a really impressive title goes here

I wanted to write another blog post to update like I said I would, but I found that I wasn’t sure what to write about at this current time. So please bear with me as I try to come up with something witty, or whatever. =)

Normally I add in a currently jammin’ to song from Soundcloud, but as Soundcloud has started to try to increase profit margin rather than stick true to their original ideology, it’s become more difficult sometimes to get the song I want on there. I still chose one this time, but it may be time to change to another site to stream music on here… Sigh.

Currently jammin’ to:

This jam is a bit long since it’s a long mix rather than an individual song, but definitely worth it. Additionally, I recently saw Ekali live at The Kingdom in Austin a couple weekends ago. The openers were so-so, but when Ekali took the stage it definitely was pretty awesome. I will say that the lights were a bit blinding for such a small space. I literally felt blind at times and had to step back further from the stage at times in order to reorient myself because of how blinding the laser lights were at times. I think some of it was due to the size of the room though, being so small allowed for so much reflection. At least it wasn’t stuffy and hot. So glad I got to check out Ekali.

Summer finale

Summer is coming to a close, surprisingly fast. I can’t believe it’s already August. I have so much I need to get together, start to do. I feel like I’m so behind. And yet there’s so much that I’ve also already done. It’s crazy. It’s also amazing to realize that I only have one more semester left of my current classes before I enter (hopefully) into my Master’s program. As I write this, I think “shouldn’t I be working on my statement instead?” considering that I have to have one by September 15th for UT Dallas… umm, yeah whoops.

And what a summer it has been. Lots of ups, lots of downs. Not quite what I imagined it would be, and still not where I want it to be, but hopefully with some luck, some talks, and some work it will get to where I want it. I will say this much, I have learned and experienced a lot this summer. This year overall, really. I am looking forward to continuing to learn more and experience many wonderful things. It feels fitting to reflect on some of the new things I’ve gotten to experience, but I think I’d rather just focus on the recent things that have occurred since I last posted.

My final summer class is winding down, ending next week! Eek, that is incredibly soon. I have no idea where the time went in this class. Least to say I did not enjoy it as much as my previous class, but I am glad for the grades I’ve been getting (somehow keeping my 4.0 GPA) and I greatly appreciate having taken this class with a friend. It definitely made the whole experience more bearable and easier.

Recently, I returned back from attending a wedding in California for my boyfriend’s cousin. It involved my boyfriend’s whole immediate family, so needless to say it was not like our Mexico trip together, but we still had fun and he finally got to visit Disneyland for the first time, something his father promised him a long time ago when he was still young. The wedding itself was also something wonderful as well. Even though I hardly knew the couple and was only there politely as one of the distant cousin’s girlfriend, I still really took the experience to heart. I think I was just feeling quite emotional that day, but I had lots of feelings listening to the ceremony/speeches and watching the whole thing. I think love is a wonderful thing. Something to cherish greatly, and something to hold onto as best as possible when you can. I know it’s also hard work, to create happiness all the time and always feel grateful for everything you have. We take for granted so much all the time, I feel. And just the same, love is easily taken for granted. Whether it comes from our parents, from our friends, or our significant other, it’s easy to lose sight of how significant it is to have someone love you. Watching the wedding, it really made me consider my own personal values and personal goals for the future. I am definitely not ready to be married, but perhaps because of age or whatever it is, I know I’m looking forward to settling. Kids, however, that’s a completely different situation, one I am absolutely not ready to even consider. ANYWAYS!

Normally I would write a whole bunch more, but honestly I am realizing how much work I have to get done and I also lack much to say right now. So with that in mind, I end this very short post and update. I’ll try to give this more thought later. :D

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the internet and advice

Currently jammin’ to:

In some ways, I’m not quite sure what I want to say in this blog post, however I feel that I should still write something as I attempt to somewhat consistently write again in here. Quick apologies if this is lots of stream of consciousness and ramblings. My thoughts are not currently as focused or well-formed as I would hope them to be, but I will try on anyways!

Life snapchats

To highlight some new developments in life, I recently began working with autistic children again at a therapy place in Austin. The style is slightly different, with a more natural-play strategy to ABA as opposed to the DTT ABA style that I was used to at my previous ABA therapy office in Irving. Still, the rewards and changes are visible and the difficulty is still sometimes there. Additionally, this office requires its workers to be RBT (registered behavior technician) certified (a $600 test) and pays for you to complete it. So in addition to my work, my summer school, and my two labs, I am also working to become RBT certified at my own free time (but still slightly scheduled). Hooray for keeping busy! Let’s just hope I don’t overwork myself.

My 4th of July plans went a bit awry due to some unfortunate circumstances, so I ended up back in Dallas doing bits and sorts with various people as opposed to my highly nature-based plans that I originally had. Still, I got to see some old friends and hang out with some new ones, play a little volleyball, sing a little karaoke, and spend a bit of time with some family. All in all, a fun time.

Previous to the 4th of July weekend, I took a trip to Waco with some friends to the BSR Cable Water Park to go down a huge slide. Ultimately, we ended up looping the lazy river three times with most of our party getting trashed and only went down the slide (for me) once and not even The Royal Flush (or the bigger one) which is the “famous” one. I was fine with it considering how painful it was hitting the water after the slide and how long you had to wait for the steepest slide, but all-in-all a great trip with friends. After some food, we also got a tour of a cabbage factory/farm that a friend was growing. Despite the fact that it seems strange we were touring a cabbage farm/factory, it was, in fact, pretty interesting to learn about the cultivation that goes into it and its potential economical abilities. After some chilling, a long drive with a mini sleep break occurred + some Carl’s Junior. I can definitely say that I did not expect such a long day at Waco, but I definitely had a grand time.

Here’s a video of some of footage we got:

Outside of these events, life just happened. Some ups, some downs, some unexpected and some expected.

So punny

snapchat toast filter

snapchat toast filter :)

In lieu of my last headline, I made my featured picture one of my snapchat filter pictures. Apparently, this filter may be based off some video of cats having bread face pictures? I was only informed of this after I sent off my picture, but either way I find it hilarious. Within the last year, I’ve really enjoyed using the snapchat filters for its silly and randomness. It’s a little vain in some ways being so self-centered with multiple selfies, but mostly I just find it fun. A silly way of posing and sending off to friends/family. Maybe it’s my natural silly nature taking over, but I have quite enjoyed Snapchat filters and all its glories. I considered making a youtube video compiling some of my filtered photos (because why not be more vain, right?) just because I find them hilarious and think others might too. Who knows though, I’m not much of a YouTuber, so we’ll see if that ever happens.

On a somewhat related note, other thoughts of YouTube video making includes making review/rating videos for food/restaurants. As some of my friends like to consider me a foodie (I don’t call myself one, though I admit I like trying new food places when I can), it’s been recommended that I either 1) stream me eating food or 2) make videos reviewing places I’ve gone to with pictures of the food. While streaming videos of me eating seem a bit strange (despite the growing popularity in it), I did find some interest in video reviewing as I do like to try and review restaurants on Yelp if I find some time. I learn of new places from other people and check reviews to deem a place more or less worthy of attempting, so sharing my experience seems like “giving back” in a sense to the things that guide me to my decisions to food. Some more consideration to be given, especially since I have no idea how I would really get this together and I don’t know if I really eat out enough for this right now (at least to new places). We’ll see.

family love

I will never be able to express enough gratitude and appreciation to my family. I probably don’t even feel enough gratitude to them on a daily basis as I should, but when I do reach some sort of random aha moment of appreciation, I want to make note of it however I can. I have never considered my family super tight knit. My siblings and I generally live fairly independent of each other, and this was especially apparent when we were all still living under the same roof. We just did not always see each other or make much time to try. Perhaps that’s part of being young, exploring elsewhere, and perhaps its just the differences we have in our lives. My siblings and I are all four years or so apart from one another, so my eldest sibling is 8 years older than I and my second sibling is 4 years older than I. And while I do try to visit my parents and siblings every other weekend or so when I am available in town, I actually find this to be a more recent thing now that I’ve moved further from home again. Ultimately, despite sometimes lacking much involvement in each others lives, the one thing that constantly rings true is that we are always there for one another, whether just because we’re bored and looking for something to do, or if we truly need one another for something more serious. This is something I did not frequently make use of until recent years except outside of electronic or car issues (because that basically is all decision made through my brother). In recent years though, I’ve actually been able to really listen and receive advice from my siblings. They’ve provided me with comfort and safety of someone I can always rely upon. As I’ve gotten older, it seems harder to find this in others. Priorities, pride, and a bunch of other things just often get in the way of feeling like I’m truly able to rely on someone else. But with family, even though they may not always be my first choice, I have found time and time again that I can always rely upon them. And for that I am forever grateful. I doubt my siblings will read this post, but if by some chance they do, or my mother does and reiterates this part to them, I hope my siblings and parents both know I am forever grateful for the life I have been blessed with and for the bond I share with them. :) <3

the internet and advice

In recent times, I often google things that I want to find out about. I’m pretty sure a lot of people do this, since searching on the web often provides some credible sources that can shed light to problems we have without having to go through the tedious and possibly expensive process of finding a professional that could help us. Additionally, there are often memes or just picturesque images filled with sayings, advice, and quotes that often fill my Facebook stream.

Sometimes when I search or read these things, it helps bring me some peace or helps me reconfirm my own beliefs. There are times it brings better clarify to a subject I’m unfamiliar with, but ultimately when I search or read these things, I feel that I am just providing more verification to what I already decided. I think this goes back to some fundamental parts of myself, that I want to know others feel the same way that I do or experience the same troubles I am. I want to feel like I am not the only one. I want validation in my emotions or my thoughts, that it’s not whack or outrageous.Validation: something I wish I didn’t really need, but humanely I think we all seek validation from time to time. I want to know I’m not being irrational, that I’m not being too emotional driven or too crazy, that my thought process is natural or normal, that things like this often occur and aren’t signs of something much worse, or whatever it is that I want confirmation in. Validation, the feeling that you are not wrong. I don’t like to be wrong, because I always want to do right the best I can.

But ultimately, I really question how right or wrong things are. I realized at some point, that sometimes the advice I read that really resonated with me when I first read it, didn’t make as much sense later on. There were also times that I felt the words I read or advice or quote I read made absolute sense, a truth of some sort, but later felt like that wasn’t always quite the right case. It’s tough, am I finding advice that I want to hear, or ones that actually lead me down the right path? I do feel that I give myself a clear head when making important decisions so long as I’m not feeling highly emotional at the time. I don’t think most of the things or decisions I’ve made in life have been wrong, but I do feel that there are times I read advice and feel “wow, it’s so true! I do feel like this is the right path to take” and then possibly days later I question if that really is the right kind of idea to take. Ultimately, what changed wasn’t the words that were said or read, but how I felt about a situation or about life then. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe some times advice for one way is good in these circumstances or with this mindset, but not really the right path if you’re feeling a different way about it later. There is probably rarely only one “right” path, and circumstances will always cause different paths to be made.

In any case, I have some more thoughts on this idea but I feel that I am running in circles about it. So with that understanding, I end this post just to wish everyone the best of days. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

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Life changes and One Piece

Fair warning, this may be poorly organized, random, personal, slightly vague, grammatically incorrect and long.

Normally I have a song from SoundCloud available as a featured song that I really enjoyed recently. Unfortunately, the song I recently heard and really enjoyed is not available in the United States (or in my country) currently on Soundcloud, but can be accessed via Facebook videos from the actual group (how that even makes sense, I don’t know, but okay privacy laws). So I share with you this wonderful video (that was already posted on my Facebook at once so it may be redundant to some of y’all):

Above and Beyond’s The Sun and The Moon Acoustic Live

One Piece and manga

Let’s go backwards on my title and start with One Piece. As many people who know me should already know, I am an avid fan of One Piece written by Eiichiro Oda. Not only have I watched all the episodes (though not the recent ones) at least 3-4 times (this is up to about 700+ episodes having watched 3-4x), I have read and re-read most of the manga more than 5-6 times (I don’t have an exact count, but I know it’s at least that many times). Why I have dedicated so much time to reading and watching something I’ve already read is probably pretty strange to most, but simply I just love the entertainment I get from it. I have found that it is one of the best manga’s (and anime’s) written and portrayed in terms of plot and character development. However, this is also due to how incredibly slow Oda-sensei lays out his characters and scenarios. I understand its flaws (and how daunting it is to start), but I will always highly recommend it to any person who likes anime/manga. It does start slow though, so you have to give it (lots of) time.

Now, why One Piece is currently being talked about by me is simply because I recently caught up on all its current chapters. I like to binge watch and read. I don’t watch all that much anymore (and only re-watched it so many times because of past boyfriends whom I started them on it), but I like to read chapter after chapter after chapter. Once per week is simply cruel sometimes; and so what I’ve decided to do is stop reading altogether for an extended period of time and then catch up on it all. In this case, I actually went over a year without reading any One Piece and had 100+ chapters waiting for me. When school finally let out for my brief summer break (of two weeks), I caught up on all of my current manga, one of them being One Piece.

It was perfect. An arc ended and a new one began, new stories about characters began to unravel, more information about important but not main characters began to be told. It was so much and so fulfilling that I would be fine with stopping again for awhile and then catching up again (although, of course, a part of me very much wishes to read what hasn’t been published yet right away). I loved all the bits and pieces that were written. And yes, of course I’m biased, but I don’t really care. As an aside, my only small regret in all of this (by all of this I mean the whole catching up with my manga) is not having attended A-kon this year as a volunteer. Once upon a time I tried to make it a goal to be a volunteer for A-kon by 26. I am currently 26 so this year would have been the last to fulfill that goal, and sadly I was unable to complete it for various reasons (like school). It’s sad, things always find a way to get in your way of what you plan to do. Only if it’s important enough does it become your primary focus. I suppose I love to read manga and watch it occasionally, but it’s the story that attracts me; so a convention, even if it was solely about One Piece, would only do so much for me really. Any how! That was my one blurb about One Piece (and manga) which was very much unnecessary but totally part of who I am. :)

Current life updates

As for news in life, my Spring semester ended! I was able to accomplish what I had never accomplished in my undergrad before my degree and receive a 4.0 GPA this semester! I suppose I’ve just learned to study better? Or maybe the material is just more interesting to me (because it’s more focused on what I liked). Who knows, maybe both. I had a brief break of about two weeks in May and during that time I spent it at my boyfriend’s place in Dallas along with our vacation trip to Punta de Mita, Mexico (Puerto Vallarta). This was my first time going to Mexico (and my boyfriend’s first time going to this part of Mexico, as he was born and partially raised in a more northern and eastern side of Mexico?) and our first vacation together so it was quite exciting! We got delayed (our plane had technical issues that weren’t resolvable quickly so we had to wait for a different plane that landed 4 hours later to be used by us to take us there), but still despite our shortened time it was great! Some of the activities that we did included snorkeling and zip-lining. We actually got to go on the word’s second largest zip-line and also where they shot the movie Predator. It was quite a thrill and I was very glad we did it (especially for the deal we were able to get).

personal pic

Us touring and checking out the view! :)

Additionally on our trip, we visited a new resort (as part of our way to get the discount and them try to get our business) which had a beautiful view of the ocean and partial city. One side of the city is mountain and the other is a beautiful blue-green ocean. It was magical to see, and with their infinity pool that matched in color, it was truly a lovely sight.

ocean view garza blanca

The view from the place we toured. Beautiful ocean color

City view, ocean view, mountain view

Part of the city and the ocean view, you can see some of the mountainous part too.

Garza Blanca panoramic view

Panoramic view of the infinity pool and the view

For snorkeling, we kept to a bit more shallow of areas for better or for worse. We saw many fishes (including a puffer fish) and the second day we went we actually got caught up in some shallow coral reef areas that had lots of sea urchins. Unfortunately, the boyfriend slightly stepped on one (as the puncture hold was very much circular) and was unsure until the day after that you weren’t suppose to close up the hole without getting all the spikes/spindles of the sea urchin out (because they’re poisonous). He was able to reopen the wound and push out hopefully all the spindles but it did cause for a sore foot (that still somewhat continues) with foot cramps. Our package included airfare, lodging, food, and drinks, so we were able to feast and drink heartily. Surprisingly, the first night we came in I had an amazing medium rare stake. Despite living in Texas all my life (minus 4 years in Atlanta), this was one of the most amazing medium rare steaks I’d ever had. It was perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked with a good bloody middle, and absolutely melt in your mouth wonderful. Pretty much all of the food I had while there was wonderful, and I definitely miss having it all paid for already.

medium rare steak

This. was. amazing! And surprisingly filling

Lobster and veggies

Another fine dining option I was able to enjoy. Simple yet delicious

dinner view sunset colors beautiful

The night view at dinner. Beautiful colors.

As for now, summer session has started up! One of my classes sadly was cancelled in the summer and now I must take it in the fall. This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that is overlaps with another class I wanted to take. So now I can’t take the other class (which wasn’t exactly required but very much eventually is necessary and some schools do have it as a requirement) because I absolutely have to take the one that was cancelled in the summer. Fortunately, it does allow for a little more free time for my very much packed summer schedule. Including my one class that occurs three times a week for 2.5 hours, I also am working in two different research labs and also about to take on a part-time job working two days a week there. Similar to what I previously did at Brent Woodall Foundation for Exception Kids, I will be using ABA method to work with autistic children. It’s only 16 or so hours a week, but it ultimately causes me to basically have a full schedule every day with only night times for studying. Additionally, I will have to become RBT (Behavior Therapist) certified within 30 days to continue working at my new place, all of it being self-study and testing on my own. Daunting, but exciting!

My two labs are also very different but very exhilarating as well. For one, I will be compiling and exporting data in my spare time there and also running EEG and other types of brain/auditory studies. It’s definitely a lot to learn about and understand, but incredibly cool to think I would be doing this kind of research. As to my other lab, it is a little more lax in terms of scheduling, which somewhat works in my favor, and also very straightforward. The best part is that it does help in my future schooling/licensing as counting towards hours that I will need with patients for my Master’s/licensing as an SLP. I am forever grateful for having both opportunities provided to me despite many applicants. (This also goes for the job, since I definitely need to off-set all of my expenditures which has reduced my bank account significantly.)

So summer is looking freshly busy, and honestly I think it’s probably a good thing. As to why is to follow.

Life and all it’s changes

Recently I’ve experienced some changes to my life that, for me, came from no where. This isn’t my school ended/beginning summer stuff, or anything that I knew was to come. This is changes that may have somewhat subtly begun to change and then grew without understanding why. Changes will occur in life regardless of what you do. In some ways, to change is to improve, hopefully. And honestly, I can understand that the changes that occurred (or really still are) were probably necessary, or at the very least I believe it to be realistic.

I think the problem was that while I didn’t require the expectations that were set, I didn’t understand why they had changed. I did not set my expectations, I just followed with what was provided to me naturally. It became the habit, the normal flow of what usually will come. And when the habit changes, when things aren’t coming as they used to, I worry why. Why did it change? What is causing this to occur? It’s not that I can’t accept it to happen, I just need to understand why (and probably time to adjust and ease into it). But when I don’t know why and the changes keep getting more and more… Yes, of course I will become even more worried, even more insecure and even more afraid. It’s strange, I had never felt so secure and yet so insecure before. I knew that I had no reason to worry, but I couldn’t understand why changes were happening and that allowed for doubt and insecurities. I couldn’t shake the creeping thoughts that questioned “what’s going on” and couldn’t answer the unknown. It ultimately caused a drift, one that I also wasn’t fully aware of at first and one I only recently somewhat reconciled.

It was crazy, I kept seeing signs that pointed both directions. Signs that told me I needed to worry, and signs that told me I was overreacting. Even now, I still have worries about it all, but I’ve come to accept how much I can currently change and how much I can only allow time to tell. I wanted to write my own version that made perfect sense to me, that fell in line with everything I was imagining, but reality doesn’t work that way.

In my life, there are few fantasies I have of the future. One that currently has become a goal is becoming an SLP and working as one. This goal I can actively work to achieve with major direct means to achieve it. Another is to marry and raise a family. While in some ways I’m sure I can actively work to achieve this with some fairly direct means, I want love and marriage with kids, not just marriage with kids. I don’t believe marriage/kids is the ultimate goal of life, and I don’t believe you need to have those in order to have a full, successful, meaningful, and happy life. I do, however, want those. I want them, but I don’t need them. I don’t believe everyone will necessarily get those things either. Sometimes, life just works out in ways you didn’t think would happen. If I never marry, or never have kids, I’m sure I can find happiness still. However, in my fantasies as a child and even now, I still hope to accomplish such things.

I started to seriously consider these things a year or two ago. I would mostly chalk it up to age as the reason why. When I was younger, I imagined myself potentially married (or engaged) by 25. Obviously that didn’t happen as I’m past that age already, and personally I am perfectly fine with it not happening as all my previous boyfriends clearly didn’t work out for the long run. But I remember my last break up and feeling it hit me not because of it being a very deep and serious relationship that ended (though, of course, it was in its own ways), but that I had to start all over again. That I had to somehow find new people who were also single, get to know them and foster a relationship, and hopefully make a strong connection. Finding people, outside of bars and crowds I don’t usually hang at, is difficult when you’re not in school or forcibly surrounded by various functions that introduce you to new people all the time. I had never had issues with being single in my life, and honestly quite enjoyed any time I was single. But at 25 and finding myself single again, it was just a bit hard to swallow at first. To realize that I may not find the happiness I wanted to achieve as clearly I hadn’t found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with (and vice versa). Nowadays, I’m in a committed relationship, and of course I take it quite seriously. And of course, I do have high confidence in its future. However, I suppose because I do truly want to have a family and kids, I lost sight of the fact that I can be happy without such things just as much. I began to focus too heavily on such things, things that ultimately aren’t necessary to my life. It doesn’t mean I won’t still be serious, but it does mean that I probably shouldn’t dedicate as much time as I previously had been to it all. It took some fighting, some misunderstanding and lack of understanding, and ultimately me writing down my feelings on paper, to truly be able to start to accept how life was going for me in that regard. I’m still struggling, in some ways, but I think keeping busy with other things will help me overcome those struggles. As for the potential fall back from this reality, I’m not sure. I can only hope that this is the change that is necessary for the best future me.

An aside – poetry

In my younger years I used to write a lot of poetry. Surely it was very much teen angst filled and an emotional roller coaster, however it was still very much true to my feelings at the time. I actually felt that when I was younger I was better at expressing myself in poetry than I could currently do now. Maybe because I try to not be so emotional, or I try to get over it all and “intelligently” say it. I don’t know, but in light of recent emotional turmoil, I wrote short passages that aren’t necessarily as true anymore, but were definitely true when I first thought them. I decided to share them simply because as part of my goals in this blog, I want to share myself with my future self and with an audience that may take comfort in whatever way from my post. I could easily hide my personal troubles and emotions, but I feel that it is through those that you best connect with others. Likewise, I try not to be too personal because my life events also involve others whom may not like to have their story told to random people. As it be, this is slightly contradictory and not easily remedied, but I tried my best to not be too vague and not too specific either. Hopefully it worked. Anyways! To the actual poetry (again, not my current state of being, but still nonetheless important to me):

The change came from no where
No precipitous waves to tell me what would occur
And as I reached out trying to grasp towards your hand
I felt the clear glass wall you put up in defense
While you flinched and turned from me
I couldn’t figure out why it happened that way
When the roles began to change
And in my head rang
‘Abandon all hope. Believe’

I braced myself for the impact
I steadied my heart and determination
For a brief moment, the peace enveloped me
Gently holding me in its also worn arms
But I felt the glass go up again
And once more I could no longer feel the warmth
My determination faltered
And I was left thinking
‘You should’ve known. You can’t believe’

– – – –

I didn’t write beyond this as soon afterwards I found time and wrote down my feelings in a letter (to no one). That letter helped calm my emotional uproar and bring me my current acceptance of life. It also helped me see how therapeutic writing can truly be. I highly encourage it if you find yourself stuck in a rut. If I were to continue this poem, it would probably go like this:

I whispered my memories into the sea
Silence comforted me drifting along
Whether the glass was there, I held my tongue
And let the waves rock me through, the horizon gazing down

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really align with the previous verses as well simply because it’s a different state of mind, but I tried to match it as best as I can. Hopefully it feels closing enough (and on a happier note, since that is how I currently feel). In any case, that’s all I got for today! I hope this post finds you well. Have a nice day!

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Why blog and marriage?

You know, when I started this blog, I thought of what it would be for me. Was it a diary? Was it a reflection of my events that I could later look back at? Was it open space for me to creatively or not creatively regurgitate my thoughts out? Was it a ranting space? What did I want this blog to be? Because yes, I decided to make it public so that anyone, family, friends, strangers, whoever, could see and judge and take something, if they liked, away from it. And yet I am a very personal person. I struggle still daily to be more open to others. Recently I’ve learned that maybe being open and upfront about everything, what I’ve been trying to do to my friends and family when I have problems, isn’t always the best method. I had been very good at shying away my real feelings to others in the past, too good that I (and others) never felt I let others in. And so, I tried to change that about myself, so that I could be more emotional and truly connect to others. As of late, I’ve found that opening myself up too much can apparently also not be good either. Not just for me, but for the other person too. I guess I can’t give myself up too much either.

What poses my problem here is where that line gets defined again. This is public space, for anyone to read, and while obviously I want to be open to everyone, I still feel very vulnerable and very hesitant to openly express my fears or disturbances that occur in my life. I know life isn’t just full of happiness, you get some sadness and anger and everything with spice. That’s what makes it so great (and so annoying), isn’t it? And of course, when I look back (assuming my blog is more reflective, which is what I did intend it to be) I want to see the happy things, not the angry things or the sad things. But then, I feel this is not accurate. I didn’t live life as if nothing bad happened to me. I had tears, I had anger, and I had emotions that swelled in me beyond what I could ever write down into words. And I don’t want those to be discounted or left out, because those struggles are ultimately what led me here in the first place.

If this was just a private for me blog, this would be easy. A diary for just me to read. How perfect. I could insinuate ridiculous things and be open to myself in my own arguments with myself with little reason to fear what might come from it. Unfortunately, I wanted to include others. And not just others, but friends, family, people I actually know. It’s not the strangers that read my blog that make me hesitate and vulnerable, its the people I know who read it that make me question my openness. The people I care about, those who I will have to see and interact with later after they’ve made a new judgment on me based on what I wrote (whether good or bad). Who cares what someone I don’t know says, I have little to no care or concern for them. But my friends, my family? They matter to me. And to open myself to them so publicly without filtering for each individual… That’s scary.

Memory is a fickle thing, and we sometimes truly believe we remember correctly when we actually don’t. I hate to be wrong, which is why I try to always be correct in my account of things. Part of that is why I started a public/private blog, to account for myself not based on a distant memory I pulled up, but from close writings to when an event or things happened. I don’t know, or I should say I am still hesitant, that I will write about the negative things that occur to me on the spot, despite its therapeutic effects and potential accuracy for future me. Mostly because it could affect more than just me, and I don’t want to provide information about others that they themselves may not have been willing to share. At the same time, I guess it’s still just as rightly valid for me to share it since its my experience as well. Still, I will probably err to say only what belongs just to me.

What can I conclude from this? Well, I hoped writing it out would let me decide better, but I think it will just be a blog by blog basis. Sometimes I may be more personal and include more daily/current events in my life. Sometimes, I might just blog about random things. I guess we will just have to see and if things happen poorly or for the better, I’ll take it as it comes.

Here’s a personal story:

My mother’s family has all adopted texting on LINE. My 80 year old grandpa (and grandma) along with uncles, aunts, and cousins all group chat and keep each other updated, in a way, with one another’s life. I haven’t seen my grandparents in over a year now, but they are the figurehead picture for the group (for obvious reasons). When I look at that picture, and I look at the family and branching families they’ve created, it makes me realize what kind of family goals I want to have. As a granddaughter who comes from America and doesn’t speak the best Mandarin Chinese, I never felt the strictness my mother (and her siblings) felt from my grandfather/grandparents. To me, my grandfather was a very successful businessman, heavy chain smoker since he was young, and often rather silly with me. I realized, as I grew up, that he and my grandmother, who was a government official, obviously had their woes and fights (as they may even still do now), but yet despite their age and health, the pictures I see of them are amazing. Maybe it’s just picturesque to me, but their love seems to seep through their eyes.

When I see that kind of love, I want that kind of love. It may sometimes come as a surprise to some, or maybe not I don’t know, that if anyone were to ever ask what my dream is to be in the future, I would say something along the lines of successful in a career I love and married with kids. Successful in a career I love is a pretty vague answer, but married with kids is a relatively specific goal. For some these days, marriage sounds like an old tradition, one that isn’t upheld with much merit anymore. And logically, I can see where people say this. Divorce rates are much higher than they’ve ever been, and yes, you don’t have to be married to someone to want or plan to spend the rest of your life with them, you can just do it without the license. But maybe it’s the Disney fairy tales spun throughout my life talking, or maybe it’s just because I still value what marriage means (well, what I think marriage means): commitment, union and love. Despite its potentially unrealistic thought process for marriage, commitment is probably the most difficult thing about marriage (now a days). Love can be there even when you hurt someone, when you cheat on them or you find yourself trying to stay away from them. Commitment is a solid line. It’s boundaries are very clear (for the most). To commit to someone is to have only that one person, regardless. That line does not change (or at the least, rarely). Union, on the other hand, is a give and take that can be defined in many ways and may even change from time to time. Two people aren’t suppose to equal one, and yet marriage tries to unite two into one. I don’t think it’s wrong, after all two individuals who commit to one another must also sacrifice for each other, both parts of themselves along with other parts of their lives, but it is also a delicate balance to not sacrifice too much of yourself into the union. I think to be healthy, you still have to be part of yourself, but if you don’t sacrifice enough, then the union won’t work either. Sometimes you have to sacrifice more than you expected or wanted to, and then sometimes you don’t have to do as much. It changes, and it varies on the situation and the way things work and the person you’re with, but it’s always a choice to make and draw that line. Love, however, is not something you can exactly choose. Sometimes you love someone when you don’t want to, and sometimes you want to love someone but you don’t. The only choice in love is to let yourself let it happen on its own. You may have the choice to make more opportunity to love, but it will never guarantee the love. Likewise, you can sometimes reject all attempts at love too, but love can exist regardless of your choice or denial of it too. Love, however, I think is very important to a marriage. You can have union and commitment without love in a marriage, yes, but it is much more difficult. And what point is there to commitment and sacrifice/union without love? Sometimes it’s still good to keep a marriage despite lack of love, but to me those marriages are there not for the true sake of marriage, but for some other sake. Maybe for kids, maybe for financial reasons, who knows. A loveless marriage just doesn’t seem like much of a marriage, just a binding to someone that you do for the sake of maybe something better, or maybe something worse.

With each of these, I believe a marriage can work. Sacrifice and compromise must unionize two individuals in order to have love support their commitment in marriage. Writing it out, it sounds incredible anyone manages to find the right balance to them all. And yet, when I look at my grandparents interact with one another, and their beautiful pictures together, I believe. I hope. I dream.

love sakura japan

Grandparents in Japan, 2016.

I started this out with one train of thought in mind, and ultimately it became a slightly different train of thought. It was suppose to be a little more personal, but in the end it became a little less. If it reads weird or flows strange, that’s why. My bad, but then again I’m pretty sure all of my blog posts are kind of one train of thought jumping to another and another. Either way, hope this finds you well. Have a nice day!

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Time for some sunblock

Currently jammin’ to:

I found that I enjoy sharing music and hopefully others enjoy the music I share. I don’t always post where or how I come about these music selections that I put on my post. Sometimes they’re a new song I came across (new to me, not necessarily new in general), and sometimes they’re a song I currently really like. Once in awhile, it might just be a song that really fits the post or whatever thoughts are on my mind, and it’s possible that the song itself is what started my thought to blog process anyhow. In any case, I guess what I’m trying to get at is that this song is one of those times that I random found it (on Soundcloud as reposted by Dirty South) and really liked it (and thought others, whom might perchance upon this blog, would like too). But I digress, to the rest of this post.

A few weekends ago, I was having a becoming typical Friday mid-morning wait for the Megabus to take me from Austin to Dallas. Leading up to that day, the weather had been a bit rainy, but the day itself was sunny with some clouds. Given the slightly warmer but cool weather I experienced early morning to class, I was wearing shorts and some Toms while waiting in the growing heat. I was probably only out there for about fifteen minutes, but within that time I could feel the heat rays burn upon my feet. I tried to walk around in a very small circle (since I was waiting in a line, so I couldn’t exactly get out without losing my spot), but ultimately there was little I could do to protect my poor feet from getting roasted. I saw later that day that those fifteen minutes was enough for me to brandish a Tom’s tan line on my feet.

IMG_9875

A faint, but visible shoe tan.

I’m not one for getting a tan. I don’t prefer or want to be darker; I actually am quite happy to be what many would consider pale or fair skinned. Is this really Asian of me? Probably. But I think it has less to do with my heritage and more to do with what’s medically proven to be what’s good for me. It’s not that I dislike having a dark skin tone, as I have definitely been quite tan before and been perfectly fine with it too, but rather the fact that comes with knowing the damage I am doing to my skin, especially for the future. Now I know that everything in some way probably gives you cancer (even sunblock can give you cancer), but I’ll take my risks getting it from sunblock and not from burning my skin. I’d like to not look 60 when I’m sixty, and I’m pretty sure there is a correlation to tanning and looking more aged as you get older. Additionally, I don’t like tan lines, so not getting a tan altogether tends to eliminate that chance. So when fifteen minutes in April causes me to get a shoe tan already, all I think is “Texas”. Except I don’t know if I should sunblock it up or bring an umbrella for the rain. Texas, please decide if you would like to be rainy and disgustingly humid or hot and dry. I’d prefer the latter simply because I hate humidity, but knowing which to prepare for (at least on a daily basis) would be nice. Anyways, there’s not much to this point aside from ranting that I dislike tan lines and the health consequences of tanning. I do, actually, love laying in the sun. I love the feeling of the sun soaking my body in warmth. I just don’t want to get dark or old-looking doing it.

On other news in life, my school semester is winding down! I mentioned it previously, but this semester has probably resulted in the best grades I’ve ever had in my classes on any given semester since probably high school or earlier… So far I’m looking like straight A’s (at least for two classes that is pretty much guaranteed, two more still have finals). For that, I am quite happy. I’m also happy that the two labs I applied for (to do research over the summer and into the fall) both accepted me, leaving me with probably little summer time to do anything outside of school-related things and maybe a part-time job. Despite the upcoming busy schedule I’ve decided to set for myself, I am happily looking forward to all of it as well as a couple of weeks (after next Saturday) of relaxing and even a trip to Mexico (first time!). Confirming discoveries or (even more) finding new research has always been an interest of mine. One of my labs is heavily researched based, while the other is more clinically based, so I feel as though I am getting the best of them: deeper research into topics I enjoy and clinical opportunities to evaluate and possibly treat patients of the same population I would potentially be working with in the future. Now if only my bank account will hold up.

On another note, I finally got to go camping (and fishing!) for the first time last weekend. It was only a two day one night trip, but it was still fun to go hiking on the muddy trails and attempt some fishing. Some things I learned: starting a fire with damp wood is not very likely, paper plates burn pretty well,  and apparently its prohibited to gather wood in Texas parks (as even the fallen branches in the parks are protected by the law). Fishing is kinda neat, though I unfortunately did not catch anything the few times I casted. Sleeping outside on damp ground with little cushion while squeezing in a 3 person tent with a 6’4″ person? Uncomfortable to say the least. It was a beautiful night minus the mating frogs and random howling, but unfortunately foam mats (which thankfully were offered by friends) and sleeping bags provide only minimal comfortableness. And yet I’d still want to do it again. The night sky at Meridian State Park wasn’t as lit up as Perdernales, but we were still able to see Jupiter and Mars and the big dipper and the North star (along with other stars). I definitely want to go camping again. Just maybe with some better cushioning for the tent.

stars, starry night, night sky

Long exposure picture of the night sky at Perdernales Falls State Park
(photo credits to Osniel Rives)

As for the rest of this post, I’ll probably end up being a bit controversial and opinionated, so if you want to just have a brief-lighthearted random read, I’d stop here. For those who are interested in what is contemplated in my head, continue on.

I thought it couldn’t be true and that we weren’t stupid enough to really consider it, but ultimately (and very sadly) the Republican party has dropped down to one terrible nominee. To be fair, I’m not sure there was any decent nominee in the first place, so I suppose the gig is a bit rigged, but still. I didn’t think it would be possible, and yet it became true. I still don’t think the Republican party will win, and yet I am concerned. I didn’t think he would win nominee and yet he has, so how wrong could I be about him becoming president? What kind of future would that mean for the United States? What kind of message does it say to the rest of the world about us? The president is suppose to be a representation of our country, a leader of our people, and in a sense a reflection of our beliefs. Obviously we have parties that have opposing views so not everyone will always feel the best representation of themselves is the current president, but my concern becomes urgent when I think of how many people are out there that feel that Donald Trump represents who they are, what they believe, and what they want to happen in the future? Obviously enough to allow him to win the nomination, and yet where are the ones who don’t feel that way? Where are the people who disagree and don’t feel that he is who they are? And why are they not voting? For those who don’t vote, that representation of our American community is lost. I still believe the majority of Americans do not hold the same beliefs as Donald Trump, but I do find that that the majority is not necessarily representing themselves and their opinions to reflect that. Unfortunately, that’s just as bad as choosing someone who doesn’t represent you. When you decide to not speak up for yourself, you harm both yourself and those whom you actually do side with. I remember reading from a friend of mine that he saw a man on the trains of Chicago talking for the past three weeks that he didn’t care who you voted for (Trump, Cruz, Sanders, Clinton, etc), but that you just voted. Make yourself count; do your part as an American citizen that is capable of voting. To me, don’t complain about a broken or unfair system if you’re not doing anything to make it better. Even voting counts as doing something. Rant on that over (for now).

I had another topic that was highly controversial (and I myself also felt a bit torn on it), but I decided to refrain from speaking upon it. To provide some insight, it was about the consumption of dog meat and some recent posts and comments that I saw on Facebook related to it. I discussed it earlier with someone, and while that conversation was perfectly agreeable, I still find that I would prefer to refrain from making additional comments.

And with that, I have completed another returned post! I’m hoping I can write maybe every other week if not more, but we’ll see. Have a good day. :)