Sunday, 15 July 2018

Self Care

Recently I've come to realise that we all have things we do alone, and we all really must do some things alone.  Living in a dorm, I've noticed that it's easy to fall into this trap of constantly craving companionship.  With people constantly around, there's always someone to walk to the grocery store with, to exercise with, or to watch television with.  However, as counteractive as it may seem for certain extroverts, not doing a few things alone is no way to live at all.  We all need to breathe some fresh air of mental self care on the weekly.

We all do this in different ways, which are somewhat unfathomable to each other.  Here's some of mine:

When in Sydney, the best way to clear my head or daydream is by going to the beach alone.  For some productive, endorphin-pumping time saving, I jog down to Coogee, or all the way to Clovelly, and take a seat on some rocks.  The sitting on the rocks bit is more of a photo opportunity, but it's the walk back with some good tunes, a good view and fresh air that is really good for the soul.

- and I cannot wait for the summer, when it's finally warm enough to swim in the rock pool again - at sunset - or early in the morning - salt water makes floating on your back serene like a Kendall Jenner Instagram post at the Maldives.

With a lot of free time, the best way to spend it could be by catching up with friends and going out for brunch or shopping or clubbing, or it could be by watching those movies you sometimes randomly feel like watching.  Here's a little list of which I know at least one will jerk that weird urge like huh - I haven't seen that in a while...
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Wild Child
No Strings Attached
Anne of Green Gables 
We're the Millers
Stuck in Love 
Now You See Me 2
Also watch Glee (or season 7 episode 18 of Grey's Anatomy) - some emotional singing can only ever be inspiring and good for the soul.

You could also simultaneously do something you haven't done in a while, like painting your nails.  I was recently deciding between the trusty old go-to silver, or something a little different *since I'm a different person now* like a deep maroon.

When in some serious self-indulgent existential crisis, I think the best thing to do is learn more about myself.  This can be done in the form of writing down your thoughts or reading old diaries.  The other night I lay down and read my diary as if it were a book for an hour.  I read the last six months of my life, about leaving home, which boys I liked but didn't realise I liked at the time, who and what were annoying me --- giving myself some insight into who I actually am.  It is, I think, only at times like these that you can truly undergo self improvement.

Having been home for two weeks, I've also gone back to my old go-to time for thought of driving.  Living in a small, green city, traffic is sparse and the view is almost always good.  In fact, drive 20 minutes in any direction and the scenery looks positively rural.  It's like escaping.  My favourite place for mind cleansing is driving along the main highway at 100km/h, alongside green hills of mini trees and mountains in the distance, singing along to music I have known very well for a long time.  If that doesn't feel like home, I don't know what does.

My main coping mechanism of my final year of high school was going to group fitness classes.  And by group fitness, I mean something like dance aerobics - something that resembles dancing but is super easy to follow.  Honestly, the music is infectious, and it gives you an excuse to drop whatever you're doing and take a break, and the cardio can only be a good thing.  The bigger the class the better, and during school I was fortunate enough to live walking distance from the largest gym in the city.  I remember one time I forced my friend to come along, and once she got into it, she couldn't stop smiling the entire time.

Finally, when given a vast amount of free time in the company of only yourself, it can be beneficial to learn something new.  Given a day to myself, I used to spend all day lying in bed with my earphones in, listening to TED talks.  Lately I've also been considering podcasts and reading non-fiction.

Here's some TED talks that have previously caught my attention:
The Danger of a Single Story
Before I die I want to... 
I Am Not Your Asian Stereotype
Why teens confess to crimes they didn't commit
How a male contraceptive pill could work 
I recently also visited the Victorian State Library, and after oggling at the pretty white dome in the pretty white room, I migrated to the bookshop, where I took a photo of every book I thought I'd like to read later:

12 Rules for Life - Jordan B Peterson
The Geography of Friendship - Sally Piper
Geek Girl Rising - Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens
Feminist Fight Club - Jessica Bennett
Utopia for Realists - Rutger Bregman
Cringeworthy - Melissa Dahl
The End of Old Age - Marc E. Agronin
Overthinking is Overrated - Niels Birbaumer and Jorg Zittlau
101 Dilemmas for the Armchair Philosopher - Eric Chaline
I Feel You - Cris Beam
The Inflamed Mind - Edward Bullmore
The Happy Brain - Dean Burnett
How to Build a Universe - Brian Cox and Robin Ince
Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It - Daniel Klein
Ignorance - Robert Graef
And here's some cute photos I took from a book about growing up and moving to a new city -


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Who wants to be Carrie Bradshaw?

Let me break down the last few months for you: First up, the only television shows I've been consuming are Love Island Australia (If you're from Australia and haven't seen an episode you're probably lying.  Also, Erin is my favourite) and Sex and the City.  And then on top of that, the last eight weeks of my life have been spent learning about conception and babies.  Do you see a common theme here?  Basically, all I've really been conditioned to be thinking about, I guess, are love and sex and boys.

But to be honest, this has got me thinking, when haven't I been obsessing over some boy?  Since I was 15, I've always spent my moments of mental down time daydreaming about someone.  I've always let them be what I was most excited for in my week, or month, or whenever I would next see them.  That's not to say it was constant unhealthy obsessive crushes.  In fact, it was more like 2-3-5 crushes all at the same time.  It was just constant flirtation with the idea of what could be.  What my break down is, is perhaps I was bored and had nothing better to think about than boys.  Maybe that's just a me thing, or maybe it's not.

Watching Sex and the City I hear Carrie Bradshaw and her friends talk about their boyfriends all the time.  They're always thinking about them, having their lives revolve around them.  I even remember in one episode Carrie saying to Mr. Big, "You're all I think about.  Everyday."  I mean, come on girls, surely there's more to life than finding a boyfriend.  But then, these women are all relatively successfully living their dream.  Carrie's a glamorous writer who goes to glamorous parties all the time.  Miranda's a successful lawyer in the most traditional sense.  Yet both women still obsess over their loneliness.  Are all women like this?

And it's not as simple as curing your loneliness by finding a boyfriend.  We can't just find a boyfriend.  We have to overanalyse, especially at 18.  Those successful either found love on Tinder or were "tuning" for months and months.  You think people are dating, but instead they describe it as "getting there", of which I do approve.  But "getting there" or even before "getting there", there are a million thoughts running through your head, and through your mouth over brunch with a girlfriend, about whether he's right.

Do I actually like him or do I like the attention?

Is it lust or is it love?

Do I see myself marrying him one day or is it just for fun?  Because if it's just for fun, I shouldn't be wasting my time.

Is he too wholesome?

Do I want to hoe around instead?  I mean, this is the age for it.

Never put all your eggs in one basket, unless you're dating him.

Dating him would mean foregoing the attention of other boys.

Being single is just part of my identity, though.

Am I too young to be considerate of someone else?

In our final lecture of the semester, we learnt that while boys may think with their *****, girls are turned on with love and affection.  Girls inherently, scientifically, want a boy who will kiss them on the forehead, who will pull them in close while walking on the sidewalk, who will offer their jacket or buy them flowers, just because they care.  Scientifically, girls just want a boy who actually cares.  So what does this mean, socially?  Does this mean that girls feel lonelier than boys when single?  Does this mean that girls care more?  Does this mean that while boys may enjoy that sneaky kiss in the club, girls, in actuality, do not enjoy it at all, and are potentially only enjoying it as a social construct?  So maybe girls are thinking about boyfriends more than boys are thinking about girlfriends, which isn't such a good arrangement if you ask me.

But here I am, always having been seen as the future "forever alone career woman", whether by myself or my Facebook meme tagging friends.  When you're feeling independent (or defensive) there's something empowering about saying you're work focused, that you don't have time for relationships or children or family (even though of course I'd love to have this white picket fence dream become a reality.  This is why that lecture about your eggs drying out at 35 scared me, and every other girl in the room, so much).  Throughout the final years of high school, whether out of fear or self-preservation, my motto was always "cute boys will distract you from that 99 final mark".  And while I don't actually want to be the "forever alone career woman", it'd be nice to stop thinking about boys all the time.  They really are distracting.

So, no.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be Carrie Bradshaw.  There's something pathetic about thinking about boys all the time, and I firmly believe that the right person will hang out with you and care enough to kiss you on the forehead and pull you close just because he wants to.  But then again, I'm 18 and Carrie's hitting the egg freezing 35.  I have time.


ALSO SIDE NOTE: I changed my blog name back.  I think I have a soft spot for nostalgia and continuing this blog exactly as was when I made it at 15.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Thoughts: It's been a while, but let's talk about the past

Last night I said I was a passive agreer.  I was just telling some anecdotal story I'd told a million times that day, about how some guy took a second cookie and the girl next to me was like "oh my gosh, he took a second cookie?  How rude." and I was like "Yeah, gosh, how rude." - you know, passively agreeing.  And then like 20 seconds later I took a second cookie and this girl looked at me like "what the fuck."  Anyway, so I had said I was a passive agreer, and then this girl who had just walked into my room said, "to be honest, I think you're passive everything."  She was so right.

Hence, the renaming of this blog.
I hope you can all still find it :) or not :)

So, the last time I posted was September last year, apparently.  Back then I hadn't experienced anything.  But skip forward a few months and we reach December 31st: the last time I wrote.  Typing those letters b l o g g e r into google for the first time in ages, I stumbled across a little draft I never knew I never finished:

I'm at a brown coffee table painting my nails silver for the new year, probably running late for work, wondering why I'm writing on the blog I haven't set eyes on in 3 months.  I thought I'd said an unplanned goodbye already, but the new year has always been the most thoughtful time of year for me, and for the last three new years, I've done my reflecting here.  Perhaps this blog is in the cards for 2018 after all.

Looking back on 2017, it was a lot.  In all my medicine interviews I kept getting asked the question "What are you most proud of from the last two years?" and while I gave them all some lame answer about how I was proud of my academic achievements, which they so did not want to hear, in reality, I think my answer is "the person I have become".  Having finished school, being so comfortable with the network of people I've built around me, being confident, feeling pretty, knowing what I want, feeling ready for so much more... that's how I'm ending 2017.

And tonight I will not be getting drunk, or making out with strangers on the street at midnight.  Instead I will be in a pretty white restaurant with family and friends, and we'll eat, maybe go outside and dance with the strangers on the street, and at exactly midnight we will watch the fireworks.  I love that exact moment -- what you were doing at midnight.  Although, now that I'm writing this, I'm not sure why it's so significant.  Perhaps it's supposed to be that changeover moment where you transition into that person you want to be, who from that moment on will not be eating chocolate and will instead go to the gym.  Or perhaps it's a moment of celebration, saying goodbye and thank you to the year that has just passed.  I like the former, personally.

And now we're here: 2018.  It's a Saturday night and for some reason, the moment I closed my embryology notes, the people yelling outside my dorm window decided to shut up.  Oh well.  Too late.  I'm here now.  I'm here and I'm thinking about home -- not Sydney home (and Sydney is now home), but my other home.

The other home is a figment of my imagination now.  It's still there, standing, with my mum and my dad and my sister.  The snapchat maps still show me who's at the mall, and who's at home, and who's at the gym.  But, there's one tiny difference this weekend.  On that map is a boy from my classes, visiting those malls and a 10 minute drive away from my friends.  It's wrong.  It's weird.  It's a reminder that things are not the same and never will be.  Seeing him there, out of place, makes me homesick.  I think about what it would be like if I were there.  Well, I wouldn't be running late for work, and I don't even know where my nail polish is kept now.  My friends are now all doing different things.  I can't even picture their lives, even when they tell me all about it.  That home doesn't exist anymore.

Today, for the first time since I was simultaneously hungover and in the middle of a fever, I spent the whole day in my room.  The plan was to study, like old times, at my desk, in my room, alone.  This time though, I felt irrationally lonely.  It's all these small things that used to be so normal for me, that take me back to the night before I left, when I cried and cried and I didn't know why, because I should've been so excited for the big future I'd always dreamed of only a day away.  And it really is like living a dream, but sometimes I need to sit here and mourn what I don't have anymore.

I'm low-key in love with my sadness.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Moments of Clarity

They're like a montage of fleeting moments in an indie film, like supercuts edited together.

I was driving up a hill in peak hour traffic ~or as peak hour as this city can get anyway.  The sky was a soft pink and the red lights of cars were Glowing.  I didn't even like the Justin Bieber song that was playing at the time.  It was so counter... deep. 

Nevertheless, sitting there I realised that I was deserving.  For the first time, I actually saw myself as a human being; I wasn't ashamed of my thoughts.  In fact, I actually quite liked myself.  It's hard to explain, but you see, sometimes you never seem to get what you want, and sometimes you can't even picture yourself getting what you want - like that thing you want never even crossed your mind.  Yet, that thing you want, other people have it, so it must be possible.

It was the first time I realised that I am just as entitled to things as other people are.  Sometimes you don't understand this lack of confidence or underdog feeling because you're simply in denial.  "I am a strong independent woman, right?"  Perhaps you don't understand yourself as well as you think.  A superiority complex could exist, or the angsty puts-up-walls-because-scared-people-will-see-the-real-me could be a real thing too.

Warm water running and just standing there, absolutely still.  It'd been a lethargic day of eating chocolate and reading my watercolour-embossed diary.

Somehow I can remember every thought as soon as it's read.  I remember feeling that way, I remember what happened and the entire phase.  Like, it's all just one big continuous phase, isn't it?  A notebook-long phase until the pages run out.  Is that when the new theme of my life begins again?

Writing is funny like that.  It time-capsules feelings.  It documents thoughts.  I am every single person who recorded words in my diary.  I'm the girl who's worried about getting fat, the girl who yells at herself to study, the girl who accuses her sister of being jealous, the girl who is lonely and then suddenly feels loved, then sad.  Somehow the voices stay the same.

When I'm older and read this diary, I'll remember what it was like to be 17 again on an emotional level, and that's so cool.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Currently: the Future and the Most addictive TV shows of 2017

I've been writing over and over again - on scholarship applications, college applications, university applications - about what I want to be and do, and why.  At the beginning of this year, the last semester of our final year of high school was described as 'one foot in one foot out'.  Well, that one foot out is all I can think about.  Everything that comes before graduation is unnecessary, irrelevant, who cares.

These three diary entries pretty much encapsulate the feeling of being almost out of here:

Saturday - 26/8/2017
And you're catching me at my worst - the time when my life is a flatline of school and nothing more; no progress, no spontaneity, no freedom, no time.  It's a time when I feel my ugliest and can do nothing about it.  I have no breaking point, but at the moment, I have no existence either.

Saturday - 2/9/2017
We went to the university open day today and I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE MOTIVATED IN MY LIFE!  Seriously, medicine would be the dream!  In 5 years I see myself getting clinical experience at a hospital.  BUT THEN, I also see myself in a firm, working on some project or consulting, just travelling and experiencing a flexible life doing all of the math that I love.  AND THE COLLEGES!!  I want to stay in the colleges so badly!!  I need this new chapter of my life to just START ALREADY!  In comparison, all of this makes everything else seem SO INSIGNIFICANT!  I don't care about what everyone else is doing right now.  Suddenly everyone and everything seems immature in comparison. Who the f*ck cares when uni is just around the corner.   My life is as set as can be and I'm bursting with happiness.

Tuesday - 22/8/2017
Things I want to do:
  • Become a pediatrician
  • Work in a ski resort
  • Backpack across Europe (Hostels and all)
  • Join the army
  • Live at the beach @ Miami for 3 months
  • Join the FBI
  • Intern at Vogue (during fashion week)
  • Aid work in South-East Asia
  • Be a journalist in the press room of the Whitehouse
  • Be on a reality TV show (specifically ANTM but that's not going to happen :(
  • Become a scientist for the UN
  • Road trip up the East Coast of America and then into Canada
  • Cantiki Tour in South East Asia
  • Be an engineer at NASA
  • Waitress a celebrity's party

I've been somewhat of a hermit lately.  I used to thrive in being busy, forever happiest when occupied with plans and 'exciting' things just around the corner... But recently, I've let the addicted, obsessive couch potato in me take over.  It's lazy, it's lethargic, it's languid, and in some ways, letting yourself go like that is what constitutes the perfect weekend.

In 2017, I've experienced these breaks on quite a regular basis, setting aside entire weekends for a season-long marathon of Netflix-ing.  It's that feeling you get when you're in the middle of a very very busy period of your life, and all you crave is popcorn and that one TV show.

Here's the highlights:

Dear White People

Every immigrant and person of colour will kind of relate
THE CONCEPT: each episode is from the point of view of one character.  They're all intertwined, all go to the same prestigious university, all have their own issues (whether it be drugs or who they're in love with) and all have different views and experiences regarding race.

13 Reasons Why

Let's be real.  You know what this one is.
THE CONCEPT: A girl kills herself and leaves behind 13 reasons why she did it on 13 different tapes.  Each reason is a person, and each episode is a tape.
The hype may not be worth it, but trust me, it's good.

Designated Survivor

This one is super politically relevant
THE CONCEPT: For every US cabinet meeting, each party must leave one cabinet member in an undisclosed location as the designated survivor.  In the event that all cabinet members should be killed in some kind of terrorist event, this person becomes the president.  The capitol building gets bombed and that's basically what happens to Kiefer Sutherland.

How to Get Away With Murder

This one is my current obsession, and I don't want to do anything else with my life right now.
THE CONCEPT: Annalise Keating is this kickass defence attorney who teaches at Middleton University, and recruits five on her students to work on her team.  Basically, the entire show starts with these five having just murdered someone, then the show goes back in time to how the whole shebang happened.  Let's just say it's super personal, colluded and absolutely shocking.  Plus, the acting and the characters are friggin amazing.

And that's all for now.  Adios.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Some Kind of Urgency

Sitting in a restaurant with no doors in Chinatown, Sydney, over a bowl of some kind of hot condensed milk, coconut dessert, my mum asks me why I always seem to want more.  At this age it's all about new things, bigger and better.  She asks me why I must go out every day - busy busy busy - and why I can't just stop for a moment - rejuvenate, reflect.  What is the rush to leave home, to spend money as soon as it's acquired, to have lists and lists of things to do and things to obtain.  How will I ever be happy?

Content is the magic word.  It is also a state of mind so out of reach.  There is always someone, something, something missing from what would otherwise be a perfect life, out there - and my brain is always reaching - stuck in a cycle of constant raging highs and lows.  When everything is going right, when everything should be perfect; my mind is so accustomed to worrying, to obsessing, to thinking ahead.  What do I need next?

So it's time to sit, and simply be happy.  Life is not about ticking boxes, because they can never all be ticked.  And honestly, sometimes things happen that you never thought would be on your list - that makes up for it.  It's not about what you don't have or the green eyed monster.  It's about friends, family, food, learning and dreams.  It's always about dreams.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Currently: Thoughts on teenage euphoria, Wellbeing and More on being Asian

"I want this three week holidays to be more wild, but I don't know what I mean by that."  That's what I wrote in my diary a few weeks ago.

I've been going around explaining the intricacies of the cultural barrier between myself and my parents to all my friends.  "When I was 12 and wanted to go to the mall with my friends for the first time, my mother followed me for the entire day." I say.  "My parents are from a different country, and their culture is who they are, and I respect that.  While their rules may seem unreasonable, they're the way they view life and it's morals, and it would be wrong to disrespect them and their rules for that, so I just obey.  I may not agree with their reasoning at all, but it's okay.  It's the cultural barrier."  To what extent this is true, I don't know.

But now, after a few 'incidents', I've been telling my friends my respect is 'broken'.  I am now willing to sneak out and do all the things they told me not to do.  To rebel, and not get caught because I want to try things?  Or to rebel and get caught in order to make my parents mad?  I don't know what form of justification I've been trying to pose.

The need for justification is what I'm getting at here.  I've been questioning why exactly I make the decisions I do - with the real question also being, should I let the need for justification hold me back? Or should I just do what I do when the opportunity arises; no questions asked.

I've been listening to Lorde's new album lately.  Melodrama is very much house-party themed, where she describes the reasoning behind everything through her much admired lyrics; the way in which we want to feel awesome, are young and ashamed, scared of being alone, share only our best side and will lie to do so, are trying to feel different and be different through whatever measures necessarry... is that the justification?  Or does Lorde simply have different reasons, while the rest of us are fuelling some wide-spread stereo-types and peer pressure?  And again, is justification really needed?


The reason I am writing again after months of thoughtless, whinging existence is because I am 6 months away from graduation.  Before beginning a new chapter of my life I want to become the person I wish to be.  That was my goal for 2017, and here we are: the final stretch.

So it's time for some self-care.  Here's some bullet points:

  • Learn to cook
  • Take care of your body
  • Be aware of your personality, and accept it as it is
  • Think ahead for the sake of your career
  • Accept relationships as they come, not as you wish for them to
  • Identify the genuine people in your life, and nourish these relationships
  • Do things in the moment because you want to - no reasons necessary
  • Be confident, always

There is a boy I've been thinking of recently.  I don't know why.  I've been thinking about what I would say to him if he ever asked me if I'd go for him:

"Well, I mean, I would if it weren't for one thing: I feel as if you're ashamed of your culture.  It's not your jokes - I think they're funny.  I just know that you're ashamed.  It's hard to explain, but, you know, being Asian I went through that phase too.  Like, yes people sometimes immediately see us as a stereotype.  A lot of the time a few of these stereotypes are a little true about ourselves, and then they make lots of assumptions, and it sucks, and it's hard, and that's when you become ashamed of your culture and of being seen with people of your culture.  I'd like to hope I've grown past that, but I feel that inwardly, underneath all your jokes, whether you're conscious of it or not, you haven't.  And if I were out with you, I feel as if you'd be ashamed to be seen with me because I'm Asian, and how typical is that."