Feb 3, 2014

The Shipped Gold Standard

I wore this very interesting dress for Chinese New Year celebration with my family which was absolutely a delight because I have so much fun bonding with my family and our new additional members (Paige, Domz' younger sister and of course, Andrew). We are quite the Brady Bunch and we have so much love for each other that I love it when we are all together and just being ourselves. We can talk about absolutely everything... from current events, updates on our lives to random stuff like aliens (a topic Andrew and my dad had fun discussing), exorcisms, Chernobyl, insects as a protein food source and basically practically any topic we could come up with. I think it's nice to have an intact and close-knit family that we consider ourselves "the core group." I have to say that at the end of the day, everyone can leave you behind but family is family and while I do not come from a 100% Chinese family (my dad is 75% Chinese, which makes me about 40% Chinese if you combine it with my mom's lineage...basically a crossbreed), having so many Chinese friends has made me familiar with the many traditions, one of which is common knowledge: that red is worn to celebrate special occasions. This is why I chose this predominantly red dress which I bought from SheInside.com, an online store that I absolutely love. 

The really interesting thing about this dress is the detail... it has a very lovely and rich print which, when viewed up close looks like this:

 The print reminds me a lot of the Spanish Colonization, which in hindsight probably was not in theme with the Chinese Lunar New Year, but hey, the detail of the fabric was just absolutely too delicious not to wear... besides, I can always just say I was wearing it in honor of my brother who is going to Barcelona, Spain this year to pursue his MBA-degree... and I am one proud sister here! I am actually very proud of my siblings and their achievements especially my sister who comes home for a vacation soon as she completed her Master's degree in Georgetown. I come from a family who prides academic excellence and achievement more than anything and while we were not actually pressured to do it, I am also proud to say we all graduated with Latin Honors... people usually joke we should change our names: mine, for example should be Joanna Bernadine Summa Cum Laude-rido since we all have a habit of collecting honors (including my mother and father). 


 Dress: SheInside.com | Red Pumps with Crystallized Heel and Bow: Lanvin x H&M | Bag:
Roberta di Camerino | Navy Blue Slim Leather Belt with Gold Hardware: Fendi | Accessories: Cultus ChiChi

Hair Extensions: STYLD.Extensions 
 While I cannot go abroad for further studies, as my situation dictates, I am always the first one to shout out to the world how proud I am of my siblings. I have to say, we are not competitive, but rather supportive of each other. And while I decided to dive into fashion and the world of blogging by putting up my own brand and blog, I must say I made the best of my circumstance and I guess it is nice to still be able to do something I am passionate about despite my limitations. Of course, this perception had to develop in time... and I wasn't always so content with it since I always thought I was meant to do something else... something "grander" perhaps (which in my skewed point of view back then involved the prestige of corporate life or the pursuit of further education to specialize in law or medicine). I thought I was throwing away what I worked for so hard in college, which looking back was absolutely wrong and condescending of me to think of. What can I say? Being completely wrong about something is a humbling experience. Of course in time, I learned to accept that I am having fun and earning at the same time doing what I love and also, in some way, I am able to reach out to people and share my craft. Now, I regret looking down at myself because I think everyone, no matter what they are doing as long as they are doing it with integrity deserve praise. At this point, I am content with where I am and with what I am doing and I have no regrets.

I think it was all about expectations. I now realize that I have a kind of cultured know-it-all perception of myself that takes pleasure in pointing out what is not good, in discriminating, reasoning and comparing myself to everyone else, which is probably where my self-deprecation comes from. In other words, I think I am my harshest critic. Actually, I don't really need anyone else to criticize me because I have probably already put into consideration whatever negative thing someone has to say about what I do/wear/ choose to be before others have. So it's all so pointless, really. I have so many superhuman expectations of myself that the expectations of others for me pale into insignificance if compared. Back then of course, when I did not know better, I really believed that I should be able to know everything, handle everything, be on top of everything and when I was caught unprepared, instead of just admitting it, I would actually get defensive or feel guilty (or both). Then it occurred to me that maybe I can just admit I was unprepared for the cards I've been dealt and that that was okay too. 

This correction in my way of thinking and this revelation happened after my mom talked to me and set things straight. "Do not try to be such a perfect girl, darling. Do the best you can do with what you have without having to sacrifice your health for", my mother told me and that was when I realized that no one except me needed me to be perfect. Unfortunately, it became apparent to me that even when no one demanded perfection from me, it was me who demanded it and did much to achieve it from myself. The tendency, I think is shared by most, which makes them dissatisfied or self-conscious of themselves rather than just being. However, when push comes to shove, the only standard of perfection we have to meet is to be perfectly ourselves and that whenever we set-up abstract and external standards and try to force ourselves to meet them, we end up destroying who we are. Personally, it's nice to do the best I can without too much strain or anxiety... and I think I am finally coming to terms that this is the way to live.

xx, JL

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