Monday, February 27, 2017

The older I get, the better I am at talking, but the worse I am at opening up. I’ve learned how to talk circles and squiggles, round and round into infinite replication until all my sentences resemble one another in meaning. I can talk arrows, but only when they point away from me and only when they’re with rounded tips. I can share the trivialities of my life with others--the amount of homework I have, my favorite color, the car I drive--but the personal stuff is harder. In other words, I wish I could say I hated small talk, but I’m too good at it to say that.

“How are you?” we say out of politeness, seventeen- and eighteen-year-old kids who’ve learned how to disguise who and how we really are. We’ve perfected the art of being friendly without being friends, and as I sit by my classmates in school, for every word I drop that lacks meaning, I get a little more lonely.

“I’m good,” we say, when we really aren’t. “And you?”

“I’m doing well,” they respond. “Just a little stressed out.”

Because stress is something we all have in common, isn’t it? We’re bonded by common experiences in shallow relationships, and bonded by our differences in deeper ones. But it’s hard to get past the uniformity of it all, because many of us--myself included--lack the courage to rip the curtain and see people more clearly for who they are, and not who they are in relation to us.

I felt this kind of loneliness when I recently attended my school’s winter formal. It’s senior year. The friend groups and circles are clearly defined; people know who hangs out with whom, and it’s pretty set. But at the same time, I felt suspended between different worlds, a part of some and a part of others, with a large chunk of me that didn’t feel like I should even be at the dance at all. Big social gatherings aren’t my thing, and since my group was composed of thirteen (!!) people, it was all a little overwhelming. And if truth be told, I probably would’ve had more fun by myself at home. It sounds kind of sad, but it’s the truth.

But to stay at home would have meant continuing to exist in the little personal bubble I’ve created for myself, and besides, it’s senior year: I’m supposed to go out and be social and have fun, right?

I would say that three or four times, I walked out of the dance room itself because I felt like I didn’t belong. I wanted to go to the bathroom and cry, but that would’ve been a wimpy and cowardly thing to do. So I just sat around and then went back to the dance floor, again and again, to try again and again.

Because those people I was surrounded with? They didn’t look like the people I took classes with. They weren’t wearing jeans and T-shirts. They were wearing dresses and dress pants, and they were with groups of people I didn’t even know they were friends with, and they were laughing and talking about things outside of the context of school, and I--didn’t--know--how--to--talk--to--them, and I--didn’t--know--how--to--say--hi to them, and I felt awkward, and I’m sure I looked awkward, and I feel bad because I could’ve--should’ve--said hi first.

And I’m just so bad at it. I’m so bad at seeing people for who they are, not who I thought them to be; after knowing--or thinking you know someone for four years--it’s hard to change your opinions of them, especially when your initial opinions were out of a judgmental spirit. It’s so hard to come out of the turtle shell to talk to people and try to get to know them. And it’s so hard to break the system.

I wish I could say I hate small talk, but I can’t say I honestly do. I’m too good at it now; it’s an art. I dislike it for what it is, but oftentimes, it’s easier for me to hide behind walls of “How are you?” than really mean what I say when I ask, “How are you?”


Friday, February 24, 2017

Senior year is flying by. We’re already at the sixth (!!) installment of this thing. I’m supremely proud of myself for keeping this up, lol.

Previous monthly updates -

→ DID ←

STARTED ANOTHER NOVEL! I can’t remember when I started it, but I know I definitely worked on it during February. I wrote about nine thousand words, and I used a different technique from the usual chronological style of novel writing, which was kind of cool. I’ll be writing a post on it soon, so stay tuned!

EDITED A MUSIC VIDEO. It’s coming soon--promise!

DID A PHOTO SHOOT WITH JORDAN ROTH. Also coming soon! Jordan and I went to this historic orange grove in Riverside, and then we drove around downtown Riverside. It was really fun! Except for the part where a couple of weird people talked to us.

HAD A CHURCH LOCK-IN. Along with four of my fellow youth grouper people, I helped plan a church lock-in on President’s Day weekend. It was really fun--we played lots of Mafia and ate a lot of junk food, had an epic game of Sardines (involving glow sticks), talked a lot, and finished it up with breakfast at a local cafe. I love hanging out with the kids at my church, so it was awesome to spend more time with them and get to know them better.

RELISHED THE RAIN (and missed the sun). California’s been in a really big drought for a really long time, and all of a sudden, God decided to dump a lot of rain on us this year. Which is cool, but also kind of weird. It’s been raining every single weekend, and while I love the chance to drink lots of hot chocolate and stay inside, I miss wearing shorts, which I’d ordinarily be doing at this time of year (haha). Never realized how much I loved Southern California’s weather until now.

GOT ACCEPTED TO ANOTHER COLLEGE. I honestly wasn’t expecting to hear from another college until March, but University of California, Irvine, sent out acceptances to me and some other kids from my school. They invited me to their honors program, which was cool, but although the college is nice, it’s a little too close to home for my taste.

HAD MY FIRST JOB INTERVIEW. I applied to Chick-fil-a at the tail end of January, and had an interview just the other day for a cashier position there. (I used Sophia Fulton’s tips for writing a resume to help boost my chances of getting the job, so shout out to her!) I’m pretty sure the interviewer liked me, but since my college is still up in the air and I will most likely not be sticking around to work any longer, she decided against hiring me. She was impressed with the resume, though, so seriously--go check out Sophia’s post! (I used a basic Canva template.)

BEGAN TUTORING! I had the opportunity to tutor someone for actual money (!!), which has been super cool.


WAITING. At this point, it’s just a waiting game. Everyone’s always asking me where I want to go, and I literally have no idea because the colleges haven’t sent anything out yet. This next month will bring a lot of news, though, so hopefully by the next update, I’ll have something more substantial. For anyone wondering, though, I’d love to go to UCLA.

EXERCISING. It’s still a constant struggle to get to the gym and run, but I’ve begun doing it more frequently, and it feels good. I’m also trying to run more, and I’ve mapped out different routes that I want to take. And, I’m learning, it’s about pushing myself past the laziness. But getting my desire to exercise and my ability to do so to line up is a struggle.

WRITING. I hit a wall when I was writing my book, so now I’m kind of just trying to figure out where I’m at with it, but it’s coming along, slowly but surely. Any time I can write words that feel genuine is a victory for me, so I’m learning how to win the small battles.

READING. At this current moment in time, I have maybe thirty to thirty-five books checked out from the library. Which is a LOT, even for me. I’ve started to realize that I learn best when I’m reading, and reaping knowledge isn’t just for the classroom. So far, I’ve gotten maybe a quarter of the way through A Tale of Two Cities, halfway through On the Road (it’s taking me a LONG time to read it), mostly through this book that’s analyzing On the Road (literary criticism is fascinating), and through a bunch of middle-grade books (I reread A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck, and it’s just as good as I remembered it). I also went through a book on acting and one on how to NOT write a novel, which was funny and helpful.

PLAYING THE DRUMS! I decided to learn how to play the drums with the remaining time I have in high school, and it’s really fun.



BEGIN PREPPING FOR MY MISSION TRIP. Last year, my family and I went to the Czech Republic as part of a missions team for our church. This year, I’m the only one of my family part of the team, and now that I’ve been through it, I’m determined to be bolder and prepare better. I’m planning on going through apologetics and reading more books and preparing questions and things. (Also, please pray for me in this area!)

WRITING. This is on my list every time, so do I really need to say anything else about this? (Lol.)

GET NEW DRESS CLOTHES. For my job interview, I had to borrow clothes--and it made me realize that I own absolutely nothing that would be suitable for an interview. Actually, I just need new clothes in general. My mother told me I needed to go shopping, and my dad actually offered to buy me clothes, which is kind of a sign that I really do need to go shopping.

How are you doing? What have you been up to?


Saturday, February 11, 2017

490 BY NAM
A little weird and unconventional, but vibey in a strange sort of way.

Fun, non-typical pump-up song.

It’s a really fun rockish song that I love listening to in the car. It’s part of the original motion picture soundtrack for the movie Sing Street, which A) I’ve heard good things about, and B) is probably a pretty good movie, judging from its soundtrack.

Who doesn’t indulge in a nice pop song every once in a while?

SUCH a good beat. Muted vibes. Stellar.

The first time I heard this song, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. So I listened to it again. And now it’s on repeat.

This is the kind of song you get lost in because it creates a whole world of its own.

Also a nice, above-average pop song that reminds me of American Authors.

Hope you found some new jams!

What have you been listening to lately?


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

so, home girl COMPLETELY forgot to do Senior Updates V in January. So here's an early-February edition of it. enjoy!

Previous monthly updates -

DANG, can you believe we’re ALREADY on the fifth installment of Senior Updates? I feel like this is the one thing that I’ve ever been consistent with. (Also, quick grammar note: I really hate hanging prepositions, but restructuring sentences in order to eradicate them is even more awkward than having them on. So if you’re ever thinking, I HATE HER HANGING PREPOSITIONS, I’m sorry. I’m trying to follow the rules of the common vernacular.)

→ DID ←

FINISHED COLLEGE APP SUBMISSIONS! I did this at the tail end of December, right before the January 1st/January 3rd submission dates. I procrastinated. I will admit this. But I am done.

FINISHED MY NOVEL! I don’t quite remember when I finished it, but I’m pretty sure this was also at the tail end of December. I ended at 34k, which isn’t fantastic, but for a middle grade novel, it’s all right. Not as many words as a high fantasy, that’s for sure. I’m taking a break from it at the moment.

STARTED WRITING/PLANNING OTHER BOOKS! Two, to be exact! I’ve never been a multitasking writer, but I got these two ideas simultaneously, so we’ll see where those take me! I haven’t worked on them in a few weeks (*cue college application freakout*), but I will be back to those as soon as I’m done with finals.

WATCHED A LOT OF CATH IN COLLEGE. Cath in College is this blog/YouTube channel run by Catherine Goetze, who is currently a junior at Stanford, and who is seriously cool. I’ve watched almost every single video on her channel (the ONLY YouTube channel I’ve ever done this for) and read a TON of her blog posts. She’s cool, introspective, and has great grammar. I enjoy reading things written by people who have good grammar. I’m trying to lay off now, because I’ve officially declared my “college freakout time” over. (Also, PSA: Stanford is gorgeous. I applied there and do not expect to get in, but both the campus and the people seem awesome.)

BLOGGED! I’m slowly but surely trying to get back into my pre-college-app groove, and I am pleasantly surprised to say that A) I actually have posted a decent amount on this blog recently, and B) I have a running list of blog post ideas that I will be writing about/posting presently. If you’ve noticed, I adjusted my header *slightly* to introduce a new tagline I’m trying out: where creativity and lifestyle intersect. I’m trying hard to find and define my own niche, and I think I’m finding it. I really hope I am.

BEGAN READING THROUGH ROMANS. I’m trying to read my Bible daily, along with this book called 50 Christians (or something to that effect; it has a list of 50 influential Christians who impacted Christianity in some way, shape, or form--whether it be through preaching, writing, music, missionary work, etc.--and biographies for each of them. It’s inspiring). I’ve never really liked Romans as a book--it’s always seemed kind of dry and boring to me--but my family collectively memorized Romans 8 last year, and it gave me an appreciation for Romans itself. It’s rich and beautiful and theological and GREAT. Just read it. So good.

WENT TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS! I actually went twice in the span of one week after having never been there in my entire life. We all tried butterbeer (looks like beer, tastes like butterscotch cough syrup), went on a bunch of rides (and got wet in like fifty degree weather), and generally enjoyed ourselves. It was fun! It’s a great place to go if you ever visit LA :)

FINISHED FINALS. I did pretty well this semester, so I’m honestly just thankful to God for extra credit and for allowing me to get through this semester. ONE MORE SEMESTER OF HIGH SCHOOL LEFT, YOU GUYS.


STUDYING! (What else is new?) I have two major finals to study for next week, and incidentally, they’re both in my least favorite subjects ever: math and science! And, incidentally, they’re on the same day--Tuesday, the very first day of finals! The good thing is, after Tuesday’s over, I’ll be done until Thursday, when I take my Lit final (which doesn’t count for this semester, so I’m kind of chilling). I’m one integral problem from bawling my eyes out. I never chose the math life, because the math life never chose me, folks.

EXERCISING! Ya girl finally realized that the key to being healthy is changing one’s LIFESTYLE, instead of crash-dieting! Granted, this week hasn’t been great in terms of diet (my mother made sour cream coffeecake), but I’ve gone to the gym four times in the past week, and on two runs, which is awesome for me. I eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables, but the problem is that I also eat a lot of junk, because my family likes it. (But I mean, that’s no excuse. I’m the one who controls what I put in my mouth.) But not gonna lie: I feel really good after I work out. Even though I’m so out of shape.

BRAVING THE RAIN! It’s like El Nino actually came this year instead of last year! It has rained consistently for the past two weeks, and it’s scheduled to rain more over the next week or so. Apparently, forty-seven percent of California is out of the drought now?? According to KTLA?? (But it’s only Northern California, haha. Southern California’s still in the red zone. Lol.) But if I’m honest, it made me realize that I might not be able to deal with Seattle. I like wearing shorts too much.

THINKING A LOT ABOUT COLLEGE. I’m not even going to get started on this.


WRITE. Write more, blog more, everything more.

READ. Very self-explanatory.

WATCH LESS YOUTUBE. Now that I officially declare myself off my college video binge, I think I’m probably going to be watching less.

PLAN. I have a lot of ideas. I want to nurture them to potential fruition.

GET A JOB. I keep saying this, but my parents told me I couldn’t get one until my sleep schedule was worked out. And until first semester was over.

DEAR JESUS PLEASE LET ME GET THROUGH THESE NEXT TWO MONTHS. PLEASE HELP ME NOT TO CRY TOO MUCH IN MARCH. PLEASE HELP ME TO STOP STRESSING. I NEED TO STOP STRESSING. (Also, please let the UC Davis portal work for me!! I keep changing the password and it never signs in, even when I know for sure that I’m typing it in correctly!!)

How’s 2017 been shaping up for you? Everyone excited?
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