My Beautiful Life

(Judy Lee, Store Manager)

I used to be very shy when I was little, which led me to give up on many things. When I was in kindergarten, I told my mom I wanted to learn ballet, so she took me shopping and bought me the tutu I had been hoping for. However, since that day, I've only been to one ballet lesson. I said goodbye to ballet forever because during the lesson, the teacher came to adjust my posture and it made me so shy that I didn’t want to go again. As I grew up, I learned to go with the flow. As long as others are happy, I’d keep my thoughts to myself.

After second grade, my mom, my brother and I moved to New Zealand and my dad stayed in Taiwan to take care of his accounting office. In the beginning I didn't know a word of English. Just as I was starting to communicate with my classmates and getting used to the environment, we received a notice to immigrate to America. Once again, with my mom and my brother, we moved to Los Angeles.

I always loved art growing up. Before graduating high school, I took an art elective. One day, the art teacher announced that she wanted us all to enter in a poster competition held by the Orange County’s Department of Education. I was super excited for the opportunity, but then our teacher said that the topic was “Follow Me – Drug and Violence Free”. I began to worry that my classmates or my friends might make fun of me. I was used to hearing other people’s opinions, but I was not used to sharing my own thoughts. Then I remembered that Shifu would always encourage us to be brave if it’s the right thing to do. So I stopped worrying and started drawing.

The poster took me three months to finish. I drew wrinkles in class every day. Sometimes I would bring it home to work on it and my mom kept asking what I was drawing. It wasn’t until the night before the poster was due that she was able to see that I had drawn a big elephant butt and a small elephant butt. I remember watching Dumbo when I was little, the baby elephant at the back of the line of elephants was always getting in trouble and being saved by the older and wiser elephants in front. The baby elephant was never worried, because he knew that the wise elephants would lead him to good places. Similarly, Shifu has not only guided me to practice qigong for good health, but also taught me how to be happy, leading me onto the right path of life. All of this has taught me to listen to the voice from within and to use my wisdom to battle unsettling emotions or temptations of the environment. Shifu always encourages us and believes in us, helping us regain our courage and confidence. Through the poster, I wanted to encourage others to be their own leaders, to be the elephant that leads others to do good things.

At last, out of 45 high schools that participated in the competition, my poster received first place. The winning posters were sent to the California State Government and the White House. This recognition has always stayed in my heart. Now that I’ve graduated from college and started working, I uphold the same belief as I face the difficulties before me. As we grow up, life isn’t as simple as it was when we were young. There are many things that can affect the health of our body and our mind. I’m grateful to my parents for bringing my brother and me into the Tai Ji Men Family when we were still young. I am showered with positive energy today, to encourage myself, and encourage others. I am able to realize that to live a wonderful life is to be healthy, happy and do meaningful things.

Photo Caption:
Judy Lee overcame shyness and submitted her design for "Follow Me - Drug and Violence Free" poster competition and won 1st place out of 45 participating high schools.