Not-So-Guilty Pleasures

How is it November already?! October was a complete blur. As mentioned in the previous post, I had a lot of change happening in my life. I’m honestly surprised I made it through the month mostly unscathed (two episodes of moderately severe back pain happened). I’m settling into my new apartment quite nicely, courtesy of my wonderful boyfriend who put in the effort to put it together while I overworked myself the past month.

Yeah, you read it right. Overworked.

The hustle is real, and I don’t necessarily support the concept of hustle culture, but honestly you have to do what you have to do. I’ve been non-stop working since I started, so I literally went from 0 to 100 in a matter of a day. And I’ve noticed that I’m breaking down. Not so bad as panic attacks or severe back pain, at least I hope not. But it’s been pretty obvious that I’m feeling the effects, and I brought it up in therapy.

And I like my therapist because we could’ve gone through how to fix or overcome my barriers or whatever, but problem-solving wasn’t what I was really looking for; so she asked me, what’s going well?

The question gave me pause because I’d been complaining and whining and focusing on being tired. So like, yeah, what is going well? And unsurprisingly, a lot is going well despite how exhausted I feel and how overexerted I feel. I love my new job and my coworkers have been really great and supportive. Management has been knowledgeable, helpful, and welcoming. My boyfriend has been taking on a lot of household chores to lessen my stress. I haven’t really fallen apart yet physically or emotionally, and I get the benefits of partial work-from-home. My nephew is my wake up call on the weekdays so I get to start my day on a positive note. To sum up, a lot of good is simultaneously occurring with the strenuous, and I am ever so grateful that my therapist had me pause and highlight these things. It’s not that these good things overshadow or invalidates the feelings of tiredness, but it helped me refocus that it’s not all bad.

And to help on that trend is focusing a bit on self care, which is calls back to the title of this post. It’s that time of year again when Netflix, Lifetime, Hallmark, and every other broadcasting site or network starts pushing out their holiday movies. And I am an absolute sucker for them..You know I already watched one because here I am posting on my site.

There’s holiday tropes galore: blogger being catfished, coming home to visit the family and finding love, some rival business deals, etc. And I’m really here for it! I took some time to just relax and watch Love Hard starring Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O’Yang. hello Asian representation! It’s been a while since I decompressed and did something I enjoyed to relax instead of browsing on Instagram and going to sleep. It was nice. I mean, yeah I definitely rolled my eyes and some of the cliches that were thrown about, but that’s part of the genre, you know?

And taking this little break for myself has made me feel refreshed and feeling ready to tackle dinner… which I haven’t even decided what I’m eating yet. It also made me excited because on the way to watch that movie on Netflix, I saw the preview for The Princess Switch 3 starring Vanessa Hudgens and I’m just overall excited for the holiday romance movies. It’s giving me something to look forward to, and that’s good and healthy for me. And honestly, it’s probably why I don’t think of binging holiday cliches as a guilty pleasure anymore because why feel guilty about doing something that brings me joy?

Starting Now

I don’t know if you’ve heard Brandy’s song in collaboration with Disney titled, “Starting Now,” but it’s been my anthem the past two months.

“There’s no room left for wondering
Got a new vision of yourself
And she’s who you wanna be
Starting now”
– Lyrics from “Starting Now” by Brandy

These words are so empowering to me and encouraging me not to be afraid of what’s out there. One of the easiest things for me to do is stick to what’s comfortable, be a creature of habit and stay where I think I belong. Lately, I decided that I can do more and capable of more, so I am going to strive for my new vision.

Come October, which is literally one week away, I’ll be living in a new apartment and starting a new job. I will continuing a new school and rocking a new haircut. A lot of new things on the horizon and I think it’s evident that great upheaval begets great growth.

With all these changes, my therapist asked if there’s anything in my life that I could hold on to for stability. I laughed that awkward nervous chuckle because obviously not. And it got me thinking… I am experiencing a lot of change right now, and it’s going to be a stressful undertaking;. I need something stable to rely on.

Not too long ago, I would’ve thought that someone else or something else should be my constant. I would’ve desperately tried to seek someone or something that I could view as stable. This time, I made the active decision that I would be my own rock. I am my stability.

In making that proclamation, I realized that I wasn’t aligned with myself. So I took some time to recharge, to reset, and to reinvest into myself. And if there’s anything you take away from this post, it’s this. We must put time and energy into ourselves.

‘I am feeling refreshed and super excited for what’s coming next, I mean now.

Starting now.

Identity – a poem

In honor of Pride Month, I wrote this poem.

He, she, her, him, they, them
Arguments over semantics
Overshadow the people beneath
Overshadow the identities
crying and Screaming to crawl to the surface

He, she, her, him, they, them
simple words – pronouns
that hold the Weight of a person
their Truth, their Life,
their Hopes and Dreams

He, she, her, him, they, them
Arguments over semantics
when Everybody deserves
the space for I, Me, My
and any way they
Choose to Identify

Redefine 29

My 29th birthday is coming up next week and I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out the intentions for the next year.

See, I’ve been titling each year of my twenties starting at 25 with an intention of what to make of that year. Each phrase coming from a place of reflection, and emulating what I want to see or improve upon.

Thriving 25 – It was on the coattails of a dark time filled with aimlessness, hopelessness, and severe depression. I spent many of the years prior to 25 feeling like I was (all-around) lacking and my self-worth was almost non-existent. So, I made it my mission to change how I viewed myself and encouraged myself to try for bigger goals. I thought of 25 as a turning point; at the time, being five years from 30 was scary (I’m not as scared now).

Nixing 26 – After I felt a bit more confident in myself, with a new job and career prospects, I decided to introspect a bit. What wasn’t aligning with my goals? And I noticed self-sabotaging behaviors and habits that weren’t doing me any favors, so that was the intention for 26.

Even Better 27 – The previous two years were so successful that I wanted to continue the trend and positivity. I definitely practiced optimism for 27– making plans, changing jobs and going toward more mental health positions. I even moved out on my own (with a roommate because NYC is pricey). This intentional perspective added the understanding that growth is continuous, so the other intentions I applied to 25 and 26 continued to be practiced as well.

Date with Fate 28 – I already decided this would be my intention for the year, but the pandemic really pushed it forward.  A lot of life is unexpected, and good things and bad things come in waves, so I decided my year would be a practice of mindfulness and taking things in stride. I practiced openness to new opportunities and tried to stop clinging on to things that were past their expiration dates. I worked on not getting down on myself over things not meeting my expectations.

So now as I transition to and enter 29, I am tasked with incorporating the things I’ve done and the things I’ve learned. A passing thought I had was  “Divine 29” but I noted it was in the same vein as 27, and it didn’t promote a growth I want for myself. And I could not, for the life of me, come up with something that encompassed my desires. Then it hit me… a culmination of my late 20s and the things I want to leave behind before I enter a new decade… Redefining 29.

So the intention behind this is revisiting myself on a journey of self-exploration and reflecting on my relationships to figure out who I am now. In line with the purpose of this website for a deep dive into myself. Basically, it’s the wrap-up before my 30s, and figuring out what I see in store for me the next decade.

I think and hope it’ll help me out of the stagnation and complacency I feel myself slipping into.

Performative Allyship

I previously mentioned not wanting to add my two cents to the discourse about the Stop Asian Hate movement and there are several reasons for my silence. For one, it’s a lot to process such as the anxiety and trauma that comes with the events — constant news on my social media, the main topic between friends, and the central conversation in my family group chat. And two, the significant amount of attention being brought to the topic.

As I said before, I support the movement and these hate crimes need attention. They need to be talked about and addressed on the daily. And that’s where my hesitation lies.

Right now, Asian hate crimes, marches and protests are being plastered on headlines and news reports. For now. Just like we’ve seen with the Black Lives Matter movement, the chatter stops when the event stops. And when that happens, many of the voices will disappear. And it feels like all that we are doing now is performative. Performative empathy, performative advocacy, and performative allyship.

I don’t want to add to the performance.

Will I attend Stop Asian Hate marches if they continue? Probably not, and especially not at this time with Covid-19 still spreading and endangering lives.

Will I post on my social media platforms about the crimes to bring attention to them? Again, probably not. I don’t use social media in that way and sharing articles and videos without my own commentary and feelings attached seems empty.

Should I be doing these things? Probably. And I will, when the dust settles and we moved on to the next topic of discussion.

Why? Because as I said, I don’t want to be in a performance. I don’t want to join the hype and act like I’m some advocacy warrior when I’m not. I want to talk about these events and their effect on me on my own terms. I want to do it when people don’t care anymore.

Performative allyship is putting a hashtag after you’ve reposted an article or video, but continue to live your life as before. It’s going to a march to get Instagram photos to show you’re a good person and do nothing thereafter. It’s letting everyday acts of racism, microagressions, and stereotyping pass as the norm.

If you’re going to stand as an ally, it’s an every day stance. Not just when there’s an influx of stories from news outlets. If you’re going to be an ally, it’s speaking up and speaking out against things that are hurting the minority groups (racial, ethnic, sexual, religious, etc.). Not ignoring privileges when they benefit you. If you’re going to be an ally, it’s understanding that we don’t get to choose when we experience these things and that it’s part of our lives.

What can you do? There are so many sources that can tell you. There are so many people jumping at the chance to let you know. Google them, talk to them, make an effort. Have difficult conversations and discussions about uncomfortable topics with the people in your life, your community. But most importantly, reflect and introspect to learn where you stand and what your beliefs are. I don’t think anyone can be a real ally if they can’t explain why they are one.