On Perseverance Beyond One’s Comfort Zone

To all my struggling college students working part time jobs for cash and basically full-time unpaid internships; to all my college student community leaders who are beginning to ask themselves why they are stressed out over things they are receiving little thanks or recognition for; my young adult friends not entirely sure of what they’re doing and looking back on college wondering where all their potential went; to anyone who has asked themselves, “Why am I continually stretching myself thin and literally putting MYSELF in situations that demand time and brainpower when I could be resting somewhere comfortable?”

It is worth it. It is worth it to learn if you can handle the stress of dealing with people who don’t understand, who don’t listen, who are just as confused as you are about what the right course of action is. It is worth it to learn everything you can from that part time job and full time internship or Eboard position. Open your eyes to the industry, the struggle of juggling everything, the hard skills you can learn, the personalities you work well with (or don’t), the tough conversations, the hardship of not being able to do everything 100%, the reality that it’s okay to not do everything 100%.

It seems that life is more forgiving when you reach for too much and fail while you’re in college than any other point in your life. So keep reaching. Everything that happens after is for the better. Everything that happens after will make you stronger in all of the areas you need to be stronger in–but only if you let it.


On Being in (Possessive) Love

My fingertips are addicted to the softness of the skin across his bare chest. I drink him up. The day started an hour ago, and if I don’t get up now I’ll be late to class but after the morning is over, I won’t see him for two weeks. We hold each other so close, and it is in those moments that I am engulfed by this need to find ways to come into him even closer. This possessive need feels so primal. I hate it. I feel like I’ve become everything I vowed against.

I’m in fucking love.

He’s like vaporized shisha lingering in my lungs. I’m lightheaded, drunk, nauseated. I’ve written poetry about how I was 15 when I felt this way before. But I think my memory is wrong. I’ve never felt this way before.

I want to cry.

I could lose him at any time. He could die. He could cheat again.

I feel out of control.

Love is beautiful but right now it is abusive, ugly, angry, a wounded animal.

When I hold him I never want to let go. But alone in this moment, my body is shaking and I can’t help but think that I am my best self when I’m cold and unfeeling. Pretending that I can live alone for the rest of my life.

Where is this coming from?

I feel dangerous. Angel faced with spider fingers that would gleefully rip off the head of anything that stands in my way. Plump, pink lips that whisper poison into the ears of children. I could have people killed by their own hands with the things I say.

I could scream at you to jump, but it is so much more effective to let you whisper yourself to the edge.

I haven’t let go of the anger.

I haven’t truly forgiven.

My fear clings to him.

My pride clings to him.

But who is he to me?

Waiting for the Train

Sometimes I wish my handwriting were sloppy so I wouldn’t feel like people were reading as I write on the train. But now that I recognize that I have this problem of not writing anything at all I don’t feel so self conscious. If you are snooping right now, well then hello stranger.

What it feels like to be in-like with someone is similar to a train, I think. This morning I was waiting for the 6 train for 15 minutes, and it was annoying and unbearable. Two trains had sped past the station and the platform was crowding three layers deep with bored and sleepy faces that grew tempered after the announcement of a stalled train on 110th street. Frustration. Impatience. Annoyed at being teased by two trains, not even packed, never opened their doors, never stopped, never even slowed down.

This is what it’s like for me. I know that someone’s coming I just don’t know when and I’m tired of waiting. I just want to go somewhere already.

A friend of mine told me that the way it worked for her and her current boyfriend was that she found herself insatiably curious about this small dude sulking (or maybe just being quiet) in a corner of a room at a party she went to the fall of last year. He was mysterious, intriguing. Perhaps it started at first as some inexplicable sexual attraction, but what she found underneath his lone exterior was powerful enough, desirable enough, for her to hold on to him, even as I watched her slowly lose the individual she was before she met him. Not that it was a bad thing for her to change, it was just that I had never expected love to be strong enough, truly strong enough, to recreate one of the most free spirited people I had ever known.

Thinking about their love makes me wonder if this is the same thing I’m facing. I’m not patient however, and I am concerned that my impatience will prevent me from experiencing something great and exciting. My horoscope this morning told me to be open to love, and while I think I am—I always am—I also think that by expecting, my openness reduces. For when I do not receive, I close in, and I bury myself. Why is it, I wonder, that a person can be so relaxed with a stranger when only considering the prospect of friendship, and at the same time paralyzed upon speaking with someone they feel more for? I’m very self-assured and I know that I am at least a little likeable when I am notactively trying to impress someone. I can’t imagine how this must feel for someone with a lesser opinion of themselves. But maybe they have their own benefits too. They don’t expect very often so they also don’t feel as much disappointment. Maybe I am… I am in my head too much. But that’s what writing is for. Not to converse so much as it is to release. I feel myself de-stressing already though today has been especially awful.

I wish I felt comfortable enough to tell him that I’m excited to see him today, but I am afraid that if I express such an emotion, he’ll just run away like the rest of them. I think they run because they can’t handle it, the amount of myself I am open to offer, and it scares them because they can’t match it. “Being a powerful woman, a loyal woman emasculates them.”

But another cause to run is too much affection. Smothering, falling into train tracks.

Sometimes I feel like my insides are screaming like metal and electricity echoing angrily down a subway station. And still at other times I am content with sitting on a bench listening to my iPod, waiting on the platform.

How To Deal With a Cheater

It requires strength to let it go and love again. It requires strength to let it go and pick up the pieces.

When you get your heart broken, you have to find the power to make the decision inside of yourself. Don’t determine how to act based on what he is doing, what he has done. What he might do. What he is capable of doing. You can’t control any of that. You don’t have a say in any of that.

Instead, ask yourself those questions and take time to listen to what you have to say. Take a lot of time. Keep a journal. Document the roller coaster. When you feel like you have moments of positive clarity, remember to write down what it was you were doing, thinking, feeling. Try and keep recreating that environment. At the same time, ride out the sadness. Ride out the anger. Ride out the doubt. The confusion. Fear. Impatience. Disgust. Feel them and move on.

Each day you will wake up and not know how you will feel. When your heart is ripped open, it seems like this is magnified, but that unpredictability is just a part of life.

You don’t know and you can’t control what tomorrow brings or how it will make you feel.

You can only control how you will react.

It will take time, but one day you will wake up and decide. And when you do, take that first step towards trust, and believe that the choice you make will be the best thing that has ever happened to you.

Painful Thoughts About the Future: A Self-Pep Talk

(Photo by Kate Pangilinan)

A year from now, I will be graduating college and officially starting my career.

I am terrified.

I have more than 3 years of experience working in various PR and Marketing departments of various companies in tv, theatre, and fashion.

I am still terrified.

The thought of someone who did nothing for 4 years getting a job that I want, that I need, that I am qualified for, destroys me. The thought of my competition being so much better than me that my years of hard work is obsolete, destroys me. The thought of how nothing I’ve done will ever be enough, destroys me.

I have potential, but what if it is never fulfilled?

I have doubts that the jobs I am undertaking and the things I slave myself over are all wrong. I am nearly paralyzed by fear.

But all I can do is push on. No amount of coo-ing or handholding is going to silence the little voice in my head telling me that I will never be good enough. That little voice in my head will always be there.

Confidence is a fortress that took years to build. Failures are fractures in the facade. Doubts and fears are C-4s strapped to the foundation.

Don’t arm them. Don’t validate them. Push on, push forward, or be destroyed.

Fight the paralysis. Let your passion for your work help you find joy in the gross and mundane parts of your journey. Let the financial success of your poor, immigrant parents inspire you to never reach lower than your expectations. Transform your fear of failure into a determination to never, ever, be less than the future you so clearly envision.

I joke about how this summer I’m learning how to relax, but the truth is, this feels like such a difficult time.

I know it seems like I have my act together and that I know what I’m doing all of the time, but the truth is everyone still has their reservations. And it’s okay to have reservations, but it’s not okay to let them scare you away from doing what you want with your life.

I am determined to spend all of this free time I so apprehensively find myself with, to teach myself how to code and make gifs and edit videos. I will read books on trends in advertising. I will stay current with the entertainment industry. I will keep writing personal journal entries and fanfiction and reviews and poetry. I will continue to be profound and insightful and joyful.

It’s only June and it’s taking all of my energy to prevent myself from wasting away in complacency, to keep up my motivation to learn when the only teacher I have is my will-power.

I will not let my fears or my scorn jade me to the point that I stop connecting on an emotional level.

I will make time for the important people in my life.

I will be kind to myself.

I will remember that growth never happens in the comfort zone.