Keep Walking By: James Z. Feng
A few years back while working on a project, I suddenly received a text message from this girl I was dating telling me she got a new job in Singapore. She said she wanted to get away from her dead-end job in China and get a fresh start somewhere else. She then proceeded to tell me she was leaving that very night. It was a bitter shock to me since we just recently started to get serious in our relationship. We met at a friend’s baby shower and started dating a few days later. We’ve been dating for a few months and have grown quite close in that short amount of time. Not that we were in love or anything, but we certainly had a lot of potential. Minus the chain smoking, I really liked her, she had all the qualities I wanted in a girl: funny, kind, generous, caring, and patient. She was one of the few girls I knew who could handle my crazy personality. But after seeing that text from her, I knew our future just went down the drain. The dejected side of me didn’t want to see her off; I wanted to be cruel and cut her completely out of my life right there and then. All my life, I’ve always avoided face-to-face breakups; the physicality of detaching from someone often leaves me with a staining residue of loneliness. When it comes to goodbyes, my preference would be either a phone call or writing them a letter, it’s easier. But in this particular case, I felt this instinctive urge to see her off one last time; I felt she had deserved it.
After my grueling 14-hour day on set finally ended, I quickly went on my way to see her off. On the drive there, I start being selfish and questioning myself whether it was necessary to see her one more time. The insecure part of me kept suggesting I should protect myself and go home. I was trying to battle my detachment phobia and it was becoming harder to win. I started reexamining my past relationships and searched for answers on how I became this way. From the day my best friend passed away to my first girlfriend that broke my heart up, I saw a past full of painful relationships that often left me feeling abandoned. Over time, I started to build a barrier to keep myself away from intimacy in fear of abandonment. When you invest yourself it another person, you leave yourself vulnerable to pain and betrayal. The truth is I hated goodbyes because I didn’t want to get closer to people who were about to leave my life. With this girl in particular, I didn’t want to see the picture of “us” one last time before having to let her go. The truth is, I didn’t love her, yet. But I felt I owed her a goodbye because she was good to me.
Still caught up in deep thought, the cab driver suddenly interrupts my soul searching “Xian shen, wo men dao le (Sir, we’re here)”. I step out the cab and see her waiting for me from a far. I slowly walk toward her not knowing what to expect. She walks towards me and hugs me. After that, the two of us just stand there, gauging each other’s emotions, speechless, no “hi’s” or “how are you’s”; just silence. After seeing the disappointment in my eyes, she reached over to hold my hand. She knew she was wrecking my world with her move and I didn’t approve of it, she also knew I understood why she had to do it. Still standing there face to face, my wall of facade started to crumble. In my moment of weakness, I desperately started seeking signs of validation that maybe "us" could miraculously workout somehow no matter where she went. I started magnifying her good qualities while downplaying her flaws, going as far as convincing myself that her chain smoking didn’t really bother me; passion has a funny way of toying with our minds into believing false realities. Caught up in the moment, I knew all I had to say was "let’s try to make this work” and she would have agreed. Those words never came out of my mouth. In that moment, I grew up. I replayed montages of past long-distance relationships that never worked out and knew this was no different. I cared for her enough that I didn’t want to trick us both into believing in a phony relationship. Once I made up my mind, she felt me letting her go and started to do the same. We hugged each other one last time. That last hug carried all the good and bad times we had together, once we let it go, it was over. It was interesting seeing a relationship dissipating in the air, we both knew we couldn’t stop it; nor did we want to.
I call another cab to go home. I went to sleep that night and tried not to think about her, luckily the fatigue from the 14-hour workday quickly carried me into a dreamland. I woke up the next morning, went to work, thought about her a few times, went home, slept, woke up the day after, went to work… With the passing of each day, I thought of her a little less. People say a busy schedule is the best cure to getting over someone, they were right; it wasn’t long before I stopped thinking about her altogether and started dating again. Till this day, I never did see her again. Last I heard, she eventually moved back to China and started her own fashion consulting business. Thinking back to when I was a kid, I use to wonder how adults could ever give up on finding true love and simply settle for mediocrity, I understand that now. Since those years, I’ve learned we become a bit more desensitized after each goodbye.
In retrospect, life is filled with special moments where we see the potential in something or someone, and we have a choice whether to pursue it or not. Everyone can go back in their memory bank and think of certain choices we’ve made in life that changed our whole lives. These monumental decisions change the direction of our lives and we all have to live with the consequences; whether good or bad. It’s also typical to wonder the possibilities and consequences had we made different decisions in life. If you had an opportunity to make a different decision that would alter everything in your life, would you? I have always lived by the motto to never regret, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of how differently things could have turned out. For example, I use to wonder what life would’ve been like I pursued her to Singapore, would we have lived happily ever after? The what-ifs of life can destroy someone’s morale when it’s fueled by enough regret and alcohol; I’ve seen it many times over. Sky is the limit when it comes to thinking of infinite fantasies, but reality is something we must wake up to everyday. Life moves fast and we can’t control everything, no matter what happens from now to the day we die, the Johnny Walker commercial said it best: keep walking.
Tonight was suppose to be a productive day for Fight Life as I had a lot of work lined up to be completed. However, none of that got done because one of my buddies just came back in town and we hung out instead. Like old times, we had a bbq and watched a cartoon/anime called "Major". I won't get into the details but the general question it left me wondering was "What's your next goal after you've reached your current goal?". Before I get into that, I wanna go over "yips".
Lingering psychological effects of mental trauma are called "yips" in this show. Yips happen all the time in sports when players go through slumps and can't figure a way out of it. The great players usually get out of the slump and are able to reach further success in their careers. This type of mental trauma really makes the player question his abilities and often lead promising superstars into mediocrity. In sports, we call a lot of these types of players "busts" whenever high expectations were placed on promising superstars who did well in college or minor leagues. The great players are the ones that are able surpass expectations and dominate in pressure situations. Sudden injuries also have a way of turning good players who are on a roll into an insecure athlete. Having experienced this recently due to my ankle injuries, I could never figure out why I couldn't play basketball the same I had before. The truth is these last injuries have made me scared of getting hurt on the basketball court. My style of play is full of intensity and fearlessness, I'm usually the guy always taking it to the hole and falling on the ground after drawing fouls. Now I've become a jump shooter or a 60% take it to the hole player. The truth is I'm afraid oft stepping on someone's ankle and not be able to play for a few months. Now that I'm older, injuries take a long time to heal and getting hurt is constantly on my mind. I have yet figured out how to cure these "yips" myself especially since I'm not physically 100%, but the point is I understand why certain athletes could never regain their form after a major injury. Tiger Woods is a prime example of the "yips" we have in sports today(not including his personal "yips" lol).
When you apply these "yips" to life, it's the same concept in all of our life experiences. We are all going to go through experiences in life that will scar us and may even lead to long term detrimental effects that will stay with us forever. Whether it's a death, a strained relationship, sickness, a divorce, unfulfilled expectations, an accident, or a simple mental breakdown, we all go through these in life because nothing is perfect. In a perfect world, we can read the future and prepare ourselves mentally for what bad experiences life throws at us and build our defenses before we actually go through them. I guess the beauty of life is you don't know what you're gonna get and you can never prepare for anything. All we can really do is make the best of every situation and learn to live it. Staying positive and really believing in yourself through the hard times and getting past these rough patches are the only way we can really move on and enjoy life.
When I think of kids and adults and what the difference is between the two and also when we stop being kids and became adults. When I look at all the people I know, I realize some adults I know are still kids, but rarely. Most people I know are quite bitter and don't have the same naive hopefulness they did when they were kids. I guess when you see the world for what it really is, you get down at reality and lose that innocence. In my mind, I still try to think like a kid and never lose that passion for what I do. I have to admit at times it gets hard because certain realities teach me the rules of the game. In my mind, I don't want to know these rules and just want to believe that somehow someway, things are going to workout. It's like when I was a kid I wanted to become a tennis player and worked day and night towards that goal. I never had doubts I wouldn't be great and that's what made me the good player I was.
I remember I started playing tennis at the age of 13 and everybody doubted me because I started late and was competing with kids who started playing when they are 5 or 6. Four years later, I would become top 30 in my age group in Northern California state rankings due to my hard work ethic. I always found it ironic that no one ever said I was talented until I got good through hard work. Since then, I never believed in the word "talent" because I thought it was full of bologna. I was the kid with the chip on my shoulder that everybody said would never make that liked having that chip; it made me different and gave me the drive to be better than everyone. My motivation back then was to prove to everyone "What did you say I couldn't do? In your face!".
That attitude still carries with me today and has fused into both part of my confidence and identity. I guess the "yips" I had with tennis was when my doubles and training partner passed away from cancer. I never did recover from that and I quit tennis altogether senior year of high school. I guess in the end it all came full circle because I picked up acting/film-making to fill that void of being a professional tennis player while I became a tennis coach teaching kids in my leisure time. Everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that.
I illustrate my own experience above only to show that nothing is impossible if you really believe in it. It's when you stop believing that your days as a blank is over. Your mind is so powerful that it can will your body through impossible things. A great example is when people who lift up cars to save someone under it. Physical impossibilities can be overcome with pure will. When we are kids, we have that will to believe in something and be stubborn enough to not listen to anything else. That stubbornness is what makes great players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Pete Sampras, and Brett Favre.
Today on Sportscenter, former football coach Herm Edwards was giving advice to some future NFL quarterbacks and he said "Be like Brett Favre and never stop being a kid on the football field." That line had me thinking for a bit what he really was talking about. I've always watched Brett Favre and sometimes wondered "What the hell are you doing?" in certain games when he'd still be going for 50 yard TDs after being intercepted on the previous drive. After thinking about it tonight, I realized the only way Brett Favre knows how to play football is throwing those bombs and not caring whether it's TD or interception, that's his way of football. I use to never understand why his coaches wouldn't tell him "Hey Brett, can you tone down the interceptions and play a little more conservative please?" The truth is his coaches all knew he would stop being Brett Favre and lose his greatness if he changed his style. In Brett's mind, he believes every bomb he throws will be a TD, and that's what makes him so great; his stubbornness and belief in his abilities. After every interception, he's thinking like a kid "The next one we'll get it! Get me back on the field!".
We all lose that fearlessness when we become adults no matter what we do in life, and trying to regain that and one day achieving it is what makes us great human beings and really fulfilling our potential. As people we all get caught up in the rat race and try to conform to the rules of society and what we should be doing: buy a nicer house than the next guy, buy a nicer car than the next guy, get a hotter wife than the next guy, get a higher paying job than the next guy... I guess in the end everything we do is to fulfill these expectations society sets on us telling us what we should be doing with our lives.
When we were kids, we didn't care for any of that, and we made friends because we liked them, not because we can use them. A lot of times I go to networking events and it's so lame because people just want to meet more people to add to their "network" and possibly work together and use each other for work. I still do them because it's necessary to "network", but the reality is I don't really like a lot of the people I meet because we don't click but we do what we do because that's part of survival in the real world. It's so obvious when you meet these people from their eyes how fake they are. You ever notice how some people's eyes light up when they are meeting someone "important", yeah I've met a lot of these phonies. Everybody wants a shortcut in life and think that meeting the "right people" will help them get there. Even though that maybe true for some people, I wasn't brought up like that.
Hard work has been my motto for success and that ain't never going to change no matter how many "important" people I meet. Some of my friends in Asia always wondered why I was never intimidated or awestruck when I met or hung out with celebrities, the truth is, I always believed I'd one day be just as successful as they are, so why should I be in awe of them? In my mind, I was just as good if not better than them. This isn't something from foolish pride or alpha-male insecurity syndrome, it's my belief. People have no idea how hard I work to have that belief, but one day they will.
As adults, we become users and have selfish motivations to advance our own careers and don't really give a damn about anybody else. Luckily the people I work with are all people I value and enjoy working with and I have God to thank for that. All in all, I guess in my own walk in life, I'm trying hard to hold onto my youthful spirit and believing that I can do anything I can put my mind to, but it's getting harder and harder everyday as more roadblocks come my way and I've become quite weary. I'm glad I didn't get much work done today because it was important for me to learn an important lesson in life and ask myself "What's your goal and why are you really pursuing it?"
Uploading a new video, got some time to blog finally. I've been so busy I haven't had time to really blog about anything lately. Latest update: film's going well, everyday we're getting closer to finishing. I'll be flying to LA for a good weekend of editing with Ramon this week, which I am very much looking forward to. My last trip down there was very intense and we got a lot done, I think everyday for 3-4 days we went home around 3-4am. I remember every night driving thinking to myself how great it was to accomplish something towards our ending goal despite how tired I was. I don't think I've lost passion for what I do yet, but I can see how if certain things didn't go my way, it'd be difficult for me to keep pursuing my dream. Money is a huge issue in film-making where if you don't have any, you can't accomplish anything. I use to see a lot of artists who I thought were extremely talented but never understood why they didn't "make it". After being in the entertainment industry for almost 4 years now, I finally understand how that could be.
Most artists go into the industry blind pursuing their dreams with a pure mind thinking if they work hard enough, they'll move up and eventually get famous one day. Many of these artists are extremely talented and deserve to be in the limelight, but that's not how the industry works. If you don't have the hustle in you, you will never get anywhere. Unfortunately, even if you did have the hustle in you, it's still not a guarantee you'll have a good career. In the last 4 years, I've seen a lot of people lose heart who started out strong in their careers with some even having had moderate success. When it comes down to it, it's really about if you really love what you do. The truth is a lot of people I know never really did love it. I believe a lot of people get attracted to the entertainment industry because of the glam and always believing they would someday achieve it. One day they wake up after a certain number of years of hustling realizing the chances of them being famous are slim to none, then they quit and pursue other things in life. In the end, what they loved was the fame part, and what drove them for those years was this mystic tangible idea of being famous that they thought was so close to reality. The people that really love what they do are people who would still be doing what they do without any incentives such as money, fame, etc... Making Fight Life, I saw how a lot of our fighters did the sport and pursued it when it wasn't popular and didn't make any money. In the back of their minds, they had their minds set on what they loved and pursued it without thinking too much. Of course they want to be famous and be on tv and making money, but if they didn't love it, they never would've persevered those tough years before they made it. I remember Gil telling me "I don't know why people ask us how it was back then and how tough it was, it wasn't tough because we were doing what we loved, and even though we were broke, it didn't matter, we were happy."
I'd be lying if I said I didn't love the fame part, especially when I first started. I too started like everyone else wanting the fame and believed I could make it. The more I was in the industry, the more I saw how the clock turned. I knew what I would probably have to do to get to where I want to. It was quite daunting at first but I didn't waiver because I had already started to love what I was doing. I loved the feeling of shooting, editing, working with everyone on creating something, that's what really drives me now. By now, I don't give a damn about all the fame because I've seen beyond all that. The way I see it: I'm gonna be doing what I do, and if I become successful, cool, if not, oh well, I'll still be doing what I'm doing, nothing's gonna change that." I believe hard work will pay off eventually and whether that equals fame or not doesn't matter anymore. What matters is living life and not having any regrets. I've chosen this path and I've gotten this far due to my hustle and determination, I think I finally passed my own test on what I wanted to pursue in life. I think I'm finally at peace now that I've found my passion whether it will turn into a career or hobby. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and in between that, give it all you got so you can say you left your heart on the court; nobody can knock that.
Ok, video finished uploading, now I can sleep, goodnight.
Look for mention of our documentary film FIGHT LIFE on CBS Strikeforce's Fights tonight at 9pm during the championship fight between Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields.
Checkout our new trailer for our champion Jake Shields for Fight Life: MMA Documentary: Join our facebook & twitter to support:
Yay!!!! Great news!
Just released a 2nd teaser for my feature-length documentary on the sport of mixed-martial arts titled Fight Life! Oh yeah, there's a familiar logo in the beginning of the teaser... Mad love to you know who for all the support! ;)
Here's our 1st Official Trailer if you've missed it earlier:
We spent the last few weeks working hard to finish this teaser piece. It's a lot of work to be editing a film on top of doing teasers like this! I know it looks short but it took A LOT of work! I can hear all the filmmakers in the house say "Amen" to that, Hahahaha, but I ain't complaining, I'm doing what I love, and that's all that matters =). A special thanks to all my post-prod team for working mad hours to get this done, I appreciate everything you guys have done for Fight Life.
While talking to a friend online one day, she asked if I could do her a favor and give her a call right away. I picked up the phone and dialed her # and she picks up, I say "hello?", she doesn't respond, I say "hello?" again and she still doesn't respond. She communicates to me through her breathing and light sniffling signaling me that she can hear me. At the time, I really didn't know what to say, so I said nothing. While I was thinking of something to say, I could feel that something was going on, my instincts kicked in and told me to just keep quiet. Gradually, the sniffles get a little louder, and I could feel tears rolling down her cheek; she is full out crying. She cries for literally thirty minutes with breaks in between filled with sniffles and silences, and then the sniffles would pickup to a crescendo again.
For the full duration of this phone call, not a word or sound out of my mouth. I understood she didn't need me to say anything, she just wanted someone to be there. I could guess that she and her boyfriend broke up and being a girl and alone in city like Shanghai away from her hometown, it must be real tough on her. I was never that close with this girl, the fact that she wanted me to call her meant that she didn't have many close friends who she could turn to. She later hung up the phone and typed a big "thank you :)" on my MSN messenger. I typed back asking her if she felt better and she said she felt a lot better. I never asked her why she was crying because I knew none of that was important, if she wanted to let me know, she would have. I left Shanghai soon after that day and that was our last time we spoke, if you can even call it that.
I met her on a commercial set and we became friends instantaneously through chitchatting while waiting for the crew to get ready. I knew she had an interesting story just like a lot of the people I met in Shanghai who bravely left their faraway hometowns to test their luck in China's city of dreams. I always enjoyed meeting these types of people because I knew from personal experience how gutsy it is to leave your home and go in a big city and try to make it on your own without anyone's help.
In those days, I would tell everyone on set about this film I was going to make and how I had all these visuals and ideas I wanted to do. If there's anything I'm good at, it's making people believe in me, and no, I don't abuse that, should I? just kidding. Everyone on set would be like"Wow, take me with you on this project! I want to help, get me involved." and be so into it even though they probably had no idea what the project was about. At the time I was just being me and sharing my ideas with people; I didn't understand that my passion and creativity was an outlet for their own creativity and passion. All of them wanted to be part of something they own and helped create; that's the reason all of us get into this line of work in the first place. Sadly, in the real world of entertainment, these folks slave on commercials/tv dramas where satisfying a client/pompous director is #1 priority. No one gives a damn about your creativity, they just want to finish it up and go home. When you work in that kind of environment, you get jaded real quick and forget your initial motivation for getting into the film business. In time I would realize how much these people enjoyed doing my first film with me and how proud they felt being a part of it. I thought it was cool that all of us newbies were able to pull off a short film that has now traveled worldwide to all these film festivals. People will always think the film is my project because my name is attached to it, but I'll never forget the folks that gave their passion and hard work to make ourproject a reality.
Now that I look back at it, even though I've changed a lot and am a lot more jaded, deep down I'm still that same kid going around telling people about my dreams hoping to light up their world and making them believe that together we can do anything as long as we work hard towards it. I don't care how cynical and pessimistic people get, I always believe that I can convince them to follow me and how we're gonna have fun and make something that's meaningful and awesome. I don't know how far I'll go in my career and where I'll end up, but I sure hope that part of me never changes.
My feature length documentary on MMA(Mixed Martial Arts) Fight Life has finally launched the official trailer:
Official Website: http://www.fightlife.tv
Fight Life is a new groundbreaking documentary that gives the audience an intimate look into the real life of the modern day professional fighter. From paying dues starting out at the smaller shows to the championship fight on prime time TV, Fight Life chronicles the daily lives of professional fighters from all different levels over the course of one year. Directed by award-winning indie filmmaker James Z. Feng, this documentary currently stars: Frank Shamrock, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Lyle Beerbohm, Ryan Schultz.
What a big relief to finally have my trailer and website come out. We went through a lot of drama and growing pains before everything came together and we got it out. A special thanks to all my people for helping me get through this and finally have everything come out. We released the trailer and website last night publicly at 2:00am.
And boy has it gone CRAZY! Talking about starting out with a bang! It's already all over the internet in forums, MMA websites! Word is traveling fast! Very exciting stuff, I'm happy to finally have it out to the public. Ok, time to get back to work! Peace!
Whenever one of my fighters (from "Fight Life" documentary) get in the ring for a fight, I get quite nervous and imagine what our reaction would be if they win/lose. I imagine the repercussions of the win/loss. Luckily, I've been quite fortunate as Jake, Lyle, Bryan, Nick, Gil have all won their fights in the past year. Being there live at the fights watching them only intensifies my own nerves. For the first time, I've experienced my first loss when Ryan Schultz lost tonight in Sengoku 10. Out of all my guys, Ryan really needed a win at this point in his career coming off 2 consecutive losses.
I spent this past weekend in Portland with Ryan and his family chatting about their lives and shooting for my documentary. I was with Ryan all the way until he was dropped off by his wife to the airport. His son Killian cried in the car for about 15 minutes after Ryan had left us. There isn't a more humble and better human being than Ryan Schultz out of everybody I've met both inside and outside the ring. You can tell by the way his trainers/friends talk about him that this guy is something special. Working full time and training full time on top of being a family man totally devoted to his family. I'd be lying if I said there was someone I wanted more to win than Ryan Schultz. Ryan doesn't try to sell himself and which is why he doesn't have many sponsorships. For someone who was the former IFL champion, I was very surprised that he had no big sponsors especially since his fights are on TV(hdnet). This guy only cares about two things: his family, and fighting. After seeing him get knocked out tonight, I felt a shock. My mind froze and I couldn't believe what I just saw. This whole time we've focused on him winning. Some images suddenly flash before me... I see our time spent together this past weekend and how confident and optimistic he looked(still in a humble way). We talked about getting this win and fighting for the Sengoku belt. We had lunch, played with his son Killian, talked for hours about his future plans and the MMA game. This line Ryan always says just popped in my head just now: "The highest of highs, the lowest of lows", "This sport is about wins". After my one year with MMA, I'll say this much about the sport: "MMA is a glorious sport when you win. But when you lose... no one sees any of that." You are suddenly forgotten as a fighter; no one wants to be around you. People treat losing like a disease in the fight game. What I find interesting is what happens to fighters after they lose. The problem with this sport is that each fight is such a big investment: 8-12 weeks of training camp, and then the fight, and usually about 3-4 months until your next fight. This isn't basketball or baseball where you take a loss and get to compete again in a day or two. You have 2-4 months to think about your loss AFTER your fight. For Ryan, he had to wait one year for this fight that just happened tonight. Imagine a whole year after a loss and not knowing when you'll get to fight again... Picture that... This was the main reason I started "Fight Life", I wanted to take away the glamor and strip all the hype and show the real life of fighters. I'll pray for Ryan tonight and hope he has a speedy recovery. I know he'll need his time for the next few months to rethink his fighting career being the competitive person that he is. I don't think anyone takes losses harder than a guy like Ryan. If this was recreational, it wouldn't be so bad, but these guys are doing this for a living. What we the audience see as pure entertainment is someone else's way of making a living and supporting his family. I'll admit I'm a little down right now thinking about Ryan and the repercussions of this fight... But all I can do now as a friend is take a step back and pray that he'll stand up again.
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Part II: Jamie
I met Benny for dinner in South San Francisco where we went out for some burgers. After burgers we went out to a small dive bar to kick it. He was very excited to see me and bought me a Versace wallet as a present. I was happy to be showing him around the city since I know he’s never seen the city at night. He told me he recently watched one of my favorite movies Suzhou River and really liked it. Even though he’s not too into movies, he would ask me to recommend him a few movies every month so he can learn what’s good out there. Suzhou River was a movie I thought he would really like since it’s about love and intimacy, something I thought he lacked in his life. He said he felt like he really connected with the film and thanked me for recommending it.
After some chitchatting, Benny started to get tipsy and opening up about his life. He said his business was doing well but he was ready to move on to something new since he’s done all he wanted with that business. He was planning to open up a few nightclubs and bars all over Shanghai with a certain theme and planning on branding it. The surprise of the night came when Benny said he wanted to tell me about this girl. He began to describe to me about this girl. I was obviously shocked since knowing his history and philosophy; I never thought this dude would ever get so whipped about one chick. This is the same dude that told me he would never settle down and get married because he never had any room for intimacy in his heart. He never trusted other people and depended only on himself. I don’t know if age had an effect on Benny or not; maybe that’s what changed his mind. Benny is now 33, and looking over at his life, he maybe was beginning to see that even though he owned everything and anything anyone could possibly want, he also had nothing. No one would miss him if he died and he knew it. When he started talking about Jamie, his expression and demeanor totally changed. It was easy to tell this guy was really into this girl.I took out my voice recorder and started recording everything he was saying so that I may write about it later.
Jamie Zhao is a girl Benny met through his own company. She worked as a host for Benny’s company on weekends while going to school at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in her senior year. She was majoring in directing while aspiring to be both an actress and musical director. She was quite talented and was very intuitive when it came to people. She has a very different distinct charisma about her that made her stand out. She is full of substance and a calm confidence about her that nothing can touch. She never tried to please people and give them what they expected out of her. Her style in hosting was very direct with a very commanding presence that drew people into what she was saying; she didn’t have to be loud to be heard. Most of the actresses are all about kissing ass and sometimes giving ass to get where they wanted to be, but Jamie wasn’t like that. In her heart, she wanted to be a theatre director, but she knew acting would help get her in the door. She had good taste in the arts; the type to drag her boyfriend to visit museums on weekends. Jamie was cute, but not the type that Benny usually goes for. She had a commanding presence most Chinese guys would find intimidating due to her take-charge attitude. She stood for her beliefs and was never one to back down from talking about them. She got into trouble a lot with the girls at the academy because of those personality traits. The other girls would talk behind her back and be condescending to her since she was from Dong Bei area(an area in China where people are extremely open and blunt). She didn’t have many girlfriends and got along more with boys due to her honest “Dong-bei” nature. She came from the city of Shenyang to study at the Shanghai Theatre Academy with money her mom saved up from a restaurant business. Before she turned 10, Jamie’s father went away to work in Shanghai and never came back. Rumors spread that he got married in Shanghai to a factory owner’s daughter and didn’t want to leave his new comfy life. He would send back money every three months but no one ever seen or heard from him again. One of Jamie’s biggest fears in life was to run into him one day in Shanghai even though she probably wouldn’t recognize him and vice versa.
She grew up without a father. Her relationships with men included dating men a lot older who made her somehow feel safe. She thought they could fill an empty void in her heart left by her past. Her strong pride and independence eventually manifested into a hard shell portraying an independent girl who feared showing her true vulnerability. I guess you could say Jamie always looked for a father figure in her relationships with men. Jamie’s ex-boyfriends sometimes took advantage of her faith in them and exploited her trust by cheating with other women. When mistreated by bad men, she often lied to herself just to believe the men she was with truly loved her. She took on relationships to escape loneliness. Being alone reminded her of her childhood playing by herself in the corner with toys and making up stories. She dreamt of marriage and family like any girl would. In her mind, having a family would fill that void in her heart left by her childhood and give her security.
Growing up in China with a single mom is a lot more difficult than the U.S. since most Chinese families at the time didn’t believe in divorce (even though that has changed now). She always yearned for intimacy in her life and was optimistic in finding love. No matter how many times she was burned by men, she believed in life and one day she would find what she was looking for. She saw the movie Suzhou River and connected with Zhou Xun’s character Mei-Mei instantly. She would watch the way Ma Da chased after his girlfriend and dreamed a man would do that for her. Secretly, she would want to ask her boyfriends the same question Mei Mei asked her bf in the movie “If I disappeared, would you come looking all over the world for me?” Deep inside, she just wanted to be loved, hugged, cuddled, and protected by a man who would treat her like the world. As she got older, she questioned herself whether what she’s been dreaming of her whole life was too much to ask for in life. She then questioned whether love existed at all or was it just in movies and books. But no matter how jaded she became by the horrible men who used her, she still held on to that hope; dreaming one day Prince Charming would come her way.
Jamie’s mother ran a small breakfast joint that sold Chinese donuts and all sorts of other Chinese buns along with fresh soy milk. Running the small joint by herself, she would get up every morning at 4am and start getting the place ready and getting the steamers ready to steam the buns she made the previous night. The work life of Jamie’s mother prevented her from spending any time with Jamie. In her mind, Jamie’s mom focused on making money to bring security to both her and Jamie. She feared if she did not work, she would be dependent on her husband’s parents for money; her pride wouldn’t allow that to happen. No matter how tough times got, she never gave in, whether she was sick or didn’t get enough sleep, Jamie’s mom got up every day at 4am and worked until 10pm with a 3 hour break from 2pm-5pm. Seeing how hard her mom worked, Jamie grew up respecting her mom’s hard work ethic and never did much to cause any trouble. She was always grateful for how her mom went from being a housewife to running a business so the two of them could survive. When Jamie became a teenager, her protective mother would get on her case about boys and kept her sheltered at home studying.
Being sheltered at home all the way until the end of high school, Jamie went to Shanghai without much exposure to the outside world. She got drunk for the first time in the first week of college at the Shanghai Theatre Academy during a class dinner help by the class leader. It wasn’t long before fellow students courted her. Receiving so much attention from men for the first time in her life, Jamie indulged in their courtships but never gave in to any pressure when men began to press for physical contact. She lost her virginity her 2 nd year in college to a classmate who had been a good friend who took care of her since she came to Shanghai. His actions touched her deeply. Although she did not love him the way he loved her, she felt as if she owed him for everything he’s done for her. He would also be the last kind person she would date. In her heart, she wanted a man who was: artistic, caring, committed, faithful, and most importantly an idealist who wanted to change society as much as she did. She saw the world cold and wanted to somehow bring warmth to give sunshine into people’s hearts. She wrote scrīpts and wrote about characters that are kind who believed in the good of other people. She fantasized about the world being a Utopia filled with happiness and loneliness nonexistent. She yearned for a happiness she’s never felt in her own life. One night she dreamt she met a man who finally made her feel complete. This feeling of someone who shared her world gave her hope that love existed in this world. She woke up in tears in the middle of the night due to this new sensation. She wanted that connection she felt in her dream and desperately looked for it. Any men she felt a slight connection to, she would invest in them and see if there was potential for them to reach that higher level of intimacy. When her efforts deemed useless after all the failures, she did her best to hold onto her hope. For the next few years, she wandered in life hanging onto a thin thread of hope that it would one day be kind to her.
To be continued…
"Passion, Hardwork, Perseverance." Http://www.JamesFeng.com Http://www.fightlife.tv ...Read more
|Location||San francisco, United States|
|Languages Spoken||english, mandarin, shanghainese|
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