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.

Thoughts n Questions to Ponder

  1.  What are the main differences between pity, sympathy, and empathy?  Are there two different levels of empathy?  A.  Having gone through the same, or very similar experience where you understand deeply B.  Can understand as explained to you, as you willingly strive to seek out understanding of another’s experiences
  2. What determines what is art and what is not?  Is it enough that it makes one feel an emotion, or an opinion?    What about if something is crudely done in controversy? Perhaps this is how famous celebrities (Kim K, Andy Warhol, Trump, the Pepsi commercial) garner publicity knowingly and manipulatively
  3. Everything in life mainly revolves around the goal of Efficiency, which will lead to Effectiveness.  Example: Why Marie Kondo’s book on tidying and organizing became a bestseller as we have so much waste and crap in our houses.  It is how I learned to memorize my music with intent and away from the piano, more intensely in less time, but more mentally draining regardless.  Creative design should also focus on minimize waste, energy, time.  Should the same concept be applied for empathy?
    1. Things that are wasteful but shouldn’t be… 40% groceries wasted away in the average American household- why??
    2. Taco Bell sauce packets
    3. Throwing away or not having anywhere to place reusable teabags…

What are my strengths and current goals? Curiosity, focus, and intense determination

  1.  Korean / Spanish language, teaching Mandarin to my friend daily and weekly
  2.  Coding for Python
  3. Looking into animation (create short) practicing piano again and writing music (create a great piece)
  4. Empathy, Pondering, Philosophy
  5. Creating greater efficiency in waste, energy, time
    1. Re-organize lifestyle and bedroom
    2. Establish regime – wake up before 12pm, sleep at 2am, take morning/bedtime calcium supplements.  Stretches, drink 37oz liquids, work out, floss, mouthwash, skincare, haircare.
    3. “Is what I’m doing beneficial to me in the long run? Am I learning something right now productive?” –>  TEDtalks, cooking recipes (next up, ba wan), Lynda tutorials
    4. Be better at planning events
    5. Minimize sound pollution, food waste
    6. Develop photography portfolio so I can develop photoshop photos
  6. Passions:  women’s rights, Asian American rights, Disability rights –> how to save energy
    1. Suitcase with wheels/ moving chair
    2. Accessibility (ex:  more elevators in the city, better “wheelchairs”)
    3. How do we increase efficiency in obtaining empathy in each other in a simple, direct manner that makes sense?  –>  perspective of woman translating well for men.  Struggles of Asian Americans and immigrants, their story to become understanding or more relatable.
      1. Watch movies:  50/50 on reality of illnesses, The Godfather on moral dilemmas, Master of None on feminism, immigrants, ageism, hook up culture, racism, etc.
  7. Me:   Sound of heels clicking cleanly across the floor with a slight echo, rustling of a turning page, old smell of sheets of paper, fresh cut grass, moisturizing lip balms, Lupicia cookie tea and chocolate strawberry tea, slicing cucumbers, sizzling oil, matcha bubble tea, onigiri, ramen, glistening sashimi, glutinous gelatinous ba wan, emotional energy channeling through fingertips into keys, deep breaths, whirling thoughts, racing heartbeat, derp.

“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.

Pet Peeves

  1.  When people go “aww” or even sometimes, “I’m sorry” or “I’ll pray for you” and usually end it at that – lessen filler words and replace them with something useful of substance; don’t try to sound like you care, just care.
  2. When people lie  – it’s all about integrity.  All it takes is one lie for someone to distrust you forever.
  3. When people gossip (when you talk about someone else for no reason) – mind yo own business… don’t start drama for no reason.
  4. When people can’t spell or mix up basic grammar (ex:  your and you’re, they’re and their, seperate vs separate) – automatically disqualified from any romantic prospects
  5. When people spit randomly while walking

I probably have more, but these are all for now.

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.

23rd Birthday

Yay me, one step closing to looking like this:

OldWoman
http://katieverickson.blogspot.com/

But on the reals, the half of me that keeps feeling sorry for me lost out today to the half of me that wants desperately to succeed and is somewhat winning to be happier and look at all the green grass I’m standing in now.

Gratitude

  1. My parents took me out to Korean BBQ, which is actually what I would choose as my last meal.  Sashimi, side dishes, perfect grains of white rice, and KAL BI??  What more can a person want?  ~ pics to come ~
  2. They also are taking me to see my first Broadway show, and it’s Lion King no less, this Sunday!!
  3. My best friend gave me a beautiful handmade card and $100, which I was super reluctant to accept.  But then she explained that this money is going specifically to me buying music software, and that made me feel so happy that someone believes in me so much that they’re willing to encourage me and invest in my skills. :’)
  4. I’m going to let myself splurge a little to reward myself for everyday that I struggle.  After GREs, Lauren and I are finally going to try out that Island Spa.
  5. At my birthday event, whatever that ends up being, hopefully I’ll see a lot of people I just miss, and do something to cross off my bucket list, like Indoor skydiving or going to a shooting range.
  6. My brother called me to wish me a happy birthday even though he’s super swamped with work
  7. My study abroad friends immediately granted my wish to mass Skype them all!  It was such a good feeling. Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.24.26 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.04.59 AMI’ve never clicked so easily with a group of people so fast before, even after almost a year on and off of communicating, we pick up right where we left off being dumbasses and laughing and reminiscing.  We’re going to reschedule another one so more people can make the next one 🙂
  8. Even though I feel a bit bummed about close friends not wishing me a happy birthday, I was able to look at the glass half full rather than half empty.  Two years ago, I just kept counting every single person who didn’t wish me well, but this year I was able to shift my focus instead on every single person who took even a few seconds out of their day to say happy birthday.

I now know what older friends have been saying to me in recent years: that once you hit past that 21st mark, each birthday really isn’t exciting anymore.  But 2015 has been generally decent to me, and hopefully my 23 is the same or better.

Highlights of the past year or two:

  1. TCNJ Memories:
    1. Artificial Intelligence/ Etsy seminar / RJ Mitte / Cristina Milioti / Nick Offerman – gave me a lot to think about
    2. Paramore concert- not a particular fan, but was cool to see their live performance regardless
    3. Fondue nights with friends surprising me with late birthday gifts
    4. My lanyard and key turning up randomly, which saved me $50
    5. Eating at a Michelin star restaurant in NYC and visiting the Whitney museum
    6. Morning graduation! Holy shit made it
    7. Teaching me the value of my favorite quote:  “You’re either a Blessing or a Lesson.”  I think Frank Ocean said this. Too true.  Senior year answered and offered me everything I felt I had been missing the previous year.  Friendship, epiphanies, great college professors, more independence, and branching out on new skills I really wanted to gain
  2. Amazing summers:  Taiwan 2014 (of course) and Princeton Chinese Immersion 2015- learning about kids, meeting great people
  3. Venice, Montenegro, and Greece- wow.  Got really sick, but still so beautiful and unforgettable
  4. Working out of my comfort zone at Lindt to develop interpersonal skills and learn about chocolate
  5. Proud of myself this winter for continuing to fight forward in just learning about everything and anything within reach – more on this and new personal goals to be met for the rest of 2016.