Tag Archives: life

just another dumb poem

pt. 1

I refuse to romanticize myself. I am unstable and indecisive.
Impatient and overly impassioned by the smallest things.
I think too much over minute details. So much so that it paralyzes me.
I hate apologizing and I’m too proud to be vulnerable.
Get bored easily and compensate by being impulsive
My hips often bump into tables and I can’t control my facial expressions to save my life.
I hate the beach and pizza is gross. I take days to reply back and often forget what people tell me.
I spill my water on myself at restaurants, pull doors that are meant to be pushed,
and say “you too” when someone wishes me
Happy Birthday.
I am not a handful. I’m not even two
I would fill 5 hands and still overflow
I’m an incomplete puzzle with missing pieces
And waiting for me to open up
Is like standing in line at the DMV
I am an endless winter
That’s constantly on fire
And I am
a hopeless mess
But if you want me
like I want you
Then I would be your mess

pt. 2

I am imperfect and constantly under construction
But I’ll tell you when your hair looks terrible
And kiss the stray strands that won’t stay down.
I’ll cut the crust off your sandwiches
And buy great gifts I know you’ll love
Open all the links you send me through text
trace circles across your arms, run circles around your mind
bury my fingers through your hair
and laugh at every joke you tell.
Even if they suck.
I’ll follow you to new places, run errands with you, get excited when you get excited
split the tab or buy you lunch when you’re sad.
I’m honest and loyal, and know all the best lookouts
You don’t have to tell me to be there for you, I already know.
I’ll find your best angles
Frame them in every corner of my mind
Amidst the chaos and mayhem.
I would be your perpetual autumn,
In a snow-capped summit
and if you deserve it
And if you’re patient enough
I will show you
All the best sunsets

(wo)menstruation: Trying a Menstrual Cup for the First Time

Word Count
Vagina: 8
Blood: 7
Insertion: 10

In an effort to be more cost efficient and environmentally conscious, I purchased a menstrual cup (MC) back in October. It had arrived at the perfect time as my period started the day after it came in the mail and, as any millennial would do, I documented my experience on my Instagram (which has been shamelessly plugged here).

Before giving my thoughts, I was curious to know how much my followers knew about the cup. The results weren’t all that shocking to me. Only 16 out of 108 voters had tried/used an MC and 3 out of the 16 were guy friends trying to screw up my data (Calling you out Russell, Francis, and Devonte).

As a preface, I want to first mention that my goal here isn’t to provide a thorough, informational guide on what cup to use and how to use it, although I will touch upon some details here. I’m in no way an expert, and I wouldn’t want to lead anyone astray! Nor is my aim to convince you to buy a one, but if you did that’d be great. My goal is simply to share my own experience. And should any questions arise from that, feel free to leave it in the comments down below. I’d be glad to share more!

What is a menstrual cup?
Simply put, it’s a cup you insert into the vagina during menstruation. When the cup reaches capacity or after 8-12 hours, you empty the cup into the toilet, sink, etc., clean it, and reinsert it.

Product Details?
After a lot of research I finally settled on an MC that I felt would fit me best. You can find this brand here on Amazon.
IMG_4096Brand: Intimina
Model: Lily Cup A
Capacity: 18ml
Dimensions: Size A: 3.07 x 1.57 x 1.57 in.

IMG_4100

Unlike popular cups like the Diva Cup, Lunette, or the Lena Cup, the opening of the Lily cup is slightly slanted. It also comes with a nice pouch to carry it around in. There are many different brands, so make sure to research which one would make your vagina most happy.

The stem is also quite long, so I trimmed off maybe half an inch of it. Many sites recommend you do this. The MC shouldn’t extend past your opening and if it does, you’re likely to experience chaffing.

Inserting?
I tried different folds to make insertion easier. My two favorites are the taco fold and the punch down fold. The former is basically rolling the cup like it were a burrito and the latter is pushing down on one end of the rim as shown in the picture down below.

Did it hurt? No. But the first time using it was uncomfortable. With practice, however, that feeling went away.

Did I feel it inside me? No. When inserted correctly, I sometimes forget it was even there.

USING AN MC IN A PUBLIC BATHROOM???
Let’s get to the question everyone has on their mind: okay but using an MC in a public restroom is gross?

My first time cleaning out my MC in a public restroom was definitely nerve-wracking, BUT this is mainly because I was worrying about it so much. It’s not as weird once you get accustomed to it.

Was it messy? No. If you’re concerned about blood splashing everywhere, that did not occur at all for me.

Did I get blood on my hands? YES. But only the tips of my fingers. I should also mention that I do bring wipes inside the stall. To prevent this, bear down on the cup using your vaginal muscles and the cup should lower enough for you to get in and get out with little to no damage done. This also depends on how low/high your cervix is. You could also cover your hands with toilet paper when pulling it out.

As for cleaning, since I couldn’t always mosey off to the sink and rinse out my cup, I used toilet paper/baby wipes to wipe the inside after I dumped the blood into the toilet. This should work fine and most users will tell you this as well. IT’S NOT AS GROSS AS YOU MAY THINK.

Pros:

  1. Durability and Security:
    MCs  supposedly lasts hella long–– 10 years. And because I am not the plan ahead/track your cycle typa girl having the security of an MC always on hand was golden.
  2. Safety:
    It’s more hygienic than pads and it’s a lot safer than tampons (as it lowers the risk for TSS*).

    *note: While Toxic Shock Syndrome is most commonly connected to tampons, it can be acquired from a variety of (non-period related) things. So using a menstrual cup does not mean you will never get TSS, though the risk is very rare.

  3. Eco-Friendly and Cost Efficient
    If you’re aware of our environmental crisis, you might have heard that pads and tampons are not necessarily recyclable, although there are efforts to combat this (Check out LOLA  for more details!). Because MCs last longer, the need to purchase non-recyclable menstrual products is hardly ever a factor.
  4. Less Time in Between Changes
    Because the MC hold your period blood instead of absorbing it, I didn’t need as many stops to the bathroom as I used it. An MC can be left inside for a longer amount of time as it holds anywhere between 18 ml to 30 ml of blood. To put that into perspective, the average period is between 10 ml – 35 ml of blood. If it’s inserted correctly, it shouldn’t leak, which is something that always occurred when I used a tampon for more than half an hour. BUT MAYBE I’M JUST INCOMPETENT.

    On lighter days, I’d go to the bathroom maybe twice every 10 hours and that’s just to check if I leaked–– which wasn’t usually the case.On my heavier day (usually the second day), it’s a different story. Using a pad/tampon I’d go to the bathroom maybe 5 times every 10 hours. Using an MC I’d go around 3-4, which really isn’t that big difference. Again, I’d like to share that I’m still relatively new to using one so this might lessen with time.

  5. Suited for active lifestyles
    I had no problems using it while I went for a run or for the one time I went swimming. I didn’t have to worry about hygiene (as much as I usually do) and changing it out right after a run as I would with a pad and I didn’t worry about leaking as I would with a tampon.

Cons:
I’m going to be real with you. As great as I believe MCs to be, there were a few cons I want to address here. It is also important to note that practice and consistent usage will definitely help or solve many of these issues.

  1. Hard to Open??
    Anyone who says an MC is easy to use IS A DAMN LIAR. While the benefits outweigh the cons, you really have to become intimate with your vagina and the cup when first using it.

    The Lily Cup material is extremely soft and very malleable. For some women, this might be ideal, but this made it difficult for me to open it up once inside my vagina because my pelvic floor muscles are relatively strong (weird flex, but ok?). And in order to prevent leakage, the cup literally has to suction onto your vaginal walls and the rim has to open up from the fold you used to insert it. That being said, it was especially challenging for me as I had been a first time user and was still learning the tips and tricks of using an MC.

    The second month was a lot easier. I spent a lot less time trying to get it to open as I had a better idea of what my vagina needed. I’d say the first month I’d spend 10 minutes on average in the bathroom trying to insert the damn thing correctly. The second month, I spent 3-5 minutes. Pretty good improvement, I’d say. I am still planning to buy a brand with firmer resistance to see if it really is just the cup or if I’M JUST INCOMPETENT.

  2. Leakage???
    One of the pros of a menstrual cup is that it does not leak. Caveat: it does not leak if it’s inserted correctly. Because learning to use the cup is the upward battle, I did experience leakage my first time using it. I will say, however, that when I did leak, it was not nearly as much as when I would use a tampon–– often times, it was just some minor spotting. I’d also like to note that I only leaked on my heavier days. The second month I used it I hardly leaked at all. Because of this, I do suggest wearing a liner on your heaviest day or the first time you try one–– at least until you get used to it.
  3. Cleaning
    Using a cup requires maintenance. You can’t just use it and throw it away like you would a tampon or pad. Before and after each cycle, you have to boil the cup in water for a good 5-8 minutes. So you will have to reserve 5-8 minutes of preparation after you discover you got your period. I could have avoided this wait time if I had some foresight and prepped my MC as I got nearer to my due date rather than waiting for the day my period actually came.

I’d like to conclude this section of my MC journey by letting y’all know I will have a part 2 to this post where I answer the questions others had sent to me and share some of the tips and tricks that helped me best. Before then, feel free to leave any questions you may have or share your experiences and insights down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Superstitions and Ghost (?) Stories

Remember the piece I refer to in this blog post? In the spirit of October and Halloween, I decided to post it after all. 

In 5th grade, my teacher asked us if our families had any superstitions. One of my classmates responded that, according to his mom, when his bed isn’t made, his guardian angel is still sleeping. From that moment in my life, I have become vigilant in fixing my bed every morning. Now, I fix my bed out of habit, but back then I can’t deny the impact that simple statement had on me.

But superstitions weren’t anything new to me at that age. When I was younger, I would follow my dad to the field where he would excavate and dig up ancient artifacts and burials (he’s an archaeologist). One day, when he and his crew had been hunched over a skeleton, I sneezed. I didn’t think much of it. Wind and dust tend to have that effect. My mom had a different thought. Without a moment’s hesitation, she pinch my ear hard. A moment after, she explained to me that sneezing in front of a dead body meant that their spirit wanted you to accompany them in the afterlife. During that time, my mom’s word was law. I found myself pinching my ear every. time. I sneezed for fear that there would be a dead body nearby.

When my aunt and my oldest sister became pregnant, I remember seeing them wrap a scarf over their head or wear a hat out at night so the moon wouldn’t steal their baby.

In middle school, my classmate told me never to place my bed across the door because that invites strangers in.

On the less morbid side, every New Year the house had to be impeccable, not an item out of place because a clean house on New Year’s Day meant a clean house the whole year (of course this was proven false time and time again). I also had to wear polkadots and have fruit on the table for good luck.

When I was younger, I not only believed these superstitions, I enjoyed them. They were fun. My friends and I would sit at the lunch table and exchange these traditions and ghost stories that– at least on my end– weren’t true but entertaining. Now that I’m older and relatively wiser and now that I’ve explored more of the world and science, I’ve let go of nearly all those superstitions and learned how to rationalize seemingly “paranormal” occurrences. I could care less if a black cat walks in my path. In fact, my favorite number is 13. Just yesterday, my speakers flew (literally) off my table twice, but I thought nothing of it. I see these events as more curious than scary.

Regardless, while I do believe that everything has some sort of explanation, I thought it would be fun to share some of the weird shit that has happened to me and cannot be explained by science… yet!

  1. Pennies

Earlier last year, I started noticing pennies. Some of you might not think this is weird. In fact, I didn’t think anything of it until it became so frequent that I couldn’t ignore it. I know. I know. “Everyone finds loose change. Who cares?” While this is true, what everyone doesn’t find is a single penny, every morning without failin the same exact place– right beside my car before I drive to school every day. Each morning, I’d pick up the penny and place it in my pocket just to make sure I wasn’t seeing the same one. I can rule out my parents for playing prank on me because they wouldn’t waste their time and I doubt my neighbors would do that because we go through large lengths to ignore each other.

Anyways, as weird as it sounds, whenever I found a penny, I would have a really good day. But one the few days there wouldn’t be one, something bad would happen. Placebo? Maybe. Who knows? I didn’t think anything more of it and since then, I haven’t come across any wayward pennies.

But just recently, I clicked a YouTube video uploaded by a girl I was subscribed to who was talking about a haunted house she lived in. She provided a snippet of an article of “supernatural” signs. I skimmed over the blurb and the word “penny” caught my attention. This caused me to search up on this penny phenomenon which, until that moment, I thought was completely unique to me. Upon some shallow research, I found that pennies are supposedly conduits for spirits to communicate or connect with the living. It has something to do with copper being an accessible metal to them and what not. Finding pennies is also said to be a good omen– often a sign that the one finding them is being watched over by a spirit or guardian. Can’t say I’m 100% sold on the idea, but hey! I need all the good luck and watching over I can get.

  1. Moving Objects – Is my house haunted?

Occasionally, random items in my house will fall off or move from their original positions. Mind you, these are items that have been stationary for a while. Objects would be in one part of the house one day and a different part the next.

I remember one specific moment when my dad and I were relaxing downstairs watching TV in the living room. Connected to the living room is our study, which has sliding doors. While my dad and I were watching, one of the doors decided to slide close. My dad and I looked at each other knowing full well that neither of us had moved an inch and no one was in the study. His eyes got wide for a moment before he shrugged and continued watching TV. That was it! And because I was at an impressionable age and because my dad was my hero, I did exactly what he did and ignored it. This, more or less, sums up my attitude towards the “supernatural.”

  1. Ghost Bell

In grade school, my mom bought me a generic doorbell for my birthday– which really didn’t matter in the end because my parents always walked in my room without knocking anyways. This doorbell was awesome! It was cheap and played an annoying tune, but I loved it. It had two parts: the speaker and the bell. The speaker was taped to my wall and the bell was placed outside bedroom door. Overtime, I outgrew it. It had been years when I last used it and the button eventually broke. I threw it away, but the speaker was still pasted on my wall.

Years and years later, however, probably when I was an upperclassman in high school, the speaker went off while I was in my living room. I went up to my room and saw the flashing lights of the doorbell and pulled it off my wall. It wouldn’t stop ringing so I opened the back to remove the batteries, but only two of the four required double AA batteries were there. Weirded out, I pulled out the rest of the batteries and it grew silent once more. I went back downstairs but moments later, I hear the familiar tune once more and go up to find the doorbell in my trash can, singing away. It was at this moment that I slammed my foot on the speaker and silenced the bell forever. I continued cleaning.

  1. Weird Sightings

While I have seen humanoid figures around my house, I’ve never seen a figure substantial enough to ever assume it was more than my imagination. However, my mom shared a story with me earlier this year of seeing an apparition. Let me just begin by explaining that my mom does laundry at night and that our washer and dryer are in an outside area of our house. One night, she told me that she had been washing clothes late at night when she heard a little girl’s laugh. She turns around and sees a flash of what she thinks is a little girl running past her. Keep in mind that this is probably around 10 at night. What would a little girl be doing running around late at night by herself?

  1. Dreams of my Grandparents

In high school, my lola passed away. Though I didn’t see her more than once a year (considering she lived in the Philippines), she had been the one who accompanied me to Guam when I was adopted. I love(d) her! She was kind, she was intelligent, and she would give the best hugs. One night, I went to sleep and dreamed that my lola had visited me in my room. This was odd because I occasionally have dreams of my house, but it’s never my house. It’s always a different setting but my dream self recognizes it as my home. This time, though, the layout was exactly that of my actual house. In the dream, I walk my lola downstairs and accompany her outside where she hugs me goodbye. Then she gets on a carriage (hella symbolic) with another old lady sitting on the other end of the seat and it flies away.

I woke up with question marks in my head, but didn’t think about it until my mom came to me that day and told me that my lola had passed away in her sleep. I can’t say I wish to be haunted, but I won’t deny that– if that had been her visiting me in my dreams– I was incredibly touched.

Let’s go back a year before to when my lolo had passed away. I flew back to the Philippines to attend his funeral and one night I woke up and saw a vague shadow of  a man at the edge of the bed. As someone who had an active imagination growing up, I told myself it was nothing. I forced myself to go to sleep and act as if it was the items in the room arranging themselves into humanoid shadows. The next day, I got extremely sick. I should mention that a few days prior my cousin had dreamt of our lolo and got sick as well. We were the only ones with fevers that came out of nowhere. My aunt called a witch doctor who chanted a few things, massaged my arms and pinned ginger on me and within a few hours, I felt completely healed. According to my family, my cousin and I had been visited by my lolo. Why us? Who knows? But we’ve both been told that we’re sensitive to those kind of things.

There are a few more stories I have that I find bizarre, but I won’t bore you guys with an influx of stories that require more context than they’re worth.  While I find stories like these fun and extremely entertaining, I can’t say that I’m quite a believer. But I can’t say that I’m a complete disbeliever either.

So what do you guys make of all this? Are you convinced? On the fence? Still denying anything to do with the supernatural? What are your superstitions or experiences? Do you have any explanations? I’d love to hear them!

To All My Dramatic Dreamers (Myself Included)

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about superstitions and my experience with the paranormal. I forced myself to write it. After I finished, I decided to hold off on posting it and wait till the next day– today. This evening, as I sat in front of my computer ready to publish my piece I decided to write something different (which is this post that you’re reading right now). Why? I can’t really say. Perhaps it’s because what I had originally intended to post didn’t seem adequate enough. It felt rushed and forced and all it had to offer was mediocrity. I can’t deny that I’ve been in a stump these past few months. As you can tell from my lack of posting, I’ve lost enjoyment for my craft and have been feeling passionless, which is scary because I’ve convinced myself that writing and reading are my bread and butter. I’ve told myself that it’s all I have to offer the world.
Reading and WritingReading and Writing Reading and Writing
I’ve lived most of my life assuming that my career would center around these two words that have consumed me for most of my academic life.
 Then all of a sudden I lost any motivation and desire to continue reading and writing, and I was lost– am lost. I know this isn’t groundbreaking. Everyone is lost at 21. Boo hoo, Via. Welcome to the most inclusive club on Earth!

Despite this suffering being a communal affair, I still feel helpless. My world has tilted from 23º to 90º and I’ve been left with the one question that has paralyzed any forward movement in my life: Do I like reading and writing because I’m actually passionate about it or do I like it because I’ve been told that (relatively) I’m good at it? Thereby convincing me to love it? Because if I didn’t actually love it, where would that leave me? What would I do then? If I truly loved something, why did I give up on it for months? Why did I lose any desire to continue? Why did I dread reading and writing during my final semesters? Hello, existential crisis.

I thought back to my undergrad and realized how I fell out of love with reading and writing because I felt forced to do it. I needed to write that 10 page exegesis because I needed that grade to pass and ensure my parents’ sacrifices for my education weren’t in vain. I needed to work those hours at the Writing Center, reading and peer-reviewing other students’ papers to make money. I needed to complete my Literature degree because I had already come so far. I was so surrounded by what I thought I had loved that I felt suffocated by it.

And then I thought about the potential career I had planned for myself (publishing), which more or less, would be the same thing. Would my attitude towards reading and writing– my supposed passions– shift from adoration to resentment then? 

Then I wondered if anyone else has thought this. Do accountants become accountants because they love numbers or because they’re good with them? This question reminded me of an article I read claiming that we do ourselves and our community a disservice by building a career solely off of something we love. It argued that, more or less, following your dream is a waste of time if you’re not one of the lucky few. This post went against everything I’ve been taught. Not follow your dream? How… pessimistic– or perhaps, now, realistic? After all, it’s called a dream because not everyone has what it takes to make it tangible. Or maybe they do, but they’re perpetually screwed over by the injustice of a fickle world. I questioned constantly the validity of this statement. It had merit. There are countless artists– writers– out there who love an industry that doesn’t love them. There are hundreds of unrecognized talents who are overshadowed by those who were in the right place at the right time but are mediocre at best.

Then I considered the idea that I lost my love for reading and writing because I lost faith in my ability to actualize my goals– because I was afraid what I wanted to do wasn’t what I should do, that it wouldn’t be profitable or I wouldn’t “make it”. And then my mind went on a tirade bombarding me with questions of my quality of life if I were to pursue a career in publishing that has less than fruitful results for the majority. Then it bombed me with questions regarding my happiness were I to do something I could find security in but didn’t fulfill what I really wanted. Then I paralyzed myself even more from my inability to just decide. Then I attacked myself for being so consumed with needing money. I rationalized this desire by understanding that I obviously need money to survive. Then I thought about how broke I was and questioned how I could ever become independent. After I went through this– for lack of a better term– episode, every romantic notion claiming that we foster happiness by following our dream was folded in half and stored in the far off drawers of my mind. 

And then I went crazy.

When I calmed down enough, I then thought about the binate system we’re conditioned to follow: this or that but never both. Or or or or.  It always had to be one or the other. You either follow your passion and risk a less stable life or you choose a profitable job which you might be good at but have no real interest in. In the midst of this dimming thought, I realized I never asked myself why I couldn’t do both. More than that, why did the choices have to be either good or bad, or bad or worse? Why couldn’t the options be good or best? With such a dismal outlook, it was no wonder I “lost” passion. 

I thought back to Bukowski’s famous words: “Find what you love and let it kill you.” I had been consumed by this line when I first came across it. I remember reading it, letting it sink in and thinking they were the most profound words ever arranged in a 9 syllable sentence. Fuck yeah! I couldn’t wait to be killed by my passion. MURDER ME, CHARLES BUKOWSKI! MY BODY IS READY.

But here I am, years later, figuratively dying and wondering why does it have to be so dramatic? After all was thought and anguished over to an overwhelming amount, I thought about those who follow their dreams as a hobby while they pursue more profitable avenues; they continue to hone their art in some hope that one day they’ll find their big break. A practical and reasonable choice. I don’t think it’s giving up–more like… being wise. Why does following your dreams often equate to being impetuous and foolish? Why is there no smart way to accomplish your goals? Practicality isn’t romantic, sure, but that doesn’t make it a less viable option.

So here I am, slowly trying to figure out a smart way to be what I want to be. Do I love reading and writing again? I’m working on it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been inspired to write all summer and I must say that I feel satisfied having completed something of value– at least to me. That’s a start. I’m also thinking that I’ll try the practical route and see what comes from that. I might also change my mind the next day and just wing it all, but I’m thinking that that’s okay too.

So while I’m often subjected to boughts of hopelessness and despair and all the dramatics of life in regards to the future, I’m quite eager to figure it out as I go along. I’m learning to trust myself and understand, that for all my mistakes and flaws, I know I’ll be okay in the end. Again, maybe that seems arrogant, but what I’ve also learned is that you need a little ego to be where you want to be in life.

 

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your opinions below. Let’s have a discussion!

-petrichor-

Today, the book I was reading got wet
I left it outside on the porch, let the rain
Trample over the opened pages, and
didn’t realize what I had done
until the downpour subsided
And the rain slowed to a drizzle

When I picked it up next, I cried
Such a small thing to get upset over
But lately I’ve been feeling as flimsy as these wet pages
As bendable as the soft paper cover
As fragile as the watered down edges

And lately, I’ve been more and more like water
Like a stream traveling with no destination
Loose, unformed, lacking a single shape
So easily folded into nothing in particular
And as hard as I‘ve been trying,
it seems all I find are shadowed crevices
and because of gravity and because I am water
All I can do is fall through
Separating even more of myself
until I’m just
a
single
drop

But when I opened the book, I saw that my notes
Haphazardly scribbled– were unmarred
The spine of the cover– intact
and the dog eared pages– still folded

When I saw this, I cried again.
And as the droplets began to fall once more,
As the gray clouds danced against the wind,
I laid my book beneath the fan
Walked outside, let my limbs fall languidly
          Felt my body flow north
And joined the rain

Graduation, Lactose Intolerance, and Vomiting in My Car– some minor and major life updates for ya

Given that my last post was months ago, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that life has been pretty hectic lately. So here are some minor updates followed by a few major ones.

Minor Updates: 

  1. I’ve developed an intolerance to lactose
    Apparently this is a common occurrence for Asians and I’m still pretty pissed off about it.
  2. I recently presented The Secrets to Success at the Sigma Tau Delta International Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio
  3. I picked up crocheting
  4. My current goal is to crochet a queen sized blanket using the waffle stitch pattern.
  5. My friend threw up in my car
    Yes; we’re still friends.
  6. I’ve downloaded Clash of Clans all for the purpose of destroying my girlfriend’s home base.
    I’m looking for a clan. Hit me up if you need a new member!

Major (?) Updates:

  1. I got a tattoo
    I chose my adoption date. I knew that my first tattoo would have to be something special to me. This date is a constant reminder of how fortunate and blessed I am.
    IMG_1958
    I actually got this tattoo a while back– let’s say around October of 2017– and only a handful of people know about it. It was never something I really wanted to flaunt.Also, my parents don’t even know and they would kill me. (Sorry mom & dad!!)
  2. I have a girlfriend
    To many, this has been a surprise considering I had only dated men in the past and I’ve received a lot of questions about my relationship; but I don’t want to make this update about the fact that I’m dating a girl. As my wise friend, Tamar, once stated: “Differentiating this relationship from others solely because of gender would only detach it from the conversation about relationship norms.” What I want to focus on instead is how healthy this relationship has been thus far and how it has changed both me and my partner in better ways.But I’ll talk more about this in another post.

     

  3. I’m graduating in a month
    It’s funny. When I first started my journey towards my B.A. I couldn’t wait to finish and get it all over with. Yet, here I am with the finish line in sight and no definite idea of what to do next.

    Will I go to grad school right away? Maybe.
    One year hiatus? Possibly.
    Continue with Literature? Debating.
    Finally finish that novel I started? That would be ideal.The point is, I don’t really know yet & I’m sloooooooOOOOOooowly (very, very slowly) realizing that that’s okay. I’ve come to understand that the sadness and ocean of hopelessness that I’ve been feeling over the past few semesters were a product of all the pressure I’ve been putting on myself to know– to know everything and to know it all right now.  To know what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do what I want to do before I even know what it is I want to do. But as Lily once said on season 4 of How I Met Your Mother:

    “You can’t design your life like a building. It doesn’t work that way. You just have to live it and it’ll design itself.”

    This is not to say that I’ve completely abandoned all recourse for responsible action or that I have now become a passive participant in my own life; rather, I’m teaching myself to trust in my own abilities more and to know that I can make the best of whatever comes my way.

    Anyways, enough of the life lesson. What I really wanted to share was that I’m graduating May 20th with a degree in Literature and a minor in Writing. My very tentative plan is to pursue a Masters in Literature with a focus on ethnic literature (specifically Latinx literature) within the next 5 years. Hopefully get more serious about publishing, and eventually retire with a house filled with large windows and pets.

    In a nutshell, this has been my life for the past few months. Granted, I can’t detail every notable moment, nor would I ever want to bore you with that, but I hope some of these updates have been interesting or relatable in some way.

    I know I haven’t been great at keeping my blog updated, but that will change! So let’s talk! As always,  please feel free to offer any constructive criticism, comments, or suggestions on what you’d like to see me post about next.

    Happy Reading!

Inevitable Lessons of Being A Sad Girl

Life is crazy. No surprise there.
It’s unpredictable.
It’s hectic.
It’s all types of fucked up and all kinds of beautiful.

Most of all, it always moves forward. Luckily for me, much of the momentum that pushed me through this past year and a half had comprised of bouts of sadness so deep, it scared me. It felt inescapable and unmanageable. With my graduation date quickly approaching, I constantly worried about the future: where I would be, what I would do afterwards, where I would work, and mostly how I would pay for myself once I became independent? How could I make something of myself if I was too afraid to take the risk of following my passion for writing? I was stressed and sad and angry that I didn’t have the answers so all I did was remain stagnant in my position. And because of that I felt I had no purpose. I was pushing against a rock I couldn’t move.

Without going into too much detail, much of the depression that I experienced was also a product of internal issues (self-confidence, stress, anxiety, uncertainty, etc.) along with a few other moving and unpleasant events that were outside of my control, but manageable had I simply approached the situation better (failed and strained relationships with friends, family, and lovers). I had harbored and nurtured these problems with negativity and worry and this reflected in my work ethic, my social circles, and my daily interactions with other people. I was easy to anger, to irritate. I pulled away from many people, and procrastinated at every opportunity. Most damaging of all, I convinced myself that I deserved to feel this way– to hate myself for having no “real” excuse for being sad, but still being so anyway.

But I look back at those dark moments in time, even with the happy days in mind, and cannot think of anything I could be more grateful for. I mean that with the utmost sincerity.

You may be wondering why I would be praising something many would consider a misfortune. Why would I be happy to have been sad? I realize that may seem odd and perhaps offensive to some who have been clinically diagnosed with depression or mental illness. That is not my intention at all. But it is because of that deep depression that I have come to learn more about growth and happiness, and most importantly, myself.

Now, I am not a guru of life. I don’t have all the secrets of the world nor do I wish to. These lessons I’ve learned have not automatically brought me to a realm of absolute happiness. But I have learned that “happiness” as a perpetual state of being is not possible, nor should it be. I don’t say this because I am a pessimist, but because I’ve come to understand that the goal of life isn’t about finding absolute bliss for the rest of our days.
It’s about living.
And to be alive is to know pain and hardship and heartbreak and love and laughter and moments of joy so profound it’s impossible not to believe in something greater. It’s about trying to understand world and coming to terms with the fact that we never truly will. To be alive is to live in a paradox.

This leads me to

Lesson One:  Let go of the need for happiness. 
I read a quote once and though I am unable to relay it verbatim, it went along these lines: If you forbid yourself to be sad because there are others who suffer more, then you cannot allow yourself to be happy because there are many who are happier than you.

I spent many months being upset– mostly at myself.There was so much guilt whenever I felt sad or angry, because every night I took a step back and thought to myself: What do I really have to be sad about when I have supportive family and friends, food on the table, shelter over my head, and a stable education? If I started to feel sad I’d instantly beat myself up for looking at the world so negatively. I forced myself to be positive and would get upset when I couldn’t be. How could I when I would constantly meet and interact with people who suffered more tangible worries than I could even imagine?

But I had to learn that feeling completely out of sorts with the world and with myself is an inevitable part of living. Feeling guilty for natural, valid, and uncontrollable emotions is unproductive and unreasonable.

IT’S OKAY TO BE SAD SOMETIMES.

To be in a spectrum of emotion is to be whole. No matter my economic circumstance, my personal situation, my work or school life– be it in a terrible state or a great one– I learned that it’s okay to feel. To live. It was time to stop being so hard on myself for being human.

Lesson Two: Only I am responsible.
My parents, my friends, and my environment have all shaped me. Yet my mold isn’t merely governed by these outside forces. It’s subject to internal movement: my thoughts, my goals, my emotions. Every inch of my mind. The world I live in and how I choose to perceive it is up to me and whatever comes of that is my responsibility.

I worry about what’s to come constantly. I have no idea what will become of my life in ten years or five or even two weeks. What if someone I love dies? What if something comes around and completely throws me off my path and sets me back? What if I can’t get a job after I graduate? This anxiety only fueled what had already been a chaotic mind.

What I had to understand is that outside forces beyond my control will always be there, but to place blame on the state of my life on anyone other than myself is to disregard my ability to rebuild myself and grow from hardship. If someone pushed me down and I stay there, that is my full and conscious decision. Instead of blaming the world for placing a rock in my path, I learned to break down that rock into fragments so fine it would be unrecognizable. Weather it down with water and knead it until it became clay. Then mold that obstacle into whatever I chose. Because only I am responsible for it.

Lesson Three: It’s all about balance.
I remember a time where the playgrounds I once frequented had thin metal beams that I would walk with precarious steps. And I remember the time my friends had dared me to run across the beam without falling down.

I failed.

That experience taught me two things.

1. Balance is crucial.
2. I have to walk before I can run.

This past year I had to relearn these lessons. I reached my capacity for stress, but continued to add things that only pushed me even further past my limit. I overloaded on classes, work, and extracurricular activities and let my work pile up. And when I would silently crumble under the pressure, I’d beat myself up for not being able to handle the stress. I expected so much from myself for no other reason than I wanted to be better and I wanted that now. But rather than benefit me, it only weakened my resolve. I placed my goals on the foreground and pushed my mental health in the background not knowing that there was space for both in the front. Here I was walking on a metaphorical beam of life, holding a feather in my left hand with a ton of bricks weighing down on my right. How could I have possibly stayed balanced?

What I learned from falling too far over the edge is that I didn’t have to carry a huge weight on my shoulder in order to make something of myself. Most of all, I didn’t need to do any of that now. I was trying to fly through the stages of life, but I had no idea what I was rushing for. Maybe I had been in a silent competition with those my age who already seemed to have it all figured out. Whatever the reason, I have come to determination that when I reach my goals, I will go into them with a clear and balanced mind.

Much of what I’ve presented so far may seem preachy coming from a young adult who still has so much left to experience. I have no idea if I’ll come back to this and find that all I’ve written contradicts what I will learn in the following years. Or maybe I won’t.

I don’t really know and that’s okay.
I can’t unpack the entire world in only 21 years.
And you know what?

That’s okay too.

2017 Was Dramatic AF: A watered down reflection of my year and maybe some insight (but probably not)

Hey! It’s me. Coming at ya with another grossly overdone post about making the new year one of dramatic transformation that’ll probably only last a month. I’ve always despised these types of posts because I usually found them to be overly pretentious. Self-improvement shouldn’t come at the beginning of a new year. We don’t have to wait for January 1st to start going to the gym. We don’t need to wait till Monday to start drinking 2L of water everyday. Becoming a better version of ourselves should be a continual process. But whatever. We’re already here, so just pile me in with all those other unoriginal posts. 

2017 has been a year full of growth and revelations. Which really doesn’t make it all that special because my dramatic ass has been “coming to realizations” every other month. My life is really just one existential crises after the other.

I’ve never been one to follow a routine. Most of my life, even up till now, has been me winging it and just making it to the deadline. Although that hasn’t done anything overly damaging to my social circles, my work life, or my academic career, this way of living isn’t all that fulfilling.

I noticed that by me procrastinating all the damn time, that I got so used to the stress and headache of deadlines that I didn’t feel normal without it. I convinced myself that that’s just how I am and that’s how I work best. But after years and years and years of living with this mentality, I finally just admitted to myself that I was only making excuses.

I felt lost and stuck because I didn’t know where to go or if I was even going anywhere. I didn’t challenge myself enough to actually work towards something. I simply followed my syllabi, centered my life around my work schedule and the agendas my professors created for me and realized other people were creating the ins and outs of my daily life.

One of my favorite authors once claimed: 

“The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

That’s what my life had come to. I followed the patterns others had set out for me because I was too lazy, too undisciplined, and too unbothered to come up with one my own. I became a passive participant in my own world.

To overcompensate for this, I began doing the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them and did the things I needed to do only when I had no other option. Almost all of my time was me playing catch-up with papers and readings and somehow still doing pretty well in the end. But the means to getting there was filled with stress and depression and an overall lack of satisfaction. I prioritized “fun” over work because I convinced myself that my “mental well-being” was just as important when in actuality, I was just using it as an excuse to mess around. In hindsight, if I had just prioritized what needed to be accomplished, I would’ve had a much better time doing the things I wanted to do because I wouldn’t have had anything in the back of my mind causing me to worry.

I’m graduating in 5months (fingers crossed) and I’ve been clouded by the shadow of impending adulthood and afraid of what’s to come. I ask myself constantly, “Well, what do you want to do and how are you going to achieve it?” This lead to me overanalyzing my process to success. I started to see that my stress and lack of happiness with school, work, and, ultimately, myself was due to my lack of discipline.

But that just so happens to be one of the hardest things to master.

Why would I want to write a critical analysis paper when I can just go on Twitter and laugh at things infinitely more enjoyable?

Why do I want to save money when I can buy a movie ticket instead?

Why would I wake up at 6 am if my class doesn’t start until 11?

If I cut out breakfast, I could have more time to sleep in.

I lacked discipline. And discipline, in my belief, is at the core of all achievements.

I know this.

But one of the oddest facets of my mentality, and perhaps many others, is that I know and understand certain truths but still fail to change my behavior and my ways. I inhibit myself. This begs the question: even if I know the truth, even if I understand what it takes to feel fulfilled and satisfied and successful (whatever my definition of that term may be) what does it really take to achieve these things I want in life?

The truth as I have come to learn is that I just have to do it. Because in the end, only I am responsible for what my life has come to. Someone can sabotage me or all my work could burn down in a fire and set me back, but if I choose to stay there, that is my own conscious decision. And I’ll be damned if I let anyone, most of all myself, screw me over.

All that to say that 2018– and the years following it– will be a time of just fucking doing it. Whatever it may be.

So carry me forwards, 2018. I’m (somewhat) ready.

To You

In this world, we are only ever given choices
To hate, to love, to take a left or turn right
To fight another day or collapse within ourselves
and let our fragile hearts consume us

In this world, we watch the hands of the clock too closely
Count the seconds like we count the coins in our pockets
Listen to the movement of time like a metronome
And catch up with the hours that move faster than we can run

In this world, life is chaotic and nothing is guaranteed
And all we can ever do is keep walking through the fire

But in my world, you are an artist and I-
I am an imperfect puzzle, incomplete and weary
And you paint sunsets in place of missing pieces
Craft melodies with your hands,
Draw monsoons with your lips and I
I am endlessly recreated by your love

In my world, I don’t know much of anything
I don’t know up from down, this from that,
here from there-

I live my life in a spiral

 I don’t subscribe to fate,
and I don’t know much of destiny
Sometimes i don’t even believe in god

but my god

I love you

 

 

 

 

How You Know You Love Someone

Challenge Day 5: How You Know You Love Someone

You know you love someone when…

They send you a link to a video they want you to watch and you actually watch the whole thing

They can lay any part of their limb or body on top of any surface of yours and you let them. You even enjoy it.

Their mood affects yours. When they’re sad, you feel it as if it’s your own pain.

The need to tell them you love them is so strong that sometimes it just slips out.

The same flaws that usually turn you off to other people have no affect on your feelings for them.

You offer them the last french fry.

You let them get away with a lot of shit.

You can talk for hours without a moment of awkward silence.

You get disappointed when the notification on your phone isn’t from them.

You let them change the radio station without them having to ask.

You’re at Taco Bell with only $5 to your name, yet you still ask them if they want anything.

You would take the time to cut the ends of their sandwich because you know they don’t like the crust.

You want all your friends and family to like them so you boost them whenever you talk about them.

You hear good music and they’re the first person you want to share it with.

You find a good restaurant and they’re the first person you want to bring.

You experience something amazing and they’re the first person you want to tell.

You remember all the little things without making a conscious effort to.

You would drive at 3 a.m. to rescue them from any situation, but really you’re just happy you get to see them.

You see something that reminds you of them and instantly feel some sort of contentment that they’re in your mind once again.

You miss them even when they’re right next to you.

You want to forgive them even while you’re angry at them.

You look at them and you want them for more than the moment. You think long-term.

You want to give them your best and nothing short of that will do.

You know they’re changing you, but you let them because when they love you back, it’s always for the better.

This was definitely the most challenging prompt for me to write thus far. In fact, imagine an expert in love and then think of the complete opposite of that person. That’s who I would be.  But I can’t pretend I’ve never felt it before. I love my family, my dad, my mom, my closest friends and I’ve loved people I’ve been in intimate relationships with. I have loved fully and passionately and softly. My problem is not that I don’t know what love is or what it feels like. My problem is that I can’t say it out loud. Because actually saying it out loud is very much like giving a part of yourself to a person and trusting them with it. And trust does not always come easy to me.

So while I haven’t always said it out loud, I knew I felt it.

How do you know you love someone?