Memoirs

Letting Go of the Mask

I think it’s time to be a little vulnerable and just let down my guard right now about who I really am.

If you’ve known me within the past seven years, this will most likely come to you as a shocker, or, maybe not. Depends on who you are and how much you were able to read me.

My life could be broken up into four parts leading up to where I am right now:

Pre-High School

High School

College

Post-College

This is about my high school, college, and post-college transformation(s) and the state of mind that I was in in each phase of my life.


HIGH SCHOOL

High school was filled with mistakes and life lessons.

I learned a lot, but at the same time, put myself through enough drama to have my own television show that would beat out the Kardashians. But then again, it’s quite typical to have some level of drama for any high school student it seems. Put a bunch of kids together in a building and you get the real-life rendition of Big Brother expect the scary part is, this is all real life.

So, perhaps I’m not special in this regard.

But, if there was one thing I was constantly doing: I was ALWAYS keeping secrets.

There was always something that I kept hidden from someone for various reasons. The people who had to deal with my lies the most were my parents. My parents had to put up with a lot of lies that came from me, sometimes even in the midst of knowing that I was lying yet still accepting what I said as truth.

Not only did I lie, I constantly dated with girls behind their backs, sold marijuana for a good six months, drank (of course), partied as often as I could, visited the strip club twice, cheated on my girlfriend like three times, hit my girlfriend at least twice, verbally abused her constantly, treated my brothers like they didn’t exist, abandoned my friends at some point, and just having a complete lack of direction in my life.

But really, what’s so unique? I was that typical, lost, high school kid who thought the world revolved around him.

Then at some point I realized, my life doesn’t mean anything, I’m empty and utterly broken. I had no idea who to turn to. I didn’t know what I was doing and what I was really going after. The one person I cared so much about in my life had enough of the crap I was putting her through for good reasons. I was down for the count.

I’ve come to the lowest point in my life.

And thus sparked the introspective introvert within me. It was a spark of spirituality and desire for something much more to my life than merely the accomplishments I chased after.

Or, so I thought.


COLLEGE

For many people who have known me throughout my college years, they know that it could be summed up like this.

  1. Ambition
  2. Realization of Brokenness
  3. Conversion to Christianity

Yet here’s the problem. I never truly let go of that “Ambition” part of me and the secret seeped into my heart and fully took over about 7 years later.

Not only that, but in due time after several events of heartache, pain, and misery, I just couldn’t stand it any longer being where I was with the church that I was a part of.

Eventually, my heart gave into the desires that I’ve had all along. Though my explanations to why I was leaving were a bit ambiguous, my mindset knew exactly what it wanted, money, power, respect, freedom, and the ladies.

But it’s much more complicated than that.

I think the only thing that held me at that church were my friends, which in the end, wasn’t a good thing at all since my friends would eventually leave for other church plants and ministries. Being a part of a church that moved around a lot was very draining to me as I was never ready for the big changes that came with it. I knew that I wasn’t ready and was never going to be ready for these kinds of changes in my life because I had things in my heart that pulled me a different direction.


POST-COLLEGE

The most difficult transitions I’ve gone through was moving from my college years to my post-college days.

Though fun with a lot of free time, emotionally it was hard to handle. The pressure was on to find a job and a good one at that.

Eventually, the depression of the delay in finding a job mixed with a bit of free time lead me down another secretive path once again.

So here’s the deal.

Here’s the REAL reason why I left the church and my old friends behind – with no reasoning behind them:

  • I had ambition in my heart that didn’t involve religion.
  • I began drinking alcohol again.
  • I got caught up with drug use again (Marijuana) behind the backs of the church, even going to some of the worknights “high”.
  • I was constantly unapologetically listening to rap and hip-hop.
  • I was eager to get into clubbing, raves, and the like.
  • I wanted the ability to travel when I wanted, where ever I wanted.
  • My heart was never fully there – I just didn’t care.
  • And overall, I just never wanted to stick around since the beginning.

Currently, a lot of these things I kind of, “got over” pretty quickly and no longer engage in them.

But at the time, in doing these things, I’ve lost a sense of identity in myself. You can’t leave the church I went to the same person you came into the church as. When you truly, TRULY learn the REAL meaning of what it means to be a Christian from this particular church, the idea of God and who Jesus NEVER leaves you.

What you thought was silly fiction and nonsense all of a sudden seems realistic and utter truth.

Truth is truth no matter if you deny it or not.

Yet, I was eager to obtain the wealth and power I was always after trying to prove to the world somehow that I could win in spite of being a short, insecure, Asian introvert. I had a chip on my shoulder so to speak. I had big dreams, lofty goals, and a heart ready to take on the world, yet at the same time, I felt held back by the church I was a part of.

The people, the family, the community that kept me sane and level-headed, who taught me the values of relationship, kindness, compassion, and unconditional love; I was willing to abandon for my own gains.

It was non-stop dreaming that didn’t associate with where I was at that point and I needed to just leave.

And so I did.

Don’t get me wrong. I did indeed have dreams to help the Laotian community. I wanted to learn the language and culture to help me with these goals. However, along the way, with no accountability in my life, I went back into my old habits and lifestyle similar to that of high school. Except for this time, I had money, free time, and freedom.

It was the life I knew I wanted in the back of my mind all along.

In spite of it all, I want to keep believing in God. I want to have the best of both worlds, but I know I can’t have both – so it frustrates me to this day and I know in my heart, I have to somehow cope. I have to cope with the reality that I chose a path apart from God and now I’m stuck with the decisions that I’ve made with no regrets to them.

This is what you can call, the OPPOSITE of a testimony. But the reality is, I am who I am and I’m ready to unveil this mask that I have. I’m tired of hiding who I really am to others.

How could I tell others to be authentic when I can’t always be authentic myself. I have a set of morals that revolve around the truth of God and His word in my life, but I live a hypocritical life that does not reflect that of God’s love and sacrifice in my life.

This is me. Call it for what it is, but I’m a person who believes in God, prays to Him, but disobeys almost everything about Him and His teaching – by definition, I am not a Christian. But I pray that God is still there. And with this, you can either accept me, or not.

Thanks for reading.

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