Fifty Five

Last Wednesday,

A classmate said, “You don’t smile.” “There is no joy in school,” I joked back. It was more of a half-joke, because I really don’t find any joy in school. My friends know it, my husband knows it, and even my teachers know it with my daily “unimpressed” expressions that make it very obvious I am a non-traditional age student. Only my husband knows that my lack of smiling is completely intentional. Smiling means weakness and approachability. I help people who ask me to help them out and share my opinions and experiences with them only to the extent of not making any relationship stick. This time around, I am refusing alliances, jealousy, and attachments.

I don’t know why I’m doing this, actually. Maybe it’s the spirit of competition, or maybe I stayed in Europe for too long and absorbed that comfortable coldness. Being alone in college made me notice why I was so successful in high school. Yes, I was a sleep-deprived over achiever, but take away the “sleep deprived” and “over.” There’s just “achiever” left. Effortless, isolated achievement that gives me time to myself and room to think. This also reduces emotional damage in case my bipolar symptoms pop up. I still get rages every couple of weeks and these strange bouts of sadness and happiness.

I also signed up for a counseling appointment and a health check up. I don’t know if I am playing too much Diablo or stressing out about the skeleton I am drawing for Life Drawing, but I have been having nightmares about my worst days, skeletons, and zombies for the last two weeks. Hopefully, the counselor can help out with that. Maybe it’s midterm stress? I experienced nightmares at Smith too that drained me of my energy on a daily basis and made me jumpy and anxious. Since it’s a pattern, I’m looking forward to the day I don’t have nightmares anymore.

Forty Nine

After a long and unforgettable summer,

I am finally starting art classes. I took a design and business class at a local UC, and I’m glad I did. Everything was so fresh after being stuck in the science world for so long. Discussions were more about every day life than medicine, biology, and research. Although people were no less humble, at least they were real. It was just art or business. Nothing about bragging of whose lab you are working for or hiding which lab you are applying for. It’s all about helping or competing with each other—straight up, no secrets.

With that done, I’m finally starting product design night classes. That leaves my morning to sleep and do whatever the hell I want during the night, because everyone just bothers me in the morning. If I’m not interrupted, I have to go out to get something or do something with someone else or else I will feel trapped. That’s what’s tough about dropping out of school and moving back in, the suffocation. However, I have no fear, because doing extra work for my product design classes gives me calm and some feeling of direction. I hate nothing more than a lack of control over my own decisions.

And beliefs. I have also been going to church with a very close friend of mine who I’ve known since forever. I have no other consistent friend in Southern California than her, except that the best way for me to see her is to go to church with her. She invited me to go the first time. And when you go to church the first time and everyone is just so welcoming and in need of some new members for this start-up Baptist church, you go the second time and the next. I made it clear to her that I am not a Christian, and yet I still go. In fact, I’ve joined the book club for crying out loud. This weekend, I’m setting my foot down and telling her I will only show up to an intelligent book discussion and not the [very-extremist-not-very-well-thought-out] sermons. I’m going to a Buddhist temple nearby instead, because it’s so peaceful there. I also need to scout out some spiritual activity for my sort-of Buddhist boyfriend and his family to go to when they fly over.

I should write about my summer that I spent with my boyfriend and his family later, because I learned a lot from it about one thing: love and family. All I have room to say for now is that although some of my family have grown distant over the years, I have gained new, wonderful family through my soon-to-be husband, and what a lucky girl I am.

Forty Six

Regarding my friends on the East Coast,

I haven’t been making any effort to see them, because I feel like honestly, it’s time for me to move on. We haven’t fought, we haven’t argued, but I feel like I’m in a world so different from theirs now that I feel alone whenever I hang out with them.

I don’t want to splurge personal secrets that may hurt my boyfriend on here, but they knew things that I told them thinking they were mature enough to handle it. I was so wrong and so unsurprised when I watched one of them (who talks non-stop anyways about everything that pops into her head and was a very sheltered child) basically shout what I told her throughout the dining hall. Another friend sat next to her and shrugged, “Well, these are your decisions and shame is one of the consequences.” I learned that the motor-mouth friend also told another friend, who we all know can’t keep a single thing to herself, and I felt so alone.

I forgive my friends, because they, like many people at my school, are naive. The world works only one way and it’s obvious who the bad guys and good guys are to them.  Going through the things I told them has made me learn how to stand my ground and feel invincible, so they do not hurt me when they judge my boyfriend and I and our dreams whenever I see them. They can still be my bridesmaids. Two of them can still be my kids’ godmothers. I am just tired of being verbally beaten down by them all the time and being thrown things I’ve already been hit by.

There are so many things wrong with this. I know I shouldn’t sacrifice my friends for my relationship, because they care about me. I am not sacrificing them. I still care about them. When they are hungry, I give them food. When they need somewhere to be because they don’t want to go bed yet, they can hang out in my room. When they want to see me, I go downstairs and hang out with them. I make them laugh, give them the same bad advice, and voice the same questionable opinions. We are still friends. It’s just that we are too different for me to say that we are friends, because we all have so much in common, because we really don’t anymore. My friends on the West Coast though, they’re chill, and I’ll talk about them in a later post.

Forty Two

After a night out with my friends and myself,

I’m feeling cranky as fuck. I went out with my friend to an Asian fusion restaurant where I accidentally ordered something not vegetarian and had to give it to my friend. Then I agreed to get boba afterwards — the SoCal Asian American way to lift the mood and get acquainted — because she also invited this other friend who I barely knew. And after those series of bad decisions, especially since I’m slightly sick with a sore throat and headache, I decided to go off on my own and get some Ricola. And of course, I got distracted and wandered into a few shops, but I didn’t buy anything, which is progress.

I walked into the room and saw what was wrong: My desk and floor are covered with clothes, books, papers, and everything else I didn’t bother to pick up. Three apples are still on my shelf, because I was too lazy to wash them. My mooncake box is sitting there with two uneaten mooncakes that I can’t possibly digest on my own. I also feet pretty fat, which is strange, because I worked out more in the past week than I have all summer. Oh yea, it’s because I just dropped my yoga class.

Then there are my readings, just piling up on me. I know it’s only, let’s see, four to five hours of reading to do before next Monday, because I could barely get through my biology notes yesterday from being so tired. I was so good the past week until two days ago. I kept up with everything, but now every little thing is stressing me out again. Maybe it’s just me taking on too many big commitments: long distance, becoming treasurer of a club, and being on my house council, but that’s what Junior year is for. Junior year: growing the fuck up before it’s too late.

Later this evening, I realized that it’s because I’m trying to balance one more commitment. Before, it was just friends, and schoolwork, and Hulu. Hulu could wait. Hulu wasn’t a person who loves me with 100% of his heart, and I can pause Hulu whenever I wanted. My boyfriend however, isn’t television. He may seem like it, since he’s just in my computer screen in this painfully long distance relationship, but I don’t feel an absence when a TV show isn’t on like I do when I’m not Skyping with my beloved.

Also, I wasn’t taking my vitamins, and I was in denial that the weather’s getting colder and let a cold sneak up on me. I need to take better care of myself, and take back my friends, my work, and my moments alone instead of becoming so dependent on my boyfriend. He’s great. Wonderful, even. But my friends are right, I cannot be consumed by him. Well, okay, at least I can not Skype with him for more than one hour a day. Today was what? One and half? Two hours? Yeesh. It’s hard to say goodnight to that man, but I’ll try my best for my best friends, who helped me make it this far.

Seventeen

Okay,

I understand that I haven’t been updating lately, because I have spent the past week getting ready for my semester in the East Coast. Specifically, a town with lots of nature (a.k.a. the middle the nowhere) in Massachusetts. Other than officially renewing my hate for cold weather, I also renewed my love for my friends. They welcomed me back with big hugs and admiration for my beautifully color coordinated and settled-in room.

I’m also impressed at how well I’m integrating outside of my friend group. Other than my shunned smiles to people who were in my classes the semester I withdrew, I am more direct and sincere. For example, my biology professor really embarrassed a student who totally took his teasing in stride, but any other student would have stormed out of the room in tears. Afterward in the elevator, I gave her a sympathetic smile and pat on the shoulder, “He was really tough today!” I let my guard down and smiled everywhere for everyone in this cold, gloomy weather. I even smile at the grumpy cats who shun me, because they are either embarrassed to acknowledge me or they are just have a bad day. I prefer to take advantage of their silence and comfortably assume they are just having a rough day.

However, in my classes and when taking care of business, I ignore everyone like crazy. In fact, I might even look a little crazy, because if I meet a competitive person who makes me a little insecure about myself, I’d hum and look around like I’m a curious 5 year old. That behavior reminds me of my own contentedness and how I can further develop my openness and kindness through action instead of self-consciously wondering what others think of me.

After this week, I should be able to get into a flexible routine that will allow me to blog. Maybe I won’t be blogging as regularly as before, and the numbers are never going to match up the dates after Friday. Still, at least I’m blogging right? Hum de dum…