How it all began . . .

The following is my story about how it all began, the struggles I dealt with and my decision to stay positive.  It also shows you why I decided to use my time and money to help Leeza.

This is the full and unabridged version of all the information that relates to my final decision about helping Leeza to my fullest.

Everything has a story in life.  This is my story . . . .

There are 5 parts in this story.  It’s a long story but I promise it’s all related and how it builds up on my state of mind.

Part 1: N***
Part 2: April 6, 2014 – First time seeing the 2 people that will change my life
Part 3: Happiness
Part 4: July 5-6 – Weekend together
Part 5: July 27, 2014 – Mid-life crisis and Leeza

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Happy New Year!!  It’s 2014.  A new year, a fresh start, new resolutions and new adventures.  Everyone knows I’m a workaholic.  You can say it’s a “problem” but I actually find that working is really relaxing for me.  It keeps my mind busy with solving problems and it makes money!  Who doesn’t like that right?  But seriously, the studio has been great, my consulting business is booming and even my store is doing well after the move to our new building.  Investments have been holding steady with positive outlook.  2014 is starting out pretty good.

Some of my employees suggest I get a girlfriend so I won’t have to work so much and start a family.  Even my parents and grandparents are nagging about it too.  So I decided to get back into the dating scene.  It has been awhile since I dated and I’m not much of a bar/lounge/club type of guy.  So I decided to join a dating website.  And let me tell you….there’re lots of crazies out there!  But I did come across a normal and seemingly honest profile with no photo.  So I took a chance and emailed her and introduced myself.

Part 1: N***

Her name was N***.  She seemed sweet and honest.  We had similar interests and we both wanted to date in hopes of forming a long term relationship and marriage.  She’s perfect!  We slowly got to know each other online and texting.  We shared a few photos of each other and talked about our daily lives.  It was going well but we still haven’t met yet or even set a time to meet up.  I’m sure most of you have either gone on blind dates or meeting someone online in real life for the first time.  The initial meeting is always awkward and you don’t want to stick around long if there’s no connection with the other person.  So meeting N*** has to be perfect because I had a good feeling about her.

Part 2: April 6, 2014 – First time seeing the 2 people that will change my life

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N*** is an accountant that works for a major firm in NYC.  She usually works late and even on weekends.  I just happen to be in the city on Sunday, April 6, 2014.  I was doing some shopping in the city with cousins during the afternoon then had some time to myself before meeting with cousins again for dinner.  I was at the Lincoln Center area checking out some stores.  During that time I was texting with N*** and we chatted like every other day.  She said she had to work late again.  So I decided to surprise her at her office.  This would be a spontaneous first time meeting.  No pressure at all and can keep it short since she still have to work.  Perfect!  I was walking back to Columbus Circle to catch a cab when I passed by this homeless girl.  There’re many homeless in the area but what caught my eyes with her was that she was reading a book.  Not just any book…Shakespeare!  Now seriously, when have you ever seen a homeless read?  Let alone reading Shakespeare!  The image stuck in my head and I walked 2 streets before deciding to turn back and help her out a bit.  That’s when I saw her sign “A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way”.  It was a simple but effective sign.  Very unique unlike those that says “Need money for weed”.  She was camped out in front of a EuroPan Bakery Cafe, so I decided to go in and get some food and a drink for her.  I also gave her a $20.  She was very appreciative and said thank you.  Then I was on my way to meet N*** for the first time.

Part 3: Happiness

I was walking towards Columbus Circle and I told N*** about the homeless girl and how she effected me.  We chatted a bit and she said she was still at the office.  Then I thought to myself that I should bring along a first time meeting present.  Something to break the ice with.  The traditional thing to bring to a girl would be flowers.  But I think that would be a bit weird on a random surprise meeting.  But then again, first impressions are important.  What to do?  Then I realized I was standing in front of the Swarovski store in Columbus Circle.  I’m a huge Swarovski fan and shopper.  I always get Swarovski for presents and also my mom loves those figurines.  I honestly think I shop there too much since those employees know me by name.  So I decided to get N*** a Swarovski rose.  A flower that will never die and also I won’t look like a huge dork holding flowers while waiting for her to come down from her office.  It’s a pricey gift for our first meeting but I’m a hopeless romantic and I always like to be a bit different than the standard dating “rules”.

I waited outside the office building for her.  And my first reaction was…”wow, she’s perfect!”.  We chatted a bit and I gave her the present.  Then I let her get back to work.  She opened the present when she go back up to the office and texted me to say she loved it.  This could be the start of a wonderful relationship.

Our first real date came on April 20, 2014 and we had a great time and ever since we’ve been great in forming this wonderful relationship.  I enjoy taking her fine dining, clothes shopping, jewelry, makeup, showering her with gifts, exploring the city and just having a relaxing time together away from working so much.  Then she had to leave for Japan for the month of June.  I promised her that I will email her every day which I did.  It’s good to keep on communicating even when we’re so far away.  I even got one of my friends to rent her place for the month even though I partially paid for it.  But it’s for my love and I didn’t want her to rent to just a random stranger.

The month went by quickly and I was so happy when she came back.  So I decided to plan her a late birthday present and spend a long weekend together.

Part 4: July 5-6 – Weekend together

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Our first weekend together!  I was excited!  Plus it meant our relationship has progressed.  She just came back 2 days from Japan so I wanted the weekend to be relaxing for her.  I took her and her dog out to midtown.  We checked in to The Muse Hotel which was pet friendly.  Supposed to be staying only for Saturday night but I also booked for Sunday night just so that her dog can stay in the hotel on Sunday while we were out.  Yes it was a waste of money but it was worth it.  I loved her.  Saturday we spent down in Chinatown, had dim sum, did some shopping and walked around Little Italy.  Then we headed back to walk the dog and have dinner.  At 9pm, she said she was tired and wanted to go back to the hotel.  The night was still young but she said she had jet-lag.  Ok…that somewhat make sense.  So we went back and we went to bed.  Not even a goodnight kiss.  Sunday we walked the dog in the morning and then took her to a nice 5 hour spa at Mandarin Oriental.  A nice $2,000 spa package as a birthday present for her.  She loved it and gave me a kiss…finally.  Afterwards I dropped her back home.

Little did I know that this would be the best and also the last day I would ever see N***.

Probably after 2 months of meeting her I said those important words.  I love you.  She never said it back.  But I respect that.  She has to build up to it and it takes time.  I’ve always expressed how I feel and how much she meant to me.  I put my heart out…all of it.  I loved her.  Why wouldn’t I?  But she never tells me back…

After that weekend together, N*** has been extremely distant with me.  I would text her and she will reply 3 days later.  Her excuse was that she left the phone at home.  1 day maybe…but 3 days?  C’mon, I’m not stupid.  I call and she never answers the phone.  I email and she never responds.

Part 5: July 27, 2014 – Mid-life crisis and Leeza

Today was a life changing experience.  In a 24 hour period of time and 5 separate events, I experienced anger, sadness, confusion, heartache / balanced, openness, honesty / hopeful, intrigued, inspired / relaxation, clarity / friendship, knowledge, freedom.

I wanted to meet up with N*** today but she said she’s meeting with a friend that just came from Japan.  Hard to believe since she never mentioned about it until last minute.  I had it all planned out today too.  Had reservations for lunch at Per Se, was planning on taking her shoe and lingerie shopping, movies and wanted to introduce her to my cousins and also cook dinner for her.  Well obviously that didn’t happen.  At first I felt sad that she had to cancel but then it turned to anger and heartache when she won’t even respond to my texts or calls.  Only responding when I said I got her some earrings.  I felt very disrespected coming from someone that prides on being honorable.  I felt heartbroken that she was purposely ignoring me.  I didn’t know what to do.  I also had reservations for lunch so I asked whoever was around if they were interested in joining me.  Of course everyone was busy last minute.  Luckily my assistant, Marina, was free so we had lunch.  We talked about my problems and she even said she had that “phase” in her love life as well before she met her now boyfriend.   She’s my assistant so I felt open and honest with her about how I felt of N***.  My assistant even said I almost spent $10K on N*** these few months.  She knows since she does my personal bookkeeping as well.  Then her boyfriend came to join us and we chatted some more.

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Afterwards I just wandered around aimlessly.  That’s when I saw Leeza again.  I’ve passed by Leeza a few times before and each time just helping her out by giving her money and food.  But I never really talked to her.  She was sitting outside a West Elm store reading a book again.  I went into West Elm and just sat on one of their sofa for awhile thinking.  I was thinking that the $10K and time I spent on N*** would’ve done so much for a homeless person like Leeza.  N*** and Leeza are both so very different and yet they both equally change my thinking in life.  Her sign “A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way” affected me in a big way when I first saw it on April 6.  That’s when I decided to talk to Leeza more.  I introduced myself and told her I always see her around the area when I visit the city.  I asked her how she became homeless.  Also I asked her if she really loves to read.  And of course she said YES!  She was excited that I mention that I would get books for her.  Then I gave her a $20 and left.  I felt good!  I then went around the area looking for a bookstore.  But bookstores are like extinct now.  I even asked one of those information kiosks around Lincoln Center and they can’t even find one within walking distance.  Then I got an idea.  I head to a local Duane Reade and went to the magazine section.  Luckily they had a few books in stock.  I read through a few intro of the book and finally decided to get her The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.  It’s an inspirational book which would be best for her situation.  Keeping positive is the best thing you can do while being homeless.  I put another $20 into the book and my number if she ever wanted to talk to a friend.  She was genuinely grateful and happy.  I felt hopeful and inspired by her that I believe I can really change her life around for the better.  The next day, Leeza texted me to thank me again for the book and we’ve since texted once in awhile and kept in touch.

Afterwards I decided to head to Mandarin Oriental for a spa treatment just to relax my mind and think.
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I thought long and hard.  I meditated and found clarity.  At that moment I decided that I should spend my money and time in helping Leeza.  She’s young and still have a chance in turning herself around.  I know I can always donate to charity but we all know that most of the money goes in to the administrative fees and such.  This way, my money can reach directly to Leeza.  If I can directly change one person’s life then I would’ve succeeded.  My goal is to get Leeza back on her own feet and be successful in the world.  And in turn I hope that she will do the same to other less fortunate.  Pay it forward for the homeless.  My plan is not to just give her money but to first change her perception that being homeless does not mean the end of your life.  Just like being heartbroken.  It does not have to end there and that you can still do good in your life and others.  I’ve formulated a plan to get Leeza to build up her self image and confidence.  The road will be long and hard but I fully believe she has the will and courage to see it through.  I will go talk to her more and learn more of her past.  My progress will be updated on the front page.

Dinner time I met up with Ms. S, a long time friend, and we talked about my situation with N*** and also about my goal with Leeza.  Ms. S’s knowledge and friendship was greatly appreciated in this tough time I’m having.  Ms. S suggested that I wait a few days before emailing N*** to find out what’s going on.  So I waited 3 days before emailing her:

N***,

I can’t seem to get you on the phone but I’d like to talk with you about the future of this relationship. I want to know the level of seriousness that you feel towards it and what you see in the short and long term future.
You’ve really changed this past month after you came back from Japan.  There were many times that you’ve acted distant towards me these past few weeks. The problem is that you’re clearly ignoring me.  Saying you would call back but never do, only replying to text a few days after, etc.  I don’t know what the problem is but it’s breaking my heart.
Do you see a future in this relationship?  Are you serious about this relationship at all?

–Jackie

I didn’t think it was unreasonable to ask her what’s been going on this past month.  It was going so well and all of a sudden she shut down on me.  I just wanted an explanation.  As a couple, I really wanted to help her with whatever problems she was having.  All she had to do was tell me.  But the response I got was:

Sorry for not calling.  But I had a lot on my mind… and couldn’t call.  Hope you are well.  I am not sure.  I need some time.

At that moment it was clear to me.  She was never interested in me.  She never said “I love you” only because she never wanted to lie to me.  I respect her decision.  And no matter how sad or heartbroken I am, I know that there’s no way of getting someone to fall in love.  I love her enough to know when to let her go.  I don’t want to hurt her by keeping the relationship going.  It was very painful for me to email her back:

You don’t ever have to say sorry.
I am not well at all.  Heartbroken.  But it’s ok.  I understand.
You already made up your decision already long before I sent you this email.  You just didn’t know how to tell me.
Keeping everything bottled up and not sharing whatever is on your mind isn’t the right way to form a relationship.  If you don’t trust me in helping you and supporting you then it’s just plain and simple that you don’t trust me at all.  You might have a lot on your mind this past month but I too had a lot of pain in not knowing what’s going on.  You’ve totally shut me out of your life.  All I ever wanted is for you to open up to me and tell me what’s wrong.
I really loved you.  I honestly did.  I put all my heart out for you in hopes that you would love me back.  I had hopes of marrying you and starting a family together.
I really wanted to see or even talk to you on Sunday but you had your reasons.  Sunday was a big turning point for me.  I thought a lot and decided to take my life in another direction…life and career change…
So I’ll make it easy on you.  I seriously do really love you but I’m too heartbroken….and there’s no way it can go back to the way it was.
I wish you the best in life, love and career.  You do deserve the best.

And she replied with:

I’m sorry I hurt you.  I didn’t mean to…
I feel like I want to escape from life.

Then I said:

Like I said in the last email…You don’t ever have to say sorry.
I just wished you were up-front with me that’s all.
Anyways I love you enough to know that I have to let you go.  I don’t want to see you hurt either.
Stay positive!  I will always remember the good times we had.
And I hope you’ll find the one that you truly love.  Just remember to tell him that and open up to him.

She replied:

I think I have a problem with it.  Not many people notice until I get closer.  I thought I was open but a couple of people told me that I am not.
How is everything with you?  Is your work situation resolved?

I emailed back:

It’s not your fault.  You are who you are.  No one else can change you.  Only you can change yourself.
I thought a long time on Sunday and I decided to take my life in another direction.  What happened with us has greatly affected me and I decided to change my lifestyle and way of life…for better or worse.  I’m too much of a workaholic and I know that’s a problem with me…want to just have a simpler life so I’m planning on selling my businesses and doing something more fulfilling with my life.

That was the last I’ve heard from her.

I’ve come to realize why I’m always a workaholic and why I always find that working is relaxing to me.  It’s not because I’m good at what I do or that I like what I do.  I realized that the world is full of disappointments and I’ve got my share of them.  Working is a way for me to de-stress.  Working keeps my mind occupied and takes it off life’s problems and love issues.  I’ve got so good at running my businesses that I didn’t realize that it’s in proportion to how much stress I got.  Why I reacted so calmly and abnormal in this heartbreak was probably because N*** really changed me.  She showed me happiness.  She gave me a goal outside of working.  A goal that I so badly wanted to end in happily ever after.

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I do cherish the short time I’ve been with N***.  She taught me to open my heart and I did.  I truly loved her.  Had hopes of proposing to her.  Even ordered a $8K Hermes handbag and Centurion companion card for her which I never got to give as a surprise for her.  Wanted to put my house key and Centurion card in the handbag as a 6 month surprise gift.  I wanted her in my life, for better and worse.  Even told my parents about her and relatives know too.  I wanted her to have everything and anything that I lost sight that all she wanted was to be free.

I just hope one day she has the courage to tell me the real truth.  I think I deserve the truth no matter how bad it is.

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Sometimes in life there’s only one chance in love…I’ve used up my chance.  My heart is so broken that only a small piece is left.  And I’m saving that last piece to do good in the world.  Starting with Leeza.

A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

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