I used to write all the time, and to this date have acquired over 10 journals/diaries. It was my first homeschooled teacher, Mrs. Schultz, who instilled a deep sense of vocabulary, reading, writing, and the English language for me. I think she was one of the people who I was too young and naive to truly appreciate, and I wish I could let her know right now how thankful I am for her influence. She loved me as if I were her own granddaughter and tutored me since I was 5 years old. Even after I was okay enough to attend school, she would periodically take me out to Burger King to talk, and I could feel strangers’ eyes on us as if I were her adopted Asian relative.
As I grew older, I wanted to put some distance between me and all the people who were a part of my past, because I wanted desperately to escape my rough upbringing, thinking when I reached college, my health would magically bounce back to norm and I could forget about everything that happened. I didn’t feel like I had a sense of independence, but she nevertheless called me on my birthdays, and for three years even sent me a pearl to add to a pearl necklace to represent each passing year. At some point, I heard that Mr. Schultz grew very sick and passed away. Eventually, at some point in high school my mom told me that Mrs. Schultz herself was also very sick and hospitalized. Her daughter Donna wasn’t too healthy herself, and I remembered thinking it wasn’t fair that such a wonderful family had to suffer so much. However, all the negative news only pushed me further to stay away from them as I felt I hadn’t come to terms with what was on my own plate.
A couple years later, my dad and I attended Mrs. Schultz’s funeral, and I had no idea how to act. It was my first funeral, and I had not stayed in touch with her for so long that I didn’t really feel the full effect of her passing. Bewildered, I showed up and her son greeted us at the doorway, telling me that I meant a lot to her, and I stuttered out, “She meant a lot to me too,” not sure if my demeanor was appropriate enough for the occasion. When the speaker encouraged us to share stories at the podium, I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, partly because I didn’t want to handle any emotions, and partly because I am terrible at public speaking. But I’ll take the time now to say that I understand now, almost 20 years later, how lucky I was to have had someone who cared so deeply for me and my education.
I’m glad I also recognize how amazing my high school counselor was for going above and beyond to help me with notes and anything else I needed, for showing me compassion and defending me against other teachers. I sent her an email the past Thanksgiving to thank her, and she was elated to hear from me.
That’s one of the silver linings of my condition- I like to think I see through everyone by the way they treat the ones who are “down.” And I like to hope that I am able to make a positive impact when I am able in any way I can while I’m here on planet earth.
The entire week, I had been incredibly stressed out about the invitation to my friend’s rooftop birthday in NYC. This happens to me almost every time I’m invited out somewhere: the contradictory feelings swarming in of both elation to feeling included and wanting to be there for my friends as much as I could, but simultaneously feeling anxiety and uncertainty of whether I could go. I knew if I didn’t go, I would be safe and rested at home, but full of disappointment as if this was proof that I couldn’t go out like a normal young person. I knew if I pushed myself to go, I’d have social anxiety and probably come across some obstacles, but no risk no reward. I also knew the next day my family and I were headed into the city again to watch Les Miserables, and I always need the next day to rest: could I do it?
I asked just about every single one of my close college friends to go with me, but they were all busy or uninterested. Finally, two days before one of my high school friendquaintances said she and another friend were going via train, and I felt comfortable enough with them, knowing we used to hang out a bit and they were really sweet. So, it was decided that I’d go with them into the city, and I outlined a very specific plan as I always do when I travel, which I learned in Taipei to specify the total cost, travel time, walk time, down to a T. The trip turned out to be really enjoyable! Affinia Hotel for the pre-game portion was literally a two minute walk from Penn Station, and there were no stairs, only an escalator up from the train tracks this time. We took pictures, and I got tipsy enough to talk to new friends, and then around 9:30pm the three of us Lyfted for the first time over to Monarch Rooftop Lounge. My ride was under $10, so it was free, and our driver was ridiculously nice and it was so convenient!
At Monarch, we took some more photos and each ordered a drink. A bunch of other guests showed up, and I talked to some but not enough to really get to know them. It was really fun, although the outdoor portion wasn’t as lovely as we had hoped since it wasn’t technically warm enough, and half of it was enveloped in some greenhouse, and so we huddled under red heat lamps when outside and then ran indoors. I wish I was brave enough to network even more, but I still had a lot of fun. My dad was supposed to pick me up by himself to give me some space since I’d been home with my parents for eternity and I really wanted a night out alone, so I was really upset when he brought my mom along.
My insomnia wasn’t any better that night, and the next day we headed into the city with me in a sour mood having cried and barely slept, eaten or drank much since the night before. I was exhausted, but it got worse when I realized this theater was old school and had no elevators… I hiked up probably around 3 flights or stairs, and felt extremely claustrophobic. I felt like I was going to pass out, and at intermission, I couldn’t take it anymore and realized the line for the bathroom was snaking all the way down to the first floor. I felt so fatigued I started crying and freaking out again, so my dad took me out across the street for some air and to eat at Junior’s. I felt like I had failed, and I felt incredibly guilty for making my dad miss the second half of the show. However, my family was really patient and kind, and afterwards we just chatted and I calmed down, sipping my sugared iced tea to get rid of the lightheadedness.
On the bright side, these theater tickets were brought on Groupon so they were only $35 a piece, and the play wasn’t amazing, so I wasn’t that impressed. I just figured, it’s Broadway, shouldn’t this be the best of the best?
My last musing is that I like it sometimes when people get mad at me. Now, hear me out first. It’s never fun to have anyone angry at you, and personally I get a very worked up and antsy feeling to quickly resolve the issue because I feel physically bothered when I know I messed up and hurt someone I care about. But now that I think about it, I probably have gotten mad or gotten into small fights with everyone I really cared about. Why? Because they were worth it that it affected my mood. I have high standards for friends and family, and sometimes it may seem like too much of an expectation. But one time, my friend was upset when it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to make her party, and I remembered feeling kind of well, happy about it. Because it meant I mattered to her, and that I was wanted and would be noticeably missed. I think one of the best feelings in the world is to know that you matter to someone.
Also, I’m totally aware that my categories in this blog are not organized yet, I’ll need to find time to sit down and properly fix all that.