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?

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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.

 

“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.

Alter Egos

Shower Post #3

Do you ever react to a situation differently depending on your mood?  I think we all do.  A part of it may be an innate, so deeply ingrained part of us that can’t be changed.  At some point though, I wondered if I might even be bipolar.  What I’ve concluded is that everyone has multiple facets to their personality.  What is the real me?  Does anyone know?  Most people who think they know me might only have met the predominant me, or the stereotyped quiet Asian girl who has been trying to find her voice all these years, and still is.

When I was younger, I feared nothing.  Throw me in the deep end of the pool- I didn’t know what drowning was, so I had full confidence I would float and make it to the top.  Tell me to belt at the top of my lungs to strangers and introduce myself afterwards?  Why not.  Dare me to walk to the edge of a cliff and gaze down the world at my feet?  Sure.  Once upon a blue moon, I was fearless.

At some point, things changed.  Self-doubt had me wrapped around its fingertips.  I became a slave and puppet to the moods of others.  The obstacles leered over me, laughing at me as I became imprisoned in their shadows.  Over time, I withdrew into myself and people knew me as the shy, obedient, and tiny girl who could be easily coerced into doing their bidding, or who would stay silent to their mockery.  It was hard to make friends, but I had all these feelings bottled up inside, frustration mostly.  Multiple circumstances in my upbringing, household, and life molded me into someone I did not like.

If you caught me at a certain phase though, you would have met a different side of me.  Maybe it was the frustration spilling over, lighting a fire to my being.  Quell your voice.  Humble yourself.  Respect your elders and adult authorities.

Jasmine, why don’t you have any friends?

The journey I’ve made is mine, and maybe you do or don’t relate to it, but damn I’ve traveled a long way to where I am now.  The challenges are not over, and yet I can resoundingly say I am proud of myself to still be here, existing.  I am a survivor.  It is vital to first survive and overcome your demons, so that you can really live.  Maybe most of the time, it’s a struggle just to exist, to be.    But if there is a silver lining to all the pain and suffering you feel, it is that it will make the beautiful moments that much more beautiful.  After some self-reflection, I divided myself into Five Identities (more in the future on the ID, Ego, and SuperEgo via Freud)

  1.  The Obvious Identity- Passive, Submissive, Quiet, Hardworking – who most people think is me… only recognizing the side of me who tends to be a pushover, likes classical music, smiles too much
  2. The Fierce Vibrant ID- who likes orange hair, the sensual human body, admires bold and free-spirited women, colors, has a temper, has no time for BS, all kinds of music (yes, I like hip hop music sometimes, depends on the specific song, why is that so surprising… all genres can be incredible, including that genre)
  3. The Dreamy Artsy ID- aspires to mix all kinds of art, loves photography, music
  4.  The Hateful, Depressed, Sick ID- consumed with negative thoughts, some worse than others.  The devil voice that whispers and tells you to give up, what’s the point.  Always tired and uncomfortable, grouchy, withdrawn, pessimistic, blames the world and everyone else (1/2)
  5.   The Overcheerful, Optimistic, Bubbly ID – super happy and excited all the time, wants joy to be spread to all corners of the earth, wants to save the world. (2/2)