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
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The best person

Daily Blog Post 398

Who is the best person you know?

If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have instantly responded with “my sister”

But now, I’d probably answer that question in a more self-aware narcissistic way: the best person I know is myself.

Not because I don’t think my sister is amazing. She is. But, I think I need to look at this question differently.

I grew up admiring my sister; I put her up on this pedestal as invincible. But, as John Green says in Paper Towns, “‘What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” In childhood, I thought my mother loved her more. Teachers liked her more. Her grades were better. She was mature, smart, responsible. I played piano because she did, went to Chinese class and felt bad for how behind I was, and I even tried to pick up art and illustration at one point. And to me, those were all things I was supposedly meant to emulate.

But as I grew up, I started to find my own identity. I followed different passions. I created my own path.

In today’s readings in my Human Person class, we said that it was possible to know something and not love them, but then discussed whether it was possible to love something without knowing them. God was used in this context. Do we truly know God?

I spun it in a different way because I don’t follow a religion.

Can I truly know someone else?

I barely know myself… and all these spiraling thoughts from my mind that often run rampant. In fact, I often surprise myself with emotions, with actions, with feelings, with thoughts. Patrick Star said it best: “the inner machinations of my mind are an enigma”

But to love something is to discern that the thing you love is good and just, or at least is actively attempting to achieve that good we all seek.

So I love my sister. I love my friends and family. I love certain people, certain places, certain books, certain things.

And I love myself. So therefore, I am either good and just, or am actively working towards such. 

And because I barely know myself, how can I know what other people are truly like? If I never know them at their best and worst. It might be impossible to fully know who someone else is. Nonetheless, I still love other people.

But because I love myself, and because I am attempting to be good, and because I know myself the best out of anyone in this world, then I must answer that I am the best person I know.

If I were to answer with anyone else, then that would mean I am making a judgement call that I know what other people are like and distinguishing individuals from myself. But I don’t know who you are. Or who my sister is. Or who my family is. Not to a full extent that I can discern who they truly are.

And so, I am the best person I know.

Subsequently, I am also the worst person I know. You don’t want to know what cynical thoughts I have up there…

A reminder

I’m here

I’m existing

Through life you will forget who you are

You will create yourself many times

And then recreate yourself twice as many times

You’ll say you’ve forgotten who you used to be, but you know that’s a lie. You know deep down that you’ve been carrying that baggage since it arrived.

My insecurities do not define me. They shape who I am. They allow me to flourish in a world of hurt–a world where everyone is different yet everyone is trying to prove that their way of different is better than your way of different.

Can someone carry me out of this abyss?

I look up and no one is there. Except further up, I see a mirror and remember that I must pull myself out of this well that I willingly dropped into.

Do not forsake my past, and do not forsake who I am in the present, and most importantly, I will not forsake who I may become in the future.

A reminder to be thankful of your life comes at least once a year in Holiday form. But gratitude is not something that should be shown once a year. Instead, I need to be grateful for this existence. For my friends. For my family. For myself. For this Earth. For this world.

Be Grateful for love. For hurt, for sorrow, for joy, for success, for failure. Be grateful for the tightrope of life because you know that there is also a safety net down below. And if there isn’t, please build one.

This is a reminder.

A reminder that the voice inside your head reading this means you exist.

It means you have the ability to be grateful for this existence. To continue walking that tightrope. To continue getting rejected by love and to relish instead in friendship, in family. To pull yourself out of that well. To being happy, to being accepted, to being.

Taking Chances

Daily Blog post 385

I have no idea what it feels like to be in a relationship

I also have no idea what skydiving is like

Or the feeling of winning the lottery

Or driving a car

Or breaking a bone

Or participate in a flash mob

But I know what it feels like to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people. I also know what it feels like to mess up in front of hundreds of people.

I have felt the sting of rejection

I can do a one-handed push-up and one-foot squat

I have felt the tranquility of being on the Great Wall of China 

I’ve hated my body and subsequently learned to love it

I’ve done a lot of living but in hindsight, I also have a lot more that I have yet to do. Maybe all of those things will happen in the future, or maybe not.

But I think the most important thing I need to realize is that I’ll never be able to cross off all these bucket list items if I never take the first step.
As a basketball player, I know it just as well as anyone else: you never know unless you take the shot. If I never take a chance in the first place.

So here’s to taking chances. Here’s to jumping out of an airplane one day, to getting rejected and to getting accepted. Here is to a life full of taking chances. 

P.S. Don’t tell my mother I want to skydive…

Mystique of NYC

Every time I go to New York there is a certain mystique to it. My first Broadway show made me believe that magic is truly real. When I walked through Central Park I saw all these beautiful nuances—how many tourists have walked this path, how many relationships are built on these strolls, how many dogs pass through Central Park? I want to live in a beautiful Brownstone house. I can feel the energy of the people around me as I walk through Korea Town, China Town, through Washington Square Park, through Times Square. It’s different. The thing about New York is you see so much diversity—and you can never tell if someone is a tourist or real New Yorker just by looking at them. I am a tourist. I am a tourist of the world. I see beautiful cities and I immediately fall deep in love with the concept of the people, of the streets, of the homes, of the world that I could potentially live in if I moved to that city. Social media is weird for me because some days I feel like I am posting too often, and some days I feel like I don’t post often enough. I guess that means in the end I am posting just the right amount. I’m looking for magic and I think I found it in New York. (Watch out for a magic post next). For now, enjoy this fake #candid photo. #aesthetics

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.

Escape from 💭

381

My Human Person professor told us the other day that she often feels guilty when she takes naps.

When we asked her why she took naps though, her answer really resonated with me.

She said she often naps as a method of escaping her intellectual thoughts.

If you’ve ever wondered if you have a voice in your head…there it is

And that voice never stops unless we ourselves take a break.

I often tell people that if we ever get in a long car ride, I have to sleep. Or else I go into a deep dive into my thoughts which I often don’t want to do. I’m actually writing this post right now in a car on my way to NYC, because I realized I started thinking a little too much.

And it’s not really harmless these thoughts. It’s just that I start overthinking every detail of life, and what sucks is when I am in a car, I can’t do anything with those thoughts. Instead, I just end up bathing in a pool of thoughts, unable to escape if they begin downward spiraling, and unable to do anything but continue thinking.

When I meditate, I allow myself to be more in tune with these thoughts in a conscious state. But like my professor, I like to take naps to completely escape the intellectual mind.

When I considered myself basically a full-time athlete in high school, I took drastic measures to recover. Ice baths, stretching, foam rolling, and physical therapy.

And just as an athlete takes these measures to recover from their physical strain, now, as an intellectual, I take naps to recover from overthinking. Or maybe I just like napping. But let’s say it’s the former.