Always Greener on the Other….

Musings/Rants, Uncategorized

Two years ago, I took a semester off NYU to undergo a kidney transplant surgery. The surgery and recovery process took only about five weeks. The rest of those six months I spent in waiting. Waiting for the hospital to call and set up an appointment. Waiting while my friends nabbed exciting internships. Waiting for something to do, an inspiration to hit. Weeks passed and nothing hit. Losing the motivation to learn, write, or even binge-watch Netflix shows, I was quickly spiraling into something akin to nihilism. 

What it was, of course, was just laziness, a millennial malaise that’s haunted me for the better part of the last 10 years. At school, I’ve had friends and homework as powerful antidotes; lectures and essays have egged me toward specific goals. Back at home in Irvine, the archetypal Californian suburb, I was a free agent and a prisoner to my thoughts, which were shrouded by doubts and hopelessness. Rather than brainstorming activities to occupy my time at the present–when I had an abundance of it–I lamented all the missed opportunities that awaited me at school, 3000 miles away. I entertained a remarkably narcissistic idea that if I could just crawl back to Manhattan, straight As and new friends and internships and leadership roles would land in my lap–I just need to get close enough.

More out of desperation than ingenuity, I decided to start a blog. I came to that decision abruptly, while feasting on an apple and Game of Thrones. My first sentence? “To be honest, I’ve just about given up on starting a blog.” Halfway through the post, I realized why I had put off the endeavor for so long: I was scared no one was going to read it because I was either too boring a person or too mediocre a writer. I rambled some more about my low self-esteem and stereotypical teenage hobbies. As I kept writing, fingers flying across the keyboard as thoughts tumbled behind, I came to some bizarre conclusions. That we are all boring. That rather than giving you lemons, life is a lemon. That how hard you squeeze that lemon determines how much happiness and meaning you extract from mundane occurrences. In ranting about my insecurities, I slowly forgot about them. That was my “eureka” moment, and the title of the post. Why did I decide to publish this garbage of a post? Because, “Call me vain if you want, but I wasn’t going to let this epiphany go to waste.”

And I didn’t. I wrote almost everyday of the next four months I spent waiting. I continued writing after I returned to NYU. I’ve now amassed more than 2000 followers–1990 more than I’d expected to get. This is the first post I’ve published in almost a year, and it’s just a repost of an essay response to a fellowship application. I prompt asked me to write about a time I took the initiative to organize/start something, and I’m not sure this post answered that question at all. It doesn’t matter, though, because it got me thinking about a period of my life that’s at once so crucial and so painful. A time that I’ve rarely talked to anyone about, a time I’m scared of confronting. A lot of the indifference I feel toward life germinated during this time–the month or so before I started blogging.   

I’ve been absent for so long that I sometimes forget I even have a blog. I’m sure I’ll post again, but I’m not sure when. Graduation is less than two months away, and I don’t know if I’ll have any time to write after that. What I can say for certain is that blogging always makes me feel better, just a little more connected and invested in the forces around me. It pulled 19-year-old me out of that period of loneliness. That’s something I don’t think anything else would have been able to do.

Advertisements

Uninspired, but at peace

My Awesome Life, Uncategorized, Writing

I’m on the cusp of a profound transition, arguably the most significant one in modern life: crossing the threshold from 20 to 21.

My grand initiation into the 21 Club is scheduled on Pi Day, which may be more than 50 days away, but I thought I might as well reflect on and immortalize in writing the bizarre and uninspiring person I’ve grown into over the last two decades.

The first 20 years of my life have been a collage of confused decisions, abandoned resolutions, disillusioned attempts down various career paths, and random epiphanies about both myself and the world around me.

My teenage years revolved around an emotional pendulum rooted at equilibrium, refusing to even flirt with either extreme. I’ve been frustrated and lost, hovering in a purgatory of mediocrity and indifference for the better part of the last four years. I’ve been sad but never heartbroken, I’ve been happy but never ecstatic, and I’ve dated but never in love. At times I feel like I’m incapable of feeling anything to the fullest extent, like anything I experience will only be a dimmer version of what others have already felt. I love writing–always will–but I’ve never felt that scorching thirst to sew my dreams into narratives, never been inspired enough to write for hours on end until the sun bled into the horizon and hours bled into days. Can I ever feel as passionate about anything as professional athletes do about winning a damn trophy, or as actors do about, well, acting? Can I ever commit to anything?

My state of mind is the Jamie xx album, “In Color”—not any particular track but snippets of the entire album. In electronic music, we anticipate drops. We dig bangers that take us on pulsating mind trips and emotional roller coaster rides. The spectacular is what expect from life, too, and if we don’t get it, we lash out: “I didn’t deserve this. I just thought there’d be more.” When the going gets tough, we tell ourselves to hang in there, push through the pain and wait for eminent arrival of better days. I think that’s been my attitude for the majority of my adolescent years: You haven’t seen shit. Just wait for the bass to drop.

The bass never drops in “In Color.” It’s just an impressionistic painting of intelligent beat-making and ethereal atmospherics, delicate but brimming with wonder. Some tracks (“Far Nearer,” “Loud Places”) bottle a fountain of youthful emotions–optimism, desire, dread, yearning–into a quiet and exquisite world of gentle, fluttering synth sequences and stirring vocals. “Gosh” builds up to a two-minute climax of lush keyboard soundscapes that douse you with euphoria and hope. On the other side of the spectrum, “Stranger In a Room” envelops you in spellbinding warmth using minimal percussion beats against deep baselines, hinting that life can be okay without staggering achievements or life-changing revelations.

Electronic music is an enormous and expanding world of countless sub-genres that defy categorization. Bangers comprise a recognizable but very small part of that world; extraordinary milestones comprise but a small part of ours. I’ve been so lost and frustrated that my youth–the most exciting years of my life–has so far been defined by a maddening indifference, and that I couldn’t find the motivation to reach my full potential to make my parents proud.

But maybe I’ve been asking too much. The way we package our emotions determines the way we experience them. I’ve never been euphoric about anything, but I’ve been happy about plenty: getting into college, road-tripping with mom, feeding my dog, hanging out with friends. I just need to believe that happiness can give me the same satisfaction as euphoria. I’ve never been obsessed with writing, but I want to write and I’ll continue doing so, inspired or not. What if you don’t need to live life to the fullest to be at peace with it? I’m not in love with life, but I feel lucky to be alive and to live this life.

I doubt much will change about my appearance or attitude 12 months from now. Maybe I’ll be single and jobless at 25; maybe I’ll be profiling Leonardo DiCaprio for Vanity Fair. I can’t see either happening, but I have always been dreadful at predicting the trajectory of my life. And I’m still young. I want to believe that one day I will fall in love with life.

 

Why I Dropped Everything And Started Teaching Kendrick Lamar’s New Album

Uncategorized

“Butterflies are beautiful, too – and they are full of color. Butterflies are so beautiful, they can’t be made any more so. They can’t be manipulated, exploited, controlled, or confined. So why does America keep trying to do these same things to people of color?”

Beautiful words in light of everything that’s happened recently.

Brian Mooney

When Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), I was in the middle of teaching a unit on Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye (1970). My freshmen students were grappling with some big ideas and some really complex language. Framing the unit as an “Anti-Oppression” study, we took special efforts to define and explore the kinds of institutional and internalized racism that manifest in the lives of Morrison’s African-American characters, particularly the 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline. We posed questions about oppression and the media – and after looking at the Dick & Jane primers that serve as precursors to each chapter, considered the influence of a “master narrative” that always privileges whiteness.

Set in the 1940s, the Breedlove family lives in poverty. Their only escape is the silver screen, a place where they idolize the glamorous stars of the film industry. Given the historical context…

View original post 2,173 more words

Throwback Thursday: Androgynous Toys

Throwback Thursday, Uncategorized

Like every other girl growing up in the early 2000s, Barbies were my world. Yeah I know, I’ve been a basic bitch since Pre-K. I’m sure girls still buy and play with Barbies, but with iPhones and shit around they’re no longer as special as were 10, 20 years before. Anyhow, every Christmas and Birthday, my parents would get me a new Barbie and my brother a new set of Lego or a toy car or something a lot more intellectually stimulating than my anorexic blonde models.

Looking back now, I’m amazed that I never took any interest in any of my brother’s toys. We had this tiny play room between our rooms (I honestly don’t know why I remember useless shit like this), so all my naked and broken Barbies would be scattered among his Lego pieces and Walkie Talkies and action figures. Whenever I went in to play, I’d just never notice anything except for my dumbass dolls. It’s like those bricks and cars and controllers were invisible.

I just thought they were none of my business, in the same way that paying for health insurance and taxes wasn’t any of my concern. Yet. Maybe it’s because we’ve all been told, subliminally or not, that Legos belong to boys and dolls belong to girls. For me anyway, that’s the reason I didn’t form an opinion of Legos until I was too old for them. Too old. Huh. Maybe appropriate age bracket is another skewed perspective we have on toys.

The fuck, idk what I’m talking about right now. And idk why I sound like a feminist because I’m not one, but I can’t deny that gender-specific social attitudes have influenced the way I think and react to my surroundings. I mean, who knows? If Legos were considered a gender neutral toys, if the packaging weren’t so exclusively masculine, I would have fell in love with them instantly, because I’ve always loved puzzles and board games (which are kind of similad I guess).

One Lovely Blog Award

Uncategorized

lovely-blog1

A huge thank you to The Metamorphosis of a Wallflower for nominating me for this award. It’s wonderful and encouraging to know that people are reading and sharing my stuff, and I really appreciate all feedback I’ve received from everyone. It’s amazing to be part of the community and connecting with other bloggers.

Here are the rules:

The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  2. Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  3. Share 7 facts/or things about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

Seven fun facts about myself:

  1. I dig the smell of detergent, nail polish, petroleum, and paint
  2. Before I turned four, I almost stabbed my left eye with a pencil, tried to drown my younger brother in the pool, and high-fived the bottom of a steaming clothes iron. All in good humor, of course.
  3. I’m a sports junkie, even though I don’t play any and have zero eye-body coordination whatsoever.
  4. I’m nineteen and a half, but most people think I’m a high school sophomore.
  5. I can connect my tongue to the tip of my nose. Which means that I have a long tongue. Not sure why I shared that, but whatever.
  6. I’m an ex-erotica writer.
  7. I’m a girl. In case anyone was wondering.

The following are my nominees. I believe they’re all relatively new to the blogosphere. Each of them has a distinct and engaging writing voice that I really dig. Do check them out if you have time.

  1. Fusion is Love
  2. Logistical Blonde
  3. Double Your Presence
  4. Teenage Introvert
  5. Treading Lightly in a Sea of Excess
  6. xxjustmywayofthinkingxx
  7. A Stitch to Scratch
  8. Fantasy Angel
  9. The Undaunted Blue Madness Of My Life
  10. inmyshoes247
  11. i8there4irun
  12. mojowritin
  13. Professional Dreamer
  14. sophsonanadventure
  15. Long Mondays

The End of Summer…The Beginning of Adulthood?

My Awesome Life, Uncategorized

To say that the last 18 months or so have been a blur is a gross understatement. Weeks passed by like seconds, and all of a sudden I’m about to become a sophomore in college. Except I won’t be leaving until January, but that’s not what I wanna talk about today. I’m still trying to figure out why this past year went by so much faster than any other. Sure, transitioning from high school to college from one side of ‘Murica to another is a pretty huge change, and big changes do make time pass faster…but I’ve been through bigger changes in my life, so I don’t think that’s the only reason here. Whether I’m hating or loving life, time just refuses to slow the fuck down. A shitty week passes by just as quickly as an awesome one. So I dunno, but something about this particular stage in our lives must be pretty special.

I think 19 is one of the more significant crossroads in life: you’re technically an adult, but no one really treats you life one. And with good reason, too. Having been 19 for almost half a year now, I don’t think I’ve done more than five things that are remotely adult-like. Buying my own groceries? Yeah, that’s a start I guess. We have the freedom to do whatever the fuck we want, but I don’t really think we know how to use it properly. In my first year of college, I think I’ve taken more interesting courses and maybe learned more stuff than I’ve had in all four years of high school…but I still have no idea what or how well I’d do after I graduate. I think all this uncertainty is probably what makes time pass by so quickly. I feel like I’ve experienced more in the past year than I have in all my previous years, yet at the same time I feel like I’ve done absolutely nothing. I’ve lived away from home for the first time ever, but I’m still jobless and completely financially dependent on my parents. Sure, I’ve gotten a glimpse of what it’s like to live alone, but there’s absolutely no way I’d actually survive if I do live alone. Being stuck in this weird limbo state kind of makes you lose track of time and any sort of idea of what’s coming up. At least that’s how I feel anyway.

But this summer feels like a bit of a wake-up call. As my friends are all going back to school, I get this feeling that next year, and probably all the years after are gonna be pretty different. We won’t be as unsure of the future anymore, and we certainly won’t be as carefree as we’ve been the last two years. No more make-believe being adults. Sophomore year’s the time when you start getting serious about everything – with internships and study-abroad programs and jobs and whatever. I know I’m still pretty far away from being an adult, but I dunno, this summer may just be the end of the beginning.

An “Eureka” Moment

Uncategorized

To be honest, I’ve just about given up on starting a blog. After three failed attempts on three different blog sites, I decided that commitment just wasn’t my thing. Or maybe that’s just an excuse for something else: my piteously low self-esteem. What is no one reads it? What’s the point of revealing my messy and often messed up thoughts to the ominous internet if I’m only talking to myself? Isn’t that what a diary is for? Anyhow, with all these stupid, insecure questions swarming my stupid, insecure head, I’m put off blogging again and again. Until now.

So why now? Well, here’s a little background. I’m a nineteen year old journalism student at NYU. I completed my freshmen year in May, but I won’t be returning to New York till January because I have to undergo a minor surgery that requires a whooping three-month recovery period. But more on that later. I’m female, 5’3 and quite obviously Asian. I have very typical teenage hobbies like binge-sleeping, binge-eating, binge-gossiping, binge-social-networking, binge-watching (mostly trashy) shows on Netflix, and binge-sleeping some more. So all in all, very ordinary.

But here’s the thing I didn’t quite realize until now: ordinary doesn’t mean boring. When you think about it, very few people are truly boring. Our responsibilities and hobbies all appear the same after a while, but our stories are different. The way I see it, life doesn’t give you lemons. It is a lemon. You’ve gotta squeeze the hell out of that shit to find any small residue of goodness. But it’s all there, within that layer of ordinariness. If I try hard enough, I know I can squeeze something out of my very unexceptional existence. Call me vain if you want, but I wasn’t going to let this moment of epiphany go to waste. I wanna find the cool in the dull, the insightful in the mundane. That’s why I want to start blogging again. To really start. And this time neither laziness nor insecurity is going to stop me again. I hope not, anyway.

So with each blog post I’ll try to squeeze out some quirky insight out of mundane occurrences. And if anything happens to pique your interest, feel free to follow along as I courageously attempt to navigate the labyrinth of teenage troubles and college life.

Thanks for reading!