Sunday, November 22, 2009

"one thing i can tell you is you got to be free."

I should ask a complete and total stranger for advice on what to do with my life. I'm at this point where I feel like I have life figured out, and yet I know for sure that I don't. There are about seven million different forks in the road. Physically impossible, yes, but metaphorically, it's pretty accurate. I feel like I'm piling up all this experience and just grabbing at everything I can wherever I go, but I have no real direction. I'm going forward, yeah, but where is that all going to take me? Millie says she thinks I'll be one of the most employable graduates from UCI, but I don't see it. Maybe it's because I'm a very harsh critic of myself, but I can see myself flat broke in a twelve-by-twelve apartment someday, working four minimum wage jobs to make rent.

Rant, rant, rant, cry, cry, cry.

I annoy myself so much sometimes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

create change.

"Change never ever happens in a snap.  It took people of color decades to get civil rights in this country.  It will take decades for people to undersand that education should be a right for everyone, just as it's taken decades for people to begin to understand that health care is a right.  But in order to get the wheels turning, we have to start now." -Emmy

First off, this girl has amazing rhetoric and our dialogues are always so fascinating to me. Whether it's listening to her speak at teach-ins or staying up on AIM until nearly 3 a.m., our conversations always keep the wheels of my brain turning.

And now to the questions of the moment: How do we create change? What inspires it? How do we make our voices heard? How do we ignite the flames we hope to spread across the state?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

creature of habit.

If you add up the total time I've spent at this one table in the Student Center today, it would come out to about six and a half hours. I don't know how productive you can say I've been. My goal this morning was to read an article for E105 and then go to Spanish. Instead, I worked on an article for the New U and skipped Spanish to chat it up with some friends. Then after work and E105, I came back to this table with the intention of studying for my LJ103 midterm. Instead, more hanging out. I just finished (quite well, I might add) my midterm and now I'm back at this table, waiting for discussion at 7. Eight weeks into the quarter and I still think leaving a 40-minute gap between lecture and discussion is ridiculous.

I've been contemplating the obvious problems associated with our generation's overwhelming apathy, and I wonder what motion can be made that will change that. It will have to be something large because I feel like we've all degenerated into a solipsistic state where we are no longer a "community." It's everyone for themselves. I wonder what the benefit of that really is.

Discussion soon, followed by the debate. I almost want to skip it in favor of going home and diving into some mac and cheese. At least in a bowl of mac and cheese, there is no apathy or no right or left side.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

10.

"Tension is wonderful for making people laugh." -John Cleese

I think I encounter at least 10 awkward moments a day. I think that's due in part to the fact that I myself am an awkward person. I have no trouble admitting it. Someone once told me that the thing they loved about me was how comfortable I was with everyone. I still wonder what gave them that idea.

I've said it before, and I'll say it time and again: People frustrate me. Sometimes I wonder if I've unconsciously said or done something to provoke certain comments, because although I don't care for the person behind the words, the words are frustrating in themselves. And though I would normally laugh it off, being the observer I have learned to become, I think I am bothered because it makes me question my own actions more than I should.

When it comes to observing, I think the role which I described previously is more obvious than I'd like it to be. I believe I have successfully adopted the role of an outsider in situations where I would like the case to be otherwise. Though I am being used for my (inadequate, in my opinion) skills as a writer, it makes me wonder: Do journalists have friends?

I read an editorial which asked this same question. Befriending a journalist keeps people on their guard because a journalist never stops being a journalist. "Anything you say can and will be used against you." People are hesitant to share in case they end up quoted in writing. But why does that need to stop people from just wanting to be friends?

Yes, I am a journalist. No, I'm not looking to write a story about you. Or exploit you. Or sell your name to someone else. Maybe you're not that interesting, dude.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

09.

"Who knows who you are...A person is a novel: you don't know how it will end until the very last page. Otherwise, it wouldn't be worth reading to the very end..." -We, Yevgeny Zamyatin

Why do we spend so much time searching for happiness rather than just being happy? What does it mean to just be happy? I think in order to answer that we do need to "search." But there's something in the search that often leads people astray. Under the Boddhi tree, Siddhartha Gautama realized what we know today as the Four Noble Truths - the first being that life is dukkha. I think the realization of that aids in our "search." It's so simple of a concept, yet so easily forgettable.

On passion:
RagdollRumors: perhaps that is what i am searching for
RagdollRumors: passion.
wickedaznidol: hm, yes...passion is a tricky thing...i don't know what to say about passion. to be honest, i feel i lack it 98% of the time too. i wish i knew how to find it but i think that's part of the frustration.
RagdollRumors: but arent you passionate about or constantly excited about journalism
RagdollRumors: isn't that where you find some sense of meaning
wickedaznidol: that's what i struggle with. part of me feels like i am only studying LJ because i am really not good at anything else. honestly, that's why i chose it. even then, i struggle. i think what i am passionate about is people, as frustrating as they can be. it's why i study stories and philosophy
wickedaznidol: but being passionate about people is so broad, that i can't really pinpoint what it is that inspires me.
wickedaznidol: my problem is that i want to live to inspire. i don't want to settle. unfortunately, i don't know how to do that. and that's where i lack the passion.
wickedaznidol: "Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about."
RagdollRumors: perhaps the majority of us are in search of this passion and just settle for some sense of stability that doesnt make us insane trying to find
RagdollRumors: but what if we have no real purpose
RagdollRumors: what if we are the ones that define our own purpose
RagdollRumors: and therefore must define our own passions
RagdollRumors: and just cant help escape that constant insecurity and instability because we cant define what we dont know
wickedaznidol: i don't think life is predestined for us. i think we do need to find our own purpose in life, which is why most of us never find our passion.
wickedaznidol: most people settle because it's easier to do so
RagdollRumors: but what happens when there is nothing to settle into
wickedaznidol: then you keep wandering.


On emotions:
wickedaznidol: i think emotions are a difficult thing because they aren't something you can share the burden of; it's something you feel all on your own and it's hard to take it all in
RagdollRumors: i definitely agree with that
RagdollRumors: it is something that even if you wanted to share with someone, you never truly could just because it is soemthing so personal and complex that you can hardly even put it into your own words for yourself to understand... let alone someone else
RagdollRumors: perhaps that is the point of our continuous emotional rollercoaster.. the fact that we have to go on that ride all by ourselves... no matter how scared we are... there is only a ticket for one... and there is nothing we can do about it
RagdollRumors: our emotions make us who we are... the way we deal or dont deal is just our rollercoaster taking us through dips and turns
RagdollRumors: when we arent ready... and we cant figure out how to put on our seat belts and buckle up... and until we can figure that out.. we have to do all that we can just to stay in the cart and not plummet down into the ground

Some people don't believe that deep conversations can happen over AIM. I won't lie, I used to think that too. But I hadn't been talking to the right people. I don't believe it matters the means of communication you use; deep conversations can happen at any time. I am a fan of the written word so it doesn't surprise me to find the deep wisdom in words of others, or even in my own words. It makes me wish more people would engage in these kinds of conversations, but I suppose if everybody did it would make the conversations I do have with certain people less incredible. Or maybe not. I can't play that guessing game when it comes to this because everybody presents a different view.

So then...what is happiness? What is passion? What is truth? What are emotions?

But then again, like Cheever once told me, it's not our job to understand life; it's our dharma to live it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

08.

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection." -Anaïs Nin

I was re-reading Facebook notes I've written in the past. I do that often, not just with notes, but with old journals and blog entries. Whenever I look back on them, I remember why I still keep them around: Because they always teach me something. It's the same reason why I go back to my Philosophy journals and papers too. Our wisest teachers can often be our past selves. As strange as that sounds, I learn something every time I go back to a moment in time.

Originally written: May 27, 2008:
I remember a year ago around this time, we were all sitting around wondering what college would be like, and now with this first year coming to a close, I've come to truly understand what Alanis Morissette meant when she sang: "You live, you learn."

Through the ups-and-downs, the silly arguments, the stress of school, and experiencing "firsts," we've lived in ways we never thought we could, but in learning, what I've realized is that the world can crumble but there will always be best friends to pick you back up. I don't think I could have made it through this first year without those connections and knowing that we are all living and learning.

When I look back on this year, it almost seems unreal - Did all of that really happen? I've learned that you need to talk, without communication everything can crumble. I've learned that life really is all about compromise, but that doesn't mean you can't stand up for your beliefs. I've learned that friendships only work if the effort goes both ways, and no matter how hard you try, those who refuse to leave the cave cannot be forced. I've learned that just because you live with people doesn't mean you need to force friendships with them either. I've learned that some people choose to be unhappy. I've learned that 2 a.m. is when you find out who your true friends are - the ones who go on walks around campus or spend minutes to an hour on the phone or have the most random AIM conversations with you. I've learned that for all of the racists, prejudiced people, and Atheists, there are still shining examples of hope out there. I've learned that love is not abuse, and with that, you can't be afraid to speak up to the people who know you best - no matter how much it scares you. I've learned that no matter how far you travel and no matter how much you take in, you can never let yourself forget where you came from, because the moment you forget that, you lose so much of yourself that it's only easier to spiral downwards.

I've noticed a trend in myself for most of my life to often fall down that spiral, and I let myself be taken advantage of by others. Only when I realize this do I force myself to stand up, cut ties, and move forward. I'd always been afraid to ask for help, and up until now I still was. It took something terrifying for me to finally realize for the first time in my life that some things just can't be fought against without help.

At the same time, there are things that need to be faced alone - I need to motivate myself to go out there and take control of my future. We can't always just sit around and wait for people or opportunities to come to us. Chances often pass us by, and I lucked out with my job, but I know I couldn't have taken it and grown if I was still held down by the drama.

And with that, I have learned that through it all, life keeps on going, whether you're prepared for it or not. The best we can do is to just keep rolling with it, stringing together the pieces of the puzzle we pick up along the way.

"Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here, and don't give a damn what anyone thinks." -Grey's Anatomy

Friday, March 27, 2009

07.

"When my horse is running good, I don't stop to give him sugar." -William Faulkner

I'd like to say that explains why I sometimes forget to eat, but I think it's only part of the reason. When I'm on a roll--writing, reading, etc.--I don't want to interrupt it by petty things such as food! As ridiculous of a reason as that may be, I think it adequately describes my workaholic tendencies. But I might as well work hard now while I can, I think.

My second year of college is almost over, and more and more I've been thinking about life after school. I'm not sure where I'll end up or what will happen when I end up there. "The dream" was always to move to New York and dive into life there, but often times that's something that only works in movies and TV. I don't think I want to stay in Southern California unless I have a damn good reason to. As much as I love home, I don't think I could move back there either.

I know it's "the future" and I shouldn't worry about it now, but before I know it I'm sure it'll creep up and I don't want to be caught off guard. --And of course as I type that sentence I think about Philosophy class and everything it taught me. It's an odd place to be at and I'm not sure quite where to go from here. I feel like I need my sisters because they always know what to say.

Ah, life. "Where do we go from here?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

06.

"Endless conflicts. Endless misunderstanding. All life is that. Great and little cannot understand one another." -H.G. Wells

People kind of confuse me. I don't understand - You try to be a decent human being and make up for certain errors of your way, and people will continue to misread and misunderstand you. I think that's rather frustrating because I've never been in a place where so many people encounter so many misconceptions about one another. Maybe my world was too sheltered before, I don't know, but it surprises me that I have found more negativity in the past year and a half than I have encountered...really, ever. Maybe California is just divided up into two very different zones? I don't know.

I asked somebody a little while ago what she liked about UCI and Irvine and her response was, "I like being here because it reminds me how much better Norcal is." I laughed, but when I think about it, it's true. I don't know what it is that separates the two so much. When I'm down here, I feel like a different person, in both good and bad ways. I've finally gotten to a place where I feel as motivated as the person I was in high school, and I'm starting to gain respect from people (granted, not my peers, but it's still an improvement). I don't think I'm as strong or confident as I used to be--much of me was broken down and I've yet to find a solid way to recover--but I will get there because I know I still have the support and love of my best friends, even though they are miles and miles away.

Life is odd and full of misunderstandings and confusion. I guess surviving through it is what makes you stronger. I think when we get out of college, we're all a hell of a lot stronger than we ever thought we could be.

05.

"There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money either." -Robert Graves

I love learning. I love gaining new knowledge and sharing it with others. I don't, however, enjoy the price tag accompanied with learning now. What makes me hesitant to take 21 units? The real answer is the price of books. I think nearly $300 for books is a bit excessive. I spent about $60 last quarter on books, most of which were barely touched in class but bought because the instructor/professor required them and then changed their mind halfway through the quarter. By then, it's too late to get a full refund from the bookstore. I sold my books back last week and got $10 for them. That's about a -$50 profit.

I would like to take summer school so that I can get my foreign language requirement done so I can spend my next two years at school taking classes for my majors and that I will enjoy - but the extreme raise in tuition for summer school has stopped that from happening. That, in my opinion, is a problem with both "required education" and with money.

Would I like to go to graduate school and pursue a higher education? That would be nice, but the price tag is not so pleasant. I hate that I am being overcharged for my current undergraduate education--and yes, I do feel I am being overcharged, because when I look at the bill I am being charged for ridiculous things and facilities I may or may not use.

ASUCI fees? What am I paying you for exactly? The shuttles which I don't use?

And what is Measure S and why am I spending $8 a quarter on it?

$136.50 on Student Center fees? Is it so UCI can finally pay off those building expenses even though there was nothing wrong with the old Student Center? How often do I use the Student Center anyways?

$23 for the Bren Center which I have never set foot in once - why?

$70 for the ARC, which I go to maybe a few times a quarter. There's no parking anyways! Another fee for the athletics facility? Isn't that the ARC? Or is there another one around here, one that I DO NOT USE.

And what? What?! $33 for "Campus Spirit" fees??? WHAT IS THAT?!

In short, I think this is as ridiculous as my obnoxious upstairs neighbors, and yet these fees must be paid in order to continue my pursuit of education and further my love of learning. Oh, the irony.

Friday, March 20, 2009

03./04.

"Saying what we think gives a wider range of conversation than saying what we know." -Cullen Hightower

Though quite the conservative man, I like this quote from Cullen Hightower. I often say that I wish I could read minds, but only for 24 hours. I think it could get quite frustrating, always knowing what everyone thinks and feels. It would also take away some of the mystery in people, which would make life too predictable.

Rather than being able to predict a person's next move, I am more interested in hearing what people think. What goes through your mind? Conversations filled with simple facts are never as engaging as an exchange of thoughts.

* * *

"Storytelling is healing. As we reveal ourselves in story, we become aware of the continuing core of our lives under the fragmented surface of our experience. We become aware of the multifaceted, multi-chaptered 'I' who is the storyteller. We can trace out the paradoxical and even contradictory versions of ourselves that we create for different occasions, different audiences...Most important, as we become aware of ourselves as storytellers, we realize that what we understand and imagine about ourselves is a story. And when we know all this, we can use our stories to heal and make ourselves whole." -Susan Wittig Albert

Self-explanatory, I feel. I had more to say about that first quote, but while watching this re-run of last week's Tyra Show on dating abuse (aired after the Oprah episode mentioned in a previous post), I can only find myself back in contemplation.

I had said I didn't have much to say about the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident. I still don't have much to express, but to honor the first part of this post, what I think about it is that the whole situation is frustrating. It's frustrating to hear about any abusive relationship - whether it be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, etc. It's frustrating to be in it too.

Some think there is a thin line between arguing and abuse, but I think there's a pretty well-defined line. Simple arguments don't leave one person physically injured or emotionally cut in half. When you're left questioning your self-worth because you're told you're not good enough for anyone, I consider it abuse. When you're pushing and screaming to defend yourself, when you're using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain, when you're being threatened - it's time to walk away. And sometimes you don't recognize it right away because you're blinded while involved, but it's there.

It's easy to say, "It'll never happen to me" or "If it happens to me, I would never let it slide." It's surprising what you do though when it does happen.

I don't like to think I hate. I don't believe I do. But I don't think I'm strong enough to forgive. Many say they still love or care about the people who have hurt them; I've learned to cut people out of my life who have done that. It's surprising how easily you close up when one person doesn't believe you, but it's also empowering when you find somebody who does. "I'm done."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

02.

"It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one's thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them." -Isabel Colegate

In The Importance of Being Earnest, the concept of journaling is of extreme importance to Gwendolyn and Cecily. Growing up, it was to me also. In some ways it still is, though with the fast-paced world of "do, do, do" it is almost as if the simple things we once loved have become a chore: Journaling, free reading, lying in the sun, etc. And even when we do journal, it's in the form of Facebook, Twitter, blogs...

I've gotten in the habit in the past quarter of carrying around a reporter's pad and a tape recorder. It's become a security blanket for me in some ways, or maybe that's just me developing into a journalist. That role already takes precedence to some.

I think that's why the written word is so powerful. Because even if you're just typing to empty space, your thoughts are still out there and maybe someone will catch on.

I'm working on something right now. I don't know how far it will actually go, but that's the beauty of spring break: Time to think, time to write, time to breathe.

01.

"Stories are living and dynamic. Stories exist to be exchanged. They are the currency of human growth." -Jean Houston

I believe words are very powerful. Conversations are powerful. They further growth in ourselves and in our relationships. When people stop talking, things slow down and life gets put on hold. Having said that, I believe that the written word is equally as powerful as the spoken word; in fact, it can be even more powerful because there are times that the spoken words are those that go unnoticed or unheard.

For me, it's always been easier to write or to type out my feelings and thoughts. I was never much of a speaker. Not that I don't enjoy it, but my thoughts feel more put together if they're not coming out of my mouth. Maybe it's because some things are better left unspoken, because I have a problem with emotions. I guard my emotions and deeper layers because I'd never expressed them before (another story, but for another time). So when it comes time to say something aloud that will bring out all sorts of emotions, I choke it back. It's a self-preservation thing.

With that being said--however much of it made sense--I still have no full comments on Chris Brown and Rihanna. I just watched last week's Oprah show about the issue and it's more thoughts to add to that compartment of my brain. That part of me, that story, has yet to be as alive and dynamic to me as it was when it first occurred. I don't know if it necessarily lives to be exchanged for my own self-preservation purposes. I believe there will be a time and place for it (preferably when I'm not drunk and being grilled for the information in a more public place than I'd like) but until then it sits with me as a reminder of the past I need to learn to let go.

I share the surface, but leave it there. Truthfully I have never shared more than the surface level details and with very few people, and only once have I ever gone in too deep to the past. Don't feel offended when I guard myself though. I surprise myself every time the words somehow manifest themselves into reality and I find myself sharing more than I thought I would and I apologize for the candidness. One of these days, I will learn to speak.