Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Feb. 6, 2018 Log (Pt. 2 Tuesday)

I have to say, this is probably the second best vacation I’ve ever been on:  I had the best solid sleep I’ve had in about two years last night, and everything is going well.  I had proper rest, we live in a great hotel, the weather is perfect, and we got to see the second half of Harry Potter Diagon Alley in Universal Studios today – I think I can add today as the fourth happiest memory I’ve had, with the first being in Taiwan with study abroad friends, the second being throwing a surprise party with kids for my co-counselor, and the third being sitting on a gondola in Venice.

I guess part of what makes it so happy too is going through what feels like hopeless hell, everything going wrong.  Today, everything went smoothly and right, which is rare.  No regretful feelings, we got to do pretty much everything.  I had a solid 9 hours of sleep, we woke up at 8am to get to the park, and rode every ride and saw every inch of Harry Potter World (besides the Hogwarts train but it’s seriously ok cause the rest of it was that awesome), I got Florean Fortescue’s strawberry-peanut butter ice cream, got my Gryffindor quidditch shirt in kid’s size, got my Hogwarts keychain that I regretted not buying the first day, my mom got her turkey legs, we saw the Mardi Gras parade AND managed to squeeze in E.T. in the last two minutes of the day.  We took a few pictures at the exit and I felt confident to take a photo in my wheelchair.  Yes, my wheelchair.

I dreaded this wheelchair forever, and the first day I rode it I had moments where I felt like my life was falling apart and I was becoming an even more useless, dependent person.  I brought not much joy due to my depression to others, I was physically weak and easily fatigued, I did not even bring much income in, I felt like I could barely help myself:  I felt worthless.  And truth is, I will probably feel frustrated by all the limitations again many, many times over, but I realize that accepting the help of using a wheelchair made my quality of life 10x better. I was no longer so fatigued and uncomfortable that I could not properly enjoy whatever we were doing, and as the second day, I got used to stares more and even stared back happily.  I guess it’s still different since I don’t know anyone personally here, so I feel somewhat less self-conscious.  Props to my parents for wheeling me around all day, I am amazed at how fast regular people walk without tiring!  The speed they go at is like a mild superhero speed compared to my own.  It saved us a lot of time too not to have to rest every other minute.

I have to say, to date I highly enjoyed both Harry Potter rides, I also enjoyed the Jimmy Fallon ride, Transformers, and the Incredible Hulk were the highlights.  The amount of blessed feelings and happiness I experienced in 4 days so far seems to make up for how shitty I’ve felt the rest of the past year.  To simply be able to accomplish more than I can brings me great elation and then I feel very satisfied and full.  I’d rather have one great vacation than 2 shitty ones where I feel sick the whole time.  Wheeee.  ^_^

Here’s to hoping the last day is a solid one as well.  I can probably live off this good vibes week for quite awhile, maybe it’ll last me till spring?  Fingers crossed.

 

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Feb. 2-3, 2018 Log

So… just to put down a few quick notes about my trip thus far:

I’ve been working on being less self-conscious, and realizing that in doing so is accepting all of me, even the “bad” parts that I instinctively try to hide.  It may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me.

  1.  The first step, was when I pretty much wore my filter mask the entire day… traveling at the airport, airplane, etc. I wore the mask.  It made me feel different even though I knew the mask was cuter than the surgical ones I used to wear.

Cons:

-felt like some ppl stared and tried to be chill about it

-got tiny bit humid after forever and kind of a hassle on my ears

-caught myself in the mirror and did not feel pretty

Pros:

-got kinda used to it after the 2nd hour

-was more breathable than surgical masks

-whenever a person coughed or sneezed close to me, I was no longer super paranoid that I would get sick soon after

2)  Wheelchair all day today:

Cons:

=stuck out very much and was pretty self-conscious, especially at moments when I got up and a couple ppl stared esp since I had no broken legs to show for using a wheelchair

-got no perks at the theme park since you can now pay extra for express lane

-had no freedom for movement since I was pretty much pushed by family all the time (dependent)

-became very aware of anything like a rope or steps that would be super flexible and easy for a walking human (inconvenient)

-did not like feeling so much shorter than everyone else

Pros:

-was kind of nice to be “pampered” almost by my family, who willingly pushed me around taking turns

-was much more attentive personally to other wheelchair-users

-no longer had headaches or felt like passing out, esp on the rides that were more extreme

-no longer felt past the point of dead after a few min of walking; however, felt that point approaching at the very end of the day (ah! lasted till the end :D)

-speed was much faster to reach all the attraction spots since we were now walking at the avg human pace, not mine

3)  Oxygen:

Used oxygen during the plane ride when I went to the bathroom, and my oxygen level dropped to an 85, but then went up to a 91 after a few seconds.??  After oxygen use it went up to a 97.  Walking from car to the hotel room my heart bpm was 158, and oxygen dropped to a 90, but standing still goes up to a 93 after a few seconds as well.

Other Cons:

-I still had a few moments where I felt like I might break down because my mind started to wonder to the fact that I was so dependent that I would not be able to experience a day like today without the help of being pushed around by someone else, and that my body would only get worse

-Didn’t particularly want to take any photos while sitting in wheelchair, but also didn’t mind as much as I used to

-my brother seemed kind of bored at times, and it made me feel a bit more like my family wasn’t enjoying with me but simply accompanying me to make me happy, which made me feel a little burdensome :/ but they did seem overall to enjoy themselves on the rides.

Other Pros:

-During the plane ride here, I saw a brief moment where my dad sort of held my mom’s hand for a few minutes-  Why it’s significant:  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my parents affectionate much like that, esp for no particular reason (like leaving the country for a month) I thought it was nice.

-I had a heart to heart with my mom on life randomly last night, just talking about some of our problems and experiences we have had with people in general

-my brother more than just the typical gestures of niceness like treating us to dinner today, but actually asked me if I was okay at one point and also asked me if I needed oxygen in the car, and that meant more to me than treating us to dinner tbh

-The Harry Potter castle ride was FREAKING AMAZING.  So was drinking butterbeer and seeing Hogsmeade.  An Ollivander’s wand is $70- I would buy one if it actually had magical powers… but instead, I settled for a Gringotts key keychain, and a Pumpkin juice drink for souvenirs.  Also had two delicious dinners in a row, one at Sonny’s BBQ, and today at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp restaurant. YUM.

-Other highlights:  The Incredible Hulk, the first roller coaster I’d ridden in like 10 years… really fast and smooth.   the Skull Island King Kong one was not bad as well.  Seeing cute little kids geeking out in full Harry Potter capes and waving their wands made my day.

I’M DETERMINED TO HAVE FUN.

 

Leading With A Limp Notes -Dan B. Allender

On Leadership:

“Many a king misunderstands or abuses his calling and ends up devouring the flock – and then he blames the sheep for the dwindling numbers.  Such a leader solidifies his power by the use of fear and shame.  The troops cower and obey, but they do not love the leader and they are not loyal to him.  It is far more difficult to be a shepherd-king, one who must possess power and give it away until he serves as the balancing point of an inverted pyramid” (pg. 61)

“The leader will fail, so he needs to confess his anger, self-absorption, and cowardice and serve his people by being the first one who needs to be forgiven”  (pg. 62)

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (pg. 71)

           –>  “A broken leader is a sweet paradox of confidence and openness.  If those I lead have already found out the worst there is to know about me- then the log in my eye is continually being removed in the midst of every crisis. The result is better vision and greater wisdom due to the freedom I feel to both live and die” (pg. 75)

On Courage:

  “  He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape.  He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape.  He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water, and yet drink death like wine” … this is the foundation for true confidence.  – G.K. Chesterton (pg. 74)

“Courage never takes away fear; courage simply redistributes fear to get the job done” (pg. 77)

“Do I know what to do but simply not want to do it?”  (pg. 81)


Other Thoughts:

“If the church is really about spiritual relationships, then why are they so hard to keep together?” 

          —>”‘ What lens am I using to read reality?”  (pg. 83)

Entire pg. 98 (not included here unfortunately)

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^(Entire pg. 113)

“Groucho Marx wouldn’t want to be part of a club that would have him as a member” (pg. 116)

“Organizations are full of binds because there is not sufficient honesty between human beings to build caring, committed relationships.  Instead, everyone figures out how to put on the right face.” (pg. 117)

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^(pg 156)

“Most people want to grow, but the price of growth is pain… it is the way of growth and excellence:  submission to pain through discipline is the only route to maturity” (pg. 194-195)

On Betrayal:

“Betrayal is a deep psychic wound that hardens the heart against grief and deadens is hunger for intimacy” (unknown)

Thoughts on Morality (Shower Post #4)

I think it’s a fair thing to say that the more we get older, the more jaded we get- we have less patience, we have less faith in others, we become more cynical or realistic, depending on your perspective.  I think for me, I have definitely become more cynical/realistic with age.  Whenever I go through something difficult, I think, why does no one know or feel my suffering?  Why does it feel like I am even more isolated and alone?  Instead of having faith in others, we fear reaching out because we don’t trust that anyone actually cares, or sincerely cares.  I think this is the logical path that people follow that can lead them to such a dark place, to the point of even suicide.  At this point, it seems like your life doesn’t count anyway, and it won’t matter.

For me, I get frustrated because in chronic illness, the suffering doesn’t end.  It’s not like a cold or a break up where your circumstances may improve eventually; they don’t.  You do.  Your mind sinks or swims.  And then I hide my fears because I’ve had it proven countless times to me that in the end, it seems I am the only one who can fully do anything about what I am going through.  Besides my dad and sometimes my mom and a few close friends, I am pretty much alone.  Almost no one else is there beside you every second living your life, observing it, experiencing, as much as you, having that strength of endurance.  People will enter and leave your life, maybe be a blessing even for the short run, but they can always fade at any given time.

We are all so scared of showing vulnerability, of laying out our cards and letting everyone else judge us, embrace us, or reject us.  Especially when we go on social media like Facebook and Instagram, and we are flooded by images of hot, fit bodies, attractive portraits of people laughing, having the time of their lives with their significant other on their vacation, surrounded by friends, or eating delicious food.  It is true that the positives and highlights are part of our lives, but they are only a small snapshot of the entire rhetoric.  Our whole society encourages us to hide our insecurities and to only portray our best selves, but it isn’t always the whole picture, the whole truth.

I do the same.  I only put up pics of my happiest moments of when I look good on Instagram.  It does make me feel better to take pride and look at these images and tell myself “Wow, my life is not bad!”  It does make me feel more or less validated when I get many likes.  But I also wish to be brave enough to allow myself to receive likes on my ugliest, saddest, most depressing snapshot of my life- even more so, I want to be brave enough to be okay with no likes if that’s what happens.  I may be afraid of judgment, or of dragging down other people’s happiness- but so what?  We gotta inject some sincerity and realism in what’s really going on in our lives, to show others our scars so that they can be more accepting and forgiving of theirs.

People don’t see me through the moments where doctors discuss my life span and ask deep cutting questions like “Have you ever had suicidal thoughts” and me, reluctantly admitting “yes.”  People don’t see me when I wake up in the morning and count the amount of meds I daily pop into my mouth or inhale.  People don’t see me when I am at home, physically and mentally too tired to complete simple tasks like laundry.  I fight everyday to live a fraction of energy and memories that others take for granted.

Maybe part of this is my fault, for not being more open, and for withholding part of the truth, I actually get more judged than not, because people see a “normal” young woman abusing a handicap sign, people see my beaming grins on my Insta, and people see me when I am trying my absolute best to participate happily in life.

I guess for me, faced with the morality of my being, and always reminded of how small of a drop of water I am in the ocean, I keep questioning, how do I make my life count?  It is not going to last forever, but that is out of my hands.

What I wish, is for people to think more on this question, on how they impact others, and to be part of a greater plan for us all to have faith that if we fall, the ones around us care enough to catch us, as cheesy as that metaphor is.  To come to terms with our true selves and the imperfection we are- taking pride in our strengths, accepting our flaws and vowing to work on improving them.  So that we give encouragement and faith to others, and in turn can let ourselves fall in faith.  Knowing that we are trying our best, even if that’s not what it looks like, even when others tell us we are crying wolf and victimizing ourselves, them telling us we’re fine, but us knowing for ourselves that we are not okay, and knowing that continuing to do our best is okay, it is enough.

Walking Dead Dream

I had the most horrifying nightmare last night where I shifted into multiple characters, all who had a pretty terrible time in the Walking Dead world.  I went to bed thinking my life was shitty, but woke up with a terrified shock from what I just lived through.  It felt so incredibly real.

I think it began as continuing off where an episode last left off, like it was starting a new season. The situation was that what was left of Rick’s crew, maybe around 12-15 people, had been living on a farm, they were all intense and on guard with guns.  A lot of wind was picking up, so naturally, many of us looked up- there was a large military looking vehicle looming over us, and I was playing on a swing- for a second, the thought that we were finally going to be saved flitted across my mind.  I started hearing gunfire ring out, and realized that one by one, the people across the field were going down like dominos.  They were being picked off.  From the air.  Some of us were looking elsewhere though, distracted- and I realized a horde of the walking dead were headed towards us.  It was a massacre, where men and women alike ran towards the shed to retrieve more guns, fending off the zombies while each continued to fall down; the zombies were being hit from all sides alike.  One lone woman, Sasha, ran towards the fence, but like everyone else, she too, fell over and didn’t get back up.  My mind furiously debated over making it over to the other shed, where my dog was kept, to shoot her before she got eaten alive, but then- blank.  All was dark.  And yet, I was still thinking, has the scene ended, or did I get killed, or both?

Then, it was like a rewind, and I paid attention this time to one of the members of our party.  She was an attractive, young, bi-racial woman.  Towards the back of the house, she comes face-to-face with the military leader, a perhaps 40s, arrogant looking white dude with a cropped hairstyle.  He charms her, they walk into the house, and enter a dark tv room to discuss matters.  She has that permanent frown on her face, but they seem to come to an agreement.  He assures her that it’s better not to alarm the others that the military force is here, and that they won’t come under any harm.  Because this is the Walking Dead, it is implied they hook up.  Cut to next scene, she runs out the house, appalled at what she is seeing as her friends get shot down all around her.  As the lone survivor, she realizes all is lost, and in the chaos runs towards the fence.  Because the general is fond of her, he lets her go.

We see the POV of the pilot now, as he flies over the farm and discovers living residents.  As if it were a video game, he zooms in, centers on the face of each terrified individual, and aims right at the face, and they go down.  Later on, he claims he was just following orders from the general, and it was like a repeat of MyLai Massacre.


To be finished another time.

Spiraling Down Confessions

The other day, I spoke very freely about my therapist and some of the medications I’m on, and I was speaking to a couple friends that I consider myself close with.  Then they casually mentioned their therapist, and it caught me by surprise because all this time, I had never heard them mention it before.  But then again, neither had I.  And the thought occurred to me that it was the mental health stigma that keeps us all wary, even if subconsciously.  I know I always fear being judged even by friends when I do decide to mention it, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m insane or I have some issues they don’t want to be a part of. In college, I had some really deep talks with people I’m not even friends with anymore- you’d be surprised how many people confess to you in private that they are struggling and attend therapy, or feel they need it.

But why do we fear judgment so deeply?  Therapists are wonderful listeners, and they always help me talk out my problems and find the light at the end of the tunnel, after figuring out first what kind of tunnel it is.  Literally anyone could use a therapist, even if they’re doing relatively okay.  That freedom of having someone who is solely there as an objective source to help sort out the mess your mind is in itself priceless.  Especially some dudes, who are worried they don’t seem “macho” if they admit they have emotions and personal issues.  Which one is harder, acting like you don’t have a problem, or talking about it?  Then maybe consider growing a pair, or rather, shrinking your pair so you can become a woman, because women are probably much stronger in that regard.  How do you expect to improve if you can’t even admit the problem exists?

What I wish to work on, is freeing myself of the fear of judgment by others.  How nice would it be to honestly not care?  For me, I go through this constant cycle where I’m sort of okay, to just discontent and dissatisfied, to full out emo, to pretending I do not actually exist and tuning out to become as much of a vegetable as possible.  Struggling with depression ain’t easy.  Just yesterday, I had said one of my goals was to try to be less jealous of others, and have less pity parties.  But literally today, was one of those days where you wake up in a half charged mode in fighting spirit, and every accomplishment or fun experience someone else near you is having feels like a straight up diss to your face, as it was a reminder and reflection of how unswimmingly your own life is going.

I go through these modes where one incident triggers my depression, and then the following incidents, which could literally be anything, build on that, and I start to slip and spiral downwards into a deep, dark hole.   What is the point of doing anything?  People don’t care.  People are terrible.  People suck.  Life feels empty and meaningless.  We all die at the end anyway.  I’m unhappy- how do I make myself unhappy?  What is the solution here?  A lot of it ends up just being strengthening your mindset and ability to overcome.  But every so often, when these triggers happen, I start to think “fuck, not again.”  I’m so tired of being so tired, and sick of being sick, and repeating, rewinding my mood.

Why is it so hard to be happy?  How do I learn to own myself by sharing and being open about my life?  I’m worried nobody wants to be burdened, nobody wants to listen.  I wish I could just think, “Please, I honor you with my presence and my words” but what I’m thinking is “Please don’t judge me.  Please stay.”

 

Merry Christmas (Gratitude) 2017

So I’ve noticed that even though my blog is a personal place to spill out all my thoughts and feelings and emotions, as a result it has also reflected a lot of the dark moments and worries that pass through my head.  Today’s post is about taking it back to what the whole point was of starting this whole blog, which was the intention of focusing on happiness and the journey to it- which brings up gratitude, a neighbor of happiness.

  1.  The obvious basic:  The obvious basic things I have to appreciate living in a developed country is that I am never starving, always have food to go for when I’m hungry, and that I always have a roof over my head with a comfy room.  All my loved friends and family are still alive, especially my parents, who do so much for me.  They support me through my illness, support me financially in terms of living expenses and anything else I need, like paying for medication, picking up my medication, and dropping it off for me right away.  They bought me my laptop and my android phone in the recent years. I get to keep myself clean and well-groomed with hot showers and baths which are especially useful when I feel low.
  2.  The materialistic:  Even though yes, studies show that experiences and meaningful relationships matter a lot in relativity to happiness, the second thing I have to list in terms of gratitude is more materialistic.  I don’t desperately need anything (besides my health lol), but there were a couple things I had on my wish list, and I honestly didn’t expect to seriously get any of those things this year.  However, I got most of them, either gifted by yours truly (to self lol), or by friends and family.  First off, my first pair of Adidas Ultraboost!  (Stella McCartney in clay red) in size 4.5, on sale and notified to me by one of my friends.  I was given a pair of red Beats headphones by generous friends who claimed they didn’t have any use for it.  Third off, this Nordstrom leather jacket I’d been pining after for about two years- it was finally on sale during Black Friday and I saved over $100, although it was still quite pricey.  I bought myself all the Yesstyle products I had in my favorites just as an impulse buy, and these included a Gudetama make up sponge, a cover up mask, a Shu Uemura eyelash curler, charcoal toothpaste, etc.  #Treatyoself I also received A+ class chocolate and the most amazing German mug ever from my childhood best friends.  This mug was my favorite at my neighbor’s house because it’s thin, tiny, and curves outward, which makes pouring and drinking so much easier and funner!  26036991_10156088952223960_1789629163_o I also received more gifts surprisingly.  My two friends bought me a portable white noise sound machine and a wine red laptop sleeve I’d been wanting to protect my Mac with! These were on my wish list, and I honestly did not even remember sharing the list.  My mom’s friend also dropped off a LADY M crepe cake!! Holy moly, those cost $90, I looked it up.  So excited to eat it.  Also, I still have my college secret santa gift to look forward to.  But finally, most precious of all, is that my parents came home last week WITH A PUPPY!!!  My mom fell in love with a schnoodle who is heterochromatic.  She looks like a hybrid between a dragon, bat, rabbit, and alpaca.  Her name is Moonchie and she is a feisty one ^_^25990644_10156088957248960_1147577110_n
  3. Miscellaneous:  We’re going on a Disney trip soon, and even though there are many things to be worried about, the bottom line is I’ll finally get to try butter beer and see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter omg.  I also feel like I have somewhat of a grip on what my goals are, and I’ve outlined them for each day.  Just a lot of self-improvement, self-exploration, even as I’m stuck at home.  Learn to focus on acceptance of self, being less jealous of others, staying hungry and mindful of said goals.  Trying to make the best of it with my time and opportunities to quietly work on SQL, R, Python, and also this International Humanitarian Law course I found on Coursera.  Datacamp is also this wonderful source I found.  I want to work in data science or analytics!  There’s so much to learn, but I actually find it pretty fun to solve each example.  I also borrowed some books to read at home that will hopefully give me some fictional fun as well as knowledge.  In terms of other issues I’m passionate about, Asian representation is actually existing a tiny bit more these days.  Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina are both cast in Ocean’s 8, Jay Park got recruited into Rocnation, and BTS is making waves in the music industry by performing at the AMAs and collabing with other huge artists!

I have so much.  Even though most of the time I can’t seem to be able to make myself look at the positives, right now I feel as satisfied and full as the feeling you get after you stuff yourself with a huge meal + dessert.  Preferably pumpkin pie a la mode.  Or Lady M OHOHO.

 

Disney + Worries

So… my family is planning a trip to Harry Potter World and Disney and I’m simultaneously excited yet super anxious.

The biggest hurdle is that my therapist suggested that I start using a wheelchair of some sort so that I can avoid becoming exhausted to the point of major discomfort and fatigue, and tense muscles.  I had never considered using a wheelchair before, and the hypocrisy that is me, is that when I see other people in wheelchairs, I don’t think much of it, yet when I think of ME in it, I am riddled with a million feelings: perhaps

Shame, that I have to submit to a wheelchair and can’t make it on my own two legs,

Guilt, that I don’t really deserve to use a wheelchair and am a “fake” illness person (doesn’t help that tons of other people have doubted my illness over the years), and that my family will have an extra task to do in pushing me around,

Embarrassment when I have another extra thing to make me feel different, and perhaps

Relief and Hope too, that this might be much better of an arrangement for me energy-wise, if I could only wrap my head around accepting it.  The truth is, my whole life I’d lived in the mindset that my lungs were going to eventually heal and become “normal” when I reached adulthood aka college, yet I was slammed with the ugly reality when I switched over to an adult doctor, who told me I should be prepared for lung transplant evaluation instead.

My whole life, I’d been competing with people functioning at full capacity, when it was literally not possible.  And even after the sad realization, I could not bear to face the reality that it was, and continued to live in doubt and silence.

After a few years of therapy now, which I started on and off 3 years ago, I think I’m becoming better at shifting my perspective to a more positive one, but it’s still a really long and bumpy road.  I have to expect that most healthy people, especially ones at my age, will simply not get it, or even have the patience to try to get it, because they have their ableist privilege, and all I can do is control my own mentality.

The list could go on forever for all the rough moments in my life when other misguided people mistreated me and misunderstood me, believing I was taking advantage, or lying, “playing a victim”, or one thing or another, just because there was no visible evidence in their eyes.  And it caused me to continue to doubt my own capabilities and limits as well for a long time.  But now I realize that you do not let other people’s ignorance hurt your own knowledge and perseverance. You are not any less just because you were given less spoons.

I have to learn to forgive people and move on, because for a long time honestly, I’ve let myself get caught up in the unfairness of it all, and the rudeness of others causing me so much hurt and pain.  No more.

26 Random Facts About Me

  1.  I have an obsession with the color orange.  Others include burgundy, olive green, charcoal gray, and cobalt blue.
  2. My mom used to measure my height every single day in the morning, hoping I’d magically sprout an inch.
  3. Favorite movie series is The Godfather Trilogy because it depicts the conflicting morals and hypocrisy we often run into in life and other people.
  4. Cooking is much more preferable to baking because it is more flexible and liberating to adjust spice levels and ingredients to individual taste and mood.
  5. I was homeschooled full-time until 4th grade, and partially each year after.  My classmates always thought I was hibernating.
  6. Because of being out of school so frequently, I kept every single letter and card written to me since I can remember.
  7.  I spend almost all my free time with Spotify playing on the background.  I listen to music so much my turnover rate is extremely high and I’m always hunting for new music.
  8. I’ve performed at Carnegie Hall once and Lincoln Center twice, one of which was as part of a six-hands collaboration.  Stage anxiety and piano has taught me the true meaning of complete control and the true power of mind over matter to face your fears.
  9. Unwinding time usually involves watching a few mukbangs (food eating shows) on YouTube
  10. I like to pretend I’m on MasterChef or Chopped when I plate dishes.  As the main proprietor of non-Asian ingredients in a traditional Asian household, I introduced my parents to the concept of heavy cream.
  11. The only poetry that have ever made me feel anything are written by Rupi Kaur.  And Shel Silverstein.
  12. Warm over cold.  Always.  Proof can be seen in the heaps of scarves friends and family have gifted me over the years.
  13. Happiest moment of my life thus far was sitting on a gondola in the most beautiful city in the world:  Venice, Italy.
  14.  The only family tradition we have is having hot pot together during Chinese New Year.
  15. My best friend is also my childhood next door neighbor.  Growing up, we would often climb trees (we named our favorite Mabel) and call each other past midnight to lay on the lawn and watch meteor showers.
  16. I am always on the hunt for the best product of its type, such as best recipe, best version of a song, best clay mask- once I believe I’ve found it, I will defend it to the death and stay loyal to that product.
  17. I spend a lot of time thinking about the truth and reason behind everything.
  18.  I have a movie diary where I jot down every single film I’ve ever watched with a personal rating, as well as movies to watch.  The one time I got ear surgery and was bedridden for a week, I marathoned 42 movies.
  19. My favorite landmark of all time is the Colosseum, which represents one of the most fascinating parts of history at the peak of Roman power.  What makes it fascinating to me is the juxtaposition of civilized people with the cruelty and brutal entertainment offered by gladiatorial battles that took place in the stadium.
  20. Even though I was a music major, my closest friends in college were all international relations majors; I credit them for getting me interested in politics and cultural issues.
  21.   Struggling with insomnia, in the past year there were two occurrences where I was wide awake for four days straight.  I felt like time became irrelevant and I was a bit of a vampire.
  22. My last meal I would die happy with is Korean BBQ.
  23. There’s a meme that floats around saying they don’t trust anyone who puts in milk before the cereal. I do both because I like to vary it up, but I think I’m still a  pretty trustworthy person.
  24. The first time I felt like I’d really come alive was studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan the summer of my senior year in college.  I explored, made friends, ate and absorbed a lot.  It was rough on my body, and I had to take so many breaks and learn to be open with strangers in order to explain my slow pace walking, but it was also one of the best decisions I ever made, because I was accepted by them without hesitation.  It was the first time I truly felt accepted, and that things would be okay if I learned to trust occasionally.
  25. I’ve lived the majority of my life on 19% lung function due to a viral infection I had as a toddler.
  26. There’s also a quote floating around that says “You’re either a Blessing or a Lesson,” and that is so applicable to the people we meet and the experiences we face.  I strive to be a blessing to the people I meet, but I am sure my imperfection causes me to be a lesson sometimes.  This quote also helps me to come to terms with “bad” people/experiences- nothing is in vain.

Acceptance in Mind, Heart, and Soul

I often find it difficult to understand how people have that kind of faith in God or a bigger picture.  I want to make sure I try to obtain that kind of peaceful acceptance in my heart, without stopping to fight for the way I want to live, my right to be who I want to be and who I am, and becoming complacent by giving it up to fate or that it’s “out of my hands” and “God’s will.”

I think the people in this world who are angry, hurt, and who struggle with depression and anxiety, see all the misery that is the world’s suffering, and we feel it more deeply, to a point where it is near unbearable levels.  That’s some of us fall prey to alcohol and drugs, anything at all to numb the pain, even if it ends in self destruction.

This week, I’ve started my four-day lung transplant evaluation tests at UPenn.  I’m 24 years old, and I’m somehow simultaneously used to but also feeling misplaced standing in the waiting room with the other 60+ year olds.  I was wheeled in a wheelchair for a 6 min walk test, and one of the technicians said to me, “You’re too young to be here.”  I just laugh it off and say it’s okay, I’m basically an old person.

I don’t fit in with peers in my age group.  I don’t know how to at least pretend I fit in, and chuckle lightheartedly at moments in life like just silly things with friends.  I might as well be socially the same as a hermit in the mountains, with a long beard in a dark stone cave.  I have to relearn it each time I try to really interact with civilization again.  I’m awkward.  No denying it haha.

Instead of wallowing and focusing on how pitiful I am in everything I’m going through/about to go through, I’m trying to focus on the positive: my inner strength, the inner strength of every journey and experience that’s made me who I am today.  My Asian heritage, I am an example of what immigrants go through, what it’s like to grow up and live in America.  My struggles and experiences as a woman, my eyes have opened up to the inequality and the things that are really not okay.   From how guys sometimes treat me, from the subtle to the obvious.  Being manipulated, getting hit on sexually, or finding out that a guy hooked up with your friend while pretending to go after you while you were ill.  All of that shit.  All of it.  #metoo.  I feel the weight of it all right now.  But I’m still standing here, because I’m empowered by the strength of the people around me.  We’re in this together, we’re fighters, and that’s what life is about too.

I have to find the strength to endure it all, and keep trying anyway, despite constant setbacks and constant misunderstandings and judgment by people who are blinded by their privilege.  I need to overcome my own judgment of me.  And I want them to want to be better versions of themselves, because I see the potential.  If I didn’t, I would have given up on myself a long time ago.