So… I grew up pretty desperate to have friends. I didn’t realize this at the time, but wow. Any friend who would take me, I was pretty happy and excited. Being homeschooled sucked in that regard- nobody in school really bothered to invest in you as a friendship, so I was invisible. Even when I was there, I was always so lethargic I don’t know how I made it through looking back now. And I realized that some people who vaguely knew I had some sort of illness didn’t want any part of me there. That feeling stayed with me for years, and entering college, I thought freshman year that I had gained some tremendous confidence… but it was fake confidence.
At my core, my confidence was riddled with holes of insecurity, so the foundation was crumbling still, but I didn’t know. I thought with the fresh start at a new place, I could keep my illness as hidden and buried as deep as possible for as long as I could, and in situations where I had to end up bringing it up, I felt like a torn individual holding my breath, backed up against the wall by their pending judgment. So… it wasn’t true self acceptance. Yet. People thought I was cool, really nice, and even attractive (LOL). Some people even thought I had dated a lot because I seemed so confident?! Haaaaaha.
And the time came when I met new friends who were nice to me. Who seemed to accept me. I gave all of me, and more into building those relationships… it was exhausting. I was in a new place, I needed friends to eat meals with, to just hang out with, study with. I was content to find just one or two solid friends, but hunting was hard when most people were hyped up to party and go nuts, especially the first year. I wanted to fit in, so I tried.
But I felt burnt out a lot, giving a listening ear even when I was stressed out about my own issues. I had a ton of music pieces to learn, yet I had this one friend, the first solid friend I found, who often needed my help. When I first mentioned it to my mom, she warned me not to give away too much help so freely. Especially my efforts and time. I didn’t understand what she really meant at the time, and got annoyed. I felt my mom was too jaded with the world and pessimistic. My friend needed me, so I wanted to prove that I was valuable and worth it. I didn’t know how to say no, I need to focus on myself right now. I never said no.
By the third year, I started to get fed up more and more as I noticed this consistent trend where the friendship was a one way street. She found a boyfriend soon, I was always the leftover one. She only made time for me if she needed something or if her boyfriend was busy doing something else. She would out of the blue ask me to grab coffee, and I would excitedly say yes. But then she would somehow whip out her chinese homework and sweetly ask me what the answers were one by one. She would ask to study together, then ask me to see my Works Cited page. She would barge into my room 10 minutes before class started to ask me to use my printer for our senior project class, making me late because I walk slower, multiple times. The one time my printer actually was malfunctioning and I told her, she got mad at me.
She would say she’s hungry, if I could make ramen for us, and that she would do the dishes. This was the final straw, and the moment I truly burnt out. Throughout many other examples such as this, I kept trying to convince myself that it was just a phase where she was going through something difficult and really needed me there for her. I woke up the next day and realized she had not done the dishes, so I grudgingly rolled up my sleeves and did them. It was this moment where she came out her room and needed to vent about something serious- it was in the morning, and I was not in the mindset to listen, I was tired of our entire friendship to be honest. I tried to say something helpful, but knew it was useless. She actually stared at me, then went back into her room and slammed it. Yes. Slammed it.
A few nights later, we ran into each other in the art building and decided to talk it out. I wanted to explain to her for the second time ever that I felt this was a one way friendship a lot of the time. She got angry with me that I was upset about the dishes not being washed when her problem was more important- I agreed. But I realized that it was not about the dishes. It was the entire friendship that was wearing me down. She said she felt it was pretty equal, but that she was sorry. It was always so easy for her to apologize. After a while, it felt a bit like it had lost its meaning.
I wanted to care about her and be there for her, but I was finding it extremely difficult to juggle on top of everything I was going through on my own. There were a few moments where she listened to my problems or something, but each time, she would count it. She would bring it up the next time I tried to explain how I felt and recount how she had done this one thing for me. I never kept track. It rendered me speechless how she always remembered anything she had done for me and wanted public credit for it (she would ask me if my professor knew she had helped me with an assignment one time… I got a B- on it anyway).
After that talk, a part of me completely burnt out. During this friendship, it made me paranoid about my other friendships- did I perhaps treat my best friend at home this way? I tried to look back on our serious talks- all of them had been me ranting or being upset to her, almost never the other way around. I called her up one night, crying because I was so upset. I asked her if it felt very one way to her, that it was always me who needed her help. Even at this, she excelled at comforting me. She told me, if she ever brought up feeling that way to me, how would I respond? I said, I would feel so awful. And she said she knows that if the time ever came when she needed me, she knew she could rely on me to be there in return. That was probably one of the most comforting responses I’d ever heard in my life. She told me that while it was important to be there for that friend in school, I was going through a lot of bullshit in my own life. Was that friend ever truly there for me back? The answer was not really.
And this was the moment where I wondered… did I hold on enough? Did I give up on her in a time where she needed someone to hold onto? Was it selfish of me to let go? I knew that if I was going through a rough time, I would be so sad if a friend faded away from me. But what I didn’t realize was that was already kind of the case.
Looking back at times, I wondered if perhaps I was too harsh regarding her. If she wasn’t really that bad, but I was too sensitive and had made it up in my head.
Recently, I realized I went straight the opposite of who I was. I became the jaded person who tried to care less about relationships with people, especially new ones. To expect disappointment as an eventual outcome.
The truth is somewhere in between. There will be disappointment for some of the people you meet in your life. But not all of them.
You should still keep moving forward. Still try your best in regards to how you treat people, but also understand reasonably that it’s not likely they will all have your best interests at heart or reciprocate.
My senior year, at our small college I felt that I had met everyone I was likely to become friends and was very close to accepting the fact that I’d be a loner and graduate with no friends. My therapist at the time encouraged me to keep trying to get to know other people outside of my prior friend group, in which all ties to each other were burnt bridges. Despite feeling close to certain that there was nobody left and that was probably something perpetually wrong with me that drove people away eventually, I found a really good group of friends that remain strong three years later. We don’t see each other often, but I know none of them would backstab me or treat me like I was treated.
I should still treasure the friends I have now the way I did, but not to prove my worth as a friend. Just because I genuinely care and I know both their worth and mine. I do not deserve to just stick on to anyone who will take me, I deserve more than that. I can bear to choose who to invest what energy I have in. At least on my part, I’d like to continue being remembered as the dependable friend.
On my path to data science:
I’m not really sure why this feeling came over me and helped me decide my commitment to learning data science non-stop for the next two months.
Back when I was in college and started venturing out of all that I knew in piano and music, all I kept hearing was how powerful coding could be and how it could change the world. The first time I took a website development course, I was completely baffled, stopped dead in my tracks… all these weird symbols and jumble of words, and all of them were supposed to mean something?! It didn’t look like alien language because it was still in english, and everything was created right there from the keyboards at the tip of my fingertips. Yet it certainly felt like alien language, and I had never felt stupider. I struggled to decipher what anything meant, and even when something finally worked, it was with such heavy assistance from my professor that I was left with this feeling that I didn’t understand anything, and dreaded needing to reproduce any part of the work process.
During my gaming class where we had to create games, I was going through a really rough time outside of the classroom and all my creative juices were drained. It was all I could do just to show up at class and stare at my screen like a vegetable for three hours. I remember pulling an all-nighter to desperately write code for a simple maze, yet none of the code worked. Running out of time, to show for the entire night’s worth, I basically copped out by embedding an image of a maze for my character to walk through: an image. Not an actual maze with walls and boundaries. The demo for my class the following day was embarrassing, and I felt pretty useless and talentless.
I am an easily stressed individual. Even though I would sweat bullets and lock myself in the practice room before each performance, at least it was familiar to me. The nerve-wracking feelings and symptoms were familiar, and all I cared about in the earlier years was to not mess up, forget my piece or stumble on the notes. Through college, the standard was raised a lot to not just surviving through the piece onstage, but actually learning to enjoy the music then and now with the audience.
Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I learned how to connect deeply and emotionally with listening to the keys and what the music was trying to convey. In comparison to what I’m trying to accomplish these days, this necessary empathy has always come much more naturally to me.
Now I’m trying to brush up on my life more technically- practically, what is useful? Data science. I feel that I can bring the passionate, committed side of me to pursuing coding, even though the science itself is rather logical, and seems to draw from statistics and other aspects that I always found quite boring.
On the contrary, I am finding this stuff really interesting. I don’t know if it was because I made the decision to devote myself to learning it bit by bit with a really reliant guide, or that the graphic visualization aspect appeals to my more artsy side. It also doesn’t hurt that data scientist positions pay pretty well! I can see a future in this for me, and that feels pretty calming. I hope this is my calling. Of course, I will still always have those qualities that piano has taught me: passion, heart, and definitely discipline. Habits where you don’t think of it as a choice to stick to it day by day. You make the choice at the beginning of pursuing this goal, and then day by day it is a necessity. You breathe it, live it, and only stop to eat, poop, and take short breaks to loosen the mind a bit.
I did feel this sense of accomplishment after a piano performance, especially at a larger, reputable hall like Lincoln Center, yet it still felt like it was so engrained into me to win and do well that I wondered if that took away from some of the satisfaction. A fraction of it was for my parents, another fraction for the teacher.
But data science is entirely mine. I made this choice on my own to develop myself further, and it feels oh so good to affirm that I can do (almost) anything if I put my all into it. One of the to-do lists on my list before I die is to experience that utmost feeling of accomplishment when I get a well-paying job that I know I can grow into.
Speaking of other healthy habits on self-development, I have also made the commitment to building my body and pushing it at the gym as often as I can. I felt this way around fall, but as it got colder and more factors made it difficult, my clarity in pursuing the goal began to fade and I got discouraged. I have to decide to pick myself back up and keep trying to train and reach for the best version of myself as I can, mentally and physically, according to my own terms.
Gotta hit my target weight of 105 lbs, and eat healthier, stay away from processed foods, and CONSISTENCY IS KEY. DEDICATION. DRIVE.
Gym every other day. If I don’t wake up feeling dead or something serious and there’s no real reason, I have to go to the gym by default.
Gotta get those ABS OF STEEL. Slow and steady, like the turtle.
Hungry?? Don’t grab the chicken nuggets. Grab the bell pepper and hummus. At the grocery store and staring at yummy processed fat? NO. Do not even purchase it.
Also talked a bit with vegetarian / semi- vegetarian friends… I feel like lately I’ve had conflicting feelings when I think about or see meat. I kind of crave it…but also feel a bit repulsed?
I remember growing up, when I blew out my candles I always prayed to be healthy.
Now that I’m older, I try to aim for more realistic prayers… I know there is a high chance I won’t ever get to experience what it’s like to be healthy or “normal”, but I pray instead for the motivation to want to push myself to want to be the best version of myself I can be. The courage to actually strive towards working my hardest even when I know my ideal version might not ever become a reality.
I feel like my prayers have somewhat been answered lately? I am far from who I want to be, yet I actually wake up feeling… motivated. I’ve been working hard not just to write up what my goals are, but doing them. Diving headfirst into the world of data science, and going when I am able to the gym, despite knowing it’s going to be a long journey and I will always feel out of breath and never quite “there”. This is already an improved version of the mentality I used to have, drowning in depression and fighting simply to get through Step 1 of: wake up and feel motivated.
Any haters in the world whose judgment and attitude towards me used to cut me like a knife… turn it into noise
On the calmer days lately, you know when you’re having a good day or good phase of your life, you kind of think, wow, I remember having such a bad phase and feeling so frustrated and easily stressed by everything, including other people’s problems and the world, but it’s almost hard to imagine what it was like because I feel so chill and okay in this moment?
I’ve definitely been chiller lately, but today with some of the crashes and yelling, just like that brought back with ease a bunch of memories and buried tension and a taste of the major anxiety I’d tried to run away from forever.
It made me think, oh well, this is why that happened and why I felt that way for so long. Like there wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. No way out.
I think it’ll eventually be better though. It has to. Focus, focus, focus.
I find that I don’t click well with people who have their heads so far up their ass and are so far stuck up their little bubble that they don’t see anything else outside of it.
Aren’t you curious about the rest of the world and how they live their lives? That’s the only way to pursue truth, to open your eyes and really grow as an individual, to humble yourself. To understand other people’s way of life and beliefs, and have a greater appreciation for your own, and to fully understand what privilege or lack of it is. That’s why it’s always so surprising to come across someone unbelievably ignorant.
That was a bit harsher than I intended. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I wish I could have the means to travel all over the world and learn about other people’s experiences and culture and way of life, I have been lucky. Despite all the issues, my parents have always made it a point to try to travel to other places to see and absorb and learn, and I realize I am fortunate because of that.
My friend came back from Ethiopia recently and was generous enough to give me some pre-mixed shiro-bebere powder that her coworkers gave her. It was amazing because I know I’ll probably never have the chance to visit Ethiopia, but making it and having it for dinner was a unique and exciting experience. I was thinking what, puree onions and tomato? Who does that? Ethiopia does. And it’s freaking delicious. And it was obviously more authentic too because a native Ethiopian made the mix.
We made a trip to the Indian grocery store and I got so excited by things like their roti, badam, and of course, bru (instant coffee. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DIVERSITY IN AMERICA. EAT ALL THE FOOD.
- My friends and I were planning our next upcoming get together, which would be a bit more venturing and walking. I was a bit worried that I might get exhausted. My friends said they would be happy to push me around in a wheelchair so I could save my energy.
- My friend told me I would be one of her bridesmaids when she gets married. I didn’t realize how happy that would make me when I heard it. ❤
I had gone through a phase a few months ago of “I can do this!” planning to work out every couple days. That only lasted for about three-four weeks, and then it got cold or something and I fell off the wagon, unmotivated and sinking into a bit of depression on my limitations. The physical limitations really do weigh on your mental health. Misery can be a constant companion, but you gotta remember to reach for your other friend too, perseverance. Consistency… whatever it is, I need more of it. I need to get on my own ass regarding my goals that I wrote in my previous post. I want to transform my chicken legs and get some abs, just become fitter and lose 3 pounds. Will stop just saying, must do too.
Must not let depression, limitations, and other people’s problems stop me. It’s all noise.
Today’s Favorite Songs:
Empty- Olivia O’Brien
“I wonder if I’m good enough… pretend there’s no tomorrow…. I wish there’s no tomorrow. But I’m empty inside x2, I just don’t feel alive, and I don’t want to live but I’m too scared to die”
Pursuit of Happiness – Kid Cudi
Beauty of goals is that you can make many, and as soon as you achieve one, you can make new ones. They could be professional, personal, social, anything.
I’ve been showered with love from my friends this 25th birthday, especially without asking for it. I feel pretty lucky.
I also feel accomplished that I raised a fundraiser of $100 for WWF, expecting nothing but actually reaching my goal within two days. Generous friends I have.
Hopefully, this money really goes towards helping the animals in need and helping our planet become just a bit better.
I need to make new goals. It feels a bit like I had some straightforward goals but fell off the wagon lately. I’ve been quite busy, considering it’s me and I need many rest days in between events and tasks.
Having gone to Harry Potter World was something that’d been on my goals list for a few years now, and that’s complete! Lung transplant evaluation, over with! Fundraiser for birthday, done! Also planned to do a week of each country’s culinary cuisine, but only managed to complete week of Korea and a bit of Japan. Putting that on the back burner for now.
Still, it kind of feels like I’m wandering aimlessly and should be working hard towards new goals. I have fallen short on my Datacamp courses, and need to really get a leg up and dedicate myself to it this month of March.
I also feel like my body has become weaker, but there’s so many factors into why that it can be hard to tell what the reason is and whether it’s permanent or temporary. Hard to tell if I’m supposed to rest more or to push my body a bit to activate it.
Another goal I’d like to work on is getting healthier and more fit.
And it’s almost March… I need to figure out what job I’m going for as the weather gets warmer.
Also gotta clean my room and do some chores. Seems like there’s nothing and everything to do.
So as a summary… for March:
-Accomplish Datacamp courses, write a detailed schedule to stay up to date
-Work out more, try to gain some leaner muscle (no skinny fat)
-Continue lessons on Korean and Spanish
-Find a part time job I’m passionate about
-As per usual.. remember self-care to forgive myself, my body, accept that I take things slowly and one step at a time. Take time to socialize with friends and do fun things when I am able. Take medication, do treatments, try to not become sad.
A few months ago, my dad and I were coming back from UPenn hospital. We always saw a few homeless old men standing on the streets with their cardboard sign, asking for money. We drive by them so much that we don’t really give money. It kind of hurts to see them standing next to the streets every time, with every car passing by as if immune to their need. It hurts that they probably would prefer not to be standing in the cold all day, laying aside their pride so they could live. To be honest, when people hate on homeless people because they might use it for alcohol, if I ended up homeless, I’d probably rather stay drunk all the time too because I’m too sad.
This time, my dad and I decided to give one of the usual old veterans two bucks. A few minutes later, we arrived by another one, and before the traffic light turned, I quickly dug out a spare dollar in my bag.
It’s barely enough for them to get a nice, hot meal.
How many times in our lives do we pass by someone in need? While it hurts to see all those cars passing by, it also makes sense that we don’t give every single time we want to, because there are just too many damn times it happens.
How many times do we see homeless people? How many commercials do we see of starving children and animals? Or families requiring funds for a funeral or hospital bills?
So, we have to choose our causes. What are we willing to spare our efforts to?
And then I think, how many hours do I waste doing nothing?
On my birthday, I wanted to choose a cause to ask people to donate to. I ended up not creating a fund for any cause on Facebook, because I couldn’t decide, and because I felt awkward asking people for money, even if it wasn’t directly for me.
My question is, what’s your cause, your passion, your purpose, the reason for your drive?
I know chasing riches and fame doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness or satisfaction. But I always felt like at least it gave you more power and control to change the world and influence it for the better. I know you can still dedicate other efforts, like afford to donate $5 here and there, or volunteer your time and efforts. But I do also feel that money and voice used in the right ways can really make a difference.
America is one of the leading powers in the world, yet I think America encourages greed and selfishness in its capitalist system… we ask other nations to do things that we wouldn’t do ourselves, like reducing waste. Americans are hella wasteful. And obese. lol. Guns. Fast food. Trump… these come to mind first these days, rather than Freedom. Opportunity. Equality.
Some Personal Causes:
-Environment; Waste, Reducing one of the top 10 causes of plastic waste, which is straws
-Asian Americans in Poverty
-Everyone else in Poverty and starving–> microfinance?
-Worldwide Poverty and Issues related to it- Clean water for them
-Gun Control; aka Everytown donations
-Funding for Medical Research, specifically more rare chronic illnesses and lung disease which are often overlooked…
-Assistance to Animals –> shelters, rights… even for the ones who are going to be slaughtered for food. Humane ways to treat the living with more respect for life.
Edit: Jk, I decided to make a fundraiser for WWF, Worldwildlife Fund. Whatever happens happens. 多少算多少 – more or less it counts.
Update: It’s only been a day so far, and omg, I’m beyond excited!! I expected it to be a sad result of $5 by yours truly, but I set a goal of $100 and we’ve hit $90 so far! PEOPLE DO CARE. HUMANITY IS RESTORED ^_^
The time in college when I felt like all was lost and there was no one there for me, there were a few people who were there for me actually. But I couldn’t believe it because my mind was so locked in a dark place, that when anyone actually extended a kind hand to me, my mind just kept telling me that they pitied me and were too nice to not help me out, that they were doing it not because they wanted to, but because it was the right thing to do. I was not myself, I was the most desperate version of myself I’d ever been.
I remember rambling to my best friend and telling her about this feeling, and she told me that just because they were kind to everyone, didn’t mean their care towards me meant any less. I never felt like I had any true worth or added anything valuable to someone else’s life.
I also kept denying that I was turning 25, because it felt like I could no longer make excuses and dumb it down to me just figuring it out in my early 20s. My friend told me how she felt our other friend was really living the life, with a great job and a great boyfriend, like all the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly for her. For me, if my friend had not shared her worries and her problems with me, as an outsider looking into her life, she had it just as great too: great boyfriend, great job.
I always kind of hated birthdays… instead of celebrating myself, it brought me anxiety, it was a reminder of another day where nobody seemed to care much or reach out to me. I’ve worked hard to shift this mindset to focusing on the people in my life who are important and here to stay: they are not necessarily intrinsically important. They prove themselves important by the constant actions and the relationships we work hard to maintain and cherish throughout each year for each other. The people who care will come forward in times like this to show you love.
I hate using the word “blessed” but today I do feel blessed. I felt mopey and was in denial of being so old. But my friends have popped up without having to, to simply show me they matter and I matter. Today, I didn’t feel depression even though it was gloomy and raining.
I even had positive dreams for a change and woke up feeling good. My mom left a box on my bed, and I found a dainty beautiful necklace inside. My friend showed up last night with a cake from one of my fave places, and today my friends took me out to dinner and then we spontaneously visited another friend’s house and played intense games of Mario Kart. I just don’t remember the last time we laughed this hard at stupid things. Another couple friends drove to my house at 11:30pm to give me bubble tea and wish me happy birthday.
I also have my puppy. It was a good birthday. #Blessed.
P.S. The birthday celebrations continued! Yesterday (Tue. the 27th), my friend treated me to dinner and we got drinks (I got some odd bourbon pear cider thing), and THEN she told me she also got me a gift she forgot to bring and donated a lot to my fundraiser to WWF. MAN. I am just, inspired and overwhelmed by her generosity. I GET SO EXCITED when I come across a great human being in my life ^_^
P.S.S. I am adding these PSes on the 28th today. I got cramps. Life sucks again. Not so exciting anymore.
I’ve been reading some articles and thinking a lot about how gender plays into our lives and destines us to certain fates and expectations in our lives. I guess this came from a conversation I had visiting my friend and her baby recently.
She told me that she wished so hard that her baby would be a boy. I asked her why. She said because she did not wish her baby to suffer more than what the world would already have out for it as it grows up. If it were born a girl, she would worry about her baby having to grow up with more inequalities stacked up against her: she’d have to worry about her baby being raped, sexually harassed, prejudiced in the workplace, and many other horrible things. It made me really sad as I don’t have my own baby and it really opened up my eyes to how many of my friends have repeated the same thought to me before.
So it’s not that women are “weaker” and need to be protected, but we generate this belief and want to protect them more in order to shield them from the dirty world out there… the odds that are stacked up higher. They’re not the problem, they are not placed on this earth to ruin you or tempt you or whatever bullshit. The world and its perception towards women is the one that needs changing. Take responsibility for your own faulty beliefs.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. We’re all just people trying to make it through life. I wish more men would treat and view women as fellow people first, and women second. Our values and our potentials and our rights are not defined only by our being female. There is a reason why terms like “friend zone” is such a problem when its original definition should be innocuous: because it does exactly that- it creates this erroneous idea that women are not worth keeping around if guys don’t get what they wanted or pursued. It’s not okay, and people need to become more aware of their own misperceptions because it is so deeply imbedded in our culture.
I’d like our babies to grow up in a world where we don’t have to fear that our child is born a girl.
UGH. ranting cause so worked up all of a suddenly. I think I’m too mad to post this publicly lol I just sound bitter now -.-