Just girl problems?


This is my new journal. I have been writing consistently since March 2000. It is my 11th journal, and I just started it, coincidently, on the first day of this yr. I bought it in Korea 2 years ago (or was it in Singapore 1.5 yrs ago?). Either way, when it was purchased I was only a quarter through my previous journal and starting this one felt so far away. …Yet here I am, and in a position I never expected to be… because time keeps moving and life tends to throw the unexpected at you.

I often, very often, read back through old journals. I like to search for patterns, reminders, lessons. They are my life’s “textbooks”. I can see how things I felt were so dire, pan out. I see resolutions to problems and drama. I see worries that ultimately did not need to be worried about. And I see the same topics come up, over, and over again. I write about the good and the bad. I write about family, a lot about my work and career, and… relationships. I’ve written a lot about relationships, girls. I hate that. I know there are guys (and girls) who can move easily through emotions and relationships. But so much of my joy, and struggles, are at the mercy of a female. W/out trying to be poetic about it… “girl problems”.

I hate “girl problems” because on the surface, it seems so petty, so #firstworldproblems. I can’t help but think about my parents and the “real” problems they dealt with. Immigrating here in their late 20s w/ nothing. Or our grandparents, living in poverty, through horrific wars and revolutions. Their problems were “survival”. And here I am writing years and years, pages and pages about “i like her”, “I can’t move on”, “what do i do..wah wah”. While my grandma had to flee her city from the invading Japanese. Okay, phil.

While I will (hopefully) never experience that degree of suffering, I am reminded that in the end, we are all still human. And as humans we need/crave companionship and love. Due to the circumstances the generations before had to endure, they may have had to swallow their concerns and fears with love, but nonetheless, they too had girl problems, right? And even if not back then, nowadays, after their world has calmed down a bit, the result of their swallowed feelings surface. Resentment, regret… a whole other level of “relationship problems”, weighted with decades of weight.

So, what appears to just be girl problems, maybe is rooted in my family problems, which is rooted in those bigger cultural and global problems from the previous century. Not to blow my “issues” out of proportion, but perhaps I’m just the latest edge of a ripple which began decades ago… centuries ago? Wasn’t Helen of Troy just a big girl problem? Cleopatra? Were lovers not lost and longed for due to wars and expeditions West? I suppose I should be thankful girl problems are the bulk of my burden. (and fortunately I have the sympathies of Jay-Z) #pointsifyougetit

I have no idea if any of that made sense. I’m not going to even proofread. Excuse the typos. And I apologize in advance… what’s to follow may also be just about girl problems. ugh, i know. I also hope I can be consistent with this blog. It’d be really sad/embarrassing if this was like, my only post for months.

EDIT: I proofread. No excuses now.


23 thoughts on “Just girl problems?

  1. I haven’t journaled as consistently as I would have liked, either. I started a new entry on January 1 while waiting at the airport and realized that the last time I wrote was in August. And I think the time before that was in May. One of my goals for 2014 is to journal more, because I know that it is a helpful way for me to reflect and process my issues of the moment, however petty they seem. Sometimes reflecting on all the petty stuff helps me see bigger issues at play. I learn a lot about myself when I read old entries: what I consider “important,” how my bigger goals and dreams have changed over the years, and how some things like “boy problems” (or rather “lack-of-boy problems”) have consumed (still consume) so much of my time and mental energy. While boy or girl problems are not unique to our generation, we can thank our parents and grandparents for making sacrifices and giving us lives in which those problems have the potential to be the biggest ones we face. As I head into this new year of journaling, I hope to use my writing more as an outlet for prayer, bringing to God the issues and thoughts I have tried to deal with on my own, however confused and messed up or petty or excited or ordinary. I have had entries that started out as laundry lists of problems and turned into prayers, and my hope is that God will answer or give me clarity and peace or open my eyes to things beyond my boy problems. Happy blogging, happy journaling, and happy 2014!

  2. Phil! I have the same journal as you. I got it from MMMG (Millimeter Milligram) in South Korea about 2-3 years ago as well! So to answer your question your journal is from South Korea 🙂

  3. I always enjoyed reading your Xanga-Posts and I’m very sorry to see them gone. A lot of my thoughts and feelings are very similar to yours but since you’re so much better at articulating yourself than I am,
    I sometimes find I can understand myself better just by seeing your perspective on things. I’m very glad you chose to share your thoughts with us again and I wanted to thank you for that.

  4. Same here! All I can ever think is that it is such a blessing that “boy problems” are some of my biggest problems. It also makes me think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Since your more basic physiological and safety needs are met, it’s only natural to be trying to working on your needs at the love and belonging level.

    You’re definitely not alone. A majority of the plays and songs out there have to do with love and relationships. I think that it is somehow beautifully human that these are the things that we get caught up with. Love both gives us strength and makes us weak and makes us feel things that are pretty indescribable. I think it’s like a sense of craziness that we all share, like a socially accepted aspect of irrationality. I’m not sure if that sounds stupid or silly, but I think it’s pretty cool. Jay-Z might be sympathetic, but honestly, I’d rather deal with this than 99 other problems. I can’t even imagine where those fall on Maslow’s hierarchy.

  5. Phil, stop trying to apologize for your writing. Just write. After reading your entry I only just feel like giving you tough love. I know it’s hard to be transparent but it seems as if when you try and describe your feelings, you don’t quite hit the mark. I feel like you’re withholding information, or not telling us the whole picture. And I get it. It’s scary putting yourself out there. I feel as though you want to be expressive, but at the same time you can’t have it too transparent because that is just revealing too much in the public eye. If you’re going to write about your girl problems, sometimes it just has to be real and be raw so that others can connect. At least that is what I hope to see.

  6. Dear Phil, I wish you know how you are adored by many because of your ability to think deep and now, seeing this vulnerable side of you certainly takes courage and I truly admire that. You’re so human, just like all of us, and it is only natural to feel whatever you’re feeling. I really enjoy reading your writings and I understand why you withheld information. I remember reading your Xanga a long time ago and after I was done, I went, “So impressive.. this guy is full of gratitude and has such deep observations with life!” Of course, work took over and you didn’t write anymore (such a shame!! I wish you continue to write too). I also remember you writing about some other stuffs. Just have a talk with God and put it back into His hands, he knows us, better than we know ourselves/what we need. I believe He is able to make you feel better. When was the last time you had a talk with Him? 🙂 Lots of love from the other side of the world.

  7. Phil, you are my hero. I think it’s great that you can see patterns in your journals – even if the theme seems to be girl “problems”. When I look back through my horribly-written entries, I find that I only had a desire to write when something bad happened. Most of my entries are so angsty and unhappy…makes for an unpleasant trip down memory lane. =P

    So although your entries revolve around how a girl has affected you, at least it brings both positive and negative feelings for you to reflect on.

    I never followed your Xanga, but I do look forward to how you will utilize this blog. And I hope you WON’T just come back to brush the dust off of this every couple of months! Your work is amazing and you inspire me to be more cognizant of my own life. I hope to be able to get away from fixating on one negative aspect and to be more insightful of the events of my life.

  8. I would like to think that we are very much alike. We’re sentimental people filled with feelings of nostalgia. When we fall in love, we fall hard and we try not to hold back. We may not special, but yet, we are a rarer species, getting rarer as time passes by, as people get emotionally hurt over and over again, eventually building a wall; a barrier to ‘protect’ themselves. But many do not see that these ‘barriers’ are more of double edge swords which hurt both them and the people around them. Trust, is but a word of the past.

    Relationships now have evolved so much. It’s no long about ‘us’, there is no longer ‘you and me against the world’ [cliché, I know..], people call you naive when they see you devote your everything into the person you love. Relationships now have evolved to being all about ‘me’. ‘I deserve better’, ‘It’s your loss, not mine.’, ‘there’s many fishes in the sea’. Like someone once said, ‘in the past when something broke, we fixed it. Now, when something breaks, you get a new one.’ I often can’t understand how some people can move in and out of relationships so easily. I don’t fall in love easily, falling out of love is even harder. Don’t you sometimes wonder why can’t people just not be so selfish and stop always just thinking about themselves and wanting more, telling themselves there’s better things out there for them. Why can’t we think for each other and do the best we can to make each other’s lives better? Why does it always have to be about ‘me’ and what ‘I can get out of the relationship’? Why can’t we live for each other?

    I find love simple. If I love you, I love you wholeheartedly, I would do anything and everything to make our lives better, it’s no longer about ‘me’ but about ‘us’. [Not in an overly obsessive way of course! haha] Everyone is looking for love. Everyone wants to love and be loved, to find someone who would journey with them through life. But yet, in recent times, people have grown to first place priorities on themselves and their own happiness. They want the best for themselves, they no longer fully trust each other. Relationships have developed more into businesses with long legal documents to safeguard each individual. Why can’t people just love each other with everything they have, why can’t we just be satisfied with what we have? Love is such a simple thing, but it’s the mind set and greed that makes it all so complicated.

    You’ve written overly romantic stories about fates that intertwine, stories that have touched the hearts of many. You’ve given many the courage to live their dreams, to fall in love, the courage to take risks. Won’t you, take a risk? Come meet with me. Live out this story, or take it as an experiment perhaps. It might be the most awkward few hours, but nonetheless it would still be an experience. Mayhaps it brings you some inspiration for a new short. Or it might even be a start to a new friendship.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some crazy fan girl. Yes I do enjoy your work. I may not know anything about you, but I would like a chance to. A chance to get to know the real Phil. The offline Phil that’s away from his scripts and his cameras. I’m writing this because [trying not to sound cheesy or psychotic.] I feel we’re very similar. That we can relate to each other, and perhaps our view of the world and life, is in line with each other. There may be hundreds of girls [and guys] out there who may feel the same way, but I’m just saying, won’t you take a risk on me. 🙂

    This Febuary, in Singapore. wewriteourownstories@gmail.com [and no, I’m not a writer, but I’ll like to try writing this one. :)]

    ps: and no, I don’t always write these kind of essays to people I don’t know, or even people I know. haha! This is a first. Be glad, and continue being awesome.

      1. No, unfortunately. I guess some prefer writing the stories, not living them.
        He’s still no doubt a great writer and director. A great storyteller, and actor as well.

        I guess when it comes to decisions, it’s usually a risk vs reward scenario. In this case, the risk being perhaps meeting a lunatic fan girl and having the most awkwardly painful hour of his life vs reward of actually meeting someone honest and kind, that ends up being a real friend and not someone who’s after what he already has going. Walking away in this situation would look like the safer bet I guess. 🙂

        Cheers to reading my comment . I guess maybe it really is impossible for ‘dreams’ to come true. It’s too hard get 2 hands clapping. 😉

        But here’s to Wongfu! And the beautiful stories they’ve brought to us that have touched our hearts and our soul.

  9. It totally makes sense. I…I don’t even know where to start in commenting. Though I’ve never had girl problems like this and will never have them (being that I’m a girl and all :p), this post has changed my day. Maybe its when you spoke about your family and what they went through compared to what you’re worrying about now. Maybe it was the tone that you used…maybe it was everything combined. I also feel inspired now. I too have quite a number of journals lying around (like 8 or so) but I’ve never before written down my true, honest, raw feelings about something. I’ve never expressed myself much actually, but now I feel as if I should change that and write what I really feel so that my journal can become something precious to me, something that holds me within its pages, something that captures those sides of me people don’t see, something that holds all the secrets I can’t say out loud…I’ll just have to give it a serious hiding place from all the curious eyes and fast hands 🙂 *Exhales* That was a great start to my day. I’m actually interested in following what you’ll be doing here so don’t give up! As long as you’ve got time, we wanna hear what you don’t usually say on video! 😀

    P.S. My friend gave me something to read the other day and it got me thinking. Do journals or diaries silence us? Yes, I do say a lot, but…has my journal kept some of my words back? Some of my most important words? May not be seem like much to consider by just putting it simply here. I just wish you could read what I read, then maybe you too would be thinking about what got me thinking. Till next posting, ja ne, fighting!! (=^-ω-^=)

  10. phil, wow. it’s nice to know every now and then that men go through, see, and feel some of the same things we women do. thanks for being real and sharing a little bit (or maybe what will be a lot) of yourself with strangers.

  11. ^^^You’re not alone in the way you think.^^^

    It’s a basic skill to some, and merely a means of communication to most. For me, writing is what nurtures the imagination, and gives light to the unknown. I am a writer, because I say I am. But, whether or not people read what I write is merely up to that individual. You can write a million words, but if no one takes the time to read it, then all you have are scribbles on a paper. I do hope you continue to write; whether on here, your journals, or for the videos you and your friends make.

  12. I commend your great taste in notebooks.

    But aside from that, I feel the same, really. I started writing (I was going to say consistently, but the frequency of writing was pretty inconsistent) when I was 7 or 8, and believe it or not, I had boy problems even then. My journal entries then were mostly about trivial matters, for one, I crafted a highly-descriptive piece about accidentally jamming a staple into my finger. I love going back to my journals and reading about things like that because those trivial memories are very likely to be lost forever.

    From years of journal writing, I still think that the lovelorn version of me is the best writer out of all versions of me. I can’t say I’m proud of my obsession with boys, like you said, it’s so #firstworldproblems. But I guess at the end of the day, even if those pieces of great literature (not really) stay hidden in the dark recesses of a sad little pink box (with flowers) beneath my desk, I remain proud of the depth of emotion that I had managed to chronicle because you never know, those feelings might never come by again.

  13. Phil, I think since I found your xanga, I always loved reading your blogs! I thank you for starting to blog again, because, as yourself, or even with Wong Fu, you always look at the big picture. I started journaling again, and made it a New Year Resolution (Two Weeks Later much?). I’ve been doing it since I was …11, 12? It’s currently helping quite a lot. Our lives are super similar, and to think in my journals always consist of ‘guy problems’ as well, and I think…’that’s just what is going on in my life.’ I’ll think about school, my future, all of that, but that’s just it. I can’t wait to read more of what is to come. With yourself, with Wong Fu, with everything.

    You PHIL my life ;D

  14. Nice seeing you back to blogging. I really enjoy your writing style. Do you read? Could you do a book recommendation or something like that? PS – I’m a non-native speaker and I prefer to read non-fiction.

  15. hey Phil, I can relate to this more than anything. Sometimes it really does feel like problems like these are so petite compared to the struggles my grandparents/parents faced when they had to go through the war period and struggling to keep their lives, alive. Sometimes I try not to question about all these issues but the truth is we are only human. Don’t be too hard on yourself, we all yearn for love. It is just human nature. and just want to encourage you that sometimes people write what they cannot say, so write it out Phil, because words are our escape, and they express all the thoughts and feelings inside of us.

  16. Another thing to add to your thoughts about it, we also have a lot of cultural/social pressure in having this king of romantic love, something quite new in our human history. And to fail on that is, well, we all know, not the best thing to do, especially on this “we have to be success” culture (even worst in places when u cant even get divorced, u cant fail! and if u fail, no one have to know about it!).

    Every once in a while i fall also into this kind of thought and I kind of hate myself a little when i do it, ’cause at the end, why should we always think that we need another half to feel complete? (in spanish is the same, we say “encontrar nuestra media naranja”, and over here in south américa does not get any better with all the “western influence”).

    Once I read some “native” knowledge that i try to remember everytime i fall into this thought and issues, and is about the thing we can learn from the forest. Our native say that we must be like the trees, go up and search for the sun, grow up, expand ourselves, but at the same time we cant forget to grow down, deep inside ourselves, and be aware that we need to grow in both sides, to outside, to the sun, and to the inside, deep to the dark places, to our hearts, cause if we dont, “cualquier sol de media tarde nos secará de cuajo” (“any mid-day sun will dry us out”).

    (btw, i kinda hate the way that in the U.S. treat the “girl -first world- problems”, when “the real thing” of being a girl is quite more complicated than the stupidity i have read on internet… sorry, that was me being a psychologist on an NGO, have work that deals with violence stuff and bláh).

    Thanks for sharing, i have enjoy your post and videos and pictures anyway.

  17. Good thoughts. But never let a woman define you. Same goes for both. Never let someone define who you are and your happiness. You have your own happiness and until you find what that is, then you will never have those burdens.

  18. Hello Phil,
    Im on my 5th journal which i wrote since 2002 recently i yes its always about studies, future and mainly about boy problems. Its a lot abt , I like him him, yay we are going well, boo i think we are not, we have broken up, i need to stay strong, i think im doing fine. n the cycles goes ard in no order.
    I have been single for awhile now, 2 years and really i think relationshio. its abt finding somone who you can communicate whole heartedly, enjoy what life brings tgt and bring the best out of each other. Support and love each other, even thru the tough times. and really living and sharing through life with a partner.
    here is wishing life will get blissul for everyone soon and finding that someone who able to hear your thoughts and share everything you care whole heartedly! 🙂

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