Three years overdue

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The last time I used this space, my specific goals and uncertainties (read: anxieties) were different. It’s been so long. In fact, in trying to make this post, I had difficulty choosing an image, but I feel like I chose the right one. I can’t help but roll my eyes a little bit, because it is from snapchat and yes there is a filter, but out of all the Ingrid Michaelson-inspired watercolor splatters I’ve made (all one of them), I am pretty proud of this.  And it’s applicable to these last three years in the way that catchy indie pop songs are.

If all my relationships stayed the same over these past years, I wouldn’t have a problem doing some sort of month-by-month recap. But as I scoured the folders on my laptop, the faces I saw, the memories I was attempting to capture, they were full of people that I no longer talk to. There are some that I cut out of my life intentionally, and some who have drifted away by accident. Through it all, I realized I was nostalgic for the feelings. Things like the warm touches and the laughs that made my belly ache and those really good meals every time we would splurge at a restaurant – all of that I missed. But if I’m being honest, there aren’t many people I actually want to reach out to and try to make things work. No rekindling, no reconnecting. Such is life.

But this doesn’t mean I want to avoid the people in these photographs, no. If we’re brought together, I’d want to talk to them. I’d want to see how they are doing. “How are you doing? Is this what you thought it’d be?” I’d ask.

(“Are you happy?” is what I mean)

And if they asked, or if you want to know how I’m doing, I’d tell you: I’m content. I am now anchored into my community, and I will be here as long as they will have me.

I’ve learned so much in these three years, and I know there’s so much to come. I’m excited to share it with you all.

To 2015

Things I want to be better at
Some goals, accompanied by a ballpoint sketch of my likeness

It’s that time of year again – the time when Facebook gives you aesthetically pleasing end-of-year retrospectives and we all try to dream up some goals for the unmarked squares on the calendar. There are sweets and twinkling lights everywhere and our wallets have become much lighter than usual.

It’s the holiday season, friends. And it’s time to reflect.

But for the first time (in forever?), I don’t think this will be as lengthy as the posts I made in years past. Part of this could be the fact that I’ve become better at debriefing and checking in with others verbally. It is also possible that I prefer sharing the details of my service day with my teammates simply because they get it, without any extended explanation needed. There’s comfort in that.

Yet I can’t help but wonder what others see during our mini-reunions over breaks and weekends. Before dismissing this as an irrelevant insecurity, it’s important to note that this is a natural curiosity. No matter how strong our sense of self is, the question has crossed our minds: “What are you thinking when you look at me?”

I imagine they see me as busy and tired. Those are true statements. But do they see the intentional moves I have made? Or perhaps beyond that: Am I myself able to see how I’ve changed/am changing?

It’s a strange place to be in, but one that becomes clearer with constant check-ins with yourself. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do. With every get-together, I’m realizing that the goal isn’t to make another person completely, one thousand percent, no-questions-asked understand you, but instead to gather plain ol’ support.

We need all the support we can get. The world is too chaotic for us to just let everything pass through us.

This is not a blog post

By adrianserghie at deviantART

It’s been a while since I wrote something up here. I think I had the blogging itch for about two weeks, and then I was back to writing in my physical journal. But I want to be better at updating this thing (she says, echoing the countless other times she has said this on other blogs).

However, in order to do that, I should probably have something I want to say and share with others. That’s the whole point of a public blog, right?

For a while I was posting about my own life experiences, but that puts me in a situation where I have a finite amount of material – and then these posts inadvertently began to resemble pieces of advice. Upon noticing this, I began to feel uncomfortable. Am I qualified to make those judgements and dispense advice? I mean, what do I really know about the world? Continue reading “This is not a blog post”

All the news that’s fit to share

New York Times newsroom, 1942: Good ol’ days of white male journalism. (Library of Congress, public domain)

Back in March, I had the privilege of attending a student and faculty luncheon with journalist Jeffrey Brown and his wife, Paula Crawford. It was a nice, intimate affair – no more than twenty people there, I would say. As I sat there, attempting to eat my sandwich with grace while following the conversation, a couple of things ran through my mind:

  1. I’m so glad I’m here and I didn’t have to use one of my ten weekly dining hall swipes. Maybe tonight I can go to late night.
  2. Holy crap Jeffrey Brown is in this room and across the table wow wow wow
  3. Awesome, we’re talking about the future of journalism. Looking forward to getting perspective from the people in the room (professors and guests alike) who have experience in the industry.
  4. This conversation is not going where it could (should) be going.
  5. Maybe if I eat these potato chips I can drown out the sound of shameless networking happening right in front of me.

Make no mistake, it was a good experience, promise. But I couldn’t help but think that a fair amount of the media veterans in that room were having a hard time embracing the new media-turn that journalism appears to be taking, with things like hashtags, infotainment, and listicles on the clear rise. Continue reading “All the news that’s fit to share”

It’s time to come together

I was never a cool Asian.

I mean, to be fair, I wasn’t really anything in high school, aside from being that quiet, short-haired girl who wore a lot of My Chemical Romance merchandise.

Justher, circa 2006. That dye job, though.

I moved to a new town just as I was starting high school. To make a long story short, it was rough. It was during high school that I first learned about the superficial drive to achieve; the idea of striving for “excellence” not because of any observable, palpable personal desire, but because it would help pad college applications (and other post-high school endeavors). And while I realize now that this is what so many of us do to survive, it’s important to note that for someone as wide-eyed and idealistic as me, learning about this fact of life was heartbreaking.  This, paired with the common insecurities that take root during adolescence (Do people like me? How can I be accepted?) – it was not a good combination.

And so began my quest for authenticity.

It wasn’t until college that I was able to look at myself in the mirror and make a conscious effort to love myself – breakouts, eyelid creases, dress size and all. It wasn’t until college that I had a chance to learn about all of these different aspects of my identity. All of this led me to learning about feminism. I frequented the Women’s Resource Center and went to Body Positive meetings throughout my sophomore year of college. I talked with my friends about the representation of women in film and television. It was as though my eyes were open for the first time and I was suddenly much more receptive to my community. I had found a community.

And yet there was still something missing. I could see it in my name (first and last), the sounds of home, the foods that brought me the most comfort… all of that was a constant reminder of what still needed to be addressed, the question that was there all along: Who am I as a Filipino American? Continue reading “It’s time to come together”