August 12, 2017, Sat. @ 3.54am (technically 13)

#chroniclesofthechronic

Pt. 1 Overview

I feel like life keeps being really tough, and not just tough in the usual senses, but extra tough even when I’m just doing mundane, ordinary things. When people ask me what I did all week, sometimes I have to catch myself feeling sorry for myself, because I realize that my level of achievements can be considered small in comparison to others who are able-bodied and fast paced.  I can’t say anything exciting, but rather, I have to remind myself to be proud that each day, I meticulously planned out how to live in small increments of productivity and function, saving up energy to check off goals like laundry, cooking, remembering to drink water, and that I dragged myself out of bed and did these things, even though they were hard and do not match up to my level of ambition and what I would want to consider a “true” accomplishment.

My insomnia has worsened recently but I know why.  Hearing again that I need to see a lung transplant specialist wasn’t easy, but for some reason, this time a switch flicked in my head and I decided it was time to fully wrap my head around accepting doing the evaluations, no matter how strenuous that ordeal was going to be.  I constantly find myself wavering between moments of calmness and acceptance, almost contentedness, yet other times like last night, I lay awake in my friend’s guest bedroom, thoughts flying everywhere and causing an increasing panic in my head until I succumbed to the pill to aid me in sleep.


Pt. 2 Log In of the Day

What I originally intended to write about though, was happiness.  I had a rough week (what else is new, the usual levels are rough, rougher, and roughest), but today was a good day.  A solid, good day.

I had been worried that today would be bad, as usual. Yet it ended up being one of the best days I’ve had in awhile.  Friday night, we prepped hard for a dessert competition at fellowship, and even though we placed third, I felt pretty proud and we did bond with our team by working hard to produce a beautiful panna cotta.  And today, we went to dim sum and it was a lovely meal with a large group of people.  Then, I migrated back up north for another fellowship and met some people, and finally migrated back down where we spent a great night learning how to make fresh pasta and EATING it!!!  Seriously, the best pasta I’ve ever had… it was what I always imagined fresh pasta to taste.  Delicious, right amount of bite and sauce.  It was fun, and we had some sangria as well.  We also watched a bit of Master of None and the rest played card games.


Pt. 3 Insecurities on my Physical Capabilities, but also- Body Appearance

A crazy thing that happened recently is my weight gain.  I weighed around 92-95 lbs for the longest time, probably from all of college until now.  I weighed myself a few days ago, and each time it was the heaviest I’d ever been… first I hit past 100 and couldn’t believe my eyes… then I hit 103 within two weeks. I was getting a bit concerned… because even though I know I’m not concerned “fat”, I’m also now looking very “skinny fat” where the rest of my limbs are super bony, yet my stomach and cheeks are protruding…. I even have a muffintop.  Then I saw a few candid pictures of myself, and I was kind of horrified at my shape. First of all, my stomach protruded quite a bit around my lower abdomen area, but my legs were still super slim and lacking muscle… it reminded me of the Titan in “Attack on Titan” that was round and fat but stuck on a house with its long, super twig like legs.  I also have a TERRIBLE posture, and I guess from my tense muscles and all the stress of anxiety + breathing struggles, my shoulders are a bit risen up and hunched over, especially from the right side.  It really looked very unattractive to me.

I know that steroids do deposit fat differently for your body, and I guess I’d never been on it as much as I was in the past year, and particularly now that I’ve been on it for almost two weeks now to see if I can improve my lung function.  While I was never super concerned with my body appearance prior, I was never a super fan of my body either and just thought the major complaint was that I was too bony all over, especially my bony knees and lack of butt.  But now in addition, my lumpy waist and hunched shoulders just all in all are a mild devastation to me, psychologically.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt actual unattractiveness like this, even when I’m just in bum clothes and glasses and hair that hasn’t been washed in over a week…

Steps to take to stay determined:

  1.  keep working out and doing planks + gym as I can at least 2 times a week
    1. particularly, strengthen back and chest workouts, and legs… and arms… ok basically everything
  2. try to lessen sugar intake and eat more vegetables, fruit, and protein (find more delicious recipes + buy healthy foods)
  3. keep being productive in writing music for grad school
    1. sign up for GREs/ plan a date
    2. shoot emails to professors sometime in late September asking for recs
    3. keep doing research on other grad school programs
    4. follow up with Monica on online graphic design program
  4. do things to make yourself happy, like walk with Meg around neighborhood, hang out with friends
  5. TREAT YOSELF –>  bubble clay mask, hot  bath, hair treatment at salon, massage, leg wax/ exfoliation, clean make up
  6. Express yourself –>  continue improvising on piano, learning Chopin piece, also Photoshop + Illustrator (empowerment of chronically ill women <superhero with treatment mask>  <cute new kinds of hospital wear…>
  7. Google Analytics / Hubspot /Lynda Academy for digital marketing, etc.

 

 

 

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What Animal Would You Pick If You Could Become One?

In 6th grade when we had to introduce ourselves including our favorite color, number, and animal, we would have to explain the animal we would transform into if we could.  I always picked dog or butterfly or eagle… the one I picked the most was the dog because well, a dog is always loved by everyone, and you don’t have to do much except be fed and cuddle right?

As I’m older though, I think it’s a horrible idea.  First of all, it really depends on what country you’re born in.. if you’re born in a country where they still consume dogs, then you’re pretty much fucked.  Second of all, once in awhile I would picture what it’s like to have a bunch of wide-eyed excited giggling humans touching me without my permission, and forcing me to roll over and do stupid shit like that.  I would be bewildered first of all because of my social anxiety, and then I couldn’t even bark or bite them or I would be deemed “unfriendly”, a nature that is contradictory and unloving to what dogs are supposed to be to humans.  But humans suck and in some ways, they are really condescending sometimes!  I truly believe dogs are angels sent from above, we don’t deserve them :/

It’s kind of like stereotyping dogs and women and third world countries, where you help them out, but they were always remain second to you as a “pet” and you as the “owner.”  So even if you didn’t physically abuse your pet, probably one of the perks is having that power to control this cute and vulnerable being.  Not to mention if they dared cause any sort of injury to a human, they would probably be put down :/  Even though humans exercise the right to harm animals, even if institutionally in farms or wherever most of the time.  Can you imagine how much life would suck for humans if another species more clever than us dominated the planet and they were as crappy as humans?  I wonder how many mean psychos and compassionate people exist in this world, and whether they equal each other out.  You always see it in politics.  In most of the minds of people though, they always right and the good guy.  The people who can’t accept same-sex marriage because they are stubbornly fighting for a tradition that is the correct way to live, so depending on where you stand, you are either a jerk or an altruistic individual.

Anddd this is why they ask a child at age 12 this kind of question, because as an adult you way overanalyze and overthink your answer to the point of exhaustion.

A butterfly also dies in 2 weeks- am I okay with the transcendental brief life span?  I guess depending on humans too living an average of 80 years or whatever, it’s all subjective.

As for an eagle, well they can fly and they are definitely powerful.  Bald eagles are also revered in America.  But Idk.  They look like assholes.  LOL.  I’m judging now based on looks, which I try not to do, but inadvertently, I can’t help but do it as a human.

Retreat: Testimony

Wow.

So I forced myself to drive out to the university where spring retreat was being held- I had seen many pictures of this place in all the pictures I stalked when I first befriended my fellowship friends last summer so I was curious to check it out.  The night before, my anxiety kept me up all night with me knowing I should show up at a respectful time to participate, especially since I felt guilty that I had not paid anything and had not planned to come, much less stay.  Nobody knows how hard it is to push the small part of yourself through all the anxiety and fear, simply to challenge yourself to be present in the experiences of life, no matter what they are.  Something so natural to someone else, like looking forward to how fun retreat is, or a vacation, is stressful to me no matter what.

Anyway, as usual, there were things I was not too keen on, one of them being the Sunday message given by the pastor (more on that in another post), but one of the most crazy experiences this Sunday was testimony.  To be honest, I was a little apprehensive as the last testimony I witnessed was during their Thanksgiving dinner led by the pastor… it felt a bit forced and inauthentic, with every single tumor that disappeared, every mini good thing that happened, resounding in ‘PRAISE THE LORD.’

I thought it was strange that testimony was scheduled for more than an hour as nobody spoke for the first five to ten minutes.  However, slowly but surely, one by one people went up to speak.  These felt spoken from the heart.  One kid was in high school, and he talked about how he felt he was in a dark place, and was depressed that he wasn’t getting good grades.  He said he knew that it might get better, yet he might regret if he didn’t speak up about it.  Another who really got to me was Donna, Bobby’s mom who lost both her father and her husband AND got cancer all around the same time… nuts.  She apologized for being difficult to be around and also spoke of her pain and gratitude for the kids especially.  It was really hard to listen to her, but I felt her suffering, and a couple people were crying with her.  It was so real, and I was almost tempted to go up and talk about my experiences too, except I still don’t know if I’m completely convinced of the beliefs in the bible and I still question a lot of things… but I do wish I have the courage one day to speak up, and at least talk about my personal experiences or give a word to encourage others, especially the younger kids.

Thoughts n Questions to Ponder

  1.  What are the main differences between pity, sympathy, and empathy?  Are there two different levels of empathy?  A.  Having gone through the same, or very similar experience where you understand deeply B.  Can understand as explained to you, as you willingly strive to seek out understanding of another’s experiences
  2. What determines what is art and what is not?  Is it enough that it makes one feel an emotion, or an opinion?    What about if something is crudely done in controversy? Perhaps this is how famous celebrities (Kim K, Andy Warhol, Trump, the Pepsi commercial) garner publicity knowingly and manipulatively
  3. Everything in life mainly revolves around the goal of Efficiency, which will lead to Effectiveness.  Example: Why Marie Kondo’s book on tidying and organizing became a bestseller as we have so much waste and crap in our houses.  It is how I learned to memorize my music with intent and away from the piano, more intensely in less time, but more mentally draining regardless.  Creative design should also focus on minimize waste, energy, time.  Should the same concept be applied for empathy?
    1. Things that are wasteful but shouldn’t be… 40% groceries wasted away in the average American household- why??
    2. Taco Bell sauce packets
    3. Throwing away or not having anywhere to place reusable teabags…

What are my strengths and current goals? Curiosity, focus, and intense determination

  1.  Korean / Spanish language, teaching Mandarin to my friend daily and weekly
  2.  Coding for Python
  3. Looking into animation (create short) practicing piano again and writing music (create a great piece)
  4. Empathy, Pondering, Philosophy
  5. Creating greater efficiency in waste, energy, time
    1. Re-organize lifestyle and bedroom
    2. Establish regime – wake up before 12pm, sleep at 2am, take morning/bedtime calcium supplements.  Stretches, drink 37oz liquids, work out, floss, mouthwash, skincare, haircare.
    3. “Is what I’m doing beneficial to me in the long run? Am I learning something right now productive?” –>  TEDtalks, cooking recipes (next up, ba wan), Lynda tutorials
    4. Be better at planning events
    5. Minimize sound pollution, food waste
    6. Develop photography portfolio so I can develop photoshop photos
  6. Passions:  women’s rights, Asian American rights, Disability rights –> how to save energy
    1. Suitcase with wheels/ moving chair
    2. Accessibility (ex:  more elevators in the city, better “wheelchairs”)
    3. How do we increase efficiency in obtaining empathy in each other in a simple, direct manner that makes sense?  –>  perspective of woman translating well for men.  Struggles of Asian Americans and immigrants, their story to become understanding or more relatable.
      1. Watch movies:  50/50 on reality of illnesses, The Godfather on moral dilemmas, Master of None on feminism, immigrants, ageism, hook up culture, racism, etc.
  7. Me:   Sound of heels clicking cleanly across the floor with a slight echo, rustling of a turning page, old smell of sheets of paper, fresh cut grass, moisturizing lip balms, Lupicia cookie tea and chocolate strawberry tea, slicing cucumbers, sizzling oil, matcha bubble tea, onigiri, ramen, glistening sashimi, glutinous gelatinous ba wan, emotional energy channeling through fingertips into keys, deep breaths, whirling thoughts, racing heartbeat, derp.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Christianity

Someone once asked me before if I was a Christian or not.  I responded “Technically, I am I guess.”  The answer understandably complexed him, because well, it confuses me too.

Let me start from the beginning.  When I was hospitalized at the age of three, my parents were Buddhists.  I remember faintly the scent of burning incense with some sort of mini red and gold shrine in our house.  The suffering they went through guided them to pray to a different figure instead, and well, six weeks later, I got to come home.  From that time on, we thanked God before every meal, and my family attended church and were involved in the religious community for about a decade.  At some point though, I’m not sure if it was necessarily loss of faith, but rather the experience of witnessing and experiencing hypocritical and un-Christian-like behavior that caused a drift from the church.

Regardless, even though it may be wrong,  I always couldn’t help but wonder, question, and even challenge the whole idea of God, and what it meant to be a devout, true, “good” believer.  When I was about seven years old, I would think up immature ways to test that God was real, like praying that the water be turned hot immediately if he was indeed, listening to me.  I was incredulous that God had the ability and personableness to attend to my talks with him if other people were also demanding his attention.  Not understanding the concept of faith either, I would also request that he perform other similar mini miracles to prove his existence.

At my mom’s deepest moments of despair, I heard her once whisper that it was unfair and that it felt like we were being punished.  Though brief, that moment stayed with me, and throughout life later, whenever I witnessed or experienced pain, I would cry out in my head, Where are you now? Why aren’t you helping if you care?  Nevertheless, no matter how much I felt upset or resentful, like a habit I couldn’t help but converse with God whenever I was feeling very, very lost.

After we stopped going to church much when I was around twelve years old, it wasn’t until I entered college that my identity in limbo as a Christian would be pulled to the forefront again.  There was a group of older Asian students I wanted to be friends with, but I soon found out they were very religious.  The first time I sat down with a particular senior in the student center, he stared at me and flat out asked if I was a Christian.  I said yes. He asked what kind of Christian I was, to which I felt stupid and couldn’t answer because I wasn’t sure. He asked if I attended church regularly, and I said no, I had stopped going when I was about twelve.  After a long awkward pause, he continued staring at me and then finally said, “Well, that’s okay” even though it felt like I had failed some interview.  I felt incredibly intimidated.  Nevertheless, I would end up becoming better friends with some of the other people in the group, the ones who at least, didn’t make me feel uncomfortable or judge me for any transgressions I might commit by accident, such as cursing or sharing openly that I had imbibed some alcohol.  The ones who were genuine in their goodheartedness, and that took awhile to read and sort out.

During my darkest period of time, I started to attend one of the weekly Christian discussion meet ups, openly tearing up at bible passages, but also recklessly challenging perspectives not meaning to be rude, but in a genuine quest to understand better what it meant to be Christian and why certain beliefs were formed.  For example, I didn’t understand why some Christians believed all non-believers were denied entry to heaven when some of my closest friends and most wonderful human beings were non-believers, while there are more than enough shitty Christians who give all Christians a bad name in the world… while Hitler could be allowed in if he found redemption the second before his death and asked for forgiveness.  I didn’t agree with the idea that homosexual people were sinners, just as liars and other kinds of sins existed.  How could it be a sin if you had no choice in the matter and were born to love one or the other type of person?  I wasn’t particularly pro-LGBT rights before I got to college; I simply had no opinion and had lead a pretty sheltered, conservative life.  From my standpoint, I believe that the bible has great teachings to share with us, but it is definitely outdated and open for interpretation.  But stubbornness and strong faith leads us to believe that it is not interpretation, but simply  the word of God, and there is no room for debate, only truth.

Whenever I entered discussions with religious friends, it felt enlightening but also like we were entering a delicate danger zone.  At my most vulnerable, I reached out to many people and some reached back.  I am forever grateful for that, but always wondered if it was because they were good friends and cared for me, or because they felt pity and considered it a duty to lend me a hand.  I suppose it could be both, that they loved me and that it was through God’s love as well?  At my darkest times, I felt conflicting emotions when some friends would attempt to comfort me by sending me more bible passages.  Maybe they provided a minimal sort of comfort, but it also kind of irked me.  However, I recognized that it was a way of sharing their care for me in their own way, and I felt a tremendous amount of gratitude.

One particular story never sat well with me, and that was the passage where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his own son as evidence of his loyalty to him.  That didn’t sound like a very kind God to me, it felt cruel to force anyone to choose between someone else one loved and yourself.  But was I blasphemous for thinking these kinds of thoughts, would I end up denied entry as well?  I say that in an attempt to avoid the sentencing of going to hell for eternity instead… again, that seems rather unforgiving.  My friend once said that she doesn’t believe there is a hell, it’s just too extreme.  When we got into a heavy discussion about heaven and hell, I came to a theory that for people who have comparably minimal worries in this life on this planet with no particular worries embedded in serious health or financial issues, maybe that was the heaven that God has blessed them with (also, please, no more #blessed. It’s an abused word).  After all, for immigrants or refugees, the ultimate dream was to reach a safe land where they could live together and provide each other with food and basic comforts, not just survive day to day, and so many of us already have that that we don’t even notice it.  So if you already have all of these elements, and are deeply worried about getting better clothes than your friends, or a hot boyfriend or something like that, check yourself.

And while we are on the subject of hypocrisy, there is A. LOT. OF. THAT.  It’s a ridiculously easy thing to do, and all of us do it from time to time.  But everyone is constantly passing judgments off of each other, even Christians.  I get that even Christians can make mistakes, but it just seems I hold Christians to higher standards especially ones who are always focused on telling others what it meant to be a real Christian and holding others in contempt for not doing the same.  I think it’s important to respect your body and treat it well, but i also think it is a woman’s right to dress themselves however they see fit and not have to get a giant scarlet “A” slapped on them for it since men don’t.  That doesn’t mean I am a fan of Kim Kardashian for showing her nakedness all the time everywhere she goes, because I don’t think starting your fame from a sex tape is a skill I admire, and I don’t think her main goal of being naked all the time is to conquer and end gender inequality.  She is obviously talented at staying in the public eye, but to constantly seek the limelight and be considered a role model isn’t healthy either.  Even her sister Kylie’s example encourages young girls to demand a specific type of beauty that exudes superficiality with lip fillers and plastic surgery, and there’s more than enough of that in the world.  At the very least, that entire clan can use their platform to contribute more to society.  But maybe my opinion is misconstrued by what I don’t know.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with embracing your curves, but I also think she gets way too much fame and money for no particular reason.  News articles and the media are always featuring the latest antics of Kimye and whether Kylie and Tyga are back together, but girls in our culture pay attention to that shit, and we prize that clan’s flaunting lips and booties over girls fighting for their rights in challenging societies, risking their lives to make a real difference, like Malala Yousafzai.  But I think I know what the issue is here.  We prefer not to dip into others’ tainted waters, we prefer to stand by the pool in our shades, all the while saying “Oh man, that’s awful!”  We want to block out all the misery in the world instead of get swallowed up in it, because it’s much easier that way.  When I look at the seven featured Facebook news, I find myself gravitating towards opening the one about TSwift and THiddleston on their romantic getaway abroad, making out, rather than the one about more killings and deaths in another airport.

Going back to my original ramble,  I think women are valuable beings who deserve to be treated with respect from their counterparts, and not suppressed or mistreated by men, but that does not mean they are holy vessels who must absolutely save themselves for marriage.  (It’s always been a bit amusing to me that I am considered a wild child in comparison to my conservative Asian parents and their friends and more so to other Asians, particularly in the motherland- yet, I am by far the most prude in other groups of friends.  I’ve always considered myself standing somewhere on middle ground on the spectrum, always in moderation of opposing opinions, yet if I had to choose, I’d say I agree more so with the perspective of most in modern times, yet my natural inclinations lean towards conservative views; after all, I am an old soul).

To expand on that, a lot of women have been pushing the boundaries for gender equality and demanding that women get to sexually explore as much as men do.  While I think it’s a fair right to demand, I also am just not a fan of hook up culture personally, and wish both men and women don’t sleep around so casually, because while I don’t think waiting until marriage is practical or reasonable, I still think the idea of sharing bodies is so intimate that it has to mean something to both parties.  I also believe it is my right to go out and have a night of fun that may or may not involve drinking a little or wearing an outfit that may or may not reveal more skin, as long as it’s responsibly handled and there is no disrespect and lack of consideration for others (acting trashy, there is a difference here that many conservatives don’t seem to consider).  Some people do curse too much, and it can get excessively rude or annoying, but if you’re judging the quality of a human being as a whole by how much profanity they spout above their actions, something is clearly wrong.  There are plenty of people who appear friendly and nice on the outside, but won’t be there where it counts down the wire, just like there are tons of individuals who seem rough around the edges but are actually some of the kindest souls out there.  If we had to nitpick, I think the amount of cursing one produces should be ranked pretty low on the scale, wouldn’t you say?

Bottom line, I can see how tempting it can be to believe wholeheartedly in God and find peace and comfort in having full faith, but my doubts have rarely strayed from my thoughts.  Christianity has been the cause of the crusades, wars and killings of other religions, intolerance practiced, multiple incidents of misrepresentation and dark interpretations of the bible.  I know that the argument is that Christianity is not the cause, but people are, because people are, well, sinners.  But still, it was and continues to be a source of both terrible and wonderful things, bringing out the worst and best in people.  And I may continue to have these complex, fluctuating feelings, which kind of sucks, but that’s the way my relationship is with Christianity.  I am a Christian because I do pray on rare occasions and attended church and read the bible; on the other hand, there were years where I barely touched on religion and felt “faith” was a rather demanding alien concept, and I still hesitate if asked the question “Are you a Christian?”  Technically, yes I am. I guess.  I’m here neither to evangelize nor denounce anything, but portray my honest thoughts.

 

Waste

You know, it’s interesting to me that we often discuss waste, but not much in the literal sense.  More in the abstract sense of “waste of time, waste of emotions, ugh Trump is such a waste of space” that kind of thought.  “That boy is not worth my time,” the usual kind of relationship material featured on mainstream music like Taylor Swift. Maybe it’s more romantic than talking about actual, straight up, physical waste.

I don’t remember where I read this from, so forgive me if the forgotten source detracts from the credibility of my blog post, but Americans do waste 40% of their groceries on average.  When I came across this figure, I paid attention to the amount of food I unearthed in the fridge that had gone bad because it was shoved way in the back, or we simply ran out of time before it started getting inedible, and ashamedly I admit it was probably close to that figure that particular week.  After that, I tried to stay on top of things and remember to use up food while it was fresh, but this new mindfulness conflicts with my natural hoarder mentality to tuck everything away and save it “for next time.”  Especially during college, when I had the occasional frame of mind to focus on making food with real ingredients and not instant ramen, I would open the fridge and stare aghast at the over-aged, sad-looking, withered bok choy and the molded cheese and fruit (It had only been a week!)

I grew up in a household where a few grains of rice left on my bowl prompted my mother to warn me that the amount of grains remaining equaled the amount of pimples on my future husband’s face.  Even though some unused ingredients manage to slip through here and there, my parents had known a harder life than I had, and know the value of food.  I’m not saying it was helpful or fun to hear a voice constantly guilting you of all the African and Asian children starving when you couldn’t finish your noodles or felt unmotivated to eat the rest of the fried rice- I was too young to understand anything from it anyway except that it made me feel bad.  Regardless, the general rule was that until the food placed on your plate was empty, your butt was not allowed to leave the chair.  This plus my eating problems resulted in many nights of sitting at the kitchen table for hours.

In contrast, my friend and I talked about the occasional dinner to a white friend’s house, and finding it absolutely blasphemous when they couldn’t finish their dinners, instead of putting it in the fridge as leftovers, the simple answer to most things was to throw it out.  And while I am certain this was not the scenario for every white family, or even my scenario for every Asian family, there seemed to be a common theme for some differences, particularly for how privileged the family or generation is at the time as well.

Many other countries consider Americans lazy, pampered slobs. In many ways, they are right.  When other countries think of McDonalds and obesity first, that’s kind of upsetting.  Going to Taiwan and Japan, many parts of the culture revolves around the theme of moderation.  I find that every single napkin handed to me by the waiter in Japan is petite, and valued.  Place this image side by side to the food court at some American mall, where some dude walks by and grabs an unnecessarily large wad of napkins, all to jam into his face as he eats a burger and fries.  Sometimes, I get frustrated that I have to walk a couple blocks to the subway station in Taiwan just to find a trash can to throw a cup out, but you know what?  It works.  Furthermore, Denmark has transformed into waste-to-energy country, with a Zero Waste system in place.  I’m pretty happy to be an American, and I am proud to call myself one, but on the other hand, why is it that such a powerful, great nation is unable to achieve what many other smaller countries already have?

Another facet of waste that I see often that is a personal pet peeve of mine, is the waste of water.  Let me begin by saying that I definitely waste water- I am very guilty of taking long hot showers, especially when I’m having an off day.  It’s one of the best feelings in the world.  But what really gets me is when people take their time examining their face in the mirror and leave the faucet running for a minute or more.  I see this all the time in public bathrooms, and it BOTHERS ME.  Because well, at least the hot shower was contributing to someone’s happiness, but this is just well, plain waste for no reason at all except habit.

I love watching cooking shows.  But every time the judge takes one bite of food and then leaves the rest, I can’t help but assume that the remaining food is thrown away.  I cringe when I see Joe Bastianich throw the entire plate into the trash can just because it’s not up to his standards.  I mean, is that really necessary?  While I’m on cruises, I get excited when I know that I get to order as many things as I want, try and taste different plates, because well, the whole point of the cruise is to spoil yourself and get all glutinous, right?  A part of me says not to, but I still end up picking maybe two things and not finishing all of it.

I am a hypocrite, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve watched more documentaries (“Living On One Dollar A Day”, courtesy of Netflix, hop on it folks) on why and how people who count every drop and every bite of food, and I’ve had few moments when I was alone and had little access to buy a meal or go grocery shopping.  Of course, my spare moments are nothing to complain about, but I just mean that I had a very minor taste in what it could be like to be hungry and make every bit count.  I’ve walked by the streets and seen homeless people waiting to get enough for the next meal, or been asked to donate some money to organizations.  Listen, I know none of us are exactly able to dump out our pockets and just give it all away, because soon enough, one after the other there are more and more causes piling up, it’s endless.  The ongoing problems in our world rarely end, especially the common themes of war, hunger, poverty, politics, inequalities, etc..  But maybe I can honor the organizations and people a little bit by trying harder than I am now not to waste.  It doesn’t kill me to make that tiny choice of finishing the rest of the food for tomorrow, it doesn’t kill me to decide to research a few ways to use “waste,” such as using stale bread to make bread pudding, or overripe bananas into smoothies.  Even throwing waste into the garden patch is better than just throwing it into the can!  It doesn’t kill me to form the habit of remembering to turn off the faucet more frequently. I’m not saying, force yourself to eat the sad-looking, withered bok choy or the expired cheese.  Just being more mindful of little choices everyday is a great habit to have, despite our flaws and our desires to be less so.   We know there are better solutions out there, and it must be a goal to better our methods from the personal habits to society’s answer to waste and pollution.

 

 

The Principle of the Matter: Star Wars @ RU

Summary of the day’s events:

I’d been cooped up at home for a few days being sick and all, and really needed to get out of the house to get my motivation running so I could get shit done and start visualizing my future and work on all the steps toward it.  My friend and I had dinner plans at Buffalo Wild Wings because her house has Vegetarian Wednesdays and she hates that and she had a letter that issued a free meal for two from a prior complaint her parents had with the food.  We showed the letter to our waitress, and from the very start, she had the worst attitude and stink eye towards us.  After awhile, my friend wondered aloud if perhaps she had spit in our food.  At the end, I asked her for the receipt, and she all but seemed ready to bite my head off for asking… until my friend said “It’s for the tip” and she seemed startled and said “oh, ok!” and bustled off to get it.

Now, my friend and I are pretty reasonable tippers and usually give 18% for neutral to nice service.  After the way she seemed to hate us, we settled on a 15% tip, which to me seemed generous considering I had an unpleasant experience because she seemed so pissed whenever we asked to order or get a take out bag.  The only thing I could reason with was that she had a terrible day or yesterday.  As someone who worked in retail for a few months, I understand it can be difficult, and I also know that anything regarding customer service can really suck sometimes… but we were nice customers, and she looked straight up angry and antagonistic.  I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but if that wasn’t the case, then I can assume that this attitude was her norm, or that she presumed upon receiving the letter that we wouldn’t leave her a tip.  Regardless, the Principle of the Matter here would be that regardless of whether or not she knew we were going to tip her, she shouldn’t have had such a bad attitude, and being a decent friendly human being shouldn’t have been contingent on whether or not she would get paid for it.

Now, to play devil’s advocate, I’m comparing this to the countless times I’ve smiled at strangers or held the door open for them, and they don’t reciprocate or say thank you.  Sometimes I have bad days but I still out of habit smile, and then I have the rare occasion day where I don’t bother to smile, but when someone I don’t know smiles at me, it instantly makes my day a bit better.  That said, nobody is obligated to smile back at me, and if someone is accustomed to not smiling back, then is it safe to assume that they live in a joyless world and there is something bigger that they’re going through that makes them incapable and permanently too upset to return the favor?   I’ve noticed in people’s stories, whether in reality or in shows that often when one is going through something real tough and is struggling just to be present and make it through the next day, it can definitely be hard to do something that seems so simple.  Maybe you’re struggling with depression, maybe you just moved to another country as an immigrant and can’t speak the language or don’t have enough money to pay for dinner.  Maybe you’re a victim of domestic abuse and distrust others so much that even a smile can seen suspicious or sinister.  Maybe you just don’t feel like it.  And I suppose that’s ok.  But it still bums me out a little.

—————————————————

After BWW, I wasn’t sure if there would be close parking to the building where the Economic Costs/Physics of Star Wars lecture was being held.  Apparently the actual parking lot was pretty far for me, but it would be okay to park in the temporary spots if I had my handicap sign up… no luck.  Came back to find a ticket on my windshield.

The lecture was super cool, I love just learning about the new ways in research is being done and the fact that there are other worlds out there outside of our own.  We also got to watch part of the most recent Star Wars.

The Principle of the Matter:  my friend texted this to me when I was complaining about getting a ticket to her, and I think it makes a lot of a sense.  I would compare this situation somewhat to the plot of Les Miserables.  The ethics of that situation was that the main character stole bread, and technically that was a crime and he got punished harshly for it.  But can you really blame him when one cannot afford food and the alternate option is to starve and let your family starve as well?  I think it sheds light on a bigger, systematic problem.  I would still get mad if I got robbed, but I guess if I knew it was going towards someone’s livelihood and they needed it much more than me, I might be okay with it.

Same principle:  Sure technically, I shouldn’t have parked there, but the problem is the simple, basic fact that the parking lot was much tougher for me to do, and there were no handicapped spots.

This principle applies not just to disabilities or economics, but to race, sexism, everything else.  If we don’t make a place for those that are different and placed at a disadvantage, then how can we penalize them for their actions?

 

 

Alter Egos

Shower Post #3

Do you ever react to a situation differently depending on your mood?  I think we all do.  A part of it may be an innate, so deeply ingrained part of us that can’t be changed.  At some point though, I wondered if I might even be bipolar.  What I’ve concluded is that everyone has multiple facets to their personality.  What is the real me?  Does anyone know?  Most people who think they know me might only have met the predominant me, or the stereotyped quiet Asian girl who has been trying to find her voice all these years, and still is.

When I was younger, I feared nothing.  Throw me in the deep end of the pool- I didn’t know what drowning was, so I had full confidence I would float and make it to the top.  Tell me to belt at the top of my lungs to strangers and introduce myself afterwards?  Why not.  Dare me to walk to the edge of a cliff and gaze down the world at my feet?  Sure.  Once upon a blue moon, I was fearless.

At some point, things changed.  Self-doubt had me wrapped around its fingertips.  I became a slave and puppet to the moods of others.  The obstacles leered over me, laughing at me as I became imprisoned in their shadows.  Over time, I withdrew into myself and people knew me as the shy, obedient, and tiny girl who could be easily coerced into doing their bidding, or who would stay silent to their mockery.  It was hard to make friends, but I had all these feelings bottled up inside, frustration mostly.  Multiple circumstances in my upbringing, household, and life molded me into someone I did not like.

If you caught me at a certain phase though, you would have met a different side of me.  Maybe it was the frustration spilling over, lighting a fire to my being.  Quell your voice.  Humble yourself.  Respect your elders and adult authorities.

Jasmine, why don’t you have any friends?

The journey I’ve made is mine, and maybe you do or don’t relate to it, but damn I’ve traveled a long way to where I am now.  The challenges are not over, and yet I can resoundingly say I am proud of myself to still be here, existing.  I am a survivor.  It is vital to first survive and overcome your demons, so that you can really live.  Maybe most of the time, it’s a struggle just to exist, to be.    But if there is a silver lining to all the pain and suffering you feel, it is that it will make the beautiful moments that much more beautiful.  After some self-reflection, I divided myself into Five Identities (more in the future on the ID, Ego, and SuperEgo via Freud)

  1.  The Obvious Identity- Passive, Submissive, Quiet, Hardworking – who most people think is me… only recognizing the side of me who tends to be a pushover, likes classical music, smiles too much
  2. The Fierce Vibrant ID- who likes orange hair, the sensual human body, admires bold and free-spirited women, colors, has a temper, has no time for BS, all kinds of music (yes, I like hip hop music sometimes, depends on the specific song, why is that so surprising… all genres can be incredible, including that genre)
  3. The Dreamy Artsy ID- aspires to mix all kinds of art, loves photography, music
  4.  The Hateful, Depressed, Sick ID- consumed with negative thoughts, some worse than others.  The devil voice that whispers and tells you to give up, what’s the point.  Always tired and uncomfortable, grouchy, withdrawn, pessimistic, blames the world and everyone else (1/2)
  5.   The Overcheerful, Optimistic, Bubbly ID – super happy and excited all the time, wants joy to be spread to all corners of the earth, wants to save the world. (2/2)

 

Do Soulmates Exist?

Shower Post #2

Marriage / Soulmates / My Type of Guy / Age Difference and Double Standards

  1.  Marriage

It seems like marriage has become a prevalent theme in this age where I’ve reached my early 20s.  A couple weeks ago, my friend was sending me diamond ring designs she wanted.  Everyone is getting hitched these days, whether it be my parents’ friends’ kids or cousins, friends or acquaintances updating their Facebook status to “Engaged.”  The appeal of marriage is so paradoxical to me; on one hand, you’re promising to spend the rest of your life happily with your other half, and then maybe you kiss and ride off into the sunset together hand-in-hand.  On the other hand, as Aziz Ansari so hilariously and despondently points out, you’re putting a ring on someone’s finger, and telling them they’re stuck with you until you die.  i believe in the sanctity of the principal institution of marriage, but let’s face it:  it’s fucking terrifying.  Are you ever supposed to know 100% that you want to be forever with another individual?  Especially as someone who has more unconventional limitations than the rest of the ‘norm,’ will I really ever find a guy who will willingly enter a pact of “in sickness and in health” from the beginning?  Let me know if you have any opinions or experiences on this (more in an upcoming post on dating with said unconventional limitations aka… chronic illness (bleh, hate using that term)).

I know there are already a lot of existing memes floating around where women are jokingly distressed about where they are in life in comparison to others.  We’ve already accepted the pressure women face from traditional expectations to settle down in addition to the biological factor of doing so in their early 30s while their eggs are still hip and young.  So if my soulmate is out there, I’m waiting 😉

But hurry up, because we only have 7 years left before society decides I’m a barren and overripe old hag.  Well, I don’t even know if I should have kids.

        2.  Soulmates

My friend and I got into a really deep, philosophical discussion once sitting in the middle of Smashburgers.  I was telling her about a guy I went on a date with, and how we got into an intense discussion about our beliefs:  he said that he doesn’t really know if soulmates exist.  He would like to believe it, but how does anyone really fucking know?  And what if your soulmate died before or after they met you?  Then you’re just what, fucked for life?? Coming from a date, this topic was hella bumming me out.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a hypocrite.  While I have the same doubts and questions as him, I wanted the guy to woo me and convince me otherwise, all that romantic shit… whether it’s the brand of bullshit, I really don’t know.   

Her answer to that was that some people are not meant to have soulmates.  Some people in this world are perfectly happy being alone.

My rebuttal to his question  was that maybe there is more than one soulmate designated for each person, and that’s why love triangles can happen.  Maybe I just watched too many Korean dramas, or maybe these are just faux-soulmates who cause each other more grief than happiness, but love blinds you.  Just because you think you love someone, doesn’t mean they’re your soulmate.  Timing is everything:  who we are at the time our paths cross, what we’re looking for, where we are located.  The idea of soulmates seems to imply that their relationship would transcend all obstacles.   

Personally, I’ve witnessed too many failed relationships and prison-types marriages to have too optimistic of a view on soulmates, but the idea is fascinating to think about.

         3.   My Love Life

Even though I hesitate to quote Woody Allen due to his tumultuous and controversial life with women, I watched Annie Hall awhile back and his rambling monologue in the beginning really stuck to me.

“… originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.”

Basically, I want a relationship but I don’t.  Does that make sense?  It’s not supposed to, because love doesn’t.  I think a part of me dismisses most people who like me, because I can’t help but think, “Why?” I question your judgment in liking me, because well, you don’t really know me, all you know is my appearance, so by deductive reasoning, you’re just drawn to the way I look.  Is this cynical?  Yes.  Is there some truth here as to how guys initially pursue girls further?  Yes. Do I perhaps have some trust issues and issues in general?  Yeah…

My Type of Guy:  People have asked me before what my type of guy is.  I used to have a weird list of qualities I was attracted to, but they were more about appearance and physical attraction than anything of substance.

1.  Slight faux-hawk, gelled up hair in the front

2.  Baseball cap backwards

3.  Rides a skateboard really well

In college, I slightly expanded on this stupid list.

4.  Preferably Asian*

5.  Ideally around 5’9”

6.  Dorky humor

7.  Really sweet smile

8.  No chest hair

9.  Kind and patient

-*Think Ryan Higa, the famous Youtuber.  Even my mom thinks he’s adorkable, which is no easy feat

-*Don’t think I’m racist for having yellow fever, I just prefer Asian guys because I guess they’re more relatable in background and culture

You know what the most hilarious thing was?  The actual crushes I have had only sort of match up with this “criteria.”  My first crush was a ginger with derpy blue puppy eyes and the cutest freckles.  One day in 4th grade, I was struggling to open my water bottle.  He offered to open it up for me, so I gave up and handed it to him- of course, he opened it right away.  When he caught the look of frustration and disappointment on my face, he grinned and said,

“You did all the work already, I just opened it up at the end.  You were almost there.”

  I was painfully shy, I probably blushed, said nothing, or stuttered something sassy to cover up how much those words made my heart melt.  Post 4th grade, he migrated more and more towards the popular crowd that began the divisive ranks and cliques formed into high school, we said hi less in the hallways, and thereon-forth became strangers.

Probably none of these crushes had chest hair (no way of knowing ohoho), but nevertheless, I had no way of knowing if they rode skateboards well either, and definitely none of them wore baseball caps backwards. In summation, we often aren’t attracted to people we think we like, as a study previously revealed.

The most recent crush I had was so overwhelming I couldn’t get rid of it, it was like a drug.  If there was one consistent trait in the way I react to people I like, it’s that I like them for a long time.  I’ve had three major crushes at this point that probably each lasted about a year to three.  My friend found the cure and helped me wean off of those feelings by pointing out all the reasons she believed he was gay.  It worked like a charm!  Or at least, 75% worked.

“My love… Saddest moment is when I found out he’s gay. Or a lie I tell myself everyday.”

       4.  Age Difference

We like to think that we’re one of those open-minded people who see a couple with a large age gap between them, and without any judgment think, “age is just a number.”  Don’t lie! I have mixed feelings about it.  If you’re both happy,  then it’s nobody else’s business.  But even someone I know who has pretty liberal opinions said that it’s a little weird for say, a 23-yr old to sleep with a 19-yr old.  A 4-yr old difference isn’t huge, but it’s perhaps the fact that it’s someone who is in their twenties vs. teens in which the maturity level gap is pretty big.

I also can’t help but cringe a little when I see a rich, old Hollywood male celebrity with a beautiful young woman hanging off his arm, someone who could easily pass as his daughter or granddaughter.  This is such a norm though, and we tend to go after the woman as a “gold digger”, but if it was vice-versa, she’s a “cougar.”  Everyone still loves Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and God knows who else.

  • Other Double Standards Speaking of such, when a prominent man cheats, people are quick to excuse, forgive, or forget their deeds.  People are willing to overlook the creepiness in which Gandhi approached women, and I’ve seen many others defend Martin Luther King Jr. by saying that it doesn’t negate what they’ve accomplished in other aspects.  That is true, but women just don’t get the same pass.  Look at the way we go after Amber Rose with pitchforks, slut-shaming her even though to my knowledge she’s never actually cheated.  Observe the way we refer to Miley Cyrus as having fallen off the wagon for her provocative style change.

I also think while there are deeply rooted problems in the way we victim-blame or slut-shame, they aren’t as white and black.  The only stance I clearly agree with is that no one asks to be raped.  Doesn’t matter what vibe you’re getting or what she or he is wearing.  Watch last night’s Oscars performance by Lady Gaga and rape survivors; it was heartbreaking.  I don’t know why this is so difficult for people to absorb.  Let’s put it this way:  a guy named Bob who happens to be black wanders into a white privileged neighborhood.  Bob gets beaten up by a bunch of white dudes, and then people tell Bob it was because Bob should’ve known better and covered up every inch of his skin beforehand.  I hope we are progressive enough in racist issues to understand this analogy a bit. 

 However, if I had a child, I would still want them to treat themselves with respect, class, and dignity.  There shouldn’t be anything wrong with women casually hooking up like many men do, even though I personally would prefer it if everyone just approached such intimate experiences less nonchalantly, but I’m conservative, what can I say.  I can’t help but judge others when they act trashy, and this applies to both men and women.  I also think it’s a huge turn-off when people mistake arrogance for confidence.  It isn’t okay for anyone to look down on others, and we see this all the time in celebrities who then defend themselves by saying it’s female self-empowerment or passion.  Please lessen the bullshit in the world.

And that’s the end of my rant and ramble for today.

Eudaemonics

Shower Post #1

Technically, I haven’t showered yet but it’s around that time of the day where calmness takes over and transitions from restless reality to dream world, and daytime swims into night mode.  I think best when I’m in the shower. And if you’re actually reading this, welcome 🙂

I’d put off writing my first post because honestly, I was scared of making the first step, initiating, making this too personal or too shallow, or not knowing what my niche is. But now I realize just like how I need to change the way I approach life, I just have to go for it, because my style is rant and ramble till I amble into something worth talking about. As I was brainstorming for words that may properly reflect this blog’s purpose, or some more appropriate representation of me and what my emotions are and what other people want out of life (what the meaning of life is if we want to get philosophical here), I came across this word: Eudaemonics. Maybe it’s not even a real word, since it’s underlined in squiggly red now as I type it… in that case, I am a genius and rightful owner of a made up word, and that’s special too! Googling it gives you the definition of this: the art of acquiring happiness, or the science or theory of happiness.

 This is a blog post about eudaemonics and personal related things, but you should know upfront, this is not a maudlin story. I took that from 500 Days of Summer if you didn’t catch that.  Also, I am studying for GREs and trying out a lot of vocabulary words:  if you see any that don’t make sense, call me out on it, my apologies in advance.  The perspective I stand from in life gives me a lot of time and space to ponder on the most random issues, and I think at the end of the day, all of them lead back to a central theory: everyone deserves happiness. However, the methods of obtaining that happiness manifests itself in many shapes and forms, sometimes in subtle misguided ways. We can trace it all throughout history where dictators rule the land, shackling the people they are supposed to protect, mistaking fear for respect.  When we witness corruption among high-ranking officials and leaders, people in positions of power abuse that privilege because feeling significant seem to translate into happiness- after all, nobody said the source of happiness is always pure. What a lonely and miserable life it would be to be born into a circumstance devoid of happiness; I suspect that is how serial killers fill that void by fulfilling it with an ephemeral joy from murder, and here I refer back to the misguided applications in pursuit of happiness.

That is why I decided to name my blog Eudaemonics because of my strong belief that the reason for everything we do leads back to a deeply rooted yearning for happiness, or the lack thereof.  I will attempt to debunk or analyze some of the issues we have in society in terms of gender equality, ethnicity, politics, ableism, etc., and much of it will be empirical.

In case anyone cares, I actually just showered so this post is officially legitimate now.  Anyway, it is 2:30am.  Thanks for reading.  Brownie points if you can figure out which GRE words are embedded throughout this post!