Life to Live

Cha-Cha-Changes!

It’s been said time and time again, “if you’re bored with your life, change it.” Now that may sound manageable in theory but in practice, it’s hard to get yourself out of a cycle. How do you stop yourself from reverting back to a routine? It’s hard, especially because change can be scary. If you’re like me, you don’t adapt easily to change, so you try to avoid it as much as possible. So, what do you do when you become bored with your life, but are too scared to change it?

Here’s some advice from someone who has a bad habit of getting into a routine:

  1. Make Small Changes- whether it’s just walking down a different street, listening to a new band, or ordering something new at a restaurant, change doesn’t have to be drastic. One of my personal favorites is going to a new dessert place, and trying everything on their menu. I do this with ice cream places, froyo shops, even smoothie stands. It’s simple enough to actually do and cheap enough that if you don’t like something, it won’t be the end of the world. I just go in and order something new every time. Sometimes, I even discover that I actually like something I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.
  2. Set A Goal- if you actually write down a goal, it’ll be easier to envision yourself doing it. It’s one thing to have a thought, but it’s another to actually go for it. Once you write your goal down, it’s no longer just a thought, it’s something to work towards. For instance, I always say to myself, “I’m going to write more,” but life’s stressfulness creates an idleness so overwhelming, I end up not following through. However, If I write down a realistic goal such as “I’m going to write thirty minutes a day” and specifically plan out time to write in my schedule, I’ll become self-motivated.
  3. Re-Fall In Love- rediscover a forgotten love. It can be something as simple as reconnecting with an old friend, watching an old favorite, or even picking up a forgotten hobby. Sometimes the easiest way to spice up your life is by delving into your past and pulling out a lost interest. Because sometimes, you didn’t actually lose interest, you just prioritized other things in your life. I personally used to love acrylic painting, it was relaxing and self-fulfilling. Unfortunately, for me, life got too busy, I placed painting on a shelf and never returned to it. I have recently had a yearning to paint again, so I did. Just out of the blue, I picked up some brushes and paints and began to re-fall in love with painting. It created a change, that wasn’t really a change at. But it was fulfilling enough to get me out of my routine.

So if you’re ever bored with life, find your own way of changing.

-d.c.

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Life to Live

Risky

 

When I was fifteen, I started to gain in interest in Hispanic music. I asked some of my friends to recommend a list of songs to listen to, and received a pretty lengthy list. As I sat in my bedroom, listening to the songs on my laptop, I listened to every single beat. Then I would listen to the songs again and listen to the words. One song in particular, “Antes Muerta Que Sencilla,” left me a little confused. Being Hispanic, I knew that it translated to “I rather be dead than simple.” However, my young mind didn’t understand what that meant as I took it too literal. I had only heard the word as a description for an object, I.E. a basic dress, nothing fancy. I asked my mother what the title meant by “simple”, and why the singer wanted to avoid being “simple.”  My mom laughed at me, and said “no you dummy, she isn’t saying ‘simple’ as in undecorated, or unembellished. She means simple as in plain, boring, etc. She’s saying she rather be dead than be a boring person.”

After receiving a clarification, I went back to my bedroom and laid in my bed. I rather be dead than boring, I thought to myself. I knew what that meant in theory, but I couldn’t figure out if I was boring. Up until that point I did everything my parents told me, I never tried to venture out and explore my interests. I never went outside my comfort zone, I had always wanted to try doing so many things and I never actually tried to do them. Was I boring? Because I never took any risks. And if I was boring, isn’t that the same as being dead? Had I ever actually lived?

I was boring, I lived inside the box. I didn’t want to, but it was just so much easier to be in the box than outside. I was scared, I didn’t want to get hurt. That day, I told myself I needed to try to do my own thing. So, I did, any time I was too scared to do something I always wanted to do I would remind myself “I rather be dead than boring.” Half the time, I’m still scared, and I still avoid taking risks, but the other half, I just go for it. It feels so much better to try to do something and fail, than to just sit and wonder what my life would have turned out to be.  I know that even if I fall on my face, I’ll have the lesson to take with me and the story to tell. It also helps that I have such a wonderful friend in my life to push me when I’m too scared to take the dive. Because almost always, I rather take the dive.

-d.c.

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Life to Live

Cuffin’ Season

The loneliest seasons for single people are fall and winter. Fall is the beginning of a dating season, with corn mazes, haunted houses, and Halloween parties. It’s easy to get sucked into the appeal of dating, and so, it’s easier to be let-down when dating turns into a disaster. That dating season slowly transitions into winter, one of the most intimate season of all. Besides date opportunities such as ice skating and ballets, it also brings the holidays. With holidays comes holiday parties, gift exchanges, and dinners with parents. Holiday parties can be a drag when everyone else brings dates and you find yourself alone, stirring your drink, checking your phone to pass the time. Its even worse when you check your phone, and nothing is there. So, you scroll through social media a thousand times, wondering if you should make a conscious effort to date again. Or at least that’s how it goes for me.

During the spring and summer, I am comfortable being single, in fact, I quite enjoy it. I get to take the time to really spend time with myself, indulge in everything that brings me happiness, and I spend time with whomever I’d like. It really is liberating, for me at least, to be single because I am subconsciously a people pleaser. I end up sacrificing my happiness for others’ and anytime I start dating someone new, I find myself changing my quirks and habits for them. Eventually, it becomes emotionally exhausting, especially for someone who isn’t as mentally stable as others may be. I know myself, I know I am not in a place mentally to be dating because I know I am still growing as a person. I’m still learning about myself, finding out what I like, what I don’t like, what triggers my anxiety, and how to control my anxiety without negatively affecting those around me. I don’t want to infringe someone else happiness with my own struggles, so I know I should wait until I’m in a good place before I drag someone into my mess of a life. So then how come every time fall or winter comes around I find myself questioning whether I should start dating again?

It recently became clear to me why when I stumbled upon a video by a guy named Michael Persad, who talked about this exact dilemma. He called it “Cuffin Season” which basically means it is the season when people are desperate to get into relationships because it’s the holidays and because everyone else is coupling up. As much I hate to admit it, I fall for “cuffing season” every time. Not so much because I’m jealous of others and I want their relationship. But because there are so many fun things to do and I have no one to do them with. I want to go to fun activities like corn mazes and I want to dance at parties, but unfortunately for me, I’m stuck sitting out. And I acknowledge it is stupid and selfish want, to date someone only because I want someone to lug around places, but its human nature. We were made to find a mate and procreate and create bonds with each other. So, it isn’t abnormal for me want to go out and have fun with another human being.

But like I said, I know better than to drag someone else into my life before I can learn how to cope with my emotions positively.  So, while I fall for the appeal of “cuffin’ season” I know better than to go through with anything. And I just remind myself that I am okay being single and that its okay to be alone.

-d.c.

 

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Life to Live

3 things I’ve learned in 2017

2017 was a hell of a year. I think I’ve found who I want to be & who I want to be surrounded by. Here are the things I’ve learned that got me to where I am this day in this year.

1. Let go of toxic people – even if they were once the closest friend you had. I had a lot of trouble trying to let go of people who changed, had different outlooks than me, or treated me badly. Most of them were close friends at one point and I just couldn’t stand them but I also couldn’t unfriend them. Deep down, when I saw their name, I was filled with bad memories but when I tell myself I should let go of them, I am flooded with good memories. Those good memories never overcame the bad ones, so why did I still try to hold onto the friendship? They hurt me in ways I wouldn’t have hurt them, or they just didn’t put effort into the friendship but always blamed me for it. I decided it’s time to let go. I was holding onto the past instead of the present. I kept thinking of how they hurt me and it was a constant reminder every time I saw or heard their name. Unfollowing them on social medias was the best decision because once I hit unfollowed, I would no longer be in contact with them or see how they’re doing. I don’t see their name everyday and it was such a relief. It was probably the best decision for me mental health wise!

2. DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, NOT WHAT YOU THINK OTHERS WANT OR WHAT WILL MAKE YOU “BETTER” THAN OTHERS. This was the biggest thing I’ve learned this year. BIGGEST. And the most important lesson for myself + my future! I grew up thinking I wanted to be a doctor, because I grew up in a traditional Asian family + culture. It’s either a doctor, dentist, or a lawyer. Nothing else mattered. I had that engraved into my head since birth… probably even since I was a little egg. Lol I don’t know. But I pursued it all the way into my third year of College. I worked at a hospital and I saw myself there, because I liked the hierarchy. I liked how it sounded when I say “I want to be a doctor.” I liked how it sounded when I said I’m a pre-med student. It felt so prestigious and everyone was always impressed that I felt that it was what I wanted due to status. I realized it wasn’t what I wanted when I took away the status of it. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something “more.” “More” meant something that wasn’t the norm. I didn’t want to sit and diagnose patients all day. I was just interested in the medical jargon and the human body – nothing more. I wanted to help others in a different way. I still haven’t realized what that way is yet, but I know I’m not interested in being a doctor and I don’t know if I ever was. I think the status of pursuing / being a doctor was what I was really interested in. So I took that big step and dropped all of my pre med courses. I took courses that spiked my interests and it was the best decision I’ve made, school wise. I felt like I was creating my future, instead of living in the one my family created for me. It was definitely hard to come to this decision and realization, but it’s the best epiphany.

3. Have the mindset of who is good enough for you, instead of if you’re good enough for them. Why would you have to worry if you’re good enough for them? If you’re worrying about that, chances are, it’s not gonna be a healthy friendship/relationship. However, when I mean “if they’re good enough for you,” I don’t mean be shallow. I mean know what you deserve. Don’t settle for less – even on friendships. If you think your friends are rude and do not care for you, drop them. They’re not good enough for you. They’re not good for you.

4. Be kind to others. I know this isn’t really a lesson, but it’s a reminder. You don’t know what anyone is going through constantly. They may look as if they got their life together, but in reality that might not be the case. Just treat them with kindness because you never know if that’ll make a difference in the length of their life.

5. It’s okay to have a mentor or to ask for help. If you’re confused, ask a question. Don’t just keep it to yourself and hope you’ll figure it out when someone next to you might know the answer. I learned a lot of things this year from my boyfriend, Jose. He basically taught me everything I wrote for this post. I would always go to him when I’m confused or need an opinion about something. Don’t let your pride or ego prevent you from reaching out / asking for help.

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Poems to Feel

Dreamers

*an attempt at slam poetry*

 

Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream,

A dream in which all people

Regardless of the color of their skin,

Would be treated equally.

I read the news

And it scares me,

Scares me, because I know

My peers aren’t reading.

Scares me because

They are becoming ignorant,

They don’t live in the real world.

Where kids kill each other

Because no one taught them not to,

Where cops kill people,

And the people kill cops,

And middle easterners are violated

And treated as guilty

For what others have done.

Where white guys kill civilians, and no one calls it terrorism.

Where the government tweets

To distract the people

From tensions growing between countries.

I read the news and it doesn’t scare me.

 

It doesn’t scare me because this is America,

And Jay Gatsby had a dream,

The American dream,

Dreaming of going from dirt to riches,

Riches that are only found

In America.

And I was born in the U.S. of A baby,

Land of the free

And home of the brave-

If you’re a rich white guy.

Because I’m afraid

That they have all the power.

 

And how can you feel free when

Your friends are worried they are going to get deported.

And how can you feel free when

There’s constant hatred spewed against people who look like you on the internet.

And how can you feel free when

Women are constantly sexually harassed,

Or assaulted,

Or both,

And they tell you it’s your fault.

And how can you feel free when

Your president hates women and Mexicans,

Or I guess he doesn’t hate women,

He just degrades them

And everyone just says

“he’s just being a guy.”

And he doesn’t hate Mexicans,

he just degrades Mexicans

And wants to build a wall,

But people still support him.

But not everyone,

Just the extremely privileged.

 

Privileged, that’s right.

I’m not afraid of the word,

Privileged.

In fact,

I’m not afraid to acknowledge my own,

As a woman,

I don’t have to enlist in the draft,

And I’m not expected to pay on dates.

But privilege,

Doesn’t exist,

At least, not in the eyes of those who are extremely privileged.

Instead, they tell me

That I’m just whining,

And I’m lazy,

And I want a handout,

And they blame me for the choices that my parents made.

 

But I’m not whining,

I’m not lazy,

I’m not looking for a handout

And I’m certainly not my father,

Just like I know you’re not yours.

I work for everything I have,

I work for my family,

And I work for my education.

But still, it’s my fault,

That my parents didn’t go to college,

Because they didn’t plan ahead.

 

But that’s just it,

To them,

It’s a privilege just to be here,

To them, they are living the American dream,

The one Gatsby was after-

But it’s not my fault,

And its not your fault

And I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty,

I’m just trying to make a statement;

That those “illegal Mexicans”

Who steal jobs,

And have dozens of children,

And contribute nothing to society,

And those children who were conceived “illegally”

Or brought here illegally,

They have dreams.

And their parents have dreams.

 

And to reach those dreams

We hold jobs,

And pay taxes,

And go to school

To become better members of society,

And we are catching up,

And soon we will be blessed,

And have better, even more privileges.

So acknowledge your privilege,

And don’t try to take away mine,

Because I read the news,

and I’m afraid

I’m afraid that America is afraid.

 

-d.c.

#isupportdaca

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Life to Live

I’ve changed my major three times in two years

I went to college with the aspiration of becoming a doctor. I started out wanting to major in chemistry because I loved it so much in high school. After meeting with the advisor, I was uninterested in it and overwhelmed, so I switched to biology. I took a lot of biology courses and I hated it – even though a part of me wanted to love it. I had friends who took the course with me, and of course, they loved it. So I just kept telling myself I should like it too. I studied hard, but it wasn’t enough. I hated the material, it bored me, and I just didn’t want to try. I thought every biology major was like this; they hated their major but only put up with it cause it’ll get them into med school. One day, I decided to meet with a pre-professional advisor. She asked me “why are you majoring in this if you hate it?” I told her it was because it’ll get me into med school. She asked me is that the only reason? And I said yeah, why else?? We kept talking and she showed me new majors to see if it’s something that I like AND it meets the requirements for med school. I decided to give my new major a try for a semester: Health, Society, and policy.

I fell in LOVE with it!! Honestly, why didn’t I switch earlier?! I learned about healthcare in a new aspect, something you don’t get to learn in cell bio! I was amazed by how much I loved my major so much that I enjoyed all of my courses and passed it with flying colors. I never dozed off in my classes, unlike when I was in my biology classes (I would always be on my phone in those classes.) It was just so refreshing to learn about something I like!

So here’s a lesson: major in something you love, even if it’s not the easiest route to getting into your pre-professional career. Also, don’t think you have to like that major because your friends do. They’re not you!

-jd

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Poems to Feel

Maggots

Love doesn’t soothe the lonely,

the thoughts still enter my mind.

Surrounded by loved ones,

attempting to distract,

but the thoughts,

they enter

like maggots

in my ears,

rotting away

the good feelings,

poisoning them,

creating loneliness in its place.

leaving an emptiness unbearable to the taste.

d.c.

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