Fifty Three

On our first anniversary,

My husband and I went to iHop, the Getty, video chatted with this mother, and then went home to eat dinner with my family. I always felt the usual idea of an anniversary is so bland. Especially for couples without children, wouldn’t you want to spend your day surrounded by mutual friends and family rather than isolating yourselves on a weekend trip? After all, it wasn’t just the two of us at the wedding. The least you can do is drop a hello for your witnesses.

Anyway, that’s today. We have also been using Duolingo to retain the little Danish we learned while he was doing his PhD in Denmark. Right now, I’m still on Clothing. It’s going to be a while before I can post my new “skill” on LinkedIn. I’m also working on Italian and Spanish despite my horrible memories of Spanish class from high school. I guess my overall goal is to become a designer who doesn’t just design for your own company, country, or demographic. Learning a new language reminds you that there are whole other ways of living that we aren’t considering in our design.

Speaking of design, I noticed how tired design students are all the time. Their weariness makes me scared for the relaxed lifestyle I lead. Will I really be so caught up in my work that I will have to spend all-nighters at school? Or will I manage my time and know myself enough to product quality ideas without sacrificing my quality of life? Those are my questions for the tired design student. In the race to grow your brand, make your name, I’d rather be a turtle than a hare.

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Forty-Seven: I QUIT/(medically withdrew from) COLLEGE. (Long post)

I have never been happier. I have been avoiding it, but I’m just going to go ahead and reveal what college I attended: Smith College. I don’t regret going there. In fact, I’m wearing my Smith sweater right now, because I almost graduated. I was two semesters away, but I decided that I didn’t want that 3.52 GPA with a B.A. Neuroscience that’s “going to open so many doors for me” (roughly quoting my concerned advisor) or whatever.

Let’s just say my relationship with Smith was toxic, and it was a happy breakup. The before I left, I hung out with my dearest friends I met in Bridge and a dear friend who I only knew for one semester. They were one of the top three reasons I stayed there besides needing to know I can do this college thing and also not knowing what other career I will have than a miserable one in Neuroscience or teaching biology. Might as well stay in miserable Western Massachusetts if I have nowhere else to go.

I learned a lot in my three years there. I might learn a little more if I stayed for one more, but that night, when I was working on a paper for Systems Neuroscience, I decided: I know don’t want to do this in the future now. When I worked on that paper, I got so frustrated that I threw my butcher knife against the wall, my hairbrush, tin jewelry container, etc., screaming. I’m pretty sure I woke up some of my poor floormates. Looking back on my semester, I got dry eye from all the reading I’ve done for the semester and cuts on my shoulder out of self-hating frustration at my Neurophysiolgy professor. I couldn’t live like this anymore.

I guess from the past year of going through all the rough spots with my boyfriend, I learned that life is too precious to be with someone you don’t love and too short to have a career that I am no longer inspired by. I’ve changed so much from that girl who wanted to do research, be a high school biology teacher and eventually, a university professor who cares for her students, because she (still) thinks neuroscience students are very special and intelligent. Being in the neuroscience world, however–the classes, professors, and overall research culture–broke down the last bit of curiosity and drive I had for the subject. I loved neuroscience, once, but I no longer have a future in it. In fact, I might have committed suicide before even getting a job (see previous posts), and my dean knew it. Don’t worry, the school put me on Lamictal (…will write a post later about my meds and being bipolar), thank goodness.

I made the exit the moment my boyfriend suggested I should do something with my artistic talent and taste, so I decided: Design. I have a good eye, and not only would preparing for art school heal me psychologically from three damaging years studying science at Smith, I can help make things instead of being stuck in a dead end job that involves no creativity for the rest of my life. I would work five years to a B.S. in Industrial Design or Product design than get a B.A. in Neuroscience in a year any day.

Forty Five

Since an hour ago,

I only had 373 days before I graduate from this school early and begin my life with my boyfriend. As you can probably tell, I like counting things, but once I reach post number a hundred on this blog, I want to put my blogging on a countdown to the days I get out of here on a non-anonymous blog (hm… I might be prepping for it right now. No one will ever know). This is so my remaining posts on here aren’t garbage like the last one, and because I can’t link any of these posts to my new blog in any way. Some things have to end, and before I end this, I’m going to dump all awful secrets of my life on here that I can only do anonymously. I can’t be that depressed girl running a secret, anonymous blog writing about things that I don’t want anyone I know to know about for the rest of my life. I’ve changed too much over the course of the one year to see that this isn’t the only way to publish myself.

I am happy now. Yes, I’ve been through some serious mental shit, and I know my limits now. But since I’ve learned what it’s like to work for something I truly want—someone I love, happiness, sunshine, and a family—I literally have nothing to complain about except for why I could never feel happy in California, and why I could never feel happy in Massachusetts. It’s because I never had this purpose or drive behind me, or I guess, the power of love to be very very cheese.

Still though. There are so many bad things that I haven’t vomited on here, and I can’t say horrible secrets once I reach 100 posts, which is supposedly when I start acting like a real adult and keep these complaints to myself. I mean, once I start an apartment, a job, a family, using a blog to dwell on all the bad things like I have this whole time is so unhealthy and restricting. I want the world to see my happy face, my accomplishments, and my precious notebooks. In other reason, I also found a reason to keep bad thoughts to myself in handwritten diaries, which I’ve grown a habit of writing by now.

I hope I can make these last few posts count.

Forty Three

So far,

Everything’s been great, and that’s probably why I haven’t been posting lately. Also, I started this blog for a space to share my life, and well, that space has taken the form of a person–my man. It’s pretty bad how much I’ve been neglecting my friends, but he and I are moving at a pace that probably only couples in their honeymoon period would understand: making plans about marrying, moving, and living life together within half a year of meeting each other. But I have a good feeling about this. He knows all my flaws and strengths and finds no fault with me (most of the time, lets see how it is in five years). Everything about us just lines up. I skype him for seven hours a day but for the first time, I’ve been basically getting straight A’s and B’s. Before, I would flunk one, have an episode, and then pull myself up again with either taking the class pass/fail or actually studying for an exam.

Another update is that I’m no longer aiming to become a researcher, at least for now. I would like a simple day job in the lab to not lose that challenge of being in a research environment, it’s just that right now, research isn’t for me. I don’t have enough experience, I never feel competent, I seriously need to take a biochemistry class, and I’m better off being a teacher than a PhD student, financially. Also, I can’t be in a lab when I’m pregnant, and I want 3 kids by 30.

Therefore, the single-subject (biology) teaching route is the one for me. My original plan was to become a high school teacher after a few decades as a university professor to you know, just chill out and work with optimistic and hilarious teenagers. However, I realized that in order to become a professor, I need to get tenure, and that’s hard to get. I also think teaching in a high school can give me some room to breathe, reflect, and work in an environment that supports well-roundedness and creativity. It’s also a skill I need to be a good professor at a University anyways in order to not be one of those professors that everyone hates, so there’s that.

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.

Forty One

On the subject of life-long love,

I am iffy. My poor boyfriend always knew I never saw myself in a lasting relationship. It was either me leaving or him leaving, but either way, I’d have my suitcase packed and ready for him to cheat and/or fall out of love with me. I even talked about an approximately thirty year contract before we started dating: I would be married for thirty years, and during that time, my husband and I would pool money together and whoever cracks before the 30th anniversary will lose all the money to the other person.

Harsh, right? I can suffer through it, no problem. It would also be his ticket out of the relationship once I lose my desirability and my ticket to buying that Newport beach house, distinguishing my career as a researcher, and living happily ever after with dogs as children. I will be lonely, but I can find love in all the strange corners of the world and love fiercely like each day was my last.

My boyfriend knows about my fantasy of divorce and happy aging, but he’s slowly making my desire to divorce/separate fade. He said that he would follow me even if I want to go my own way and get that beach house, attend worldwide conferences, and give Neuroscience lectures across the country. Sure. I came from a broken up family, so I’m really the “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of person. What I know for sure is this: I don’t know how long we will last, so that is why we must love each other intensely and passionately.

Every day, he gives me a reason or I remind myself why I love him, why I should return his WeChats, why I should finish my assignment now so I can Skype him. I have this amazing ability to transform any feelings for a crush into affection for my boyfriend. The more I interact with prospective men, the more I want him to feel loved by me. I guess it’s my way of strengthening my sureness that he’s the one.

Thirty Nine

As a Pisces,

I need to work on my feelings before I can manage my logic. So when I face a difficulty, I usually wait out my moods. I calm down, feel the danger disappointment fill up and then drain out of me, and with some step by step coaxing, I recover on the reassurance that everything will work out.

Sunday, I avoided opening an e-mail from my PI about my unfinished draft of my research paper. I spent the morning buying Victoria’s Secret bras and in general, used hanging out with my best friend as an excuse not to check my PI’s corrections. Night comes, and I’m happily Skyping my boyfriend about how life is great and how research is going well. I check my e-mail, saw the crossed out paragraphs and the “wrong” this, “wrong” that, and my mood plummets.

My boyfriend notices that I suddenly went quiet as I thought about how stupid I must seem to my PI and to the rest of my lab now, since my PI told me to ask peers on the same level as me for help. A grad student himself, my boyfriend tried to comfort me, telling me how his first drafts were covered in cross outs and red marks as well, but he is well, a little more stable and logical.

At least he stayed with me, watching my grumpy face think about how to get myself out of this funk. I looked at the paper again and thought about the specific changes I can make on my own and listed out the questions I can ask the grad student and PI for those major points that I missed. I pieced my sanity back together piece by piece, and he is there with me, watching me bleed and heal. That’s the best we can do in this long distance relationship, and I am so grateful for him doing his best.

Everything turned out fine in the end. I got most of my draft done and my PI and grad student answered my questions without making me feel stupid. In fact, I am finally having intelligent conversations with those lab bosses, and I finally feel like I have the right to call myself a research assistant, or a “research” anything. I’m pacing myself, stopping work by five or six, and going home every night to eat with my family. Everything will be alright, my dear.