Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 24: Procrastination is King

I'm a slacker, not by nature, but it has become second nature. I like to feel the anxiety and pressure that comes at the last minute, it's a bit of an adrenaline rush that I relish and crave. Yes, it sounds silly to sit around when I could take my time to do something slowly but it's less fun to do so.

One thing I feel that I haven't been procrastinating on is worry. I worry about a lot of things, the stability of my job, the well-being of my friends and family, my job, my love life, whether or not I contribute anything to society, did I mention my job?! Growing up, I was always told that things will work out in the end. When the boat approaches the dock, it will naturally straighten itself out. I still subscribe to this belief (which I could credit with my procrastinating ways) but sometimes there's that one thing that makes you question your faith in it. In a world where all things are possible, could it be that this is the instance in which I fail?

My family parents don't approve of my life choices thus far. They think my job is stable but too far away. They think my friends will lead me astray and down a path of self-destruction in which afterwards they will abandon me in some dark alleyway and point and laugh at me. They think the guys I fall for are all wrong for me (with the exception of Benedict Cumberbatch, they've been right so far), including the one I'm seeing now. They think I'm too loud, too sloppy, and just a bit too hot-tempered to be the perfect girl, the one who's desired by the perfect Chinese man they expect me to marry. They think I'm slacking in all of these areas but out of all the things I worry about, these are at the bottom of my list. Perhaps it's the trust I have in these people, after all, a lot of them have rightfully earned it. Friends can be like your family and some members of your family end up becoming mere acquaintances. I procrastinate on a lot of things but there's a plan out there somewhere. It might look like I'm slacking but I'm just finding a way to point my boat towards the dock. I can at least be afforded that right?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 23: I am 24 Going on 14

I wouldn't say that my relationship with my mother has always been a nervous one. Sure, we've had ups and downs, a couple of spats here and there, but for the most part, my mother and I have a close relationship. I would tell her about my day, the things that I'm interested in, and she would tell me hers. At least, that's how it used to be . . .

I don't want to say that the turn of events can solely be blamed on the actions of my older siblings. Even though I feel that way, it's not the whole truth. Truth is singular yes, but it comes in multiple parts. My mother's problem, or so I believe, is that she has lived in a self-contained environment for nearly 30 years. The contact she has with the outside world is limited to the boilerplate transactions at the grocery store and the occasional pleasantry of running into someone she once knew. The change that has happened in the world frightens and angers her just as the change she sees within her own children. Being the baby of the family, I watched the pillars of my family shift from one side of the house to the other. The positions of their shadows changing with the movement of the sun. Eventually, I too joined the motions by heading off to college and pursuing a career with the federal government.

I still love my mother, I really do. But now more than ever, it hurts to say that. She's hurt me so much in the past few years that I'm not sure if we really can go back to the days we had before. Maybe she does mean well, what mother wouldn't? But her lack of trust and refusal to place a little faith in all that I do still feels like salt on a festering wound and I'm not sure how much longer I can hang on. I see more and more why my siblings did what they had to, but it doesn't mean that I can follow in their footsteps. History repeats itself over and over again until we find the way out, a way to break the cycle. I can only hope that third time's the charm before I break as well.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 15: Mysterious Ways

So . . . I'm a bad blogger. But, within reason, I have been busy at work which is where I do most of my blogging . . . which makes me a bad employee . . . but there's a lot of downtime since we're not in production . . . and sometimes I just want to do stuff other than stare at a dataset.

In the span of ten days, it seems that I've acquired a new relationship status. Well . . . I think I have . . .maybe? Still in the early days. If anyone had asked me last month if I thought I would be where I am now, I'm almost certain that I would proudly declared the continuation of my spinster like ways of critiquing my favorite television shows, baking, and laughing at random gifs on the internet. New era, new definition of spinster (forever alone).

The funny thing is, it's a refreshing experience to have to think about someone else again. Yeah, we think about our friends and family when we make our decisions (at least I think we do?) but in a relationship, particularly a new one, there's a lot about learning the likes and dislikes of the other person. We have to know their habits, show them ours, and hopefully find a middle ground to make things work. The tricky part to mine is that we work in the same office, under the same supervisor. Not quite the Jim and Pam of the Census Bureau, but really, is it even possible for there to be another "Jim and Pam"??? I'm not sure if there really was a moral to this entry other than to give a status update and to say again that I fully intend on keeping up with this blog (and keeping things short and sweet). Think about how your day went today and think back to 10 days before, are things more or less the same? Or have you transcended into an alternate version of yourself? You might be surprised.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 5: Being Weird

The first words my best friend in second grade uttered to me were "you're weird". Two days ago at work, two of my co-workers mutually agreed with glee that they both thought I was weird. Now I know that my interests don't fall within the spectrum of what other people do. I don't like going out to bars because I get bored after a while and all the people I really trust don't live within a 10-mile radius of me. I'd rather read and watch TV but when I do venture out into the world, I usually like to volunteer for special events, go for walks, and visit the surrounding museums.

I like listening to the wireless (I mean radio), there's content there that can be easily ignored but if you give it a try, it may change how you see the world. I watch the commentaries that come with DVDs for shows and movies that I really like. I can rewatch episodes of my favorite shows without questioning why I'm rewatching them. I like to go shopping and probably spend too much on clothes. I don't know what to do with my hair, it's a miracle if I brush it in morning. My apartment's messy, but to me it's just fine.

I love my family and worry about them probably more than I'm supposed to. I would do anything and everything for them because to me, that's how you love someone. I love my friends even if there are moments where I feel frustrated, sad, and even a bit envious of the exciting lives they lead. There are nights where I want to cry because I'm weird and there are nights where I forget everything that's been said and dance around my apartment to the Spice Girls. I want to learn, I want to laugh. I want to love and I think that I have so much to share. Perhaps I should change . . . but if other people refuse to change and accept that my way of life is a possibility, why should I?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 4: I'm afraid of nice guys

Whenever I describe my dating life to someone new, I'm usually met with one of two responses. The first being "aww, you'll find someone," a knee jerk reaction for most females. And the second usually contains a look of confusion coupled with a rather delayed "why?" I'm sure I'm not the first and definitely not the only 20-something who thinks that the dating scene is more difficult than completing a triathlon the same day as winning America's Best Ninja Warrior but the absentia of an active string of dates does put me in a rather tricky situation.

In my limited experience, every time a guy has been truly nice to me, there's usually a world of hurt just swirling off the horizon. My ex (the one and only) was someone who was my friend before the relationship started. We talked a lot, about our families, our interests, random things that happened that day. We had a mutual set of friends, so it felt like we knew each other for much longer than we actually did. He was caring, gave me little presents as jokes. Hindsight is always 20/20 and even as I look back at this very moment, red flags are whipping about in my mind. The point is, he fit the mold of the "nice guy". The one who listened, who had a lot of close female friends, and appeared to mean well. But somewhere between the time he said "I really like you" and "you don't have your life together", something went horribly wrong. At first I thought it was the stress of exams, hey we were in college and it's not unheard of. Once that passed, whatever tension between us remained and little by little I felt myself retreating into the dark space he felt so at ease in. He threw personally critical remarks at me and never once did I feel like he actually meant it when he apologized. I remember telling him I loved him and supported him but looking back now, I only wish I had been strong enough to get out sooner.

Things like this still haunt me, call it a ghost if you will. I haven't really had a date in the past three years and sometimes at night, when it's quiet and not even a siren wails, I can still hear the things he said. They weren't as clear as before but they're definitely still there. This wasn't my only brush with a nice guy turned nasty guy. One other showed me the possibility of being physically hurt and another betrayed my trust. Neither of them were in romantic settings but it's still enough to make me question why things like this keep happening. Neither of these incidents were linked together with the exception of me, I am the common denominator.

As I venture into the foray of my latter twenties and the nonstop engagement reel that is facebook, I'm left to battle with the grizzly demons of relationships past. Just as I feel like I'm making progress, they pull me back in and hit me right in the kisser. It hurts, but hopefully I'll be able to bounce back from the ropes stronger than ever. Can I get a "yo Adrian"?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 3: Dressing for the Job You Want

One of the events that the commerce school at my college annually held was called "Dressing for the Job You Want". It was always hosted by the local Banana Republic in the evening hours when everyone hypothetically didn't have those hour long discussion classes where participation accounted for 10% of your overall grade. Male and female students alike would show up, grab a mocktail, and wave their measly 15% discounts as if they were proud flags of an oncoming revolution. I remember going to one of these events and walking away with the impression that in order to succeed in life, one must dress like the stuffy neutral colored section of a Banana Republic advertisement. A jacket is required always, accompanied by a smart shirt (blouse for women, because obviously women don't just wear shirts *cough*), and a skirt or well tailored trousers with sensible shoes. Prints and bright colors were reserved for the people with fun, creative jobs in advertising or at non-profits. Hence, I walked into 92% of my interviews dressed as such (except I couldn't afford Banana Republic, so my clearance priced TJ Maxx suit would have to do).

Three years and some credit card bills later, I've found myself draping the likes of J.Crew, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor LOFT, and Marshall's finds on my slightly hunched shoulders. My work wardrobe probably isn't as serious as it should be since I model a lot of my outfits after magazine and television suggestions (bless  Zooey Deschanel, Jayma Mays, and the cast of Mad Men) but I think it clearly defines me as a working professional. There's an edge of seriousness, we are still talking about standard pieces like a work dress or shirt and skirt pairings, but with punches of color and print for an added whimsical effect. Black may be my best color, but it doesn't always represent the way I feel.

Of course, the caveat to my view is that I work outside of the beltway. I know not everyone can do this and sometimes it is absolutely necessary to look put together every single freaking day. I give immense props to bloggers like CapHillStyle and ExtraPetite who maintain that level of polish. Whatever your office dress code may be, just dress for your environment and level of comfort. Don't think you have to look a certain way because some television show says that you should show up to your job in a three piece Italian suit (although I'm sure many would enjoy the exquisite sartorial view). Some federal offices and investment banks require you to be in full professional dress. Blouses with cute little animal prints and neon should maintain a 500 yard distance from those places at all times and some offices may even require the use of *gasp* pantyhose. I think the key thing is to remember that when dressing for work and for life, it's good to dress for the setting but you should never lose who you are.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 2: Teaching a dog new tricks

Because of my racial background, most people would look at me and assume that my mother was one of those "tiger moms" who pushed me into grueling practice sessions in front of a piano when I was younger. Don't get me wrong, I do have a tiger mom but when your father is the head cook of a local Chinese restaurant in the not so nice part of town, music lessons cost more than we could afford. Not to mention the two older siblings who were heading to college and had to buy all of those fancy nice smelling textbooks.

Truth is, I've always really wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument. I'm actually one of those sick twisted Asian children who secretly kind of wished my mom had pushed me into doing all of those things. But because my family's financial standings were far from those of Amy Chua, tiger mom or Amy Tan, I never got to go to the piano lessons or the fancy summer advancement camps. I suppose it's only natural now that when I hear a piece on the violin (my string of choice), I kind of wish I could pick up one of them and sway along, to literally pull the strings of my extended heart. It's one thing to hear a song with words and be able to sing them out and another to listen to a beautifully crafted piece of music and not be able to express everything it makes you feel.

In my attempts to be a more well-rounded person and to achieve a life of no regrets, I spent a good part of my evening and morning looking up beginner's violin classes around the DC metro area for adults. You would think that in an area that has the Kennedy Center and celebrates musicians from all around the country, that the options would go on to at least page 3 of Google. But to my surprise, there were only 4 or 5 actual hits for private lessons and Joshua Bell's wikipedia article on his L'Enfant Plaza experiment. I don't know how well I would do in a private lessons setting, I generally like to learn as part of a group. I'm also afraid my debilitating social awkwardness might be the end of me in a one-on-one environment. So far, the place that looks the most promising is the Capitol Hills Art Workshop however, it doesn't look like they have any classes available at the moment. My search continues, but this is one of the things I would really like to do in my life. Perhaps I'll start with that online Guitar class on coursera for now.

Monday, May 6, 2013

166 Days and Counting

Summer vacations in my life meant one of three things, yard work, a trip to Washington D.C., and innumerable hours spent in front of the television in the living room. Fast forward about 18 years, past the rest of the lazy summer days and endless hours of heat and humidity, I am now a 24 year old federal employee working and living in Washington D.C. with no yard to call my own and innumerable hours spent in front of a television set.

When you watch as much television as I do, you start to notice the little scripts in life. Things we should and shouldn't do, the sort of unwritten social code that every seems to follow. It's just as scandalous to abandon a life with a stable paying job to live as a street performer as it is to be romantically entangled with an older man in a symbiotic relationship where one party gets financial assistance and the other gets a fine piece of ass. Things rarely experience drastic changes and if they do, the aftermath lasts just long enough to make people wish for the things they once had.

To be honest, I once scoffed at the idea of a quarter life crisis. For one, it assumes that most of us will live to 100 (which isn't as farfetched as it once was) and two, it assumes that for the past 20-something years, we have been wandering listlessly waiting for things to finally shake up. Will things really change as much as people say? Or will it just be another birthday where I won't even remember to correct myself when I tell someone how old I was last year? Perhaps I'll know by day 167.