I initially intended to tell you that it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing. I was going to say it in an incredibly insightful manner – which of course would have been a monumental challenge – but then three things occurred to me:
a) I was failing to sound poetic and thoughtful, and instead sounded like I had swallowed select fragments of a thesaurus,
b) I was saying that to write in what I considered an objectively “better” way – the way other people wrote that I liked, but really I was just pretending to be more mature, and
c) it isn’t you who needs convincing, but me. After all, that’s why I cared enough about this to write about it in the first place.
Comfort zones are narrower than they seem. Also more cozy than one might expect. I guess that’s why I psych myself out when I come close to attempting anything remotely outside the boundaries of what I normally do. The “outside”, despite how close it is to the “inside”, is remarkably intimidating. There’s so much I want to do but why am I stopping? What is my limit? I never dare to find out.
Do I want to do stuff just to avoid FOMO? I doubt it, but FOMO is ~50% of why I care so much. “She’s doing so much more and doing better at it”. “He’s juggling 178298 things and doing well at them.” Maybe I should sort out my priorities and pick the right things to do rather than the fun ones. I just don’t want to give up fun. I don’t want to give up 8 hours of sleep. I don’t want to give up having time to relax, and eat proper meals, and having empty blocks of nothing time. I know that’s short-sighted.
Am I just going at my own pace or am I afraid to venture forth? I think it’s the latter, but that acknowledgement doesn’t change the fact. I don’t know my limits, but is that limiting or freeing? What’s wrong with having everything crash down? I can always just get up, can’t I? This isn’t a one-chance thing.
P.S. in case you were wondering why the dramatic tone, it isn’t actually dramatic at all. I just really like my classes and might drop one – and the one outside my comfort zone scares me, despite the fact that I really tried to get in. It’s both more work than I anticipated and very different work from what I’m used to – which I suppose will be rewarding if I really try. I could also just keep the 19 units – people do that all the time. But do you see what I mean? I’m comparing to an arbitrary metric of people who I may or may not know, and who I most definitely am not. I may or may not be capable, but who’s to say that? Also. Friends have been trying to get me to rush and I want to but I don’t want to kill myself with no sleep and/or kill my grades with no time to work. But they survived rush so it just feels like I’m making excuses. Also. My friends do incredibly interesting stuff that I never apply to but really want to do. Also. Most of my friends are taking 4 techs which I should be doing but am not which makes me feel like this is my one light(-er) semester and this is when I should be rushing/taking on more extracurricular activities/interesting coursework/deCals.
Also. I have been overthinking instead of actually doing any work (or sleeping).
PPS. the semester (i.e. the past week) has actually been going really well. Apart from chem and physics, which are just… ordinary*, I’ve been really enjoying my other classes. Maybe because I have friends now as opposed to last semester when I was really anxious about every tiny detail. But really, it’s been good, despite this whole post (falsely) implying otherwise.
*(actually. I’m also p excited about chem project!!!! intimidated. but excited!!!! I wish stuff weren’t graded then I’d be less worried about every 3987491 thing and would take more risks and do more ambitious things)
It doesn’t feel like the end of a year. So much has happened over the span of a year that the beginning of this year feels like forever ago. One year ago, I was stressing out over college application essays. I started off 2017 rushing to finish and submit my application to one of my top choice colleges. I was sure I wouldn’t get in, and I was right, but things worked out in the end. The first quarter of 2017 was essentially three months of anxiety over what was going to happen, if everything would be okay, uncertainty over where I’d be going. Then college decisions rolled in, and the anxiety shifted to making the “right” choice. And leaving KY and leaving home and family and friends. Somewhere in the midst of this someone told me I can’t plan everything. She was right, but looking back now, somewhere along the way I think I also lost a dimension of myself – the part of me that had a plan. Moving countries (continents!!) to a place halfway across the world, trying to settle in, trying to find friends has been harder than I expected it to be. Missing home and family and friends has been hard. I didn’t really expect it to before. Honestly, reconsidering that “right” choice, I don’t know if I chose right, but I definitely chose it myself. A reflection of my year: the only reason I’m surviving is because of the people who love me and support me and do everything for me. Because along the way in the last 2.5 years, I slowly lost the girl who was determined, disciplined, diligent, caring, kind and strong, and other people have had to make up for it. It took me by surprise to realize I don’t love the things I used to love anymore, and I don’t care about people the way I used to anymore. 2017 has been extremely kind to me and I’ve come a long way (physically at least). My family have been the greatest support I could’ve asked for, as always. As were my friends, old and new. It’s been a good year.
But 2018, clichéd as this sounds, is the time I find that girl again. She’s still around, waiting to be called back into action.
True to my nature as a procrastinator, I procrastinated on writing and posting a ton of stuff. Now I barely remember details, but I’m going to get as much as I can remember written down now.
October 16, 2017
1. Becca: we’re a very huggy bunch, aren’t we? I mean I’m hugging people I met yesterday.
She’s right. We are a very huggy bunch. But I like that I can get hugs so easily
Especially from Boyce
2. The next day after spending the whole day with these people
I introduce Joanne to Jen and Sarah
And say: this is Jennifer and this is Becca
they don’t even look alike. The only thing they have in common is that they’re both sop 1s. I’m starting to have more sympathy for white people who think all Asians look the same. (PS I wonder why they categorize East Asians as Asians and Indians as Indians???? India is in Asia. At least it was the last time I checked, maybe it’s changed since then)
3. I like hugs. Have I said that before? I want more. (edit Dec 29: Another very huggy person: Nicole! Which is nice. Because I see her a lot. I can get hugs for no reason)
4. Last Friday in maths we were learning about least squares approximations. And the prof said so if I have x=0 and x =1, can I say the best solution is x=0.5?
The whole class laughed
Some guy in the class said “what are we, engineers?”
guess what the best solution is, in fact, 0.5.
5. Sometimes I think all the years of music education was wasted on me. I’m not remotely creative and I’m unable to appreciate classical music. I’m embarrassed to say I was yawning through the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance – and in case it wasn’t clear, they’re REALLY GOOD.
December 29, 2017
So, some background because the bullet points probably didn’t make sense. I should probably start from the beginning, shouldn’t I? When I first came to Berkeley, the one thing I knew I wanted to do was join an a cappella group. I had no idea what extracurriculars related to my major I wanted to do (and eventually I decided to take it easy and not really do anything fall semester – major bad decision, since I didn’t do exceptionally well academically anyway and it made me feel highkey incompetent, but that’s a story for another day) but I really wanted to sing. However, (and here comes the caveat we all knew was coming because I’m not good at suspense) I am not a great singer. I was a really good singer at some point in my life before I decided to be a rebellious teen and give in to my laziness and quit. But that’s over and I am not anymore and I have a terrible range and zero technique and have not seriously tried to do anything about it or even go back. Though I do eventually want to go back. I wish I didn’t quit because yes everyone was right and I
was am dumb and selfish and school was the best time to learn stuff because who knows if I will ever have the time or resources again? Time is probably just an excuse. Moving on. In the beginning of every semester, all the a cappella groups put on a show together called “Welcome Back A Cappella” and sing a couple songs each, promote their groups and tell people about upcoming auditions. So obviously I went. And loved it (mostly, anyway). And decided to audition for a bunch of groups including the UC Women’s Chorale (aka UCWC aka chorale because I’m lazy to type). UCWC wasn’t one of the groups I really wanted to be in mainly because it was huge and I’ve been in choirs for really long and I wanted to do something different. But obviously, a cappella groups are difficult to get into if you’re not good at singing and I basically (suprise surprise) got rejected after the first round of every audition – except UCWC (which by the way only had one round of auditions and doesn’t have a limit on how many members to accept so I actually got to do the sight-singing without getting kicked out after singing a prepared piece).
And I’m glad. It’s been challenging. It’s been harder to sight-read than I thought, and harder to remember intervals, and much harder to count than I thought. Harder to hear then immediately sing without humming the first note. Considering that some people come in not knowing how to read music, I have a newfound respect for their learning to sight read so fast because really, it is HARD to look at a piece of music and immediately sing it with three other voice parts without first having gone through it once on your own. It’s also been a lot of fun.
Now to tell you the actual story about #1-3*: I went on a retreat with some of the girls from chorale. I initially didn’t want to go because I didn’t know people well and I was afraid it’d be awkward and anyway it wasn’t our retreat, it was the alumni chorus’s retreat that they invited us to and what if very few others decided to go how awkward would that be yada yada. But I eventually decided to go because I was tired of being cooped up in Berkeley and FOMO looking at other people’s social media. Honestly I’m really glad I went. It was so much fun. The place was beautiful and it was a lot of singing (funny how I loved the Bach cantata after singing it 1747202 times. I’m not a huge Bach fan. Two months after the concert I can still remember quite a bit of it *ein feeeeeeeeste burgist unser got. Ein gute wehr und waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafen* I can remember more but I’m lazy to type and I can’t remember which German words to capitalize. The nouns, I know, but I don’t know which the nouns are) and I felt SO much better after that. Chorale this semester has been a lot of fun. I performed a bunch of times: Halloween, Fall Showcase, concert with the alumni, the Big Sing (due to which I still think of the lyrics of Michelle as “Stanfurd, absurd”). Went to the retreat, dinner a couple times, the Bonfire Rally before the Big Game, an after-party (which by the way was hilarious. drunk choir members singing = still miraculously in tune. drunk friends playing video games = still beating me, this one isn’t miraculous i just absolutely suck at video games) with chorale people. Alto 2 is a lot of fun. I know I only ended up in Alto 2 because Alto 1 had more people and sometimes reaching the lowest notes strains my voice (I was on the border between Alto 1 and 2 in the audition) BUT I am staying there. No question. It makes me sad that so many Alto 2s are leaving at the end of spring semester 😦
Really what struck me a lot – not just about chorale but about events here in general – was that everything was super chill. Planning any performance/event before this I guess I’ve been uptight and stressed about stuff but its a lot less here. Sure, sometimes things are a little disorganized (just a little, really) but it is so much more relaxed and no one’s being a perfectionist. Which helps a lot.
Now I’ll stop rambling and paste a bunch of photos (some stolen from friends’ facebook pages).
Halloween show: hiding the fact that I don’t really look like a Hogwarts student enough since I couldn’t find a striped tie (also no surprise my eyes are closed)
Retreat: I did say it was beautiful
Retreat: I actually really like this photo
Suddenly reminded of that stone where Sam was trying to write 3 words for each person with the same number of letters in each word and mine ended up being …dances sexily
yes. you read that right.
Fall show: Alto 2! (picked the one pic my eyes aren’t closed in HA)
Fall show: Fall colours
*I wanted to digress but I thought I’d done that too much already so here’s the digression: I never used sharps/hashtags/wtv-u-call-them to denote “no.” before coming here!!! why is #5 such a thing why don’t people just write 5. or 5) idek. Also if you have a subtopic 4.3 in the textbook and there’s an exercise on it with a bunch of questions on it:
they call each
question problem an exercise and i do not know what they call the whole thing in its entirety
I asked a question once saying I need help with Q31 on Exercise 4.3 and the instructor was just reALLY confused about what I was asking apparently I was supposed to type 4.3.31 or Exercise 31 from 4.3 or #31 from 4.3
(let me try my hand at fiction ok I can’t be that bad, can I?….I can, you judge.)
The Man in Rainbow Clothes
I once used to try to expect only good from people. Then I moved to another city, in another country. The new city was different. It was scary. I was told to be skeptical of those I met on the streets. I was told the same before, too, but now it was easier to ignore individuals and place them in a box. It probably wasn’t a function of location, but of unfamiliarity and the lack of company. It doesn’t matter why. I started to put people in boxes, primarily by appearance.
I saw a man on a street. I don’t remember which street. Actually, I’m not even sure I did. I think I saw this man on a street. It may have been somewhere else. He wore a tie-dyed rainbow shirt and tie-dyed rainbow pants, a white beard and a smile. I put him in a box. They sold tie-dyed clothes at a corner near where I lived. I’d seen many people in tie-dyed shirts and pants. I may have seen this man multiple times, but I don’t remember. He was just another person who lived in that box in my mind.
I do remember one specific time I saw this man, because I was onstage. Was I supposed to be the entertainer? Because his love for the music was certainly a lot more entertaining. I loved watching. I may have held a (still slightly skeptical) conversation with him later. He seemed very happy.
I remember the next time I met the man. I’d gone caroling with a friend. He waved at us. We sang on a corner with songbooks and candles and coffee. The man was on the other side of the not-quite-semicircle. He was wearing tie-dyed clothes and his smile. When it was over, someone gave us popcorn. We said goodbye to the man before we left. I didn’t notice, but he wasn’t holding popcorn. My friend didn’t like popcorn. She offered it to him, but he said he didn’t eat popcorn. We wished him Merry Christmas and went on our way.
I met the man again. We talked. Amongst other things, about how he was doing, what he liked, his favorite color, how I was doing.
This man was interesting. He made me question my initial assessment. Why did I put him in that box? That box didn’t involve concerts and attendance records; popcorn and coffee; semicircles and singers; or names in different languages, purple shirts and thrift stores.
I’m not saying putting people in boxes by appearance hasn’t been useful. I need to stay safe. I’m not happy about it, but it’s true. But not everyone is the same, and maybe my sorting was flimsy. This man probably did fit in that initial box, but he fits in many more too. Many that I probably wouldn’t expect. And when all the boxes are put together, they wouldn’t form a box. He wouldn’t, altogether, fit in any box.
But really, that’s true of everyone, isn’t? We don’t fit in boxes – unless you’re an engineer using approximations.
It has done its job, I’m dead. Please redirect all mail intended for me to 1740201, Underworld.
I cannot tell if college is supposed to be lonely and I just can’t deal with it, or if it isn’t supposed to be. I don’t know why it bothers me so much – I never used to need to be surrounded by people. I hate feeling invisible. I hate feeling so needy and whiny and bothering people who have their own lives. I hate the 16-hour time difference. I hate being confined to this space, literally and figuratively, though I know that confinement is partially of my own doing. I hate that I’m drowning academically and it’s too late to do anything about it and the next seven semesters are probably only going to get worse. The cold and rain and dark are depressing. And yes, I know, this is California and it’s worse everywhere else but I just want the sunshine and warmth and for it to be bright till 7pm. I want to be maybe a bit more stable and independent and disciplined and have a firmer grasp on school and life and less of a dependent deadweight that is a pointless burden. Thinking of the next three weeks scares me. Thinking of winter break also scares me. Thinking of consequences scares me.
those are all things I suck at. Big time. Why am I up at 5 am having stared at a screen and a bunch of books for the last 5 hours and still not have an argument the day before this is due
plus the 18401739302 other things due
and everything else i don’t have the energy to talk about now
aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I am going to suffocate
side note: wonder when i started using language that needs to be filtered (very heavily) in both speech and writing
As per the title, this was written back in June. I don’t know why I never published it; probably just forgot.
~ It feels traitorous (not exactly the word I’m looking for, but I can’t find it) to say this, but I don’t feel excited at all. A part of me feels nervous, worried, anxious, annoyed, sad; the bigger part just feels empty.
I’ve spent most of the last few days holed up in my room, scrolling through social media and just doing nothing. I feel guilty. It’s a strange sort of guilt, though. I used to feel guilty because I wasn’t studying, but now it’s because I should be spending these last few days with friends, not hiding alone pretending not to exist and binge-watching some stupid TV show. I mean, it might be alright if it wasn’t a stupid TV show, but this is just plain bad.
I haven’t began packing up. Mostly because I’m lazy, but also because a sliver of me just doesn’t want to admit that I’m emptying this room for good. Once I pack up, it’s evidence. I’m no longer the occupant. I’m no longer going to come in here in the evenings and lie on my bed and laze; not going to go to Joanne’s room and chill; not going to Iris’ room to do maths or chem or physics; not going to have Tasha or Sarah over just talking about random things; not going to be woken up by Maryam saying ‘hey its already 7.40 don’t you have class?’; not going to do a lot of things again. Not going to see a lot of people ever again.
Yesterday afternoon I went to Joanne’s with Mei Yen and we watched Enchanted together. Enchanted is still an amazing movie 10 years later; it’s enchanting. But some of the magic was lost by me being too nostalgic and not being present in the moment. And then in the evening I walked with Joanne, met Ze-Xin, bazaar closed, walked back
Talking in Joanne’s chalet
Talking to Allyna: let’s not be small talk friends
Allyna’s very mature, I guess. I have a lot to learn. I know moving and changing is a part of life, but it’s hard to let go, to accept, to not be too sad, to not live in the past.
I’m sorry that this post was very negative, but I’m just sad at the moment, I guess. (well, not just at the moment, this has been going on for weeks) Not at all detached. I’m going to miss this. I’m going to miss my friends. I know we live in the 21st century, long-distance communication has never been easier, but it’s not the same as meeting in person, you know? What I’ve learned so far is that when it’s long distance you just lose touch with the lives of people you care about. You stop giving as much information to them about your life. There’s too much to explain, background information that they’re now not going to get because they’re elsewhere in a different environment (and maybe culture) entirely. It takes more time, more effort, more energy, that sometimes maybe you just don’t have. Maybe I’ve just been terrible at keeping in touch and when I try, I’ve never been successful at keeping it anything other than superficial. But this time I’m going to try as hard as I can because all these people are gems I don’t want to lose. ~
// I guess all I can say 5 months later is that, for the most part, I’ve been trying to keep in touch with some people. I’m not doing super well, but ya. Ok. Not everyone, but some.
Sometimes we’re tired.
Sometimes we just want to sleep.
That’s okay too.
Sometimes we also want to disappear.
Even that’s okay –
but just let me know if you ever find the cloak of invisibility.