Nov. 11, 2018 Sunday night: The Leaves are almost Gone

I’ve been joking about having a quarter life crisis since I was 20, but I guess 25 is the “official” quarter-life crisis legitimacy age, assuming 100 is the year we would live to on average.  I just Googled it, the average U.S. age lives to a lifespan of 79 years old, apparently a whole four years longer than it was about 30 years ago.

Weather and Season:

For some reason, it seems like fall condensed in the past week- the landscapes exploded into colors of orange, yellow, and red, soon swept to dead leaves in the wind, and finally left the trees in our yard 90% barren.  We went from 70 degrees two weeks ago to 40s this week, with bouts of rainfall scattered throughout the days.

Career: 

On Friday, it was not a fun day.  I was not feeling it, with the dark skies and rain, and I was tired from driving down to Princeton for a UX/UI lecture the night before (more on that later).  The new list I was working on was also more complex and annoying – there were more factors to consider and change in the system, and none of it was as efficient and straightforward as it should be.  I have a vague idea of the role I took on at this job, but I feel like more than anything, I was hired to research and figure out all the arbitrary conditions in this process without having been properly trained.  Someone from another department messaged me, asking me to look into something I had done two months ago to an account.  For comparison, I work through about 2000-3000 accounts per week on average, and when someone messages me on something, I get anxiety on having to understand and defend myself clearly and promptly.  I needed to understand more of the background and relationship of what other departments do and how the system functions, in order to be able to defend myself on what I had apparently done and what they were looking at.  My quick research led me to believe that I had made an error, and an email was immediately sent out informing others that I had made a mistake.  After help from my co-worker, I realized that I had not been wrong in the update I made, and I therefore attempted to explain to my boss why the change had been made.  It’s just a crappy feeling, not being sure if you did make the mistake stupidly, or it was some operational error you didn’t even have clarity on.  I had apologized many times so far, but out the handful times I had been messaged on my errors, I really believe most of them were due to some of the natural margin of errors that happen when you do a lot of manual work in large amounts of data, and also due to some result I was given that nobody had a concrete idea on how to handle.  There was only one time that it was 100% a huge stupid mistake I clearly made.  None of my bosses have yelled at me or anything, but it’s this pressure I feel where I want to work hard and I really dislike having anyone accuse me of mistakes.  I’m still having doubts about my value and my worth.  I’ve learned that it’s important not to apologize, and to always do your best to find out what happened before believing it when someone tells you you made an error.

  • The UX/UI event:  I had heard about this since the last meetup I attended back in the summer, and didn’t think much about it since.  But then I got an email notification and realized that the topic was one I was quite interested in, which includes user accessibility, something that involves improvement for disabled people as well.  The user experience should prioritize that demographic as well, so I definitely enjoyed the lecture, which was given by Elizabeth Churchill, the head of the UX/UI team at Google.  It was the first time I’d been in this building, which was the one right in front of the Princeton fountain.  The auditorium I was in looked similar to the one broadcasted at the UN, and I immediately sat next to a student who had a #builtbygirls sticker on her laptop.  I talked to her, and realized that there were obviously many Princeton students as well attending, and it was hard not to feel a bit intimidated since I was suddenly aware of the high amount of intellect in this room.  I enjoyed how the speaker broke down the way they researched things at Google, and I definitely agree that a smooth interface is all the difference in whether someone wants to download an app.
  • I’ve been researching more online about what courses and topics I could learn more about and be more exposed to.  I also have been reading up a lot on job requirements, particularly those in my town.  I feel more certain now on the skills I want to target acquiring at my current job, especially those that are transferable.  I need to remind myself when I feel anxious and insecure at my job, that it takes time to pick up on all the nuances of responsibilities, and that even if I lose this job, it’s not the end of the world, and I’m sure I am better off now than I was a year ago regardless.  I can only try my best.

Health:  I shuffled my Tuesday work schedule two hours later to stop by the SSI office with my dad to figure out what’s going on with the status of my benefits.  It always gives me anxiety to go, because one time we had this really mean Indian lady who treated me like a criminal who was taking advantage and lying to her.  I put aside two hours for the trip, but thankfully, we talked to one of the front desk ladies and resolved our questions in about 20ish minutes, with probably a 20 minute wait.  I left with a pamphlet of information and more clear instructions on how to report my wages, and then realized I could head into work at 11am instead of 12pm.  I also ended up going to a deli to talk more with a new guy at work, he’s an interesting character.  I also have to figure out some insurance claims I made, and sometimes when I think too hard into things it can be overwhelming. But I’m okay for now.

The good thing is I’ve done so much research, and have a list of notes on what to further look into and learn about now.  At least I have a sense of direction on what to gain more experience on.  Bloomberg Business magazine is also really informative on world news and trends, so most of my weekend was spent between watching The Americans and reading and researching.

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Adulting

Hm… so I still feel like I’m behind on a lot of things, like understanding how taxes work and what the right kind of skin ritual I should be doing at night.  But I do feel like I’ve come a long way since college.  To be frank, in the past two years I finally wrapped my head not only around therapy, but accepting that I could use medication to help with the crazy amount of depression and anxiety I had been struggling with.  I felt like I was mentally drowning so much of my life that it almost made me accept that this was the norm, and that either everyone else around me felt the same and was just handling it much better, or that I was very different and there was something wrong with me.

I still feel emotions of course- sometimes I get a bit down or upset, sometimes when I focus on my health and how different my life could’ve been if I hadn’t gotten ill, where I could’ve been.  But it’s nowhere near how I used to feel- hopeless, trapped under this giant heavy cloud that was drowning me of any ambition and motivation.  It’s therapeutic to write on here for how much of my mind is reflecting on the “negative” aspects of my life, which don’t play out too well with everyday conversation and interactions with people.

That said, adulting.  I used to feel completely naked and vulnerable whenever I had to ask someone for help, like talking to professors for understanding and assistance in my grades and absences that go hand in hand with chronic illness.  I used to feel my whole day ruined when I forced myself to trek short of breath anywhere:  to class, to the mall, just because I wanted so desperately to act as normal as I looked on the outside.  It was too much to accept how severe my health was, and that it would always be this way until it got worse.


I’m worried about getting ill and losing my job, it can make me panic to realize that my youth is leaving and my chances at a youthful life are slipping away, and even worse that these struggles will never leave- I have to simply adjust my perspectives.

But for now, I still have my job, I’m still learning to speak up about my health and reasonable accommodations for it without feeling ashamed or acting like a victim, and that so many things are out of my hands.

This week, my parents left for Taiwan.  I hope they’re having a lot of fun and enjoying their 60s.  That said, it does make things a bit harder for me, such as expending a more limited expectation on the mundane chores I have to take care of everyday- cleaning up after my dog, cooking, washing dishes.  But it’s nice being alone, so that I don’t have to talk to anybody, and I can do things at my own pace without judgment.  I rest when I have to, and give a bit of energy here and there to manage it all.  I’m trying to eat up all the food left in the fridge by myself before it all goes bad, so I’m stuffing myself with two bananas a day, eating perishable foods even though they might not be my cup of tea.

I went to UPenn Tuesday, and my lung doctor said the antibiotics appear to be working and the inflamed white lining around the hole in my lungs seems to be thinning out comparing it from April to August, which is great.  I do realize now that I’m getting closer to my usual baseline how it was definitely worse last year.  When I took deep breaths, the ceiling of my breaths were lower, so I got short of breath more severely and quickly, and as a consequence, I got more fatigued and uncomfortably short of breath/dizzy.

I was annoyed by this person who was administering my breathing tests, and he was super cheerful and when he opened up my patient charts, he was all “omg, I can’t believe you have severe COPD?? No way, you don’t look sick at all.”  I wasn’t going to say anything, but it really irks me when I get that.  So a couple seconds later, I told him “I mean, you can’t see lungs on the outside, can you?”  And he said that’s true.  He tried to make amends by saying that some people spiritually seem really low and defeated and carry it with their aura, and that I don’t. So I guess that was a slightly nicer spin.  Having these comments said to me always fed me imposter syndrome and made me feel like I was playing a special card to ask for help, because it seemed like rarely did someone believe me when I asked for help.  It’s really frustrating.

My friend from college came to visit me Friday evening, I really appreciate when friends make an effort to stay in touch with me, even if the time we see each other has stretched to a year apart.  I saw my neighbor/best friend briefly so she could help me eat some food in my fridge Saturday, then she encouraged me to go to the gym before it got even colder Sunday, so I did.  After I returned, I was again thankful that she gently pushed me to go while it was relatively nice outside (60’s).  And now, today is Sunday.  It’s cold, my nose is cold even with my sweater and socks, so I just start to feel lethargic and want to bundle up in a blanket and not move at all.  I’ve managed to be sort of productive though, and have made headway on cleaning up the bathroom and my dad’s room, and then eventually will put away my summer clothes in my room.  I’m throwing away my old pill bottles, making lunch, going to clean up the dishes soon, and then will go back up to finish cleaning and taking a shower.

My dad’s room is full of random things and it’s all over the place at the moment, which is ironic because he’s the cleanest in our house and regularly vacuums the entire house  down.  I know he’s been super busy and overworked lately, so I think now that I have energy to recharge this weekend, I am able to go and organize some of it.  My mom cleaned her room and my room before she left, so it’s nice because I am pretty crappy at folding the bed, and that takes more energy than other things.

I’m also busy cleaning up my dog’s poop, which is like 3x a day but feels so much more frequent.  When I have to raise my body in any sense vertically, like bending down to pick up her poop, I notice that it affects my heart rate much more than other movement.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Food for Thought (Literally)

Throughout the years, I’ve been exposed to a lot of things I’ve grown to care about and follow closely.  I used to live in my own bubble, and my life mostly consisted of my parents, my piano, my books, and the internet, most of which I used to casually stalk other people on facebook, and watch korean dramas.  During my high school years was when I started to pay attention to movies and film music and start a notebook.  But it wasn’t until college that I ventured out of my bubble,  became friends with gay people, started reading up on news and politics, and discovered through experience how wrong it was to assume people thought, felt, or processed things the same way I did.  I made friends, drifted apart from friends, and learned how it was normal for shitty things to happen, but that it was still important regardless to retain my empathy and sensitivity in a healthy amount. I’m proud that I’ve decreased my level of ignorance, even though I’m sure there are still tons of things out there I’m not aware of.

And now it’s come to the chapter of post-graduation life.  In the three years since college, I’ve continued to grow by becoming more aware of myself as a person as well as building on my understanding of different issues globally.

  1.  I’ve struggled with my one-foot-in-one-foot-out stance on Christianity
  2.  One of my passions have become following the representation of Asian-Americans across the spectrum of different things, particularly media (shout-out to BTS and Awkwafina in particular this week!)
  3. I’m really disappointed in the Kavanaugh-Ford result this week, and find it harder to have faith in our government in general.  I also need to read up on what the current election situation is.
  4.  I’m now a partial-vegetarian:  I’ve been such for about 2-3 months now. I consciously avoid beef/cow and pig/pork now.  I don’t buy it, and if there were other food options I would choose the alternate food option.  The only time I still eat it is if for example, my mom made pork soup and it’s already been prepared, or if I’m at a friend’s house and it’s rude to refuse.  The reason being, from a moral perspective I’m not sure I could kill a cow or pig unless I had no choice, especially being aware that a pig is smarter than a dog, and dogs are so wonderful and intuitive.  I think I’d be okay killing a chicken or seafood though, so I still eat those.  I also understand why people consume meat, but the food should be treated with respect.  My mom used to lecture me on starving kids in Africa and never to waste food.  It gave me a lot of pressure especially since I had eating problems as a kid, but as an adult, I fully understand what she was getting at.  From my perspective, eat it if you want, but don’t just eat a bite and throw it away nonchalantly.  This is particularly for meat, because an animal did have to be sacrificed for you to fill your stomach.  And because the meat industry is so industrialized, we don’t think about this when we purchase a slab of steak at the supermarket.  That’s really upsetting to me.
  5. Related, but Americans in particular are so wasteful, and our environment is in danger.  We’re all conscious now about global warming and entire ecosystems being tainted with pollution, and polar bears drowning or starving because of us.  I know the problems are so convoluted and big that I can’t change things alone, but I’d like to rid myself of the guilt of adding to the problems.  So some changes I’ve made are to always use my refillable water bottle, and I haven’t touched a plastic bottle in the past 3 months or so.  I’ve been nagging my parents to do the same, which is ironic since my mom used to be the one to nag us.  It’s really easy to grab a plastic water bottle on the go, but in my opinion, those are there for exceptions, such as emergencies, or for a guest in need.  You don’t need a plastic bottle to use at home.  I also have been trying to put leftovers in containers so we use less plastic wrap.  We have a semi-compost situation where we throw our rotted vegetables and egg shells in a separate bin.  My next step is to buy a refillable bubble tea container, or at least a silicone or glass straw.
  6. I need to organize my clothes and Marie Kondo the old clothes that do nothing for me.
  7. Some mistakes have happened at work this past week, but not even knowing if those mistakes came from me or something else made me realize I needed to have a talk with my boss about receiving additional training.  I needed to understand from a holistic perspective about the company, and he wholeheartedly agreed and supported my thoughts.  My co-workers encouraged me to stand up for myself and have that discussion, so I feel grateful and proud of myself for again, venturing out of my comfort zone.

I guess life consists a lot about making choices that you’re comfortable with.  I can’t keep focusing on upsetting thoughts like where my potential life could be at if I wasn’t held back by my illness.  Even though there are an infinite amount of things happening around me that are terrible, I feel a bit better in the knowledge that I am trying my best to do my part to make a difference, even if it’s just a tiny bit.  At least I can live with myself, knowing I have no regrets, that I don’t have guilt in my hypocrisy, and that I continue to push through, admit to my mistakes and grow.  That’s what’s most important to me these days.

Spiraling Down Confessions

The other day, I spoke very freely about my therapist and some of the medications I’m on, and I was speaking to a couple friends that I consider myself close with.  Then they casually mentioned their therapist, and it caught me by surprise because all this time, I had never heard them mention it before.  But then again, neither had I.  And the thought occurred to me that it was the mental health stigma that keeps us all wary, even if subconsciously.  I know I always fear being judged even by friends when I do decide to mention it, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m insane or I have some issues they don’t want to be a part of. In college, I had some really deep talks with people I’m not even friends with anymore- you’d be surprised how many people confess to you in private that they are struggling and attend therapy, or feel they need it.

But why do we fear judgment so deeply?  Therapists are wonderful listeners, and they always help me talk out my problems and find the light at the end of the tunnel, after figuring out first what kind of tunnel it is.  Literally anyone could use a therapist, even if they’re doing relatively okay.  That freedom of having someone who is solely there as an objective source to help sort out the mess your mind is in itself priceless.  Especially some dudes, who are worried they don’t seem “macho” if they admit they have emotions and personal issues.  Which one is harder, acting like you don’t have a problem, or talking about it?  Then maybe consider growing a pair, or rather, shrinking your pair so you can become a woman, because women are probably much stronger in that regard.  How do you expect to improve if you can’t even admit the problem exists?

What I wish to work on, is freeing myself of the fear of judgment by others.  How nice would it be to honestly not care?  For me, I go through this constant cycle where I’m sort of okay, to just discontent and dissatisfied, to full out emo, to pretending I do not actually exist and tuning out to become as much of a vegetable as possible.  Struggling with depression ain’t easy.  Just yesterday, I had said one of my goals was to try to be less jealous of others, and have less pity parties.  But literally today, was one of those days where you wake up in a half charged mode in fighting spirit, and every accomplishment or fun experience someone else near you is having feels like a straight up diss to your face, as it was a reminder and reflection of how unswimmingly your own life is going.

I go through these modes where one incident triggers my depression, and then the following incidents, which could literally be anything, build on that, and I start to slip and spiral downwards into a deep, dark hole.   What is the point of doing anything?  People don’t care.  People are terrible.  People suck.  Life feels empty and meaningless.  We all die at the end anyway.  I’m unhappy- how do I make myself unhappy?  What is the solution here?  A lot of it ends up just being strengthening your mindset and ability to overcome.  But every so often, when these triggers happen, I start to think “fuck, not again.”  I’m so tired of being so tired, and sick of being sick, and repeating, rewinding my mood.

Why is it so hard to be happy?  How do I learn to own myself by sharing and being open about my life?  I’m worried nobody wants to be burdened, nobody wants to listen.  I wish I could just think, “Please, I honor you with my presence and my words” but what I’m thinking is “Please don’t judge me.  Please stay.”

 

Merry Christmas (Gratitude) 2017

So I’ve noticed that even though my blog is a personal place to spill out all my thoughts and feelings and emotions, as a result it has also reflected a lot of the dark moments and worries that pass through my head.  Today’s post is about taking it back to what the whole point was of starting this whole blog, which was the intention of focusing on happiness and the journey to it- which brings up gratitude, a neighbor of happiness.

  1.  The obvious basic:  The obvious basic things I have to appreciate living in a developed country is that I am never starving, always have food to go for when I’m hungry, and that I always have a roof over my head with a comfy room.  All my loved friends and family are still alive, especially my parents, who do so much for me.  They support me through my illness, support me financially in terms of living expenses and anything else I need, like paying for medication, picking up my medication, and dropping it off for me right away.  They bought me my laptop and my android phone in the recent years. I get to keep myself clean and well-groomed with hot showers and baths which are especially useful when I feel low.
  2.  The materialistic:  Even though yes, studies show that experiences and meaningful relationships matter a lot in relativity to happiness, the second thing I have to list in terms of gratitude is more materialistic.  I don’t desperately need anything (besides my health lol), but there were a couple things I had on my wish list, and I honestly didn’t expect to seriously get any of those things this year.  However, I got most of them, either gifted by yours truly (to self lol), or by friends and family.  First off, my first pair of Adidas Ultraboost!  (Stella McCartney in clay red) in size 4.5, on sale and notified to me by one of my friends.  I was given a pair of red Beats headphones by generous friends who claimed they didn’t have any use for it.  Third off, this Nordstrom leather jacket I’d been pining after for about two years- it was finally on sale during Black Friday and I saved over $100, although it was still quite pricey.  I bought myself all the Yesstyle products I had in my favorites just as an impulse buy, and these included a Gudetama make up sponge, a cover up mask, a Shu Uemura eyelash curler, charcoal toothpaste, etc.  #Treatyoself I also received A+ class chocolate and the most amazing German mug ever from my childhood best friends.  This mug was my favorite at my neighbor’s house because it’s thin, tiny, and curves outward, which makes pouring and drinking so much easier and funner!  26036991_10156088952223960_1789629163_o I also received more gifts surprisingly.  My two friends bought me a portable white noise sound machine and a wine red laptop sleeve I’d been wanting to protect my Mac with! These were on my wish list, and I honestly did not even remember sharing the list.  My mom’s friend also dropped off a LADY M crepe cake!! Holy moly, those cost $90, I looked it up.  So excited to eat it.  Also, I still have my college secret santa gift to look forward to.  But finally, most precious of all, is that my parents came home last week WITH A PUPPY!!!  My mom fell in love with a schnoodle who is heterochromatic.  She looks like a hybrid between a dragon, bat, rabbit, and alpaca.  Her name is Moonchie and she is a feisty one ^_^25990644_10156088957248960_1147577110_n
  3. Miscellaneous:  We’re going on a Disney trip soon, and even though there are many things to be worried about, the bottom line is I’ll finally get to try butter beer and see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter omg.  I also feel like I have somewhat of a grip on what my goals are, and I’ve outlined them for each day.  Just a lot of self-improvement, self-exploration, even as I’m stuck at home.  Learn to focus on acceptance of self, being less jealous of others, staying hungry and mindful of said goals.  Trying to make the best of it with my time and opportunities to quietly work on SQL, R, Python, and also this International Humanitarian Law course I found on Coursera.  Datacamp is also this wonderful source I found.  I want to work in data science or analytics!  There’s so much to learn, but I actually find it pretty fun to solve each example.  I also borrowed some books to read at home that will hopefully give me some fictional fun as well as knowledge.  In terms of other issues I’m passionate about, Asian representation is actually existing a tiny bit more these days.  Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina are both cast in Ocean’s 8, Jay Park got recruited into Rocnation, and BTS is making waves in the music industry by performing at the AMAs and collabing with other huge artists!

I have so much.  Even though most of the time I can’t seem to be able to make myself look at the positives, right now I feel as satisfied and full as the feeling you get after you stuff yourself with a huge meal + dessert.  Preferably pumpkin pie a la mode.  Or Lady M OHOHO.

 

Wake Up Call: Steps to Motivation

  1.  What I realize is that it’s important to acknowledge what’s not okay, it is therapeutic to take a break and treat yoself, vent your frustrations (to the right people), and then-
  2. If possible, meditate and focus on what’s still solid and good in your life.  And finally-
  3. Also if possible, work on motivating yourself, and-*
  4. (If possible lol), work on improving yourself.

*The Step 3 is important because motivating yourself, whether that means forcing your ass out of bed, giving yourself a pep talk, finding someone else to encourage you, is definitely a step all on its own, but people tend to skip it.  Without Step 3, Step 4 is nearly twice as difficult.

In application to today, my frustrations:

  1.  That hospitals are as susceptible to fuck ups as any other organization or business, except it’s people’s health and lives at stake.  Today, I was almost given an arterial blood gas test when it wasn’t ordered for today- some problems with printing or administration reasons.  Good thing I made them double check.  All the more vital to be aware of your own shit.  Treat yoself:  I spent quality time with my friend, took a moment to be proud that even on a comparably grumpy day, I was productive, and then of course, bubble tea.
  2. The positive:  I have a select few great friends who are willing to help support me and my burdens in this tough journey.  Today, I vented my frustrations, and my friend listened patiently, but also helped guide me gently with her advice, which is always so precious and useful and calming to me.  Secondly, I came home to my mom telling me she got into a car accident, and after initial shock, for a few seconds I tuned out her voice, just being fully aware that she is still in one piece, in front of me, and that I still have a mother.  No one was injured.  Thank God.  I am lucky and still have so much to be grateful for.
  3. Dragging my ass to to Upenn again made me want to complain incessantly, but writing on here is my way of motivation and clearing my head.  I want to keep working with the mindset that if I were to die tomorrow, what is the legacy I have left behind?  Have I made a positive difference in anyone’s life, and have I contributed usefully to this earth while I was on it?
  4. The rest is obvious, in that my friend was proud of me that I have been slowly, but surely so diligent in achieving my goals of studying and eventually obtaining my Google Analytics Certificate.  This is one goal that I will not let go as it is totally doable and there is no excuse for me not to have it.  The rest is being able to forgive my friend, even if it takes a lot of time, something I was and am having a hard time being able to do, because there was a loss of trust and loyalty, and that is everything to me.

#chroniclesofthechronic

 

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.

Mrs. Schultz, My First Rooftop Party, and Other Musings 03.16.2016 Wed@12:11am

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.

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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?

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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.

Courage

It’s been two years since the worst time of my life, and I’m really proud of me and thankful to my friends for getting me through that period.  The scary part is that it’s not over, and that moments like that might return. You will battle your mind every second, everyday, and for me, my body as well.  How do you even begin to heal?  I think maybe you don’t, the best you can hope for is the courage to manage.

This blog I’ve started is my own personal space of happiness, and while I don’t want to deny the part of me that hurts, a reminder for all the good things is maybe what I need.  I had a huge mental breakdown today, and could feel myself slipping downwards- I wish there was some way to alert others as if you were holding up an “S.O.S.” sign.  Constantly worrying and standing on the edge of a hole man.  I’m exhausted.

But I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?  Look back on the few greatest moments that have graced your life, and let yourself feel, but then try to remember all the positive, even if it’s a tiny handful or is yet to happen.  Live to achieve that feeling, because it will remind you of everything that you’ve withstood and represent, which is Courage.  Courage doesn’t always show up in just the actions of a doctor, firefighter, or activist.  Sometimes it goes unnoticed, unappreciated, even.  But recognize it for yourself.  And try to channel it towards something better or greater.  That’s all I can say as a note to myself, and for anybody reading this now.

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.