Of pain and meaning

We don’t seek the painful experiences that hew our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bear a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe that it’s purposeful. Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle. We could have been ourselves without our delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning.” – Soloman, A. 


When I was 3, I was cute.
When I was 13, I was angsty.
When I was 23, I wanted more.
When I am 33, I am happy.
I have everything I want and need to make my life comfortable.
33 years feels both like a long time but at the same time, it feels like a flash.
You know how as a teenager you always think that when you’re an adult, you’ll get it all figured out? Myth.
I’m not ‘figured it out’ per se, but I’ve determined that its okay to never ever figure ‘it’ out.
 At every stage of your life you pursue different things and at every stage you desire different things.
Life in the past couple of years has been good to me, no major health issues, I mostly partake in activities that give me pleasure and I have no major worries.
Its easy to forget the good and focus on things you have yet to have, but my 33 years of ‘baby wisdom’ have taught me that happiness is derived from focusing on the good, always.

I love school!

At the risk of sounded like the biggest nerd in the universe, this was one of the best semesters I had in Graduate school, or ever really.

I finished my thesis on Emotional Competence in Young Children, a topic I explored at length in my master’s program and I’m very proud of my work. Before you begin to say, she has no shame. Let it be known that I am, my own, harshest critic. I’m always telling myself, I can do better, but this time. I can actually say, I did good! I researched very thoroughly on a topic that I truly loved, and it was my best work so far in Graduate school.

Some of my classmates are graduating this year and I’m going to miss them.

Thank Goodness, I’m not graduating yet! I have one more semester to go, a class in Program Evaluation (educational programs) and Early Childhood before I officially graduate. I’m very excited about the latter course because I truly enjoy working with young children. When I’m done with school, I’m going to explore the possibilities of working with young children.

I’m so thankful for my supportive husband, and the fact that I don’t have to juggle a full time job and a Master’s program. It has really given me the opportunity to dig deep and really explore my passions and research interests. Thank you MB!!! Considering that I’ve finished the most difficult part of graduate school, I’m ready to cruise through the next semester. Bring it on!

Before that tho, I’m looking at a trip to Kris’s parents and a long awaited trip back home to Singapore.

Holidays! Here I come!


I giggled at a dentist’s office today. SAY WHAT!!!!

So after my root canal treatment, my orthodondist told me, you should be numb for a good number of hours, so maybe get a smoothie or something for lunch, I numbed you enough for a 450 pound gorilla!  (He wasn’t lying!)


And ladies and gentleman, this was the only time I have ever had a real laugh in a dental office, I hope it will not be the last.

My orthodondist Dr Evan Lynn is great, his bed side manner and how he dealt with a super nervous patient was beyond comparable to any other medical care, that I have ever gotten from ANY medical professional, ANY where else in the word. He explained part by part, what he was going to do, told me how long each part was going to take, what the burning smell was going to be about, why it occurred, etc etc. Throughout the procedure, he asked if I was alright, stopped immediately and did not reproach me or get irritated when I raised my hand for him to let me take a moment to compose myself. He even reminded me once or twice to continue breathing!   He was so kind and really a good person. I say that because of how patient and nice he was to me, as well as how he was super polite and thanked his assistant helping him throughout the procedure. He had a patient immediately after me and even tho he was 20 minutes late, he took all the time he needed to make me feel safe and comfortable. He’s one of the first? dentist who took time to ask me about the about the roots (pun intended) of my dental phobia and then calmly and professionally assured me that he will take good care of me. Even the injection was relatively painless. To be honest, I’m not afraid of needles, I’m afraid of the drill, more specifically a drill that touches an un-numbed tooth, the pain LITERALLY SHOOTS THROUGH YOUR BRAIN. I cringe every time I think about procedures I did in Singapore when my dentist refused to give novocaine and mocked me for being a pansy.

But today, I am formally erasing those bad memories from my head, because I realized if you find the correct oral surgeon/orthodondist/dentist for you, there is literally no pain. I had a (GASP) almost pleasant experience during the root canal surgery, his demeanor and professionalism made me trust him, and it not an unpleasant experience. My usual dentist (who’s also the sweetest lady I have ever met, Dr Park who I have told everyone I met in NYC about and its so hard to make an appointment with her now, but good things, MUST SHARE!), had actually prepped him before I even came into the office and told him about my fears and he did such an excellent job in making me feel safe and comfortable. 8 hours later, I am still in awe of how nice and kind they both were to me.

Kris was there with me the whole time, he’s the world’s best husband. When we got married, he told me that he will always take care of me, and it is in times like this, that I am reminded of what an amazing man I married. Never once did he laugh/mock/chid me for my fears, but instead he comes with me for every appointment and holds my hand every single time. I’m not going to lie, the extent of my dental phobia is somewhat hilarious. The uncontrollable shaking, sleepless nights and countless nightmares! He is really the most dependable person in the world! It is really easy to say that you will love a person in good times and in bad, but not many people actually follow through in bad times!

It has been a very trying time, first the wisdom teeth extraction, then today’s root canal and another possible another root canal AND/or major cavity filling looming in the near future. I have the worse dental genes! The allergies I developed from the antibiotics, and the pain that woke me up for nights because of the abscess in the root has been no walk in the park. I woke up one day and I was like covered in hives and a ear was getting bigger than the other. I was thinking to myself, OMG I FINALLY MUTATED!!!!

BUT!!!!!! Despite all the shitty times, I’m very glad for a husband who’s there for me all the time, a family who listens to me whine across the oceans and true friends that have been texting me non stop before and after procedures to make sure I’m alright and of course finding good people in the dental profession that I actually trust. I feel very lucky! I decided to cancel spring break vacation in order to pay for the huge dental bills, but its okay I’ll have more time to work on my papers. I’m kind of behind schedule these days because of all the freaking out, lack of proper sleep at night and the pain that has been gnawing at the jaw.

I am hopeful tho, that maybe after these series of good experiences. I will believe that dentistry is not supposed to be a hellish experience and that its possible to not shiver constantly in a dentist’s chair!

Today, I accept that as I age, life is not going to always be easy. But I am confident that with my own mental strength and the support/love I get from the people around me, I will be better and braver than I was yesterday, everyday.

pain is real but so is hope