, but, banned my younger brothers from so doing; I would physically hit my second youngest brother, and, when I couldn’t win in fights, I’d simply, ignored him.

I didn’t get into college until I was twenty-three, before that, I’d worked as a construction worker, a mover.  As my third youngest brother went to technical college, he’d received, two major reprimands, two minor ones, along with endless number of warnings.  My father had often commented, “My heart was hacked in two.”  I too, was in great pain, and I’d often thought, that had my mother not behaved as she’d done, maybe, our household wouldn’t be a huge mess.  As I thought about my mother, anger started, raging inside of me.

And I didn’t get along well with my father either, I’d never celebrated a birthday from when I was growing up.  My father always told me, poor people don’t have birthdays.  But, on the day that I’d turned twenty, my father, he bought me, a birthday cake.  Did you know that, for a child who’d never been kempt, in accepting love, when my father showed me his cares and concerns, I felt, awkward, “I don’t want it, why are you giving me a cake?” this awkward feeling that came out of nowhere, without taking even a bite from the cake, I’d slammed the doors, and left the house.

I got trapped between, needing and wanting my family to love me, and yet, at the same time, I’d despised this feeling of needing their love.  Love is so warm, why can’t I just, embrace it?  Because I’d lived, for too long, in this icy environment, that this sudden warmth imposed upon me, I wouldn’t know, how to cope with.

My mother’s leaving home had caused me to feel so very lonely, I’d once imagined, that when I was feeling lonely, my mother would come to me, and hug me.  But when I saw other people’s moms, hugging them, I’d started crying, so hard, that, was the shared grief, for people who’d lost their mothers.

At age thirty-two, the school I taught at sent us to take the Satir Counseling method, back then, I was, so totally, against counseling, always believed, that those in the field of psychology is prying into the personal matters of others.  But, on that very first day of class, I was, shocked, at the lecturer’s open attitude, his forgiving nature, and his not blaming me.  I was, shaken up, from the inside out, and learned, that there was, this way, of relating to others.

I’d decided, to go into counseling then, back then, I had only $200,000N.T. in savings, I took out $60,000N.T., for the sessions right away.  For the next two years, I’d gone, every month, to Chenggong University, to talk to, the psychiatrists, and the social workers, in the process of talking and listening, I’d gained a better understanding of my own mother.  My heart was opened, I understood, that I was feeling sad, my own losses, and regrets as well, and I had, the ability now, to examine, the origins of all of those negative feelings of mine.

Finding the Last Piece of the Puzzle Called “Family”

In the counseling sessions, there was an assignment, it was, for the pupils, to draw a diagram of their families, that, was the very first time, so I’d called her up, she was very surprised, to hear my voice, for the first time in twenty years since she’d left home, that was, the very first time I’d gotten in touch with her by my choice, I no longer, grilled her about why she’d abandoned us, or took that tone of blame when I spoke to her, and, because I wasn’t angry, she didn’t react as rashly either.  She’d mentioned how she was, volunteering, helping the deceased from the less fortunate families clean up their bodies, because she wanted to, atone for her own sins.  I felt awful, told her, that although I didn’t condone what she’d done back then, but I don’t think she’s with that much guilt, that she needed not be, too hard on herself.  “I respect, that we could, travel on this long journey together.”  She’d started crying on the other end of the line, and started apologizing to me continuously.

I’d even told her, that I’d admired her, because seeing and knowing where she had come, in the midst, of all the difficulties in her life, whether or not she liked it, she’d still, lived on, using her own methods.

I’d come to understand my own mother, through the “needs of a man”, when she married my father, she was only nineteen, they were, more than twenty years apart in age, could there be, that there was, a huge part of her life, that never quite was satisfied?  I’d also come to realize, that even though my father is a Mr. Nice-Guy, he did have, a ton of the traditional values, such a young life, married to my father, without any forms of fun or entertainment, it must’ve been, so unfair to my mother.

With a change of a thought, I’d gotten myself out of the grief I’d felt for so very long, made peace with my own mother.  This year on Chinese New Year, by tradition, the children would head over to our birth mother’s place to give her the red envelopes, then, head home, to my father and my stepmother, to have our New Year’s Eve supper together.  I can, finally, enjoy, this hard-to-come-by family get-together on New Year’s Eve this year.

And so, this, is the process of how a man finally found the closure that he needed to have, in order, to move on, with the rest of his life, it wasn’t at all easy, for him, to forgive himself, and his own mother, for her leaving him and his siblings behind, but, he was able to, consider his own mother’s perspectives, and, understood why she did what she had done, and this still took, a lot of hard work to achieve, and this man, had done it, finally!!!

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The Happiness of the Present Day Comes from the Hard Work from the Past

Happiness still doesn’t come easily, it comes from a TON of hardships from before, translated…

My aunt, for all angles examined, is a woman with happiness, from the words of the modern day, she’s a woman from the “Victories in Life” group.  My aunt is not among the beautiful women who are older, but there’s an air about her, it’d make people want to get closer to her.  She is an amazing cook, but, she doesn’t need to work in the kitchen every single day and sweat like crazy and put up with the oils and the fumes daily.

Her son, my older cousin, has a stable job with a good income, and is with a girlfriend whom he wants to marry.  My aunt has two cats, both are very cute.  And my uncle, he’s retired, and, they’re very close to one another, they’d go to see a matinee or have coffees, hang out with their friends; and, when they wanted to, they’d gone traveling, in the vicinity, they’d driven to the very next city, and they’d also gone away on foreign trips for one to two weeks at a time.

This sort of life, I’m so envious, it’s made of pure enjoyment!  They lived very simply, they didn’t need a TON of name brand items, nor do they watch the stock markets often, but, they’re very rich spiritually and psychologically.

Once I was having a conversation with mom and mentioned my aunt to her, I’d said how I envied my aunt.  My mom smiled at me and said, “Your aunt’s happiness now is an accumulation of her hardships from before, did you know, that when she was young, she was diagnosed with depression?”

When I heard it, you could hear my jaw drop, I couldn’t put an equal sign with my aunt and depression.  My mom told me, when my uncle was younger, he was always busy at work, would work until ten in the nights, and so, when my aunt first married, she’d shouldered an assortment of household chores, took care of buying the new house, and moving, as she was pregnant, she’d taken the cabs to the hospital for her prenatal checks.  And because they’d moved away from their hometown, she didn’t feel fitting, calling up the relatives all the time, and so, the stresses accumulated, and eventually, it crushed her, and she was diagnosed with depression.

Gladly, in her friend’s consoling her, and for the sake of her son, my aunt went to the doctors in time, and became more stabilized.  And, a few years later, my uncle’s hard work was noted and got his promotion, and his work time became more flexible, and would come home to eat supper with her and their son before eight at night.

Mom told me, how happy my aunt is, that’s how hard she’d worked from before.  That, was when I’d realized that my aunt who seemingly had a smooth-sailing life is so strong; and learned, that the bliss of a family doesn’t come from wishing for it or fantasizing about it, it comes from the hard work, and the careful guarding it.

And so, this still shows, that you shouldn’t just SEE the surface of things, just because someone seemed well-off to you right now, doesn’t mean that the person didn’t work her/his asses of, to get everything s/he rightfully earned and deserved.

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Spinning

Still in the PTSD cycle here, but surely, getting closer to healing every single day…

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Filed under Abuse, Awareness, Being Alone, Being Exposed, Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Downward Spiral, From a "Victim" to a "Survivor", Healing Process, Life, Turning One's Life Around, Vicious Cycle