Remembering to be Inspired

Jackie came to visit this weekend, and whoever exists in the clouds controlling the weather decided to make it rain. Maybe it’s a lady with a Britney Spears microphone attached to her head barking orders to ‘make more clouds!’ ‘move the sun!’ or ‘make more rain fall on the east side!’ Or maybe it’s not that intentional, and our fates are decided by a flatulent old man who knocked over his water glass with one particularly violent fart. Regardless of how it happened, it rained cats and dogs this weekend. Well, water. Not actual cats and dogs.

Read More...

Chinese New Year, Chinese Food, and The Life of an ABC

The Margaret Show S1E2: Chinese New Year, Chinese Food, and The Life of an ABC

Happy belated Chinese New Year, everyone! Last weekend I took the opportunity to go home to Michigan, spend time with family, and reflect in the new year. Tune in and hang out!!!

The Margaret Show S1E1

The Margaret Show’s worldwide debut!!! Tune in for weekly episodes.

Today we talk about Justin Timberlake, his newest album Man of the Woods, and his Super Bowl 2018 halftime performance. What will happen!? Watch to find out.

The Dolomites, Italy

One day, I’ll have a travel blog. Or better yet, a TV show. I’ll explore the world – nay, the universe – trying exotic foods (after someone’s tasted them first) or dangerous activities (shot strategically by my camera crew). Or maybe I’ll be the real deal and do all those things without a safeguard. Either way, I’ll certainly get paid.
Until then, I’ll leave out the laundry list of details that led me to this remote spot along in the Dolomites of Italy, and instead focus on an experience I feel is worth sharing with the masses. Because I know the readership on this blog is growing at breakneck pace. Twitter, watch out.

Read More...

CHARLESTON AND THE LOTION EXPERIMENT

Charleston is a cute town. For those Yankees like me, here’s a quick D.L. Charleston is a small city in South Carolina, not to be confused or confuddled with Charlottesville, Virginia, Charlotte, North Carolina, or Charles Town, West Virginia. I give up, right? To be perfectly honest, when I arrived, I estimated there to be a 1 in 4 chance I’d booked a hotel in the wrong city. Thankfully, lady luck was on my side.

Read More...

That Time I Went to Cuba

When people find out I went to Cuba, they naturally ask me how it was. I feel remiss answering in any of the polite, normal ways – Oh, it was great, it was awesome, so much fun! Not because it wasn’t any of these things, but rather because these words seem to fall short of inadequate. My friend coined a phrase I like. “It was a trip, not a vacation.”

While this one-liner is pithy, it doesn’t quite quench the thirst of the eager listener. Well, my friends, never fear. It only took me two weeks (or three), but I’ve actually followed through and written a blog post about my trip to Cuba.

Read More...

HELLO 2017!

Now, normally, I’m not one to place a bunch of pomp and circumstance on the new year. I mean, sure, I might write a couple half-assed goals on my mirror, like, ‘workout more,’ or something equally basic, because don’t lie, we all do – but it’s never a feeling that persists for more than two days at a time. That feeling of change, of metamorphosis, of urgency… But even as I write this, I know. This year? It’s a big year. Oh, it’s a big year, for sure.

At the end of 2016… Yes, I’m talking about ‘the end of 2016’ as if it were a momentous discrete event like The Big Bang that happened 13 billion years ago instead of something that just ended three days ago. Let’s go with it.

At the end of 2016… My very being was rejecting the life I had created for myself. Objectively, there was absolutely nothing wrong with that life. In fact, it was a pretty great life. Let me be real about that. I lived in a nice apartment building full of clean cut yuppies who would never steal any of your things even if you left your door unlocked, I had been promoted 3 levels in four years and made a silly good amount of money for my age at my job, I had good friends from all periods of life who loved me unconditionally just like I loved them, I had gotten over my aversion to dating apps and just embraced what it is to search for love in today’s day and time.

And yet, I was sad and listless and unmotivated, when normally I’m a ball of crazy positivity and dynamo energy. It hurt my soul to know I was this shell of who I know I am, and I knew I was alone in this. One, because ultimately, I believe everyone is responsible and accountable for the everyone’s own individual happiness. At least, until you find that one true love and your world changes but hey let’s not get ahead of ourselves. And two, to most people, my internal struggle was lost, because even a ghost of myself operating at 20% probably looks equivalent to the energy of a normal person. I did this cheesy exercise to come up with a tagline, which is supposed to be a pithy statement that highlights what makes you unique – both in a positive and potentially negative way. ‘I am a positive force of energy, but I must be harnessed towards a greater cause.’ And in that moment, I knew, the greater cause was lost on me. Days passed and activities distracted, but I loved nothing. I was unanchored.

It pains me to admit that I cried at least once a week from frustration… because I’m a problem solver and I just could not for the life of me crack the problem. I hated that this was happening, because I don’t like to be weak and I don’t believe in helplessness. I believe in action. I just wished I knew what that action was supposed to be.

Pause. I know this sounds all very dramatic. And some people may roll their eyes, thinking, this chick has it all, she’s got absolutely nothing to complain about. And I’ll accept that criticism. I just know… For my existence, for my happiness, I need more.

Churning and torturing myself within the confines of my situation was getting me nowhere. I had come to terms with past events but had no insight into the future. So, I changed my situation and I searched for more. I abandoned my family, my friends, and my job, and I up and left for an 11 day solo trip to Thailand! My own version of Eat, Pray, Love, if you will. Even though I’ve never read the book because honestly I fell asleep during the movie and just can’t bring myself to pick it up. So, instead, I’ll write my own self-proclaimed more interesting version of Eat, Pray, Love… here, in my blog. To come after this post. Thailand was the best decision of my life, and exactly what I needed.

As for what I’ve found so far, it’s an evolving list, recorded here for posterity.

  1. Meditate for 1/2 an hour a day. Give myself some peace
  2. Set aside 1 hour to write per day. Have always wanted to be a writer, for as long as I can remember. Perhaps even create that podcast
  3. Go to bartending school and bartend on the side. Have always been interested in opening a club, but need to learn more about the industry
  4. Prototype an illusion based art museum. Saw one in Thailand and have many ideas on how to improve
  5. Look into opportunities within my company, that have more influence and action, like a sales skill set. Have always known I have a likeable personality; would like to know how to leverage that better
  6. Move to New York or Chicago? Need a change of venue?
  7. Look into consulting, potentially boutique so as not to crush my soul unless I feel I need the flash of The Big 3 on resume. Option to continue investing in client-facing skillsets
  8. Take the GMAT. Option to go to b-school

Peace out. Thailand adventures coming soon!

SUMMER DAYS

 

img_0020-1

Source of Dingspiration: Summer Days, Georgia O’Keeffe

We busy ourselves. We weave a delicate web of paths taken and paths not taken. Today I remember the brevity of it all, I feel renewed urgency to search for what I don’t know I’m looking for, I dare to beat the ever quickening current before it carries me away. Today, I don’t know the answer to the question but I remember to ask it.

 

MY SUPERHERO ORIGIN STORY PT1

Now, I realize that with a title like this, ‘My Superhero Origin Story,’ I’ve caused you to expect something completely out of the ordinary. Some big ‘aha’ moment. Some accidental encounter with a totally banned, non FDA-approved, black market radioactive substance. So let me start by saying, you’re reading the wrong blog. I have no such supernatural superpower – or, to put it another way since I’m still holding out hope, I have yet to discover my supernatural superpower! Rest assured you’ll be the first to know when I do.

OK… So what the heck AM I writing about!? Or why?

One. I was having dinner and a beer with a new friend when he asked me, So Margaret. Tell me your superhero origin story. I had never heard anyone describe getting to know someone in this way, and I was hooked. Of course, not five minutes before, he had shared one of the most interesting stories of how he came to be that I had ever heard. Along with respect and awe, I was feeling a major case of inferiority. Lucky for me, I control the password to this blog and he can’t come in to wow you right now – so you’re stuck with me!

Two. I started this blog on March 7, 2016 and have yet to fill out the About Me section. It’s been plaguing me for months. It’s not just that internet readers expect a pithy, interesting, 200 word summary of who you are, but also that I didn’t have a good answer to that question. I’d think about it and start getting all anxious that I didn’t know who I was. Though I feel quite secure in my day-to-day brand – yes I call it my brand – it’s the where I’m going, the so what, the why do I even exist!? that remains quite foggy. Plus I hate it when people introduce themselves or answer who they are by quoting their career. I mean, is that WHO YOU ARE? Is what defines you!? Is that your soul!?! – and I just had to have a better answer than that. Thus the performance anxiety of actually putting pen to paper.

Three. Last weekend was my five year college reunion. If you’re reading this, you must fall into one of three categories. Too young and feeling scared for my old age, too old and rolling your eyes at my saying ‘old age,’ or you’re 26 years old going on 27 and totally getting me right now. To be clear, I’ve dealt with my fear of getting old for the time being – I’m still in the sweet sweet ageless Asian years, before the poof! old woman! happens. (See comic illustration here if you’re the one person on planet earth with internet access who hasn’t seen it already. It’s pretty accurate. My mom’s hair looks just like that. Isn’t she adorable?)

Besides goofing off with friends and striking up conversation familiar strangers til the wee hours of the morning, I had quite a few surreal moments at my college reunion. I sat there for the 9am Civil and Environmental Engineering Class of 2011 breakfast, wondering what kind of sicko would schedule a breakfast on reunion weekend to start at this ungodly hour, watching a slideshow of super civil-y pics scroll by – concrete canoe, solar oven, water purification. A professor sat to my right, asking how he could improve the blah-bitty-blah curriculum. My friend, who is now a Professional Engineer with millions of lives in her hands as she rebuilds all the past-due decrepit bridges in the New England area, (I’m SO PROUD of her! I spent half the weekend blurting out to everyone we met that she scored PE status) was happily gabbing away. Myself, I was struggling to keep my eyes from glazing over. To be fair, this particular professor was no friend of mine and taught water things, which I avoided at all costs in my studies. I was a structures and dirt kinda gal. I thought, This was my life. This was my life! And… this is SO NOT MY LIFE anymore! With that I felt a mix of relief, yearning, and loss. My connection to civil engineering has been reduced to a heightened appreciation for construction sites and bridges – I can’t begin to articulate why I’m so obsessed but I just am, bridges get me, hence this post’s featured photo – a slightly above average ability to converse with those actually in the field, and a stone cold no-hesitation response of ‘civil engineers’ when people ask who the coolest engineers are. Which admittedly, happens never.

My life today looks quite different than it did five years ago, and again from five years before that. I’ve built these new layers of identity, and I don’t want to lose sight of that.

A break from my ramblings for a brief video of the sober moments from this weekend’s reunion,

 

Four. I was killing time on the interwebs and read a quote somewhere that said, It’s not just about the destination. It’s about the journey. The destination is death. The quote was meant to be a joke, and I have no desire to get into some big existential or religious debate about what comes after death, mostly because I haven’t yet been able to process death in this tiny pea-sized brain of mine, but I appreciate the shock value it delivers above the traditional phrase. It’s kind of like a question I ask myself to pump up at work – If I were to be fired next week, what is it that I would do here? My friend’s pointed out to me that most normal people would take off a few sick days and do nothing, but for some reason this prompt causes me to think WAY outside the box and feel energized to leave my mark even more. I think my rather roundabout point is, I’ll never have a perfect answer to who I am or who I want to be, and that’s how I need to approach my answer. As a journey, not a destination.

Now if by some miracle you’re still reading this, you’re probably marveling at the fact that I’ve written 1027 words and managed to completely avoid actually writing my superhero origin story. I’ve essentially shared nothing with you over the past ten minutes. But that’s the secret really – it’s the journey, not the destination, right?!

I know, I know. It seems like I tricked you, tried to be all deep, and left you with a cliff hanger. Please. It’s not like that. Really what happened is the clock struck 8:30 am and I have a meeting in half an hour. Plus my thirty minute bout of writing mojo has run out.

More to come, I promise. And so I sign off and amend the title to, ‘My Superhero Origin Story Pt1.’

To be continued…

 

 

HELLO WRITING. WHERE YOU BEEN?

It’s been forever since I’ve attempted to write a story. After abandoning my grand aspirations of becoming a world class grocery bagger, I wanted to be a writer for a good long time. (If that sentence gave you pause, I suppose more of my superhero origin tale will go in the currently theoretical ‘About Me’ section of this blog. Stay posted.)

But then more advanced schooling happened, where you ceased to have free period or recess, and then work happened, and then just plain life happened. My big ole writing callus shrunk to a whisper of what it used to be. I forgot what it felt like to have an idea and write it out just for the hell of it. I lost my creative outlet and perhaps more dramatically, a piece of myself. Have you ever done that? How many of us used to play an instrument or draw or paint – key words ‘used to?’ So today I decided. It’s time to feed the soul, and I’m not talkin’ Chicken Soup. (Do people still buy those? Is that still a thing!?)

Time to practice writing! I declare that I will have no shame, in attempt to curb your expectations. I’ll start here with an intro to an idea I had a few years back. Note that it is most certainly YA.

Source of Dingspiration: Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving

“Three million, two hundred and forty two thousand, six hundred and fifty seven.”

Liv’s mind rattled off last year’s production statistics, desperately grasping for something known to calm herself in the darkness. Her heart was violently attempting to escape from her chest and abandon her body; it was pounding so hard it felt like a thousand ultra bouncy SuperBalls had been shot into her ribcage and were now violently jettisoning off her innards in sparkly multicolor chaos. Hence the choice in quoting SuperBall production statistics. Good one, me, she thought wryly. She would choose mental imagery with one of her least favorite toys of all time. Ever since they’d fallen from fad-dom in the 1970s she’d been waiting for the day they could cease to produce brightly colored SuperBalls.

“Liv?”

…Liam?

“Liv? What’s going on?”

She heard her brother suppress a yawn.

“Liam!”

Her arms whipped blindly through the black. One arm found wall, other arm impaled itself on the outstretched elbow of her twin brother Liam.

“Oh thank Noel.”

She jumped into his capable familiar arms and frantically kissed those sleepy ignorant cheeks. Liam had no idea what was going on. And she would do everything in her power to keep it that way.

That’s when the floor became the ceiling became the wall and the darkness exploded with light.

Liv squinted into the sun, using her hands to push herself to her feet. They had landed smack dab in the middle of an impeccably manicured lawn, in front of a gleaming pillared mansion straight out of the Stepford Wives. A daffodil head had been partially severed and was swinging back and forth, like a sick clownish omen for what was to come. Liam was still sprawled on his back in his boxers, yawning, not at all disturbed by the recent chain of events. She swore if looking at him weren’t like looking into a mirror, she’d seriously question if they were related at all.

She brought her eyes closer and rummaged for clues in the vessel that carried them. There was very little to find. A couple packages. Ripped open to reveal a couple ironic cat-themed Christmas sweaters and slightly less ironic checkered pants. A round cylindrical something. Upon closer inspection, a scroll. Handwritten no less.

Elvess Protection Program: A Pilot

I, Ludvig Gustavson, hereby declare, on this day, January 15, 2017, the commencement of the first Elvess Protection Program Pilot in all of Elven history. Praise our infinitely wise needlessly generous and forever ingenious god Noel.

I also hereby gift the most prestigious honor of participating in our first ever Elvess Protection Program Pilot to the Boyson twins of Stavanger, Liam and Liv.

The Pilot shall last from January 15, 2017 for a period of exactly one year, during which Liam and Liv must prove elven ability to assimilate into human society. Given the elven gift of eternal youthfulness, the elven twins shall participate in human schooling rituals at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Evaluation will be based on human perception; no human may suspect that either elf is non human at any point in time. Behavior will be closely monitored, and the following assimilation criteria must be met.

  1. Each elf must complete 2 full semesters worth of human schooling.
  2. Each elf must make one ‘BFF’ and one arch nemesis, or ‘frenemy,’ with a human.
  3. Each elf must have at least one romantic relationship and one breakup with a human.

Liv closed her eyes. She could see Santa Ludvig’s hated jowls laughing at her from inside her eyelids. What the scroll failed to outline was what would happen if they failed. She was the only one who knew what was at stake.

Noel. They were so screwed.