Summer plans – Productivity

So I always feel like I’m not doing enough.  For myself, for other people.  It’s a lot of pressure.  I’m consciously making an effort to think of all the things that I AM doing though, and there are a lot of things actually that I’ve worked towards and improved on despite all the other regular shit going on.

  1.  Crisis Textline Volunteer – in the process of being trained.  I already agree with a lot of the things I’m being taught in the guidelines and videos, so that’s a good sign.  I worry that I won’t be able to handle it emotionally and will feel like a failure. But I still think it’s a good challenge to try.   Text HOME to 741741 if you’re looking for support.
  2.  Starting a new job as a Data Entry Specialist this upcoming week- again, feeling like I might be a failure if I can’t hold onto this job or feel sick and end up quitting/getting let go.  But that’s another thing I’m working towards for summer plans, and I hope I at least learn something.
  3. Dating – Yeah, I had an anxiety attack last night thinking that I’ll never find somebody, but I did go on a few dates and it’s probably hit the end of the road in that department for now, but whatever I tried lol yay me.
  4. Seeing friends – I’ve definitely made a huge effort to stay present and updated in my friends’ lives, and I am pretty content with my social life at the moment, which is a rare thing.
  5. Body – I’ve hit my weight goals and also hit the gym 9 times the past month, which was my original goal all year long and I wasn’t able to hit that goal until recently.  I do see mild tricep/bicep lines, but legs and butt still feel like sticks.  Regardless, I’ve also taken up Sunday yoga again and I’m happy I forced myself to do that because it does help more or less.  My parents also go on evening walks and my dad goes on a few runs each week, so I’m also proud of them!
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Losing My Rhythm

Yeah… trying to stay on the wagon and the momentum but instead of keeping my eye on the ball, the eye is kind of wandering and looking elsewhere, the prize is looking a little out of focus.

One day I can wake up feeling relatively upbeat and feeling that drive, but the next I’ll wake up feeling the physical aches and translating to mental energy loss as well.  I start to second guess myself and wonder if I’m worth ever being hired, and if I were, if I was ever meant to be able to hold onto a solid career and maintain it without sacrificing my health and ending up in the hospital again.

I scroll through my private Instagram, and to watch the journey of a woman close to my age go through the whole lung transplant process, and to slowly die, waiting for another chance to breathe and live, I am getting secondhand agony and secondhand anxiety:  is this the predetermined path for me as well?  The answer is yes, and yet I want to look away.  Because if I stare at it too long, then I will lose all resilience in the other goals I want to accomplish in the meantime.

I’m reading this really enlightening book called “Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind” and it’s a very thoughtful, well-rounded reflection that is bursting with info from evolution, biology, history, to religion and revolutions of the human species.  I have to say, it held a lot of questions about Christianity and all the strange potholes and contradictions that have always made me a bit uneasy.  But to imagine that we are truly alone in our struggles and are left to suffer mindlessly is also pretty depressing.

I feel lately like I am doing so much yet nothing at all.  Accomplishing nothing except making it to the next day relatively healthy, and trying to build at doing normal productive things like exercising, spending time with family, reading, learning, and hanging out with friends if the weather and my body allows it.  I sometimes feel proud of myself, but then I’ll look at a friend or someone else’s life, and it makes me so overwhelmed wishing so hard that I could do better, and that it is never enough.  To have a job to go to everyday, to travel with friends, to have someone hire me and believe in me and validate that I’m worth it despite all my problems.  I want to have a moment where I can look at myself like, yeah, I made it.  I did this.

What I keep reminding myself is that it is already a huge accomplishment that in comparison to my taking steroids 5 times last winter, I did not get sick at all this winter. Of course, it was at the expense of staying home most of the time to minimize risks and exposures, but it is still a good thing to stay safe.  I have spent my time wisely lately and in dragging my ass to the gym and watching what I eat.  I am almost at my target weight of 105 lbs, and I have been eating cleaner- mostly filled with oatmeal, boiled egg, chicken, and lots of fruits and veggies.

If I cannot obtain my career dream at this point in time, I will continue chasing my other, which is to push my body to the fittest it can be.  I want abs of steel, stronger thighs to walk with, my bicep and tricep lines to show when I flex, a butt, and a better posture with chest presses.  I was walking yesterday and realized that I was much more aware of the muscles in my legs, and it encouraged me to continue being persistent.  To feel like I got hit by a truck every time will be worth it in the long run when I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of what I’ve built.  This is one of the days I can work towards in my control, as long as I don’t get sick and I keep up with what I’m doing without getting stagnant again.

My body is kind of what I deem a bad charger- it needs a lot more rest and charges at such a slow pace that while other ones are hitting 100% in 1 hour, mine is hitting 19% by then if I’m lucky.  So when it keeps hitting close to 5% and I’m getting warning signs, I must force myself to rest so I can get back up a few percents.  This has taught me to be much more efficient in the 19% I have- and while I’m at my version of full capacity, what am I going to spend that energy on?

Changed Diet = Changed Energy: Progress Update

1. Diet

So I don’t mean to be sound like one of those health gurus or snobs because I honestly don’t know exactly what I’m doing, I just browse the internet, and the general consensus is that fruits and vegetables is a yes, and fried foods and other greasy foods are a no go.  Staying hydrated is definitely a yes.

So even though I got sick recently, it was weird.  My lungs were still being their weird selves, but I felt strangely calm and I think more energized.  I don’t think it’s a placebo effect, because it wasn’t like I was consciously waiting to feel more different or more energized.  I just came to the realization that the past week, I’ve felt pretty good.

It started with a few talks with my friends who are vegetarians / semi-vegetarians, and I am still in that odd zone where I look at meat and all I remember is that slaughterhouse article I read about, yet I simultaneously don’t mind thaat much eating the meat in front of me, especially if I didn’t order the food or it was already cooked. That is to say, if I had a choice, I would avoid meat like pork and beef, but I uncovered it in my food after the fact, I’d probably still eat it.

Add to the fact that if I craved chips or a snack, I would eat bell peppers, korean-style pickled cucumbers, and pita chips and guac instead of buying doritos or potato chips (my mom recently bought some doritos as well as cheetos… I nibbled a few one night, but wasn’t able to eat much of it because you mentally shift to realizing how artificial and processed it is… still good though in its own way once in awhile).  I’d been sustaining on mostly breakfasts of oatmeal or porridge the past two or three weeks, along with a yogurt, banana, orange, or sliced apples, and as I’m writing this, I just finished one apple and am starting on an orange.

When you are conscious of all the fresh veggies and fruit in your fridge, and you mentally make that your main supply of snacks to go to, it doesn’t become so hard to just grab one out of habit when you’re a bit hungry or thirsty.  And you begin to appreciate how good the food itself is, and thankful for it to nourish your body and thank your body for all it does for you.  I used to be angry at my  body, whether it was physical features or the fact that I had tight shoulder muscles or my boobs were too large, legs too thin, or lungs too weak.  Anyway, it was always something, but now I’m really trying to thank my body more and reward it with healthy nutrients.  I sound like a yoga guru now, but that wasn’t on purpose!  I’m just trying to take control of what I can with what I got :o)

When I see oily food from take out or anything that someone else brings home, I’ll eat a bite cause I’m hungry, but I think my body just kind of rejects the oily and processed food in general now, which I’m glad because I know it’s a good change!  I’m still not much of an oatmeal fanatic, and I would never  buy oatmeal cookies or anything if I had a choice.  But hot, steaming oatmeal with some brown sugar on top, it’s kinda yummy!  It does keep me full too after a bowl of it.  I tried to eat a bowl of toasted almonds… still not particularly my thing.  My mom also made some korean-style salmon, cabbage, and tofu soup, and I ate that over a bit of rice.

2.  Hydration

The other change regarding liquids is that I always keep a bottle of insulated hot water next to me, and if I’m in the kitchen I keep hot tea in my line of view or within arm’s reach so that I can keep sipping it throughout my work.  If I’m upstairs, I keep regular water and a giant bottle of gatorade in my room… basically, fluid options everywhere I go.  My lips are still always gross and cracked, but this is one change I’m very conscious of working on (any suggestions of good lip balms?)

3.   Skincare

Kind of related, but I’m trying to also be more diligent on skincare and getting my routine down.  I mostly grow pimples on my chin, but I haven’t perfected always washing my face twice in the morning and twice at night, esp the SPF protection and toner, moisturizing part… it still feels a bit like a lot of work piled together.  I’m on the hunt for an oil cleanser too, as well as a new mask (I still love the Elizavecca Carbonated Piggy Mask, but I want to try other brands too).

4.  Career – Data Science Coursework

I find data science really interesting, and besides taking a few days off while I was feeling ill, I’m slightly behind but almost finished with my Datacamp track in R, and I’ll get started on the Python one.  I’ve been roaming and have a bunch of sources and sites saved up to keep practicing and getting better.  I do feel proud of myself in this area and the progress I’ve made in two months so far 🙂

For example, now I know how to generate a wordcloud using text mining like the one I have on this blog to the right with my tags!  Super cool.

5.   Treatments/Medications

Of course, remembering to do all my treatments and medications daily.

6.  Gym

Was going every other day for about two weeks… then got sick.  I need to force myself back tomorrow 😦  Abs are made in the kitchen, but they need some help.  Also want to get toned and stronger. No pain no gain.

7. Random – Movies

I’ve been on a Martin Scorsese binge lately.  Signature of him to put in a lot of crime, corruption, profanity, and nudity in his films.  I watched Casino and am watching Taxi Driver today.  I realized that I actually really enjoy mob boss type of movies, which makes sense since I love The Godfather trilogy… no movie can beat that though.   Think it’s the way they talk, it’s so scruffy and pestering and it’s funny, especially Joe Pesci’s roles.

Healthy Habits: on coding, music, self

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?

Prayers for Motivation

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

3.06.18 – Appreciation in Food Culture, Friends, and Motivation vs. Depression

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.


Blessings:

  1. 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.
  2. 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