Hello, it’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged! Time has been going by really quickly and life has been getting in the way. Sophomore year is over, summer is (almost) over, and school is starting in less than a month.
Reflecting and writing about my life has always been such a huge part of my identity. When I was younger I would handwrite every diary entry in colorful pens, in my neatest handwriting, filling my Morning Glory notebooks with song lyrics, quotes, and unfiltered feelings. After realizing that the thoughts in my head would move way faster than my hands on pen and paper, I decided to record everything online. Throughout the years I’ve moved from Blogspot to Tumblr to Wordpress to Tumblr again…inconsistent with my platforms but consistent with my love for blogging. It has and still brings me so much joy to document and preserve all my memories, so hopefully this blog will be a place where my feelings and dreams can take residency for a long time. Special shoutout to the wonderful and humble Katlyn Lee for helping me with this banner!
The past school year was extremely challenging and also rewarding. I was really happy to be in Los Angeles, at USC, studying journalism, three things that I’ve always wanted, but that feeling wore off pretty quickly when I realized how much I had to catch up.
In terms of writing, I’ve written more this academic year than I ever thought I would. Whether it was writing essays, articles for the paper, fiction in my free time, or blog posts for various outlets, I definitely feel like the quantity and quality of the work that I have produced this year has improved significantly and exceeded what I ever thought that I was capable of.
That being said, my improvement (both personal and academic) came with a lot of insecurity. While it’s true that being in a school with such talented and ambitious people was/is both incredibly inspiring and motivating, it constantly made me devalue my own personal growth.
I was getting better in every aspect of my life, but I didn’t allow myself any time to revel in it because I felt like I was just trying to catch up with other people who have been better for much longer (oh, you got a scholarship, cool. there are people with more, so you’re not special. oh, you got that award, well an honorable mention is nothing compared to a first place).
Perhaps it’s the mindset of a transfer student who just wanted to appear as if she wasn’t one, a mindset that made me ignore all the good progress that I should have been proud of. Being a sophomore transfer is not something I talked about often because I wanted to be so well- adjusted that it seemed like I was always there, that I was not new, and that I was plugged in. Of course, my enthusiasm and wide-eyed naiveté betrayed me pretty quickly (haha), but there were still those moments of “I didn’t know you went to another school before here!” Honestly, I don’t know why it even mattered anyway. Overall, everything seems like a blur now. First semester was a lot of excitement and second semester was filled with so much anxiety — both were essential to my personal growth.
This summer and past school year, I’ve learned a lot about myself, what kind of person I want to be, and how to make sense of (some) the things that I wrestle with in my head, and made a list:
Humility vs. Self-deprecation
The line between self-confidence and narcissism is very thin and so is the line between humility and self deprecation. I’ve always liked to consider myself a pretty humble person. Most of the people I admire and aspire to be like are ones who are very modest, despite being extremely amazing. However, I didn’t realize that what I was practicing was definitely not humility, but self-deprecation. It’s important to be humble, but it’s also important to not undervalue or belittle yourself. There’s a huge difference between being low-key and being self-loathing. Celebrating yourself, patting yourself on the back, and LOVING yourself isn’t such a bad thing sometimes. It’s wonderful. “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
People pleasing vs. independent thinking
Yes, I like being liked. Okay fine, I love it. I love being loved by others. The thing is, I also love feeling secure in my strong set of beliefs. Usually, having a strong set of beliefs means not being as agreeable of a person. After all, the most polarizing people are the most passionate. I admit, I’ve been guilty of people pleasing. Not so much changing my opinion to suit whoever I’m talking to (that annoys me a lot), but more of not speaking up because my fear of rocking the boat. My philosophy was, “I don’t want to kill the vibe so I’d rather not.” But when it came to issues like religion, feminism, race, and other issues that I have strong views on, it made me unhappy to stay quiet about them (especially in light of all the tragedies that have been happening in our world). I’ve definitely been learning more that being a person with strong convictions, being proud of them, and speaking up about them, despite being controversial, is way more worthy of respect than someone who changes to appeal to others.
Responding vs. reacting
I’m a sensitive person and it’s both a blessing and a curse. I love that it makes me more empathetic and understanding towards others and more aware and intuitive in interactions and social situations. That being said, being highly sensitive also comes with taking things personally all the time and thinking too much into everything all. the. time. This summer, I’ve been looking at things in a new perspective. Not every debate or lecture is an attack on my soul, and not every action needs a reaction. Reacting is being self-defensive and emotional, but responding is balanced and logical. I need to realize that not every comment has some sort of hidden meaning or jab to it and even if it does, who cares? Nothing should be taken so seriously.
Conformity vs. Individuality
Different is such a cool thing to be, but society only accepts eccentricity to the point where it’s socially acceptable. Everyone tries so hard to be original, everyone tries to stand out from the crowd. But, everybody also wants a sense of belonging. I went through a lot of extremes, phases in high school where I just did whatever because everybody else was (then proceed to go home, lay on my bed I feel my sense of self physically exit my body and start self-loathing) and a phase in my first year of college where I closed myself off from everything because I felt that ANY time of conformity would be an insult to my individuality (which let to me being very annoyingly judgmental and self-righteous.) Both extremes were terrible for me, and I truly believe that both of these phases strayed me away from what I always try to seek in myself and others — a genuine self. I think after this year and more and more each day, I’m starting to become better at this balancing act.
This summer, I have found my joy.
I’ve been reading a lot this summer, interning for arts and culture at LA Mag, and splitting my time going home to Diamond Bar to see friends and family and living in community at the IV house in LA. I also loved my camps in/trips to Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, Connecticut, and New York. Everything has been really great and I’m really thankful to God for everything He has been bringing in my life.
It’s weird because in the past, I’ve been really used to writing about how things are always wrong or how there’s always so much left to do, and I’m a little bit not used to the fact that I don’t have any of that right now (in the best way possible)
I feel an overall sense of peace, positivity, and excitement for the future. I hope this feeling can stay with me forever.
It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap
It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap