“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” – Mark Manson

“I remind myself that it’s all right to die.  This willing and even exuberant interfacing with one’s own mortality has ancient roots.  The Stoics of ancient Greece and Rome implored people to keep death in mind at all times, in order to appreciate life more and remain humble in the face of its adversities.  In  various forms of Buddhism, the practice of meditation is often taught as a means of preparing oneself for death while still remaining alive.  Dissolving one’s ego into an expansive nothingness- achieving the enlightened state of nirvana- is seen as a trial run of letting oneself cross to the other side.  Even Mark Taiwan, that hairy goofball who came in and left on Haley’s Comet, said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  -pg. 203-204

“While most people whittle their days chasing another buck, or a little bit more fame and attention, or a little bit more assurance that they’re right or loved, death confronts all of us with a far more painful and important question:  What is your legacy?

How will the world be different and better when you’re gone?  What mark will you have made?  What influence will you have caused?  They say a butterfly flapping it wings in Africa can cause a hurricane in Florida; well, what hurricanes will you leave in your wake? ” -pg. 205

“Without acknowledging the ever-present gaze of death, the superficial will appear important, and the important will appear superficial.  Death is the only thing we know with any certainty.  And as such, it must be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions… the only way to be comfortable with death is to  see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you.  This is the basic root of all happiness.  Whether you’re listening to Aristotle or the psychologists at Harvard or Jesus Christ or the goddamn Beatles, they all say that happiness comes from the same thing: caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger unintelligible production… this is what people go to church for; its what they fight in wars for…”  -pg. 206

“We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways” -pg. 207

#chroniclesofthechronic

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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.

 

 

 

My Musical Tastes

Whenever someone asks me what genre I like in music, I can never answer it in terms of genre.  I think all music can be beautiful regardless of genre.  It really depends on how it’s created and who it’s by… the only genres I have never found something I’m attracted to is screamo, rock, and most country music.

I think I used to focus on voice and melody the most, but lately I’ve been drawn more to ambiance… creating new sounds and feels through the sound purely itself and the texture and mixture with instrument.  I guess bottom line though is, the perfect ultimate sound is emotion especially by the main vocal or melody, but also the ensemble, the atmosphere, and quality of production.  I went through a phase where I focused mostly on lyrics, and the shock of those lyrics from today’s hits was really awkward… some were wildly appropriate, while others made no sense.  I think it’s refreshing to come across a song that isn’t about money and sex or degrading women too once in awhile.

While I totally understand why marketable songs have a certain catchy and simple chord progression as well as a popular artist (Justin Bieber), a lot of factors play into it- their persona, vibe, whether or not they’re featured on the radio,

I think that’s why my new Spotify favorite playlist is “Chill Vibes”.  These are less likely to get stuck in my head, which is both a plus and a negative. I also tend not to be as likely to remember the artist name as easily… I don’t hear it ubiquitously as hearing “Despacito”

July 19 Reprieve: Moment, Pause, Break

I been tryna keep busy, keep running, keep moving, but the second my mind slows down and tries to take a breath of calm, it jumps all over the place, and ends up running, but instead of with me, it runs away from me, spinning out of control, whirling, and I can’t chase it down or catch up to it.

Fear of other people, fear of myself, fear of being drained, fear of not being drained enough, fear of the future, fear of now, fear of not getting over from the past.

A moment, a pause, a break.  Don’t let it all break you.  Don’t let them hear your thoughts, see you spiraling like crazy, hitting the ceiling, bouncing from last year’s sorrows to revisiting the lingering moment of choked up hurt sitting in your room.

Sometimes I think it’s better to stay outside of the fishbowl, to peer in, interact, and pull back out to observe from a distance, but never be caught in the drama.  Then you stay in the honeymoon zone and don’t enter the disappointment zone.  Of how people let you down and reveal their true colors.  Oftentimes its scent turns more sour than what drew you in from a distance.  Don’t let them use you and throw you away like just another tissue paper.  Make your existence matter to them (although this sometimes feel like you’re fighting against the current).

How can what once felt like it was becoming home, feel suddenly once again as much of a stranger as when you first entered, except worse because you know that’s not how it’s supposed to feel?

Was it because I forgot my medication.  Is it because it’s that time of the month? (It’s not).  So… what is it?  Life.  lol.  Emotions.

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.

My Strengths (Job Interview Self-Reflection)

As I’m all antsy for my job interview Monday, my therapist told me to list all the things I believe are my strengths.  It’s always been difficult for me to believe in myself and that I deserve to be hired, and that I have all the assets within me.  I listed some to her, but it was hard to sound confident and also truly wholeheartedly believe it.  I think one of the issues is that Asians tend to value qualities like humility, quietness, and Americans tend to view extroverted characteristics such as confidence, loudness, bolstering of your skill sets.  I know there’s somewhere in the middle where you can be humble but also relate your strengths and past experiences and apply them to why they should hire you.

Here are my strengths-

I was recently in the hospital and home-ridden for a couple months.  I didn’t give up though, and used the time of rehabilitation to work on anything I could continue working on, because I have a deep thirst for knowledge, because knowledge is power. My friend worked on developing a coding project in Python and had me test it out as a beginner so that I could learn as well.  I also had a series of books that targets all aspects of perspective, mindset, and more concrete concepts.  Some of these include Warren Buffet’s three favorite books on understanding stocks and bonds, the need to further develop empathy, a necessary quality dealing with human relations and interactions in terms of Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Thinking.  I also read about the history of Pixar and the importance of allowing creativity and flexibility to let the workforce blossom successfully in Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc.

Relating back to empathy, I read Birth of Korean Cool written from the perspective of a woman growing up in South Korea, which explains its impressive growth from a nation that is constantly taken over to the nation now that is expanding everywhere, with Korean dramas featured on Netflix as well as Netflix Originals, to korean skincare and products highlighted in Sephoras everywhere, and the rebranding of Samsung.  I countered that by also reading one of a woman growing up in North Korea, comparing and contrasting the two different Koreas and the experiences of those communities that share so many similarities yet are so different.  I also spent time to roam on human rights issues such as the Syrian refugee cause, environmental waste websites and blogs, as well as developing my passion for linguistics by practicing a bit of spanish and korean on phone apps each day.

  1. Hungry and driven for more knowledge and growth
  2. Very disciplined and work-oriented
  3. Developed interpersonal skills at customer service jobs where I learned to develop skills at approaching or interacting with clients
  4. Balanced in terms of technological aspect of job as well as human aspect, both of which are important in a work environment

My greatest weakness (if I had any ohoho) is that I can get a bit stressed about projects and deadlines, but that is because I highly value my work ethic and take it seriously.

That’s all I can think of for now for my self-reflection.

“Spark of Joy”

It’s crazy how accurate Marie Kondo is with a simply question- “Does it spark joy?”

Her theory is that if you hold an item and it sparks joy within you, it is worth keeping or buying.  It is such a simple concept yet it works wonders.  Usually, I’m on the fence about things I end up buying, and then I have a lukewarm opinion of it and it’s not the first thing I’m excited to wear when it comes time to decide on an outfit, casual or semi-formal.

The other day, my friend and I went on a spontaneous garage sale spree all over her town, and within an hour, I really wasn’t planning on buying anything, I had bought a beautiful bracelet that a lady wanted to get rid of along with her other jewelry- she said she used to design jewelry and needed it out of the house… I was sort of on the fence, but I held it in my hand and it felt like me.  So I handed over only THREE BUCKS.  And now I’m really in love with it.  Here are the reasons why:

  1.  It’s a burgundy red, one of my favorite colors
  2. It’s set in stones all around, which reminds me of magical powers I used to conjure in my childhood days when I pressed on them
  3. There are 5 of them set evenly around my bracelet, and 5 is my lucky number.  Mostly because in terms of math, it’s not as easy to solve as 10, but not as crazy difficult as a number like, multiples of 7 or 8.  It’s just right.
  4. It doesn’t feel cheap has inset designs that swirl and remind me of something from Queen Elizabeth’s time.
  5. Its springy design makes it easy to put on, unlike other clasps that take me forever
  6. The thick width of it reminds me of Wonder Woman, and I feel like it is giving me energy for my goals I want to achieve.

Here’s to smarter shopping as I venture into adulthood 🙂  Cheers

Moments of Pride

As a person who is constantly overwhelmed by self-doubt and lack of confidence, I spend so much time as an INFJ also meditating how to make the world a better place- how can I impact the world and leave it a bit better than I found it?  I don’t have ambitions as high as becoming the first female president, but there are subtle moments in our day-to-day that we can change and influence others, that become a wave of a bigger movement with one small decision.

It’s okay if you’re not perfect and live in a zero-waste house, for example, as long as you are at least conscious and working on improving lessening your wasteful contribution to the garbage landfills.

After researching a lot about environmental waste, particularly about non-biodegradeable products that are incredibly harmful in mass doses, I came across this website that discussed a movement in Berkeley, California encouraging restaurants and other cities to become straw-free.  Of course, there are always people who might dismiss the idea with the thought that we are those annoying hipster tree-huggers.  But I don’t consider myself one, in that I don’t censor and become super paranoid about using a plastic bottle for example.  However, it is a simple solution that makes a lot of sense to me in persuading restaurants to become straw-free, cutting costs down for them as well as benefitting the environment.  Straws are a superfluous product, one that we might enjoy using, but definitely do not need.  It was surprising to me to find out that straws are one of the top 10 items contributing to total garbage littering our natural environment.  So I thought, where can I make the biggest impact in as short and efficient of a time as possible?  I looked up Applebee’s, a place that my fellowship and I frequent with up to 20 people if not over, almost weekly.  I sent an email complimenting their staff, but also suggesting how cutting down on offering straws would make a huge difference.

Today, the manager called me and talked to me about it!!  He said he never thought about it, but it was a pretty good idea and he would talk to upper management about it.  The issue was that they used it as a difference between straws used for alcohol so that they could catch underage kids drinking.  We talked for a couple minutes and he said his name was Jesse and I should flag him down next time I’m there so we could meet.  I just thought it was so awesome of him to reach out and seem to actually CARE.  YAY HUMANITY IS NOT LOST.

The second moment was when I wanted to join a bunch of dudes in watching  basketball, and when I went to watch, one of the guys jokingly said, “get outta here, we’re tryna watch the game.”  At first, my instinct was to laugh since they were laughing too, and I knew they were joking.  One of the guys next to him was like yo that’s sexist.  However, somehow I found the courage to speak up and ask him to apologize, in which he did, twice, the second time sincerely.  I don’t know, maybe it wasn’t worth writing a long post about, but I felt empowered and proud of myself for these small moments of hopefully contributing to a bigger wave of change in our thinking and our choices that we make.

My Immigrant Parents / Islamophobic America

It’s crazy how once upon a time, in fact not too long ago (maybe around 10 years ago), it was a pretty common thing in the Asian-American community in my high school to make fun of their parents… whether it was mocking their accents, or how strict they came down on the kid for getting a “B” on their report card, or even my brother performing a mini skit about it in high school.  Of course, a part of it is still in good fun, but I think for me, it was more than that. Perhaps partially, we laughed because of the grudge or bitterness of dealing with conservative or harsh parents, or being bitter that we couldn’t spend as much time out with friends or dealing with being self-grounded or physically punished.  No doubt, some Asian parents overdid it in my opinion.  But as I get older, I start to see their story, their side of it.  The script has flipped.  And the more research and exposure to other immigrant stories around us in the media, the more awareness and respect I have for it all.  Special thanks to people like Aziz Ansari for featuring that theme in “Master of None” the Netflix show, and Hasan Minhaj, “Fresh off the Boat”- these shows really do bring people together in creating more empathy between different ethnicities and generations.  It’s the kind of thing that blows my mind that it never existed before.  The market was completely dominated to, for, and by white people, where everyone thinks of typical America with a white face when it’s just not true.  And even if you were white, your ancestors still made the effort to reach their American dream once upon a time, some of it not that long ago.

To be honest, I did have envious thoughts of other kids that may have helped evolve into resentment in my teen years.  I wished I could go out and enjoy time with friends at Sweet Sixteens or not get severely scolded or guilted for not winning a piano competition.  No doubt, the pressure to be better and prove my parents made the right choice to move to America was huge and unhealthy.  But I never realized the role my mindset played in unconsciously thinking being Asian was something to be ashamed of, as if we weren’t good enough and had to earn our place in society.  My parents worked really hard from scratch, first in Asia, then here all over again, with heavy accents, cultural clashes, and financial struggles, saving penny by penny, to integrate us and raise us with a chance here.  I used to just remember the times my mom made my brother and me write a letter about all the things we had already and should do more of Christmas day instead of opening presents.  But now, I remember the times my parents bought us Nintendo 64, lots of Boxcar Children books, and all the toys we have in our house.  Every single thing was a conscious effort to buy that item for us, and I really took it all for granted, only looking at what I didn’t get.

As we become more immersed and integrated into what we believed the face of America to be, we must be careful not to turn it into almost a kind of propaganda, intentional or unintentional.  Instead of disgusting people caught being Islamophobic or telling people to “go back to China” or “go back to Africa,” honestly, check yourself.  What makes you think you have the right to say that?  It’s true that America appears ruled by mostly white old men, just take a picture of the White House meetings.  Sea of white, old faces everywhere.

But you know what it means to be a true American?  Stick up for each other, no matter what color skin they are.  That’s your neighbor.  Do not put up a wall and think you are better because you got here a few decades ago.  The true America is celebrating how diverse it is, and putting together our best and most talented and dominating in all platforms, whether it is the Olympics, or leading at the United Nations.  “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Be part of that responsibility.  Earn your power by standing up for your neighbor.  Whether they’re black or yellow, and especially if they’re brown in this day and age.

I’m proud to be Asian-American.  I’m glad I get to experience the intersection of two different kinds of cultures.  I’m proud of how I look too, from my petite height, to my almond shaped eyes, to my tinted skin tone.