The Hard Truth

Lately, Zoe liked to walk in the rain. The downpour soothed her. She felt as if the nature was crying with her. The rain  washed her sorrow away and cleansed her soul.

The last few weeks was such a toss-up Zoe didn’t know what to make of it. Even though in the back of her mind, she always sensed that her relationship with Yanni meant much more to her than to him, it was still a big crush for her. She wasn’t naive to the point that she thought they would unite, but she felt that they loved each other. That was all she wanted – his love. It didn’t matter if they weren’t together or they didn’t get to see each other. When her last hope was dashed and crushed, she lost her grips and started the free fall.Screenshot_2016-06-03-20-09-24

When her last fear was confirmed, all kinds of emotions broke loose and wreaked such havoc that she could barely function. One moment she was crying her heart out. The next she was like a zombie with no feeling whatsoever. Lately, the numbness pretty much took over. She didn’t want to feel the pain, the suffering or the agony. Her tears had dried up over the year. She wished she could rewind the clock back to those innocent days.


Zoe wasn’t regretting her experience or pitying herself. She just had too many questions. Why would she dream of Yanni so frequently? Why would she experience those intimate moments with him that she had never had in her life? Why would she dream of details about him like that jacket he had? Why was she so drawn to him? If he regarded her only as a classmate and a friend as he claimed, why would he tell her he loved her, sending her love emojis and love songs? Why didn’t he tell her he didn’t reciprocate her love when she sent him all those love notes? Why didn’t he come clean with her when she asked him to be honest with her about his feelings? Was it that he didn’t want to commit but enjoyed the attention? Could it be because he liked the promiscuity? Could it be his self importance that he was so desirable he could conquer any woman he wanted?

She knew it no longer mattered. His actions had told her everything she needed to know. She just turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to her own intuition. She ignored the little voices inside her.Screenshot_2016-08-14-18-08-52

Now Zoe turned to music for therapy and healing. Songs that used to bring her joys, inspirations or sadness no longer provided any consolation. She no longer felt anything when listening to them, but she couldn’t tear herself away from them.

The final realization came shortly before their anniversary. Zoe traveled abroad. She got sick on her way back. She had to drive several hours in the middle of the night to get home while being sick. Yanni never asked her how she was doing or whether she drove home safely. He never checked on her even when she didn’t contact him for several days. When Zoe confronted him, he said he was busy. She was very disappointed. She knew then she had no place in his heart. Not even as a close friend as he claimed.

It was time to close the chapter, but Zoe didn’t have the courage. She knew she ought to be grateful when Yanni said, “As ur closest friend i am always with u.” She didn’t know…. She couldn’t make sense of the whole thing – how it turned all upside down. She still hadn’t found her footing. She wondered if she would ever find it. Where was she going to land, on what and how?

The Monologue

Many times, Zoe found herself carrying a monologue. She sent Yanni her innermost thoughts and feelings. For the first time in her life, she displayed her vulnerabilities in front of another individual without any hesitation or reservation. To her, Yanni became her other half.

At the same time, she yearned for that soul-to-soul connection, the free communication and the mutual respect and love between them. She wanted to dive deeper and gain a better understanding of the dynamics between her and Yanni.


After the initial excitement and daily conversations, Yanni disappeared behind the screen. Zoe was devastated. She didn’t know what happened and went wrong. She was worried about Yanni. Something could have happened to him. He could have been too busy. However, deep down she became very insecure. She began to realize that she was not important to Yanni. She was simply a prize he wanted to win. Now  that he had won, she was just another prize to keep in his trophy box.

Zoe was pained inside. The torture was so great that she was barely breathing. The only release she could find was through journaling. She took all her doubts and heartaches to her diary. She knew she must move on, leaving the unbalanced relationship behind.


Let it go, let it go, let it go…… It’s only a dream. It’s beautiful like a rainbow in the sky. It’s full of promises. It takes your breath away. It’s such a picturesque painting that you are mesmerized by it and engrave it in your heart. However, no matter how wonderful it is or how hard you have tried, it’s just an illusion, a wishful thinking, an intangible dream. A dream, indeed, no more no less. Your heart can’t take it anymore. Let it go. Just let it go……

Ironically, during all this agony, frustration and pain, her love for Yanni deepened. The energy surges, the dreams and the visions she had strengthened her convictions that she and Yanni were meant for each other. Otherwise, why would she have so many encounters that she had never experienced before?

I took a short nap. As soon as I drifted off, you come into my dream. You wanted me to rub and kiss your neck. I did and you lay your head on my left lap. In another dream, you rubbed my shins and feet. They were so real! Are you telepathing me? Did you have the same dreams? Are you missing me, too? It is incredible! Why am I dream these? So specific, so detailed as if they happened in real life! What am I supposed to do? The pain, the hurt and the suffering are cutting deeper into the heart. Since you don’t love me, I don’t want these dreams to disrupt my life and torture me. I only wanted to be your friend, but I’ve sunk deeper and deeper…


Zoe found that putting her feelings and thoughts on paper assisted her to move forward. It was an outlet for her to release her anguish and suffering.

In the deep and quiet night   I dazed while staring at your portrait   Tears in my eyes   All because I am thinking of you and missing you   The rain drizzles   Have fogged my sight   And wet my wounded heart    All because I am thinking of you and missing you   The melodies floating in the air   Remind me of your  strong passions   Bring back the sweet memories     All because I am thinking of you and missing you   In those long lonely nights     Dreaming  constantly about you   So happy yet somewhat melancholy   All because I am thinking of you and missing you   Spring flowers blossoming   Listening to fairies whispering   Transmitting to you my heart’s desires   All because I am thinking of you and missing you    Under the blue sky and white clouds   Watching a flock of birds flying over   Carrying my warmest wishes to you   All because I am thinking of you and missing you 

Meanwhile, Yanni popped up here and there. He no longer talked about his feelings or his life. Occasionally, he sent Zoe his pictures, but mostly he was silent on the other end. It was unsettling for Zoe. Still, she attributed all that to Yanni’s personality. She was convicted to helping Yanni open up.


A World of Fantasies

The connection with Yanni awakened the inner child in Zoe. She started to experience a heightened energy surging inside her. She was surprised but delighted at this sudden change. All her life, her energy level had been low. She was tired easily and lethargic most of the time. This awakening was exciting and she knew she had fallen in love with Yanni.


Zoe had fallen hard. Every cell in her body had been stimulated. Now she was on autopilot. Yanni became the center of her universe. He filled her heart and soul. Every waking moment, she was thinking of him, wishing to talk to him and see him. In many of her dreams, he would come to pleasantly tease her and make out with her. She was overwhelmed and pleased to experience all this wonderful energy.

All her senses had been opened up. Emotionally and spiritually, she felt Yanni’s presence. Any moment, she felt that she could reach and touch him. What they could  not experience in the physical world was made up in her dreams. She had that sensual kiss with him that she never knew existed. They had sex so erotic that she didn’t want to wake up. Most of all, she frequently dreamed of or imagined him lying on her laps while she caressed him and ran her fingers through his hair.


Two extraordinary experiences through energy work brought Zoe closer to the Divine and to Yanni. While meditating and appealing to Archangel Michael for guidance, she found herself at the top of this mountain surrounded by trees. However, the top itself was flat and barren. She met this white long-bearded old man, cloaked in white. He appeared to her as the wise man who seemed waiting for her. Then she descended to this mountainside stream running downhill with pebbles and small rocks. It was surrounded by tall thriving bamboo trees.  Halfway down the mountain, she watched a little boy on a wide-breamed hat herding a cow by the stream with a stick in his hand. It was a picturesque image, peaceful and serene. She sat beside the boy by the edge of the stream.  To her, both the wise man and the innocent boy were Archangel Michael in disguise. In different forms, he was taking her to experience this incredible journey.

Zoe knew Archangel Michael was with her when her hands started to tingle as if he was holding them. In seeking his guidance, she suddenly broke down and cried uncontrollably for a good 5 minutes. Nevertheless, toward the end, the scene from Sound of Music popped up -Maria extending her arms dancing, twirling and singing so happily. The sky was clear and blue. Lush green was sprouting under the melting snow. There were also sparkles in the air while she danced around. It was magical.


During her next meditation, Zoe asked Michael and the other angels for guidance. For the magical place, she landed in the boat in a tranquil and winded river with the mountains in the distance and lotus flowers blooming everywhere. It was a beautiful and serene place. She called for Michael. He appeared as the boatman in a peasant’s outfit with a white headwrap on. She asked Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Muriel for guidance about her relationship with Yanni. Suddenly, she felt this surge of emotion. Yanni came into the picture. They started to make out. Yanni was embracing her, kissing her and making love to her. It was intense and exciting. Zoe kept calling out Yanni’s name and made the deep connection with him spiritually and emotionally. It felt wonderful. It brought joyful tears to her eyes. She was so emotional she could barely contain it. In the end, Zoe was out of breath and exhausted, but it felt delicious! She was so happy that she and Yanni had that connection. She was very grateful to the Angels for bringing that experience to her.

In her message to Yanni, Zoe couldn’t contain her excitement and happiness: “I’ve had this extraordinary experience. It’s surreal! You wouldn’t believe it unless you experience it yourself. I am out of breath, but thrilled. Yes, it’s exhilarating, powerful and beautiful! I’m out of words for it. It’s about you and me. Wonderful, simply wonderful!”

The Beginning

After the reunion, Zoe couldn’t shake off the excitement and lightheadedness she experienced. As an individual who always felt deeply about her experiences, she took to heart the unspoken understanding between her and Yanni. They started to text each other, exchanging the excitement and the wonderful feelings from the reunion. Again, it was innocent and innocuous.

Somewhere down the road, Yanni started to express his feelings for Zoe. Shocked but flattered, Zoe never expected Yanni would bare his heart to her. She cautioned that they should calm down and be realistic. Even though she wanted to take their relationship to the next level, she knew it was impractical. Yanni sent her emojis and love notes. The last barrier was toppled. She could no longer keep her cool.

Back home, Zoe started the long-distance relationship with Yanni. They chatted here and there. Even though they both knew it was unrealistic, they kept at it. Inside, Zoe started to change in a breathtaking pace. A new beginning had dawned on her. She welcomed this life-changing transformation with open arms and an open heart.



It was a hot summer day. Zoe went to the college reunion. She was excited because this would be the first time she would see most classmates since their graduation 20 years ago. She didn’t have many expectations, but she was eager to see all her classmates and a few good friends. Immediately, she was attracted to Yanni. After 20 years, he had lost the boy appearance in college and evolved into a refined man, dignified and polished with grace and elegance. He was by no means handsome, but he was by all means attractive in his own way.


There was some unspoken connection between them. To her surprise and delight, he dedicated this song to her. It was gratifying to know that Yanni was attracted to her, too. With the two-day reunion coming to an end, Zoe tucked the song inside and took it with her across mountains and oceans.

She saw Yanni a couple of times after the reunion. It was always pleasant to be around him. He was always animated, cracking jokes and made a conversation lively. Zoe always wanted to see him even for a brief moment when she was back in the country, but it was not always possible.


Fast forward another ten years, it was another hot summer day.  Fate brought them together again. In between, they had lived their lives on different continents, undisturbed by each other. One day, Zoe received an invitation from the organizer to go to their 30-year reunion. She didn’t want to go. She was actually very indifferent to this reunion. She didn’t have a reason for it, but she just wasn’t interested.

Suddenly, she learned that her best friend had had a dying experience. She almost lost her friend forever who somehow miraculously survived the fatal illness. Zoe wanted to see her badly, so she flew back to her home country. A little voice inside nudged her to go to the reunion. In the end, she decided to go.


Meeting Yanni again was a delicious encounter. She realized that the attraction didn’t ebb because of distance and time lapse. If anything, it grew stronger. During the two days, she was animated and innocently flirted with her male counterparts. Deep down, she knew she and Yanni were attracted to each other. That was all that mattered to her.  She was glad they were both discrete about the whole situation.

The party was drawing to a close. The group gathered together to sing some karaoke and dance a bit. Zoe sat with a few girl friends, watching others singing and dancing. Yanni approached her and smoothly led her into the dancing floor. She wasn’t a dancer at all. They just moved around and chatted. It was all innocent and innocuous. Secretly, she was pleased.


All of a sudden, Yanni’s masculine voice boomed into the speaker. He sang the song and dedicated it to her again in the same dramatic but discrete way. It melted her heart.

Oh my love, My darling!  I’ve hungered for your touch   A long, lonely time.  And time goes by so slowly  And time can do so much   Are you still mine?  I need your love   I need your love. God speed your love to me

Right there and then, she knew they were treading into an unexpected territory.  Once more, across mountains and oceans, Zoe carried the song with her as a permanent stamp on her heart. She knew her journey would forever be changed.


Under the Oaks

For the past few months, Gracie has been like a lost cat. She has wandered between her lost world and the reality. Everything is in such a toss that she feels like a total mess. She knows that she’s been thrown off balance, but she doesn’t know how to find her footing.  Her heart aches and the aching is so sharp she feels that it’s piercing through her heart. She understands she must stand up from where she has fallen.

To heal from her self-inflicted wounds, Gracie starts to walk to the fountain in front of her office building. The fountain distracts her and calms her nerves. The two oak trees nearby provide some shades while she gazes at the fountain and the lotus lilies.  The presence of the oaks seems to give off energy and  strength. Strangely, she finds solace in the oaks as if they understand her struggles and pains. Gradually,  she looks forward to the moment under the oaks.

Sometimes she senses the oaks are waiting for her and are disappointed  if she skips a day or two. Every time, they welcome her by waving their branches at her or providing her with a bigger shade. They wrap her in their huge embraces and console her in their special way. The occasional chirps of birds from the trees warms and lightens her heart.

She starts to pay more attention to the oaks and is often lost in her thoughts. During her gazes, she has noticed that the two trees stand shoulder to shoulder without ever touching each other. They are deeply rooted in the ground and their branches extend in every possible way. They seem to have each other’s back, but they are independent of each other. Silently, they support and nourish each other without losing their identity. This revelation enlightens her and almost frees her of the misery she has suffered.

Reflecting back, Gracie realizes that Julian’s appearance in her life, in whatever from,  has bolstered her confidence and helped her to transform into a brand new person. She knows there’s no turning back and the transformation inside her is profound and gratifying. Miserable as she is, she is more grateful and recognizes that she’s the lucky one.

Taking one more look at the oaks, Gracie smiles confidently and breaks into a sure gait….




The Miracle Woman

Gracie’s mom, Rose,  was short and plain looking, in sharp contrast to her dad’s tall and handsome features. However, she was the most loving person in the village. She always took care of others before she took care of herself.

Rose had a good beginning when her parents were small business owners. They had a family owned noodle shop. Her dad adored her. Like most girls, she was a daddy’s girl. However, this didn’t last long. Her dad suddenly became seriously ill and died shortly after. At the time  her mother was pregnant with her younger brother. Her mother was devastated at the loss of her husband. It was not easy for her to take care of the business and three young children. Her employees started to take advantage of her.

As if that was not enough, her mother suddenly got sick herself and also died a short three years later. At the age of eleven, Rose became an orphan. She was sent to her uncle’s house and was raised by her selfish and mean spirited uncle who became her father-in-law later. Unable to tolerate their uncle, her 15-year-old brother ran away and was never heard of again. Her younger brother was sent to live with her paternal grandfather.  The happy family was no more.

The once sunny and chatty girl became very quiet. She had no place to go and no one to turn to when she was physically and emotionally abused and bullied.  Often, she would cry herslf to sleep. The only comfort she had was that her cousin, later husband, sympathized with her. As the only son in the family,  he would get special treats. Sometimes he would save it without his parents’ knowledge and share it with Rose.

Rose’s life was fraught with suffering and misfortunes. Their house was burned down shortly after their marriage and they couldn’t afford to build another house. Thus, they moved from one house to another. It wasn’t a good situation. They were looked down upon and bullied.

When her husband was paraded and tortured during the political upheaval, Rose became the pillar of the house. The  political persecution and the financial woes would have broken anyone else, but not her. she kept the family together and wouldn’t show any weakness to the outside world. If anything, she became stronger.

In Gracie’s memories,  her mom was always busy. As the masons’ helper, she had to leave the house before dawn while Gracie was still in bed and didn’t come home till dark. Sometimes, Gracie was already sleeping.  She didn’t remember her mom much as a child. The only thing she remembered was late at night in winter her mom would warm her feet by putting them near her chest because Gracie’s feet were always icy cold in the winter.

Rose would periodically bring home all kinds of herbs or special recipes for her sick husband. She cared for him for a couple of decades and never complained. She was always optimistic about the future. She kept encouraging her husband to be forward-looking during his darkest moments.

Though she had never been to school, she taught herself to read, do math and write. She was very smart. She was also very wise for someone who was never educated. She taught her kids to be kind, hard working,  patient and tolerant. Her mottos were :

  • You can make one jump or smile to deliver the same message.  You’d better make one smile than jump.
  • Be generous and have empathy.
  • A great person is magnanimous and forgiving.

As Gracie recalls, her mom had several near death experiences. Each time, she escaped it and miraculously survived. Her miracle was also reflected in her healing power physically, emotionally and spiritually.  She was an amazing woman in her own way.

What awes Gracie the most is that her mom was never bitter about life given all the unfortunate events she had experienced. She was resilient, open minded, generous, forgiving and kind to a fault. Most of all,  she was loving and caring. She never turned away a beggar at her doorstep even though they were very poor themselves. She had turned her adversities into a positive experience and imparted wisdom to her kids who were willing to listen.  Even today, many years after her passing, Gracie still feels her presence. She realizes that she’s becoming her mother in certain ways and that brings a smile to her face.

The Big Black Hand

Gracie’s dad was multi talented. He had a beautiful voice when he sang. He could sing opera in a woman’s voice. As one of the tallest in the village, he was in the basketball team and was a good basketball player. His drawings were so vivid that the people, plants and animals he drew seemed to have a life of their own. He told good stories. His calligraphy was unmatched by anyone in the neighboring communities.  Though he had only four years of formal education, he was the trusted accountant for the state-run farm. Most of all, he was eager to help others.

Even though they were poor, he was respected for his talents and helping hands. He seemed to have it all when terror struck. Due to his beautiful handwriting, the villagers asked him to write an opinion piece to be posted at the entrance of the village. He did as asked without thinking about the political consequences. He didn’t realize that he had planted the bitter seed of revenge that would torture him the rest of his life.

Several years later, he was singled out and denounced as an anti-revolutionary. No one in the village stood up to defend him. The children of the family he helped most cast the stones at him. He was paraded around with a big board around his neck. He was released from his position even though he was recognized as the best accountant. His mere possessions of a few nice clothes were confiscated. He was taken away from his family and locked up.

Gracie didn’t have many happy memories of her dad. Since she could remember, her dad was always sick and on medications. Her mom would always bring home some herbs or recipes for him. He had tuberculosis and was always coughing.  From a young age, she knew she shouldn’t upset her dad. On the one hand, she wanted to be close to him. On the other hand, she was scared of him although he never yelled at her. She heard him roar when he was extremely upset with her brother. She didn’t like it a bit. Therefore, she tried to be extra careful and sweet around her dad.

When her dad was taken away, Gracie was only six or seven years old. She could see her dad once a month. Every time he came back, his hands were smeared with black ink. He was called “The Big Black Hand”. He was  so pale she didn’t want to get near him. At her age, she didn’t really know her dad. The same scene went on for several years.

During the time,  the kids would parade around the village and she had to join them. They would shout slogans denouncing the anti-revolutionaries.  Every time when they passed her house, the kids would repeatedly shout, “Down with the Big Black Hand! !” Gracie had to join them to raise her fist. She just couldn’t shout the slogan. She only murmured, “Down with Papa!” This lasted for several months. It was a really painful experience for her. She was traumatized.

In addition to his physical illness, Gracie’s dad became depressed. At one time, he thought of suicide to end the humiliation, the unbearable treatment and the suffering. Though he was talked out of it by her mom, he never recovered from depression. The persecution had too much an impact on him. He was melancholy most of the time.

It’s a beautiful day today, but my heart is so heavy. I have never done anything wrong. Why am I so unlucky? I have encountered so many obstacles and unfair treatments in life, but I can hardly talk about any of them. The Divine is so unfair that I have to brace the cruel reality all by myself. 

This whole thing also affected Gracie terribly.  The bullies she endured were getting worse. Her family’s ordeal was amplified on her. She just suffered silently. She also became tougher. Though she didn’t know how to fight back, she learned to swallow her tears and sorrows. She vowed that she wouldn’t cry in front of her bullies.

Today Gracie still won’t cry even though she can be very sad. She just swallows her tears and suffers internally.  She knows that the whole Julian thing is  just another heartache she will have to brace and suffer privately.

The Rotten Feet Beggar

Growing up, Gracie never had a sense of self worth. Youngest among seven kids, she was never noticed. Everyone ordered her around and she was not allowed to express her opinions or do anything she was interested in. No one took her seriously. Most of the time, she was invisible.

She was not a very healthy child and she was also very picky about her food even though she was starving. During a time when food was scarce and a child’s needs were not really considered, this was not tolerated. She had to eat whatever food was put in front of her.

During the process, she learned to adapt and observe. However, she lost her voice. She became indecisive. She couldn’t voice her objections if she didn’t like something. She became very passive since everyone else was making decisions for her. She also lost the ability to defend herself or fight for her rights.

Her family was unique in the village. They didn’t really fit in, but there wasn’t much mobility during that time. They were permanently stuck with the snobbish, shallow and backstabbing villagers.

She had been teased and bullied since she could remember due to her hand-down and worn-out clothes and toe-open shoes. She didn’t have a good balance and would fall every time it rained. And it rained a lot. Other kids would laugh at her and tease her, especially the boys. Her siblings would scold her for soiling her clothes again.

In the winter, there was no heater and it could be very cold. Most kids got frost bites. Gracie had the worst. Her hands and feet would crack and get infected. Blisters would appear and puses would start to ooze. She looked terrible. The boys found another reason to tease her and bully her. Someone started to call her “The Rotten Feet Beggar” and it was stuck with her for most of her childhood.  Even her own brother would call her that name when they quarreled.

Gracie hated the name calling, but there was nothing she could do. She started to withdraw into herself. She tried her best to avoid those boys, but they would look for her. They would intentionally bump into her and accuse her of bumping into them. They would throw small rocks at her and she couldn’t find a place to hide.

03Bullying-tmagArticle.jpg.cfWith the girls, she tried to fit in. Though they were not as cruel as the boys, they would cheat on her.  They would steal grass from her basket when they were out cutting grass to feed their home-raised sheep. When the city girl came to visit, she would share her goodies with other girls and conveniently left her out.

In a village where physical strength and capabilities of doing farm work were valued more than brain smarts, she was looked down by the adults and her peers. She started to feel very insecure and her self esteem was down to the drain. She had been  reduced to nothing.

She became isolated and was very lonely. She never told her parents about the bullies she had experienced. She just sucked it all up. They had too many of their own problems. She watched them struggle with all sorts of issues and was pained inside. In turn, she was affected physically. Her immune system was getting worse. She was sick all the time.

The only comforts she had were that she knew her parents loved her and she made good grades at school. She was always mom and dad’s girl with minimal demands. Her good grades made her parents proud of her. She was also the teachers’ pet because she followed all the rules and was an excellent student. Her brain smart might have saved her a few friends who needed her help with homework and tests. Nevertheless, her intellect also became another source of her being bullied even more.

Up to now, Gracie still has trouble standing up for herself. Though her self esteem is on the rise, she can still slump into those self doubting periods. She still takes blunts from others, unable to find her own voice.

She has been trying to bury that past for the humiliation, embarrassment and shame she went through. It’s still painful to go through the experience. Even though she is in a much better situation than all those who bullied her, she doesn’t take solace in it. Sometimes, fear of rejection and persecution could still  dominate her life. She never thought she would have the courage to relive that dreadful childhood.

The recent experience she has undergone since the lunar eclipse in March has opened up all her senses. She recognizes that she has idealized Julian, but she also realizes that Julian’s confidence in her has enabled her to face the past demons she has swept under the carpet. She’s finally liberated from the chains of the past. It’s good to feel free.