More about me – My past does not define me

Life is a journey and our journey began the moment we were created. We all have had a different upbringing; some people were well loved and had it easy while some had it tough. Regardless of what has happened in the past, it does not define us.

Psalm 139:14 - NIV

Often times, many people leave the past behind them and move on but there are also many people who is deeply affected by their past. Does it mean that those who are badly affected should always stay in darkness and suffer from whatever is bothering them? The answer is no. Anyone can help; let us build others up rather than letting them fall! If you are one of those who are going through tough times and/or feel lost at the moment, please join and follow me on my journey. I am going to share more about me and how I can still stand strong despite all that I have been through thus far.

Remember, your past does NOT define you! Be who you truly are, don’t worry about what other people think of you – don’t pretend to be someone you are not, you will be loved by many regardless of your flaws and imperfections.

My Childhood and Upbringing

A typical Asian kid with a very traditional dad means a very high expectation of well, let’s say just about EVERYTHING. When I was a child, my dad had a lot of expectations from me and because I’m the eldest child I get even more pressured. Not only did my dad want me to do well in school (like every other parent), he also wanted me to do what he couldn’t do; going into business and taking all these business courses throughout high school.

Of course, business wasn’t my thing and so I never did well in those courses. When I finally got the chance to choose my courses, I excelled but of course, it was already too late; I fell behind in my high school years.

Actually, come to think of it I guess my dad just wanted the best for me to get into business so that I can have a more steady income…

Back tracking a little, things made a turn when I moved after grade 7. The community where I lived in was so different and because I lived in an Asian neighbourhood going to a school that was so competitive between other Asians, I went from being an “average” student to pretty much falling rock bottom. I couldn’t deal with the changes; not only did I have classmates who bullied me, even teachers were being so rude and picked on me. Obviously, I never voiced out and told my parents because I didn’t think anything would change.

Not only was I bullied in elementary school, it went on and continued in high school by the same few people who just for whatever reason loved to spread false rumours about me. I thought I could start a new life and make new friends but it seemed like whoever I approached, the same people would get in between and ruin that friendship.

I can confidently say, I have no good memories of school since the end of grade 7 onward until after high school. No, I did not try to make any friends after grade 9 because I felt like any potential friends I made would end up in the pit. My true friends up until today are all from outside of school; at my extracurricular activities. I was able to be myself and be accepted for who I was! Not only that, these friends and I have more in common than those I met from school which is pretty normal seeing as we signed up for the same extracurricular activity having the same interest.

When I think back to the times when I was bullied, I can actually laugh about it. I’m not mad at all, I find it so silly of them to have picked on me. Was I upset? Sure I was because I treated them as a friend. Was I angry? I would be lying if I said no but if I was asked if I’m still angry at them now, my answer is no. I’m not angry with them anymore, so many years have passed. You know the saying, “forgive and forget”? I had forgiven them over and over again during the time when it happened and have looked past it long ago. Did I ever get an apology? Nope! That doesn’t mean I can’t forgive them though, right? Many times, you’ll just have to forgive people without receiving an apology.

However, I haven’t forgotten about it. When I say I haven’t forgotten, I don’t mean I hold any grudges against them. I have forgotten the fact that they once hurt me but I cannot forget what they had done. It doesn’t hurt anymore when it crosses my mind and one thing for sure, I don’t purposely think back. Life goes on, I’ve gained inner peace from forgiving them and putting it all behind me. After all, we were all still “young” even though at that age we should already know to tell the difference between right and wrong.

I know many of them are married now and I know some of them have children. I don’t hold anything against them, not at all. I just hope that their children won’t go through what I had to go through because nobody deserves that kind of treatment.

Thinking back to how I just kept everything to myself and seeing or hearing about children taking their own lives nowadays because of bullying, my heart aches. So many children get bullied at school without telling their parents for whatever reason and no one knows about it. Those who have young children, my advice is to pay more attention and put in a little more time for them to really know what is going on in their lives.

So fast tracking, life wasn’t easy starting in grade 10 because of family issues which had affected me in many ways and changed me. I’m no longer that outgoing Teresa from before grade 7; I have become introverted. Throughout my teen years, I’ve had it very rough and my relationship with my dad was TERRIBLE!

The relationship with my dad didn’t start to improve until 7 years ago when I started to try and make changes by talking to him again. It was very hard at first and things have been gotten better since. One thing for sure though, I can’t take all the credit to myself because I’m sure my dad made changes to also accommodate me in order to mend the brokenness.

To be very honest, I too thought about taking my own life because it was so hard to bear; being bullied and dealing with family issues. What kept me from doing so was my mom and my brother. The thought of just leaving them behind hurt me tremendously. I didn’t want my mom to be hurt and be heartbroken because of me… I didn’t want to leave my mom alone and have no one defend her… I didn’t want to leave my brother to take on the responsibility alone. I am so glad I followed my heart and fought through the tough times.

What I learned through those rough times was that I’m actually a much stronger person than I thought I was. For me to have fought through those times, I know where I stand in my life and I know that if I could get over that I can get over any obstacles that I will have to face in the future.

Romans 5:3

My Dream

We’ve all had dreams of what life would be like when we grow up; I wanted to be a doctor, a pilot, police officer, fire fighter, chef, etc. The list goes on!

How many of us are able to pursue our childhood dream? How many of us went to school to study for our dream career but came out to do something completely unrelated? Any of those sound like you? Of course, it’s not a bad thing, the reality and the dreams we have in mind are so different.

With all those dreams I had in mind, only one thing stuck out to me the most. Are you able to guess which one of those I listed was my dream career?

I wanted a career in policing so very bad! It was a childhood dream of mine and it certainly never changed as I grew older. When I was a child, I wanted to be a police officer so that I could help people – I LOVE helping people! Not only did I want to help those who were in need, I also wanted to “wipe out” all the “bad guys” and put them behind bars so that they can’t go hurting people. Yes, I must say I was very naive because it’s not as easy as I had thought!

So I hit my college years and still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to become a police officer but… I had things stopping me and preventing me from pursuing this career. Want to know what it was? Make sure you keep reading!

Although I’m not a police officer today, it was a privilege for me to be able to join the Auxiliary Program. An auxiliary police constable is a volunteering position where we had to put in a minimum of 150 hours per year, assisting the parent force and doing lots of crowd control and crime prevention – which I loved. I enjoyed it very much, learned a lot, and gained a lot of experience. Oh, did I forget… I got to help people, one of the many things I love doing! Having been an auxiliary police constable, I had a taste of what it would be like to be a police officer. Of course, there are a lot of differences but it was also a stepping stone for myself.

Remember when I said my childhood changed me and I became introverted? Well, even till this day I am trying to improve and bring back the old Teresa again. It sure does take time getting out of that shell but becoming an auxiliary police constable has helped me a whole lot; I was forced to get out of my shell because… no one would want to approach somebody in a police uniform who looks scared and lack confidence, right?

Well, for the past couple of years I had been training hard to try and pursue a career in policing but now I feel like I have a passion for photography more. I feel like the fire in me to become a police officer has pretty much died down but who knows! I guess only time will tell but I have definitely stopped studying and training for tests; I’ve lost the motivation to.

For now, I want to still be able to help people but obviously in a different way – not front line.

Don't give up

Discouraged, Put Down and Compared

Oh boy, here we are! This is where I will be sharing how I was discouraged, compared to, and put down by people including someone who was very close to me.

Let me first tell you that pretty much up until my early 20s, I’ve been discouraged and put down. Up until today, I’m still being compared and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon either but you know what, I honestly don’t care anymore! I’m just going to be me whether people like it or not; I am me, I know myself best and I’m not here to please anyone!

It’s not easy to get over being discouraged, put down, and compared to. To get over all of that, it’s a whole learning process and it definitely takes time. As we deal with this, we learn… what did I learn from this you may ask, I learned more about myself and my abilities; no one knows my abilities best and that goes for all of us!

I have dreamt of becoming a police officer since I was a little kid but as I got into high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I was lost. I’m sure many people felt lost the moment they stepped into high school – that was when we started to look towards our career paths and choose our courses.

Well, I didn’t really get to choose my dream because I was told that no police service would accept me and that I don’t have the good grades to get in. So basically, I was being fed all these lies that I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have the grades, I’m not policing material, no service will accept me, you’re too shy, etc. So with all those lies being fed to me, I felt so discouraged and put down. What happened next? I believed in those lies… I thought I really didn’t have what it takes to get into policing and that all my flaws and imperfections put me at a disadvantage.

With the thought that I wouldn’t get into policing, I gave up my dream and became lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I didn’t know what I wanted to get into and I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted. At that point, I already felt so hopeless because I didn’t think I could do anything. I enjoyed cooking and baking but I was told that cooks don’t earn enough and I wouldn’t be able to support myself or the family.

What happened then? I didn’t get to choose my high school courses, they were pretty much chosen for me; to do what my dad couldn’t accomplish in his younger years; business. Let me remind you that I was never school material, so for me to get into business was super difficult. I didn’t understand anything and I had absolutely no interest in any of those subjects; accounting, economics, marketing, etc. I actually failed those courses. Aside from that, I didn’t even have friends at school that could encourage me and help me get through the semester. Even my teachers didn’t like me because they thought I was just a lazy student… truthfully, I wasn’t a “lazy” student but what did they know. My teachers didn’t know the issues I had at home, they didn’t know that I was taking courses that I had no interest in, and they didn’t even care to find out why I was doing so bad in their classes!

I remember in grade 11, I finally fought for the courses I wanted to take that I was interested in. One of those courses was Food and Nutrition… but guess what? That teacher was one of my business teachers (Ms. J) who probably hated my guts. I was not respected in her class the first week and I felt so pressured to even be in her class because of how bad a student I was the previous semester.

Well, first week of each semester is usually the introduction week and we had a quiz. For the first time being in her class, I actually got a good grade. I remember the day she handed back our quizzes, I was so anxious because even though I thought the quiz was easy I felt like I probably failed – I lacked so much confidence you have absolutely no idea. She came up to me handing me my quiz and for the first time she smiled at me and told me I did very well… WHAT! I had never felt so happy with school ever since I moved. Throughout the whole semester, I did so well not only because I got some of my confidence back but because I was studying something I had an interest in.

What’s funny was when it came to parent teacher night. Before I gave Ms. J my paper to assign a time, she told me she wanted to meet with my parents. That night, I didn’t go with my parents but Ms. J was telling them how much better I did compared to when I was in her business class and she told my parents that they should let me choose the courses I was interested in because I was able to get good grades. Of course, this didn’t last too long before more family issues came up at home and I fell behind in my classes again.

Life has been a roller coaster for me and I definitely don’t miss my school days one bit. When times are this rough, many people would probably just drop out of high school and start working. As bad as I was doing in school, I wanted to at least graduate high school!

I’ll cut out my schooling short but throughout my high school years, I’ve had to speak with the principal quite a few times. The first principal to my surprise really listened to what I had to say and I shared my family problems with her; she got me some help. When we had a new principal, oh man… she was so tough she wouldn’t CARE about anything but to kick students out of her school! She went as far as telling me I would never get into policing! When I think back to it now, I think she said that as a way to motivate me to get my grades up but no one at the time had any idea what I was going through. I did however, finish high school! Thank God!

So with all the discouragements from the principal and this one person who was close to me, I pretty much lost direction in life. I started working while figuring out what I wanted to do with my life since I didn’t even know what to study in college. Along the way, I had more than just discouragements; I’ve been put down by a family friend telling me to basically forget my dream of wanting to become a police officer because I wouldn’t get in with the personality I had.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still people out there who encouraged me to do what I wanted to do but I just didn’t know what I wanted anymore because I didn’t think I would come close to becoming a police officer.

Throughout my life up until now, I’m still getting compared to other people; family, family friends. I still get annoyed by it but it doesn’t affect me the way it used to. I used to get angry for being compared but now, I just roll my eyes knowing that there are things I can do that those whom I’m being compared to can’t. If people can compare me to whomever, they can also be compared because no one is ever going to be perfect; we all lack.

You may be wondering why and how it doesn’t affect me the way it used to and I will definitely tell you. Keep on reading!!!

Encouragement and Pushing Through

For my personality, I’m the type who needs a lot of pushing in order to get something done. Thankfully, that has somewhat improved and I find myself constantly stepping out of my comfort zone even though it takes time. Of course, I never find myself feeling ready but that’s when I start to feel that it’s time to take another step forward otherwise I will just end up in the same spot for who knows how long. Two years back, I would not have stepped out of my comfort zone; I would’ve just escaped.

Over the years after graduating from high school, I’ve had relatives try to encourage me to find my passion. Some of them would tell me to study what I’m interested in and go from there but like I said, I’ve never been school material. Eventually, through networking my aunt introduced me to an auxiliary police staff sergeant whom I have met before but never really spoke with. A conversation started between this auxiliary police staff sergeant (S/Sgt. A) and I and he suggested for me to join the auxiliary program and told me where to get the application forms.

Being someone who has been discouraged, put down, and lacked confidence, I obviously didn’t think this would get anywhere. I kept thinking what I was told, “No one will accept you, you don’t have what it takes, you’re too quiet, you don’t have a tough personality, you won’t get into policing”. All these lies just flooded my head and I actually procrastinated with my application forms.

However, things started to become more real for me. After the conversation with Aux. S/Sgt A and after I found the application forms and read over the requirements which I met, I printed them and slowly filled it out. Now, this was where changes began in my life even though I still felt like I wouldn’t get in.

I started getting lots of encouragement from my mom and two of my aunts. Not only were they encouraging me but they kept pushing me to get the application forms submitted. What really set me back is the fact that I was pretty much screwed over by school and so because of that, I lacked a whole lot of confidence; even that 1% chance became 0% to me. After submitting my application form, Aux. S/Sgt A did a lot of follow-ups for me especially when I never heard back from the police service.

One week went by, two weeks went by… didn’t hear back. I didn’t feel much at the time because I knew I wouldn’t get in after believing in all those lies that was embedded in me. 3 months later, I suddenly got a call from the police service. Let me tell you, when I received this call I thought something happened because I forgot I even applied for the auxiliary program! So I picked up this call and they asked if I was still interested in the auxiliary program, HECK YEAH I WAS! I was scheduled for an interview for the following week! I was so excited but guess what, the day I had my interview we had a hell of a snowstorm and it got postponed. My interview ended up getting postponed till the next summer – the wait for their return call felt so discouraging at the time.

Lots had happened between the time when I submitted my application forms and the postponed interview which I will share in later posts but what happened between then was what brought me to believe or at least question God’s existence (which I will also share in later posts, so make sure you follow me!).

The interview day came and I remember I had all the encouragement from my mom, my aunts, an uncle, and a couple of family friends the day before. One thing I remember my uncle saying was, “Do it and break the glasses of those who said you couldn’t do it!”. The day of, just before I stepped into the police HQ my mom sent me a text and told me to pray before walking in. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to pray at the time but I said a word of prayer anyway. My mom said, it wouldn’t hurt for you to pray first and you never know unless you try… and so I did. I prayed and off I went, walked right into HQ and the whole process started the moment I got to the front desk.

To keep things short, I got through my interview. That shy and introverted girl I told you about? Yup, that’s me! That shy and introverted girl walked out of the police HQ with a huge smile on her face without 1% of FEAR in her. How amazing was that experience? The moment I walked out I called my mom telling her how calm I felt, how confident I felt when I was in there, and how much I TALKED to the interviewer. I could not believe how much I spoke and how calm I was, it literally felt like I was just talking to a friend!

What can I say, if it weren’t for Him I would have struggled through my interview like every other time. That prayer was heard and answered; yes I did say I didn’t know how to pray but it doesn’t matter how you pray, God knows and he hears our prayers. He knows what we’re thinking and He knows our hearts.

So, without encouragement and without the pushing from the few that had confidence in me I would not have applied for the auxiliary program nor would I have had the chance to work as an auxiliary for 7 years. Not only that, the best part of all this was that I proved people wrong! Those who discouraged me, those who put me down, those who fed me lies… I proved them ALL WRONG!

Encourage one another

It only takes a few people to help us take another step further – one, two, or even three people can help. As long as we’re willing to take that step and as long as we’ve got at least someone there to support, encourage, and have confidence in us, we’re all set – just take that leap of faith! We never know unless we take that step, right? The thing is, nothing is ever guaranteed; What if we get it? What if we don’t? As long as we try our best, the outcome doesn’t matter. If we get it, we move on pursuing whatever it is but if we don’t, there will always be something better that is more suitable for us. Perhaps it just isn’t time yet! If it still lingers in your heart, don’t give up!

What I’m saying is, everyone needs encouragement and some pushing. Maybe some of us need more pushing than others! No one person is the same; our limits are all different – we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths may be someone else’s weakness and vice versa. We should utilize our strengths to help others by lifting them up, not by stepping all over them because what they’re good at may not be what we’re good at. All in all, we need each other’s help and support in order to get far in every aspect of life.

 

Coincidentally, as I was finishing the top portion of this post, I received a notification on my phone and this was today’s daily verse! I couldn’t help but to share this verse! Have confidence in yourself no matter what you do, that confidence will help you take a step out of your comfort zone.

I Made It To Where I Am Today and Standing Strong

I made it, I’m here writing this post to share with you that my life wasn’t perfect and I have made lots of bad decisions, bad choices, and went down the wrong paths. I can’t turn back time now and change my past, all I can do is continue to move forward and do better; learn from my mistakes. What happened in the past stays in the past, does it haunt me today? Heck no! Do I think about my past? Well, let’s just say some things bring up memories or some things randomly cross my mind but it doesn’t bother me anymore; there is no longer that guilt in me holding me back.

I came to God and surrendered myself to Him. Does it mean I’m perfect now? Heck no! Does it mean my life will be better? Definitely not and the battle has just begun (the moment we receive Christ into our lives, the more the enemy will be at work! Will share this in later posts). Does it mean every decision and every choice I make now is right? Absolutely not. I am after all, human.

You need to forgive yourself for what you have done knowing that if you repent to God, you will be forgiven. If He has forgiven you, then you should let go of that guilt and forgive yourself. Why hold yourself back? That’s a lie from the devil telling you to stay guilty!

1 John 1:9

I owe it all to God and I owe a whole chunk to those who never gave up on me, those who encouraged me and never put me down lower than I needed to go, and those who truly loved and accepted me for me.

All that I’ve been through in the past has made me who I am today. I’d say I’ve been through quite a lot and I’m sure there are others who have been through even more than me so I can’t complain. I haven’t shared absolutely everything about myself because I don’t want to bore you here so if you’d like to know more, you can always shoot those questions at me or get in contact with me. I would love to hear from you and help you out if you’re struggling yourself.

After all the hurt that I’ve faced, I am still here standing strong. I am so glad that I never took the route of ending my own life because had I done that, I wouldn’t have known how strong of a person I could be. I’m actually quite proud of myself (not boasting or anything) that I’m a much stronger girl than I was before.

Now that I look and think back, all the suffering that I went through was a learning process. I learned more about myself and who I am, I learned how strong I actually am and what my abilities are, I learned not to listen to what others have to say or comment about me negatively, I learned to believe in myself more, I learned to have more confidence in myself, and I learned that I know more about myself than anyone else. Other people’s judgment of me does not define who I really am; they can think whatever they want of me and judge me all they want but not ONE word of theirs will ever bring me down again.

For those of you who think you are weak and are being defeated mentally, let me give you a confirmation that no, you are not weak at all! In fact, you’re actually MUCH stronger than you think to be standing here facing head on with the obstacles. The struggles don’t last, there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel. If I and many other people out there have fought through it and came out in victory, so can you! I have faith and confidence in you that you can get through this.

Do what you need to do, pursue what you want to pursue. There will always be people judging you and trying to discourage you but don’t let that get in your way. Focus on your own path and prove these people wrong; or rather, prove to yourself that you can do it! The moment you accomplish your goal(s) and dream(s), those who discouraged you before will look at you differently; but do note, that won’t stop them from judging you because they’ll find your other weaknesses. Remember, stay strong no matter the circumstances!

So to wrap this up, it doesn’t matter how many times we have to face the struggles in life because they will keep coming, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall either, get back up and try again! Just know that these struggles are what helps us to persevere; it’s what helps us become a stronger individual. At the end of every obstacle we will have gained knowledge and most importantly, we are victorious!!!

Past does not define me

 

 

 

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2 Replies to “More about me – My past does not define me”

  1. Dear Teresa,

    It’s nice to e-meet you. I read your story and feel like I know you better now. I am glad you found your support team. I strongly believe in people. There are a lot of kind and caring people in every place. We need to learn to recognize them, accept them as friends, and remove all the others from our surrounding.

    I know that it’s hard when you feel like a parent is a kind of person, who is not affecting your life positively. You don’t want to exclude a parent from your life, because most likely, a parent believes that his plan for his child’s life is the right one to make the child happy and successful. A parent’s intention is usually good, but he or she may be making a mistake in his/her solution for the child’s happiness.

    That’s where God you found should help you. Just please don’t confuse your inner God with any religion. Religion has nothing to do with God; it’s people’s tool to control others. God should help you keep your father in your heart, but not let his perhaps wrong ideas get into your heart and head and discourage you.

    I am glad that you regained your confidence and I wish you luck and success in your life journey. Be well and help other people to be spiritually and physically well.

    ~ Julia

    1. Hi Julia,

      I’m glad you feel like you know be better now =) I hope you’ll get to know me a little more from what I have to share in the near future!

      It was tough not getting the support from one of the closest people to me but it’s all good, it only pushes me to try harder and accomplish whatever it is I want to accomplish.

      All that I’ve gone through in the past was a learning experience for me. Although I still experience some of the difficult times today, it no longer affects me because I’ve learned to block out any negative comments or discouragements. After all, there will always be people who support me out there and that’s what I need – support!

      Thanks for your comment! =)

      Cheers,
      Teresa

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