On Growing Up

I think I’m just beginning to realize, this summer, that I have the ability now to do real things.

Almost entirely due to my summer projects, which all have very tangible, hopefully lost-lasting and substantial consequences, I’m understanding more and more the privilege of my Ivy league degree and the duty I have to use that privilege. On a more basic level, I’m understanding that I’m not a high school kid anymore. I’m not running a club for the heck of running a club. I care about certain issues and I have the newfound power, connections, and intellectual understanding to be able to effect real change on these things I care about. The issues I look up online are not just things to think ‘how horrible’ about, but issues I can then discuss solutions for, and even carry out those solutions. The research and thinking I can do isn’t just rehearsed by teachers to go over the beaten path, but new, possibly ground-breaking thoughts.

It’s both a terrifying and great realization, I suppose.

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Dream

Bits and pieces here.

Tonight’s dream: I’m really high up, on this wooden pole. There’s dangerous water below me, and a fun tourist park across the water. The only way in is the plank that lies in front of me, which is sectioned into two precarious parts. The owner of the plank is on the other side, yelling at me that is costs $100 per section. I do the math in my head – if I make one round trip in the morning, and one in the evening (now that I think about it, why did I want to do that? Was I dropping someone off?), that comes out to $800. I yell at him that that is ridiculous. He shrugs.

My friend yells at me from his pole that there is another way – a way to skip just the first section, although we would still pay for the second. It is to jump on the tornado that tears by every few minutes on my right, and jump to the second section as the tornado disintegrates halfway across the water. I watch my friend try and fail, and I know I will not be doing that.

I try the precarious plank – it’s held only by a few inches, perched on top of my pole. I feel wobbly and somewhat weak at the top of my pole, and I am shaking from the effort. I grab a small plank and crawl out onto the large plank, and I violently fall and swing upside down on the plank. My view upwards is the shadowy underside of the plank against the dark sky. “Oh, I get it,” I say, and swing back up.

We decide that the tourist spot isn’t worth it.

Another dream, same night.

There’s a crazy huge concert that ES is going to , and she texts me this picture from an eagle’s point of view.

Something about You Won’t, the band. I’m watching a music video by them, and they’re talking about some song with sticks, and the guy goes “STICKS.” and holds up this loop of a frayed, thick golden-brown rope. The camera zooms in on that rope Quentin Tarantino style and that is the end of the interview video.

On Having No Internal Drive

I’ve been in a funk.

I feel like I’ve been waiting, and I feel constantly discontent. And I think I know why.

School ended, activities, ended, projects ended, piano ended, hanging out with friends ended. For those two weeks of emptiness, I tried to fill time with being cultured, watching movies, reading the news. And for those two weeks I was filled with the most horrid pit in my stomach of dissatisfaction with my life.

It worries me. Could it be, perhaps, that this dissatisfaction was my resting state? Were all my extracurriculars and busy schedules simply a desperate attempt on my part to never be idle, and therefore to never allow myself to feel this dissatisfaction that was my true self? Do I need external activities to keep me going? Could it be that I am not intrinsically motivated?

I have lost meaning. I have no aim. I have no cause. This is the hole that God had filled, and this is the hole that God has left.

On One’s Essence

MlH said something that really resonated with me. She’d reinvented herself when she came to college. But in that process, she’d become confused about what was really her. Was the old self her? Was the current self her? Had she pretended for so long that she’d made that become her?

On my part, up until very, very recently, I couldn’t even really articulate what my true interests are. Now, I still have very few true ones. And simultaneously, I can’t be sure whether I am truly interested in those things, or whether I’ve simply convinced myself that I am for the sake of being an interesting person. I think I truly see the identities of my closest friends, the true essence of them. Why can’t I see that for myself? Can others see it in me? I crave that.

I need someone to tell me who I am.

On Connecting Through Weakness

We stayed up talking until 4am, and it wasn’t about butterflies.

Highlight? We each shared our fatal flaw. And unlike when I try to make myself seem perfect, I truly shared my flaw, partly because I only fully understood flaw once I attempted to flesh it out to another human being.

I am selfish and insecure to the point that my first instinct is to emotionally damage and manipulate other people. And so I overcompensate by acting extremely kind, and valuing kindness over all other traits. And yet. I am saddened that this is how I am, deep down. I worry that although I am kind, it is always for my own benefit – the benefit of having this person like me, or be my friend.

One more thing. Although I still feel that initial urge with JKm, my gut counters that with an intense need to make him happy, for him to never hurt because of me, and not for my own good, but for his good. It’s a level of care that I have for very few people. I don’t think I can even say it for AM, or WB. Bizarrely, I think I feel that for JJ here, and JH and AD back home. And although I’m thankful that I do feel it, it scares me that it doesn’t apply to people that I think it should. What type of person does it make me? Who am I?

On Connecting With Those Of My Ethnicity

Last night, we talked until 4am.

It was effortless. There was not a moment of silence; we not once ran out of topics.

We were talking about our family problems.

I think I connected with those four friends about family issues on a deeper level than anyone ever before. As an minority person in the US in a white neighborhood, I don’t think, well-intentioned though they may have been, that any of my white friends back home could have understood. There is something particular about the Asian-American identity; it’s a unique mix of flavorings and cultures and it’s entirely its own monster now.

Why do Asians clump together? Why do blacks, or internationals, or latinos clump together? Now I know. We connect, automatically, on a very deep level, because of our upbringings.