Don’t forget to breathe

I got my teeth cleaned today and throughout the ~45 minute procedure, I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

For some reason, I always tense up my body.

I call it barber anxiety.

When I get my hair cut, I need to remind myself to relax.

When I get a massage, I also need to relax.

When I get my teeth cleaned, I need to remember to breathe.

It just feels inherently awkward to me: another person “operating” on me, while I sit there. I can look at their face and realize that they aren’t even really looking back, because, well, they need to make sure they don’t cut my ears off.

In reality, there is no reason for me to feel tense. Maybe I can feel awkward or slightly embarrassed. But tense? Why? I’m literally not doing anything. Feeling tense while getting massaged by someone who you are paying to massage you is perhaps the most paradoxical sentence I’ve written this year.

Barber anxiety sucks… But it also doesn’t make sense. So don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to relax.

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How vulnerable am I?

Daily Blog post 400

How vulnerable am I?

I believe that premeditated vulnerability is paradoxically the most powerful state you can put yourself in.

We all have insecurities. Baggage that holds us down. Some heavier than others. Some are different colors, different shapes. Some look big but inside there’s nothing but empty space. Some are compact. But each to our own.

Last year I found out how difficult it can be to travel alone with three large suitcases. I needed some help. I was vulnerable, but I was too embarrassed to ask for help when I clearly needed it.

Vulnerability is scary. Can you deliberately place yourself in a vulnerable situation?

We do it every day in subtle ways. When we walk past a friend, we look up, expecting them to make eye contact back, hoping that they acknowledge you. You place yourself in a vulnerable situation because they now have the power to simply ignore you, or look down at their phone. You might end up smiling at empty space.

Or maybe a random Asian kid approaches you on campus and asks if you want to see a magic trick. You have the power to decline. You have the power to say “no”. I’m vulnerable, because I have no control of your response. And wow, does it feel extremely awkward to get rejected. 

Or you’re free falling from the sky. Skydiving. You have nothing to hold on to but yourself and the air. You are not grounded. Yet, at the point of highest fear and vulnerability, instead, you feel bliss.

Vulnerability is scary. But when you cross that threshold of vulnerability and fear, you can see on the other side which is pleasure. There is no pleasure without risk. There is no bliss without vulnerability. There is no acceptance without insecurities.

Acceptance of self is not a lack of insecurity; rather, acceptance is the acknowledgement of your vulnerability. Acceptance is seeing the baggage and picking it up.

Image result for baggage ted mosby

I am a terrible person

Daily Blog Post 399

I am a terrible person.

In yesterday’s blog post, I said that the best person I know is myself, because, I can only say I truly know myself. I can’t judge other people and say that I know all their nuances and thoughts and machinations of their mind. We are all enigmas. So in a self-aware narcissistic way, yes, I am the best person I know.

So instead, today, I want to talk about why I am a terrible person. But I’ll approach it from a less philosophical standpoint.

Why am I a terrible person?

Because I do things I know I shouldn’t do.

I manage to push people away. People I think could make good friends. But I make irrational decisions.

I procrastinate and fail to chase my dreams. I have all these ideas that will never come to fruition because my procrastination overwhelms me. Even now, I am procrastinating my homework and am instead writing this. Ironic, isn’t it?

I put myself in situations where I am bound to get hurt. This one is a bit iffy though. I value vulnerability. I think the most precious moments in life, in hindsight, are moments where you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Keyword is in hindsight. When I mess up a magic trick in public, I am incredibly vulnerable. The next step for me is to learn from that feeling, improve myself, and be comfortable with failure. Rejection. Failure. Missteps. Showing your body to the world. Showing your mind to the world. Sharing your writing. These are all vulnerable states that I constantly enter. I put myself in these vulnerable situations and I sometimes hate myself for it, but I know in the future that I can only move forward.

I am a terrible person because I dwell too much.

Why am I even writing this post? Because I use my posts to learn to move on. Move on to another phase. So instead of dwelling on these inconsequential moments in life, these small mistakes, these missteps, I need to just keep on keeping on. The good thing is, I am aware of these things and I know how I can improve and be better.

December 20th. That’s the date I am aiming for.

I need to go home. I need to reset my mind and rest and see my family and friends.

I need to take a break. It’s been a rocky semester.

A Day in NYC

Today is a journal entry about my day in NYC.

So my friend and I woke up at 8 AM to go play a basketball tournament about an hour away from the city.

The first game I played terribly–it’d been over 3 years since I’d played organized team basketball like this, and it took me a long time to adjust. I only scored one three-pointer and my friend had to carry the majority of the weight of the team. We ended up losing badly by 39 points. 

The second game, after we went and ate lunch and regained some energy, our team did much better. Granted, our opposing team wasn’t as good as our first team, but I was also much more comfortable with the basketball. I scored maybe 6-7 three pointers, and also hit the game winning floater to put us up 61-59 in overtime. It always feels great to be in the zone. I had a lot of fun either way, because basketball has always been one of my passions. Maybe I’ll continue playing more league games like this; it’s an entirely different vibe and atmospheric competition than playing casually with friends at school.

We ate dinner in the city and then walked around exploring Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and finally ended up in Bryant Park.

There is always this ethereal vibe when walking around the city at night. When you notice how beautiful certain buildings are, and how the lights reflect in different ways, and how all of these people, couples, groups of friends, are all just existing together. It’s therapeutic to me. I’d imagine if I lived in the city, a casual pastime for me would just be walking around the city while listening to some of my favorite songs.

Bryant Park was extremely cute. There was a skating rink in the center, which I really want to go on one day with a group of friends (but more planned). There were also a bunch of vendors selling unique accessories, jewelries, clothing items, and other miscellaneous items.

The more time I spend in New York the more I fall in love with the city. How I Met Your Mother has been my favorite TV show since I was 12 and watching that show made me truly fall in love with the concept of Manhattan. Getting to actually spend time here occasionally on the weekends has made me realize that love.

Although a part of me is still sad that I was rejected by NYU, I’m also a little satisfied that I am not spending my college years in NYC. I have the rest of my life to live anywhere I want, while my 4-years at Villanova will be amazing. I know it because I’ll make sure it is–and so far it has been.

I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness in life through meditation and through my writings. I’ve also been trying to be more in tune with my expectations and I think it’s starting to help. The first basketball game today, I was expecting myself to perform really well, despite the fact that it was early in the morning, I was tired and hungry, and I hadn’t played organized basketball in quite some time. The pressure I put on myself got to my head, and of course, I performed terribly. While the second game, I went in with zero expectations. It was low-pressure, and just pure fun. And the more fun I had, the better I performed, and in the end, it surpassed any expectations I could had previously set on myself.

I don’t know that I would be having as good of a college life if I went to NYU.  Maybe I expected too much from living in the city, and maybe I just fantasized too much about being an NYU student.

I’m happy where I am right now. But I won’t forsake how much more happier I can become. But I also won’t go into life with these expectations, because I’ve learned that in the end, these expectations will only drag me down.