Thank you so much. Your act of generosity and selfishness is something I will cherish and remember when I can be a Kind Stranger for someone else. Your action is a blessing, a lesson, a treasure, and an inspiration all in one. Kind Stranger, thank you. The ripple effect begins with you.
I have, with the universe to thank, only hit what I know as rock bottom once in my life and you were there for me. You were there when I had no friends nearby, not to their fault because they were all in a different country, to help me through my times. They were there to the best of their abilities via Skype calls and consoling messages. You were there when my supposed “one” let me down for one last time and left me to move out on my own of our shared apartment. Kind Stranger, I was crying so loud, the loudest I have ever let myself cry and it was echoing in our empty bedroom. I bawled, I couldn’t breathe, I broke down. I called my best friend in America and he calmed me down and lifted me up. But my face showed how broken I was in each shade of red, in both swollen eyes, and in the teary tracks.
You caught me in the elevator pushing my first load and made small talk with my palpable face. You asked me if I was moving and if I was okay, and when I told you why I was moving out on my own, you comforted saying, “You know, this is life. It happens but you have to remember to keep going and believe in yourself and the good in other people.” I thanked you because I knew deep down what you were saying was true but my heart was too broken to listen. Then despite my insistent declines, you pushed my cart to my new apartment a couple blocks down. Kind Stranger, I don’t think you know how close to crying I was again as you pushed my cart and I manoeuvred the front. Your kindness saved me. You are “the good in other people” I have to believe in and you were right there. You made me believe despite my broken state and I could not think of anything more a human being can do to another. Then you offered me your business card for when I ever needed any help or to talk. Thank you.
Kind Stranger, I see your presence everywhere. I see it when someone offers their seat to another on a crowded bus. I see it when a person helps pick up another person’s belongings. I see it when a friendly local gives directions to a lost tourist without being asked. I see it everywhere. It’s yours and their spirits that keep the good and love in the world from being forgotten.
Thank you Kind Stranger, your light is what leads the world to the best it can be. To the best we can make it.
I’m writing this in light of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida (February 14, 2018). There are some things I need to say. These are things I’ve wanted to say countless times before but have kept to myself out of fear and hesitation. But I need to say them now. My heart hurts. I’m so angry and sad. These things I need to say aren’t to hate you or to make you or anyone feel bad for owning a gun. This is just to facilitate reflection, a discussion, and hopefully change for the better.
Whether you’re in America, a country with dangerously loose gun laws and heartbreakingly frequent mass shootings, or Australia, where strict gun laws were implemented after one horrible incident with minimal incidents thereafter, it is a fact that guns are weapons that can kill. Whether you own a gun for hunting or self-defence, they are weapons used to, at the very least, maim your target. This is another fact. In all, guns have been and are being used to injure and kill. Another fact.
But “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Perhaps. But it is an undeniable fact and an indisputable truth that guns make it easier for people to kill people. So why not make it harder for people to kill by making it harder to obtain guns?
In America, more than 30,000 people are killed with guns each year, including suicide (Vox, The Guardian). This is an unforgivably high number. This number reflects the innocent lives lost, victims forever scarred, and places that will never be the same. This number is a summation of loss, grief, fear, and even disability that can never be rid off and will forever haunt not only those involved but quite literally the world. Yet there has not been a single change in laws pertaining to guns. This number continues to rise, fuelled by inaction disguised in thoughts and prayers. It continues to rise by the lack of empathy and measurable work from Congress and Government.
But this number needs to change and it needs to change now. Because I shouldn’t be afraid to go to America out of fear that I might get shot. I shouldn’t constantly be worried about my friends and family who are already America because of how easy it is for anyone to get a gun. I shouldn’t have had to stay up in the middle of the night frantically texting my best friend of eighteen years while he was holding a lecture door shut during the University of California, Los Angeles shooting (June 1, 2016).
And it’s not just me. It’s everyone. It’s all of us. There are people who have gone through so much worse than I have because of guns that they shouldn’t have had to. Nobody should have to live with losing a loved to a crime that could’ve been prevented. Nobody should be killed going to a country music concert, their house of worship, school, club, movie theatre, or anywhere else. Nobody should be terrified to live their life.
You may own a gun for a number of reasons but are they so important that you can’t sacrifice a little bit of your ownership to prevent further deaths? Is your hunting hobby more important to you than the innocent children who were killed in Sandy Hook (December 14, 2012)? They were just where they were supposed to be, they were just learning. Do you feel safer knowing that the very weapon you own is the same as the one used for the Charleston church massacre (June 17, 2015) where all the victims were doing was practicing their faith? Are your guns worth more to you than the lives of the LGBTQ+ community who were celebrating their identity and love in Orlando (June 12, 2016)? How about the country music lovers in Las Vegas (October 2, 2017)? All they were doing was having a good time with a shared love of music. Can you tell those who will never see their loved ones, those who were traumatised by the 18 shootings in America that took place just this year so far and the accumulated total in the years before that you support what irrevocably ruined their lives? Is your false sense of safety worth the fear, anxiety, and loss thousands of gun violence victims and their loved ones are sentenced to for the rest of their lives? Does your title as a gun owner mean more to you than being a human being? Will you choose humanity over weapons?
I am calling for you to care for people more than your guns. I am saying stricter gun laws need to be implemented to make it harder for everyone to own them. I need you to reflect. Because if you think the way things are now is okay, you are arming the next mass shooter. You are handing an irreversible answer to someone suicidal. You are lending a hand to domestic abusers. You are increasing the chances of accidental deaths. You are responsible.
You are responsible and that responsibility needs to be taken seriously. I understand that ultimately it is Congress and the governing body that has the power to implement gun control laws. But it is the people who influence and corner those in charge to act.
Lives are more important than guns. People are more important than bullets. We need actions that reflect these truths. Stricter screenings required by law for anyone looking to own a gun are needed. Louder and actioned support from anyone who owns a gun is needed. People in Congress and governments, who have direct power to make positive measurable changes and aren’t afraid to stand up for human life are needed. These things have been in need for a long time in America and it’s about fucking time they happen.
It feels surreal. Somehow all at once I lost my best friend, my partner, and the most important person in my life. My roots to this country are gone. Our future plans together, our daily routines, and our shared joy didn’t make it into the New Year. How much can a person lose all at once before it breaks them? It feels like I’m walking that line.
It feels like we’ve been apart for so much longer than we have. We were each other’s everyday. Maybe it just takes getting used to. I guess that’s hard to do because I don’t want to accept this as a norm. I miss you. I miss you when creepy fucking people harass me or unwantedly approach me. I miss you when my clumsiness takes over and I embarrass myself. I miss you when Marvel or DC comes out with a new movie. I miss you when I see a Buzzfeed Tasty video that requires an oven. I miss you when I have a nightmare or sleep paralysis. I miss you when I crave dumplings. I miss you so much.
It feels like I’ll never move on. But I know that that’s not true. That’s just how I feel right now. Gradually I will move on from this; we both will. But I do think that I will always love you. As cliché as it sounds, that’s a blessing and a curse I’ll have to live with. What a blessing for me to have learned so much about love, relationships, being an adult, having roots, creating a home, and so much more. But a curse, because this love will forever remind me of what was, what didn’t work, and possibly shroud my future loves.
That’s why I’ve decided to write this letter to you. I want you to know that our time together, what we created, what we had, what we lost, were not a waste. And they most certainly were not a curse. It only seems that way now because I’m hurt, angry, sad, and lost all at once.
I want you to know that, as painful as it will be, I will look back on our time, especially the last handful of months, and search for your efforts in trying to keep us together, of you doing everything you can for our love, and of you remembering that what we have – what we had – can’t be taken for granted. I will look for all of it. One of the reasons we didn’t work out is because I couldn’t see the amount of effort you put into trying to save us. You’ve told me before that you don’t believe I will ever be able to see how much you tried for me, and I know I’ve told you that I probably won’t, but I’ve changed my mind. I’m coming from a healthier mindset, I was wrong to say that, and I am not going to give up until I see it all. I am so sorry that I couldn’t see it. I am even more sorry that I gave up and didn’t even try to see it. But I want to see it all, clearly. I need to see it because I owe that much to you, for doing those things, and to me, so I can look back at it and see how lucky I was to have someone like you. I want to remember you making our happy times last and cutting our sad ones short. I want to remember you wholeheartedly as a blessing.
I will also work on forgiveness. Another reason we didn’t work out was because of some of the things you said and did that broke my heart. But I will try to remember that you always came from a place of love and care. Misguided as they were at times and how much those mistakes hurt me, I will work on forgiving you. It is unfair for me to hold grudges against you for things you never meant to do or say. It is hypocritical and unhealthy for me to hold such old woes in my heart. I want to let go of those things. I want to remember you for the good-hearted person I fell in love with.
Finally, then I will forgive myself. I need to. I will forgive myself for all of the ways I contributed to our break up. I will forgive myself for not seeing you trying day in and day out. I will forgive myself for losing a special soul like you. This is for me. I have to be kind to myself. I made mistakes and I regret them deeply but I cannot punish myself forever. This step will only come after the first two and it likely will be the hardest. I cannot forgive myself fully until I clearly see what I have done wrong. But I don’t want you to think I am just letting myself off the hook. I am truly so sorry I hurt you and wronged you. You did not deserve it. I am so sorry.
I don’t write this all in hopes for us to someday rekindle what we had, though a small, vulnerable part of me may feel that way right now. I write this because my feelings needed to be expressed. I write this to hold myself accountable of the promises I’ve made you. I write this to map out what I need to move on: to look back and remember your efforts, to forgive you, and to forgive myself. I write this so that someday when I re-read this letter, I can remember that we did the best we could for each other, we did what we needed to do by separating, and we did what we could do thereafter, on our own. I write this to see how much I’ve grown.
I wish nothing but the absolute best for you. I cannot thank you enough for blessing my life for the years I was lucky enough to spend with you. Thank you.
What a year it’s been. What an eventful year, to say the least. To say the extreme truth though, it’s been the worst year of my life so far.
I’m really not one to sugar-coat things just because it’s over if that thing wasn’t pleasant. So as 2017 ends, I’m not getting any nostalgic feelings, or Graduation Goggles as Robin from How I Met Your Mother called it, for the time that’s passed and the things that’s happened this year.
I lost a close relative suddenly four days into the year. She was actually the person who involuntarily showed me the strength our words have and how much impact they can have on others. I also attended a memorial service for another family member who passed last year. That experience, oddly enough, was very awakening and peaceful for me but of course, it reminded me of my loss. I was very close to her and this blog, some of you may know, started because of her.
After that, I suffered a few months of miserable symptoms before I was properly diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, a rather long-term but thankfully non-fatal condition. I also went through a realisation that I was spending a lot of time with a toxic person who was bringing me down, particularly in my time of need. I struggled, and as I write this I continue to struggle, to come to terms with my circumstance. The toss up between my rational mind urging me to free myself versus my emotional heart begging me to keep their company has accumulated to anxiety and stress I have poorly dealt with, if I have dealt with it at all. (Let’s also not forget that as a living human being, I also had to witness and put up with some of the crazy, extremely traumatic, and dangerous happenings around the world…)
Still, the year also held irreplaceable memories sprinkled throughout the past 365 days for which I am forever grateful for and humbled by. I attended a beachside destination wedding in Thailand where I watched one of my siblings get married and welcomed a new member to our family. I graduated from my Bachelor’s and my family came to Sydney from three different countries for it. I found out I am going to be an aunt and finally fulfil my lifelong destiny to pass on my love and knowledge of Pokémon!
Looking back now, everything about 2017 had to do with the most important part of my life: the people. My family and I got together to celebrate love, they and my friends congratulated me for my achievement, and my family album now features new faces. Even the darker side of 2017 highlighted those who were there for me. I remember very clearly who was there as I mourned, the stern but comforting faces of those who weren’t afraid to have the difficult conversations on death and loss, and the people who cheered me up as I waited in the emergency room and asked about my appointments thereafter.
A lot of the shitty things that ruined my 2017 were out of my control. I couldn’t help that I got hyperthyroidism. Relationships turned toxic and cutting people out became necessary. And unfortunately, death is inevitable. But I survived only by the help and love I received.
I have control over whom I keep in my life. I decide whom I love and care about, who to trust and open up to, and who I want to do the same for. 2017 showed me that, for the most part, I have chosen right. Because if I were wrong, I don’t think I’d be here typing this out. This is why as the New Year breaks and the darkest ends, I want to make sure I surround myself with positive people who inspire, love, and care for me as I do them.
I don’t want you to think I’m getting nostalgic. I’ve just learned to accept the terrible times because again, it’s out of my control. I just want to move passed them all. 2017 was a real bitch. I’ll say it one more time, it’s been the absolute fucking worst of my life.
But as I do my best to pick myself up and out of this surreal funk that has somehow consumed 2017, I’m reminded me of how important people are and how important I am. I need to surround myself with positive people, put effort into them if they are worth it, and hope they think I am too. Alas, that also means cutting toxic people out because despite how much love there may be between two people, you have to put you and your love for yourself first. This isn’t just a lesson for me. It’s for you too because at the end of the day, the year, and our lives, it’s the people that make it all mean something.
Bye 2017, thank fuck you’re over.
A Letter Per Person
P.S If you’re wondering, my hyperthyroidism is getting better and I am slowly weening off my medicine! Thanks for the thoughts!
I thought for a long time about whether I should write this letter or not. It seemed a little odd to. At the same time, I knew there were things I wanted to say and have you know. And I’ve decided that what I wanted to say to you was more important than my insecurities about how it might be received.
What I want to say is thank you for calling. As odd as that sounds, thank you for calling. I wish you didn’t have to. I wish you weren’t going through what you were to have to call. But you are and you called, so thank you. I’m thanking you for taking the first and hardest step of self-care. I know how extremely difficult it must’ve been to admit to yourself that you needed help, to reach out, and then to admit to someone else those very things and share your problems and arguably your most vulnerable times. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s tremendously tough. It can feel embarrassing to share your secrets, or uncomfortable to do it to a stranger, or awkward because you feel you might be the only one going through what you are, or absolutely any way else. But you did it anyway. You called and I’m so happy and thankful you did because that means you also realised your strength.
I know the fragility and the strength in being the one to call. The fragility comes from human being and to be alive. It comes from living life, being faced with problems, and admitting that you need help from others. We are fragile human beings. But the strength? The strength comes from realising that there is absolutely nothing shameful or embarrassing or wrong about that. It is unquestionably a normal thing to have problems and to need help. Human beings were not meant to live in isolation. We were not meant to navigate life on our own. We were meant to seek company, life around us, to help each other, and live with love.
Regardless of whether you realised your strength or not, you showed it by calling. And I’m so proud of you that you did. I’m so thankful you did. I hope that one day you realise your strength consciously and fully. There is equal strength in needing help from and helping others. There is undeniable strength in being alive, in being human, and in being you.
Whether you believe it or not, you are strong. And I believe in you.
Listen, first of all, thank you for reading this. You know, a lot of people who are stuck in their opinions tend to be extremely against reading the other side’s arguments so I really commend and appreciate you for taking the time to read this post. It shows you’re willing to listen and are a little more open-minded than those who share your opinion.
If you’re a yes-voter, well, welcome. Hopefully you agree with what I say, and if you do, please like and share so we get the results this country so desperately needs.
I’ll go back to addressing the No-Voters since that’s whom this letter is dedicated to. I don’t know why you’re against same-sex marriage but put quite bluntly, I honestly don’t need to know for me to tell you it’s not a good enough reason. I hope that my brutal honesty hasn’t made you close this tab. I’ll tell you why your reason, whatever it may be, isn’t good enough to vote no.
Written with help from my Christian, Muslim, and Jewish friends
Let me begin by making clear that it does not matter to me what religion you practice. Whoever you seek help from, pray to, and worship is none of my business. Whichever religious text you abide by is none of my business. Wherever house of worship you visit is none of my business.
With that said, your religion, your god, your holy text, and your leader at your house of worship may be against same-sex marriage but that does not give you a pass to enforce that belief onto others. I understand that many religious followers believe you are doing God’s work by spreading their ideologies, leading you to think religion is a justifiable reason to vote no. But I need you to understand that what you’re actually doing is not God’s work but in fact, playing God. You are playing God by dictating who can love whom, who can be married to whom, who can live their life the way they want, what is wrong and what is right. These are things that only God, in any given religion, has the power, authority and right to do. It does not matter what your God believes or deems is right because only He/God can dictate and impose that belief onto people.
You might disagree with me but you would be wrong because by voting no to same-sex marriage and citing your God as the reason, you are literally restricting people from expressing themselves, preventing them from living their lives, and condemning them for being who they are. But you, in any religion, do not have the right to do that. Only God does. And regardless of what religion you practice, playing God is a sin. It is extremely disrespectful and offensive. It is wrong and put childishly, you’re going to hell or whatever hell-equivalent you believe in.
Now the question is: is it okay to be and vote against same-sex marriage as long as I don’t push that belief onto others?
I can’t force you to vote yes because ultimately that’s up to you. But I will say that by contributing to a choice that condemns people from living their fullest lives and loving whom they want to love, you are still contributing to a group that is playing God. So in the end, you are still using God as an excuse.
Religion is not an excuse to deny all forms of love and life. Your God and religious text are not free passes to control other people’s lives or dictate what is right or wrong. Believing that is devastatingly demeaning and disrespectful to the religion and God you praise.
A Gay Person Was Mean To You
Why is them being gay the only detail you pick on?
Think about how many straight people you’ve met. How many Caucasians do you know? How many men are currently in your life? Women? How many people with black hair do you know? How about tall people? Are there any football fans in your life? Were all these people nice to you?
If someone with any of the attributes I just listed was mean to you, would you be against them and their entire way of life? If your Caucasian friend cancelled on your plans without an explanation or an apology, would you be against all white-people? If a black haired girl who was a fan of football didn’t help you out with something, would you be against everyone with black hair, all women, and anyone who liked football?
I’m going to assume you said no. (If you answered yes, you’re racist, sexist, and just a very hateful person and I encourage some serious self-reflection. Also, you must be very lonely.). So I return to the main issue, if a gay person was mean to you, why is them being gay the only detail you pick on? Was it a man? Then why are you not against all men? Were they tall? Then why aren’t you advocating for shorter doors? Was that person wearing Nike? Then why aren’t you boycotting Nike?
Really take a moment to think about it. Why do you attribute their rudeness, their mean action, to them being gay? Why are you so certain that their sexual preference led them to be rude that you want to punish them by denying their rights?
If you can’t think of a legitimate reason (hint: there aren’t any), you’re just looking to hate. You’re just projecting your hateful nature onto them being gay. So stop. And seriously, if try to argue that no straight person has ever been mean to you, you’re lying. Stop looking for reasons to hate.
Being Gay Is Unnatural
Who are you to say what’s natural and what isn’t? If you think just because there are more straight people than gay people that the former is natural and latter not, you’re very wrong. With this “majority goes” attitude, it would mean being a woman, being blonde, having blue eyes, and living outside of Asia are all unnatural.
Majority does not, has never, and will never mean natural. Majority changes depending on how you group whatever you’re measuring. So if you think you’re not in the minority of some sort of classification, you’re severely mistaken. Furthermore, homosexuality isn’t something you can accurately measure. A person can identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community without coming out and blatantly saying so. Just like a person can be straight without saying, “Hey all, I’m straight.” Plus, a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community, can’t or are afraid to come out so aren’t included in these inaccurate measurements despite their very certain and important existence.
Also, to put into quick and simple terms, albinism is a rare, minority trait (as far as it’s been measured, and it’s a more accurately measurable trait than homosexuality) in all living things yet any time an albino animal is discovered they’re often seen as adorable, a novelty, and are loved instantaneously. What’s up with that?
I Don’t Want Kids To Be Raised Gay
Straight parents, did your son turn out to be a daughter because he had a mom? Did your daughter turn out to be a son because she had a dad?
Does your sweet baby-girl hate monkeys because she was raised watching The Powerpuff Girls beating up Mojojo every week? Does your strong boy turn into a robot every so often because he grew up watching The Transformers?
Maybe you don’t have kids:
Did you, as a woman, ever wear pants as a kid and see your dad wearing pants too and decide to go after woman just like him? As a man, when you were a kid did see your dad shaking hands with other men as a kid and then go around shaking every boy’s hand because you just couldn’t resist the urge?
Did you, growing up with straight parents, ever get confused as to whether you were supposed to be a woman like your mom or a man like your dad because regardless of your or their gender, they were both human?
Gay people don’t make others gay. Straight people don’t make others straight either. There are plenty of straight parents with gay children, so you can’t argue that those kids were raised one way or another. Gay people might help those who aren’t sure of their identity become surer of it, but they did not determine whatever conclusion they came to. To simplify (to an extreme), it’s kind of like how tall people don’t magically shrink because they hang out with shorter people but often times become aware of how tall they are (but the shorter people did not make them tall).
If you made it this far, thank you. I know how hard it can be to read arguments you don’t agree with so I really respect and appreciate you for taking time to do just that. I hope that maybe I was able to make you reflect on your reasons against same-sex marriage and hopefully, change your mind. If I didn’t address your reasons here, leave it in the comments and I’ll respond with why it’s not a good enough reason to vote no. At the end of the day, voting no, regardless of the reason, is an act that denies another human being’s rights. That is not okay, it never has been and it never will be. I love and stand with the LGBTQ+ community and will always fight for their rights. I hope you will too.
When I think about my career path, there is a specific group of people I want to thank aside from my family and friends. That group is the authors that gave me a boundless childhood. I found my love and talent for writing when I was in fourth grade and have wanted be an author since. That is all thanks to you.
I consider myself extremely lucky that I found what I wanted to be at such a young age when most people my age now are still deciding. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being unsure and trying different directions, it’s always so important to keep looking. What I’m saying is, I’m glad that I was able to work on what I love doing as soon as I could: writing. In my late teens, I decided I wanted to use my writing to help people and better the world so I went into a journalism degree instead of English or literature. I don’t regret it. It introduced me to a new world of writing.
But this post isn’t about me; it’s about you, the authors. I owe you all so much for writing those books, telling those stories, whisking me away into those worlds, and giving me those adventures. Without you and your writing, I would’ve never known the joys of reading. The joy of meeting characters so quirky they could exist only in words, the wonders of travelling into fantastical world while not moving an inch, and the crazy idea that maybe I can create such adventures for myself too. You gave my childhood imagination, a world beyond my playground, my school friends, my family. You gave me one world after another, all of which I loved and still love, sometimes even more than the one we are in now.
Authors, you are the reason why I have this blog. You are the reason I was able to grow as a writer and person, why I stuck with writing all through these years, and the reason I want to use it for the better. For the better what? Everything and anything. For the bettering of a child’s imagination, like you did mine, for the bettering of social injustices, for the better of myself, for the better of absolutely any and all. Authors, you have inspired me beyond all the worlds ever written about and will continue to do so with every story you tell. Everything I’ve ever written and will ever write is all in debt to you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.