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).
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.
The view from the place we toured. Beautiful ocean color
Part of the city and the ocean view, you can see some of the mountainous part too.
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.
This. was. amazing! And surprisingly filling
Another fine dining option I was able to enjoy. Simple yet delicious
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!