And then

After one year, I went to the free and anonymous anxiety screening session to find out if I really have anxiety or not.

Long story short, it was a completely useless event. An online search for anxiety survey would have saved me a trip if I had known that it would be nothing more than checking a few boxes with extremely broad questions and having a trainee psychologist stare at me in silence after asking me what I wanted to do.

The moment I sat down, she said, ‘hmm looks like your scores were low… you have some anxiety… so what do you want to do?’ And stared at me from behind her false eyelashes with a stupid condescending smile.

(Thank you, Captain Obvious, for stating that I have SOME anxiety. I could have told myself that too.)

And I’m like, ???????? She’s asking me?????

She continued, ‘There is individual counseling and then there’s group counseling. Which are you thinking of?’

(How the fudge am I supposed to choose when you have given me NO information. And do I have anxiety? What kind? Can I tell you my problems? Is that not what you are here for?)

She kept suggesting that I attend group counseling and when I asked her how I could do that, she said I could just call in.

If she bothered talking to me a while longer, she would know that I have social anxiety when it comes to phone calls. I avoid phone calls as much as I can.

‘Do you have any questions for me?’ she asked, not looking interested in answering any that I potentially had.

I asked her what types of anxiety there are, hoping the conversation would go somewhere.

Her reply: ‘social, phobia, general…’

No discussion of my scores, no ‘how are you doing’, or ‘what’s been on your mind lately’ or even the slightest comfort in any way. She was NOT warm, NOT welcoming, and certainly NOT helpful.

So that was messed up and I left, feeling shocked that those people can even be allowed to be psychologists or counselors. I have spoken to teachers, friends, and strangers who have offered me way better words of wisdom and comfort. I am concerned for the people who have larger mental health issues that saw those ‘counselors’ today.

But even though those people didn’t have anything to offer me, I kind of stumbled upon the kind of anxiety I might have. High functioning anxiety, is what it’s called. I don’t know how valid it is but I read several articles on it and I could relate to almost everything they said about high functioning anxiety (HFA).

At first, I doubted it because I looked at the statement about how people with HFA sometimes feel the need to leave a room full of people immediately without reason. I thought, I don’t do that. I don’t know who I was trying to kid but it suddenly hit me today that I certainly do that. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a social event and suddenly I turn to my sister (or myself if I’m there alone) and say, oh God, I want to leave right now. I need to leave right now. Can I leave now? And I would sometimes even feel sick.

I had no idea it was even a thing. I thought I was being over-the-top. I am type A, I always need to ‘go, go, go’, I don’t catch a break, I stretch myself so thin by taking on everything (omg this), I compartmentalize my emotions to the point of thinking that I’m fake with people because I can’t show my real self because people will hate me if I show them my real self, I always think I’m not good enough and not doing enough and letting people down.

This is me. Now I get it.

I have no real ending to this post but somehow knowing that there are people out there are feeling the same way I do makes me feel slightly better. And also, I guess after meeting such cold and unhelpful counselors. it makes me want to be the person people can come to, can feel safe around, can feel vulnerable around without feeling judged.

Please be kind.

Raine
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Part 6: Weight, what? (Weight, who cares?)

Conclusion… kind of.

Well, I’m still not thin by Asian beauty standards therefore I suppose I’m not beautiful. But WHO CARES? Screw the standards. Tear them down and jump on ’em. I’m okay with not being a size 2 or even a size 6 (even though J.Crew lied to me and tried to make me feel better by allowing me to fit into a size 6 dress ?!?!). I’m okay with my broader-than-Asian-average shoulders and hips and let’s not forget that mini J.Lo booty.

I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. I’ve come a long way from being the exercise-loathing person with zero sense of portion control.

I exercise, I eat healthy (have I told you about the week we ate only walnuts for lunch?), I eat poorly (have I told you about the day I allowed myself to be handed a mountain of rice on a plate and I ate it all?), I gain weight, I lose weight, I fit into my jeans, sometimes I don’t, I still have anxiety but then I read Ajahn Brahm’s book and feel better, and at the end of the day, just to be cliché, I am meeeeeeee. I am enough.

And so are you.

You do healthy you and you’re fine. Who cares what people say about your size? Okay, it hurts and you can’t help caring but don’t let it hold you back or drag you under. We need to focus on inner beauty and stop all these needless mean comments. You might think it harmless to make a comment about someone’s size or looks but it could affect them more than you’ll ever know.

Especially as a child. There’s a difference between being a bit bigger than average and being unhealthy. If a child is not eating healthy and not getting any physical activity in, point them in the direction of living a healthy lifestyle, don’t label them as fat and tear down their self-esteem. Teach them self-love. Teach them that everyone’s body is different. Teach them that there is no specific size for healthy and beautiful.

It has been a long and slow back-and-forth process of accepting and not letting people tell me how I should feel about my own body but now when I look back at old photos, I don’t see a fat kid. I see me. I see me who had no problem being the size I was. And it’s a good feeling.

I still have my days – like this one – but for the most part, I now brush off ignorant comments about my size because I’m not going to let some distant relative – or some freaking stranger – tell me what I should look like and how I should feel. You can take your unsolicited advice and shove it up yours.

Elasticized waistbands and I still belong together no matter what you say, though. They have been with me, through thick and thin. Thick and thin, geddit? Haha.

P.S: Even as I wrote this, there was a battle going on inside my head, wondering if I’m being entirely ridiculous and stupid for writing this when in reality, I was and am fat. Can you see how ridiculous it is to have ‘fat’ and all its negative implications thrust upon you and having to deal with it for the rest of your life? ‘Rest of your life’ sounds absurd but the inner fat kid inferiority complex that remains even when you know you’ve lost weight? It’s as real as real gets. Please think the next time you intend to open your mouth and give ‘well-meaning’ comments about someone else’s size.

Double P.S: You’re supposed to read the ‘weight’ in my title as ‘wait’.

In case you missed it: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

Raine
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An inconsiderate potluck party

potluck1It’s no secret that I enjoy a good buffet/potluck party.

Before it turned into an overpriced buffet with significantly watered down food quality, we used to frequent this classy Japanese buffet religiously (maybe that’s why I’m so convinced that we’re Japanese). We went there for the wide spread of Japanese food but as the years went by, the customer profile began to change and eventually so did the menu. Soon they were serving things like porridge and chicken nuggets to people who had no decent manners (think: shoving others or cutting the queue at the buffet line or shouting like they were in their own home or piling their plates and leaving NONE for others or leaving the buffet lines filthy). It came as no surprise when we all jointly agreed to stop going there.

I like food but I also like manners. That’s a buffet story.

Here’s the potluck one: I always used to think that potlucks were gatherings where invited guests would bring batches or trays of homemade food. Because my mom never once showed up to a party with store-bought food and because I had never been to a potluck which had store-bought food, potlucks, to me, were always associated with the words ‘homemade food’. Maybe that’s completely wrong. Maybe it’s simply associated with the words ‘contributed dish’ which can mean either store-bought or homemade.

More than 20 years into my life, it was to my undisguised shock and confusion that I found out people actually bring store-bought food to potlucks. It was a Christmas party. We baked and brought – at the risk of sounding fluffy and clichéd – cupcakes (Mom suggested bringing deviled eggs but that didn’t happen). I feel some need to point out that we were not aboard the Cupcake Mania Express when cupcakes rose to stardom years ago. Anyway, off we went to the party with a box of freshly-frosted cupcakes. I couldn’t help but wonder what the other guests would bring. I happened to be aware that some of them are challenged in the culinary department.

The hosts were still cooking in the kitchen when we arrived. We were told to place our cupcakes on the table. A good idea, too, since oftentimes people forget about the food in the fridge that they meant to bring out for dessert later. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Some of the guys had arrived… with KFC meal buckets. And apparently two different groups of guys had run into each other at the same KFC.

I was stumped. I felt cheated. How can this be a potluck party with the Colonel’s mashed potatoes and Original Recipe chicken drumsticks?! That was before the store-bought papaya salad showed up. I began to realize, with a sinking feeling, that my idea of a potluck could have been wrong all this while. WRRRRRRRRRRONG. It’s like when they tell you the tooth fairy isn’t real (I always knew it was my mom slipping money under my pillow). That Christmas party forced me to rethink my idea of a potluck gathering.

I accept it. I accept that people do – and often – bring store-bought food to potlucks but here’s why I think it should be exception rather than the norm. I get that sometimes people don’t have time to prepare food – this 9-to-5 grind has made me rethink how I used to spend my free time since now the only time I get to go out is during the weekends (oh hell no) – and other reasons like not knowing how to cook or whatever. But cooking isn’t hard and there are a bazillion recipes out there that you can whip up in less than 15 minutes and yes, for more than 10 people! Better still, there are recipes you can prepare ahead of time and just bring on the day of the party! Unless it’s a super last minute party and you really can’t be bothered, at least try not to show up with KFC buckets?!

I think homemade food shows effort and sincerity. Not that store-bought food doesn’t (and it’s still way better than showing up empty-handed). Also, I don’t think you should feel pressured about cooking or overthink your kitchen skills. It’s not a Master Chef competition, after all, and hey, if people don’t like the food you made, at least you can say you tried.

Maybe I’m just old-school. Wouldn’t be the first time someone has thought that of me.

Oh, and there wasn’t enough food for everyone at that Christmas party. I think I went home and had ramen. A good potluck party should have just enough food, if not extra, for everyone and everyone, as guests, should take one helping per food and only go back for seconds if they need to.

Okay, you’re thinking, so you like buffets and potlucks, you like manners, and you don’t think someone should show up to a potluck with store-bought food. So what?

Here’s what.

Two weeks ago, I received a most delightful email in my work inbox. Potluck gathering in 2 weeks, please post the food item you’ll be bringing. I’m like, yeaaaaaaah fooooooooood yeaaaaaaaah! I only voiced my excitement when I got home, of course.

Over the next two weeks, I diligently opened every email regarding the potluck to read the updated list of foods that each department was bringing. I noted that most of the contributed foods would be store-bought.

On the day of the potluck, I brought a container. Y’know, just in case there was extra at the end and the organizers wanted to dump it (say no to food waste). I didn’t bring a container intending on filling it up to the top with food and gleefully running away with tonight’s dinner. I’m frugal and practical but my mom also taught me manners. I’m not going to, out of greed, deprive a fellow guest of their share of food.

I arrived at work, ready to leave my desk at 11:30 sharp to head upstairs for the party. An email popped up. I read it. I deflated. I had read the date wrong. The potluck wasn’t until three days later. Oh well, it was vegetarian day anyway so it was a good thing after all.

Three days later, it’s today! The day I get to take a 2-hour lunch break to enjoy a free meal at the expense of the generous folks in each department. I left the containers at home after several people warned me against it.

My mom doesn’t have to worry about our behavior when we attend events with food. We know the drill. She knows we won’t dive for the buffet bar before everyone else neither will we pile our plates embarrassingly high. We won’t attack the food as if we’ve been starved for weeks and we most certainly won’t waste food by taking things we know we don’t like. We may go for seconds but third rounds are rare.

I spend the morning on my work and finish it long before my boss graces us with her presence at, I don’t know, 10:30am? I poke around on CNN and New York Times until it’s 11:00am. I don’t want to be sardined in the elevator with the others later so I get up at 11:10 and go upstairs. I use the washroom because it’s the cleanest one out of the other floors and pop inside the office. I find my usual cozy spot and wait.

At 11:20, I crane my head over the row of cubicles to see if everything has been set up. No. Ladies are still bustling about, arranging food and cutlery and chairs. I get up anyway and walk over to inspect. Everything looks about done. I walk back to my seat and think, I’ll go back in 5 minutes.

More than 5 minutes later, I stand up and walk over to the meeting room where the spread is. I am stunned to find that there is a line snaking out the door. When did the horde arrive? In mere minutes too? I join the line. The line crawls. It’s like the city traffic jam at peak hour. The room is filled with people trying to get food. A young woman squeezes past me with a plate piled with meat skewers. It’s clear it’s not for one person.

I think little of it and reach for a plate. In front, someone cuts into the line. Nobody says anything. I am reminded of the article my mom read aloud to me about why Chinese people love cutting lines. I reach for the first dish. It’s a baked pasta dish. I cut a small slice and flop it onto my plate. I ignore the brownies and go for the fruit tarts. I adore fruit tarts.

The line stalls again. I look ahead. A girl steps out of the line – or should I say, clump since there were a few people all crammed up against the table – and I see her plate. It would seem that she emptied the entire container of fried snacks onto her plate. She scurries towards the exit the same way the woman earlier did.

The clump disperses. A guy has, if I’m not mistaken, grabbed dozens of bags of individually-packed fruit. He, too, leaves. I look around the room. There are a few other young men and women piling plates and plates with a single type of food. I begin to see a pattern and I begin to remember where I’ve seen these faces.

I begin to seethe but not that hard.

It’s them. The two rows of young men and women sitting one row behind me that are always screaming and shouting obnoxiously, having loud conversations without a care in the world. The ones whom I have thought many times of saying ‘WILL YOU SHUT THE F**K UP?’ to. The ones who so deeply remind me of all the similar folks that I had the displeasure of going to high school/college with. The ones who belong to a single ever-expanding group that continuously bring shame and a bad name to the decent people of our race and culture. Unprofessional twats. Rude twats.

Oh, will I just say it? The Chinese people whom you read about in the newspapers and snort in disgust at. The uncivilized Chinese people whose horrific behavior and manners bring shame to the rest of the good people of Chinese descent. Yes, there, I said it.

From the corner of my eye, I watch them leave the cramped room with their full plates. I chalk their behavior up to the typical every day behavior of their kind and continue making my way down the buffet line. I take a little bit of this and that. I skip two or three dishes because a new line has formed there. I carry my plates – one with dessert, the other with entrees – and find my cozy spot to enjoy lunch.

I’m eating halfway when it is announced that the meat skewers have finished. It has been barely fifteen minutes since the lunch started. I think to myself, oh, I should go get the rice and chicken that I missed before it’s gone. I abandon my plates and rejoin the line. The line crawls. I look at the other trays. Almost everything is nearly finished. Even the fruits that I didn’t put on my plate earlier are gone.

When I finally reach the rice, I find that there are only three miserable scoops left in the gigantic box. The two men behind me in line are only joining the line for the first time. There’s nothing left for them. I take half a scoop and look at the tray of chicken. Only piddly bits and bones are left. It doesn’t look appetizing. I scoop the sauce but leave the rest. I move down the line. The only dish remaining is stir-fried seafood noodles. I look back with mixed feelings at the men who are scraping whatever is left onto their plates. Next to going out to buy lunch, that’s all they can do.

I go back to my seat, seething for real now. I’m angry and upset. I picture those selfish a**holes/greedy f**ks feasting downstairs while here scraps are all the rest get. I feel a sense of injustice for those who haven’t eaten and those who wanted to wait a little for the lines to clear. I get very upset when I see that people don’t have enough to eat. This could have been easily avoided if everyone could be civilized or considerate enough to take only one helping each. The potluck could have used a little extra food but I’m sure there would have been enough for everyone if people didn’t take a big bunch of everything and leave nothing for the rest.

I am now just hearing from the two rows behind a girl crowing about the fact that her buddy, one of the guys, took five packets of noodles for himself.

I have nothing more to say.

It’s no secret that I enjoy a good buffet/potluck party and loathe selfish and rude partygoers.

Raine
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Dish washing and crab lessons

There is a saying in another language about a crab teaching its child how to walk straight. It’s easy to tell what that means. It means to teach someone to be/do something, you have to show them how to do it. If father crab himself walks sideways, how does he expect his child to know how to walk straight?

This is a saying that I’ve kept close to me because it applies to my life so much.

Growing up, my dad would always say, ‘Don’t be like dad in x way or y way’ or ‘don’t pick up dad’s bad habits’.

As I grew older, I realized how funny those words were. How is telling someone to not be like them any good if you don’t practice what you preach? How can anyone know what you actually mean if you don’t show it? Why should anyone even pay heed to your advice if you don’t do it yourself? Actions speak louder than words, especially to kids, I feel.

My dad also told me to set a good example for my sister.

I did not have a good example set for me by my brother which actually worked out alright because I’ve learned a lot of things on my own, figured out what I want to be and what I don’t want to be, and had my mom as someone to look up to. My moral compass has also been a leading force in my life for which I am grateful for.

Anyway, I told myself that I would learn from my dad’s inability to practice what he preached and consciously make the effort to be the good example to follow so that I would be able to say, ‘hey, try to be like this, you know?’. Not, of course, to other people, but to my sister.

Today I found myself in a situation where I realized that I couldn’t say, ‘hey, like this, you know?’ because I haven’t shown a good example in that department.

The situation was dish washing. I wash the dishes without gloves most of the time. I’m crap. I know, I know. When I started helping out with the dishes years ago, it was maybe one bowl and one spoon. One bowl turned into three bowls then into three bowls and five plates then into a full 30 minute dish washing session. It just turned into a thing.

My sister washes the dishes with gloves and she makes it a point to nag me about wearing gloves but lately I’ve seen her washing them without gloves. Today I almost opened my mouth to say, ‘why aren’t you wearing gloves?’ but realized that I don’t have the right since I don’t do it myself.

Consequently, I felt like shit.

Isn’t it absolutely crappy when you realize that you can’t preach because you don’t practice?

So I’ve decided that even though washing the dishes without gloves is so much faster because I don’t have to dry my hands and put the stupid gloves on then take them off and air dry them, I will consciously make the effort to wear the gloves to do the dishes.

Here’s a late 2015 goal for me. Let’s see how I do.

Raine
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In the news lately

This is one of those posts again. It’s hard for me to give these posts a title without me being too emo or something.

I’ve been reading pretty depressing news lately which is why I try not to read the news (I have a personal news dispenser aka my sister who will read news headlines to me every day anyway).

1. I followed a link on Twitter that somehow ended up with me reading disturbing news about a guy abusing his fiancee. I watched the video and it was ugly and shocking and I felt very sad for both the guy and the girl.

People often think nothing/little of abuse or domestic violence. At least those who have never witnessed or been a victim of abuse. “Oh, it’s just a family/couple arguing.” “Oh, the mother probably upset the father.” They make excuses for what is blatantly obvious or they pretend they don’t see it.

To those people, shame on you.

The victims of abuse need help and often they don’t know where to turn to because they’re scared and embarrassed because how the hell can you say ‘hey, my dad/my boyfriend/whoever is beating the shit out of me/belittling me to the point of wrecking me’? Most people can’t expose their abuse because their abuser is someone they care about (even if they’re doing all those bad things to them).

And it’s not unusual for the victim to forgive the abuser after that. They make excuses for their abuser or blame themselves with thoughts like ‘s/he was having a bad day’ or ‘I shouldn’t have said that to him/her’ or ‘s/he won’t do it again, that was a one-off’. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s hard to break out of it without help and support.

When people tell you they’re being abused, know that it has taken them forever to work up the courage to admit something so painful and embarrassing. It’s a cry for help. Help for the victim AND the abuser. Don’t brush it off and make excuses for their abuser. That doesn’t help.

I know abuse. It’s ugly and sad and frankly doesn’t do shit for either the abuser or the victim. Abuse doesn’t necessarily mean violence. It can also mean mental abuse which honestly is just as bad because even years down the road, it still affects you.

There were insensitive comments in those articles as well as on Twitter. It breaks my heart to see that people actually think that if a woman hits a man, she should expect to be hit. Or a man can hit a woman if she hits him first. Or something along those nasty lines.

No. It’s wrong. Either way, it’s wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right. How do people not realize that yet?

There are so many things I want to say about abuse but for now, to people out there who are being abused and can’t seem to get help (because some places just don’t offer enough help), know that there are people who will believe your story. Keep staying strong whether for yourself or your family.

2. If you’ve been floating around on Facebook enough times lately (or Youtube since it’s now on there), you might have seen the video of the Thai lady who filmed a bunch of Chinese tourists’ bad manners (cutting queues and being rowdy) at a Korean airport.

I watched it a while back on Facebook and thought, omg so true. It happens. Oh, it happens more times than I can count. Like where do these people come from (rhetoric) and HOW do they not know that their behavior is TERRIBLE?

Today someone posted the Youtube link and I clicked on it, not knowing that it was the same link. I read the comments on Youtube and was promptly quite sickened by the stuff that people wrote. So much ignorance, hatred and stupidity.

People were trying to argue which types of Chinese people or Asians are better than which. Some said all Chinese are rude. Some even tried to offer other Asians as being equally rude. It was plain ignorant and unnecessary.

I get that rude China people are hated because of all the disgusting things they do. And sadly, there are various Chinese of different nationalities who have adopted similar appalling rude behavior. You would think that people who see disgusting behavior would stay away from it and try to be the opposite but no. Goodness only knows how annoying it is to have your line cut (constantly, I might add) or have to listen to obnoxious yelling or deal with unhygienic toilet etiquette (omg).

BUT, a group of Chinese tourists does not encompass all the Chinese people on this planet. Besides, there are sooo many countries where Chinese people come from so how can you say that all Chinese are the same? The people in the video are from the mainland (obviously China) but apparently to plenty of ignorant people, everyone is from the mainland. Um, please no. I’m also not saying that all mainland Chinese behave like that…

To the people who read news about disgusting behavior by Chinese people, please understand that the word Chinese is a huge umbrella for various Chinese people living in different countries. They are not all the same. Side note: some are actually refusing to be labeled Chinese because of the generally bad name that has been given to the Chinese. That is the extent of how much people don’t want to be associated with the bad stuff.

3. If you’ve seen the news or, you know, been on Twitter or some kind of social media, you probably heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal.

My first thought after hearing about the earthquake was the Nepalese waiter from a Vietnamese restaurant back home who was so good to us. He remembered our orders and was just an all-round cheerful guy. He left a couple of years ago but we occasionally still think about him and wonder how he is. I immediately wondered if he was back in Nepal and if he was alright.

My heart goes out to all the people affected. I pray that help gets to them quickly. Nepal is a relatively poor nation and it’s clear they were not prepared for something this devastating. People have lost their homes, their lives, their families. That’s why we need to help them. I’m happy that our school sent out an email asking people to donate or help out in any way.

We donated to Paul Walker’s charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). His brother, Cody, is carrying on the good work and they have already deployed help to Nepal. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. If you have already donated to other charities, good on ya.

4. Today I lent my book to this girl to copy my notes. She sat diagonally in front of me. She was wearing a tank top. I didn’t notice anything odd about her for the first half of the class. Then I noticed.

Lines. Pale but distinct lines. Scars on her lower left arm. Cutting scars. I have only ever seen such scars in Tumblr posts by people who cut so I was stunned and saddened to see the scars on her arm.

Questions ran through my mind: Why did she do it? What happened? How old are those scars? Did her family know? Is she alright now?

It made me sad to see that someone could go through things that would lead them harm themselves. I wanted to say something to her but didn’t know what and I didn’t think it would be appropriate. We need to care about people around us more. People ought to give and receive love and support so that things like this don’t have to happen.

5. My sister and I were on Youtube watching some videos when we stumbled across a video in which the man filmed racist remarks being thrown at him on public transport. This guy is white and the guy making racist comments was an old Korean man.

Racism is everywhere, unfortunately, and the guy being racist was saying mean/hurtful things and among the things that the old man said was, ‘we are Buddhist’. I was confused and well, angered, by this Korean man’s statement because I don’t think any religion condones racism. And people should know this.

What I couldn’t understand was why the guy filming would take that to heart and say ‘maybe the guy was being racist because he’s a Buddhist’. No, he’s being a racist because he’s a racist. People using their religion as an excuse to be racist and people blaming racism on religion have got it all wrong.

And what’s worse was the comments. People were saying things like, ‘my friend’s father is Buddhist and he’s super racist’. I can’t speak for other religions but if anyone knew anything about Buddhism, it’s that Buddhism is built on compassion and wisdom. This article actually explains compassion and wisdom quite simply but effectively.

Saying things like ‘he was this or that because he’s a Buddhist’ only lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. Similarly, throwing out you’re Buddhist when you’re doing something bad also causes unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. We don’t need that.

x

And that’s all I have. Reading through, I realize that there is a point to my post:

Let’s be kinder to each other.

Raine
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On this and that

Hello. My mind’s been on a few things and I thought I’d spill them onto here.

On anger:

After reading this interview article, a certain part of it hasn’t quite left my mind. It goes along the lines of: people often think that there are only two ways to handle anger – one, express it, and two, suppress it. But there’s something else you can do with anger: understand it.

Isn’t that interesting? You hear things about letting your anger out by punching a pillow or screaming from the top of a mountain but does that really help? Is the anger gone afterwards? Does the anger leave with every punch or scream you make?

When I think back on the things I used to do to express my anger, I realize that it was just a temporary way to relieve my emotions. In the long run, the anger remaining would collect and eventually explode. It’s just ugly and unhealthy, the way it would collect and explode.

I’ve been trying to understand anger. It’s not easy to remember to try to understand anger but the few times that I have, it has been good for me. I realize that if I stop myself from getting angry and try to understand where the other person’s anger is coming from or why I’m angry at something, I tend to realize that it wasn’t worth getting angry at in the first place.

It’s a work in the progress so I’m still prone to letting my emotions get to me but the contents of that article have helped me see anger in a different light.

On change:

I watched a Q&A video with Thich Nhat Hanh (who as you may remember from a previous post is a Buddhist monk) and this video provoked many new and deep thoughts that I hadn’t considered before.

I realized that what he said is true. Perhaps to change someone, we must first recognize the other person in ourselves and change the things we wanted to change in the other person. Is that confusing? We must recognize that we have parts of other people in us. Everyone who has entered our life surely must have touched our life in some way (whether good or bad) and we can’t just pretend it didn’t happen and we can’t erase their existence from our life.

I’m still reading The Art of Communicating. The simplicity of Thich Nhat Hanh’s word usage is what I love about this book besides the simple yet moving messages behind each passage. Everything is just laid out for you to read and absorb.

On spring break:

That one week flew by just like that. While everyone was in New York or the beach or wherever, we were at home, relaxing. We didn’t go out much except to TJ Maxx to browse the handbag and decor aisles. On Friday, the semi-official start of spring break, we were too tired from sitting for a few midterms so we came home and didn’t do much apart from watching a few Chemistry videos and episodes of Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu.

On Saturday, we celebrated the end of midterms and the start of spring break with lunch at our favorite Thai place. Of course, we planned ahead and ordered enough so that we would have dinner (and dinner the next day lol). On Sunday, we had dim sum with a friend and that was all the outside food we had for the rest of spring break.

Which leads me to my next subheading…

But before that, I forgot that we did a few other things worthy of a mention. We finally washed our car. It’s not dirt-or-dust-coated anymore, hooray. After weeks of procrastination, we got it done in 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. We also did some spring cleaning so now stuff is kinda clean.

On kitchen adventures:

Over spring break, we made cream puffs and custard filling, shepherd’s pie, our favorite tomato and basil pasta (absolutely delicious as our professor often says about the food he’s talking about), stir-fried noodles with minced pork (so good that we had it twice), baked potatoes, German potato salad, croissants stuffed with rotisserie chicken and guacamole, and roasted basil chicken. This may not seem like a lot (or maybe it does) but that’s mostly because there are only two of us so each dish takes us at least two meals to finish.

We cooked all that except for the croissants & rotisserie chicken which were from Costco because sometimes we need a break too. Our cream puffs were amaziiing and even though it took us a long time to get everything done (it was our first attempt), it was worth it! Most of the recipes are from my mom who is our master chef mentor haha.

I have never cooked so much in my life and clearly, neither has my sister. It’s crazy. The kitchen is where the fun is at though.

Side note: I discovered that German potato salad is warm which is the way I’ve always liked it. Cold potato salad is also yummy but the warm one is my favorite because it tastes good warm OR cold.

Here, have a picture:

springbreakmeals

On more Chemistry:

Our song list has grown to 60 songs. It has been roughly 2 months since our ‘official’ obsession with them.

Here, have a video:

On writing:

A first draft of a novel has been completed. This. is. bizarre. How did I do it?! I feel like there should be a bunch of exclamation marks here but I’m somehow feeling oddly controlled about this.

No coffee was consumed before, during, or after this writing process. I always hear about coffee fueling people but uh, coffee doesn’t even cross my mind haha.

On online friendships:

My sister and I were reminiscing long and hard the other day about our Maple Story days. We had more online friends than I can count and it was brilliant while it lasted. People were so warm and welcoming and honest back then. I was 13 when I started playing and almost 15 when I stopped. Most of the people who played at that time were around my age too so it was really fun.

The 1.5 years of Maple Story resulted in lots of memories, both good and bad. We made friends and ‘families’, laughed with them, fought with them, trained with them. Sometimes I wonder what happened to all those friends and sometimes I wish I had saved some of those friendships. Sometimes I just feel a pang of longing for people I could have been good friends with. Sometimes you just know, you know.

You have been playing Maple Story for 12 hours. We suggest you take a break. so the sign would pop up in our chat box at the end of the day.

NOOOOOOOOOO, is what we would say.

We are also half-ashamed and half-amused to admit that we were, indeed, addicted to it and it was right for our mom to put an end to our addiction. But oh what glorious days those were.

On studying/living abroad:

‘Going on holiday, eh?’ the people back home ask.

I don’t think they know how far off they are. This is not a vacation to us by any means. Maybe it is to the kids whose parents fling cash at them and tell them to do whatever with it. Buy a sports car, buy booze, buy a house, buy the whole town, go on. I know a good number of kids like that.

I don’t know what goes on in those people’s lives but to me, in these 8-9 months that I’ve been here, I’ve learned much more than I would ever have if I had studied back home. This experience is rich. It has taught me so much about myself – my life, identity, perceptions, impressions, mentality, culture – and the world as a whole.

If you had asked me early last year whether I could see myself driving to school, making my own three meals a day, doing weekend grocery-shopping, doing a bazillion chores, paying my own bills (what) and fighting bugs, I would have laughed in your face and told you flat out, NO. In that sense, I guess I’ve been spoiled by my parents a bit? Haha.

But words will never be enough for me to describe how grateful I am for my parents for giving me and my sister this opportunity to study abroad. Contrary to what people wrongly assume, our parents work hard to put us in college so everyone who accuses people who study abroad of being loaded needs to shut up and sit down. Don’t lump everyone into one category based on only the other rich and spoiled kids you see.

On white vinegar:

If you missed it, we had to battle a cockroach this week and it was terrifying. Thank goodness for Victoria who answered my sister’s tweet and told us to spray white vinegar onto it. There was a lot of screaming, scrambling, and spraying. It took us 2 hours to get rid of the cockroach. Lots of vinegar and bug spray was used.

Who knew that white vinegar would come in handy?! Not me when I bought it. I originally bought a bottle of white vinegar to make a delicious chili marinade but couldn’t figure out what to do with the rest so I Googled the uses. Apparently there are 100+ uses for vinegar and I’ve since tested out some of them.

I dumped a load of white vinegar into the washing machine that day. It also helped get rid of the kitchen grease on the stove top which was a pleasant surprise because I tried using Method but it only worked to a certain extent. The other things I did with the white vinegar were clean out empty jars and rinse the sink. I need to do that with the kitchen sink soon.

If you know of any other great white vinegar tips, let us know!

On other types of ignorant and annoying people:

My sister overheard someone trying to persuade another girl to travel with friends within the US for summer.

The girl said: I don’t feel like it. Traveling is quite tiring and my dad won’t allow it.

The persuader said: But it’s FUN! You should go. Here, let me look up plane tickets for you. Look, it’s only $600 to New York. You should go. It’s really fun. -promptly starts planning out an entire itinerary for the girl-

Answers like ‘traveling is tiring’ are generally NOT accepted by the locals I know (aka ahem, from where we come from). Relatives and friends will judge you based on how much money you spend. Douche move? I think so too. But that’s the way it is back home. Peer pressure is real shit back home and no words will allow me to describe how annoying and incredibly stupid it is.

The problem does not lie in spending money on vacations because who doesn’t like traveling to places? The problem lies in these people traveling to show off/flaunt their money and judging other people who don’t do the same.

Someone’s got a Michael Kors bag? Okay, you HAVE to have one or at least a similar upscale designer bag because if you don’t, you will be disqualified from their friend list. I mean, come on, you’re not IN enough!! How can one be seen with someone carrying a $10 bag when the other person is carrying a real leather tote handmade in Italy that cost at least 100 times of that?! -note sarcasm-

Someone is paying $25 for an English breakfast which isn’t even good but is famous because of the unique decor? Someone is eating at a Mexican restaurant that serves nachos for $40 and you haven’t been? You HAVE to go because if you don’t, face disqualification and/or harsh judgment.

Someone went on a full two-week Europe tour? You HAVE to go on a similar vacation because if you don’t, prepare to face potential gossip about how you’re poor.  Like, omg you can’t afford to travel, ewww. Or, eww someone who doesn’t want to go to New York or Paris? So boring. People are judgmental, yes they are.

Does going on vacations measure my worth? No, it doesn’t, so people need to shut up and stop with their stupid peer pressure.

All I can say is, live within your means. If you can afford it, go for it. If you can afford but don’t want to do/buy/eat something or go somewhere, then don’t. If you can’t afford it, that’s absolutely fine too and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about not being able to.

And that’s it, folks. Apparently I had a lot to say. Have a lovely little Monday.

Raine
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High-low Wednesday

Today I’m upset. I’m upset over a few things.

I obviously didn’t have anything better to do with my 2-hour break today and at first spent it doodling on a piece of paper and having a laugh to myself over my drawings. Then it started unraveling.

If I think hard enough about the reason why I started getting more and more upset, it’s probably because today in class, I joined in on a conversation with some classmates and then later realized that I suck at making friends. Why? Because I suck at being myself. Why? Because I’ve closed myself off to people. Why? Because, once upon a time, I was randomly backstabbed by the first friend I made in elementary school and it has left me scarred.

And it didn’t occur to me that that incident had left such a great impact on me until today. I mean, I knew it did but I didn’t know that it had become a freaking domino effect that would end up hurting who I am today.

Here’s the story about the backstabbing incident: this ‘friend’ of mine was telling me nasty things about another girl (let’s call her X). We were librarians, by the way. Also, we were in 6th grade, I think. I just sat there, listening. I was like, okay, rant away. I was her friend. I was there to listen to her, right? I just nodded and probably said yeah twice.

A few days later, I was confronted by some other librarian girls and asked why I said nasty things about X. And I’m like ??? Whuuuut ??? I told them I didn’t say those things. Said ‘friend’ was also in that little group that came to confront me, pretending that she was shocked by the situation. Um, probably should’ve punched her in the gut right then, right?

Instead, I realized that I’d been falsely accused and backstabbed by my own ‘friend’. So I said outright, well, ‘friend’ told me those things. I didn’t say them. She did; I just listened.

And what do you know? Because of said ‘friend’s excellent drama and natural bootlicking skills, nobody believed me. LOL. I should’ve known that nothing good would come out of changing schools the previous year. All the people – students and teachers – in that school were – and most definitely probably still are – jerks and assholes.

I don’t know why she did it. It’s not like we fought or anything. I just chalk it up to some people being cruel assholes who revel in other people’s misery.

My so-called ‘friend’ decided it wasn’t enough to just backstab me for no apparent reason; she decided to leave anonymous hate mail in my desk every day (probably feeling hella guilty; just kidding, she seems to be incapable of guilt). Cool. I had no idea who was doing it or why and all the time, said ‘friend’ pretended to be shocked and vowed to help me find out who was doing mean things to me. Um, WHY was she even still talking to me at that point? I have NO idea.

Well, anyway, to summarize the story, said ‘friend’ later confessed that it had been her sending me hate mail all along. She apologized. I don’t remember what I said. She never apologized for accusing me of saying those bad things.

You naive idiot, was what I told myself later on in high school after we went our separate ways. You big fat trusting stupid fool.

I began to recall all the incidents when said ‘friend’ had backstabbed me during earlier years. She dumped me like a hot potato for ‘cooler’ friends in 4th grade and I had thought NOTHING of that. Wow me. Wow.

So this naive idiot shut all the doors and build herself a nice tall fortress to hide behind. Alright, you can call me Elsa. Just kidding. I make fun of closing myself off to people and not trusting ‘friends’ anymore but it’s not fun. It’s not fun at all. It sucks.

Till this day, somehow, I’m still Facebook friends with this backstabber. Every year she still posts happy birthday messages on my wall and every time I read them, I think to myself or say out loud: FAKE SHIT.

Today was one of those days when I asked myself WHY? Why are you even still friends on Facebook with someone like her? I mean, I hardly even ever use Fb anymore but when I do log on, she’s there on my feed. And I hate it.

Have I forgiven her? Yes. But I can’t pretend it didn’t happen. And the monk that I talked to (read: choked out unintelligible words to while sobbing grossly) told me: don’t do stupid things. I asked her what that meant. These lines from this article explain it all and is basically what the monk told me:

Being patient and compassionate does not mean you let people take advantage of you. It does not mean that you allow other people to harm and beat you up. That is stupidity, not compassion!

Which makes sense. I was a friend to her and I was also soft so she saw a chance to use me as a scapegoat. Well, dang, you messed with the wrong girl.

You might ask, if you’ve forgiven her, then why can’t you still be Fb friends with her? You don’t have to talk to her, right? You are most certainly correct. But I think it’s toxic to continue pretending that there’s still some kind of neutral/mutual feeling left. Nope. None. Friends, we are not. Also, there she is, on Fb, being ‘BFFs’ with another friend of mine whom I used to be close to (another story, that one). It kind of sickens me because I know she will backstab again.

Which brings me back to the point I want to make in this post. The more I thought about her and what she had done and how it had affected my school life, the angrier I got.

I announced to my sister: ‘When I go home today, I’m going to delete her from Fb.’

And my sister was like, whoa where did that come from?

I wanted to come home and delete ALL the people that I don’t talk to or barely even know. I have like 100 friends on there, 3/4 of which I can’t even call friends. I need to spring clean the crap out of my Fb friends, I thought to myself. I will.

I have let this person subconsciously affect my life. Enough of this shit. Is it going to be easy to let those walls down? No. Is it worth a shot? Yeah. I may slip and stumble along the way and want to retreat further into my shell – already do, no kidding – but I can’t keep hiding in here if I want to make friends.

So here’s to spring-cleaning your ‘friend’ list and getting rid of the garbage that was weighing you down.

The second thing that set me off today was the geology textbook I was reading. After a fascinating lecture about what the Earth is made of (and I thank my mom for introducing me to geology at an early age), I found myself a table to study at while waiting for my next class. Inspired by today’s topic, I decided to read ahead but found it hard to wrap my head around all the complicated theories that my professor usually simplifies to make it easier to understand.

So I flipped back to previous chapters that we had already covered. Trust me to zoom right into the extinction subheading. The more I read, the more upset I got. Why? Because it was about how humans are causing the next big wave of extinction. I don’t know if the statistics are correct in the book but it said that soon, hundreds of species will die out every day in the next 20 to 30 years.

The textbook also said that the destruction of rain forests causes the most extinction because that’s where most of the species can be found. There was even a picture of a gorgeous tiger with a caption about how tigers are going extinct. I have always had a soft spot for tigers so that was upsetting to read. It was all just downright depressing.

I sat there, thinking of how selfish human beings are and wondering why we can’t all just co-exist peacefully on Earth. I cried.

I feel sorry for all the animals and nature being wiped out and at the same time, I feel sorry for the human beings who are obsessed with making profit and not giving a shit about anything but themselves.

You know what’s even sadder? That people don’t care. Who even gives a damn about tigers going extinct? Who gives a damn about people slicing fins off sharks and throwing them back into the ocean to die? Who is bothered about future generations not being able to see majestic wildlife? WHO? Except for environmentalists, some experts, and a handful of people who realize that this is an effing big problem, who?

I can’t even read news about people hunting near-extinct animals like rhinos and sharks. Stop it. Just stop it.

People are shallow these days (maybe more so than ever though I could be wrong). I’m not generalizing but I have met SO many unbelievably selfish and self-absorbed people. What do people even care about these days other than perpetually scrolling through their Instagram feed to like pretty pictures or celeb selfies or inspirational quotes that don’t do shit for you if you don’t even practice what you ‘like’? Do people even think about what they actually LIKE about the picture or how the picture makes them feel before double-tapping the screen? I look around in college and see that if people are not texting, they’re on Instagram. Always.

People nowadays are also more concerned about outer appearance aka superficial crap. I love me a beautifully-shot photo but I also don’t mind a picture taken with a 2 megapixel camera phone. Both can  be equally beautiful if the content is meaningful. Which subsequently kind of begs the question, why do people ‘like’ beautiful photos of nature when they can’t even play their part in protecting flora and fauna on Earth??? Outer appearance also means looks. Why can’t complimenting be not based on looks only in many instances? Why can’t people see past looks and say things like, ‘You have a great laugh’ or ‘I like that you’re patient’?

These are just examples. I’m not bashing Instagram or claiming that I don’t like good photographs. People need to dig a bit deeper into their cores and think for themselves what is important and what is not. You are important but it shouldn’t always be ‘me, myself, and I’.

I’m not trying to say that we should all drop what we’re doing and adopt an animal or devote our lives to preserving the environment. I’m just saying that if we all cared a teensy weensy bit more about things bigger than ourselves, it would make a whole world of change. That’s achievable, I should think.

Have I made sense in this post? I sure hope so. Having taken an astronomy class and now taking a geology class has really opened my eyes to so many important things. In astronomy, you learn that there are things waaaaaay bigger out there, time and space are seemingly incomprehensible concepts to wrap your head around, and you are smaller than a speck (pale blue dot, anyone?). In geology, you learn that the Earth is pretty much all humans have (at least right now), things are changing all the time, there’s still so much to learn about our planet and we need to take care of what we have now.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say.

As to why this post is entitled ‘high-low’, it’s because my professor wears a high-low polo shirt and totally rocks it.

Raine
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