26 April 2011

on being emo

I needed to take a breather after that last post. Far too much emotion for my comfort zone. I honestly have no idea where that outburst came from, but it did show me that I am not a very good writer when hysterical. Good to know.

Rather than bitch and moan about how much my life sucks right now (and trust me, it does), I am instead going to focus on something positive. Because nobody wants to read a shitty blog written by some emo kid.

When I’m feeling really depressed, I like to think about the sound of rain. Yes, I know that this notion sounds ridiculous, but bear with me.

I think about the sound of rain, pitter-pattering on my windowsill. Then, I imagine myself looking out of said window, gazing out at the muggy grey landscape without really seeing anything. The raindrops may pursue each other, racing down the glass hoping to merge with another, but I take no notice. Instead, I imagine myself completely absorbed in my lamentation. Maybe I am wrapped in nondescript, neutral-colored clothing. There may even be a hot beverage steaming up the windowpane in front of my face, obscuring my reflection.

Perhaps a solitary tear runs down my imaginary face. My imaginary countenance is nothing short of pathetic. One face cannot possibly hold so much emotion, no matter how furrowed my brow may be. I have hit rock bottom, found a pickaxe, and continued digging until I could no longer see the light of day. Everything is in black and white.

After I have established that mental image, I take a step back. I see myself, looking like a complete idiot, absolutely absorbed in my insignificant problems. Then I laugh. There is no way that I could take myself so seriously that I can pull off the described scene without an ounce of irony. I may be dramatic, but I am nowhere near that ridiculous. Nor am I the leading lady in a romantic comedy.

I know that this probably isn’t the healthiest coping mechanism, but it is the easiest way to put things into perspective. Yes, it blows that I have to write so many papers. It sucks that my hands and arms are sore and cut up from bamboo (long story). It’ is unfortunate that I still haven’t completely recovered from my recent sickness. But I have not reached the point where the only logical thing to do is stare out my window and wallow in self-pity. I have already cried in public. I dealt with my emotions for once. Now it’s time for me to finish my espresso, hug Salvatore the unicorn, and buckle down.

P.S. This is precisely the reason why I cannot be a tortured artist. Nor can I talk about my "process" without being acutely aware that I sound like a douchebag. I usually just end up laughing.

24 April 2011

on crying in public

It takes a certain amount of desperation to cry in public. Crying in public requires that the crier in question hit rock bottom. Unfortunately for me, I reached that point today.

As you may know, today is Easter Sunday. Happy Easter!

Today was the first time I had to go to mass alone on Easter Sunday. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal, but for some reason, when I walked through the door and saw a bunch of people dressed in gaudy pastels, my heart broke. Not in the ostentatious, bursting into tears, messy way. Rather, seeing all these color-coordinated happy families reminded me that I was alone, and caused a slow implosion.

At first, I was just sad. I missed my family. I kept my composure and pretended to smile when the people next to me tried to start a friendly conversation. I don’t think I was as dazzling a conversationalist as I could have been, but I managed nonetheless.

Then, the girl sitting next to me started singing. Loudly. I think it’s great when people have the self-confidence to sing in public. But when the person is tone deaf, it becomes a little bit harder to keep a straight face. I found myself twisting my mouth into a contorted half-smile because, while I am a horrible person, I would not be able to laugh and forgive myself. So I kept it in. But then the sadness sunk in deeper when I realized there was no one around me to share my experience. There was no one to whom I could say later, “That girl had quite a voice.” Yes, I realize that I am mean, but today not only was I mean, but I was also alone. Around this time, my eyes started to water. The look on my face was probably a mix of extreme sadness and shock. I had not expected to have such a strong reaction to something so trivial.

Then during the homily, someone started snoring. Loudly. Again, it took all of my self-control not to laugh. Because of the high ceilings, the acoustics were impeccable. Unfortunately for the sleeping person, it meant that each inhalation resonated to the point where everyone was craning their necks trying to find the offending sleeper. Parents were scolding their children to stop laughing while trying not to laugh themselves. I stood there, blinking rapidly to keep the tears from running down my cheeks.

I barely made it outside the church before I succumbed to my overwhelming flood of emotions. That was easily the most emo sentence I have ever typed, and I will do my best never to do something like that again.

But yes, I cried, blubbering to my mom on the phone while speed-walking back to my dorm. At that point, it didn’t even matter that there were families holding hands around me. I didn’t care that some of my classmates were standing around with their significant others. I barely even saw the old couples looking at me with concern. All I wanted to do was cry. I know that I looked like a walking disaster and there was no hope of salvaging whatever dignity I had left.

I know that I’m going to be by myself in a foreign country in a matter of months. I will have to celebrate my birthday away from home for the first time. I’m going to have Thanksgiving by myself. There’s no way of knowing how I’ll react to reaching these milestones, but when the time comes, I will be better prepared. At least next time I’ll know that crying in public is a definite possibility.

Sorry for being so bleak. Enjoy Easter with people you love.

21 April 2011

being sick is doing wonders for my writing. just kidding.

There are many profound questions that I ask myself on a daily basis. What am I going to do with myself in the future? What is the meaning of life? And, most importantly, what is the proper way to sneeze?

I’ve been given many responses in my extensive time here on earth. But so far, none of them have been satisfactory.

The first option was never told to me; it was really more intuitive. I’m talking, of course, about the free-flying approach. In this scenario, the offending sneezer simply lets loose and releases the sneeze at its full 100mph without obstruction. This method is not socially acceptable because a] it is very loud, b] the accompanying facial expressions are never pretty, and c] people don’t like to have spit/snot flung in their faces. I learned pretty quickly that this choice would brand me a social pariah.

The next option is the catcher’s mitt. Instead of letting the sneeze particles run amuk, the offending sneezer may use his or her hand (or both hands, for the more advanced sneezer) as an attempt to “catch” the sneeze. Impeding the sneeze’s trajectory is a good idea, but the problem with these message emerges post-sneeze. What am I supposed to do with the spittle in my hands? Wipe them on something/someone? Close them awkwardly until I have the opportunity to wash them? This method only makes me ask more questions, so I can be sure that it is not the answer.

The catcher’s mitt can be modified to include a tissue, but there are a few problems with this option as well. For starters, I don’t always have tissues on hand. Also, like the original catcher’s mitt, using the modified catcher’s mitt creates new problems. What is the socially acceptable placement of the tissue post-sneeze? I know that a trash receptacle is ideal, but I do not have the luxury of always being surrounded by garbage cans. So what should I do? Hold it in my hand? Put in my purse or the pocket of my grandpa cardigan. I feel like, no matter what I choose, I am set up for failure and for feeling gross.

The method that I use the most appeals to me purely because of its name. I like to call this method the Dracula sneeze because it involves sneezing into the nook of one’s bent elbow, mimicking the way in which vampires peer seductively from behind their capes. Bonus points if you maintain sexy eye contact with someone while sneezing. Even though I use this method the most, I don’t think it’s necessarily effective. Sure, it keeps the hands spittle free. But I think of it as a glorified version of the first technique. Therefore, I still feel guilty about using it. But, since it is called the Dracula sneeze, I do it anyways. Resistance to the Dracula is futile.

20 April 2011

i may not make sense

Today is a bad day to be sick. I mean, every day is a bad day to be sick, but today is an especially bad day to be sick.

My first obstacle of the day was even getting out of bed. I have issues retaining body heat (as I write this, I can feel the coldness of my toes as they press against each other in my socks which are in my boots). My bed is warm, thanks to a fantastic heating pad and the warmth that I had generated and confined for the past couple of hours. Why would I want to leave such bliss?

Going outside was difficult as well. I could see out the window and everything just looked cold. Jeans, boots, wool socks, and about five layers on top. I even left my hair down in the hopes that it would keep my neck warm. Bag stocked with bootleg Vick’s and a roll of toilet paper because I ran out of tissue. I had to brace myself before leaving, but I did not adequately prepare.

Morning classes. I remember sitting and nodding, trying not to sit too close to anyone else for fear of infected them with my delightful ailment. I don’t even know what I have, but I do know that being horizontal sounds amazing. I also remember being judged for whipping out my bootleg Vick’s and putting some under my nose.

Work. I work in the basement of the library, digitizing and archiving original documents. Since everything around me is super old, the room has to be kept at a consistent balmy 50 degrees so nothing deteriorates. The only thing deteriorating in here is me and my mental (physical?) health. I would leave early, but my boss just informed me that she was giving me a raise, and it would probably reflect poorly on me if I had responded with a “kthxbai!” and left. So I am here, using my break to type up something that probably doesn’t make any sense but my hands are cold and I can’t breathe out of my nose.

I had dinner plans tonight, but it looks like I’m going to cancel and curl up in a ball. Oh wait, I have a paper due tomorrow and reading and other stuff, too. Guess I’ll be hunched over my laptop with a cup of tea and tissue rash.

I have reached the point where everything is moving slowly. Watching the seconds tick by on my laptop’s clock only highlight the slowness with which time is moving. When I sneeze, everything snaps back to attention, like in those crappy action movies where the shot goes into slow motion leading up to a punch, but then the punch is delivered all full speed. I bet my sneezes would look pretty epic if shot with the 300 filter.

But why is today an especially bad day to be sick? Because today is 4/20 and my eyes are red and watery and I’m far more lethargic than usual. Today is a bad day to be sick because it arouses suspicion from my professors and employers.

19 April 2011

the champion

I will admit to being extremely narcissistic. I’m a writer—self-absorption is practically in the job requirements. These posts don’t come out of nowhere. They involve quite a bit of unhealthy self-obsession.

I think that we’ve established that most people don’t think like me. And I’m okay with that fact. Someday I will find someone who finds my idiosyncrasies charming rather than terrifying. Unfortunately, I had deluded myself recently about someone liking me a little.

My college has a website on which people post missed connections. For example, a common post would say something like “Brunette guy in the dining hall:. I see you around campus all the time and you always smile at me. Maybe next time we run into each other on purpose.” You get the idea. People post on this website about attractive strangers that they are too afraid to speak to in real life.

I find this website oddly fascinating. Also, since I became aware of this site,like any normal human being, I have become even more self-conscious when I’m on campus (yes, it’s possible for me to be even more self-conscious). I never expected that I would be on this site, mostly because I never win anything.

I noticed this trend when I was in sixth grade. At the beginning of each math class, we would play a game called Krytpo. The teacher would randomly select five numbers, as well as a sixth “target” number. The goal was to use mathematical operations so that the five numbers equal the sixth. The first person to achieve this feat was the winner. For some reason, I really wanted to be the winner. There was no prize, and no real incentive for me to try, but I just wanted to be the one to shout “Krypto!” and be met with the jealous looks that I always shot at the winner. You’d think that I would win at least once during the schoolyear, but I did not. I realize that math is not my strong suit, but the laws of probability were on my side. I think. I may have calculated it wrong.

My point is, I never won. Nor have I ever won a raffle. Even though a guy that had a crush on me was operating the t-shirt gun, I have never caught a t-shirt at a sporting event. Granted, I couldn’t catch the shirt even though he shot it directly at me. He ended up just giving me one out of the box.

When I heard about LikeALittle, I knew that the chances of me being on the site were slim to none. There are a lot of people on this campus, and having a post about me on the site would involve someone actually noticing me. Yes, I realize that that last sentence was dark, but it’s how I feel and I’m allowed to write what I feel here. Plus it’s true.

Imagine my surprise when I read a post about a dark-haired girl with very long hair that eats lunch on Tuesdays at a specific dining hall at a specific time. I have dark hair that almost reaches my butt. I eat lunch on Tuesdays at the same place at the same time every week. I know that these characteristics are not the most distinctive, but a tiny bit of me hoped that my losing streak would be over. Could I have possibly won?

Today was the first Tuesday since that post. I decided to stick to my routine and carried on as usual. As expected, no one came up to talk to me. When I checked the site later, I saw that the author had updated about how he liked the girl’s blue shoes. I was wearing my brown grandma shoes (I know, I know, which ones?).

Even though I knew that there was next to no chance that the girl in the post was me, I was still a little bit sad when I knew for a fact that it wasn’t.

Finding out for sure that it wasn’t about me brought me back to my sixth grade math classroom, working frantically on something that really didn’t mean anything but nevertheless feeling disappointed when I lost.

Then I remembered that the premise of the website is kind of creepy and got over myself.

18 April 2011

a toast

Here’s to my mother, without whom my life would be completely different. Mostly because I wouldn’t be here.

Here’s to the woman who only laughed a little bit when I would run into things repeatedly as a small child (leaving things outside my door was a horrible idea because I would forget about them then fall over). She helped me understand that laughing makes the pain hurt a little bit less and having a positive attitude makes even the toughest adversity seem manageable.

Here’s to the entertainer who read my favorite books aloud to me over and over again, adopting different voices for each character and laughing hysterically along with me. She taught me the importance of performing to the best of my abilities, regardless of whether my audience was one person or one hundred.

Here’s to the savior who held my elbow when crossing the street because my nose would be buried in a book. She encouraged my love of reading, but also wanted to make sure I didn’t die because of it.

Here’s to the adventurer who went with me on my every whim. When I wanted to try a certain food because it was mentioned in a book I had read, she would help me find it (or at least recreate it to the best of our abilities). When I decided that I was going to audition for numerous plays and musicals, she would support me fully, even letting me try my songs or monologues in a nonjudgmental environment. When I told her that I was going to start writing daily, she promised that she would read every single entry. She nurtured my creativity in a such way that I can never be grateful enough.

Here’s to the champion that endured many a car ride with my smelly shin guards and dance shoes, despite her bloodhound-like nasal sensitivity. Also, here’s to the champ who persevered through my cello and trumpet years. She pushed me to pursue my interests, even though it involved sacrificing a little bit of her sanity.

Here’s to the ruler who was never a tyrant. She helped me realize that grades are important, but they are not the only thing that matters. When my peers talked about how they would be punished for my grades, I was shocked because I had never experienced anything like that. Instead of working out of fear, I worked out of self-motivation, and it was clearly an effective strategy.

Here’s to the trooper who put herself through law school while raising two children on her own. To this day, I have no idea how she managed. She showed me, firsthand, that it is possible to rise above and excel, expertly defeating every obstacle that stands between you and your dream. When people ask me about my personal hero, I immediately point to my mother. She may not have superhuman strength in the traditional sense, but I urge you to find something with more drive and determination.

Here’s to the counselor who was with me through physical and emotional injury. She understood my need to be strong, but she also reminded me that sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable and rely on others. Not even a hero can be invincible all the time.

Here’s to you, mom. I love you so much and I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for me. This one’s for you. Happy birthday.

17 April 2011


I’m not paranoid. Am I?

The thing is, paranoia implies that the paranoid is delusion. By following this logic, then, it becomes clear that I am not paranoid. Because I know that my anxiety is completely warranted.

I’m talking, of course, about how animals are out to get me.

I tend to be a suspicious person by nature. I think part of the reason for this suspicion is because I know what goes on in my head, and it would be a cause for concern if similar processes are happening on someone else’s.

The thing with animals is that there is absolutely no way of knowing what they are thinking. I don’t even know how they think. I think in words. They may think in demon. I have no idea.

Maybe they can detect my suspicion, and therefore decide to take advantage of my natural jitteriness by confirming that suspicion.

The first incident that I recall of a belligerent animal occurred when I was about five. My mom, my sister, and I were in a supermarket, and being who we were, my sister and I wandered around, exploring the store in the hopes of finding something interesting. In all likelihood, it was candy. Or free samples. Or free samples of candy.

Somehow, we ended up in the fish section. There were live fish everywhere, but they were confined to tanks, so I was not concerned with them. However, there was a tank of live frogs at about my eye level. At this point in my life, I was not quite as cynical as I am today. I made eye contact with one of the frogs. I read quite a bit as a child, and had gotten it in my head that I could form a special bond with an animal and we would be able to communicate telepathically and be best friends forever. As I focused on the moist eyes of my new friend, I decided that not only was it possible to be intellectual best friends with a frog, but that it was literally happening before my very eyes. We understood each other. Or I thought we did.

The frog, however, had different plans. With an enormous ribbit, the little green shit leaped out of the tank toward me. My mother, who was across the store, came sprinting toward me because the scream I emitted resonated with such blood-curdling force that the frog fell back into the tank. Needless to say, friendship terminated.

Following that traumatic experience, I have never again tried to forge a relationship with an animal. I decided then and there that, to avoid getting hurt, I would remove myself completely. To this day, I remain obstinate in my suspicious ways.

Over time, certain animals have gained my trust. But I will never trust a squirrel.

15 April 2011

adulthood, revisited

I mentioned in a recent post that I don’t think of myself as an adult. Upon further reflection, I believe I have pinpointed the root of the problem. I have simply skipped over that phase of my life, and now exist simultaneously as an adolescent and an 87-year-old woman.

The similarities are striking. At first, I thought it was just a coincidence. Slouchy cardigans are an easy, comfy way to clothe my body without having to resort to sweatshirts and sweatpants (or no pants). And sometimes keeping my hair in a topknot is a practical way to avoid distracting myself when I need to get work done. My hair is really soft.

But, as I was looking in my closet, I realized that the similarities between old people and me do not end there. I own an excessive amount of high-waisted things. Shorts, skirts, offensive jeans. You name it, it’s probably in my closet or giving me polterwang like whoa.

Then I looked at my shoes. I wear shoes that look like this:

I think this picture speaks for itself.

Then I thought about my habits. I usually wake up at an ungodly hour, simply because I cannot sleep. More often than not, I wake up before my 7 am alarm and get shit done. Reading, writing, the odd tidying up. I realize that this practice probably drives my roommate nuts, but at least I shut my alarm off before it actually wakes anyone. I also understand that waking up early is not necessarily unique for a person with an actual job and real responsibilities, but I am a college student whose first class is not generally until around 10.

I eat lunch at 11:15 and dinner at 4:45. These times just happen to be when the dining hall opens, but I have trained my stomach to be hungry at these times, much like those who have several decades on me. I figure, since the food is available, I may as well eat it as soon as possible. Plus, no one else really eats at those times, which means less lines!

Then I looked in my bag.

First of all, it should be noted that the bag in question (though not pictured) is vintage. As in an old lady would probably consider it contemporary. It’s a vicious cycle.

Anyways, the contents of my bag (minus an inexplicable amount of pens) include hand cream that smells suspiciously like old people, a generic red lollipop, bootleg Vicks VapoRub, a pack of tissues with a kicky denim design, my glasses, and about a metric ton of Werther’s Original Hard Candies. If someone tried to attack me, I would probably resort to whacking said person over the head with my bag. There would be a shiny shower of gilded candy wrappers to distract my assailant as I fled the scene.

Not that I don't enjoy being young. I love having the youthful energy to stay up during all hours of the night and still be somewhat functional the next day. I love running around and wearing what I want and doing what I want and knowing that it's okay because I'm young and don't know better yet. I love that the mistakes I make are learning experiences and do not carry the gravity that mistakes made later will have.

But at the same time, there are certain aspects of being older than I cannot wait to experience for myself. I want to have concrete accomplishments that I can look at and feel proud to have done something that matters. I want to be able to wear what I want and to do what I want because I've lived long enough to know that what matters is that I make myself happy. I want to have the self-assurance that comes with lived experience.

I wish I could skip over the messy middle part of figuring everything out. But in the meanwhile, I'll live in my suspended reality, wearing my offensive jeans, eating my hard candies with Red Bull, and displaying the dark circles under my eyes unapologetically.

14 April 2011

i need help

I am well aware that I have a few annoying habits. No one is perfect, and under no circumstances would I consider myself to be as such.

My professor just said, “I have my own neuroses to deal with. I don’t concentrate on what other people are doing.” I laughed out loud. People are staring. Back to pretending to take copious amounts of notes.

Anyways, I understand that I have idiosyncrasies that drive people nuts. I clear my throat with such force that I often startle those around me. I suppose this jarring noise is not extreme enough, because people who know me usually respond with a pithy, “You’re pretty” if they respond at all. Most people I know don’t even notice it anymore.

But, when I do it around people with whom I don’t spend as much time, I am usually met with scolding, or, if done abruptly, colorful phrases indicating their surprise.

I know that I should probably stop. And I will. Eventually.

This topic crossed my mind because of an event that occurred just a few minutes ago. My professor, while ranting about something or other, used the word albeit. Normally, I love this word. Words like albeit and hence make me happy because I don’t think they receive enough attention. However, he pronounced it “al-BAY-it.”

If you hadn’t guessed by now, the mispronunciation triggered a habit of mine. First, I completely tuned out whatever words followed albeit. I heard the way he pronounced it in my mind, then scanned the vault of my mind to hear any other time I have heard anyone pronounce it. I find myself mouthing or even whispering albeit to myself. Then, just to give my professor the benefit of the doubt, I google the correct pronunciation. He’s wrong. I knew it.

I know I need to stop. Not only does this habit make me an awful person, but it also makes me look crazy. I’m sitting by myself, fixated on a word to the point of whispering it to myself. I wish there were some sort of corrective behavior strategy I could implement on myself besides willpower.

13 April 2011

on why i cannot possibly be an adult at this point in time

Today marks a milestone in my extensive time here on earth. As of today, I am officially declared in my field of study. That means that I am one step closer to graduation. One step closer to living in the real world. One step closer to being an adult.

Then I realized that, technically, I am an adult. Legally, at least. But in my experience, I think that I would be lying if I said that I am an actual adult. While I’m not sure what exactly constitutes adulthood, I can list a few attributes that I possess that exclude me from that category.

• When I experience hunger pangs in the middle of the night and realize that I have no readily available food (aka something that I can instantly nom without having to prepare anything), I resort to eating whatever I can scavenge. Even though there is a vending machine downstairs fully stocked with goodies, and even though there is ramen that only requires boiling water to make, I choose the easiest option. Which is why, more often that not, my roommate finds me huddled in a corner, face illuminated by my laptop screen, eating raw ramen noodles like chips. Also, when I do actually find chips, I eat them with such impatience that I usually end up with cuts on the corners of my lips and roof of my mouth.

• I have the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy. There is a chemistry professor named Poon. Every time I hear his name, I laugh. Ditto humpday. Or anything scatological.

• As previously mentioned, I have an aversion to wearing pants. In addition, I have a penchant for redefining the boundaries of fashion. And by that I mean that I tend to wear the shirt in which I slept the next day. Personally, I don’t see any issues with this habit, but apparently it’s weird.

• I have never been able to drink eight glasses of water a day. I’m not sure why this tidbit of information is relevant to this post or if it even makes sense. But, for whatever reason, I imagine that adults are very good at hydrating themselves. Also, I don’t moisturize nearly as much as I should.

• I apologize incessantly. Even when I know that something isn’t my fault, I will apologize anyway. A girl legit stomped on my toes at a party, and I was the one apologizing for being in her way (even though I know I wasn’t. She was drunk.). I thought that being an adult would make me more commanding, or at the very least make me more assertive.

• On that note, I still have issues asking for things. I know that, as an individual, I have the right to want things, and to pursue those wishes. But being around other people who seem to know what they want to an extent that I don’t makes me retreat to my custom of wishful thinking and self-loathing.

• If given a choice between a mature, grown up salad and a strawberry iced poptart, I will always choose the poptart.

11 April 2011

blind leading the blind

I think I need new glasses. I realized my vision was slowly deteriorating when, despite wearing my glasses at the time, I found myself squinting while taking a vision test for my study abroad physical. At first, I attributed this failure to the fluorescent lighting and the fact that it was 8 a.m., but upon further reflection, I am more inclined to believe that my eyes are at fault. I mean, I could still see, but it took a lot more effort on my part than I think was necessary.

My point is, I can still see when I’m in class. Besides, since most of my classes are discussion-based seminars, it’s not like there’s anything written on the board that is crucial to my passing the class.

I’d like to take a moment of silence to thank heaven that I am neither a math nor science major.

The most pressing reason why I need new glasses is my inability to recognize people. For some reason, this campus is incredibly friendly. People smile at each other when they pass, regardless of whether or not the other person is a total stranger. I think that the combination of sunshine, fragrant orange trees, and overwhelming politeness makes not saying hi to random people weird.

The problem is, since I can’t tell who someone is until it is potentially too late, I find myself in awkward situations where my level of salutation is inappropriate.

For instance, if I can make out the hazy shape of a smiling mouth on an oncoming passerby, I will reciprocate the greeting. But, since I am still unsure of the person’s identity, I will do so with some hesitation and plenty of awkwardness. If that person happens to be a friend, he or she will tease me, asking why I’m being weird and/or cold. I apologize and blame my eyesight, then slouch off, avoiding eye contact with anyone else lest I make the same mistake. If someone recognizes me, he or she can call my name and I’ll respond. But, sometimes when people yell “okay,” I mishear it as a nickname, then even more awkwardness ensues.

However, sometimes the opposite of the aforementioned situation occurs. If I’m feeling especially brave (or stupid), I will keep my head up while walking around. If I vaguely recognize someone’s form, I will get excited. Perhaps my lack of friends in high school has left indelible marks on my psyche, but whenever I see a friend on campus, I get really excited. Despite popular opinion, I’m not completely dumb. I like to think logically about whether or not the blur in the distance could be someone I know. After studying general characteristics (approximate height and weight, hair color, manner of walking, etc.), I think about the probability that this person could be a friend of mine. Does my friend own that shirt? Does my friend carry a bag like that? Is my friend in class right now? If the answers to those question match the description of my friend, I will commit to making contact. Usually, I do so vocally with a cheery salutation.

More often than not, I’m wrong. The person walking toward me just happens to bear a striking resemblance to a friend, and there is no turning back. I usually just sport a sheepish smile or shrug then scurry off.

But that’s not even the most terrifying encounters I have when rendered blind. One on one interactions while passing by someone are tolerable. Sure, they can be embarrassing, but they could also be attributed to the friendly atmosphere that this school fosters.

But nothing strikes so much fear in my heart as meals in the dining hall. First of all, my senses are overloaded with smells and sounds, let alone sights. Also, I am usually ravenous by mealtimes, so I’m not really focused on recognizing people.

I’m not sure whether people can sense my vulnerability, but whenever I’m in the dining hall, I feel like I’m being ambushed. That guy who asked me for my number last weekend and was confused when I awkwardly declined and scuttled off? Of course he sees me. That random girl that sat next to me in a class last semester with whom I haven’t exchanged more than five words? Small talk! My friend’s ex who turned out to be a huge douche? Eye contact and mutual recognition.

I feel like I’m at a huge disadvantage here. I need to be prepared so I can defeat awkwardness once and for all.

10 April 2011

i should never be allowed near prospective students

This week has been incredibly stressful. I’m writing three papers simultaneously (none of which are completed at this point), and the readings for my classes have been piling up like whoa. I don’t understand why writing has been so hard. I can churn out a thousand words in an hour or so, but for some reason, these papers have been incredibly difficult. Premature senioritis? Possibly. But I’d put money on general laziness at this point.

As a much needed break, I went to dinner with my friends. As I was walking to my friends’ dorm to meet up, head in a fog as usual, I suddenly found myself swimming upstream. A horde of prospective students was walking in the opposite direction, and I was unwittingly caught in the middle, disoriented and hungry. I had forgotten that this weekend, tons of admitted students would be roaming the campus, scoping out whether or not they would be willing to spend the next four years here. Instead of fighting to advance toward my destination, I gave up and stood still, occasionally picking up fragments of conversations about hometowns and other schooling options (“Yeah, I was accepted to every school I applied to. But this place is really pretty.” etc.).

I happen to be in love with my school, so when I hear people bragging about the other schools they could have attended, I become a bit defensive. Amazingly enough, I kept my mouth shut and instead shook my head at the way the prospies were trying so hard to impress each other.

But my intolerance of arrogance is not why I shouldn’t be around prospective students. I mean, it’s a good reason, but it’s not the only one. As I mentioned before, I love my school. Maybe a little bit too much.

When I meet a prospective student, my primary objective is to make her love the school as much as I do. When a prospie stops me to ask for directions, more often than not I stop whatever I am doing and walk her to where she needs to go, emphatically talking about how much I love it here. I probably sport the crazy eyes and maniacal smile whilst conducting these impromptu tours. Scratch that. I definitely sport the crazy eyes and maniacal smile whilst conducting these impromptu tours.

I go into hyper friendly mode. It’s as though I am involuntarily compensating for all my antisocial tendencies at once. I become terrifyingly chipper. And smiling that much hurts my face.

I wish I could say that it’s possible for me to avoid contact with prospective students so I won’t scare them away. Unfortunately, one of my best friends happens to be the new student coordinator, so my contact with prospies is inevitable.


07 April 2011

i will never be able to

• Be a crazy cat lady. I’m allergic to the point where my eyes water and my throat closes up. I guess I could still potentially be a dead crazy cat lady whose cats have eaten her face. I do still want a pet tiger, so I need to do some extensive googling to determine whether that’s still a possibility. I hope it is. I love tigers.
• Be a Rockette. I don’t fit the height requirement. Because that’s the only obstacle. It’s also why I’ve never won America’s Next Top Model.
• Be good at being mad. As I have mentioned before, I can never keep the angry momentum going long enough to sustain those feelings. I’m terrible at giving people the silent treatment simply because I like to talk.
• Understand the appeal of Claire Danes. Sorry.
• Be a princess at Disneyland. I would really like to, but, in all honesty, which one could I be? Unless a Disney movie about a mestiza princess comes out in the near future, I’m screwed.
• Eat pesto. Unless it was made without pine nuts. But then it wouldn’t really be pesto.
• Keep a manicure for more than four days. It’s usually either an index finger or a thumb that chips first. And, being who I am, I can’t have one imperfect nail. Even though I know it’s horrible for my nails, I proceed to peel off the remaining polish for the sake of consistency. Also, I bore really easily, so once I grow tired of one color, I switch to another. Right now, my nails are bright blue with a black shatter topcoat. Pretty awesome, I know.
• Comment on an online forum. Seeing the volatile ways in which people respond to other commenters scares me into keeping my thoughts to myself. A lot of people use their relative anonymity online as a cloak behind which they can act like assholes. It doesn’t work that way.
• Be able to look at a rusty spoon and not think of Salad Fingers.
• Eat cotton candy without crazy eyes. Or sugar shakes.
• Talk about Fight Club. Oops.

06 April 2011

i am the ultimate party animal


People tell me that I’m smart and funny. Sometimes, I even believe them. Then I go to a large social gathering and realize that they were lying to me all this time.

It was my friend’s birthday recently, so we had a small get together, complete with cake and general happiness. There were people there with whom I was very familiar, but there were also some of her friends with whom I was not as well acquainted. People she knew from her classes or friends who were not necessarily part of our core group of friends but still knew.

I realize that at this point I sound like one of those cliquey girls in Mean Girls (you can’t sit with us!), but I promise you I’m not like that. It’s not as though we have vicious three-way calling attacks or rules like wearing pink on Wednesdays. The only rule we strictly enforce is to keep lids on liquids, but that’s just because it makes sense.

After we had sung and she had semi-successfully blown out the trick candles, we were all sitting (or laying, in some cases) on the floor, absolutely stuffed with what might be the densest chocolate cake I have ever encountered. Since there was no more ceremony to which we had to attend, we began to engage in conversation. Please note that I use the word “we” lightly.

Someone started telling a hilarious story about her childhood, triggering a procession of people telling stories with the hopes of topping the previous one. It may have been the cake, or the stories about awkward pee situations, but everyone was laughing, fully engrossed in the moment.

The only thing I could think of while this was happening was, whenever I was having a conversation with someone, whether the other person was actually listening to what I had to say or was instead thinking about the next thing he or she wanted to say. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I talk to other people, I find the conversation veering in the direction of the other person until it comes to them talking and me nodding and occasionally interjecting a “yeah” here and there.

Normally, I’d be right there with my friends, laughing until tears were streaming down my cheeks. But that day I wondered what would happen if I didn’t engage. If I didn’t buy into what was expected of me and tell a self-deprecating story about what a strange child I was (am?). Maybe I was feeling tired. Maybe I didn’t have a relevant story. Maybe I didn’t want to have to entertain people I didn’t know.

But instead of grasping at any story I had in an attempt to make people laugh, I sat. I listened. Peer pressure was not going to get the best of me.

I would normally have some sort of observation around this point in the post, but I don’t really have anything to contribute. People in social situations are strange creatures indeed.

04 April 2011


I decided to give the random word generator another chance. This beautiful weather inspires a sense of mercy in me, I suppose. Or I really don’t want to do my reading. Either way, the word generator has been given a shot at redemption. Here’s hoping it doesn’t screw it up.



I could talk about body image. I could talk about cows. Really, I could talk about anything even tenuously related to stomachs. But I won’t. Because I have been inspired. Word generator, you have done your job, but not exactly the way you should have.

In-class essays have always been a source of anxiety for me. I enjoy writing, and do it as often as I can, but I am always afraid I’ll choke under pressure. I am currently enrolled in a class this semester that begins every session with an in-class essay, so there is plenty of opportunity for me to have a breakdown. Maybe my rebellious side will take over and my mind will refuse to function simply because it doesn’t like being told what to do. Perchance my hand will finally surrender itself to a long overdue case of carpal tunnel. Maybe I will legitimately have no idea how to answer the prompt, even with the assistance of my bullshitting skills.

While the previous scenarios may very well happen someday, what usually happens is this: I think of a great way to answer the question. I think of eloquent ways to phrase my points. I even think of words that I will want to include, simply because I can. Words like “facetious” and “cornucopia.” My favorite pen makes contact with the page and I begin to write. It’s going well, until I make my first mistake. When I write with this much concentration, especially while the wheels in my head are turning so quickly, words string together. “With the” becomes “withe” and I have to whip out my trusty correcting tape. I correct the error, try to ignore the fact that the ink on the correcting tape is a slightly different color than the ink on the actual paper, and continue to answer the prompt.

But the rhythm is broken. I remember the time limit. I spew out a string of seemingly relevant words, but my hand isn’t moving at the same speed as my mind and I become frustrated as it lags behind. As if it could hear my thought process, my hand cramps with defiance. No amount of flailing will help. Not that I would flail in the middle of my class anyways. At least, not in a way that would call attention to myself.

Luckily, I finish just in time. I feel pretty confident about what I have done. Plus, there’s nothing I can do anymore, so I hand my paper to the person sitting next to me. She has filled up double the space I have on the sheet. True, my handwriting is very small. And she just crossed out her mistakes instead of covering them up completely. Those mistakes could account for the additional space used up.

Rather than freak out, I convince myself that I just happened to be more concise than her. I was probably more efficient at presenting my logic than she was with hers. I know that I wrote everything that was necessary. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with my work. Besides, it’s not the length that matters, but the content. Am I right?

Not to be crude, but if this is what insecurity regarding size feels like, then I understand, gentlemen. Sorry for making fun of you.

Also, sorry this post has almost nothing to do with stomachs.

vaguely indicative title

First sentence that hooks the reader. Can be funny, outlandish, or actually relevant to the rest of the piece. It depends. Follow up sentence that qualifies the first and adds new information that draws the reader in deeper. A statement that indicates what information will be revealed, possibly hinting at an epiphany near the end. The reader now has the decision to continue reading or move on to something else (Facebook).

Statement that the writer is aware that the subject is not applicable to everyone, or qualifying statement that the writer understands the contrary point of view to her own. The writer relates her point of view.

Background information about the author to put the first paragraph into context. Inclusion of a personality quirk or thought process specific to the author that could potentially give the reader a better understanding of why the writer thinks the way she thinks. This portion may or may not be immediately relevant to the piece, but the writer promises that it will be.

Beginning of anecdote that will explain the hook from the first paragraph. Retelling of a story that indicates an experience unique to the writer. Paragraph composed of long sentences with multiple clauses alternated with short sentences. For emphasis. Continuation of story with increasing momentum and tension as the writer builds the intensity.

Sentence about the climax of the story, preferably beginning with a conjunction.

Explanation of why the writer acted the way she did in the given scenario. This is where the background information becomes relevant. If the reader remembered the idiosyncrasy, then he or she is already ahead of the game. But, the writer will take it upon herself to explain it again, just to ensure clarity.

The writer tries to make the reader understand her thought process, and therefore frames this portion in such a way that her mode of thinking appears to be the most logical. More sentences to prove that the writer is a functioning member of society and not a crazed young woman with a laptop. She may or may not succeed at this point.

Hyperbolic statement about how normal the writer is. The reader should at this point realize that the writer is not typical, nor does she wish to be acknowledged as such.

Solitary, often bleak, statement about the writer’s observations about the given scenario.

02 April 2011

irreconcilable differences


While sitting through yet another shift at the library, my mind wandered to thought about plurality. More specifically, I began to think about the plurality of identities in a single person.

As an added layer of complexity, imagine the word “plural” spoken with a Swedish accent. Because I always do.

Strangely enough, writing makes me think about things. Weird, right? Since I posted about it, I can’t help but think about my reluctance to classify things. First, I thought about how stereotypically douchey it sounds when people say they “hate labels.” No wonder other generations are frustrated with mine.

But, as I am a product of a time and place, is it inevitable that some ideologies, no matter how vapid, will be transferred to my consciousness. I suppose the best thing for me to do at this point is recognize that self-obsession, and try to begin to understand the logic (if there is any) behind it.

I mentioned that there is a distinctly American philosophy that everyone is special, and categorization takes away from that uniqueness. Standardization glosses over the nuances that make people who they are. I still stand by that statement. But to pinpoint the precise problem, I think that it is important to think about what makes a person unique.

This is where the plurality kicks in. I think that much of my generation’s aversion to labeling comes from an inability to reconcile, or even recognize, the multiple identities that reside in a single person. Plurality, in my experience anyways, comes from fragmentation, and I often wonder how in-depth I should go to explain this fragmentation in a way that doesn’t seem quite so labored.

In the true fashion of my generation, I am going to use myself as an area of study. It is the most accessible subject, and I daresay I understand myself more than I understand other people.

Also, being who I am, I am going to analyze this fragmentation with respect to my writing.

I have neglected posting for the past few days. It’s hard to articulate why exactly. The closest word I can think of to express my feelings is inadequacy.

At the manifest level, I mean it in the most literal sense of the word. I find myself wanting to write, but not believing in my execution. Maybe my inspiration isn’t strong enough. Maybe I don’t have the emotional sophistication to walk the fine line between angsty bitching and sardonic observation when writing about real issues. Maybe it was idealistic of me to think that writing every day would somehow contribute to my betterment.

Whatever the truth may be, I have five or six documents open on my laptop, each in some state of incompletion. I physically cannot bring myself to finish, so I begin another with the hope that the next one will fare better. I guess I didn’t realize how invested I am in this project until I found myself unable to participate.

But the inadequacy stems from a deeper place. I was talking to a friend of mine, and he asked whether my writing changes when I know that someone in particular is going to read it.

I hadn’t put that much thought into it (surprising, coming from the girl who overthinks everything, I know). But he did bring up a valid point. It does change. There are certain things that I cannot, will not, share with certain people, and once the subject is broadcast for public consumption, there is no way I can control who reads it.

If you were wondering where the notion of plurality becomes relevant again, it’s here.

I suppose the reason plurality has been so heavily on my mind has much to do with my background. Both of my parents immigrated to America, so calling myself American feels weird, like I am disregarding history. Racial identity, too, is a nightmare. I’m not purely one race, I’m not technically biracial, and I have semantic issues with the term “hapa” because it implies halving, and my racial divide is not split down the middle. If forced to choose, I will consider myself Asian, but it will probably always feel like a lie. It is precisely because of these reasons that I have never really aligned myself with any racial identification groups at any of my schools.

But this fragmentation materializes when it comes to my writing. As I previously mentioned, my voice changes depending on my intended audience. I keep parts of myself distinct and only call upon certain elements when appropriate. I suppose this is true of everyone. And I understand that it is a problem. But it has never been so apparent as it is now, as I sit here in front of my laptop, trying to articulate my thoughts without losing anyone.

There’s no way I can talk about romance here. Nor religion. Nor race (minus what I already have, but I felt like a concrete example was necessary). I just can’t.

Maybe someday I will break these rules. I wonder if, in the future, I will be able to write freely. But I cannot. Not right now. My inability to reconcile the fragmented parts of myself prevents that freedom. For now, I’ll settle with censoring myself. Even though it feels like I’m lying a little bit each day.

But then I started to think even more about censorship. The very act of writing, regardless of intent, inevitably involves censorship. A writer’s brain is a censor. I choose my words very carefully. Despite the frequency with which there are typographical errors in my work, I swear I edit. I cannot escape.

Then I started thinking about free will in general and subsequently bummed myself out. Maybe I should stick with lighter topics for now. Since I can’t reconcile my fragmented identity, I can work within the space I have created for myself, gradually expanding until my whole mess of self fits. And I will get there. Eventually.