Tonight is a night that fills me with emotions and a desire to share my thoughts through writing. Quiet night, warm drink, calm heart. I am writing and listening to these melodies.
I haven’t been on WordPress for what seems like forever. When I came back to it and perused through my past writing, I realized, “Whoa, this is also me.” People change throughout the course of living, adopting, identifying and (if luckily) acknowledging different selves while fighting to make their most favorite self version a habit, a way of life. I haven’t been able to do all of these, and I am not sure if I prefer one side of me over another.
Plunging myself into different situations, I do witness different sides of me. Sometimes, I am this shy girl who cannot raise my voice in public and make eye contact with co-workers because I am too intimidated. But, I am also the student leader who inspires my teammates to take initiatives and network with everyone who I think can help our team move forward. Then there are days, I am just an anti-social wandering by myself from place to place in the wood and in the city, trying to avoid talking to people, even those closest to me.
Two years ago, I was too sensitive to everything (in a way that would make me take things personally), and deliberately making a reaction to it. If I was affected by the cold decorum of friends in school, I would question and write about it. Now, I am less disturbed by things that I used to be bothered by. And whenever feeling this change, no matter whether it is through the way I only slightly smile at someone who is nice to me, or the way I react with less vivacity to someone’s kindness, I couldn’t help but wonder if I have grown, or just simply turn into someone different. Maybe, I am less empathetic, less kind, less caring? Such a scary thought exhausts me during my most exhausting days.
Working tirelessly until the point of being burned out on a weekly basis for the last year, I had always expected this moment to come. The moment when all things explode and I have to think about all of these feelings instead of suppressing them. I am grateful for the free time that I have now to declutter my life and become more mindful of my own self, a part that I had been ignoring for so long, because truthfully, I wondered why I mattered. I know that this is a foolish and privileged thought, but I did think that it was selfish to practice self-care, when there were so many people that I could help during the time I used to care for myself (I know the counterargument to this because I have lived through the consequences the hard way).
I went through a huge transition in the summer of 2016, when I did my first full-time internship at a tech organization (tech org? I didn’t know this until the first day of work). It was an unexpected leap that shaped me significantly, because after 10 weeks, I wasn’t sure if I was still the same person, both in terms of how I work and think. I was, for sure, more energized, open, adventurous, and ridiculously hopeful. For example, if you still remember my rants about how I thought technology is ruining the world, I have to take back what I said, because I have adopted a completely different perspective of technology and how humans can use it for good. For someone who likes to romanticize every life event, I would say this internship is a turning point in my life, a lucky surprise, and even fate it is. If before this internship, I was a miserable wretch who felt guilty every time I thought about people who were less unfortunate than me, now I realize guilt doesn’t help anyone. It kills you, while not prompting you to take any concrete actions. I feel less guilty now, but more of an impulse and responsibility, to have goals, to go out and do things, to be ambitious and hopeful and happy while I still can be.
See, I like to think about life and every event that happens in it as a story that hasn’t ended yet. Doesn’t that thought make life so much more fascinating? I get excited when I do the smallest new thing. I keep repeating, “What if?” This mindset makes me hopeful and energetic in every situation, because there is a change in the plot. If today I get coffee with this person, I will think about something that helps me connect the dots that give me the key to my life. If take a different route to walk home, I will discover something beautiful in the neighborhood. I won’t identify myself as a wanderlust or adventurer but I consider the simplest thing in life, even the turn of leaf, as something to make me feel different.
As this year was passing, I worked frantically to improve myself, turning off every moment that can potentially bring me grief, because I didn’t think I could deal with situations that evoked personal feelings strongly. And by strongly, I mean things that can take months for me to recover. I was through some experiences like that, and I felt pain to my bones (not because the situations were objectively devastating, but just because I was sensitive). I am still like that now, and conveniently so, because I have work and studying to absorb all of my time. However, I do take these words to my heart…
My crazy schedule also didn’t allow me to have a lot of conversations with friends that I love and adore. I could no longer carry on the responsibility that I had to reach out to my friends on a weekly basis because I was too exhausted. Sometimes, on weird days, I even feel like I cannot connect with them, because we are in such different situations. But I didn’t know how the lack of connection with them can affect me gradually, and negatively. One day, when I felt miserable and reached out to a close friend who called me back immediately, I just wondered, “How can we ever stop loving friends?”
Friendship itself constantly evolves. I am no longer the friend who came to your house 11 years ago to talk endlessly about my favorite idols, and you may no longer be the one interested in hearing about my political rants. We don’t share interests anymore. I bet that we all feel different from our friends at some point, but true friendship will make us tolerant, accepting, and kind. Friendship? Is it about growing up together, sharing memories, feeling an impulse to hug each other quietly, hanging out with each other for comfort, even when we are so different?
I was and am also living by myself. No parents. No brother. No relatives. It feels liberating and stressful at the same time. Only by living by myself, do I realize how much my parents have influenced me in my lifestyle. It is like, a part of me is already them, and more than often, I am incredibly proud of it. Even though I had difficulties connecting with my parents in the past (and I still do), I have grown to find grace in their love and efforts to overcome struggles, their relentless love, their commitment to making my life better. I miss them even when they are around me, because I keep thinking about a world without them in it, and how I will feel significantly less loved and less appreciated.
I find myself to be an idealistic person, with standards about how the world should work. If things don’t work in the happy-ending trajectory that I expect or if people I love are not as wonderful as I think they should be, I always face a block that requires some resilience and understanding from my part.
Today, I have decluttered my room, throwing out all the stuff that I no longer needed. I also delete certain apps on my phone and try focusing on one thing at a time. In two days, it is Monday. Monday is exciting. Let’s do this.