I’m a bit afraid to write this post because I have this image in my head that some hard-core Star Wars fan is going to come across this post and just blast it into a galaxy far, far away haha. Well, I’ll be the first to say that I’m not as hard-core of a Star Wars fan as I should be, so be warned.
I recently finished re-watching all of the Star Wars episodes, starting with ep. 4 and ending with ep. 3. I think the general consensus is that ep. 1-3 suck donkey balls and ep. 4-6 are the true classics slash the only ones really worth your time.
I do generally agree with the opinion above. However, as much as 4-6 are great, I did have a problem with how emotionally and psychologically shallow the characters were in 4-6. I mean, if I saw my home planet (not even my home country; an entire planet!) being blown to bits, I definitely would have at least kicked and screamed a bit more than Leia did, and I sure would have been traumatized for more than the 10 seconds Leia was in the movie. Also, if my mentor was light-sabered down before my very eyes, I would spend more than 5 minutes mourning him, even if his glowy imprint on earth continued to converse with me time and again afterwards. I’d also freak out a bit more if I saw the charred skeletons of my surrogate parents in front of my trashed home, especially when they were technically blown to smithereens because of a search for me.
I can’t really blame the lack of emotional/psychological depth, though, because come on, it’s a movie called “Star Wars” for goodness sake. It’s not like the makers were trying to make some sci-fi “Silver Linings Playbook” or something. For the sake of pace and the genre of sci-fi/fantasy, I can see why things were portrayed as they were.
I think ep. 1-3 desperately tried to make up for the lack of human depth in its three predecessors. I also think a vast amount of Star Wars fans would say that the makers utterly failed to convey this depth (though tried they did) and that the heavy emphasis on the ton of CGI visuals instead of on plot and acting made ep. 1-3 somewhat of a colossal disaster.
Yes, I, too, felt something die inside of me when Darth Vader screamed the hackneyed “No!” upon hearing of Padme’s death. I, too, vomited a bit inside of my mouth as I watched Anakin frolic, tumble, and play with Padme on the meadows of Naboo. I half expected them to burst out in song with “The Sound of Music” playing in the background. And let’s not forget the big, big mistake that is Jar Jar Binks. I swear, every time a drone came out, I got so excited at the prospect that this might finally be it for Jar Jar – this might finally be the chance we were all waiting for to silence that annoying voice forever. Alas, it was Jar Jar who lived and the beautiful Natalie Portman who had to bite the dust. I guess it’s true that the useless, annoying ones always survive in the end.
However, I do think that when ep. 1-3 is looked at as a whole and in conjunction to ep. 4-6, they help Star Wars to become psychologically deeper. Now, I don’t mean 1-3 were good movies. From a critical standpoint, they were reasonably tolerable at most and truly enjoyable in only some senses. I mean that the story – the story in is most basic sense (that is, simply, the plot and the basic conflicts and resolutions within it) – helped flesh out things and made things look less black and white than 4-6 did.
In 4-6, you simply had good vs. evil. Even though Darth Vader was sort of the black sheep/conflicted anti-hero, you’re constantly reminded that he has some good in him, so it’s not too surprising when he actually turns out to be white on the inside and just black on the outside, literally and figuratively. The Jedi also look purely like a force of good and the Sith Lord some purely evil, Satanic figure.
4-6 made things less simple. First of all, they made revealed that the Jedi were rotting from the inside, making the Sith Lord’s victory inevitable. The Jedi were always going on about how Anakin shouldn’t make attachments to others or have fear (because fear leads to confusion and hate), yet they were the ones who failed to take true notice of their feelings with the force – allowing the Sith Lord to go unidentified until Anakin brought them the news. They were the ones who failed to trust in Anakin while lecturing him about trusting and obeying the Council. They were the ones who feared Anakin and therefore, instilled more fear and distrust in him and amongst themselves.
They were the ones who blocked Anakin’s love life, when in reality, if they could have just been together peacefully, things would have probably turned out for the better. In short, the Jedi were not simply a force for good before the fall of the Republic. They were really messed up.
In fact, when looked at objectively, their unknowing failure to be pure and completely with the force was what helped or even caused Anakin to become even more confused and afraid and therefore turn to the Dark Side. Ordering him to spy on the Chancellor (even if he was the Sith Lord) was, as Anakin pointed out, pretty messed up in a lot of ways. What if the Chancellor had been innocent? Anakin would just have been a pawn for the Council’s dirty work. After all of the Jedi’s mistakes and shortcomings in combination with their general abuse of and underestimation/fear of Anakin, it’s really no wonder that it was hard for Anakin to see the difference between the Force and Dark Force and ended up falling for the Dark Force. In fact, as an audience member, I felt that the line between good and evil became much harder to see given all the things the Jedi Council did and failed to do. Of course, Anakin was power-hungry, so it’s not like the Jedi forced him to become Darth Vader in the end. Anakin has responsibility. But the Jedi weren’t exactly helping is my point. In summary, 4-6 made good and evil a little less distinct and therefore, psychologically more satisfying.
Moving on: The love story with Padme (no matter how unreasonable and cliched) and his relationship with his mother made Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader a bit more complex than in 4-6 where you only see him completely ingrained in the Dark Side. I thought it was really interesting that Darth Vader used his love for Padme as a reason or perhaps even an excuse to turn to the Dark Side, with the obvious parallel to Luke who uses his love to ultimately stay with the Force. I thought the trauma Anakin underwent upon his mother’s death, which ultimately led to his paranoia about Padme and obsession with power, was a lot more human and fleshed out than, say, a Leia who simply shouted “No” once as her home blew up or a Luke who had a short moment of silence for Obi-wan.
Lastly, seeing Darth Vader as a child, then a teenager, then an adult who was a both husband and father made evil look a little less evil – which is usually how it really is in the real world. Oh, and seeing all the parallels between Luke and Darth Vader in its fullest extent also made Luke and his struggle with the Dark Force seem more significant. Also, the irony that Darth Vader really did end up being the Chosen One who destroyed the Sith Lord was made more interesting in the context of ep.1-3. After all, 4-6 didn’t emphasize everyone’s disappointment with Anakin’s fall as 1-3 did. I guess the Force works in mysterious ways. Also, ep. 1-3 made it pretty clear that Obi-wan was a terrible and somewhat incompetent teacher, which was yet another push for Anakin into the Dark Side.
Maybe I’m just biased because I, too, went through traumatic times that made me angry and confused, ultimately making me power-hungry, at first for the sake of my loved ones and then simply for myself. But in the end, I was glad that I watched 1-3 because it helped give more depth to Darth Vader and therefore, everything that happens in ep. 4-6.
And…I’ll stop here because this is getting long. Well, let’s see what ep. 7 will bring though. Hopefully bringing back the old crew will help.
Another drawing~ I’ve been taking art a lot more seriously the past month. I’m trying to sketch something at least every day, but it’s so hard to be consistent! Other things end of taking priority or I get lazy. Well, I think I managed to sketch two or three complete drawings this week and this one ended up being the one I wanted to finalize.
Naruto-Batman Crossover. I kept getting the alignment wrong but oh well. I’m trying to make myself be ok with mistakes. I want to draw because I want to draw, not because I want to be perfect. Breathe in, anddd breathe out.
As explained in my last post, my latest idiotic revelation that I can take my time with life has opened up new doors. For one thing, I finally sucked it up and got a fish. I had always delayed on it because I felt like changing the water every week would be too tiresome (fucking first world/white people problems) or time-consuming, and because I had always wanted a pet that I could pet (it’s called a pet for a reason) and with which I could bond intimately. ‘What the hell would I do with a fish?’ is what I always thought. Plus, I had always felt too busy to care for an animal, yadda yadda yadda.
My dad had gently urged me multiple times to get a fish or a turtle (I’m allergic to all attractive animals, so fish and reptiles it is), mainly because they can serve therapeutic purposes and add a little more color to life (both of which I desperately need). I finally decided on a betta because I had owned a one as a kid (or rather, my mother had owned it because she was the only person who ever took care of it). I remembered it was relatively low maintenance and therefore, budget friendly. Plus, the one we had before lived around 8 years, so I figured it was worth a shot again. ‘I am going to relax and I am going to get a fish and I am going to be happy,’ is what I told myself. (If you see the irony in that, good job).
I’m so glad I got this little fishy. He was the only one who was responsive to me when I looked at all the bettas in the store. Indeed, I’ve been able to successfully train him to follow my finger, even to the point of nose-diving into the bottom of the kimchi jar I use as his home. He even took food from my finger for the first time today. There’s just something so therapeutic about taking care of another living thing, watching it grow, and playing with it. I never thought I would say this, but it’s fascinating to see my little betta acclimate to his new surroundings. The first thing he did in his new home was swim straight for the marbles at the bottom of his tank. He loved to rest on them until I changed his water a few days ago. After I changed his water he ignored the marbles and began attacking his reflection on the jar over and over again. I had to tape an old calendar picture to the back of the jar and move him to a new space to get him to stop. He also has totally gotten over his wariness of the plant I put in there and likes to play by swimming sideways between the leaves. It’s just so interesting to see him change and to adapt to those changes myself.
I’m thankful to God for this little guy, whom I’ve names Regulus. He’s brought me a lot of peace for some reason.
As for the name, the plastic cuppie that he came in was marked in blue permanent marker: “Crown Male/$3.99.” When I saw “Crown Male,” I immediately thought of a prince – my little prince – hence “Regulus” (Latin). I tried and I tried to make his name something short, easy, and cutsie as befitting a little fish, but it’s stuck now. My boyfriend calls him Reggie since Regulus is hard to say. I called my last betta “Kimchi” because he was red and lived in a glass kimchi jar as well. Well, at least Regulus is better than that.
I’ve also renewed my love of art and now, instead of trying to be so very competitive with it, I’m just doing whatever the hell I want with it, perfection be damned. Somehow along this free-wheeling path, I got into the Batman universe and now I’m just poring over every Batman related thing available. I never liked Batman as a character before while watching the movies (always was much more interested in his enemies) but after actually reading the comics, I have to say…I can understand why Bruce was so popular with the girls. He’s a good guy (and hot. Let’s not forget hot). But boy, he sure is a player! That bat got game!
But above all, I love the Joker. I was sucked into this sudden DC obsession by the sexy Harley Quinn, but I have to say, the Joker truly is the prince. His psychology – both his internal madness and the consquent external madness he pours into Gotham – is truly chilling and therefore, highly interesting. I’ve already bought “The Killing Joke.” And after reading up on him and drawing him, I was surprised to realize how satanic he really is. I grew up watching the animated series and I thought Heath Ledger was the bomb in Dark Knight, so I always thought he was a bad guy but a bad guy with a kind of positive and even comic light. It was only until I read more about him and particularly after drawing him that I though, “Dude…this guy is the satan-incarnate of the DC or even the entire graphic novel universe. He’s an agent of chaos whose insanity reaches a point of sanity.” That sounds a lot like satan.
Anyways, that’s my quick blurb. Wanted to write this as I’ve been meaning to write for a while. Yay for freewrites full of errors!
I had this really stupid but profoundly life-changing epiphany yesterday. The thought just hit me like a truck: I don’t have to try so hard so much all the time anymore.
I don’t have to feel unsatisfied with where I am in life. I don’t have to make more money. I don’t have to keep climbing.
I guess school and life conditioned me to always want more. Graduating elementary school meant starting middle school. From middle school to high school. From high school to college. If I had a B, I had to get an A. If I got an A, I had to get an A+. If I had an A+, I needed more A+’s and so on an so forth. I never felt satisfied with where I was because I never felt safe with what I had. I had to keep pushing forward to survive and get to the next level of this game of life. If I didn’t do well in middle school, I’d get stuck in shitty classes in high school and if I did that, then I would have a lower GPA and how could I escape from where I was and go on to succeed in an esteemed college if I didn’t have a good GPA? No, a great GPA. And once in college, how would I get to graduate school and get my dream job if I didn’t get superb grades, visit all my professors consistently, and work at least a few internships? I had to do more; I had to do better. Just in case. Just in case! The future always held promises, never the present. I felt like if I didn’t succeed and attain more and higher, I was being a lazy, deficient, and overall terrible failure of a human being.
But yesterday, I just suddenly realized that I have a good job with security. I could stay in this position for the rest of my life if I really wanted to. I would gradually earn a bit more with time, not that I’m really lacking right now. I have good benefits and if I keep working, I can retire in my 60′s. Sure, I want to find a job that suits my personality more and one that will hopefully give me a bit more spending room, but I don’t have to do it all now, now, now. I can take my time. I know that seems like such a simple concept, but until yesterday I never understood that I’m ok, that I don’t have to beat the clock – not anymore. God has blessed me and I am finally just going to enjoy it!
I’m not stupid if I don’t go to graduate school. It’s ok for me to like working nine to five and leave work at that. It’s healthier for me to have some me-time and value spending time more with others than with myself and my work. Choosing to live a relaxed life, concentrating on my health, and doing things that I like, even if those things do nothing whatsoever towards earning more money or prestige, are perfectly fine. In fact, it’s better than constantly feeling hungry for more, only to gorge yourself on more that you can stomach.
The Bible is right when it says that we’re all equal in death, that we can’t take anything with us to the grave. If we’re all equal in death, then what does it matter if I write that Nobel-prize winning book or if I make triple digits a year? All that matters is that I know who God is and I try my best in life while feeling satisfied with what I have and do things because I want to, not because I’m afraid of some hypothetical disastrous failure.
I used to be so afraid of turning around and saying that I’m not as smart as I want to be, as talented as I think I should be, as whatever as some bar I’ve set for myself due to social, educational, etc. pressures. I didn’t want to humble myself because I didn’t want to be a failure, because failure equated with something disastrous. But now, I think I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with myself and learning to accept myself for who I am. I’ve always known that I was flawed, and I’ve always tried to iron those flaws out or temper them in burning flames. Every flaw was just one more reason to push forward. But now…eh, fuck that shit. I’m tired of it. And unlike before, I don’t give a fuck if people think it’s right or wrong. I’m tired of it, and I think that’s a good enough reason to stop that lifestyle as anything else.
I think this whole process can be termed as “setting my own standards and living up to them.”
This new mentality has also affected my creativity. Even this blog post – it’s different from before. I’m just writing what I think without giving a fuck if people love it or not or if it’s grammatically and structurally perfect. I don’t give half as much care as I used to for the flow and all those high-minded, English-major things. Take it or leave it, this is what I want to write so I’m going to write it this way – split infinitives and all.
My art is changing as well. The other day, I made the earring holder below:
It was quick and impulsive. I chose the flowers that I liked and the yarn color that I was pretty without having some real master plan on how it would all come together. I put it together and it was fun. At first, I didn’t like how it turned out because it just looked so out of the box. It didn’t look like something you’d find in a catalogue, so I thought it was imperfect and ugly. But then I realized that I liked it anyways. I had fun while making it and even though it looked all over the place and imperfect – what with it screaming spontaneity in my face – I realized that that was truly me. It had come from me and it was a reflection of my creativity, and that made it more worthwhile than some Ikea junk.
I may not be perfect, but I am original – that is, there’s only one of me. That must be worth something. And anything that reflects that is worth something, too.
If I don’t want things a certain way, it doesn’t have to be that way. If I don’t want to do it now, I don’t have to do it now. Work is work and life is life. I’m not perfect and I don’t have to be.
Life can be simple if I want it to be.
Been feeling down lately so thought I’d try to write something positive, and you know what they say, it’s the small things in life. So here are some small things that perhaps don’t make me smile, but make my heart purr.
1. Listening to music, especially on a good radio station, while driving.
2. Catching glimpses of streaks of rain as they fall against the light of a streetlamp in the night.
3. Gazing at dewdrops on flower petals.
4. Walking alone under trees when it’s raining, listening to the rain fall and the silence around it.
5. Eating exactly what I felt like eating.
6. Taking a good dump.
7. Having the privilege of petting the neighborhood cat – with its permission – and still feeling privileged as my hands break out in hives.
8. Drinking some JD after a long day (I like mixing the original with a little bit of the honey…makes it the perfect amount of sweet).
9. Opening the kitchen window and filling up the place with sweet smells.
10. Walking into a theater with no expectations and walking out wanting to see the movie again i.e. getting my money’s worth, a rare accomplishment for Hollywood these days.
What are 10 small things that makes you happy?
I’ve been getting into Batman as of late. It all started with a sudden obsession with Harley Quinn (she’s so hot!) and spiraled into all Batman-related things. On the way, I discovered Bruce Timm and immediately fell in love with his take on pin up girls and his use of that style/genre. His style inspired the following drawing of Nancy Callahan from Frank Miller’s Sin City.
I went to Korea for the first time in 15 years over the holidays. In case you guys didn’t know, my boyfriend and I are now in a long-distance relationship (which is an entirely separate story. Contrary to what most people think, long-distance is not as detrimental to a relationship as people make it out to be – at least it’s proving not to be so with us. Distance keeps you apart, but it shouldn’t be what keeps you apart, if you know what I mean. We’re still planning on marriage so a big fuck you to anyone who has been doubting our commitment to each other).
I went to Korea mainly to see him. I was pretty nervous. It was my first time flying overseas on my own and even though I knew the flight would be long, boy, was it long. I adjusted to the time difference relatively well. In fact, I thought the flight going over there was worse than the jet lag. Entering Korea for the first time since I was in elementary school was definitely eye-opening and somewhat of a culture shock. Here are some things that I disliked and liked:
1. I felt SO claustrophobic in Seoul (I stayed mainly in the capitol and spent a day in Sokcho). The buildings are so narrow compared to America’s. Yup. Narrow, tall, and endless (whereas America’s are stereotypically fat). I felt like for every tree and blade of grass America had, Korea had a sky-scraper and a hole-in-the-wall shop. Cement was flowing everywhere, the buildings blocked out the sky, and because the sky wasn’t enough, everything tunneled underground as well. I was craving America’s wide spaces and nature by the end of my stay. They don’t sing “oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain” for nothing over here. I really did miss the purple mountains in all their majesty and the fruited, green plains with trees. TREES. REAL TREES. So yes, I disliked the lack of real nature (for there’s plenty of fake nature) and the feeling of buildings closing over me amidst thousands of people constantly brushing past me. It felt like a cement coffin at times.
2. It was cold as fuck. Korean winters…oh my.
3. Clothing is over-priced.
4. People are still incredibly ignorant in terms of racial and national relations. So many people treated me like a good-for-nothing Yankee while I was over there. It’s understandable in a way though. It took some time for me to get used to seeing only Koreans everywhere. It was the first time that I remember being immersed in such a homogenous society and I can understand why people living in such a society would be unaware of certain behaviors of decorum that is more common sense in as heterogeneous society as America’s. I really missed the presence of different cultures and tongues and the ability to respect differences and get along easily despite cultural and language barriers. I felt like some people treated me like an animal in the zoo at times – something strange and fascinating yet somehow not equal, somewhat subhuman. Well, I’m used to hanging out with Koreans so it wasn’t as shocking as it was annoying at times. Despite my complaints though, I have to admit that Korea has become so much more open to foreigners than when I had visited 15 years ago. People don’t gawk at white people anymore.
5. People work and drink too much. It’s a long story but I managed to get lost on the subway and got stranded in Yeoido at 1am. There were so many corporate drunk men at that hour. One guy repeatedly tried to walk through a wall. He looked like he was looking for platform nine and three quarters. That, or like he was a video game character walking against a wall. Progress and industrialization really has taken a toll on Korea. People are over-worked and don’t spend enough time with family. Which sort of ties into…
6. Christmas is no big deal. It’s just a day for couples to eat a cake. There’s no public decorations, no real gift-giving. It’s just kind of like, “Well, it’s Christmas…time to go to work!”
1. Seeing my boyfriend, duh. I can still see him running through the crowd towards me in the airport. Before I knew it, I was in his arms for the first time in months and he was kissing me. I do believe I almost cried. What I would give to go back to that moment.
2. The FOOD. My boyfriend often teases me by saying that my mind is American and my tongue is Korean. For some reason, I love really Korean food. Like, I like food that are so traditional that even a lot of Koreans can’t stomach it. Among the things I ate were pig’s feet and live, squirming abalone. I also ate a lot of squid and blood sausages. Oh man. I feel like some kind of lecherous old man when thinking of the food. I just go into ecstasy.
3. The beauty products. Koreans are much more aware of their skin and beauty than Americans. What’s more, they’re a lot better at taking care of their appearance than Americans. As a result, cheap and highly effective make up and skin care products are ridiculously easy to come by.
4. Hongdae. Oh Hongdae, how I love your diversity, crazy-ass shops (including all the wonderful clothing stores), and amazing hole-in-the wall bars. I can’t get enough of that place. It’s just beautiful.
5. Everyone is so much more hard-working in Korea. People actually do their fucking jobs. And there is so much less complaining. We Americans are so fucking spoiled. I saw old people crunched up in tiny-ass shops in the dead of winter with a tiny electric heater, making a living out of selling things like flowers or bread. We Americans complain about our fucking cubicles and how there isn’t enough air conditioning in the office. And we still don’t do our jobs when we have bigger cubicles and air conditioning that turns the office into the arctic.
6. Public transportation. Even though I got lost on the subway, getting lost pretty much taught me how to navigate my way around. And once you know how to read the subway map, you’ll love it. I love that subway system. It’s so fucking organize and things actually come on time! Which also reminds me that…
7. Shit is clean! The subways, the streets. There’s no fucking litter blowing around left and right. Shit don’t smell like piss everywhere. There isn’t some fucking hamburger just splattered like a fucking corpse on the ground with pigeons congregating around it. Shit is clean! And people definitely make more of an effort to clean up around themselves. We Americans, I feel, in contrast just kind do our thing and then don’t give a fuck even if we’re leaving all our shit just everywhere.
Overall, I loved my stay there. It was definitely too short. I was blessed enough to be switched to a non-stop plane on the way back and had to run to my flight. Some other American guy was running next to me to a different gate and as we huffed through ICN, he asked me jokingly, “Hey, what’s with all of these late Americans?” I replied, “It’s because we’re Americans.” And we both ran to our respective gates. I really thank God for the flight switch because had I taken my original flight, I would have – as I later found out – been stranded in Seattle then Oregon for two days (United sucks balls!).
When the plane began to take off, I started crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t wail like I wanted to so I was just sort of hiccuping in my seat and wiping my face with my sleeves (I wasn’t free to walk about the cabin due to take off). The girl next to me glanced at me a few times before giving me one tissue, then a few more, then the entire packet to me. It was so sweet and it comforted me, even though I continued to cry for more than half the flight back – which is saying something because the flight was a little over nine hours. I slept until 3pm the next day.
Perhaps I’ll write out actual stories of incidences that happened over there, but for now, I’ll just end with another mental picture of Oppa running towards me and kissing me without a care in the world.
I feel very lost these days. I’m not used to this feeling. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a definite goal that I both passionately and thoughtlessly ran after. Previously, I had wanted to become a professor and was very much on my way to becoming one before God (thankfully) put His foot down and crushed the gateway into that path before I could embark on the journey. Now I realize that though I love learning for learning’s sake and am gifted intellectually and oratorically, I would never want to continue pushing myself into the wee hours of the morning every night and day, killing my back and my overall health; to vacuum pack and hermetically seal off my social skills through long hours of silent, independent studies; and to travel all over the world without a second thought as to how that may affect my relationships with family and loved ones, what very few I have. Perhaps others are capable of entering academia and leading a balanced life, but I have always known that what I achieved in my studies was more through hard work than genius.
So, here I stand, in the middle of a road, one gateway crushed and thousands of others awaiting, all equally strange, intimidating, and uninviting.
I am grateful that I at least have a career trajectory. I’m not rotting away in my parents’ house, becoming more dependent on them as I become more intimidated by the real world. I’ve faced the falling rubble, the razed walls and climbed as the mountain crumbled to end up on top, in a safe and comfortable spot. I’m grateful for what God has given me and allowed me to attain given all of the stormy circumstances that have blown this way and that. I’m finally at a place in my life where I feel like it will be very difficult to ever go hungry or permanently fear for my rent (given that there’s no outbreak of war or the beginning of the apocalypse). It’s been a slow climb out of the hole, but now I’m more than just one of many kids with a fresh B.A. I’ve got some experience under my belt, a small network, a good skill set, and my own office, which is lightyears beyond some other kids my age.
But is this really want with my life? I am afraid to explore beyond what I have out of fear of losing what I have worked to gain. There’s no net to catch me when I fall.
Am I being ungrateful? Am I being lazy? After eight years of spending all-nighter’s and running around doing so many errands a day that I don’t even know who I am anymore, a breath of fresh air, an hour of extra time, time spent on youtube laughing, a glass of wine – they all seem like a waste of time and laziness on my part. If I’m not working past my capacity, if I’m not ingesting some kind of information, if I’m not learning a new craft, if I am not doing something that I have somehow over the years come to self-appropriate as worthy and productive, I feel somewhat like a failure or rather, I feel nervous. I feel like I’m not doing something right and that I’m ill-prepared for whatever is coming.
Am I on the right path and simply not used to this new pace of living? Or am I, indeed, unhappy? Am I allowing my talents to atrophy and go to waste? Am I destined to be greater than this and becoming my own road block?
Am I exerting myself too much? Too little? Just right? I’m afraid to go all out again. I went all out for eight years and all it did was end in failure and give me life-long health problems. Is the only way to do what I truly want through over-exertion, though? Or should I enjoy this comfort while it lasts, a long-awaited break?
The question of what exactly I want to do also lingers. If I’m completely honest with myself, I want to continue learning, researching, teaching, creating, and performing as I did before. Not only do my strengths lie in those fields, but I enjoy them whole-heartedly. I want to be independent again and fly like I was born to.
What should I do?
Hello all, and long time no see. I was recently inspired to pick up creative writing again. Currently, laundromats are the best places for my creative juices to start flowing. Both poems are rough, so be nice haha.
“To My Boyfriend”
Loving you is like
Would it be better to never start at all?
God will not
scratch at the
back of time
to turn the hands.
never to return.
having been hidden
in my bowels
a kitschy second
grade love story.
Emotion like the
death of the neighbor’s dog.
Emotion like a war.
What I love to do
out of control
like a sappy tune.
Falling in the memory of youth,
solid, taught bodies.
Have you ever felt like you’re just crystallizing while the world fast-forwards around you. Am I being lazy? Am I justified in slowing down, pressing mute, staring without ingesting a single thought and feeling sick afterwards but only mildly so that I don’t see the point in stopping? Black demons and white ghosts? Friends and foes? Hypocrisy. Transparency. Powerlessness in strength. Strength in nothing? Short people acting tall. The inability to squish an ant under your skin. Dreams with black things swarming over wooden cabinets with six legs. Crazy? Normal? Crazy normal? Lost thoughts and too sluggish and afraid to dive in after them. I see the light in the monster’s eyes in the deep. It could burst through the surface, ten stories high in a pitching storm and fall dead upon me in a thundering crash of scales and water. Silence is key because there’s no other way. Turn the other cheek. Keep wandering down the miles of dirt in Steinbeck’s California. Ignore the mother and child and the good samaritan and his bleeding Jew. Tell yourself it’s ok because it’s not. Fight on. There’s no use in dying. It’ll come without profit…
I’ve been feeling very down for the past two days.
I think there have been three things that greatly induced me to enter this rainy state of mind.
The first is the fact that I am tired, after a few years, of being treated as so insignificant. The working world doesn’t treasure you for your gifts or try to nurture your thinking like college did. What talents you have are expendable. You need to work until you are broken and useless, just like a machine. And just like a machine, you can always be replaced because although youth fades in an individual, there will perpetually be youth in the world.
I know that if I work hard, someday I won’t have to be the one at the bottom. But until that day comes, I must stay here like a garbage disposal. I exist to to do the things that no one else wants to do. My salary is contingent upon my superiors neglecting their responsibilities and dumping them on me. I’m no longer treated as the intelligent person I was recognized as but three years ago. Now I’m just the girl-woman sitting at the desk for the convenience of others in case they are ignorant of their duties.
Every time I think of my job in this manner though, I feel guilty. This job is such a vast improvement from my last job at the law firm. People at least say “please” and “thank you.” I’m invited to eat when there are occasions. The workload isn’t nearly as stressful because I’m no longer single-handedly managing the medical, personal, and financial lives of numerous people. I get along with all of my co-workers, and my supervisors often tell me that I’m doing a good job. I’m no longer in a concrete jungle but a lush environment. My benefits are superb – a great blessing considering that benefits are becoming non-existent or useless. The tasks that I do aren’t the most exciting but I enjoy them. I definitely don’t dread Monday’s as I used to. In so many ways, I am finally happy and satisfied with where I am. I have so much to be thankful for, and I feel like I’m whining. So, I try my best to look at the bright side, since the bright side not only exists but is indeed as bright as one could like it to be. It can be hard, though, to keep up a positive mentality because many of my co-workers often give off a steady stream of grumblings and complaints like a boiling kettle, except the kettle never cools down. Also, busy people at the top often forget that the people they hand their work to and the machines that process their work are not the same, and I’m tired of acting like a machine. I’m also tired of being treated as if I don’t understand things because of my age even though I produce as much if not more quality work than those twice my age.
But what can one do but survive?
My second reason for mental rain is closely tied to my first. As I live at and am treated as the bottom and finally find spare time to read things that I have always wished to read, I realize more and more just how terrible men have made this world. Books like “Black Beauty” opened my eyes to how humans treat animals (and humans) like soul-less machines, designating the reason for their existence as hard labor to be expended until ultimate death, while “Escape from Camp 14″ made me hear the cries and groans of hundreds of people suffering from starvation and torture – all because of a few selfish men. I’m sickened at how little men care for each other and how cowardly we have become. I try to think of ways to better this world. I’ve been looking into volunteer opportunities. One small change is always better than none. But I don’t know where my talents would be best suited. I don’t know what I want to do. I just know that there is just such a big mess out there and it’s impacting the lives of thousands, and all for what? For the greed of a few. Wrenches breaking skulls for a few. Legs and arms broken and sticking out at odd angles for a few. Sons wanting their mothers dead for a few. Cannibalism from hunger for a few. Foamy and bloody mouths for a few. No rest and no home for a few. The unknown death of thousands for a few. This isn’t what God wanted. This isn’t what I wanted for this world. I want to help it, and I grow angry that good people are constantly forced to clean up the big shitty mess made by a few ignorant and hypocritical others.
My third and final reason is a drenching feeling of loneliness. I look at the friends I’ve made in the past and I realize that so many in whom I had placed my trust and love were terrible people. I regret having trusted and loved the people I did. This act of facing the reality that I may have little to no friends who give a rat’s ass – who genuinely care about and act for my well-being – is not so much terrifying as it is a reason for pure regret. It’s a kind of regret that feels almost as terrible as remorse or repentance but without forgiveness. I was not loved the way I loved others. The empty seat, the lack of voices, the absence of invitations – they are all just as painful as when they had never been. What have I been doing with my life and my emotions?
I suppose everyone goes through the motions like this. Maybe I’m just close to my period.
But sometimes I feel like there is a black hard something in me and yet, nothing there at all, a paradoxical state of everything and nothing all at the same time. I feel…
I feel a bit hypocritical criticizing critical Christians, but well, I would like to think of my criticism as a necessary wake-up call for some (or should I say many) Christians out there and therefore, justifiable (or at least, that’s my excuse for venting my frustrations).
I recently saw a Christian criticizing someone about his/her beliefs regarding marriage, parenthood, etc. This Christian remarked on how the other person’s beliefs stemmed from arrogance and ungratefulness, combining said comments with an overall tone that categorized the other person as one of those more fallen, sinful people who make the world a worse place. When I took a closer look at the whole picture, though, I felt that this Christian’s criticism was just as, if not more, arrogant than anything the other person had said, especially because it was apparent that the other person’s beliefs stemmed from bad experiences with his/her own parents and childhood. Instead of indignantly staring up at the ceiling and shaking his/her head with a higher heart rate, I thought it would have been much more Christ-like if this Christian had thought about the kinds of things the other person had gone through – the trauma and the pain of the other human being – and meditated on how the church can help this person and many others like this person so that it can prevent the hard times that induce the fear of getting married, raising kids, etc. Perhaps the church can donate more money to or volunteer at alcohol and drug rehab programs so that more children can live in safe, nourishing family environments and grow up without the fear of committing to or looking after a family. Perhaps the church could create a daycare center for the community so that kids with broken families would have a loving place to come to. Instead of viewing others’ sins as a sign for the church to reach out further, help its community in bigger ways, and take a second look at itself for its inability to prevent such tragic circumstances, this Christian simply pointed the finger like a superior and did absolutely nothing to make anything better.
And this Christian isn’t the only one. There are so many religious people out there who criticize others, both Christian and non-Christian, and designate themselves as an expert on sniffing out the sin in others. Sometimes they actually do point out valid things. However, whether or not they’re right, I have noticed that these kinds of Christians hardly do anything to make all of these numerous sins in others disappear. Actually, I take that back, they do indeed do something: they criticize those “sinful” people to their faces. The more sinful they are, the harsher and more frequent the criticisms must be. If saying it to their faces repetitively doesn’t work, there’s always the old talk-about-it-with-the-rest-of-the-church-behind-their-backs method. And if that doesn’t work, ostracizing the other is a sure-fire way to make things a whole lot better. Of course, shutting themselves in church, reading a Bible in a cloister, attending every single service and church activity, and singing praise songs at the top of the lungs will make them into more zealous, “better” Christians, and the more better Christians there are in this world, the more others’ sins will be erased and the better this world will be.
I hope my sarcastic tone conveyed how ridiculous it is to think that doing absolutely nothing except complaining (because that’s essentially what criticizing is) and cementing the religious bubble one lives in will somehow rectify the thoughts and behaviors of others. Furthermore, it is even more ridiculous that these Christians equate rectifying and purification only with punishment and forced behavior modification (and these Christians wonder why and how things like the Spanish Inquisition sprang up). Rectifying and sanctification do not occur only through harsh discipline and rude confrontation but also (and more effectively) through love, compassion, understanding, and, more than anything, action. Attending church and all that is good and necessary, but how does living in that religious bubble help the community? By sanctifying yourself through the church? Who do you think you are? Jesus? Will your loyalty and devout attendance make you so holy as to allow the dead to rise at your command and the sinners to be purified by touching the hem of your clothes? If you aren’t doing anything to go out into the real world and help others actively, then what good is it for you to be a sin hound and be as devout in church as Mother Teresa?
Quit complaining; do something. And by “do something,” I mean something other than complaining and zipping up the last space between you and the others who need God’s help – the church’s help – whether they’re professing Christians or not. If you’re not going to do anything to help anything, then – as the world wide web would term it – STFU and GTFO. Oh, and to all the Christians who don’t go out into the world because God commanded us to set ourselves apart from evil and because Christians shouldn’t hang out with non-Christians, I’d just like to say that you guys are all kinds of messed up. So what you’re saying is, you’ll only allow yourself to open up and bond with another person – to treat them as an equal – if they do the whole song and dance (literally) of becoming a Christian? You’ll help others become Christians but won’t treat them as true friends until you’ve made sure of their faith? You’ll only help others in the hopes of converting them and give up on them if they never profess the faith? You won’t help others just because it’s what God commanded, simply because it’s the right thing to do?
If we interact with the people selectively, how will we ever attain peace, harmony, and unity in the world? How will you be able to show compassion and love and bond with everyone you can? How will you be able to lend a helping hand to everyone you can? How will you share the gospel with others? How will you dispel the image of religion as a brain-washing institution? How will you, in short, be able to do anything that God commanded you to do in and for this world? Plus, if we can only hang out with other Christians and interbreed with other people we deem good enough (because that’s essentially what categorizing another person as a “good Christian” is), then we’ll go extinct soon (to the joy of many victims of Christianity, I’m sure). Jesus praised the Samaritan for a reason. Your equal neighbor, your friend, your loved one is not a Christian; it is everyone.
Stop twisting what God says and using Him so that you can live the way you want, speak the way you want, judge, harm, and hurt the way you want. God said to abstain from homosexual behavior, not to criticize and harm those who practice it. He said not to swear, not to feel endangered by those who do. He said to worship Him, not to ostracize those who don’t. He said to keep yourself pure, not to judge others whether or not they’re pure and stay at arm’s length from whoever doesn’t go to church every Sunday. He said to be friends with the prostitutes and the tax collectors. He said to help those in need of health, of companionship, of money. He told you not to be a bigot. He told you not to be a critical, hypocritical religious nut who views him/herself as too good for improvement and pure in his/her tight grip on tradition (that is, don’t be a Pharisee).
You are a sinner no matter what. You are allowed and expected to make mistakes – that is the whole point of Jesus’s ministry. If that’s the case, take advantage of it. Go out into the world and try to do something, even if it means making mistakes. Stop living in your little bubble, afraid of soiling yourself when in reality, your pride, arrogance, and provincial mindset is a cancerous root to your existence. No one out there can harm you more than how you’re poisoning yourself with a self-conceived right to be selective and critical of your fellow men without helping them practically. That sermon is for you, not for him, or for her, or for them.
Christians, it is time we stopped integrating Christianity into our lives and forcefully injecting it into the lives of others. We must integrate our lives into Christianity. We must live, show, and tell – not subject, force, and yell (or, just as bad, ignore and fearfully and stubbornly stay in denial). Encourage your church to expand its ministries and activities beyond the self-serving potlucks and Bible studies (there so many bigger problems and evils in this world that we should be spending our weekends on than worrying about what food to bring for Sunday lunch). Go not only to Taiwan on a mission trip, but go to the ghettos, the streets, the dilapidated houses. Don’t waste your time shaking your head at the news of another raping or gun violence or take another critical jab at how this sinful world is spiraling down the drain until Jesus comes again. Use that time to go out there and do something about it. Don’t just feel compassion; show it and act upon it. The world’s problems should be the church’s problems. Not the government’s, not the social workers’, not our parents’, not our children’s, but ours.
If the only actions you take as a Christian are flapping your gums about others and rooting yourself into the church while kicking out others who don’t conform to your lifestyle, then you are not doing what God wants you to do. Go out there. You’ve watched Les Miserables. You’ve seen the documentaries on the poor. You’ve heard Tupac! All these evils of the world are things the church should be fighting, not simply shielding itself from. Is your faith in God so little?
STFU, GTFO, and do something. God is watching over you for a reason.
Again, I know that I myself am being critical of others in writing this. But I hope that unlike those whom I criticize, my complaints will not only be heard but addressed, that they are not simply felt like a whiplash but heard as a bugle, that my words come from a will to do good and express rather than to prove.
STFU, GTFO, and do something. God is watching over you for a reason.
The well-taken photographs…but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms?
The fleet of ships of the line and all the modern improvements…but the craft and luck of the admiral?
The dishes and fare and furniture…but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there…yet here or next door or across the way?
The saints and sages in history…but you yourself?
Sermons and creeds and theology…but the human brain, and what is called reason, and what is called love, and what is called life?
I feel like the above question has been asked
too many times.
I certainly know that I have questioned God throughout life. Why did I have to be bullied in 7th grade? Why did my parents have to break up when we had such a loving family before? Why did my mom’s health have to deteriorate? Why did my best friends have to move away when my family was breaking apart? Why did my family have to become so monetarily poor? Why did I feel so cornered as to fall into depression and contemplate suicide? In short, if God is up there and He loves me, then why do so many horrible things happen to me and my loved ones as well as the world in general? After all, you can’t help but feel something when you hear stories of rape, abuse, poverty, natural disasters, etc.
Even as a Christian, it’s taken me quite some time to come to a satisfactory answer to the general question, “Why, God?”
In the past, I’ve often heard many gun-ho Christians feverishly preach about how we shouldn’t question God, and that He has a right to do whatever He wants with His creation. After all, it’s all His anyways. Although I did find this true (can’t argue with omnipotence), I found this explanation unsatisfactory (as well as morally chafing) because this explanation didn’t address the question of “Why, God? Why did this happen if you are, indeed, loving?” – “loving” being the key word. I didn’t need an explanation of God’s right or power. He’s God. Obviously He created everything and has the power to do what He wants. That is one of the key characteristics of any deity in any religion. By definition, He has a power that exceeds our own, and it would be a waste of time to question why a god has these kinds of powers and uses His own powers in a way that He wants.
No, what I wanted to know was why He would use or withhold His powers in a way that would inevitably lead to pain and loss for a population of species which He claimed to love so much as to sacrifice His own only son. In short, if You love us, shouldn’t You act like it?
It was only in years of reflection that I realized that He always did act like it. I realized that I and others blame God when it’s actually people who inflicted pain on me, my loved ones, and this earth.
I know many people whose fathers committed adultery, drove the mother to near insanity, and drained the family of finances – putting them all in poverty and misery within a few short years or even months. Before, I used to go through the whole “Why, God?” thing, but now I realize that God really did try to stop those men from tearing apart their families and their own life. Many of these families were Christian households. They went to church. They opened the Bible. What parts of the repetitive verses commanding men never to commit adultery did these men not understand? What part of the numerous sermons on David and Bathsheba did they not understand? What part of that stabbing feeling of guilt in the back of their heart did they not understand? What part of their friends’ advice to stop sounded like a green light to go? And even if they weren’t Christian, what part of society’s condemnation of cheating could have possibly seemed appealing? And their upbringing – what kind of parents would have taught their child that adultery is a good thing? If I believe that God has control over all things – good and bad – then I have to admit that He had placed a minimum of a hundred instances in the said man’s life to discourage adultery and prevent trauma to the family. Everything from messages from society, the friends and family surrounding them, the Bible and its teachings, to their own individual conscience – God dropped some pretty heavy hints that this whole adultery thing is pretty messed up and should be avoided for their own sake and that of others. And yet, it happened. And I can’t say that it happened because of God because I can’t say that He didn’t try to stop it. It happened because the person himself chose to do it and go against everything God was telling him not to do – not once, not twice, but pretty much his entire life. Why did I blame God rather than the person who actually caused the trouble? Why did I blame God and hate Him even more than the person who actually committed the crime? I realized that it made no sense.
But what about people who have bad things happen to them, as opposed to having a choice? For example, what about all the patients with cancer or debilitating diseases that bring so much grief – sometimes for a lifetime? Even in this scenario, I can’t blame God because the deaths and diseases that are so harmful all somehow come from the greed of men. It was the greed of men who desired profit above anything that caused them to brainwash the masses and spray our food with cancerous chemicals and mix every imaginable animal into one chunk of infected meat. It was the avarice of choice men in power that put down people who needed help and set up this whole crazy trap of a society so that they could profit from our labor in the most ridiculous of working conditions, knowing that they were working us to death by expending our physical limits until we caught something and died. It’s because of messed up people that we eat, drink, breath, see, and think the things that are so terrible and contribute to illnesses and heartache. What part of God’s command to take care of the earth and all living creatures within it, to show compassion to everything and everyone did these people not understand? What part of the results they are creating looks even infinitesimally good? It just all boils down to corrupt people ignoring every possible hint that God not only drops but practically flings at them. And since we’re all connected in some kind of way, the corruption of others will inevitably impact us from small to largely significant ways. After all, diseases (and all bad things on this earth) don’t just “happen.” There is always a medical, scientific, and/or logical reason for these things; it’s just a matter of whether or not the doctor is smart enough to know it or not and explain it.
You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if that rumor that the cure for AIDS is extant but withheld from the masses is true. I feel like the beings “up there” to blame aren’t the celestial ones but the ones right here on earth – the ones high up there who ignore what God tells them and ignore the good of humanity for their own profit. As Tupac once said, “It’s all a set up and we’re not meant to survive.” They want us to keep questioning God, to hate the immigrants driven here because of American expansion, to hate different races for societal problems, to become addicted to mass production – they want to keep us in this box so they can hide in the shadows and thrive on our misery. Blaming God is just one of the many things they want us to do because it seems logical on the surface but once we erase that prejudice, it makes no sense at all and we realize that all this time we’ve been wasting our time going after the wrong person. There’s always a reason for the bad things that we didn’t cause yet impacted us and when I thought about it carefully, I realized that the reason was never God but always some messed up person doing messed up things to someone or something with the results trickling down. How can we live happy and healthy lives in this terrible world that we and others created for ourselves?
When I really think about it, the reasons for all the bad things that happen, it’s not because of God and it’s not because God did nothing to prevent it. It’s because we all made decisions on a scale of bad to evil some time in our lives and those decisions impacted the lives of others. So basically, it’s either our own damn fault and we’re in denial about it, or it’s the fault of someone else who chose to do everything God and anything good in this world told them not to do. At this point, the only way God would stop all the messed up things we’re doing is to take away our free will, but since we’ll make an even bigger uproar if He does that, I can’t blame Him for letting us keep it.
So why do bad things happen if God loves us?
I’d answer it’s because God loves us that things aren’t worse. I realized somewhere along the way that through everything bad that I’ve experienced that were caused not only by others but also myself (everyone makes terrible decisions once in a while), God somehow made some kind of way for me to survive and gather some kind of happiness even when things kept spiraling down. The more faith I put in Him, the more doors that opened. It’s so crazy, but it’s true. When looking at my life objectively and logically, I should have been by now a) shot in an alleyway and killed as a teen, b) hooked on drugs, c) without higher education, or d) impoverished. But I’m not. And if I reflect seriously on everything, I can’t say that it was my own decisions that got me here. Sure, I put in a lot of effort to get out of the terrible things that were going on, but it was largely because of the things I never planned or imagined that gave me happiness, meaning, and a means to survive and even prosper.
God loves you, and He wants you to stop blaming Him and consequently, turning away from Him so that He can continue to give you even better things and get you through all the messed up stuff we and our world have gotten ourselves into.
So if you haven’t already, try it. What do you have to lose?
Omg my 100th post! :D Neways.
I’m not sure how to title this because I don’t want to offend anyone or come off as some princess giving advice to those who are lower than me.
For the first few months of 2013, I noticed that blogs exploded with weight advice, exercising tips, and above all, advertisements in the forms of banners and websites – all promising weight loss, usually in easy steps.
I’m very tired of reading such unhelpful (aka BS) advice on aforementioned ads because I feel like a lot of them are scams out to get people who are genuinely just trying to pursue a healthier life. So, I wanted to give my two cents on my blog, and guess what? All the advice I’m going to give is going to be genuine because I’m not getting any money out of this!
Before I begin, I just want to say that I am not at all a dietician or someone who knows all the secrets to health and weight loss. Also, I definitely don’t want people to think that I am somehow judging obese people or people who are fatter than me. I am one hundred percent against judging people by ANY physical trait, from weight to ethnicity to handicaps, because the way a person looks NEVER determines his/her value. Obesity, in particular, is not what many judgmental people make it out to be. That is, obese does not automatically equal irresponsible, stupid, or any of those other horrible adjectives that are commonly thrown around. Though of course, there are cases or irresponsible or gluttonous eating that result in obesity, weight can be the result of everything from family to friends to social/economic circumstances. So, like with any other kind of judging based off of looks, assuming that you know anything about a person because of their weight is wrong.
Also, I believe that you should try to maintain an optimal weight for the sake of your HEALTH . So, when I give weight advice, I hope that it will be taken more as health advice than anything else. (The last two statements, though, are obviously very complex, but I won’t go into it for the sake of length).
Now that that’s out of the way.
I don’t have a model’s body, but I am and always have been within the weight range prescribed as healthy for my height and gender and yes, the main factor that has contributed to my constant balanced weight has been constant balanced eating.
Fortunately, my mother rarely let me drink soda growing up. She also severely limited the amount of sugary things I ate. Plus, I just didn’t have much of a sweet tooth growing up. So, I ate a very limited amount of cookies, snacks, candy, desserts, and soft drinks growing up. Consequently, I have been conditioned to limit the amount of said foods even now that I’m an adult. So my first tip is:
1. Don’t drink any soda and don’t eat any candy, cookies, ice cream, snacks (including chips and Cheetohs), pastries…pretty much all that good stuff we all like.
How, you ask? After all, some people are the opposite of me and have been born with a sweet tooth or raised with more access to sweets. My solution to ridding my temptations is simple: purge your entire house of any of the aforementioned things. Throw it away, give them to a hobo, I don’t care what you do, just get rid of them! If you’re like me, even when you crave those things, you’ll be too lazy to go out and buy some, so cut the access and you’ll cut the eating. If I’m really craving something sweet, I’ll eat some honey to satisfy myself because honey is a lot healthier and a lot lower in calories than aforementioned foods. I also eat Special K cereal at such times. (Such eating also prevents cavities. I have yet to have one).
2. Don’t over eat.
As soon as you feel a little full, stop eating. The easiest way to prevent over eating is to start eating small portions. If you feel hungry after a small portion, get off your ass and get some more until you feel decently full. If you have a large portion, you tend to over eat because you feel like you have to eat all of it because it would be a waste or it tastes so good or some other excuse like that.
Also, snack on a lot on vegetables, fruits, or granola bars instead of eating big portions. Small portions equal quick hunger. There is nothing good about starving yourself or constantly being hungry. If you’re hungry, you MUST eat. So, snack a lot!
Another tip is to drink lots of water, especially when you eat. Water not only has zero calories but is essential for good health. It also decreases the amount of food your stomach will take in. So, drink and snack a lot but gorge little.
3. Move yo body!
Yes, that can mean exercise, but it can also mean a lot of other things. I feel like I just don’t have a lot of time to exercise so instead, I use whatever excuse I have to walk or move around more. Vacuum vigorously! Walk to the store! Flex those thighs while walking up stairs! There’s a lot of ways to move your body and burn calories other than spending a lot of money and time on and at the gym.
I also recently started following the Youtuber Blogilates [link to her channel]. Almost all of her workouts are five to fifteen minutes long and kill major calories. Just one or two videos a day has definitely made noticeable changes in my body and stamina.
4. Never spend money on weight loss (with the exclusion of gym membership or physical activity-centered classes).
It’s a waste. Maybe food programs and shakes will help in the short-run but long-term results have to be habitual changes. I don’t want any of you guys wasting your money or feeling crushed because things don’t work out after an investment. To be honest, one good thing about my being poor is the fact that I can’t afford to buy Jamba Juice, Starbucks, ice cream, candy, or any of that other stuff when I’m craving them. I can barely afford normal food haha! Point being, you don’t need to spend money to maintain good weight. In fact, more often, spending less can help a lot more.
Also, don’t think that you have to cut pasta and rice out of your life to lose weight. Honestly, unless you’re a body builder, I feel like that advice is such bs. I was raised mainly on Korean food and almost all Korean dishes include rice. I can’t live without rice and the occasional pasta, and I have never been overweight.
Lastly, I just want to mention that gaining a bit of weight can be a good thing. The past year or so, I’ve started eating a lot of plain yogurt. I can’t eat it too much because it makes me break out in hormonal acne, but I try to eat one to two tablespoons of plain yogurt every other day. Because it’s dairy, it has made me get a bit fatter, but I don’t mind at all because I’m actually a lot healthier now. I used to be skinnier but I noticed that I was also a lot unhealthier and constantly getting sick back then. Right now, I’m a bit chubbier but rarely get sick. Just goes to show that healthy, optimal weight is different for everyone and is not necessarily all about being super skinny.
So there you are, some genuine weight advice! Those three things and the subcategory tips have, I think, been major factors in my weight control. I hope some of the tips were at least a little helpful!
I’m surprised to say that lately, I’ve found fashion to be an intelligent outlet for expression, resourcefulness, and creativity.
I used to brush off statements like, “Fashion is a form of expression,” “Fashion is important,” “Fashion can be empowering,” etc. To be honest, such statements just seemed like snobby excuses fashion-obsessed people or girly girls would use to justify materialistic desires.
To a certain extent, I still think that fashion can be very superficial. I think that many people do spend way more on things like clothes and beauty products (and entertainment, furniture, food, and any other compilable material for that matter) than is healthy to spend. I think that it’s more useful to society and just individually wiser overall if we try to be satisfied with what we have. Instead of spending large sums on passing trends or on high-end products with low-end alternatives, we can use that money and time to donate to worthy causes, help out friends or family in need, or just save the money for emergencies or retirement. In other words, fashion can be a major source and instigator of waste, not to mention a very superficial means of judging others. Especially for us girls, I feel like we’re guilty of laughing at or taking a person lightly because of what they wear or the lack of.
Of course, saving up and splurging once is a while is perfectly fine. After all, using money on things we want is one of the privileges of making money. I’m just saying though, there are too many cases of materialistic and mindless hoarding out there and unfortunately, these cases often coincide with obsession with fashion.
However, a few months ago, I started following a Youtuber named Jenn Im who runs the channel called “Clothesencounters.” [Link to her channel].
She and her channel changed so much of my understanding of fashion. Whereas before, the word “fashion” only engendered images of overpriced items, superficial flash and glam, and dumb pretty girls, the word now means a way to have fun on your own, look sharp, and express yourself – all without having to break the bank or give a crap about what people think of you.
Her adamant preaching that fashion is about wearing what you like and feeling great in it, not about focusing on what others will think about your appearance, is really inspiring. The fact that she endorses such an idea while looking so outrageously gorgeous really changed my prior notion that fashion is all about an unhealthy, shallow obsession with looks and money. Her ability to say something that sensible also changed my prior idea that most fashionable people traded their brains for appearance.
Jenn is also known for “thrifting,” that is, for getting a lot of her statement pieces at thrift stores like Goodwill or any random dollar store-ish store. I was really amazed that places like Goodwill could have such useful, trendy, and beautiful clothing and doubly surprised that someone who loved fashion and looked great 24/7 would go to a thrift store and incorporate ordinary or even down-right ugly pieces into really pleasing outfits. Her bold thrifting showed me that true fashion lovers don’t really give a damn whether or not a pretty piece is from a designer brand or not. True fashion lovers know how to be resourceful and will pick out whatever the hell they like, and if they can find something beautiful for cheaper, then more power to them. It doesn’t matter if other people find it expensive enough or pretty enough or as coming from the right kind of retail store. Fashion really is just what you want it to be and it doesn’t have to be expensive, snobbish, or attention-grabbing.
I also really admire how she alters thrifted items. Fashion doesn’t have to come pre-packaged. It doesn’t have to be that immaculate one-piece dress from Neiman Marcus. You can change fashion to suit your tastes. Buying cheap things to shred, cut, bleach, or stud and creating them into pieces that look like something out of Urban Outfitters for a tenth of the cost show that fashion can be an outlet for resourcefulness and creativity, not simply an unalterable exchange for a sack of money. I feel like Jenn’s thrifting and altering, again, show that fashionable people can be pretty intelligent. After all, you have to be smart in all sorts of ways – from visually to financially – to be able to think and act creatively.
Lastly, I really esteem how she uses her clothes to express her personality and moods. I feel like an overwhelming amount of well-dressed people I’ve met or seen on t.v. were considered as such because they simply followed the main fashion trends and/or shopped at high-end retail stores. If pistachio is the hot trend color right now, they’ll wear it whether they really like it or not and whether or not they feel like they look really good in it. If floral pants are the thing, they’ll get one without a second thought. As a result, fashionable people, to me, looked more like models displaying a certain line of clothing rather than a person wearing his/her own clothes and outfits.
Once again, Jenn changed that perception. She tends to wear bright colors, wear unusual cuts, or sport textures that I don’t associate with mainstream (or should I say, “calmer”) trends. I think her audacity to wear such things though really shows that she wears what she wears because she likes it. Not only that, she also pairs up said colors, cuts, or textures so that you can tell that she feels perky today, or gloomy, or angsty, or in-your-face, or humorous. I see other youtubers trying to re-create her style, but it just isn’t the same because they are trying to be someone they’re not. Jenn’s clothes are a source of her own expression, her own individuality. She wears what she feels and it truly makes quite an impression – an impression that has nothing to do with looking pretty and trendy. She isn’t just another model walking down the street but someone who uses clothing creatively and without giving a damn about whether or not her outfit (and therefore, her mood and personality) pleases someone else. And of course, she does it all while keeping a level head about how much money she can take out of her pocket.
I guess her definition and uses of fashion not only helped me to dispel my prior assumptions about fashion and the people who like it but also inspired me to be more expressive and resourceful with my own outfits and, in a bigger picture, to care less about what people think about my appearance and me and my personality in general. (That, and I started thrifting as well. It saves a TON of money).
I’m not saying that following trends or buying expensive things are bad. If you want to do it, then nothing is going to stop you. I know I like to wear things my favorite celebrity wears or just buy something because it looks pretty. Buying expensive things from time to time can definitely be a source of happiness as well. But I guess I just want to say that whereas before, I thought that was the limit and entire sphere of fashion, now I know that there is way more to fashion than just splurge and glam.
Fashion is and can be a creative outlet for intelligent people with a fun and good eye, and if used the right way, can leave a truly lasting impression.
These are my second and third tries at drawing a human face realistically. Of course, it’s 2pac (though, sadly, you can’t tell…D:).
What do you guys think?
Still job hunting, yo~ Again, please pray for me!
You guys know that I have my phases of getting obsessed with random hobbies. For the past month, I had been exploring music, from Jimmy Hendrix to Bob Marley, and somewhere along the path of related Youtube videos, I started listening to 2pac.
I knew he was a big name before and had been moved to tears when I happened to listen to “Thugz Mansion” on my boyfriend’s ipod about a year ago. I think most of us have heard at least one of his songs in our lifetime. Nevertheless, I had never been that into American rap/hip hop before because I often felt like my intelligence level was decreasing with each passing syllable. The common themes of showing off bling, booze, broads, and guns as well as the excessive cussing and violent and misogynist themes weren’t really things I wanted to listen to or to which I was accustomed to listening. It wasn’t so much the presence of such things in the songs that turned me away as it was the really pointless use of them and the glamorizing of them. I mean, I would just kind of sit there thinking, “Ok, so you got a ho, got crap-faced, and made a lot of money from it. Uh, good for you? I mean your beat is great and all, but, no thanks.” (I think similar lines of thought run through my head while listening to a vast majority of contemporary mainstream as well).
But 2pac, also known by his birth name Tupac Shakur, is different. And it’s not just different as in he sounds a bit different or his themes are different. No. His music and he, as a person, are on a WHOLE other plane of music than any kind of hip hop or music in general that I’ve ever listened to.
Gosh, how do I explain my respect and love for this man and his music?
I guess the best way is to simply give you some links to the songs that I think prove his worth and difference from other musicians – hip hop or not: “Dear Mama“, “Changes“, “California Love“, “Brenda’s Got A Baby“, “Keep Ya Head Up“, “So Many Tears“, “Hail Mary“. (Maybe not “California Love” so much haha. That’s more of a Dr. Dre show-off song. It’s a classic though so…).
I didn’t have to hear any of the many interviews he gave during his lifetime to know that this guy was not only a genius when it came to the evocation of emotions through writing or the drawing of empathy and attention from the masses through words, but I – and any one who listens to his music – could also tell that this guy had been through the mill and back and instead of being defeated by it, chose to use his gifts to both escape it and help others get through it. He was someone with a huge heart, bravery, and compassion and all his emotions and the words he used to convey those emotions were intended to assist others as well as to try to change the society that was afflicting such people, inclusive of himself, so viciously. In short, he was a poetic genius with the brains to see the big picture and the heart and balls to try to change it.
I mean, what kind of rapper – particularly during his time – would even think of writing a song to encourage and strengthen poverty-stricken women, to show respect to mothers, to not only describe the hardships of his life but try to grab society’s attention so as to demonstrate that he wasn’t the only one who had to sell drugs to survive, had friends get shot and killed, were brought up by drug-addicted single mom’s, and were stuck with the inability to make it to the age of 30 never mind go to college? And the fact that he wrote about those things and felt compassion for the stricken when he was stricken himself, when he had been used, abused, and abandoned by such people himself, just gives me so much hope to press forward and gives me hope for mankind in general, not to mention the fact that it makes me want to become braver myself.
His songs were stories of his life and outlets for his many emotions and in turn, were also a cry for justice, for change. He wanted to use his music for good, and that’s really something that you can almost never see – both within and outside of the music industry. Hell, that’s even hard to see in sectors that were built solely for the purpose of helping others (i.e. the health field, politics/government, social services, etc.). It was more amazing because he never became a sell-out. He kept writing about what he deemed as important issues that had to be voiced despite all the negative media and lawsuits that built up on him as a result.
I also really respect the fact that he always stood his ground, no matter what he was attacked for, no matter how much the media and law enforcement went after him for what he stood for. Because he stood for the truth. He stood for what society made people into. He told us all loud and clear that it wasn’t the ugliness in people that made them do ugly things but the ugliness of society and the corruption of those who could and should make a difference that created the so-called monsters they would always shun but never help.
He also gives me so much hope and strength because he really was someone trapped in the middle. He wasn’t part of the poor black America he had grown up in after he became a rapper but he wasn’t part of the white-washed or rule-fearing rich black America either. He had the genius of a fully educated man with enough brains to be a professor in poetry and music, but he been unable to go to college and became a rapper instead. He loved Shakespeare and compared Romeo and Juliet to the Bloods and the Crips. For goodness sake, he rapped about screwing Biggie’s wife and surviving 5 gunshot wounds but said that his favorite tune of all time was the main melody of the musical “Les Miserables.”
He was neither here nor there but instead of feeling down and lonely, he embraced all the different parts of himself that society refused to believe could be contained in one man. He, as he termed it, “kept it real” and defined himself as Tupac, not as the dangerous or conflicting entity that society labeled him as. He refused to conform to society and instead, spat in its face, telling it that this is what it had made him into and it could take responsibility for it. As someone who also grew up in a (often impoverished) minority community that sees so many continual unfair struggles and burdens under – let’s face it – a racist and greedy society, I can totally relate to his feelings of injustice and hopes for change and really appreciate the fact that he had the balls and the heart to look out for the afflicted – something society routinely refuses to do. In many ways, I think he would agree with the things I wrote about in my post “Ghetto” and “Korean Americans”.
One good thing that came out of my not being able to afford cable for the past eight or so years is the fact that the veil has been lifted from my eyes when it comes to watching the news and general media coverage of major events and celebrities. Before when I constantly watched cable, it was hard to tell whether the things said were true or false simply because I was accustomed to watching t.v. day and night. However, now that I live in the real world and not in the world the media supplies to me, it’s really easy to see the lies they tell and the tricks they try to pull to make a profit or, in 2pac’s case, bring someone they don’t like or understand down.
I say this because I’m just so disgusted at how the legal system and media treated him. They made him out to be everything from a rapist, to a murderer, to a really racist picture of a stupid and violent black man. No one in the courts or the media ever focused on the fact that he he made several songs that tried to empower women despite the fact that other “clean,” non-black artists out there never did. No one ever paid attention to the fact that he never would have become a rapper if he had been able to afford to go to college. No one ever elaborated on the fact that he constantly called people to have compassion on minority groups and help people in poverty. Oh no. They would just concentrate on the violence in his songs and how such imagery somehow brainwashes people into becoming murderers and naughty children. They even framed him for rape! Oh jeez. I mean, in the words of Frank Miller, there’s wrong and there’s wrong and then there’s this. Just so freaking racist, biased, and unfair.
The it’s just so sad because they were accusing and going after a rapper, yes, but when all is said and done, Tupac was just a kid! He was, what, 20 when he released his first album? He was 25 when he was shot and killed. TWENTY FIVE. I know undergrads who are older than that. He was technically a college student/a recent grad but he already had the weight of the world on his shoulders and little to no recognition for the positive changes he was trying to make in that world. How could people be so mean and cruel and accusatory towards a KID? He may have looked like a tough thug rapper, and he was a tough thug rapper, but he was also a poor kid raised under a single mom who never knew his father, who wanted to but never got to go to college, who had a diverse range of tastes in literature and music, and showed signs of being a genius at the tender age of 20. How could society beat down a child like that and refuse to look at the whole picture of his life just so that they could make a profit? So disgusting. I swear, 2pac is living proof that society only rewards corruption, and people who try to change it or even address it usually get blown up or cast away.
I especially hate how the media made all his ghetto characteristics look so foreign, or wild, or crude, or stupid, or violent. I mean, what is so sensational and surprising about a kid who grew up in the ghetto acting ghetto? It makes no freaking sense that media would even take the time to tape crap like that! It’s just a bunch of rich people looking down on a poor individual with a magnifying glass and fascinated eye before dumping him into the trash! Oh jeez. I mean, damn, if any of the people who accused him were put in his place I doubt they would have turned out half as good-hearted as he did seeing as how they turned out corrupted even though they were born into stability and even wealth.
I’ll end this with some of his interviews. LISTEN TO AT LEAST ONE IF NOT ALL OF THEM. He even gives a shout-out to the Korean kids! ^^ He is just SUCH in an inspirational speaker. You can just tell how freaking smart he was. I mean, all the subjects he addresses and elaborates on and how he thinks of them (such as the legalization of marijuana, unity of minority groups, and all of his concerns about poverty and racism) are subjects and ways of thinking that are just beginning to surface right now! Truly ahead of his time.
God rest his poor soul. RIP Tupac, you really continue to influence people from beyond the grave. Nothing can stop you!
Xmas Interview with MTV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVevJk-K6As
Interview with Tabitha Sorens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsItj_NzbuI
Interview stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5iBULGJG1s
u r the omega of my heart
the foundation of my conception of love
when i think of what a black woman should be
its u that i first think of
u will never fully understand
how deeply my heart feels 4 u
i worry that we’ll grow apart
and i’ll end up losing u
u bring me 2 climax without sex
and u do it all with regal grace
u r my heart in human form
a friend i could never replace
“Jada”, Tupac Shakur
Man, it’s only my second post this month! I feel ashamed, but hey, job hunting is pretty much like working full-time from home. I have a final (?!) interview next week, so please pray for me!
I wanted to write something today, though, because writing is just so therapeutic. There’s always this really tangled thing in my head that I can’t quite understand, but writing some of the threads out makes my head feel clearer, more organized.
I actually wanted to talk about that today – my head, my mind. I’ve had a decent amount of people tell me throughout my life that my thought pattern/thoughts in general are “really different” from the norm i.e. I’m kind of crazy and avant garde. Most people who told me that statement usually meant it in the good way, though. I guess all these crazy, blunt, mixed-up things inside of me look fascinating and “cool” at times haha. To those of you who have thought that my mind was worth a damn, I sincerely thank you and God.
But there’s a darker side of my mind as well. I’m NOT saying that I think I’m clinically insane or some psycho killer or prone to hurt myself or in endless despair or weak (I know there’s bound to be at least one idiot out there who will over-analyze the things I’m about to discuss. I have noticed that so many people only pay attention to the things they want to pay attention to as opposed to the ENTIRETY of the posts I write, hence the bold print. This is particularly true when it comes to discussions about religion and race).
I guess thinking a lot inevitably makes you topple over some lines that most people never cross or even see. An active imagination paired with some hard, continual circumstances in life make me break down once in a while. Yes, I have had panic attacks, though they have become far less frequent in past years as I have made an effort to put less stress on myself. I have literally wailed for hours until half of my body went into a minor paralysis. I’ve curled up into a ball, chewing on my knuckles while tears poured down, keeping the screams inside. I’ve fallen to my knees and grabbed my head with both hands while shaking. I’ve gone through depression. Serious depression, like suicidal depression (as mentioned in past posts). Just so many inner demons, you guys.
I also have a really bad habit of getting angry so as to not feel sad. As a kid, when all that shit was happening in my family, I just couldn’t handle the pain. Thanks to God, I did not fall into a path of violence or drugs or criminal activity, but as most of you know, I became a workaholic who became obsessed with school and so-called achievements that helped me in a lot of ways but made life even harder in others. And the key to my survival and thriving in school and anything else I set my mind to was: anger. I couldn’t handle the pain of feeling sad all the time, so I made myself hate all the time. I hated everything, and I loved it. I genuinely believe that I was never bullied or taken for granted in high school because people could subconsciously feel that really insane amount of anger in me – an anger that obviously should not be touched because not even I could control it if unleashed. It showed on my face and left a mark. To this day, my smile is not the same as it was before all the family and money drama happened. I look at pictures of my elementary years and I’m literally shocked at how free my face looks.
I guess it’s the anxiety of my job search as well as my other tendency to remember traumatic memories in stressful situations that these days I’ve been feeling pretty down. And just to clear it up, this post is not a fucking cry for help because I genuinely believe that none of my friends would help me anyways.
In many ways, especially after thinking over the ways the church, friends, and even family have reacted to my sorrows, troubles, and honest expressions of thoughts, I don’t think any one in this world except God, my mother, and my boyfriend really give a true damn about me and I’m thankful that I at least have them because so many people out there don’t even have one person to lean on. Institutions, people – they all say they want to help because they have human emotions but when the time time comes to man up, they’re never there. And then when you get angry or break down, they wonder why you let it get that far.
I recently watched “Silver Linings Playbook” (SUCH a great movie), and there’s a scene where Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Tiffany, tells Pat all the crazy shit that she did in her state of depression after her husband died and he listens eagerly. But when she tells him that he and she are alike, he earnestly replies that he hopes to God that he’s not like her because she’s basically crazy/crazier than him. She storms out and says the following:
You may not have experienced the shit that I did, but you loved hearing about it, didn’t you? You are afraid to be alive, you are afraid to live. You’re a hypocrite, you’re a conformist, you’re a liar. I opened up to you, and you judged me. You’re an asshole, you’re an asshole!
Clip to the scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Firk9dC5g2o
And it’s just so true. So may people want to hear the dirty details of others’ sufferings, but when they reach out for help or open up and say the honest-to-God truths that they’ve been thinking, they recoil. They laugh. They judge. But even worse, they forget. They neglect. Your troubles slip their minds permanently because they didn’t give a shit in the first place. They’re all talk but when you write that you suffer mentally, the world is more than eager to keep you at arm’s length or commit you to some crazy establishment that doesn’t give a shit about you. Even as I write this, I know that if I reveal my true identity on this blog, everyone from future employers to friends will take a second look at me as if they have never done things that are crazier, as if they’re somehow purer than me when I’m the one who grew up in a single-parent household, put myself through university with nearly a 4.00 gpa, and work hard every day with as much honesty as I can at whatever I can. I’ve never done a single kind of drug in my life – from pot to cigarettes. I have never stolen anything. I have never done any kind of crime in my life. I’ve done everything society applauds – from higher education to working full-time. And yet, when you go through shit and your mind plays all sorts of drinking games on you, you’re somehow unacceptable – somehow more in need than others. You’re “crazy”.
Some of you might read this and think that if I had only opened up to you, you would have been that kind person who would listen to my troubles and that you know what I’m talking about because you’ve been through the same, but you’re not. If I invited you to my home and started randomly opening up to you, you would have been taken aback, you wouldn’t have known what to say, you would have been shocked, and you would have judged me just like all the other people I genuinely tried to open up to. They try to listen to you but they never try to understand you. They just try to use their high and mighty knowledge to give you advice about what God wants in your life (like they can fucking read God’s mind because they’re “so close to Him”) or refer you to a therapist who, for some reason, can help me significantly more than a friend. They, themselves, are never part of the solution to or the source of your problems. It’s somehow all my fault, especially when it comes to church.
And then I think about why I’m so angry right now. Why am I so angry right now? I don’t know how to deal with this when it comes to me like this. These kinds of mood swings, it’s like some devil is using my brain as a yo-yo. And then I just feel afraid.
But then I remember that I’m someone who’s not afraid to admit these things. I’m someone who notices these things unlike the others who lie and judge. That even all the troubles in life, like these mental “problems” that society uses to look at me, are all things that help me understand, to come to a point where others are afraid to go, to experience, to live.
I guess the conclusion of this post is that with all troubles come lessons and that if other people try to judge you or stamp you out for the shit that you go through in life, they’re the ones at fault, not I. God is with me and he knows my worth and my innocence before Him. My loved ones are with me. And if you know what I’m talking about, be comforted to know that I know too.
Keep your head up, and don’t pay attention to them because they literally don’t know what they’re talking about. If you know the truth, then the rest doesn’t matter. Keep your head up.
And if you’re one of the assholes who turns the other cheek when someone opens up to you or backs away because you just don’t know how to or want to deal with it, shame on you. I hope you grow up some day and help humanity not with your grandiose thoughts about donating to corrupt charities or evangelizing the world, but by helping the people you know as well, doing the small things that actually make a difference. I hope you man up.