Another mix of thoughts on post-election results, not meant for persuasion or debate, just expression.

I’ve been more receptive lately, reading the many long posts from my peers and the articles they share on post-election thoughts. One side of me feels the sense of community strengthening with the expression of shared anxieties, the other side feels the shredding of community with the roused up anger and fault-finding words to make sense of an undesired outcome. The mix of emotions inevitable leads up to overthinking and the need for expression.

This is my first time realizing how my mentality can greatly affect my physicality. That night, watching the State colors change back and forth and the electoral votes number being certainly updated, there was hope but also a sense of rationality that this is happening in real-time, and this is happening because this is how democracy works. The coverage the next few days tried to make sense of the outcomes and how it happened, but they just greatly overlooked the fact that collective efforts from people are always unpredictable. It’s unpredictable because the loudest voice with the most vibration does the most. Yes, the results were certainly surprising and it is definitely a moment to be remembered for decades and even centuries. Either outcome would be like that. The scary part is now who won, but what society takes from it – the thinking that they are superior, the sadness that is felt which turns into anger, the lost open-mindedness and empathy for either side.

I actually felt ill from thinking so much about what the results of the election may mean for the country I live in and the things I may have to see in the next few years. I think many people share the same experience I had, and are still experiencing it. Evidenced from the outpouring of written expression on social media, it made me realized that the importance of politics in our lives is strong but never has the most powerful and permeating voice when it is threatening the way we believe the future should be.

From this event, I actually saw a beautiful thing rise in society. The unification of voices and movement to show that the negativity that seems to spark from the election has ceased. I just recently joined this group and am fortunate to be shared their many unique stories and feelings. Reading these stories makes me feel more connected to people in this world, in the same nation experiencing similar changes, sharing the fears and voicing the concerns that we all feel in our hearts and the worst case scenarios we imagine in our minds. It reinforces my belief that the human race does not abandon compassion in the face of fear.

I really hope that we learn from our past, as we always believe we do. The reasons for documenting our history is to learn from it, right? We are learning from it, but somehow it seems that we are learning its bad habits instead, so it’s more like we should not be learning from it because we don’t want the same things to happen again. Being stagnant is the fear. But we can choose. This is just a reminder of the world we live in and how it is shared.

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Holistic still starts somewhere.

Graduate Record Exam, or other entrance exams for graduate programs – the opportunity to showcase your ability to sit through a tedious exam and to maintain the mind to think logically and pick the right answers, while pressure closes in the bubble of exhaustion you already have in reflecting on your life and preparing for unpredictable futures. Yes, I believe we are subjected to multiple futures because however much we prepare for the one we want, something is bound to happen to deter that future, be it good or bad. This is what I have decided to be the meaning of life, the unpredictable courses with effortful but obsolete plans and anxieties. Planning is great, when you envision all of the happiness and successes you will eventually have, but it is also consumed with so much fallacies and unreal expectations.

So I am taking my GRE tomorrow. This is actually my second time taking this exam. The first time I took it, I did not prepare much. I simply thought I could get by without preparation because the GRE did not really require me to know more information than I already do, it required me to be able to sit for 4 hours and play logic games and read carefully. I did ok and definitely did get by. But getting by and being average just doesn’t mean much anymore when you’re preparing to compete for a future with so many other people. This is the problem, the competition. This is what can and will deter you from your future and that’s because planning for your future is not in your control and that is exactly what makes the future so scary. The future is dependent on so much more than your choices and decisions, it includes other’s choices as well. When people say to always chase your dream, they don’t mention the dream being in the hands of another player that have conditions that must be met and that others are vying for the same dream to be relinquished to them. Chasing isn’t just chasing, but fighting and waiting and sacrificing and all of this doesn’t come without some type of mental turmoil and wavering.

Graduate schools don’t clearly state it, but they are also looking for the fighters and the persistent dreamers, and definitely the studious. I understand how high marks and high exam scores can be predictors of graduate achievements, it shows that these students take their education seriously and was rewarded high marks for their preparation for exams and time. Those are factors to be considered when deciding for acceptances into their programs, to determine if the student can achieve and bring something to the university. Though, I do always hope that they can understand those students who aren’t able to excel in this arena, but have excelled in other, just as practical and applicable areas of work.

I went to a school fair and this is what I’ve learn schools usually tell you: we consider the application holistically, visit our website for more information, apply anyway.

I really hope these statements are true rather than planting a sense of hope for all these students. They tell you to apply and ensure you all parts of your application will be looked at, but realistically, after looking at hundreds and thousands or applications, don’t they try to streamline the process and create some sort of screen or filter? I really hope not and I really hope if there is a screen, GPA and GRE are not the factors because all of the efforts I’ve tried to re-identify myself as a competitive applicant will be wasted and that is not fair when I strongly believe I can be just as successful or even more successful than those students who are applying.

I’m just building a lot of anxiety, first with the pressure to do better than average on the exam I’m taking tomorrow to offset the low GPA due to my immature previous self that I can only justify as being incompetent and distracted. But the real anxiety is relying on the hope that someone(s) will allow me the opportunity for the future I have planned for myself. The uncontrollability is excruciatingly scary. I’m just at that point where I have to plan for a future again and the fear of falling and not being good enough never ceases to dwindle. My biggest fear is that all my efforts will be wasted. But I won’t know until I try. I have this bad tendency to not work too hard because of this fear so I can go back to believing that it’s because I didn’t put in my all and that the lost and falling is ok. I need to stop that. I do believe everything is temporary and even if this does not pan out as I hope, I’m a fighter so I’ll just take the punch this time and if necessary, rise up again but with a stronger and better offense to prevent another fall. But I shouldn’t have to fall if I already fight with the best offense I have. Here’s to not just believing but taking action for my life.

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Snippets of my East Australian Adventure.

Despite being back in the states for a few weeks now, my mind is still in exploration mode of Australia whilst trying to get into to first gear of moving forward with reality. I decided to stay in neutral for the time being and let my mind wander for a bit more.

This is a small portion of my collection of experiences in Australia. A full and more thorough account is in the works. 

Adding some koala-ty experiences to life. Meet Victor, he likes to pose as asleep in photos.

I had to see the Australian animals, they were definitely different and much softer than I anticipated.

Saturday evenings at Darling Harbour, Sydney.

I’d definitely my first day in Sydney was darling and bright.

Three Sisters Point at the Blue Mountains. Though I thought it was much greener than blue.

So much wildlife and natural beauty.

Leura Cascades, an actual WATERfall. The socal only seeing the fall part girl in me had to touch to believe. The water was nice and wet.

The city life of Sydney. There really is everything here.

Proof of my position on the Harbour bridge looking down at the largest and most magnificent natural harbour in Sydney.

Off to the Gold Coast and the most expensive town I can’t afford to miss and love to retire in one day.

Pacific Ocean is warmer here.

This is what paradise looks like.

Onwards to the North and closey equating myself. Cairns (pronounced like cans) is a great backpacker town but not as aesthetically decorated as the Gold Coast or Sydney, but that’s why I like it.It felt cozy.

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is public. It’s basically the city’s beach because there is something going on with the water levels in the body of water a few feet away.

The warmth here calls for a dip in the water everyday.

About 30 feet underwater and I’m trying to get some epic proof of me at the Great Barrier Reef. I blocked its beauty but it’s something everyone needs to see and feel for themselves.

And thus highlights my trip.

Still writing and reflecting on all the experiences in addition to the larger story the photos tell. 

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Augstralia to Seatember 

In the next 24 hours I’ll be embarking on my adventure to the land I’ve always dreamed of going, the big Island of Oceania. I’m not sure why I always wanted to go to Australia but I always told people that I want to go there when they asked before. I’m making it a reality, but right now it doesn’t feel like it just yet. It’s a weird feeling, traveling. I’m kind of in this zone where it seems so normal to travel so it’s not a big deal, but also so rare that it is a big deal. I’m trying to play it cool, because it is cool, extremely cool. 

I am recounting my travel adventures thus far and am so appreciative of the places I’ve been able to visit and the experiences I’ve had. This one seems to be a bit different because I feel like for the first time, this is an actual vacation. I’ll be lounging around and doing unpredictable activities and just enjoying the good life, instead of checking off a list of iconic places I must see with my own eyes and capture with my lens. It makes me nervous a little bit that I’ll be bored because I haven’t had this luxury because my youth is obsessed with the on-the-move type of traveling. This is indeed the spoiled worries of a traveler. Maybe it’s because it’s not so new anymore, the idea of being foreign and new to a country. I’m actually excited about experiencing the new and strange things. The fear that I used to have going to new places has diminished, with ounces left to keep me in place. In the back of my head I have these thoughts that tell me this isn’t a once in a lifetime experience (but I can’t say for sure) and maybe that is why I’m not so attached to the idea of making it the experience of a lifetime and will allow it to be what it will be instead of giving it expectations.

—–

And I have landed in Sydney. It doesn’t feel like I’m on the other side of the planet and equator just yet.

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Wearing earphones means “Leave me alone” or “I am prey”? Depends on who’s wearing them.

Today I woke up to the beautifully bright sun and decided to walk to work. The walk usually takes me about an hour and though I’m often good at keeping entertaining trains of thoughts in my mind, I opted to keep a restful mind by listening to music and to additionally drown out the noise of wheels on paved roads and cars ripping through the winds with the occasional squeaks and honks. Nearing the half mark of my journey to the office, a lady narrowly jogs by me on the left as I had selfishly positioned in the middle of the sidewalk. I apologized because I did not hear her footsteps behind me with my loud music sending its loud vibrations to my ear canal, and regrettably did not look behind me as one often does.

A few minutes later, I see the same lady running, but this time in the reverse direction where I saw and could get out of her way. I saw her mouth moving so took out one earbud. She began telling me how what I’m doing is a dangerous thing. Confused, but also apologetic of getting in the way of her running, I apologized and nodded in agreement. She continues and lectures me about how she, a 48 year old woman, who could be my mom, does not want to harm me, but she had called out 3 times and I couldn’t hear her. She then described me, a young, beautiful (ego plug, but those were her words) girl, walking alone and distracted. She said this is what they prey on. Whoever ‘they’ is I do not know, but surely I can assume. She ended by saying that I need to be less self-absorbed. Flabbergasted by an unforeseen lecture so early in the morning and unaware of my dangerous and “self-absorbed” behavior, I just thanked her and continued my walk to work, but with a few notches of volume lower on my earphones.

I heed her words and am appreciative of the concern she has. I can understand why she wanted to tell me how I am not cautious and evidently distracted. Though I do not agree with her description of what I was doing as “self-absorbed”, I understand that I do need to be more aware of my surroundings.

However, I am saddened and a bit irritated by the fact that she thought she needed to warn me. If I was a guy, or an elderly lady, or some other person that’s not a young girl, would she have done the same thing and tell them they’re doing a dangerous thing? Would she tell them they’re prey? Would she tell them to be less self-absorbed because they need to be more vigilant of their surroundings?

I am saddened by her actions because it shows her fear of society and fear of the worst in people. I sensed her fear that something could happen to me because I wasn’t being cautious, especially because I am prey. Listening to music and walking is a normal thing, right? There are lots of people walking around with earbuds in. It’s almost like a sign of “leave me alone” right? Because with earphones in, one is uninterested in listening to anything else but what is playing in their ears. It’s a sign that the person does not want, and maybe can’t hear what’s outside of their earbuds. But is my earphones a sign of “Don’t leave me alone”? I have them in so I am distracted, does that welcome strangers to prey on me?

Today I felt my freedom was jeopardized by my actions. That for some reason, what I do is a call to society to limit what I should do if I want to stay safe. It is more of feedom than freedom if I have to give up some of what I prefer to do in order to ensure my safety. How is a girl supposed to live her life freely if she is limited by the fear of what others will do because she is seemingly being suggestive of vulnerability? Why do I have to take extra precautions, because I am a girl? Why do humans prey on other humans, are we that weak and can’t control our actions?

Maybe I am too ignorant to believe that there are people out there preying on me or other people they sense to be vulnerable due to their own distractions. I know what could happen, I know people do not always have the best intentions, but I like to believe that that’s not the case for people living in my neighborhoods. I like to believe that people aren’t always on the lookout to attack and be predators, because we are supposed to be in control of our animalistic instincts and have reasoning that makes the human race a higher and more evolved species. Maybe my choice in not believing in the bad is stupidity, but I feel that belief in the bad is the fuel for these terrible events. People will think the worst and judge others and the judgments becomes expectations, and then it may become reality. But if we set the path to diverge from these bad expectations, we won’t expose people to the terrible ideas that can become realities. We need to foster the expectations for safety and eliminate the danger that unfortunately is caused by our own human race. The sad part is that people are the fear for people because we think of each other as prey and predators.

If there is reason for vigilance in society, then peace can never take root.

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An open letter to people who disappeared from my life

This is to anyone who has brought significant presence into my life, despite the amount of time, and taught me something, but has left me just as quickly as they entered: an acquaintance who experienced life with me but we never got a chance to exchange thoughts, a friend who grew up with me, a potential romantic interest, a person who made our paths more interesting with their insights. Life is filled with people who come and go, but I want you to know how your coming and going affects your existence in my mind.

I hope your disappearance is only one-sided, that you have an invisibility cloak and are just hiding from me. I hope that because I am selfishly wanting to believe that my existence matters, even at the lowest level of importance, to you as yours does to me. I hope that you at least thought about our encounters, have some impression of me, think about me when something we shared comes up in your life, and wonder if I’m still here. Not knowing if you even care about my existence is what bothers me the most.

To those that I have been fortunate to share more than a few conversations with and exchange different aspects of life, I always wonder if those things we talk about resurface when you experience it later in your life, as it does for me. I learned a lot from our conversations and I would like you to know that I listened to your words and I still hold on to them because they made me feel connected to you. Like with those late night conversations about marriage and life and who would we invite to our special day, are the people we once thought we would invite the same? Am I still one of those people to you? Will you come to my special day if I invited you? Or like one of those deep conversation about the balance of life, do you still think about those things? Have you found the balance? Would you tell me if you did? Would you be happy if I told you I think I’ve found it? My significance in your lives are probably not as it once were, and that’s probably why it makes me feel so nostalgic. The fact that none of you no longer exist in my life when I felt I was once at least someone you trusted, shared thoughts with, and put in effort in trying to know, it feels that my existence and me, myself, was just not enough to be kept.

In the same way you have decided to not be in my life anymore, I want to decide that I should probably let you go, all of you. I’ve let you take part of my mind for too long when I rather you take part of my reality. However, you chose not to exist in my reality and I can’t force you. I could have tried, but my efforts have been hindered by the never-ending stream of worst case scenarios. My longing for the possibility that you were just on vacation from my life is starting to be too far to reach and I am exhausted from the overexertion of hope that has taken up my courage to actually reach out in reality. I am much too cowardly to face the possibility that you forgotten about me. I’m scared of giving you this notion of social power of having upperhand that makes me feel weak. This open letter is enough to make me feel like you’ve won a battle you didn’t even know I made you part of and even that, I have already lost. However, my vulnerability only exists in my mind if I actually never take action so that is how I try to regain my triumph. But in the end, I lose because I am the only competitor.

I think about the scenarios that we do meet again. Somehow by chance we will physically be in each other’s presence. All of the scenarios I can imagine is me feeling happy to see you again, but never actually know what the conversations will consist of. Do we update each other about what we’ve been doing all this time? Does it matter to either of us? After that, what happens next? Are you going to be in my reality again? This is probably the part I fear the most, that even the reach out and my effort for your re-entry into my life, life reverts to the same as it does now because we’re not worth each other’s time anymore. Except after this reconnection, I will have even more to evaluate about what went wrong and how come you still want to disappear from my life.

This is my way of expressing effort to show you I do want to reach out, I really do. But you should know, I am scared. I’m scared of you and your reaction. It’s so dumb and regrettable, but my pride can’t take the social humility that you may have for my efforts. I choose to hide in the shadows where you left me and I am fully aware of how despicably stupid this decision is and how I will regret it more and more in the future. I just can’t help but think that you would feel this way too and somehow that makes it okay for me to stay here, silent, because you are there too. It’s a stupid game I am playing in my head, the game of pride and how I want you to take the action because I have too much pride to do it. The game where I think I’ll be winner if I put in less effort, this awfully foolish game has led me to continue these regrettable non-actions. If I can finally escape the amount of pride that has weighed me down, I may be able to fulfill these actions but I have yet to gain the courage for escape or to take it off me. Time is also another factor that has made this courage harder to obtain and the weight heavier.

I know I think too much and that’s the cause of my downfall in all types of relationships. I only think and think too hard, but never actually do anything about it. I make my relationships into a type of battle where I feel the need to win by obtaining power through impressing that I am the one who care less, but I’m actually the one who cares the most. I just hope that you knew me enough to see through all the bullshit I’ve piled on in our relationships. I hope you see I did and do care.

This letter is all about how I am feeling because it is extremely difficult for me to ever express this much honesty with someone. I know I am selfish because I cry about you disappearing from my life when it may be that I have done the same because I just let it happen. It’s a two-way street and I have let it open, but never actually took the path down. I write this letter because I want to know the reasons why you have decided to let me go from your life. My curiosity makes me vulnerable but I sit here thinking I should just respect your decisions, but I can’t help but want to clear up your perspectives involving me.

I just wanted to let you know, that I do care and you are in my thoughts, that I am open to having you in my life again, that I am here and you can come back to me and I will not think you are foolish or weak. I just fear that it’s not mutual, so I can’t be the one to reach out. As much as I would like to be part of your life to enjoy the best things with you, I do hope that you are happy where you are or learn to be happy where you are. I do want to thank you. I want to thank you for leaving me as early as you did before I got too attached to you being in my life. I thank you for coming into my life and teaching me something and being someone I miss because that means you were once significant to me. You mattered.

All the best with my heart,

A person who misses you.

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Hesitantly flattered and quickly insulted.

I’ve never been good at compliments, giving them or receiving them. I’m finding myself better at giving compliments and expressing different praises through working with children though, but I still have difficulty and feelings of awkwardness when I am on the receiving end. I never notice people’s reactions, but I guess most people will thank you for the compliment, feel good and move on. Compliments help develop a relationship.

People have pointed out to me that I’m not good at accepting compliments. My coworker would tell me to just thank him instead of saying something that totally disregards or opposes the compliment. My friend told new friends that I’m not good at it either and they made a point to see my reaction by giving me a direct compliment and made sure everyone heard. I retreated when I heard it and became awkward. I’m not so sure why this is my reaction. Maybe it’s because I don’t believe it when people say nice things. It’s part of my skepticism and my general attitude. I only give out compliments when I genuinely mean them, so when I receive it from others, I hesitate to believe its honesty because it feels like they give it out so easily.

Compliments aren’t as abundant as criticisms are when I was growing up and even now among my group of friends. They are becoming increased as a meet new strangers and in different social interactions. However, this is why I hesitate to accept. People seem to tell me certain things in order to flatter me because they may have ulterior motives. It sounds so sad that I think this way I know, but it’s just difficult for me to believe people will say nice things to me without intentions other than just to simply express a compliment. And this is probably what’s wrong with society. I’m fueling the bad thoughts and distrust because I’m so skeptical. I do want to believe people are just nice. You just can’t tell. It would be too naive for me to think that, that people can be nice without wanting something. But on the other extreme, when people say something mean, it’s so easy for us to jump to the conclusion that they are a mean person. We don’t hesitate to take on the criticism. It seems like we almost believe the criticism without questioning why a person is saying it. Why isn’t it the same when someone says something nice?

Maybe it does have something to do with my self-confidence. I’m quick to get upset when someone says something offensive, but I’m slow to react if someone says something flattering. If I can switch the way I deal with insults and compliments, then I’d be such a happy camper all the time and at peace. I’ll work on it one at a time. For now, I think I’ll start with the compliments and accepting them with more ease. I got to believe people are saying nice things from somewhere and somewhere they found from me. It’ll also boost my self-confidence, which is what I need. I mean, I do feel the flattery and feel good about the nice things people say about me, but I always have to reason it for myself, which makes no sense because how can I reason someone else’s perception?

Compliment more, accept undoubtedly, and appreciate honestly.

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