Musical confessions and such

Six years ago, I fell in love with Super Junior.

Wait.

What?

Six years ago? Surely you mean six weeks ago?

A lot of things that I didn’t say in the past make me sound pretentious in the present day. I have tons of those moments. We all have those moments. When we thought what we liked was uncool but later on it became cool and then you were like, dang I could’ve started a trend!

But, I will tell you that if I had been pushed harder, “six years ago, I fell in love with Super Junior” would’ve been a fact today.

My sister’s friends were performing Sorry, Sorry for some high school event. When the song came on, I felt like dancing. And when I feel like dancing to a song, it means serious business. Those kids who were straining their necks to watch that performance? I was one of them.

I believe I tried to listen to the song after that, but it just felt too weird. Repetitive songs weren’t a big thing back then. So I mostly felt embarrassed and strange, and that was why I did not fall into the big Kpop thing that was spreading so rapidly across Asia.

Last year, when I started listening to Korean music, I only stuck to girl groups. I imagined myself liking boy bands, imagined myself cheering at some bleached blond dude on my screen and felt a chill run down my spine. It was a lonely feeling. How was I to convince my sister to like something like that? What kind of expression would my mom make? Who was I going to tell ‘oh, I just found out that cute kpop guy #1 likes spaghetti’? I faced that kind of loneliness before my sister joined in on all the anime fun and it was frustrating, not being able to make those kind of comments on impulse.

It turns out that my mom and sister continue to surprise me again and again. I have finally realized that a large part of this is caused by my own false perceptions and harsh self-judgment.

Well, it’s been only two months since I started listening to SJ’s songs. Hard to believe. All that fun makes it seem like two years. Here’s to many more months!

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Confession

“What are you thinking about?” My sister’s question breaks through my thoughts. It’s asked in that tone when she knows that I’m thinking about something deep or heavy or both.

I’m picking at my hangnails which is about all I do with my nails these days. What about that would suggest that I’m in deep and serious thought?

“How would you know I’m thinking about something?” I want to know.

“Because you were silent even after I told you to look at Hee Chul,” she points out.

Makes sense. I looked at the Hee Chul picture she showed me but said nothing. And I’m all about Hee Chul these days. What? I happen to think he’s cute and got such a quirky personality.

I wasn’t even fully aware that I was thinking deeper, darker things before she asked. But I was.

I was thinking about that internship I didn’t get. I listed it as one of my to-be-achieved things in a personal statement and at the time I wrote it, I honestly just put it in to appear ambitious lol.

But I applied to that company a few weeks – or was it months – later and again, didn’t expect to hear back. I told myself I would just apply for it so that I could tell myself that even if I didn’t get it, at least I tried. And trying is better than nothing, right?

But then two weeks ago, a guy from the company called to ask a few minor questions and assured that he would call again. He never did. That phone call got my hopes up – very stupid, yes, yes, I know – and even though half of me didn’t want to believe that I got it until he called again, the other half of me got excited.

If he had never called, I wouldn’t be feeling this way right now. I called back a few days ago but he seems to never be in the office and even though I left a message with the receptionist who said she would pass the message along and get him to call me back, nothing has happened.

And tomorrow is the day that I listed as my preferred start date. Thanks for leaving me hanging, big company. I wouldn’t even feel this bad if he had called to say they had found someone else.

So there’s that. I am upset. I told my family: if it’s mine, it’s mine. I do believe that but I still can’t help feeling disappointed. Rejection is something that happens to everyone at some point or another… and I have been rejected on more than one occasion for more than one thing. But yeah, haha, rejection hurts.

This will not deter me from pushing forwards and building my character.

I tend to spiral into my own thoughts so for a few days – okay, more than a week – I was dejected and angry.

Of course my sister knows the right things to say. She said to me a while back: Rain (the Korean singer) failed lots of auditions but he didn’t give up and danced non-stop at an audition and finally made it.

This was supposed to be a more depressing post but I was saved from writing more because I was forced to save this as a draft and log out.

Anyway, now I’ve got an internship with another company… I’ll let you know how it goes.

Your regularly scheduled program has returned. 😉

Raine
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Let’s talk about basketball

I always liked having something to look forward to.

In high school, I was a homework bug. When I wasn’t doing homework, I was doing other homework. Homework was my life. My motto was “Finish all your homework ASAP so that you can do whatever you want.” I was a workaholic without the job industry. When I wasn’t doing homework at school, I wished that I had something to look forward to.

Sometimes I found things to look forward to. Sometimes I didn’t. And those were long and wishful days of wistful daydreaming. I always believed that having something to look forward to would make the days pass quicker. High school was not glamorous for me, which was how I came to adopt this philosophy so strongly. Homework was an interlude when there was nothing to look forward to.

Then there came basketball. Of course I was already past those boring days of high school. I had long forgotten about my little old philosophy. College requires a different kind of focus (ie. cooking, thinking, money, life) so I wasn’t really bothered about having hobbies or having none.

We went to our first basketball game last year. Just one. It didn’t make me thirst for more. I was impressed, but I don’t know why I never thought about it after that. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. I forgot all about it. In fall, my sister suggested we go during the semester. I didn’t quite care. I had homework, the globe I evolved around. I had tests, my universe.

When the tests were done, we went. And guess what? We lost. But we agreed to go again for the next game. My sister likes basketball, we had some free time, why not? So we went. We won. We went again. Another win. And again. A loss. We kept going anyway.

At some point, — Actually, in one day (I was very aware of it at that moment), we learned all the players by heart. We knew their jersey numbers, knew their names, knew who was being swapped in and swapped out. Knowing all that, we just had to have favorites, right? Suddenly we were cheering for certain names when lineups were announced at the beginning of each game.

Soon, we were tripping down the aisles to high-five the players. My god, that was one of the wildest things ever. I remember holding my arm out, feeling nothing but the eagerness of a gambler waiting for lot numbers to be drawn. As people started shouting “great job, man” “great game” “congratulations”, I felt stupid because I forgot to smile or say anything and I was anxious to get a high-five. Who even feels anxious about stuff like that in college?!

I blabbered like an idiot all the way home. Until the season ended, we didn’t miss one high-five session. I even started joining in on the praises and stuff. I even started to wish that I could meet the players. I got excited when I saw them on campus. I read every news article on the very next day. I willingly pulled up articles about basketball to learn more about it. Soon enough, I was throwing around words like ‘turnover’ and ‘alley-oop’. I got to meet at least two of the players, thanks to my sister who has very admirable guts. I wanted to play, too, even though the single memory I have of playing sports is like dust in the ocean. As you can tell, my brain was no longer a brain but a basketball by the end of it.

But wait, that’s not the end. I started to get inspired by one of the players. I have lots to say about him. His sportsmanship was crazy. He helped opponent team players up to their feet, he refused any form of praise without crediting his team and coach first, he demonstrated great trust for his teammates on the court, and he had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve when the ball was in his hand. Watching him, I felt like I could become a great basketball player.

After basketball season ended, I didn’t really know what to do with my life. I wanted to be a basketball player and that was all I knew. Sports is not something that is easily accessible. You need teammates, you need equipment, you need a ton of practice. It also made me wish that I had participated in some sort of sport in high school. Maybe I would’ve been some star athlete?! In those moments, I felt a lot of regret and sadness but I realized that I can’t be everything. There are a lot of us who sit and work behind desks, wishing for the life of a superstar. Ultimately, we should be thankful for what we have… Somehow.. the mood has changed… so I’ll get back to my point.

Fast forward and my delusions have somewhat faded. I’m committed to a lot of hobbies so it’s unlikely that I’ll play ball any time soon. But!! One thing I can take away from this amazing experience I’ve been blessed with is my brand new love for working out. So all those crazy things that I said and did for basketball have not been wasted.

Most importantly, I saw a light, a universe beyond my world of homework. Homework is important, but there should also be fun and that is why we say: ‘Work hard and play hard’. I’m still going to cry when I get a B instead of an A in a class… but probably not as much as I used to.

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How I started exercising again

That title sure sounds gimmicky… is what you’re probably thinking.

My clarification? No dietary supplements involved!

Okay, I think I made things worse. That makes me sound like I’m trying to sell a product even more. No, no, no. This is just a story and here it is:

Early this year, I planned to become a basketball player. I’ve been writing a post about that but it never came out because I felt awkward and silly for being so obsessive about basketball. Anyway, I initially thought I would sign up for classes and play ball next semester. While I was in that moment, I thought, oh man, I gotta start preparing and get my exercise game on if I plan on getting amazing calves like that.

I was also getting influenced by Kpop. It was hard to keep in how much I wanted to break out in dances from watching a ton of live performances and I wanted to find an outlet for that. I figured that those girls were looking so good because they were dancing every day. I have always disliked doing structured workouts because I have a hard time focusing on my form so I was like, hey, why not dance?

In the end I didn’t find good dance workouts and settled for short and effective workouts because hey, I need some stamina to play ball, right? I started to enjoy those workouts after a while. I was tired but it made me feel better after a long day at school. I kept to one workout and loved how it got easier every day. After ditching all my interests and insane study-bug behaviors to become a lazy person, I finally felt like I was improving at something.

I have also been in denial about my weight. The dreaded Freshman 15? More like Freshman 20. And it was very real, no matter how many times I looked at the scale and thought, no, the numbers are wrong and went on to stuff my face with more food. When people around me started to suggest things like how fat my face looked, the reality began to sink in. Pants I used to wear didn’t fit me anymore. The funny thing is, I always thought I was exercising enough but it was disproportionate to how much I was eating.

We always focus on things that seem “wrong” in that moment but those same things become right in retrospect. I used to think I was overweight but when I look back now, I feel like I was better back then.

I’ve been eating a lot less and that has been pretty convenient for someone who hates thinking about what to eat at school. I enjoyed my walnut and granola bar moments, though getting cravings is not fun at all. I’m glad I have my sister to keep me in check. I can get pretty crazy once I start exercising (high five, dad!) so every time she starts talking to me, I’m like, okay, if I exercise crazily for an hour, it won’t go unnoticed so I should just stop. Or more like, Would you rather choose a lecture or self-control?

I’m kidding. My sister is too nice. She’s always cooking when I’m exercising and every day I feel lucky when that happens so I try to wash the dishes without any complaints.

Long story short, I don’t really want to be a basketball player anymore. This post wouldn’t be mine if I didn’t throw in a big thesis statement about my current obsession: Super Junior is currently a big part of my life so I kind of want to be a dancer now. I hope I can continue working towards losing ten more pounds or so (not extreme since that’s about how much I put on).

Stay inspired and peace out.

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The story of a keyboard

I finally understand why English is considered one of the hardest languages to learn. So many different meanings, so few words. My friend was telling me about how she bought Fulterer keyboard slides and I kept imagining it as a piano keyboard. I finally asked her how one would attach slides to a piano. She actually meant that the slides were for computer keyboards. No wonder I was so confused! We had a good laugh after that.

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Here I am

Today has been one of those really strange days. My emotions have been all over the place. Okay, maybe this has been happening more in recent weeks but today has been one of the days I feel like writing about it.

First, today I dropped my sister off at the health center. I think that was the first time this semester I’ve been alone in the car. As I drove in silence to the building I needed to be at, I pinpointed the emotion I was experiencing. Emptiness. The seat beside me was empty and the silence was deafening. It was strange. It really was. It made me think about how I wouldn’t be the person that I am (the positive parts, of course) without my family behind me.

This morning we had an exam. The kind of exam that requires you to process and memorize so much information that your brain feels like it’s being squeezed and your eyes glaze over the words at the information overload point. I think that exam drained a lot of my energy today. I was ready for it to be over and when it was, I felt… nothing. Don’t you just hate feeling like you need to study even though the test is over already?

We had leftover Thai curry (yesterday), rice and vegetables (from two days ago) for lunch. Remind me that black rice by itself is not a good idea.

I was supposed to turn in two thank you letters today – well, I set the deadline myself – but by the time I got to the post office to get some envelopes, it was closed. I kept overthinking what I wrote in the letter, wondering if the reader would find me childish or inadequate with words. Speaking of which, I am a terrible email respondent and I have a reply sitting in my draft box, waiting to be perfected. I can only hope that when the person receives my reply, she won’t think poorly of me. I suppose if she does, it’s my fault anyway.

Then dinner was surprisingly upbeat. We ate out with friends at a popular Mexican restaurant. The food was good – I have this newfound love for fish tacos – but for the price, the portions were underwhelming. Finally, one of us announced: I’m still hungry. Everyone chimed in wholeheartedly and we decided to go get dessert at Yogurtland which is obviously our new obsession. Confession: I’m hungry as I write this and it has only been a few hours since dinner.

Last week, this is what I wrote but never posted (today’s thoughts will be added in parentheses):

“My emotions have been overflowing lately (nothing has changed since last week, huh?). Yesterday I poured my feelings into one thank you letter, one thank you post, one very brief speech, one un-brief speech to my sister about holding important positions, and one (I didn’t finish this sentence and I can’t remember what I meant to say here). I wound down with a 40-minute-long video that had me wishing I vacationed in Bern last year lol (and today I wound down with 2 40-minute-long videos that still have me wishing that I vacationed in Bern).

Then this morning a panic attack woke me up. My pillow was already damp with tears from the nightmare right before the one that woke me up. I tried to shake off the terrible feeling and immediately got to making the lists that I needed to make. All semester long, I have been feeling inadequate, feeling like I’m not doing enough, and worse still, knowing that I haven’t been doing what I need to do. It usually always boils down to this feeling.

I have asked myself over and over again this semester: Have you been slacking off? Have you been doing enough? No, is the answer I keep coming up with. I haven’t been able to bring myself to clean the apartment consistently, I haven’t put 100% into my studies, I have let my hobbies and passions slide like hot butter, I feel like I haven’t been half the responsible person that I was last year (when will I go easy on myself?), I feel like I’m letting the people I love down. I’m not and don’t want to make excuses for myself. Discovering Kpop has given me an avenue to conveniently put everything aside but when I return from those dance-y and stress-relieving videos, everything is still here waiting.

Right after that, I read a girl’s post on Fb about her depression and anxiety. We’re not that close since she took a gap year after I got to know her but after reading her post, I felt like I needed to say something to her. I wanted her to know that she’s not alone in feeling helpless and unmotivated. So I did. Sometimes I think I have no sense when it comes to timing when I say stuff and how much to say, sometimes I just let my heart lead. Today was one of those days the latter happened.

Random: It’s surprisingly easy and quick to print photos out at Costco. At 17c per photo, I’d say that’s a good deal.

Just like that, a friend that we seem to click with and feel comfortable around – the feeling is rare – is going back home to Europe next month. I feel sad that we didn’t meet earlier but what we have, I’ll treasure it. Last year, a girl I enjoyed working with moved back to the East Coast. I regret not keeping in touch with her and am considering sending her a Fb message though I am not sure if she feels the same way about me as I do.

The other day at a club meeting, I passed up on the opportunity to hold an officer position. I was very upset with myself for a few hours after that. My family tells me I’m already doing a lot. I feel like I should be doing more. The struggle… is real (on some days harder than others).

Random: Remember in my previous post about Super Junior I talked about being envious of Kpop stars’ ‘perfection’? Well, I think I began to feel that a little bit until I saw pictures of their bare face. They have the same skin tone as me under all that makeup, yay. It was beginning to feel unsettling to see their flawless shiny faces, I’ll just admit. (DongHae is everything)

Apparently, my sister can read me like an open book. She asked me while I was writing this from right across the table, “Writing an emotional post?” If anyone had any doubts that she is my better half, I think that’d be dispelled by just that one line.”

She also apparently just took one look at my face and said, “Don’t be emo.” -_- Am I that obvious?

Oh, and it’s been getting HOT. I am already getting flip flop tan lines which I swore last year I would try to avoid.

I can only be honest at the end of this post: I’m mentally tired. And also hungry.

Raine
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