Moments of Pride

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

The Onigiri

I don’t remember if I wrote about this before, but it’s my go-to story whenever a friend who’s having self-doubt or any other moments of apprehension talks to me.  It’s a story I tell myself once in awhile to remind myself of my worth, even if I don’t always see it.

When I was younger, my best friend got me into mangas, and my favorite was always Fruits Basket.  In one chapter, Kyo is this character who comes off angry but holds in a lot of pain and fear.  Tohru is the girl who looks at him in thought, and ponders, “Hm, maybe it’s on his back.”

The way Tohru sees the world is that every individual is an onigiri, and each contains a special ingredient.  However, the problem is that Kyo’s onigiri looks at everyone else’s, and is envious looking at the ingredients on their backs, whether it’s salmon, or tuna, or egg.  He can’t see his own.  He thinks he’s worth less because he can’t see his back.

Sometimes, pretty often actually, I find myself as Kyo, struggling to see what’s on my back.  I know some of you are thinking “please, I know what my special ingredient, I’m made of PRIME RIB, wagyu beef yo.”  And that’s great.  But a lot of us spend a lot of times staring at all the other onigiris’ backs and admiring their special ingredient.  So I’m here to tell you that you have something special on your back, and I see it.  You are made of worth, you were created unique, and everyone around you can see it even if people might not go out of their way to tell you or admit it to you.  I think we could help each other out by being the eyes for each other on what we can’t see.

“You’re either a Blessing or a Lesson”

I found this quote somewhere on tumblr a long time ago, I think it might’ve been said by Frank Ocean but don’t quote me on that. This particular thought always stayed with me with the way I interacted with people.

As a homeschooled child, I never realized how naive my expectations for other people in the world were.  In a sense, I probably believed I was better than everyone else, in that I held myself to high moral standards, and my friend once told me that I was one of the few people she felt had such a moral compass who would never do the wrong thing or hurt someone.  My college years, I learned two things:  the full extent of my ability to hurt somebody I cared about (even unintentionally), and second of all, just how wrong the assumption that others hold the same beliefs, perceptions, or morals you do is.

I entered college beginning to experiment so that I could find my sense of self, both on a personality and aesthetic level- I made mild changes such as growing my hair long, got it ombre’d, began wearing some make up, piercing my ears, paying attention to the way I dressed more and how I carried myself.  It was such a sense of vulnerable freedom, to spread your wings out yet knowing that the immediate safety net of your parents weren’t beneath if you fell.  I tried to reinvent myself for the better- the cooler, more confident version of me.  To my disbelief, I was not quite a wallflower anymore, and even though I was still really shy, I forced myself to try to venture out my shell, and realized people not only seemed to notice me, but liked me.

However, my confidence was still in a budding phase, and the few people I felt a click with, I attached myself to quickly; I saw only their great qualities when they showed me a small act of kindness, and without realizing it, I subconsciously put them on a pedestal.  And then the first time they broke my trust or let me down, I felt myself spiraling downhill.  I wasn’t sure why my sense of other people’s emotions were so heightened, and oftentimes I can’t fall asleep at night being overwhelmed by all the problems that exist everywhere: I wish I could turn it off.

The intensity of my personality has given me the ability to observe and for the most part, see each individual clearly for both their flaws, potential, and beauty.  Everyone possesses both “good” and “bad” qualities, and these traits are what make them unique. I grew up seeing the world in black and white, but now I see that many things fall in the gray. Things don’t always work out in life, and we might end up becoming lessons in other people’s stories, but that doesn’t mean we should stop striving to be blessings.

As for ourselves, once we realize not everyone around us think on the same wavelength, we can reach a better understanding and be more tolerant and take things less personally.  If someone wrongs you, they are simply a lesson; move on, and cherish the ones who are blessings.

Embrace your strengths, and continue improving the rest.

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)