Hi.

My Awesome Life

Hi again. I’m back from the dead. Please believe me when I say I’ve literally had no time to blog. Without torturing you with insanely dull details, let’s just say I got kicked out of my dorm and pulled off 2 straight all nighters. Yeah, um, the building next to my dorm exploded. East Village explosion. You may have read it on the news. My parents certainly haven’t….either that or they just forgot my address. But uh, anyhow, I’ve ran the gauntlet of the most extreme emotional and physical torture and made it out alive. Barely, with a ton of bruises and scares that may never heal, but alive nonetheless. I’ve missed blogging. The whole time I was wandering around NYC at seven in the morning, sweaty and disgusting and homeless, I thought about blogging constantly. Blogging, writing, cussing, crying, anything that let’s me exorcise all the rage and hatred and sexual frustration burning inside my loins (lol). I actually had a nice long howl Saturday afternoon that left me relieved, exhausted, and extremely thirsty (lol).

And I had my second quarter-life existential crisis in two weeks. Who am I?? Am I making the right decisions? It’s so confusing because the various commitments I’ve taken up this semester require me to adopt several personas, all of which feel so foreign to me. And I’m cool with that; after all, you need to take risks and grow as a person. Yet sometimes I just feel like I’m pushing myself to become someone I’m not.

Fake it till you make it. That’s what everyone tells us. Especially us introverts who refuse to comply with the charismatic, articulate, extroverted personality standard that society lauds. The whole time I’m “faking it till I make it,” all I can think of is, “why do I have to fake it to make it??” Why do we live in a society where being introverted and quiet and perceptive is considered a weakness? I can’t remember how many times I’ve been told that if I don’t speak up I’ll never get anywhere. I just think that’s so fucked up, this idea that being a good talker is more valuable than being a good thinker or a good listener.

Since that’s the way society has become, I’m willing to change myself, to improve on my “weaknesses.” But at what point do I start to lose myself? At what point do I begin to see my “weaknesses” as real weaknesses? Knowing that I may really start hating my introverted traits scares the shit out of me. I have to remind myself constantly that it’s okay to be withdrawn, that it’s therapeutic to wander off into my little world and imagine weird, crazy things that’ll never happen, that it’s fine to leave the practical world behind for a little while. I do that because I truly believe that those so called weaknesses are the essence of my being. I do that because I’ve never considered my awkwardness or my inability to speak coherently a real weakness. Maybe that’s why I’m such a slow learner, but that’s also why I’ve never lost myself.

Truth is, I get attached easily but nothing sticks. I don’t have an addictive personality. Cigarette smoke invigorates me. If some guy walks by me with a cig dangling out of his mouth, I’d breathe in real deep and exhale real slow, bathing in that delirious blend of toxins. Sometimes I even get that irresistible urge to snatch it out of someone’s hands and take a drag myself. Goddamn. But if I don’t see it, I don’t think about it. Even when I’m smoking and loving the hell out of it, I know that it’s never gonna be a habit. That’s how it goes what everything I do. I’ll get involved and work hard but I know where my heart is. That’s the mindset I had going into this year, into some of the academic pursuits that I took on.

But I’m starting to think I’m losing my stand.

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Why I Don’t Want to Turn 20

Musings/Rants

It’s a week till my 20th birthday. I wish those seven days could stretch on for seven years. I don’t want to be 20. It nauseated me to think that in seven days I’ll have to start saying, “I’m 20” instead of “I’m 19.” I love being 19. I want to be 19 forever. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with 19 but I do know why I don’t want to be 20: I don’t want to stop making excuses.

I originally made a list of 10 reasons I’m afraid to turn 20, but none of them are remotely funny so I just scrapped the whole thing. I think this mini existential crisis I’ve been experiencing over the past three days has drained every last ounce of my creative energy. Right now I’m just a boring, empty shell of the vastly fascinating person I usually am. Lol. I think I’m having an identity crisis because everything is just happening way too fast. Besides all the obvious perks of being a teenager – blaming everything on hormones, getting a multitude of second chances that you don’t deserve, listening to shitty music without anyone questioning your sanity – I’m going to miss the sense of stability I’ve settled into over the last six years. The constant, suffocating sense of disappointment directed at us from all angles, our penchant for making the same mistake two billion times over, our inability to choose the right path even though we know exactly what it is. And temptation, the one thing we never fail to fall for.

The beauty of being a teenager is that your actions are self-explanatory. By virtue of hovering anywhere between 13 to 19, you’re expected to be an absolute moron. When you smoked the wrong shit or slept with the wrong guy, you can just say you’re a moronic, hormonal teenager and after some grounding and some yelling and possibly some crying you’ll be forgiven because, after all, what you did was expectedYou lived up to your expectations, congratulations. And I like that. I like having people place bets on when I’m gonna pull the next stupid shit I’ve got on my agenda. I like people expecting me to almost kill myself and jam my future in the shredder, and I fucking dig the flabbergasted expressions on their stupid faces when once in a while I actually made the right choice and ultimately got into a decent college.

I spent a third of my life being a teenager. An immature, hormonal, spoilt leech on society. I’m so used to being this imbecile that I’ve kind of grown to love it, and I’ve also forgotten how to be anyone else. I don’t want people to take me seriously and expect the best of me. I don’t want to enjoy my 20s and make intellectual, “mature” friends. I don’t want to grow up, okay??? And you know what hurts the most? I can no longer say Teen Spirit gets kids like “us” in a way no one ever has. Imagine claws digging into your shoulder blades, sinking so deep and hard into your flesh that they lacerate your tendons and scratch your bones; imagine them trailing down the length of your torso, shredding your muscles to rip your bloody, throbbing organs out your body. Yeah, that’s about a tenth of the pain I feel every time I see the word Teen in Teen Spirit, and every time I remember that Kurt Cobain is dead.

Lonely and Alone

Musings/Rants

“If you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” – Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

Parts of that quote are always lingering in the back of my mind, but I never could remember the whole thing. So I cheated and searched it up on Google. As a life-long introvert, I know exactly what she’s talking about, and if I let myself I’ll always agree with her. It sounds so good. It makes me sound so good, like I’m this quirky social misfit who’s just too hipster, too smart, and too mature for the crowd she’s unfortunately stuck with. But I don’t think that’s how it works. It’s true that loners like me don’t enjoy solitude, but it’s not because the rest of the world keeps disappointing us. It’s because we’re too afraid to disappoint the rest of the world.

It’s difficult to explain this to socially adept people, but to hermits like us the world is a stage upon which we’re always terrified to fuck up, and because of this fear we always do fuck up. You see, for everyone else it’s so simple: you plan one thing, you practice, you execute. Most of the time that plan becomes reality. You think of something in your head, you decide it accomplishes what you’re trying to accomplish, and you say it out loud. The effect on your audience is instantaneous – they’ll laugh or cry or cheer or boo at your command. You’re the puppet master when you open your mouth.

It’s different for us. In our heads we can come up with the wittiest jokes and the most eloquent arguments, but in front of other people we sound like dyslexic four-year-olds reading a poem for the first time (sorry if that was an offensive analogy). I’m not even talking about expectation vs. reality in the philosophical, existential sense. I’m talking about simple mind-mouth coordination here, the ability to coherently translate into speech what we’re thinking. That’s why we live in our heads all the time. Because it’s the reality we want to be stuck with, even if it meant never being quite present in the reality we’re actually stuck with.

So we retreat into ourselves. We develop what we’re good at to avoid stepping out of our comfort zones. We find solace in the alternate universes we’ve built for paranoid minds. And we’re always in denial: “alone but not lonely,” “company is overrated,” “everyone is so fucking phony anyway,” “I’m happy this way.” Pretty much the, “people continue to disappoint them” point that Jodi Picoult was making. I’ll just speak for myself here: I’m a coward. Maybe the reason I’m an introvert and so many aren’t is that I just can’t handle humiliation. Maybe it’s that I’ve experienced that particular sensation way too many times when I was younger and couldn’t string together the simplest of sentences in the English language. Maybe I’m not happy being alone but it’s sure as hell a lot sweeter than stepping right into that feeling again.

We’re just tired of trying, even though we haven’t even tried all that hard. Hope always feels so small in comparison to failure. When you want to try just one more time, you can’t help but remember what happened the last time you tried – that frustration of failing to say what you’ve planned to say, the subsequent disappointment of knowing you’ve failed to make the most of yet another opportunity. And eventually you start wondering what the fuck is the damn point. That life of always having someone to drink with, shop with, walk with, talk to is just not meant for you. You will have people around, people you really care about, but most of the time you’ll be alone and you damn well better accept it.

That was a much longer post than what I usually put out, but this is a topic that’s very personal to me. I’m not depressed, and I am proud of the way my life has turned out. Being an introvert has many perks, like being just a bit more perceptive, introspective, and sardonic than others, but it’s really not a pop culture joke. Sometimes it’s refreshing and relieving, but it’s not fun being a social hermit. I just wanted to clear some misunderstandings about…us, I guess. If aloofness is how we project ourselves then it’s just a defense mechanism. We want to belong, trust me. It’s just that much harder when you’re trying to hide your nerves all the time.

Fall Outs

Musings/Rants

Friends. Sometimes I think they’re the best things to happen to us, maybe even more so than family. They don’t ground you or kick you out when you make moronic decisions, and when they start to get on your nerves you can always dump their ass. God, that sounds horrible. My point is that friends are very, very important.

But despite our best intentions, we still let them slip through our fingers. We say we’d keep in touch and stay tight forever, but that’s just not how life works. And not how people work. Our circumstances and ourselves change too drastically and too frequently. Over the years, I’ve probably had four or five different best friends, none of whom I’ve talked to in a long time. It’s weird to think that at one point I told those people, especially the two from sophomore year in New Zealand, almost everything I believed in, dreaded, and dreamed about. If you’d ask me back then, I’d probably be crushed to think that once we go our separate ways I’d lose completely lose touch with them. How can you just never again talk to someone who holds some of your deepest, most humiliating secrets?

The truth is, however, I no longer feel anything about them. I mean, I still have a vague idea of what they’re up to through social media, mostly on Instagram and Facebook, but I haven’t personally chatted any of them in months or even years. It’s not a conscious decision on my or their (I think not, anyway) part; it just happened naturally. The people we were when we became friends are not the people we are now, and as we change we will drift apart. Maybe adolescent friendships are just meant to be temporary. Or…I don’t know if this sounds awful or not, but maybe those friendships just weren’t worth maintaining. Maybe the friends we make in middle school or high school are never meant to be a part of our real lives. Because if they really mattered, it would probably bother us a little when we no longer have them to confide in. Friends who truly made an impression on you don’t just sink into oblivion.

It’s been a year and a half since high school ended and I still talk to only about six or seven people. They’re probably the closest friends I’ve ever had, and I do envision us meeting up in different cities every five years or so and discussing all the stupid crap we’ve done. I hope we do, but maybe we won’t. Either ways, we’ve still had the most wonderful times together. We’ll have more friends who fade away than friends who stay. So with friendships, maybe it’s the experiences and memories that really matter.

Day 3.

My Awesome Life

Truth is, I think I feel sicker with a healthy kidney than I ever did with two shitty ones. In fact, I think I feel sicker now than I ever have in my life. In eight years with two shitty kidneys, I’ve never been hospitalized longer than a day, never been bombarded with a dozen drugs a dozen times a day, never had to pee out of a tube, never had to lie still for more than 24 hours because it hurt too much to even turn to the side.

Yet science is still stubbornly telling me that I’m actually healthy for the first time in almost a decade. Urine’s clear. Blood pressure’s steady. Creatine’s normal. Phos, Potassium, Calcium levels. All normal. As awful as I may be feeling right now, my organs are apparently in Seventh Heaven. One thing I realized while I spent hours staring at the stupid white ceiling is that science knows the truth before our heads do, and that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

Aaaaand I’m Back

My Awesome Life

I’ve moved out of the ICU into a normal pediatrics ward, which is weird because everyone here is between 6 and 18 years younger than I am. Dad thinks I’m asleep right now, and I should be at 12.35 a.m, but I think it’s about time I wrote a short update on what’s been happening.

At 4.40am yesterday morning, I arrived at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with my parents to check in for the transplant. The next few hours were spent signing papers and waiting, and the surgery didn’t begin till 7.30am. What happened during the surgery I had no idea, because I was, you know, drugged out. When I woke up, I had this tube thing attached to my bladder and a pretty sharp pain in the lower right side of my abdomen, where the surgeon cut open to insert my mother’s kidney inside me. Yep, it is my beautiful, selfless, extraordinary mother’s kidney that’s keeping my body healthy right now. I’ve never mentioned this before because I don’t think words can express my gratitude and love toward her. Although I don’t doubt that, given the opportunity, any mother would have donated an organ for her child, watching her being wheeled into the OR still made me feel like the luckiest person in the world.

Thankfully, she recovered real fast and was discharged after just a day. Life in the ICU was pretty great, actually. The nurses were incredible, drugging me up and bringing me whatever I needed before I even asked. I spent the majority of the days in bed, alternately sleeping and being checked up by doctors. Moving around hurts a bit, but I did take three agonizingly short walks down the corridor. Trust me, it felt like a mile. A few hours ago I was given the green light to consume solid food, so that’s something to look forward to.

I actually vowed to not post a single photo myself on my blog, but alas I’ve never kept my vows anyway:
image image image

Alright, I think that’s as long as my sore neck (that’s where the IV tubes are attached) and sorer abdomen will allow me to abuse them today. Tomorrow I should feel better to write about something more enjoyable. Before I go, I just wanna say that I truly appreciate all the love and support from my family (who don’t follow my blog), friends, and fellow bloggers during the past few days. You gorgeous souls make me feel so happy to be alive in this beautiful world (I know that doesn’t sound like the usual me at all, but that’s honestly how I feel). Thank you.

Back to December

My Awesome Life

It rained today for the first time in almost a year. It’s quite a refreshing start to December and a fitting end to 2014.

December’s always been a pretty memorable month for me. Two years ago I spent December holed up in my room bullshitting college apps. Last year I had my first White Winter in almost a decade. This year I’ll be in the hospital. Kidney transplant surgery in two days. I won’t go into too much detail because it’s personal and complicated, but it’s certainly a scary new experience. I was only hospitalized three other times in my life, all related to my kidney though never longer for a few days. This time I’ll be staying for a week then revisiting twice a week for the rest of December, so I may be MIA quite a bit this month. In a way, I probably would never have started blogging if it weren’t for this surgery. When I found out in late July that I had to skip a semester of school to prepare for the operation, I desperately wanted to find something meaningful to do. Until then school has always done that for me – giving me assignments and tests to invigorate my idle brain. Education automatically implies purpose. Without it I was going crazy, and that’s why I started a blog. Coming up with interesting topics and experimenting with different styles of blogging made the last six months an almost joyous experience. Occasionally I still felt lonely and frustrated, but blogging has been more therapeutic and rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I’m almost tempted to thank my crappy kidneys.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been part of the blogosphere for more than four months now. And I guess we’ve come full circle. In two days I’ll be undergoing the surgery that started this bizarre interval of my life, then everything will go back to where it was before. Everything except for blogging. Hopefully that will be part of my life for a very long time. This is my first ever December blog post; may it be the first of many to come.

Why?

Musings/Rants

There was a time when buying books was as rare as an April snowstorm.

When I was kid, the library was my favorite place. I’d grab as many books as my tiny hands could carry, pass my card to the librarian, patiently wait for her to scan each book, then sprint back home so I can dive into a new world. We get to keep the books for a couple of weeks at a time. It’s like Netflix without the subscription fee. Well, sometimes I just stay in the library for five hours, reading no more than ten pages of twenty different books and return home empty-handed but certainly not empty-headed.

The library’s every bookworm’s dream, but it’s been years since I’ve borrowed a book. It’s been years since I’ve gone to a library for any purpose other than cramming for a test. I read just as much now as I did back then. The only difference is that the books are now stacked on my own shelves. Or stored in my kindle. Or saved as PDF files on my computer. Yes, many people still borrow books and frequent public libraries, but kids my age want to own everything. want to own everything. We’re greedy and stingy at the same time. We want free ownership…hence the illegal downloads. I do that for music and movies (unashamedly cuz I’m a horrendous human being) but never for books. Maybe it’s just my prejudice against the Entertainment world, but to me books are the only one of the three that are worth paying for. More than that, ownership of books demand to be paid for.

Yet none of that explains why I’ve stopped going to the library. Truth be told, I’m not so sure of the answer myself. Perhaps it’s because I’m always reading on the go, and borrowing and returning books just became too much of a hassle. Perhaps it’s because I don’t to be reminded of the sappy cringe-worthy romance crap I used to love. Perhaps it’s because every other library has become some favorite hookup location for horny couples. I have absolutely no idea. All I know is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable even if I do visit that little library Browns Bay, New Zealand. The chairs would be too small and the tables too high. Too much has happened for me to return to that place without feeling intrusive.

Please Hate Me

My Awesome Life

I’m terrified of kids.

But for some bizarre reason they seem to love me, which makes everything very uncomfortable. Last week my mom and I had dinner at Outback with her coworker and his 5-year-old daughter, Jade. Everything was going fine until the waiter dropped by and gave Jade a coloring booklet and some crayons. You know that suicidal feeling you get when you accidentally send a rage text to the person it was attacking? Yup, that’s how I felt when the booklet landed on the table. She grabbed the crayons and started attacking the outlined pictures on the booklet. Worse yet, she made sure I knew exactly what she was doing.

“Hey look at my turtle. It’s blue!!!!!!”

“I’m coloring this green because it looks like grass. Isn’t it pretty??”

“Look at my mermaid!!!!”

“Uh. It’s nice.” That’s literally my response to everything she said. I mean, what was I supposed to say? Oh, the vibrant blue against the stark white background illuminates the sharpness of the thick black edges. Jade, you’re a fucking prodigy. She’d probably think that I had just spoken Spanish. Truth is, I’m just really bad with compliments, even when I’m talking to friends my own age. Even when I do feel genuinely happy for their success or whatever, I just don’t know how to express that in a natural, believable manner. I’d pause for an eternity while I debate on the most apt way to congratulate them, then I’d come up with nothing and just mumble, “Congrats. It looks nice.” Moments like that made me feel like such an embarrassment to society.

But Jade didn’t seem to be bothered by my awkward and disinterested compliments. If anything she only became more animated and talkative. So I kept on spilling empty praises and kept on smiling. I smiled for so long that I could swear my damn jaws started bleeding. It was exhausting as hell. The problem with kids is that they’re too innocent and dumb (no offensive intended) to interpret tone and body language. Anyone older than 13 would probably think I’m a sour bitch and ditch me after about three minutes. Kids wouldn’t leave you alone unless you hit them or something. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Jade or children in general. They’re sweet and pure and adorable and just a tad annoying. I don’t hate them for any personal reasons. I just despise interacting with them because I have to talk all the time, and I hate talking with a passion.

What Happened in Vegas

My Awesome Life

I hate doing updates on my stupid life because I realize how very dull it is, but I really have nothing interesting to blog about today…and since I’m doing that NaBloPoMo thing I feel kind of obligated to write something everyday, so please bear with me today.

Anyway, I went to Vegas with my parents last week for some weird business show. Actually, they went to some weird business show while I just slept till noon and walked around by myself like the loner I am. And it’s bizarre because Las Vegas is the embodiment of everything I loathe about a city, but somehow I absolutely love being there. I despise LA because it’s high on style and low on substance. Vegas is all sparkles and no jewel, like a Porsche with no engine or a bird that can’t fly (seriously, if I were a kiwi I’d always be wondering why I exist).

As I walked on the tourist-infested streets and through the smoke-infused casinos/hotel lobbies, I just couldn’t think of any reason why someone my age (a.k.a under 21 without a fake ID) would ever come to this place. Okay, the shows are pretty good but what the fuck are you supposed to do during the day? All around me I saw all these giddy Asian tourists posing next to fountains and palm trees and that fake Eiffel Tower with the same enthusiasm as if they were posing next to Snoop Lion or the Louvre or, you know, the real Eiffel Tower. It’s all just so freaking bizarre. I mean, you’re literally looking at a bunch of plants with the same degree of reverence as you would at the Buckingham Palace or something. And that’s why I fucking love this stupid place, because of the pride it takes in its own phoniness. Like, I know I make money off of people’s shallowness and ain’t nobody gonna stop me.

If a place that so blatantly exploits consumerism can garner even more tourist attention than places with fascinating historical and cultural backgrounds, then it really does deserve some kind of admiration.