Wow. I'm not holding back anymore. It's been forever since I've written in a way where I don't hold back, but it's time. I stopped blogging since March of 2015. I've rarely logged onto WordPress. In fact, I cringed at the thought of blogging. My traffic tanked, and I didn't care. All I wanted to do was…nothing.
Before we go any further, I've finally mustered up enough energy to log back on to share my story of what's been happening in my life. You know, six years ago we only dreamed of a home that we have now. We were living in poverty at that time, and my husband and I used to drive in the exact master planned community we live in now (Seven Hills) and talk about how we would live our successful lives and what we would do with all the money we had. Some of the neighborhoods were gated and we'd wait until someone arrived and sneak into those neighborhoods and drive around looking at the beautiful lush landscaping and huge homes with architectural details of west coast luxury living. And now here we are living in that very same gated community we used to sneak into with my in-laws and our whole family together. Feeling complete and whole was the best feeling in the world.
We had just moved into that home just a few months before and it was a few days before Halloween 2014. During our move, my father-in-law got really sick and ended up in the hospital for a week. The doctors said he was anemic and then later found problems in his liver. He went home and we thought he had more time and it was life as usual, moving along in the super-busy fast blazing speed we normally did. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Valentine's Day passed by — all holidays we spent in our new home. My father-in-law also celebrated his 54th birthday in February and it was a lovely gathering in our home. I remember the week after my father-in-law's birthday so clearly. George and I were both traveling that week and it was another super busy, tight schedule of events. That Friday when I was traveling, my father-in-law dropped me off at the airport. We actually had a chance to catch up on life and before he dropped me off he was telling me how excited he was to see his siblings when they visit in April. Then that same night he picked me up from the airport he was telling me about Slurpee Day with the kids after school. He was the type that didn't say much, but when he did, we knew it meant something important or special. And we knew little things like Slurpee Day meant so much to him. Little did I know that it was going to be my last real conversation with him.
We celebrated a late Valentine's Day service that Sunday at church and my in-laws were invited to speak for a few minutes about a lasting marriage and my father-in-law shared his secret tips to a lasting marriage. He was funny, clever and direct. None of us knew he wasn't feeling well nor did he show any signs of pain or sickness – he was chipper and smiling. God, I wish I had recorded it. After Sunday service, my father-in-law said he wasn't feeling well. He said it was the same feeling he had when he went into the hospital for a week, and that same Sunday night he ended up passing out in the bathroom and went back to the hospital. He seemed funny and jovial on Monday doing selfies on Facebook as he turned his napkin into a Kobe Bryant jersey. They gave him a blood transfusion but by early evening Tuesday, he went into cardiac arrest for 15-minutes and they were able to revive him. Although he was unconscious, we were hopeful for a second chance and grateful that he was still alive. Doctors told us to be ready and that there was no hope left. We kept the faith and prayed without ceasing, crying out to God for a miracle daily.
The second week in ICU he had a stint put in his liver in hopes that would save him, and he was making progress! He was conscious, moving around, alert and improving. He couldn't talk because they still had to intubate him, but he was conscious and we thought he was going to come home in a couple of weeks…but then things took a turn for the worst and by the end of the third week he ended up deteriorating to the point that all of his organs started shutting down and he went into cardiac arrest again. I was home with the kids the night he was passing away. I stayed up all night praying, watching Christian movies, writing him a letter in hopes that he would be home soon to read it. My brother-in-law finally called and was crying that he went back into cardiac arrest and my husband called shortly after at a loss for words, just sobbing hysterically. Papa was gone. I was devastated. It was 5am and my cries were so loud it woke up Jasmine and Noah. I broke the news to them, and they broke down. We had to wake up Jude and Juliana and throw on some shoes and rushed to the hospital where we said our last goodbyes.
A few days later we had his funeral and the following Monday I returned back to the office. I hid my feelings and pushed the pain aside to be a professional who gave 100% at her job. I kept myself distracted by working, working, working. I jumped right back into blogging and continued on as if nothing tragic happened — business proposals, pitching, negotiating, managing the team. I just kept moving to keep from feeling any pain. While everyone was mourning, I kept working. It was the only thing I knew to do, because I was numb from the pain and tired of crying. Two weeks after Papa passed away, I ended up feeling a very sharp pain in my abdomen that lasted for a few days. As a woman I didn't think it was anything except the painful menstrual cramps I experience every month and took Motrin every few hours to lessen the pain. By the fifth day I noticed that my abdomen was tender and very swollen (it looked like I was about four months pregnant) and the pain still didn't subside and started localizing to the right side. I decided to go to the urgent care after work thinking maybe I had another urinary tract infection and just needed antibiotics. The physician assistant poked away and I screamed — WOWZA! I didn't realize how painful that right side was!!! He told me it was very serious and that the area he was checking was where my appendix was. He told me I needed to go to the emergency room right away and they can do a CT Scan and use the special equipment needed to run tests. So off to the emergency room I went.
After several hours in the emergency room, I indeed had an inflamed appendix. The physician said I had appendicitis and needed to have emergency surgery right away. The surgeon was female and said she was going to do a laproscopic appendectomy to keep the scars minimal and while she was in there, check my reproductive organs. After surgery it turned out that I had a large ovarian cyst rupture and it ended up causing internal bleeding which then created an infection that was enlarging and infecting my appendix. She removed both my ovarian cyst and appendix – talk about a double whammy! It took me two weeks to recover, and I was basically on bed rest doing nothing but thinking. It was during this time that I questioned what I was doing with my life and who I was really living my life for. It was during this time that I realized how tired and burned out I was. It was during this time that I realized that I was still in emotional pain from losing my father-in-law. Why was this happening to me and why right now?! It was during this time of quiet and stillness that I almost quit blogging.
I went back to work after two weeks and even attempted to travel for a brand on a film project. But still had no fire, no desire, no passion for anything. It wasn't that I gave up on God or became lazy. I was simply burned out and God has been working on redirecting my path ever since.
The reason I'm writing this is because it's time for change. It's time for me to change my life by reflecting on all the events that brought me to this point in my life right now. I needed to write this, because until I let go of all the painful memories and accept that I need to change, I will not be able to move forward. And I am desperate to move forward again. And whether I like it or not, things will never be the same. Things need to change NOW. Because if not now, then when??? If you're going through similar feelings in your life right now, please know that you are not alone. Know that in your life, there will be many seasons. Seasons of plenty, seasons of lack, seasons of joy and seasons of mourning. Your seasons in life will change and that's okay. But don't stay in that season when your new season has changed. You'll get sick – it's like wearing shorts in the snow during winter – you're not protecting your body by bundling up and keeping warm and end up getting sick. The seasons of life work the same way – you must change with the seasons.
How to change your life when life seems to hard…
#1: Reflect. Look back at the last 5 years up until today and write down all the things you are grateful for. Don't stop until you've covered the full five years. You will realize how blessed you are and how much your life has changed. Once you're done, ask yourself these three questions of reflection:
“What was the root cause(s) of why you are feeling this way?”
“Who are you really living your life for?”
“What are your passions in life?”
#2: Engage. It's time to live your life around your priorities and who you're really living your life for. It's also time for a little reputation management. If you feel you have ruined relationships, communicate with those you have a relationship with (whether personally or professionally) by engaging them and explain your situation to them. Most of the time they will understand. Be sure you've tried your best to address those you've kept in the dark. Communication is a critical part of change. You can't do this alone.
For me, my priorities are what I consider my passions, what I enjoy in my life…I am passionate about being a good mother to my four children; I am passionate about being a good wife to my husband; I am passionate about my career in helping others; I am passionate about serving God; I am passionate about being healthy and fit.
Engage in your passions. Do the things you enjoy doing, because those are your priorities. Those are the things you feel are most valuable in your life and those are the things that will light that fire back in your life. Read your bible to gain wisdom. Pray for help. It takes a lot of humility to ask for help to change. Once you can humble yourselves to ask God for help, He will help change you.
I've been enjoying watching and reading about Stephen Curry and his family lately. His wife (and blogger), Ayesha Curry, was in an article for Time Magazine recently that talked about being engaged as a parent and gave the perfect example about how to engage with your children:
“I feel that the biggest thing you can do, as a parent, is to engage. You can never be too busy for your child. There should always be time for a bedtime story, impromptu playtime, or a quick game of hide-and-seek — or “find me,” as Riley calls it. These moments with your child should never get pushed to the bottom of the list. In these moments we set the foundation for the kind of relationship we want to have with our children as they grow.”
Boom! I couldn't have said it better myself, Ayesha. It was something I totally needed to read.
#3: Start over. You've come to the realization that you need to change. You've addressed the pain you've experienced in your life and what got you to this rock bottom feeling in your life. You know what your priorities and passions are in your life. So what next? Start over. Today is a new day, and change means being renewed. Start over and wipe the slate clean. What do you need to do today to focus on your life priorities and engage? Pick 1-2 things to start and before you know it, you'll be back baby! Forget about getting back on track, it will only overwhelm you with the things you haven't done. Think of today as your do-over, your second chance at life. You have officially started over and that's where change begins.
A friend of mine had made a comment on Facebook during a discussion on how to gain the motivation to get back to working out and eating healthy. He said, “Start easy, then improve by 1% everyday. You'll get back there. No rush. Being healthy is a lifetime activity, not a seasonal goal.”
Amen! I feel like the same goes for your life: Start over each day, then improve by 1% everyday. Change is a lifetime of activity, not a seasonal goal.
Please be patient with me as I try to work through all these thoughts and feelings in my head. Please forgive me if you haven't heard from me or if I have lacked in communication with you. Change is in progress and until I've fully turned my life around I ask that you please pray for me and give me a chance to work through these things with God. Love you guys!
xOxO – Daisy Teh