Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 23: Why I love my top 3 hobbies

I have so many hobbies, though! I am a woman of many interests!

Sike. My top three hobbies (and really my only three hobbies) are smoking hookah, crabbing, and music (usually transposing popular songs into acoustic piano/guitar versions).

I love smoking hookah because it's a nice palette cleanser and, on the rare occasion, it gives me a nice, heady buzz. It's also a great social lubricant that doesn't damage my liver (just my lungs... and probably brain, from oxygen deprivation...) nor make my judgment screwy. I've met so many people at hookah lounges and developed bonds with people by just chatting by the pipes. I also have one of my own, so it's a nice way to get some one-on-one time at home with friends as well. And, of course, smoke tricks. I swear 70% of the reason I even smoke hookah in the first place is so I can perfect my smoke rings and other such tricks. But yeah, if you go out to a hookah lounge and invite me, I will say yes 80% of the time. The other 20% is a no most likely because I am already at another one.

I love crabbing because being by the water is so calming. It's hard not to feel really humbled by something as great as the sea. It also makes me feel very... primal? I mean, I think catching your own dinner is pretty cool. Lately, crabbing hasn't been too good in the Chesapeake, but hopefully this year's populations will be up. It's yet another nice way to bond with people; I almost always take at least one person with me on my crabbing trips. It's a road trip (about 1.5-2 hours' worth of driving each way), too, so there's nothing to do but listen to music and/or talk. When we get there, it's just water and sun and tanning. My cousins also love crabs, so it's nice to come back to them with a nice catch that we can all eat. Old bay, lemon juice, vinegar. Crabbing's been in my family for a very long time, so I love it for personal family reasons; it was my dad and I's primary bonding activity. Also, I'm a cancer, so there's some symbolic connection there, too. And have you HAD blue crabs?! They're called Callinectes sapidus ("savory swimmer") for a reason. So tasty. Yum. It's also pretty exciting to do in general--moreso than fishing, in my opinion (but then again, I'm not as well-versed in fishing, so there's probably more technique to it than I'm thinking); I crab with lines and bait  and not crabpots or crab traps because those are for noobs. And every now and then, I catch giant terrapins and eels, the latter of which make great bait for crabs (and the former of which make great pets for the day before I let 'em back in the water).

I love music because...I just do? Usually when I'm in a bad mood or feeling a general bout of sadness, I realize eventually that it's because I haven't done anything musical in a while. I learn a new piece on the piano, and then I feel better. And like the other two hobbies I've listed, music is a great way to connect to people. I've been fortunate to have a lot of performance opportunities lately, and I do most of them with a partner, so there's the bonding in that alone (between me and said partner). And then, of course, there's the connection between the performer and the audience. It's kind of difficult for me to explain it without sounding like a pretentious douche, but I'll just say that performing has helped me meet a lot of people in general. Harmonizing with people, creating arrangements for choirs/a cappella groups, and shit like that in general is amazing. It's like your minds come together to make sweet musical love. That's really all I can say about that. It's also nice to be able to indulge in your own creativity when you see your musical talents/inclinations/skills coming to life and to be proud of yourself for something you know you are passionate about and work very hard in.

Day 22: In 5 years, 10 years, 15 years.

In 5 years, I honestly don't know. I don't know what job I'll have, who I'll be with, where I'll be living, or anything of that sorts. 5 years is so close, but it's still far enough that I don't really think to have a detailed plan for it. I actually don't even have a general plan for it, apart from being alive and still not living with my parents and maybe have at least half of my student loans paid off... I don't know where I could be. Honestly, I only say this because I still have my ambitions of becoming a performer. If I somehow manage to make it big, then in 5 years, I see myself performing at Madison Square Garden and being on the cover of Cosmo. :) If I end up being a regular Jane Doe then I see myself in a cool intelligence/analyst position (either government or private sector, I don't really care, but it'd sound extra cool if it were a government job), living with a Jindo or a German Shepherd or a Husky (or maybe all three muahaha) and still in Northern Virginia. It's a nice place in terms of things to do and restaurants and resources and landmarks and whatnot. Sure, the weather sucks, and some people act really entitled/spoiled here, but those aren't enough cons (not yet, anyway) to motivate me to get out of here. I might do a brief 1-year long stint in California or something just for the hell of it, but I see myself still ending up here.

In 10 years, I think I'll finally be settling down, if not already married. The only reason I don't want to be single by then is because I don't want to have a child that late; breast cancer risk (as well as a host of other risks) increases if you have your first child after the age of 30, and I wanna have my first kid (and the rest of the kids I may have) with someone I'm married to.

In 15 years, I see myself divorced and being a cougar preying on college boys. HAHAHA jk. I don't know why but it feels like divorce is inevitable in my life. I feel like I will either get annoyed of my husband or my husband will cheat on me. :/ I'm such a cynic. I like the idea of being a cougar though. :P Of course, I can also see myself having a tough time with my kid(s). If somehow, in the next five years, I get married and have my first child, then they'll probably be reaching that age where they'll really start rebelling and getting exposed to sex/drugs/etc. I can only hope they'll know that popularity and acceptance isn't everything. Motherhood will probably be wearing me down.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 21: If I could have one superpower...

I would love telepathy.

I don't keep secrets from anybody, and I wish they wouldn't, either, just by principle. But of course, the bigger motive is that I'm just plain curious. What are you thinking about? Who are you thinking about? What do you think of me and my outfit and what I just said?

The people-pleaser in me also just wants to know what I can do to help other people. I don't know if I would want them to be aware of my telepathy or not, just so I don't have to explain how I know what I know. Also, people might be afraid to be around me in general out of fear of my judgment or nosy probing or something. I don't think I'd want it to be able to go in the other direction where I can plant thoughts in people's minds the same way I can receive thoughts from their minds; I don't wanna mess with free will to that extent.

Telekinesis is lazy. Flying is impractical in the winter, and I'd probably get a lot of bugs in my mouth/face in the summer. Invisibility is stupid if I can't also be inaudible and able to walk through things. Teleportation is also lazy; I like driving/traveling! Time travel is too finnicky and there are too many rules behind it (e.g. grandfather paradox) that I wouldn't know how to figure out, probs.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 20: 3 significant memories from my childhood

  • Birds. Something I really appreciate my dad for is how he noticed how much I liked birds--particularly blue jays. Every time he saw one, he would call me over. My dad used to keep a few bowls of water in the backyard for the birds to come and bathe in. He also would look for small twigs with me that we could scatter in a small area of the backyard so that birds would come by and pick them up to use to build their nests. This is the same man who chased away the squirrels in our yard by hurling rocks at them and attacked a beehive with fire. Not your best idea, dad. Also, I remember this one time our backyard randomly had a giant flock of blackbirds just chillin'. That was kinda weird.
  • My brother. Being 20+ years older than me, he moved out of our house when I was very young. I remember bawling like mad when my brother left. He spoiled me--he bought me my N64 and the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (which he himself ended up playing and never let me have a turn, in true older brother fashion). I remember a few days before he left, he took me to the mall and bought me a lot of things to keep me distracted from the fact that he was leaving, but no tamagotchi could keep me from my brother's indefinite departure from our home.
  • Elizabeth. Better known to my friends nowadays as Liz or JinHyung, she was my first friend, and we are still best friends to this day. We met at church. I was one talkative little shit. I remember the first day I met her, I literally wouldn't leave her alone until she agreed to be my friend. I'm glad I was so persistent. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 19: If I could live anywhere...

The first thought that comes to mind is anywhere classical music performance and study is rampant. Preferably in Europe, like Vienna or something. But that's so far from my family and friends...

The second thought that comes to mind is anywhere my friends are. In that case, it's northern Virginia (although California is starting to catch up...). I don't want to go anywhere without my friends in easy access.

The third thought that comes to mind is that it's gotta be somewhere I can go fishing and crabbing. I cannot be away from the water.

And the last thought that comes to mind is just the general landscape. Sunny, but also prone to wicked thunderstorms. Nice breezes, not too hot, not too cold.

Day 18: The hardest thing I've ever had to forgive

This goes with Day 17. I've had shitty people do shitty things to me, but forgiving them came relatively easily anyway. It's always easier for me to forgive other people than to forgive myself...

I've had to forgive myself for letting people take too much of me. I can't seem to help it; I've tried to tell myself over and over again that the fault lies with them and not me because they are the shitty people that did the shitty things, but my reasoning always ends up bringing me back to what I could have done to prevent the shitty things from happening in the first place.

I should have done this, I shouldn't have done that, I should have let go before it was too late. I've had to forgive myself for the way I've treated people as well as the way I've "let" them treat me, but my masochistic self doesn't seem to want to yield to self-exculpation. 

Day 17: The thing I wish I was most great at

Letting people go.

Honestly, I don't know when to cut people out of my life. I never saw a need for it. I can endure and tolerate a whole mess of stuff. I make excuses for people, and I justify them and then deem them valid.

I wish I could find the determination and confidence to tell myself that my life and I are better off without this person in my life. Whether it's because they are toxic, manipulative, needy, selfish, inconsiderate, overdramatic, or just plain mean, I have come across a multitude of people I have considered cutting out of my life. But I can't. A part of it is the notion that maybe they really need me in their life, and if I'm not there for them, then who will be? In other words, it is self-martyrdom and guilt that chains me to people. Another part of it is the golden rule; I wouldn't want to be abandoned because I'M too toxic, manipulative, needy, selfish, inconsiderate, overdramatic, or just plain mean. I am all of those things as well, and I wouldn't want any of the people in my life to cut me out for those things...

But when things are clearly not working out and they are exhausting me or stressing me out or taking a toll on my happiness in general, I still can't get myself to let people go. I really don't want to abandon people because I don't want to be abandoned. I'm not really sure if that makes sense...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 16: My 5 greatest accomplishments

  • Great credit score. Actually I don't know if this is actually much of an accomplishment because it's not something I actively worked towards; it just happened. But yay!
  • Learning Liszt's "La Campanella" (variations of Paganini; Etude 3). I never performed it, apart from maybe a snippet for a YouTube video I posted. But apart from a few friends (and one of their moms lol--I only remember because she called me a virtuoso pianist and I was so flattered), nobody knew I learned this. This was solely for me, and it was very gratifying--despite straining my carpal tunnel--to realize that I can do anything I put my mind to; I thought this song was legitimately impossible for me to learn. Didn't think I could ever learn a Liszt song all the way through, let alone an etude by him, because of the patience and dedication and frustration I knew it would entail...but I did it! Of course, this was in freshman year of college, and I remember none of it now...
  • Picking myself up after being knocked down. Of course, this wasn't without the help of a few friends that I consider to be among my best friends today. But there was a time when I could very easily have given up hope, and it was pure stubbornness on my part that made me persevere. I had to force myself to wake up in the morning and do things with my day that I really didn't want to do, but I knew I had to because I would otherwise have continued spiraling downwards. I had to start somewhere, sometime. It was this one single accomplishment in itself that led the way to the accomplishment of many other things, including graduating from Virginia Tech with 3 bachelor's degrees, leading a fantastic a cappella group in college, falling in love for the first time, performing at the Verizon Center, dancing with a pretty awesome dance crew for really fun performances, and networking with a bunch of really wonderful people by putting myself out there in general.
  • My selection of friends. I have retained some great people in my life, and I couldn't be prouder of my friends for their own accomplishments, in addition to their intellect, their personalities, their hotness (I have some pretty darn attractive friends), their morals and sound judgment (or even lack thereof--come on, they make for some pretty interesting people), their senses of humor, their emotional support, and countless other reasons why they are some of the best people I know.
  • Is it sad that it was really difficult to come up with 5 great accomplishments in my life? Looking back, I don't know if I've really done anything noteworthy. :( Uhhh I won a scholarship through AASuccess (Asian-American Success) two years in a row, for $1,000 each year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 15: If I were an animal...

I think I would be a crab. :)

Tough on the outside but soft and tender on the inside. When provoked or aggravated, either withdraws into shell or lashes out with pinches and swipes or assumes an otherwise aggressive stance. Ruled by moon. Loves to swim; loves the water. Foams at mouth when angry and/or dehydrated (I don't really foam at the mouth but I do huff and puff in general). Clumsy. Turns red when boiled in water (I imagine I would too).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 14: "Describe 5 strengths you have."

Some of these, like my weaknesses, probably overlap with each other, too.

  • Humor. I'd like to think I have a good sense of humor. Sure, it can be on the very dryly-witty, sarcastic, obnoxious, offensive sides of humor, but I can also just be downright corny sometimes. I like laughing, I like making people laugh, and I like hearing that people think I'm funny. One of the better things to hear about yourself. I also know how to laugh at myself, which I think is important for the lightness of the heart.
  • Open-minded. I am one of the least judgmental people you will ever meet. I know that doesn't sound quite right, if you know me--after all, I spew harsh judgmental statements about what people are wearing or what they look like or other sorts of superficial judgments, so let me clarify that I consider them to be just that--superficial judgments. I don't know them as a person, and I wouldn't infer anything about somebody's character just based on superficial judgments (which, in all honesty, are jokes. Jfc, I know some uptight people. I'm sorry you interpreted me to be a complete bitch because you thought I was serious about my judgments or because you thought I was implying disapproval just because I made fun of that girl's eyebrows with you). With initial judgments, I'm careful to note that someone "seems" one way or another, because I'm sure that that's not how they really are, and/or there's more to them. In fact, it's the people I have bad first impressions of that ended up being the best people in my life. Given circumstances and beliefs and morals (or lack thereof), people end up making wildly different choices from each other; I'm not one to judge, because I'm sure if I was in your situation, I would be the same way. I'd like to think that this is why people have told me some 'horrible' things they've done or thought; they are sure they can confide in me without my reprimanding or judging of them, because I can understand and perhaps even empathize with the most sinful, perverted, morbid sentiments of people. After all, I have my own secrets too. I'm also open-minded for concepts and experiences in general, not just about people and morals.
  • Multi-faceted. There are many dimensions to me. I am masculine and feminine; I am complicated and simple; I am dominant and submissive; I am logical and intuitive; I am a criminal and a victim; I am obedient and rebellious. I have multi-faceted interests as well, as I pick up on things pretty quickly, and it's a point of pride with me. I love learning new things in general, so the eagerness kind of drives me to adopt new processes and concepts and paradigms very readily. I want to be well-versed in the topics that interest me (which is almost everything ever). I like to have a little bit of everything in my character. From my hobbies to my fields of study to the instruments I play to the people I consider my best friends to the people I've dated to the movies to the books I love reading over and over again to I love to the music I listen to, I would like to think I don't fit into any single category or niche comfortably. I think outside the box and can be very artistic and abstract, but I also like sticking to rules and following reason.
  • Forgiving. Upon confiding in a friend about random stuff over this past weekend, he said to me: "You're too forgiving." I didn't know if that was a good thing or not at first, but I decided that it is, indeed, a good thing. I've learned a lot in the past few years that have helped me forgive people with the confidence that if they wronged me again, I would be able to let go because my life and I are bigger than whatever wrongdoing is in question. I also don't like holding grudges; it's a nasty weight to carry, and I don't like holding hatred in my heart for anyone. Of course, forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean that things are okay and back to normal; the relationship itself could be irreparably damaged in its own way... but it just means that I can seek and obtain closure for myself and have the decency to let go of my negative feelings towards my debtors.
  • Dependable. I am there for my friends (or so I'd like to think... if this doesn't sit well with you, then let me know). I can come pick them up from university and bring them back home if their ride falls through. I can pick up their phone calls at 3 in the morning when they want to mourn the end of their most recent relationship. I can listen to the same laments and complaints over and over again and give different pieces of advice depending on what I think is most appropriate for their present state of mind because I know what it is they want and need to hear. I am almost always available to hookah (and hang out in general), whether it's at my place or yours or at a lounge. I very, very rarely cancel plans or fail to follow through with something I committed to. If I say I'll do something, then I'll do it. I rarely make promises I can't keep. And as multi-faceted as I am, I am nonetheless a pretty consistent, predictable person for the most part.
  • Honesty. I know, 6 items instead of 5, but whatever. You can pretty much expect me to not lie to you, because I am very honest. Brutally honest. Too honest, even. Honest about things I don't have to be honest about. But I think it's better than being deceitful or manipulative by lying. Although, as Jack Sparrow says, it's the honest ones you've got to watch out for...
  • Day 13: "Describe 5 weaknesses you have."

    I'm pretty sure a lot of these overlap or are direct effects of each other. Yay for positive feedback loops...

  • Hypocrisy. I tell people not to be late, and then I myself show up past due. I preach direct confrontation and straightforward honesty, and then I myself sometimes pussyfoot around things and/or twist the honest truth into a wispy white lie. I look down on arrogant people, yet I, too, hold myself in high regard at times. I despise inconsistency, yet I am inconsistent--a hypocrite. I'm definitely making an active effort to practicing what I preach, but I don't always catch it. Please help me do so, if you are one of my best friends.
  • Over-analysis. I have a habit of reading into things way too much. It's ironic, because I can't read between the lines and pick up on hints and identify motives for passive-aggressive behavior. However, it's because I am aware of this unawareness that I make an extra effort to analyze the crap out of things (and all the wrong things, too). I end up driving myself into insanity by contemplating different "what-if" scenarios and exploring the myriad of possible meanings of what somebody did or said and scrutinizing why what I did might have been wrong and what I need to do to ready myself for the consequences of said wrong action and wondering if someone favors me or dislikes me. I overanalyze texts, behavior, 'signs' in life, conversations, body language, everything. I have a constant headache from making mountains out of molehills. What's worse is that sometimes, I end up being right in my over-analysis, and so I am only reinforced to keep doing it.
  • Inconsiderateness/insensitivity. I never mean to be inconsiderate. That's just what it is: non-consideration. I never considered that something I did or said would offend or insult or hurt you. I was most likely joking and/or simply not realizing that you were sensitive to the matter at hand. Yes, I can be inconsiderate--but this does not mean I intentionally am trying to offend/insult/hurt you. Being inconsiderate really sucks because it's a self-sustaining trait, and people get mad at me without me realizing why. I then get deemed cold or selfish or bitchy or demanding because I failed to consider other people. I didn't mean to fail to consider you; I just simply didn't consider you. It wasn't an active effort. I realize this only makes me sound even more like the traits I just mentioned. And maybe people don't really care about intentions as much as I do. I would hope it's some sort of consolation to your increasingly-negative perception of me that I don't hurt you because I mean to; I hurt you because it's collateral damage of my blindness. After all, it's not like my thought process is, "Oh, have I considered his/her feelings yet? Maybe I should. Nah, I won't." It just never even crosses my mind. I'm sorry to those who have had to put up with me through this, but I am even sorrier to those who don't call me out on it--if you don't call me out on it, I'm never gonna improve, and you're most likely going to have to keep dealing with my bullshit. Please, please speak up if I am doing something you don't like or if you want to have more of a say.
  • Complaining. I don't realize I'm complaining until someone tells me I'm complaining. Another part of being inconsiderate, I guess. I just thought we were venting/talking... but neither the word 'complaining' nor its connotation sits well with me. So when someone tells me I'm complaining, I really try to shut the hell up. I don't even readily know what the opposite of complaining is. Appreciating? Praising? I do know, however, that I stopped expressing gratitude for positive things going on in my life because people kept saying I was just bragging. "I'm humanly unable to please everyone at the same time, so now I find my peace of mind living one day at a time..." To be frank, though, I think I would rather complain than appreciate; complaining helps me articulate what is wrong in my life, which then leads me to wonder what I can do to fix it. Please know, people, that when I complain, I don't do it for the sake of complaining. I'm trying to think out loud and brainstorm something (preferably with your input, if I'm indeed 'complaining' to you) to get rid of the dissonance in my life.
  • Overcommitment. I'm known as an overachiever among my friends, and it's more of a vice than a virtue, really. I tend to bite off more than I can chew, and the only reason I end up being able to follow through with everything I signed up for is because of the next item on this list. But if I could back out of things without any negative consequences, then I would. I sign myself up for all sorts of performances and events and trips and hangouts that I end up burning out. It doesn't happen often anymore, since I am rather used to it now (and I actually kind of thrive on it now), but back in college, I was just constantly running on fumes. I think I've achieved a decent balance of when to chill out and when to go full force into everything in my life, but there are times every now and then that I hate myself for not really thinking when I say 'yes' to things/people.
  • Stubbornness. I know it says to do only 5 weaknesses, but I have more than just 5 primary ones. There are a bunch more of secondary/tertiary weaknesses, too, I'm sure. I get my stubbornness from my dad, my family says. Too prideful to back down, too determined for negotiating or compromising, too hot-headed to yield to others' suggestions. Sometimes, I just do shit just for the sake of doing it, not because I even particularly feel like doing it anymore. I just don't want to go back on my word, and I want to try and be consistent, but also I just feel like doing things my way and my way only. I've wasted a lot of my time and resources because of my stubbornness, I'm sure, but I'm too stubborn to care.
  • Overapologetic. My mom raised me to believe that this is a good trait. By reinforcing me with accolades of my character, I ended up becoming a fuckin' martyr. Everything is my fault, everything is my responsibility. I need to take responsibility. If I had just done this or if I hadn't done that, then things would be fine. People would be fine. Somewhere along the road, I realized that I heard myself say the phrase "I'm sorry" more often than I heard it coming out of others' mouths. I started to resent apologizing, and I still do, honestly. I hate apologizing now. In trying to alleviate others of their guilt/responsibility, I ended up taking on the burden myself and losing myself in the process. Like I said, a martyr. Why can't people apologize to me, for once? And no, it doesn't count if you follow the phrase "I'm sorry" with a "but." No "but"s in apologies. Also, someone pointed out that it's awfully presumptuous that I apologize for everything. This kind of entails (although I never saw it this way) that I'm in control of everything and nobody else is; I knew/know what's best and nobody else does; I apologize because it's the higher road.
  • Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Day 12: A typical day in the life of alice.

    I'm not quite sure I have a set day-to-day routine, apart from going to work... I drive to Vienna metro and ride 13 stops to Gallery Place/Chinatown and walk to work, where I do my contracting stuff (although soon, it's going to be business operations/intelligence stuff) from 8am to 5:30pm, with a few snack breaks and teasing between coworkers and over-the-cubicle-partition jam sessions with the guy who sits adjacent to me, who happens to have a beautiful voice.

    I metro back, drive back (sometimes with my room mate, since we both metro).. and then from there I'm either going to cook dinner, smoke hookah, have a jam session with my friends, shower, write, play piano, draw, read and/or just watch movies/TV and go to sleep. :) A simple life. There are days when I have performances scheduled (for which I am thankful that it happens pretty often), or days I meet up with friends, of course. And weekends are dedicated to sleep, since I don't get much of it during the weekdays.

    Day 11: Pet peeves.

    • When people eat and you can hear their saliva. I don't really care about mouths being open whilst eating or whatever, but when you can almost hear how the person's tongue is moving the food, it's really unappetizing D:
    • Uninvited guests. If I invite you, I'm inviting you specifically. If you want to bring someone, ask me--I will say yes probably 90% of the time, but don't just assume it's okay and bring someone to what might have been among the 10% of occasions in which I wanted things to remain private! 
      • Building on this--people who can't go anywhere without their significant others.
    • No use of turn signals whatsoever. Rude
    • People who mercilessly believe that mainstream music and "good" music are mutually exclusive terms. Shut the hell up and let people enjoy the music they want without your judgment being imposed on them. There's shitty music on mainstream radio, yes, but there's shitty music not on mainstream radio, too. Stop hating artists who find success, and stop hating people that support them. People can listen to mainstream music and still manage to be individuals.
      • Don't even get me started on people who think they know music without actually knowing the history, theory, and notable composers/innovators of music. You don't impress me just because you know The Strokes' entire discography. If you're going to be a pretentious twat about music, I'm going to one-up you on it and ask you about Rachmaninov's and Liszt's compositions and the history of motets & madrigals and whose piano etudes you prefer. Sit down, we both have a lot to learn.
    • Passive-aggressive behavior. I used to be the most passive-aggressive bitch there was--in high school. Then I grew up. I learned how to confront people, say what's on my mind instead of pussyfooting around it, and be direct. You waste time when all you do is drop hints and subtly try to lure someone into doing or saying something and, most of the time, you don't even get what you want out of it. Save everybody some time and anxiety by just saying what you need to say. If it's not important enough to perhaps risk altering a relationship, then keep it private. But quit posting shit on social media hoping that your intended audience will not only read it but realize that it is about them and then cooperate accordingly.
    • People with annoying catchphrases. 
    • Girls who talk in baby voice.
    • Vocal fry.
    • People who talk or text during movies. Watch the god damn movie. Visuals and audio are equally important and have to be experienced in full!
    • Being talked down to. 
    • Obese people. I'm not talking big-boned or chubby or plump people. I'm talking about people whose upper arms look like my thighs (and I've got rather chunky thighs). What is your life? (unless you've got elephantitis or a thyroid condition or the like)
    • Having my time wasted. Whether you keep asking the same questions I already answered a while ago, or you're late to some plans we made (and you didn't tell me you were going to be late), or you are just a very slow person in general, I am very particular about not having my time wasted. Instead of waiting for you or repeating myself, I could have spent some extra time eating or napping or watching TV. :]

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Day 10: My most embarrassing moment.

    I'm not one of those people who are kept up at night by their brain replaying all of their embarrassing, shameful moments.

    Sike. I totally am. Er I think I was at one point, but not so much anymore. I'm not sure what changed, nor when it changed, but I just find great liberty in laughing at myself. Besides, if you can laugh at yourself, then they are laughing with you, not at you.

    With that said...

    I can think of moments that had me in absolutely ridiculous situations. The following are a few of them, because I really don't know which was the "most" embarrassing. 

    • I was eight years old and my dad was trying to get me assimilated into participating in the scripts of regular social dialogue, such as ordering food. He had me order food by myself at McDonald's. I got the food in the bag, and the cashier was handing me back my change (I have no idea how we got the food sooner than we got the change back). As I held the change scooped in my hand and brought my arm back from over the counter, my elbow hit the bag of food and fries flew everywhere. My dad yelled at me and I cried, which made him yell even more. The employees felt so bad for me they gave me a second serving of food anyway free of charge.
    • I was around fifteen or sixteen, and I was the accompanist at church for service on a particular Sunday. In the middle of the sermon, I suddenly got a stomachache. I rushed out of there (from where the piano was, all the way in the front) and hurried to the restroom, did my business, and then hurried back. In my haste, however, I hadn't checked to see that I was...decent. My dress was tucked into my stocking, and everyone could see my underwear. Nobody mentioned anything until after service, though.
    • This was last week. I had too much dairy towards the end of my work day and lactose intolerance turned its ugly head on me. Let's just say you shouldn't park in the row near the exit of the North parking garage.
    • My parents are super foreign, and their accents and broken English can be pretty embarrassing to a kid whose other classmates are all white/black. I realized in a few years, though, that broken English is simply a testament to that person's ability to speak more than one language. It's something to admire, not ridicule.
    • I think I was either thirteen or fourteen. I was hanging out with the 'popular' girls, one of whom had a crush on this 'popular' guy in our grade. She asked him out, and he said no. So, in an effort of camaraderie, we all decided to ask him out one by one throughout the rest of the day so she wouldn't feel alone in being rejected. Though the point was for him to say no to the rest of us, I still felt rather abashed that the first time I asked a guy out was not even a genuine gesture on my part and that I got rejected by one of the cutest boys in our class.
    • I was singing with my high school a cappella group and best friends, Bella, at some event hosted by WKYS 93.9 and Boys & Girls Club. We were singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and one of us didn't hit the right note. It threw the rest of us off. We all stopped singing at the same time, and although we were just supposed to be background noise, the audience stopped whatever they were doing and turned to look towards us on the stage. All four of us, 16 years old and embarrassed, looked at each other not knowing what to do, until finally one of us legit announced, "Okay, thank you, bye!" We all ran off the stage. As soon as we got backstage, we burst into laughter. The rest of the event, we were too afraid to come out from the backstage area, apart from one time when they sent me out to get their purses because I was the least embarrassed. We still talk about this incident to this day.
    • Senior year, auditioning for a solo for the senior recital in orchestra. I was not prepared at ALL. I kept stumbling, and eventually it got to the point where my face was burning so hot I started crying. I was so ashamed that I was so poorly prepared for this audition. This happened again sometime last year when I was supposed to be the pianist for some recital and I had no time to practice at all due to personal issues and two other jobs I was working, so come dress rehearsal, I sounded like crap and the director was incredibly angry with me and basically pushed me off the bench so she could play the songs herself.
    • Gong show, junior year. I got gonged and then booed off stage.
    The cool thing about embarrassing stories is that they end up redeeming themselves as really amusing anecdotes.

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Day 09: What defines you?

    What is this prompt even asking..?

    Is this like, what is my defining trait that everybody knows me by, or what gives me and my life meaning?

    For the first, I would say a lot of people know me for a few different things. I'm either the girl that hogs the hookah, the girl that can sing and play piano, or the girl that can eat a lot. I am also known as the girl with the natural bitch face, the girl that's being way too loud, or the inconsiderate and rude and arrogant girl. Whoops.

    As for the second... I'm honestly not sure what gives me and my life meaning, but I would have to say the answer lies somewhere in my relationship with and respective to people. I would say my life has no meaning if there is nobody else around to live through it with me, i.e. nobody else whose life concurs with mine that I can then share my journey and whatnot with. If my life is unobserved and untouched by other people--and if I have not observed or touched others' lives myself--then what's the point?

    As a Christian-turned-agnostic individual, the foundation for the essence and definition of my life shifted from divine proclamation to something more autocratic and, admittedly, arbitrary. Or maybe it's not so arbitrary. But if I am to believe there is no afterlife nor prior life nor other type of nirvana-transcending-time-and-space, then what else could count but this life? I think what gives me comfort in suffering from the idea that there is no God or afterlife is the idea that at least we are all suffering together. Our stories may be forgotten in the shadow of greater individuals and notable events later in the future, but at least they are all unfolding now, in the present, intertwining with others'.

    So, yes. What defines me is my place in this world--that is, what and whom I indulge in, along with the when, where, and why of it all.

    Day 08: What are 3 passions I have?

    I don't even know. I have hobbies, I have things I like to do, I have things I do often... but I honestly don't know if they are passions or not.

    I love singing, and most people know me for singing. I have to admit, however, that I have an actual passion for piano. It challenges me in a way singing does not, as the latter comes almost too naturally. I can't really build upon the skill level I have now as a singer, apart from nailing a few difficult runs and maybe increasing my vocal range. There's only so much I can do. With piano, however, I can always study more compositions and techniques, and it's something I actually have to practice.

    Another passion is art. I don't know anything about art in the technical or scholarly or disciplined sense, but I do know that I lose myself when I start drawing. Hours can go by, and I wouldn't know. I don't think I am good enough to call myself an artist (at least, not a visual artist), but I can capture a pretty image on paper decently well.

    My third passion is perhaps nature. Everything about nature--from its aesthetic values to the symbiosis of everything to greater schools of study like biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy. My favorite place to be is anywhere near a body of water, and I love living things. Life and living things in general are such radical concepts to me.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    Day 07: What is my dream job, and why?

    Oh, god, I have so many dream jobs I would like.

    Firstly is anything in performance arts. Broadway, acting, singing. I've only done school productions of acting stuff, but holy crap, acting is fun. Delivery, timing, chemistry between actors, and of course, outtakes. I think I would actually enjoy it more than being a performer (i.e. music). But my ambitions ever since I found out I could sing always rested in being a performer. Singing and dancing on stage gives me a rush that nothing else can. Same with playing piano. The last time I played piano for an audience (without just using it as self-accompaniment) was in college, and man, I miss it. Piano requires a precision and agility of the hands that demands a kind of concentration that singing just doesn't...

    Secondly is anything in taking care of animals. Not veterinary sciences--too technical for me. But if I could, say, train the dolphins at aquariums, or look after penguins at some environmental preservation park, or feed the manta/sting rays in the waters of the Bahamas, I would absolutely love it. Animals are so much better than humans.

    Third is somewhat related to the former. I would love to do something in marine biology. We know more about outer space than we do about our own oceans, and I think that's so wicked. I would love to know what kind of crazy shit lives miles below sea level.

    Fourth--which is probably the most realistic--is something in intelligence analysis and/or criminal investigation. I love putting pieces of puzzles together and drawing correlations and conclusions.

    Fifthly, I would love to be a writer. Whether it's in journalism or writing my own novel, I've always considered the demonstration of exercise over language a trait to be revered. I want to create characters and tell stories that gets readers involved and invested.

    Also if there's a job where I just get paid to try out food, I'd love that. A professional eater.

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Day 06: The hardest thing I've ever experienced

    There isn't just one single thing I can label as the absolute hardest thing I've ever experienced (giggity). I think the root of all of them, though, is helplessness and/or guilt.

    In my 23-24 years of life, one of the worst things I've ever experienced is guilt. The knowledge that you are to blame for someone's pain or some other horrible affliction upon the world is a heavy emotional burden to live with. Often accompanying guilt is helplessness--knowing that there is nothing within your control that you can do to alleviate yourself of said guilt. In few situations, I find liberation in knowing that no matter what I do, the end will be the same no matter what. For the grand majority of the time, though, I like knowing that things are under my control, and I feel frustrated with myself when I can't (or am too lazy to) achieve the result I want. So knowing that I can't escape the crushing weight of guilt and responsibility--no matter how I try to talk my way out of it, or reason with others and myself, or gain others' sympathies--is one of the worst things I've experienced.

    Helplessness in general is a pretty devastating feeling. On the painstakingly many occasions I've experienced it, I was left feeling hollow, stupid, incompetent, and/or worthless. I think my most 'traumatic' memories preserve the claustrophobic anxiety and stunned panic of helplessness the most, and I feel doomed to a lifetime of apologetic shame--for the lives that were cut short, the unreconciled relationships, the boy who couldn't love me back, the one with whom I sought vengeance, and the ones I couldn't (wouldn't) save.

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    Day 05: Five things that make me the happiest right now

    • When my food is ready to be eaten. Whether that means I've finally finished assembling the food on my plate to look as pretty as it is yummy, or the hot plate or bowl is being carried my way... The salivation, the sensory experience, mlarghhh.
    • Performing. I haven't done any performances in the past month or so, so I'm quite looking forward to the next ones coming up: Fundraising for the Philippines on March 29, National Cherry Blossom Festival on April 10, and maybe a performance for George Mason University's VSA (Vietnamese Student Association) on March 20. As cliche as it sounds, performing is so liberating in the sense that you are vulnerable and people still accept you. What can I say?; I live for the applause.
    • Hanging out with my best friends. Jen, Min, Riz, Ann, Dan, Patrice, BLPCS (Jam sessions! with Broke Life / Pshew Crew Studios singers Jan, Tim, Chris, and Alex)... and whenever I can see them (since they're still in school), Casey, Liz, Chau, and Ashley and others I'm probably forgetting. I also love skyping with long-distance friends (Matt and Jimenez, lookin' atchu). Whether we're baking or smoking hookah or watching That 70's Show or talking about some real struggles, I get most of happiness from just being around friends.
    • Pens that write really well. I don't know why, but something about pens that bring out my best penmanship just make me happy and inspire me to write more. I like writing in general, I suppose.
    • Going to my cousin Tom's house. I didn't really get to know my extended family when I was younger, but now that I'm out of college and have my own car, I get to hang out with them whenever I want, albeit under some bittersweet circumstances... Also, the cutest puppy in the world.

      Saturday, March 8, 2014

      Day 04: Five things I would tell my 16-year old self

      1. Don't think about things in terms of "good enough" or "inadequacy". Everything is a lesson to be learned (or at least a memory to be made and look back on), and these are the lessons you must learn in your life; these are the days that must happen to you. You are simply not 'right' for something (or someone), but don't think that that means you are insufficient. Keep moving, because you are getting closer to what (and whom) you are meant for. Life and life choices can just be processes of elimination sometimes.
      2. Save yourself for someone who deserves to know you that intimately. Don't judge other girls who do otherwise. It's their body and their choice, just as it is your body and your choice. Sex will be much more enjoyable and meaningful this way for you, though, and it will cement the distinction between whomsoever you choose to be with and the others that aren't right for you. If anybody incessantly tries to put you down for it or even change your mind, tell them to go fuck themselves. Don't give yourself away to make a boy stay or because you are afraid he won't like you otherwise. You can do better than that. 'No' means 'no,' by the way. Don't ever let someone make you feel guilty just because you know what you want (or don't want) for yourself.
      3. Look into majoring in marine biology or astronomy, not economics and/or business. BUT do retain a music minor; you'll make some of your best friends this way. 
      4. You will appreciate your mother much more and actually miss her upon moving out of her house. Cherish your time with her, even when she's temperamental. Especially when she's temperamental. Remember that her behavior finds root in her care for you. If she didn't yell at you, discipline you, and make you feel like shit about your bad choices, it would mean she doesn't genuinely care about you; be thankful, then, that she does, because you will know many people who have indifferent or even deceased parents. Furthermore, she is allowed to be selfish and self-centered and ignorant and oblivious. She's not just your mother. She's human, just like you and everybody else that makes mistakes.
      5. There will be times when you are completely alone... suffocatingly, asphyxiatingly, excruciatingly, hopelessly, helplessly alone. People can't always be there for you, despite how many friends you have. They have their own issues to deal with, and you can also be overbearing sometimes. Don't take it personally, though. Remember that people can have moments of selfishness and inconsiderateness that has more to do with them than with you. But other people simply will abandon you, flake out on you, turn on you, refuse to help you, or otherwise make you realize that you've had the wrong people in your life. These people had to be removed from your life to make room for better people--the ones that understand you and can listen to your stories over and over again, the ones that will support you even if they don't agree with your choices, the ones that are here to stay rather than just be a temporary band-aid on some niche in your life. Some people leave because they can't bother to stay in touch; don't take it personally. 

      Friday, March 7, 2014

      Day 03: Greatest amount of physical pain I've endured

      • When Min shot me with a BB gun. What the hell, Min.
      • Duodenal ulcer. I can't believe I forgot this when I first published this entry. It just feels like a ton of acidic gas is stuck in your stomach and it just keeps building with no escape. You bloat, and you can practically feel your stomach acid just dripping and corroding your stomach lining. It's just a constant burn.
      • Getting bubbling peroxide in my eye. Didn't see the warning label (because there wasn't one. Thanks, Clear Care) and so I didn't know it was one of those solutions that you keep your contacts in for six hours. I thought it was 'regular' contact lens solution fit for direct contact on the eyes. Nope. As soon as I put the lens in, my eyes welded shut and it took two hands to pry my eyeball open to take the contact lens out, and my eye was crying for three hours and I flushed it with water for about half an hour. There's irony for you... the natural defense reflex was actually what was hurting me here. I hope I don't have corneal ulcers/burns...
      • It was August 25, 2005, and a red Dodge Ram 3500 rocketed into my side of the modest Honda Odyssey we were in. I recall having the wind knocked out of me and not being able to breathe. I ended up blacking out, but I could still hear everything going on around me--my best friend Elizabeth reacting in horror to the blood and her own pain, screaming my name trying to wake me up. I eventually could open my eyes again and immediately went hysterical and started bawling. I could feel the glass lodged in my forehead, the tingling in my left arm, and I feel like I had just gotten thrown around. I miraculously didn't break anything, though I did get a lot of contusions/concussions and bruises.
      • It was third grade, and we were playing some catch-up game where opposing teams started out in opposite corners of the gym, and we had to run to try to catch up with the other player. I tripped and got rugburn. I don't know why, but I just remember that being one of the most startling pains ever. I still have the scar, too (inb4 some of you make perverted jokes about how I should be used to rugburns by now. I hate you all).
      • I was 16 and I went to the swimming pool with my mom. I have no idea what happened, but I suddenly got the bends. I wasn't even in deep water... but I got charlie horses literally all over my body--my hands, arms, legs, abdomen, neck, feet, toes, fingers, chest. My muscles didn't stop spasming, and even my facial muscles were contracted to the point where I couldn't speak or breathe. Parademics said that the muscle spasming could have reached my heart if I didn't get helped in time. I don't know if that's quite true but it's odd to think about.
      • I was a stupid four-year old and I wanted to see if staplers worked on skin as well as they did on paper. 
      • I got a UTI when I was in fourth grade because I wanted to see how long I could hold my pee in. 24 hours, by the way. I ended up having to go to the ER (neither my mom nor I knew of UTI's so we didn't know what was wrong with me), and got a catheter put in me. That shit hurt.
      • Root canal. It wasn't as bad as I expected, but certainly one of the worse pains I've experienced just because it was so uncomfortable.
      • Using "Kanka" on a canker sore. Worst pain ever for a ten-year old.

      Thursday, March 6, 2014

      Day 02: 3 legitimate fears I have

      "Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and describe how they became fears."

    • Butterflies.

    • No, this isn't some bashfully unsubtle confession about being afraid of falling in love. I am legitimately afraid of the insect itself. Alright, they're pretty from far away. I used to love butterflies. In fact, one of my favorite pastimes as a kid was to chase them around with a butterfly net, or even catch them with my bare hands. But there was a time when I was about 8 or 9 years old that I had caught a bunch of them and kept them in a jar. My teacher told me to let them go at the end of the day, so I opened the jar. They all flew out, and one flew right into my fucking mouth. As soon as I inhaled for a scream, it went down my throat and I nearly choked to death. It was painfully ticklish, and I couldn't stop coughing for a good hour. And then I cried the rest of the day about how I killed a butterfly by eating it. Nonetheless, I was traumatized, and since then I've been really scared of butterflies. They're frighteningly spastic too. And why are their wingspans so giant in proportion to their tiny-ass bodies?? Unnecessary.

    • Being a mother.

    • There was a time when I very much looked forward to being a mother. Starting in high school, I started writing in my diary in the hopes that my children would one day read it and learn from it. As of today, I have 3 full journals for them. I know what to do during pregnancy (what vitamins to take, what to expect, what foods and shit to avoid, etc), and I actually looked forward to it--even the labor. I plan on doing a natural birth, so I put up with cramps every month without taking any Midol or birth control to ease the pain because I want to prep myself for it. I'm realizing in the past few years, however, just how difficult motherhood is. Maybe I've got a stunted perspective on it because I myself was an only child raised by a single mother who struggled to get by in a foreign country. I can't begin to understand how difficult it was for my mother, nor how she managed to raise me by herself. I also know what a horrible little demon-child I myself was, and I don't know how the hell I would handle a child like myself. Nonetheless, I never did drugs, I am responsible with sex, and I turned out pretty decent in general. What if I fail as a mother and I raise a menace to society? What if my child doesn't respect me? What if I don't respect my child (i.e. as an individual)? What if I become the overprotective, micromanaging, suffocating mother I told myself I never wanted to be? What if I can't provide for my child the way I would want to? What if my child ever goes missing, or gets a terminal disease at a young age, or starts hanging out with a bad crowd? What if my child has some sort of disability that I'm too impatient or ignorant to understand and accommodate? What if my child ends up resenting me and pushing me out of his/her life--the life that I helped come into fruition--the way I've observed my half-brother resent our dad? With these worries, I start to think more and more each day that I am undeserving of and unfit for motherhood.

    • Losing my singing voice.

    • I'm not worried enough about it to the point where I would stop drinking alcohol and smoking hookah altogether (after all, I'm starting to get the sultry smoky sound), but it does frighten me that my most prized livelihood could be taken away from me. I fear for it every time I am recovering from illness and my voice isn't back to normal. I had swine flu in sophomore year of college, and that was probably the longest time I'd ever gone without singing. You know how muscles work--use it or lose it. When I started singing again after recovering from good ol' H1N1, my voice felt unfamiliar and wobbly. I've also got some unfounded belief that if I can't sing anymore, people won't like me anymore. It's almost like I believe that that is my only redeeming quality (I'm fairly sure a lot of people would agree. They could say they're joking, but I'm not so sure...). I've met so many people from singing (e.g. from performances, audiences/listeners that become friends, etc) that I believe my friends will be gone once the reason for our initial friendship is gone. I think ultimately, then, this could probably translate to a fear of being alone more than a fear of losing my voice itself, if it were not for the fact that singing in itself intrinsically gives me much happiness. Hearing my voice harmonize with songs, being able to sing along with the radio, it all makes me feel... fulfilled. I've been singing my whole life. I can't imagine my life without it. I would rather be blind than not be able to sing.

      Wednesday, March 5, 2014

      Day 01: List 10 random facts about yourself.

      1. My middle name, contrary to what it used to say on Facebook, is not JWoww; it's Joon. My family decided that Joon should not be a part of my Korean name because it was to be assigned only to the males of the family (e.g. my brother is Hee-Joon, cousin Tom is Sung-Joon, cousin James is Il-Joon, etc). But go figure, it became a part of my name anyway, and I am the only female in the Park family for this generation. Perhaps that explains my masculinity?

      2. I can make a tendon in my right ankle move in isolation. Ask me about it next time. It's my party trick. I'll do it for ya.

      3. I zone out rather frequently, and my tongue usually pushes out of my mouth when I do. If you're talking to me and I'm looking at you but my tongue is sticking out of my mouth, there's a very good chance I'm not even listening to you. I'm sorry, friends.

      4. Almost all of my dreams are lucid. There was like a 3-week period of time recently where they weren't lucid, and it was just so... dull and frustrating. Like your face.

      5. If I didn't major in Economics or Psychology or Philosophy, I would have liked to major in Marine Biology, Astronomy, or Music.

      6. I'm allergic to alcohol and usually can't have more than 2-3 "drinks" before swelling up and getting hives everywhere. Basically, I'm DD by genetic default.

      7. My childhood dream was to become an astronaut. My interest in astronomy was first sparked by a big book of our solar system given to me by my mom.

      8. I was born in Arlington, Virginia, but my first (and only) language was Korean for the first 4-5 years of my life. It took me a long time to get assimilated into the American school system.

      9. One of the earliest memories I have is sneezing into my hand on the playground, seeing the snot/mucus spread out all over my palm, wiping it on my pink fleece pants and continuing to climb some pole to chase after some kid while playing tag.

      10. I was thought to be autistic when I was younger because I had high intelligence but very, very poor social skills (and yes, you can argue that I still need to work on my social skills. Shut up). I regularly recited scripts from movies to myself (my favorites were The Lion King and The Little Mermaid and Hercules--and yes, I memorized the movies in their entirety), stayed away from and never joined my classmates during play time, and felt incredibly detached and ostracized.

      Tuesday, March 4, 2014

      The pursuit of...

      When I was 14, I very much looked forward to February 11, 2005--that was the date of the final round of Robinson Idol, my high school's version of American Idol. This was something I'd been looking forward to since my 12-year old self first saw the signs for Robinson Idol in 7th grade posted up along the high school corridors (my school was a secondary school, i.e. middle and high schools combined in one building). After getting through semi-finals and auditions in September, I had to wait five long months full of excitement and anticipation and anxiety. I remember thinking to myself: "What is there gonna be to look forward to after this? My life is gonna be so boring after this." I was naive, I know. Probably still am. Hoping I still am, actually. Back then, I had so many things to look forward to, and I had no idea. I'm hoping that I'm being just as blind right now, because I legitimately do not know what to look forward to anymore.

      Five months go by very quickly now, as someone in her early- to mid-20's who works for pay periods and quarters and fiscal years. We're in the third month of 2014, and I'm still stuck on writing "2013" when I date papers and contracts.

      I've always had something to pursue and anticipate--some set future goal or event or plan. In high school, I had American Idol auditions to look forward to for when I turned 16. This was something I had looked forward to since I was 11. As a part of an a cappella group in high school with 3 other girls who would turn out to be my best friends, I had many more things to look forward to. I performed at the Kennedy Center, and also performed at Six Flags with the Redskins sitting at tables in front of us signing autographs, and performed at the Verizon Center with them to sing the national anthem for a Mystics game. And after that, I had college acceptance and high school graduation, making new friends at Virginia Tech, getting my first job... teaching at Teen Arts Performing camp with my two best friends the summer after freshman year under the direction of a Grammy Award-winning individual. Starting at Department of Homeland Security the day after my 19th birthday. Meeting my brother for the first time since I was a toddler. My 21st birthday. Performances with my dance crew (Bamboom) and a cappella group (Soulstice) and with my cultural organizations (Asian-American Student Union, Vietnamese Student Association, Filipino American Student Association, Korean American Student Association--you name it, I was probably in it). Hearing my song arrangements sung for the first time by Soulstice. Singing my solos at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg. Performing with Bamboom at Prelude and Coalescence. Beating my throughput numbers from the previous week as a cashier at Chipotle. Getting my first car. Having my first apartment at college. Moving out of my mom's house. Performing at the Verizon Center. Twice. Starting a YouTube channel and actually getting some views on my videos.

      Now, the only things I look forward to are my payday, fulfilling groupon purchases, seeing friends, and the occasional performances. I don't seem to have set goals anymore--no projects to work towards, no thresholds or records to beat in competing with and improving myself, nothing to really accomplish. Honestly, I think some of it is just because I don't believe in myself anymore. I feel like I have come to a standstill. I am stagnant, collecting the dust of "what could have been"s and "what if"s that I feel I will never bring myself to pursue.

      Things that used to excite me have become commonplace for me; I'm afraid I'm starting to take them for granted. Seeing friends, performing at venues. I feel like these are things I would only truly appreciate once they're gone, and I really hope that they're never gone. I still love hanging out with my friends, of course; social interaction gives me a sense of fulfillment that solitude does not. Performing is still very liberating; as Lady Gaga says, I live for the applause. But it's like Stacie Orrico said in her song "More to Life": 'There's gotta be more to life than chasing down every temporary high to satisfy me ... I'm sure there's gotta be more than wanting more.' My best friend Jen said something to me a few days ago that I've been thinking about lately; it had to do with the idea that maybe things that happen with regularity would actually mean more if they were to happen less often. I think she might be right. It's like Ted said in How I Met Your Mother: you can't make every night legendary, or else no night is legendary. Does that mean I'm going to stop what I'm doing? Absolutely not. I don't think that's what Jen meant, anyway. I already know that I would be sad without seeing my friends or being on stage, but when those are the only things going on in my life, they start to lose their meaning. I don't think it's a matter of stopping or slowing anything I'm currently doing, but rather starting what I'm currently not doing, and doing more with my life to the point where I can bring meaning to my current indulges while stimulating myself with the novelty of the new ones.

      I've come to speculate different things that could be the cause of my feeling of monotony. Is it loneliness? Do I need a boyfriend (or girlfriend, to try something new perhaps)? I would hope not. I'm very happy where I am, and I really don't want to have to depend on my being in a romantic relationship for that. Plus, relationships give me anxiety (though that could be because I've had shitty boyfriends). Is it laziness? I would hope not. I've always thought of myself as a pretty motivated and driven person that always seeks opportunity... who, as aforementioned, always had something to look forward to. But as of late, I can't say that I am that same person anymore. Apart from looking for performance opportunities and auditions, I'm not as proactive about my job and career direction as I used to be. The only real goal I have right now is to get my credit card balance down and to try and show up to work on time. Could it also be my geographical location? I've heard people say that they're "sick of nova," and I never understood why. I love it here. It's where I grew up, DC is right there, and there are so many things to do (despite what people say. Come on, we live in a fuckin metropolitan area. There are shops, lounges, restaurants, parks, sightseeing locations, museums, and amusement parks, all not too far away). But I did come to realize in the past few months that despite being very big, nova is a small place; everybody knows each other, and everybody knows about each other. Not good, for a girl like me (i.e "with a past"). Sometimes I think I do need to move, even if it's just for a year or so, to somewhere completely different. I've been thinking about LA, San Fran, San Diego, Portland, Chicago, or even Atlanta or Boston... somewhere where nobody knows about how I grew up and what I went through. But it would be a long ways away before that can happen, financially and logistically.

      Let me get one thing straight: I am happy. I just know that I can be happier. Is that asking too much? Does that make me selfish? Do I even care? I heard somewhere that happiness shouldn't be attributed to this or that reason, and I think that's pretty accurate. Happiness is a state of mind, not a direct consequence or result of some input variable in your life. But I do find myself wanting more, only I don't know what "more" entails. I like my job. I like being unattached and single. I love my friends and family. I love my location. I know I have other things to look forward to, but it's just not my time yet to look forward to them: meeting my husband, my first child, my very own BMW, my first house, perhaps setting a record in an eating contest... Besides, for now, I have Arizona to look forward to in March, New York to look forward to in April, Miami to look forward to in May, and crabbing every weekend starting in late May. My 24th birthday in July (oh God), starting my MBA in August, renewing my lease in August... all the Marvel movies coming out soon... but before I know it, it'll be 2015.