Welcome to “A Day in the Life of Bel”, Day 1!!!

[The following post highlights the events of Friday, 7/14/17, even though the post is written as if the events happened today. Sorry I wasn’t able to upload the post earlier!]

Hi everyone! TGIF! Hope you guys have had a wonderful week.

I was sitting at the breakfast table this morning, wolfing down a plate of cherries, grapes and blueberries, when I was struck with inspiration to create this mini blog series, entitled, “A Day in the Life of Bel”. To my regular readers, you may remember Blogmas, a similar series created last December. Basically, for the span of one or two weeks, I let you guys in on the happenings of my everyday life– the good, the bad, the mundane, and the downright ludicrous. At the conclusion of each day, I’d sit at my desk and weave an honest narrative of the day’s events, hopefully having the blog post up by midnight.

I really enjoyed doing Blogmas, for many reasons. Firstly, it kept me busy and encouraged me to write on a daily basis. Needless to say, I love writing. I try to write in my private diary every day as is, but, as I am human, I face times of low motivation and laziness. I find it too easy to lazily skip over my daily dose of writing, when I “don’t feel like it”, or when I’m exhausted after a long day. The blogging series gave me greater motivation to write, as I was no longer writing just for myself, but also for my readers. I don’t wish to disappoint you guys by being flaky. Flakiness is a poor philosophy to live by, and a personal goal is to better adhere to the commitments I make to myself and to others. With another reason to write beyond myself, I was forced to commit.

I also found that, in keeping a record of my day-to-day, I was able to live life with sharper clarity and greater awareness of my actions, which is critical to introspection. I became immune to falling into what I call the “limbo-state”– listlessly idling your time away behind your smartphone or computer or television; mindlessly eating breakfast, vision blurred, gaze trained on nothing in particular; living a purposeless life devoid of a “why”. Limbo is a mental state I fear more than anxiety or restlessness, anger or jealousy. At least, when I’m feeling anxious, restless, angry or jealous, I am experiencing human emotion. To exist in the limbo state is to not really feel anything at all, which is terrifying. It’s when minutes turn into hours, hours to days, days to years… and one day, at age 30, you wake up and wonder, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” So documenting my life and its minutiae keeps me aware of and grateful for the present moment. It keeps me grounded. It gives each moment I live, no matter how seemingly insignificant, personal meaning. It makes life seem like an adventure; a story I can’t wait to share with you all.

So, without further ado, welcome to “A Day in the Life of Bel”, day uno!!

I woke up at 4am after falling asleep at 9pm. Still experiencing some jet lag from my Europe trip. Facing little motivation to leave the comfort of my warm, soft sheets, I stayed in bed for a good hour, reading “Wuthering Heights” by Emile Brontë. I marvel at Emily’s way of words… through unrivaled wit and vivid imagery, she wholly transports her readers into the world of her brilliant imagination. If I could write half as well as she, I will die happy. Anyway, after reading for about an hour, I went downstairs and made myself breakfast– black cherries, almonds, a slice of peanut butter toast and a glass of water. I love being the only one awake in my house; it leaves me time to contemplate and experience my space without disruption (Chris’s loud piano playing, Mom’s querulous ramblings, etc.). After breakfast, I went back upstairs to my room. Feeling the effects of the food coma setting in, I crawled back into my bed and fell asleep until 9:00am. Upon waking up (again), I did my morning routine, checked my email, wrote a bit in my diary and read some more “Withering Heights”.

At around 10:00am, my mom insisted I eat breakfast part 2, even though I had already eaten a couple hours before. So I drank her fruit smoothie and cleared another plate of cherries, grapes and blueberries. And as you guys already know, that is when I had the idea to start this series! I wrote until 11:00am, when my dad drove me to my 11:30am appointment with my psychiatrist, Olga. Correction– I drove the Volkswagen to Kaiser, while my dad sat in the passenger seat. He was already impatient with me for being late (my dad’s all about punctuality), and the drive there was filled with tension, with him snapping at me for every little driving error I made. I quickly grew cross with him for being cross with me, and retreated to giving him the cold-shoulder treatment. We arrived on time for the appointment, and my dad waited in the waiting area while I vented to Olga about my present baggage.

I am very prone to extreme mood swings, either living in high highs or low lows, never in the middle-ground reality. The problem is, it’s difficult for me to predict when the lows will hit. I think, for me, the depression resurfaces whenever my life lacks structure, or when I don’t have a goal to strive towards (or, rather, having too many goals and not knowing where to start). It is in this “limbo state” where I feel my lowest, which is why I always feel the need to keep busy. These past few days since coming home from Europe, I’ve been in a little bit of a rut. I’ve been recovering from an illness, so I haven’t been able to get out of the house much, which may be contributing to my low moods. Thankfully, I feel a lot better today, and from here-on-out, my summer will be quite busy. Yesterday, I was hired as a child-care associate at the Bay Club. I’m really developing an affinity for small children, crazy and wild they may be. On top of this new job, I will continue coaching gymnastics and tutoring students. The money I make is going towards my solo New York trip, in the first week of August. I am also preparing for a big dance competition, Embassy Ball, in September. I have a LOT of work to do in a very short time. Speaking of dance…

After my Olga appointment, my dad dropped me off at the Caltrain station. I took the train to San José, then Ubered to the dance studio for two dance lessons. The Uber driver’s name was Sidney; he was a older man with graying hair and really the sweetest heart. We talked about the excitement I’m experiencing in being young with a whole life ahead; my roller coaster of a journey towards self-discovery and enlightenment; me being a triplet; his niece who went to Harvard for undergrad, and is currently earning her master’s degree at UCLA;  and his futile attempts to learn how to dance. Shortly before 2pm, I arrived at the studio and bade the nice man a fond farewell.

My dance lessons were pretty brutal. First days back from vacations are always tough. What irked me greatly was how my dance teacher made it a point to tell me I had gained weight after the cruise, particularly in the abdominal region. I laughed it off like I didn’t care what he said, but really, I was hoping he wouldn’t notice the bulge, and that if he did, he would spare me the humiliation of drawing attention to it. In the hour and a half, we finished my cha-cha and samba routines. I am preparing for a competition in the end of August, Embassy Ball. My first competition was actually Embassy in 2015. Now, two years later, I’ll be back on the floor where it all began, this time dancing in the mixed amateur category with one of my dance teacher’s students.

At 3:30pm, I left the dance studio and Ubered to the gym, where I coached gymnastics until 6:30. I hadn’t seen the girls in a coupe weeks, and they showered me with big hugs when I entered the gym. My heart is full of love for these girls… Even though coaching six and seven year-olds can be exasperating, it is so worth it at the end of the day. Loving them and having them love me in return is so magical… and seeing students work hard and improve makes a coach’s job all the more rewarded. By the end of practice, all the coaches were dead tired. It’s funny– back when I was still a gymnast, I’d push through four-hour private lessons and not complain. Now, the simply act of coaching— pushing girls down in oversplits and demonstrating simple elements– is highly taxing on the body. I guess that comes to show just how short the life of a competitive gymnast is… so I tell the girls to cherish gymnastics when they still can do it.

I got a ride from one of the other coaches from the gym to the train station, where I rode back home. On the train ride home, I had the pleasure of meeting two disabled men, who were such sweethearts! Basically, I was sitting in the seats reserved for the disabled and elderly. The train was completely empty when I got on, so I figured no one would mind if I sat in those seats. At one of the stops, two disabled men– one mobile and one in a wheelchair– came on board. I quickly packed up my things and was ready to yield my seats to them, when one of the men saw my open laptop and remarked, “It’s too nice of a day to be working!” I smiled at him and told him that I wasn’t working– I was writing on my blog. He kindly urged me to stay in the seat, and the three of us talked about yummy restaurants in the Bay Area. The two of them were taking the train to a burger place in Menlo Park, and listening to them talk about the food they’d order was enough to make my mouth water. I lusted for a burger after a physically draining day, but remembered that I was training for a competition, and had to watch my diet.

Upon arriving at the train station, my brother Austin picked me up. He offered to let me drive, but I was so tired that I didn’t trust myself behind the wheel. We shortly arrived back home, where I greeted my mom with a hug. Actually, it was more like me falling into her arms, and her barely being able to support the dead weight of my limp muscles. Lol. I had a quick dinner and planned to practice some more dance at home before finishing today’s blog, taking a shower, then going to sleep.

The day ended more like this: It was 8:30pm when I finished dinner, and I took a break by reading some “Wuthering Heights” on the living room couch. I was tempted to take a brief power nap, and succumbed to my body’s wishes. I told my mom to wake me up in 20 minutes’ time so I could practice dance. She told me to just go to bed and wake up early to dance. Laying on the couch underneath a beach towel, barely able to move, I figured that was the best idea. So I went upstairs, took a shower, brushed my teeth, then headed straight for bed. That’s why I couldn’t upload today’s blog post last night!

So I hope you all enjoyed my account of yesterday’s events! Stay tuned for “A Day in the Life of Bel”, day 2, which will hopefully be up before midnight today (if I’m not dead after another long dance day)!

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