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.

 

 

 

A Small Achievement

Letting go of pride.  A lot of self-care and confidence is reframing how you feel about yourself, and letting go of pride enough to realize that you can still retain your dignity even when you feel you’ve lost it.  As much as I tell others that sharing and revealing a part of your soul makes you feel like you’re vulnerable like an open,  bleeding wound to others, it’s part of what makes you human- the first part is letting others know what you’re going through so that they can help you.  The second part is that despite our worst fears that we look silly or weak, I’d say 95% of the time, you just simply earn more respect for speaking up and being open in the first place.. it increases trust, and you are a leader in paving the way for others to see your imperfectness, so that they may allow themselves to become vulnerable too and share.

Yesterday, at girl’s group, I took out my inhaler and used it, then joked about gargling.  All of them watched me, and asked me questions about it, especially the ones working in hospitals.  I was feeling confident, or rather, content, and somehow that made it feel safe and okay to talk about my inhaler and not make me feel like I was isolating or making myself look like a sick person.  And it felt good.

Ironically, letting go of my pride made me feel proud.

She Needed a Hero

“She needed a hero, so that’s what  she became.”  -Pinterest somewhere

Sometimes, life gets to you.  And I think especially with people dealing with chronic illnesses, it can feel so constant and repetitive like a truck repeatedly running you over.

These days, as the weather gets colder and colder and we hit the 20s at night, I am more and more susceptible to darker thoughts of depression and wanting to give up and lay in my bed forever, to avoid all risks and perils of being outside.  I had a moment a couple nights ago where I realized it was food poisoning later, but that night I felt such discomfort and anxiety that I felt like I was going to lose my mind… I had been feeling this crazy anxiety all week, and insomnia was hitting me so hard again.  My body couldn’t relax, my thoughts were clouding my mind, and as much as I wanted to calm myself and tell myself that it was all temporary, just a bad night of nightmares mirrored in reality, I got scared with fleeting thoughts scattered into my brain of temptation.  The worst kind of temptation, where I thought it would be better to slit my wrists, drown myself, than endure more of this never-ending suffering.  And I knew I would never follow through with it, because at the end of the day, it does take just as much courage to end your life as it does to choose to keep going, and I picture images of my parents looking at me, horrified by how much work they invested to help me, and I failed them. But I felt like I was being repeatedly punished anyway when all I wanted to do was be.  Not constantly survive, but just exist.  Float around, and try to achieve some “normal” milestones in life, like get a job, maintain a social life, date, explore.  Because all of that isn’t already hard enough by itself, right?

The feeling I’d been having deep in the pit of my stomach lately is mainly anger, and then guilt.  Feeling like I am not a good enough friend, or daughter, while struggling to fix what’s on my plate.   And trying to make sure I’m vulnerable and open to other people with my struggles, but not overburdening them or scaring them away with the amount of problems I have.  Nobody likes being around unhappy people.

In addition, once you share that information with people, it can either go really well or downhill.  People might start to distance themselves and you become “the Other,” the sickly one they don’t really want to deal with… or they start hovering and panicking and treating you like you’re really different and need assistance with every little thing, like you’re useless.  That’s how my grandma and cousin reacted and it became really exhausting and annoying quickly.  Or I suppose, there were the few handful of great friends I still have now who have always treated me like a human being, but put into consideration my needs whenever I needed, and I will always treasure and love them for that.  Sharing their day and problems with me, just as I do, the way it’s supposed to be:  Equals.  No pity, no ignorance, none of that shit.

Secondly, trying so hard not to be consumed by fear.  Fear that I am not capable of being loved, that no one will ever be able to or want to deal with me, fear that I have nothing to offer them.  Knowing all of it is not true, yet somehow still standing here, wondering.

Thirdly, just the isolation.  This is about to sound real emo, but it’s crazy how many times I’m surrounded by so many people, yet feel so alone.

Some days, I’m able to work through it and just think, fuck it, I’m fine.  Everything’s fine.  Just breathe.  Other days, and it’ll get worse as we get deeper into winter, I can’t help but feel shackled to a singular spot, paralyzed by the knowledge that I both know and don’t know.  What I can expect, and can’t expect to have out of life.

And then the people that I feel relatively comfortable around and at peace with, at the same time, don’t.  I’m tired of hearing people use the common response “Pray about it.”  I very much want to give in that it’s out of my hands and part of a greater plan, but I can’t.  Do it.  Maybe it’s my resistance to giving up which is what it would feel like, or my inability to just hand over my faith blindly, and I want to pray to God and ask him for help, yet things in life still keep rolling on whether or not he’s really answered.

Am I believer?  I don’t know.  Do I believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins and is our Savior?  I’d like to.  But I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

Fears

My deepest fears?

I die forgotten and alone, never having made a positive impact on anyone in the world before I leave.

The realization that I will either lose someone I love deeply or they will lose me first- one of them has to happen.

That I will never feel like I deserve to be loved or accepted.

That I don’t have the energy or strength to go through the next phase of suffering.

That I bring more hurt and pain to someone I fall in love with than I should.

Life can be (but is not always) Farting Sunshine and Rainbows, But It’s Okay

I don’t know if anyone else follows a certain page featuring kids with special needs, but for the past year I’ve followed Christopher Ulmer’s mission relatively closely.  I support his goal to interview these people and to share their stories and perspectives with the rest of the world as normal human beings who just want to be accepted and treated the same way.  But maybe I’m feeling pessimistic today?  I’ve definitely been feeling annoyed at a lot of things lately.

I would always watch each video uploaded the day it came out and try to learn what I could from what I saw. But one thing nags me right now.  It just seems unrealistic that every single one of these human beings give happy-go-lucky answers, smiling about how they think about girls, friends, and their mom, and how they want to spread love and joy and appreciate everyone and all those good feels.  I’m not hating on it, I think it’s great, but it starts to feel repetitive and, well… can we call out the elephant in the room and discuss more about feelings and the tough parts?

Because it’s okay to feel anger, frustration, and pain at what hand you’ve been dealt in life.  It doesn’t do to focus on it and become drowned in it, but at least, speaking for myself here, there are moments, days, weeks, even months when you just have had it and you’re fed up.  At those times, is it not human, all the more real of emotions, to just let yourself feel, go through it, and then try to try again?   I want someone to say all this in one of his interviews, because it’s real.  It’s the truth.  That is what it means to be an inspiration:  getting back up despite everything, not a few seconds of positive babble that downplays their experiences and has cheerful, content, beaming kids in every clip.  I just feel like when all the kids appear to be of the same mold and outlook, it’s not a full or completed portrayal of the full range of human experiences.  For the people who go through chronic conditions as well as the people surrounding them who help, it’s different.

To “normal”, healthy people, I would like to explain what it is exactly that chronic conditions are like.  Sure, everyone goes through rough patches in life, maybe break ups, loss of job, those kinds of situations.  But having a chronic illness is like having a guarantee of those things either existing 24/7, reminding you with every small thing you do like breathing, moving a couple feet downstairs, or needing to ask someone for a favor.  People with chronic conditions have to wear a mental suit of armor at all times.  So when I see privileged people get all worn down by something like grades or worrying about not getting a job despite a 4.0 GPA and a million extracurriculars, I can’t help but feel a little pissed off and discouraged.

It’s a bit like someone getting upset that they got distilled water instead of spring water, when so many people elsewhere have access to no water at all:  there is almost little to no chance of them obtaining it.  So, just to even know there is a possibility, a hope, to gain something if you work hard at it and have a bit of luck, is a huge thing by itself.  What the absolutely worst circumstance is knowing that you will never get that opportunity, because it’s simply not in the cards for you.

And tonight, I’ll whine a bit and get it all out, but come tomorrow?  Tomorrow, I will have no choice but to wake up and work at it again, replenishing my mental and physical attitude as best as I can.  Even though you’re standing in the middle of the gym or the supermarket and feel really off and just unwell, you’re still standing there, smiling at strangers, holding up a conversation, putting on a mask to blend in with society so that you fit in as best you can.  And as you steer yourself towards the car with the handicap spot, you take down the sign because you don’t feel like you deserve or want that label for yourself.  Moments later, you see a tall, white dude walk out, stare at your car in its forefront spot, peer at you, and decide to continue walking.  And then, ladies and gentlemen, you know once again, that you have been judged in the span of five seconds.  But what options do you have, except to brush it off and continue on your day?

For so long, I felt like I had no right to complain, but I do.  It’s not okay to take it out on other people, but I do have a right to feel sad or upset.  It’s okay to feel this way.  It’s okay to be realistic and just call things out on what they are sometimes.  After all, we DON’T live in a world that shits sunshine and rainbow farts.  There is a lot of cruelty and injustice happening all the time, all you have to do is turn on the news to get that.  We can’t blindly ignore it as if it were not part of our world, but we also cannot let ourselves become consumed by it.  What a delicate balance and just plain fucking hard thing to do.

Why “Aw” Responses are Unacceptable | On Racism in the Workplace

I’ve met up with a few friendquaintances from the past just cause, why not?  Most of my high school phase left me with friendquaintances, and I felt I never had the chance to properly get to know people and who they really were, although I had a vague idea by the way they treated me or handled my extenuating circumstances… I used to think they were just all jerks, but then the more forgiving part of me knew it was sometimes due more to immaturity and ignorance.  To be honest,  I wasn’t sure if it was due more to my willingness to be as spontaneous as I could be when possible, or whether it was my insecurities that questioned why people would ask to meet up out of the blue when they had never bothered to get to know me before.  Sometimes, my inklings were correct and I felt there were ulterior motives, but who really knows at the end of the day.  My paranoia has I suppose, in many ways been both a blessing and a hindrance to what could’ve been.

That said, some people, four years later, may still not have had the chance to learn how to handle with respect more dark matters.  When one hears of the passing of someone’s father or mother, for example, one automatically says “I’m sorry.”  I always feel awkward getting those words out of my mouth, because it feels so utterly futile in what pain they must be going through, but it’s the least I can offer in the moment.  But at least it’s a consistent fallback to what people say to display their empathy.

The other day, I met up with a friendquaintance who asked me to chill and catch up, and I thought why not.  Suddenly, out of the blue from small conversation of “What have you been up to,” he followed up with, “Weren’t you always sick or something?  What is that?” It caught me off guard because I hadn’t realized he was one of the people who were even vaguely aware of what I had gone through back then, and I awkwardly tried to give an elevator explanation of what I had.  In response, he stared at me and gave me a pouty face.  How the fuck was I supposed to answer a pouty face?

Let me go on a momentary rant here, and tell you why I get so fired up by people’s responses sometimes.  Let’s put aside for a couple minutes the goal to forgive, and understanding that they don’t know shit about your life so you have to let it go.  When someone tries to explain to you an illness or a condition that wreaks havoc in their lives on a daily basis, from the minuscule to the grander schemes in life, it takes bravery just to try to bother telling you about it.  If someone asks you for some assistance sometimes as simple as a lack of judgment when they use the elevator or ask you to wait with them, you do it.  People of chronic conditions in society are marginalized, disregarded, and misunderstood just as people of color or ethnicity or gender are.  At least have the decency to study or look up on situations that you yourself don’t experience so that you don’t go spouting ignorant things.  So the next time you happen to interact with someone who has an illness or struggle with issues you don’t have, particularly ones you can’t see, don’t go pitying them, particularly slapping them in the face with an “Aww,” or saying something like “At least you don’t live in a third world country.”

Listen, if someone blind were trying to explain to you what they deal with as a blind man, would you respond to that with any of this?  Then why is it so difficult to apply that to other varying conditions as well?  

Do:  Ask them more questions to understand if they seem willing, or just be there for them and be chill about it without making them feel like they owe you a favor or that it’s a big deal.  They are people, just like you.  We are people, just like you.

I think part of me is a quiet Asian girl, and that’s okay that that is part of my personality and identity.  But it’s really frustrating when people seem to pigeonhole you into expecting you to act a certain way, submissively, for example, when you aren’t meant to just roll over for them.


This leads to my second point of discussion, and I wanted to share this story my best friend told me today about racism in her workplace.  Besides tolerating her co-workers’ often inappropriate comments that are borderline, or far past borderline sexist, she has a double whammy in which she also has to endure racist comments, particularly from white co-workers.  Today, she told me that her and another co-worker were talking to one of the company’s managers,  trying to remember what some Asian guy’s name was that they had met.  When they were at a loss, the manager actually said,  “Well, maybe it was something like Ching Chong Ding Dong eh?”  When my friend failed to laugh, he pressed on,”Well, I think it’s hilarious.”  My friend finally snapped and said, “I think you should leave before you make a bigger fool of yourself.”  Apparently, he just left after she said that.  Zero tolerance for that kind of behavior is right, even if it means standing up to someone of a greater authority than you, but I don’t know if I’d have the cajones to do it.

The Principle of the Matter: Star Wars @ RU

Summary of the day’s events:

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

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

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

—————————————————

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Alter Egos

Shower Post #3

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

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

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

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

Jasmine, why don’t you have any friends?

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

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

 

I See Beautiful People (Venice, Italy)

 My friend started a blog a couple months before I did, and I noticed that the essence of one’s character is really present throughout one’s blog. That said, even though I am really passionate talking about heavy issues in how sometimes we find ourselves lacking happiness (and all this relates to developing confidence, chronic illness, racial/cultural/social issues, and basically everything), let’s not kid ourselves:  it can get overwhelming to worry about all the negatives in our lives and in the world.  So today’s post is just a moment to appreciate and absorb some good ol’ serotonin from all the visual glory that is the Venetian population.  Are all Venetian people’s names Daniel, because damn!  Hot damn!

I had been told before about Spanish men, but wowzas, two days in Venice and the number of hotties I saw was x 10 the amount in our American East Coast towns…  Theja asked me to document these men, and each time I sent her a photo, I was greeted with a loud and resounding cheer of “YAS BITCH YAS.”

Unfortunately, even due to my identity as shameless tourist aka creepy little Asian girl snapping shots of hot guys “discreetly,” I was not able to get great shots of every single guy, but don’t despair, here is a list of the ones I managed to gather:

  1. Water Taxi Driver from Afar – Right off the airport and hopping on a water taxi to our hotel, we spot a guy manning the boat in front of ours with great hair majestically flying in the wind, and I must describe my first impression of him as a Jersey guido with the tanned skin and the big biceps, but x100 better.  Not my type, but still cute.
  2. Gondola Man – good-looking in the older 40s, 50s year old hair slightly greying kind of way.  Very open smile and spirit and charismatic
  3. Waiter – pale, tall, fluffy brown hair and just cute.  The kind you can bring home to mama
  4. Hotel Shuttle Service Guy – very nice and polite guy, his clean cut scruff was actually flattering and I admired it
  5. Second Water Taxi Driver – with the leather jacket and bluest eyes, and who made me a believer of man buns.  For some reason, we forgot to tip him even though he was one of the nicer drivers… pretty sure as he drove away he stared in our direction with the saddest puppy eyes.   
  6. Water Subway Driver – Young blonde guy directing our water subway boat, glanced over and definitely caught my mom and I taking photos up close.  Sorry sir, couldn’t help ourselves
  7. Concierge Staff – that bone structure though.  Pretty boy, Hayden Christensen-type-when-he-was-playing-Darth-Vader type. Apparently, super nice to my dad as well… I love nice guys.
  8. I was trying to go in chronological order, but I had to save the best for last.  AND THE WINNER IS….

12032780_10153669241133960_9051111248932902804_oLifeguard – at the Hilton Hotel at the rooftop pool.  Goodness gracious.  The kind of unanimous beauty that is agreeable with everyone: he is literally everybody’s type.  My mom become an embarrassing fan and we decided to sit at one of the tables and admire the view *ahem* overlooking “Venice” while he accidentally happened to be in front, bending down and casually hosing down the poolside with his shades on, you know, the usual.  My mom even told me to stand in front of him as a decoy and smile while she focused her lens on the background 😉  This photo she snapped of him walking down the stairs could easily be from Vogue magazine.

The aesthetics man.  Sigh. I did my duty to my friend, and it was beautiful.

It’s late, but are you guys interested in seeing the rest of the beautiful men?? If so, comment below and let me know 🙂

Do Soulmates Exist?

Shower Post #2

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

  1.  Marriage

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

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

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

        2.  Soulmates

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

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

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

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

         3.   My Love Life

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Baseball cap backwards

3.  Rides a skateboard really well

In college, I slightly expanded on this stupid list.

4.  Preferably Asian*

5.  Ideally around 5’9”

6.  Dorky humor

7.  Really sweet smile

8.  No chest hair

9.  Kind and patient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       4.  Age Difference

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

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

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

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

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

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