Monday, August 05, 2013


First vacation since entering the workforce in November of 2012? Absolute luxury. Spent a week in central Oregon with my mom's side of the family biking, jogging, eating and playing Bananagrams. Like, a lot. It was a really special time in light of my big move coming up in a couple of weeks.

As our family has really begun to show signs of aging in the past five years or so, the emotional stakes are increasing exponentially. When my cousin and I played and sang a send-off song for our great aunts and great uncle, we were surprised to find ourselves choked up and nearly unable to finish the final stanza. Although we sang, "until we meet again," our power to control whether we would actually see them in the near future, or if God decided to "take them home" before then, was totally out of our control.

Time is funny. Think about siblings... You spend practically all your time together growing up. Then marriage and kids hit and it gets tougher to get together. Then old age hits and due to disability it's a downright struggle to meet, especially when living across states. I got so sad watching my grandpa hug his lil' bro goodbye. I mean, he really doesn't and can't know if he'll ever see him again.

Enough sadness, though. What was really sweet this vacation was to see how all the younger (as in under 70 years of age) people pitched in to serve the elders. It felt so Asian; it was awesome. We had a buffet-style dinner at my grandparents' unit every night, and they got the place of honor at the table with my great aunties and great uncle. Since my grandma is in a wheelchair, others in the family would volunteer to make her plate and bring it to her. One time I was re-heating lunch leftovers and my great-aunt said to me, "That's really nice that you do that for your grandma." But to me I was like, "What?" I guess because we've been doing it for so long that it just feels natural.

I also loved the way in which the young people (as in my generation people) were really demonstrating being adults. It was so refreshing! We got to cook a big family meal together of "street tacos" three ways (pork, chicken and beef) with corn, grilled vegetables and two kinds of fresh salsa. To see that the rest of the family truly enjoyed the food was definitely a surprise. And talking late into the night with my cousins I understood that they, too, are thinking about Grandma and Grandpa and the fact that we don't know for how much longer they'll be in our lives.

I was struck by something my oldest cousin said. She said more or less that she had expected Grandma and Grandpa to go years back. Everything beyond that as been "gravy," she said.

Wow. Instead of feeling entitled to more time with Grandma and Grandpa, and maintaining a mentality of never wanting to let them go, she sees it as just a gift--a pure gift to have time, any time, with them now.

That sh1t is f*cking profound.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

News of the Significant Kind

You know that last week of the school year, when class is basically a complete sham and all you do is sign yearbooks and watch movies and clean out your desk? I feel like that in a way right now, because one chapter of my life is closing and another one is beginning.

The non-profit I interned with in 2010 has extended an invitation for me to join their staff as Volunteer Coordinator starting in August. The current coordinator, Carolyn, will be returning to the States to enroll in graduate school, and I'll be taking her place. In other words, I'm moving to Mexico next month. I'm really, really looking forward to it.

In February of this year, before I'd even known about the job opening in Mexico, I had been looking through my old journals hoping it would give me some insight into where next to put my focus. The job I have currently as a secretary is great, don't get me wrong. My co-workers are friendly, it pays well and I more or less know what I'm doing. Yet ever since I started in November, I've always been cognizant of the fact that this job was not necessarily "the one" that would keep me happy and fulfilled for the rest of my life.

Just because my job paid well, though, I did not want to lose sight of my dreams and passion. I think about the book The Alchemist when Santiago, whose dream it was to leave Spain and visit the ancient pyramids, becomes sidetracked when he lands a job in a glass shop. He excels at being a salesman, and makes a lot of money, and it temporarily makes me forget about his dream. He is trapped by the justification of, tomorrow, tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow.

So when I got the email about the job opening with Casa de los Angeles, I was freaking out a bit. Reading through my journal entries from Mexico had made me all wistful. I had up to that point been punching myself for forsaking my first love--international work--but didn't know quite how to get back there. And here was opportunity knocking at my door.

Shit! I thought to myself. Now why would God do this to me? Would he be so cruel as to dangle this tantalizing opportunity before me only to rip it away (see: graduate school)? So I was leery. What the hell, though. Might as well try it. I met all of the qualifications and then some.

I tried not to get my hopes too high up...but I couldn't deny the fact that as I drafted my cover letter I was sweating with a racing pulse realizing how well my passion, education and work experience matched the position.

Shit! Can you tell that when I get excited all I can do is swear?

Waited a week. Interviewed. Waited four days. Got an email from the founder requesting a phone call, purpose ambiguous. "We just have one more question to ask you. Would you like to come and join us as our Volunteer Coordinator?" I immediately teared up; I had been holding everything in so much it was like FINALLY, I can celebrate! *screams*

So that’s my big news. We’re trying to fill my current position in Seattle; that’s basically all I’m waiting on before I pack up and move. I’m hoping to live in Mexico for two years at minimum. I cannot emphasize enough to you that this is my dream come true. This is all I wanted—to live in-country, become part of a community, contribute to an organization that serves people in a way that I actually agree with and be happy, you know?

Shit! Is this actually going to happen? Thanks, God.

Feel free to leave questions in the comment section and I’ll work to answer them. I’ll be posting more about what the actual job entails soon.

Pinching myself.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Well, that's over.

So I can now say that I've had the complete 500 Days of Summer experience. I've been both protagonists now: Summer Finn, the heartbreaker, and Tom Hansen, the one with a broken heart. You guys, I really think it's making me mature and wise; I'm not even joking. It's making me a more compassionate person.

When I was young I didn't understand why people in relationships would treat each other in shitty ways and make each other cry, but now my eyes have been opened. I get it so much more. I don't judge people for making mistakes in relationships, hurting each other inadvertently[i] because of fear, selfishness, misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions.

I was really struck by a statement Rashida Jones made in an interview for her movie, Celeste and Jesse Forever which she co-wrote and acted in. Paraphrase: “I’ve learned not to take things so personally. When people hurt me, I’ve learned that very rarely are they doing it maliciously or intentionally. So I just need to get over that.” Ugh, it seems so obvious, but it’s so helpful to remember this.

The Bingley/Bennett saga I’ve off-handedly mentioned in some of my past posts is now over and done. And what could I possibly write to express the odd mixture of relief, sadness, anxiety and peace I am feeling[ii]?

Last July or so I started being interested in a person, kind of out of the blue. As my dad says, “The heart wants what the heart wants,” but I didn’t know why my heart wanted what it wanted. I was confused by my own feelings and attraction to this person, who, in my opinion, was not necessarily the kind of person I’d usually feel drawn to.

My first instinct when I sense that I might be starting to “like” someone is to suppress the feelings and try and amputate them, as if they were something unnatural, undesirable and foreign. I do this because I have internalized 1 Corinthians 7[iii] beyond what is actually healthy and helpful. I automatically assume that any “crush” I may have on a person must be an idol that must be destroyed as soon as possible. Joshua Harris, if I ever encounter you in the street, I will jokingly strangle you but it won’t be a joke at all. Ugh, curse you and your “infatuation” talk and “one size fits all” Christian courtship paradigm!!!

That rant aside, I continue my narrative. I sensed that I “liked” this certain person last July, and decided to take a gamble, be mature, and not just deny and stuff down my feelings but actually acknowledge them, feel them and see where it would take me. Maybe a romantic relationship with someone could be something good and useful, not just a means to distract me from my devotion and life lived in service to God. Perhaps God could have a good purpose in two people becoming partners and working as a team together. I was willing to give it all the benefit of the doubt.

And yet, I found myself embroiled in the often overly complicated “dance” of not knowing if this other person liked me back, and of not knowing if I was making it clear enough that I was interested. Throughout it all I was praying, “God, what do you think? If this isn’t supposed to go anywhere, would you make that clear? If you want it to go somewhere, would you please talk to [insert person’s name] so that they’ll take the initiative to talk to me about it?”

And I waited. Oh, did I wait. It was so confusing! It was uncomfortable.

I told close friends and family: “I think we’re on the road to nowhere.” Now I know without a doubt that we actually were. And now it’s over.

I don’t regret opening up my heart and allowing myself to “like” someone. I’m proud of myself for being fearless and putting myself out there, even if it meant getting my heart moderately broken. I applaud myself for being vulnerable.

I may appear strong and intelligent, articulate and competent, but I’m never going to apologize for or hide the fact that I am human, sensitive and deeply desire to one day to be with someone that will love and care for me.

It didn’t work out this time. You know, that’s okay. Six months of unemployment and a failed graduate school attempt have taught me that despite the seeming “dead ends” of life, God’s always got something greater up his sleeve.

God, you devious bastard. Looking forward for what you have for me next.

[i] I wrote “inadvertently” for a reason. Keep in mind that I absolutely believe that those who perpetrate psychological and physical abuse, any kind of intimate partner violence, must be held accountable. If perpetrators aren't seeking active treatment or counseling in order to develop non-destructive ways of coping and engaging in conflict, they should be condemned and penalized to the fullest extent of the law, goddammit.
[ii] I made a weird break-up YouTube playlist that is speaking to my soul, if you’re interested in listening.
[iii] “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:23-35).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Guide to Understanding My Sense of Humor

Ironic, non-sequitur (absurd), hyperbolic, self-deprecating

Horrible puns, pop culture reference humor, goofy, witty, sarcastic

Morbid, demented, hysterical, dark, mocking

Friday, June 07, 2013

Rebellious Tirade

I've been feeling pretty uncomfortable lately, but I'd like to think that means that God is pushing me in a new and different direction. I think I'm still dealing with the disappointments and failures of the past year (post-graduation), and trying to maintain a hopeful attitude. Ever since graduation, I've been applying for lots of different things: service sector jobs, social work jobs, graduate school and now international work--but none of them have worked out so far (apart from my current job, which I didn't even technically apply for?--have to add that caveat).

It's kind of demoralizing to be on this roller coaster of applying, and then getting rejected, applying, and getting rejected again. I want things, but I don't get them.

That's why I'm really thinking hard about this opportunity to work in Mexico, and already trying to prepare myself for rejection. In many ways it would be a dream come true to return to San Miguel de Allende, which is why it'll be a real blow if I am not offered the position.

I have this messed-up idea that God is cruel and putting these dreams in my head (to go to graduate school, work abroad), only to not allow me to live those dreams. God denying me things. I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

When I was a young girl, I really wanted a Barbie car. I wanted to be able to cruise around in the back yard with my shades on like the white kids in the commercials did. I brought this to my parents' attention whenever the commercial came onto the television, asking them to get it for me. I circled the car repeatedly in the Toys R Us catalogs we received in the mail. I begged my, a lot. I wanted it.

My mom and dad were firm, though. No Barbie car for me. I'm sure I was a brat and sulked but they refused to be manipulated by my persistent pestering and whining.

To go to graduate school? I want that. To work abroad full-time again? I want that. To be in a committed romantic relationship with someone I respect deeply? I want that. *groan* When will God just give me what I want already???

My parents would probably be the first to tell you that patience is NOT one of my virtues. They told me growing up that they should have named me "Patience Yee" in order to mock me for my consistent, marked impatience. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... God, I am sick of waiting! If this period of my life is your attempt to cultivate patience within me, can you PLEASE realize that your cause is lost? Are you trying to teach me that *your* timing, not mine, is perfect? *eyeroll* #bye

Obviously I'm going to come full-circle on this and end my rebellious tirade and surrender to God eventually but I still want to fight him on this for a little bit longer. I'm sick of having to defer my dreams.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Muddling through, but with panache?

Life post-college has been a journey of second-guessing my intuition, inclinations and ability to make decisions. Should I apply for this job or that job? Should I try for graduate school, and if so, which schools? Which programs?

And then, even when I get the job: Should I take it? When I'm working 40 hours a week at the job: Should I be looking for a different job? When I get accepted into graduate school: Should I enroll? When I decide not to enroll in graduate school: Is this an indefinite hiatus from higher learning or should I just try again next year?

I think to myself, I should feel liberated, free and excited that I have so many options before me--but I can't help but feel overwhelmed and a bit distressed. All these huge life choices of where to work, where to study, where to live involve stakes higher than I've ever known before and for once--because I'm an "adult"--these choices are fully mine. I'm making them for myself. I'm responsible for them. shit.

As I mull over potential jobs, schools and programs to study, I've noticed that a couple of my older, wiser mentors are perplexed that I doubt myself so much. If "the heart wants what the heart wants," why do I often assume that my "wants" and desires are selfish, misguided or just plain wrong?

Well, it's because when I've "listened to my heart" and gone fully with my "gut," it's sometimes gotten me into trouble. I'm talking about suffering and I'm talking about failure, both of which I go to great lengths to avoid at any cost. Early in college I was super pumped to work with Spanish-speaking folks, which led me to YouthCare's Casa de los Amigos--which was one of the darkest and difficult times of my life. When I graduated from college I was excited to look for jobs outside of social work--like working in retail or the food industry--but that was a complete bust. Why am I afraid of my own longings and passions? Because when I go for my dreams, it can--at times--be uncomfortable and discouraging.

Sometimes I pray those kinds of cop-out prayers to God: "Just show me EXACTLY what you want me to do, where you want me to go, and I'll go!" All this time self-reflecting and trying to "discern" and surrender all of my plans to God--it's just so murky! Ambiguous. Unresolved.

I'm going to keep trying to "listen to my heart" and not doubt myself so much. I'm going to go for the things that interest me and lay myself on the line, even if it means facing rejection and having to be flexible when the timing doesn't work out. You know, I wanna be fucking fearless.

I hope God rewards fearlessness.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Free to Be

Yesterday I received in the mail a bottle of "Riots Not Diets" 3-free indie nail polish from Plump Polish, a brand recently launched by fat activist bloggers Kyla and Margitte. Each of their fun and quirky colors are named after a different blogger ("Riots Not Diets" is the name of Margitte's blog) and include colorful confetti! I was surprised how excited I was to receive and try out new nail polish. Like, I was really delighted. Why do I find so much pleasure and solace and satisfaction in painting my nails? I don't really know. It's therapeutic to me, and that's all that matters.

So what if nail polish is a conformist way of performing my gender? So what if its unnatural-looking and artificial? It's one hour a week where I'm doing something utterly and completely mindless, where I don't have to analyze things or be intelligent and articulate and self-aware.

Last Saturday I attended a six-hour long retreat meant for a time of silence and listening to God. I fell asleep three times. It's so hard to transition from "work" April into praying April. I still feel like I need to be super competent, "on top of things," focused and "in the zone" when I'm with God. I feel like I need to be thankful for all of the right things, and praise him instead of being self-involved, and have all these deep questions for him, and know exactly how to express my needs and desires to him, and pay attention without my mind veering.

And yet the phrase from the Bible readings that stuck out to me most at the retreat was "just be there" (from Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of Matthew 6:6-7 in The Message).


I've been considering to myself lately, "Who do I feel safe with?" Who do I feel safe enough with that my "just being there" is enough--I don't have to "perform to the best of my abilities"? In those safe relationships, I can exhale mentally because there is no performance compenent to our relationship. I'm not expected to be my "best self." I'm just expected to be myself.

Whew, I cannot wait to spend time with Rachel tonight so that I can just be me. ilu, Rachel. Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Timing's a Bit Off...

"A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?


This has been a really weird past couple of months--just kind of uncomfortable overall. Do we ever stop coming of age? Like seriously. I want to know. Growing pains. Ugh.

My Academic Future

I'm sad to say that this fall I will not be enrolling in graduate school as I had anticipated. Last fall, despite some doubts and misgivings, I decided to apply to the UW Evans School for their Master of Public Administration program, figuring that if it was "meant to be," God would make "everything fall into place," as it were. Well, as my dad put it last night "the puzzle pieces just aren't aligning." It's a bit sad to admit defeat, but I keep trying to tell myself that it isn't defeat, but a delay. There's a difference between the two.

Although I was offered admission to the program, I did not receive any merit-based financial awards, which, you know, makes sense. The program is competitive. I guess I'd naively thought that it would work out, but without a merit-based scholarship, financially I just can't swing it. I've spent the past few weeks moping and feeling sorry for myself at the thought of continuing to work full time for another year and a half, but I'm hoping to be able to "get over it" and "get on with it" soon.

I'm learning a lot at my current position, not just skills wise, but socially and personally. I can see the benefit of having some "on the job" experience before immersing myself into academia again. Thankfully, my division is undergoing some systems/culture changes that are will be interesting to participate in. We're looking at how we can function better as a division (two continuous improvement retreats on the way), and I've recently joined our department's Equity and Social Justice Leadership Team, with the goal of providing trainings for staff, similar to the Race and Social Justice work I did with the Seattle Housing Authority.

I think mostly what was bumming me out about work was this letdown from college. I'm not surrounded by like-minded peers like I was at the School of Social Work. I don't have the luxury of leisure time. I'm basically out of the house Monday through Friday from 6:30am until 5:40pm, and that's the way it is. It's making more sense now, why adults say that the college years were "the best of their life." To have fifteen hours of lecture a week and the rest be free time that I decide how to spend? Fking luxury, mayn.

That being said, I'm becoming more "at peace" with not getting what I wanted (grad school) when I wanted it (fall 2013). I'm starting to take pride in the fact that, come next year, I'll have saved up all of my big girl dollars to pay for school and living expenses all by myself. I think that social workers were onto something with the whole "empowerment theory" versus dependency. It feels good to be on my way towards self-sufficiency. BUH-BAYUM.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My 2013 Birthday Wishlist

Let me treat you to a selfish, self-indulgent, consumerist list of presents I want people to buy me. Yay!!!

  1. Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Won't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    I've wanted to read this book since skimming the NPR interview with Susan Cain. I already know that I'm going to like it. It's just a matter of getting my hands on a copy!! I have it on hold from the library, but I'm 72nd in line for a total of 22 copies (i.e. it's going to take a long-ass time!).
  2. butter LONDON 3 Free Starter Pack with Queen Vic nail lacquer

    This was a tough call because Polish & Co. was my second choice--but they didn't have the color I was looking for. It's an ethical dilemma because butter LONDON is Seattle-based (and thus has the "buy local" appeal) yet Polish & Co. is a black-owned business (and thus has POC economic solidarity appeal). They're both three-free (non-toxic), so like I said, it all came down to color options. I've been looking for a purple-y berry color for awhile (as well as deep burgundy and a classy glittery red, but this is besides the point), and Queen Vic fits the bill! I've been very pleased with the butter LONDON 3-free polish that Rachel got me for Christmas--in fact, I'm wearing it right now!--and am satisfied overall with the brand (despite their disingenuousness about being called "butter LONDON" but being based out of Seattle, WA, USA). Although it's pricey stuff, it's good quality and at least minimally carcinogenic? :) The nice thing about the three-pack is that you can specify any color you want for the nail lacquer. Sweet!
  3. Ann Taylor Loft Box Pleat 3/4 Sleeve Blouse, size M and Marisa Trouser Leg Pant in Coastal Gray, size 8

    I do my best not to purchase clothing very often, for the sake of minimizing my participation in a global economic system that is ultimately predatory, oppressive towards developing countries and also determinedly entrenched. That being said, I would like to have some more options for work clothes, as I have been cycling through multiple combinations of the same five sweaters, three skirts, two dress pants and three dresses since October of 2012. A new blouse would be nice.
Also, the clasp (the last of two) of my trusty dress pants finally quit on me a couple of weeks ago, so I'm down to two pairs of dress pants. Whoops. I've tried finding a new pair at department stores, but they all seem to be cheaply made and really don't fit well. These Ann Taylor Loft pants would hopefully last longer than my current $10 clearance dress pants (again, the clasp is broken, but I wear them anyway). I'd enjoy a comparable pair from the Gap, even, since Rachel told me their labor ethics have improved after some vociferent consumer lobbying (power to the people!). Luxury items are indeed luxury items, but at least they're (hopefully) durable. And knowing me, I will wear the same clothes for up to ten years if needed!

It goes without saying that I'd be happy to receive any kind of bagged, full-leaf, fair trade organic tea; any book that has a strong female lead (woc author/protagonist a definite plus); any Christian theology and/or Biblical commentary (e.g. Old Testament Anchor series) book; or any type of fair trade, organic milk chocolate.

Go forth, my friends, and buy me things.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013


One of the perks (among many) of being a young person is having a continual sense of how transitory and fleeting everything is. Like, not in a morbid or Buddhist sense per se but in a grateful way. It's hit me lately that the things I enjoy today, I may not be enjoying five years from now.

For example, my parents and I hosted an Oscars viewing party on Sunday evening and invited my grandparents and my uncle and aunt over. We've done a lot of things like this over the years--had people over to watch football games or other random crap. Nevertheless, I was very thankful for the gathering, just because I don't know how much longer my grandparents will be able to travel, or how much longer I'll be living at home with my parents. I made a huge pot of chili with brown rice and my favorite braised collard greens recipe. My aunt brought over spaghetti with multigrain noodles. My grandparents brought delicious fried chicken from Skyway. It's the same thing we've done time and again and yet I was very grateful for it.

Or I was thinking about how special it was to get together with my close girl friends the day after Valentine's Day and share dinner together. I think about my mom and how her (formerly) close friends have husbands and kids now, and it's much more difficult to get together. Just the fact that my friends can come over and we can play jenga and laugh at our own unfunny jokes and binge-eat chocolate... I'm just really glad that (for now) we can still do that. It's actually incredible that we're still in the same geographic region (again, for now).

Or even last Friday taking light rail from work and getting picked up at the station by my grandpa (like last year when I used to live with him and grandma) and eating piroshkis with them for dinner while watching the six o'clock news.

Or walking to work with my mom at 7:30 in the morning while it's cold and windy, but her hugging me and wishing me a good day--I mean, isn't that sweet?

Or meeting up with my Christian friends for coffee and knowing deep down that they care about what's going on in my life and the things that I think and stuff?

These fleeting moments of togetherness with the people dear to me--I've really been taking them to heart lately. I don't know where I'll be two years from now; I don't even know where I'll be one year from now! All the same, though, life is good.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you, God. Thank you, Lord.
-my standard before-dinner prayer

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Reflections

Kay had a couple of epiphanies so I need to type them out really quickly before se me desaparezcan.

Romantic love and desire to to be worshiped

I was doing some self-examiniation this morning--just trying to press and prod myself to figure out why in the world I'm so bummed to not be in a romantic relationship at the mo--like, I don't really understand it? THEN IT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS (hackneyed idiom use is ironic, duh): I miss being worshiped! When I was in a relationship, I had this constant stream of affirmations coming my way (at least when we were in the initial honeymoon phase). It was like, every time my ex would find out something new and unexpected about me he'd be like, You are just the cutest thing! I wanna put you in my pocket! He basically thought I was adorable. I felt adorable. I was like, Yah, that's right, I'm the sh1t!

Being in a relationship fed my vanity so much, because my ex would tell me in person or through his hand-written letters (yep, we were one of those couples) all of the little detailed things about me that he loved. Wow, I could get used to this. Someone is fascinated by me. Finally, I'm getting the recognition I deserve for being so amazing! HAHAHAHA. This is nothing new, but it's nice to be noticed. It's nice to be paid attention to.

So on Valentine's Day, when lots of people are going out to celebrate with their "special someone," I'll admit, I miss having a person to treat me like I'm special! And I berate myself for being an ungrateful brat because obviously, I have so many people in my life that appreciate me on a daily basis--mostly my parents and Rachel and HALF and, like, hella women at church are super affirming and nice to me--soooo why am I pining for a guy to gush about how awesome I am? I don't know. Why do I feel what I feel! "STOP. POOPING." -Chris Traeger of Parks and Recreation.

The point is that I realized that some of my motivation for wanting to be in a romantic relationship is purely selfish and vain and needy and weird? K. That's one epiphany I had.

Romantic love as discovering another person

The other plus to being in a relationship is, like, really delving into the mystery of who another person really is. Having a crush is exhilirating because I'm thinking to myself, Who are you? Definitely meaning to be arrogant, I can usually "get" people pretty quickly--like I understand their motivations for behavior and can predict pretty well how they'll react to me. I guess it's a gift? Intuition, BAM. Thanx, Lord, for making me the way that I am. The exciting thing about having a crush is that there's more of a sense of a challenge.. Like, the guy I am interested in currently, I can't read for crap. It's like, I seriously don't know what he's thinking, or how he'll react to me. It's frightening because I'm proved incompetent in the very area that I profess to be infallibly competent (intuiting peeps), but also great???

Thank you, nedroidcomics for your eerily apropos art.

Anyway, that's enough self-actualizing for now. Happy Valentine's Day to my readers (e.g. Mom and Rachel). Don't worry. I'm, like, 67% content with being single, and a D+ in this department is pretty much good enough for me.


Positivity and the like.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Every time I have tried to write about this I get too afraid and I quit before I even begin. I think it's because I feel that I haven't "arrived" at a "good place" regarding self-hatred, but I've decided I'm never really going to ever "arrive," so I may as well just write about it. Warning: This may get dark.

Since a young age I've always had a deep-seated fear of not being good enough. Okay--before you protest with April, don't be so hard on yourself; what are you talking about; you're so good at _____, etc. let me explain. I'm not fishing for compliments by being self-deprecating. I know that my fear of inadequacy is dramatic, and I know that it's irrational. Knowing it's irrational doesn't make it any less real or powerful.

The way I've coped with this nagging fear that deep-down I'm a useless deadbeat is by trying to be perfect, by pushing myself. So I try to excel and most of all, try to be competent. Capable. This is unrestricted and applies to all domains of life: academically, professionally, physically(!), relationally and spiritually. No matter how "good" I am at any certain area, I can always be better. It's exhausting to demand so much of myself and all it does is feed my need to be "adequate," whatever that means.

A couple of weeks ago I came face-to-face with my self-hatred and it was terrifying. I had a moment of realization that the Charles Bingley/Jane Bennet relationship I'd mentioned in an earlier post--yah, that whole thing was more just a one-sided unrequited interest on my part. FOOM--what little self-confidence I had imploded completely. HE DOESN'T LIKE ME! my inner voice wailed, as I spiraled down into the depths of the it's confirmed--I'm no good inaccuracy-chasm. Frankly, I was heartbroken, and beating myself up even more for even liking a guy in the first place (setting myself up to get hurt). It was just an awful week. It was like all of the dormant negative self-talk within decided to ignite and I'm, like, surprised I wasn't consumed by the fire? (God, am I writing horribly on purpose? Whatever. That's more negative self-talk right there.)

But my mini-crisis had less to do with this boy than it did with my own toxic thinking. I think cuz I'm so afraid of not being good enough, I have this sick, slanted view where I try and confirm that fear. Like, when I get rejected (romantically or otherwise) I think to myself, "Oh, yah, I guess I should have seen that coming. Not. good. enough." Things that would appeal to my vanity (like getting offered the permanent position at work or being complimented on the way I look), I try and downplay, like excelling in whatever is just to be expected, like NBD, why all this hoopla; I didn't even do that much to deserve it?

Wow, it's cathartic to write down all these dysfunctional thought patterns. I mean, I recognize them as they're happening, but it's just such a habit to be down on myself and accusing myself that it's a huge effort to fight against it.

Last week was extremely alarming because the way I decided to cope with not being liked back by this guy, or whatever, was to be all anorexic. What the heck? I was hating myself so much, I was just like exercising as penance for being such an unlikeable person and ate, like, a bite of my lunch and threw the rest away. Like, my brain was so twisted and messed up that it actually made me want to gag when I put food in my mouth. As a friend aptly put it, You don't deserve that (the food you're about to eat). I was internalizing the stress by punishing myself. Ah, what the heck, brain, why are you so sick???

Thankfully, after some prayer and good conversations with close friends and family, I've mellowed-out quite a bit. I'm eating three full meals a day, and not feeling horrible about myself. It was an eye-opening, albeit hollowing (and "hallowing," I suppose?) experience to realize how much I hate myself. I know, it sounds super bizarre, but I'm all for self-reflection and self-awareness, so this was fascinating in a masochistic way.

It would take a whole nother post to unpack how self-hatred interacts with Christianity. Maybe I'll get to that someday. Or maybe I'll just watch TV with Rachel and eat chocolate and do my nails. You know how it goes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm not gonna be rich.

I was waiting for something interesting and profound to write about, but it looks like this post will be an indulgent, stream-of-consciousness ramble like most of my posts are anyway?

I've been thinking about perfectionism and exploring the different reasons that I feel this compulsive need within myself to be perfect in all areas of my life. I've been thinking about how new wave feminism failed my mother's generation and my own because it basically sends the message to women that they have to achieve competency not only family-wise and looks-wise, but intellectually and professionally as well. It's simply unfair to expect that "liberated" women achieve academic greatness, have a great career, keep a good house and stay thin. I am tired of this.

I'm starting to realize that it isn't my goal anymore to be able to "do it all." I'm also starting to toy with the idea that once I'm living on my own, I most likely will not maintain the current standard of living that my parents maintained for me throughout my childhood. I'm going to make less money than they do. I'll need to learn to make due with less "nice things," and give up the idea of having both prestige and happiness.

I think that's one thing I learned this Christmas. During the holidays, when I was with family celebrating and whatnot, it wasn't all about whether you got a promotion that year, or if you were rich enough to afford really nice presents for each other. It was about being together, status and class aside. I mean, that was nice, to not have to worry about apologizing for the fact that I'm not currently in graduate school and that the job right now is a temporary one.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm more than willing to give up monetary wealth and my upper middle class status if it means that I'll be content and able to enjoy life. I see the people around me at work coming in at 8am and staying until way past 6:30pm. I mean, that's just a horrible way to live. I covet my leisure time alone and with the people I love. Making enough money to afford a Craftsman home in Seattle is not a proper trade-off with losing most of my waking hours to work. You know what I mean?

Okay, this may sound idealistic but I'm definitely not idealizing living in a lower income bracket. Making less money than my parents isn't going to be glamorous; I know this. I'm just publicly confirming that I value my own well-being and my relationships over personal luxury and status, okay???