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.