This morning, I woke up to my 6:15am alarm, only to turn it off and sleep in until 7:45pm. I begrudgingly rolled out of bed, sped through my morning routine and ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal, cherries, mango, edamame beans and mom’s smoothie. After eating, I woke Austin up, who was my ride to the San Mateo county court. Ahh, jury duty. All part of the joys (and pitfalls) of #adulting.
I arrived at the court at around 8:17am. We had to go through security check to enter the building. I just followed the crowd and grabbed a gray bin to put my belongings in. I stupidly brought in my pepper spray, which was attached to my lanyard. As pepper spray is a weapon, I wasn’t able to bring it inside the building, and since Austin had already driven off, I couldn’t put it back in the car. So I was left with no choice but to hand it over to security for confiscation. I tossed my lanyard in the bin with the rest of my items, fuming inside. Salty as the Dead Sea I was. But hey, what can you do? It was my mistake to think that pepper spray would be allowed inside a courtroom. Now that I think about it, I should have just gone outside and hid the pepper spray in the bushes or behind the trash can or something. Whatever.
After getting through security, I tried to find out where I was supposed to go from there. I saw some people looking on a big screen with a bunch of names and corresponding room assignments, and I assumed these applied to the jurors. I tried to find my last name under “T”, but couldn’t find it! So I took the escalator to the second floor, where I asked a staff member why my name wasn’t on the board. He asked me what my “offense” was. I looked at him, totally puzzled. What did he mean, “offense”? He stared back at me, like I was stupid. I showed him my summons letter, and he told me I was in the wrong place, and that I had to go to the jury assembly room. That made a lot more sense.
Inside the assembly room, people were taking their seats. You could tell no one wanted to be there. I was about to sit down, when I saw one of my high school AP Psychology classmates, Johana, sitting near the front of the room. I exclaimed, a little too excitedly, “Oh my gosh, hey! You’re from high school!” Heads turned in our direction, but little did I care, as I was too enthused about running into an old acquaintance– in jury duty, of all places! We caught up frantically- she is currently at SF State, studying business. I think both of us were comforted that the other was there, as it was both our first times in jury duty, and we didn’t know what to expect.
The guy in charge, Jim, called everyone to attention and gave us the spiel of what would go down. We filled out the bottom half of our summons letter and turned it in. Jim then put on a cheesy video that summarized what one would expect, if called to the court room. After the video, he called out the names of several people, who were assigned to a different room. I assumed that, since neither Johana nor I were called, we were free to go. Not just yet, though. Jim gave us all a “break” time, where we used the restrooms and ate snacks. In that spare time, I finished up yesterday’s blog post. We returned to the jury assembly room, where we waited for another 30 minutes or so, before Jim told us we could leave, as the court did not need any extra jurors. Johana and I were SO happy about being released early. As much as I respect our great nation’s justice system, I really did not want to spend my whole day sitting in a court room, deciding whether or not someone should get fined for a traffic violation.
Chauffeur Austin picked me up, and we headed home. I finished up yesterday’s blog, as well as the movie, “To the Bone”. I went up to my room and did some guided meditation– I love “The Honest Guys”, a Youtube channel filled with great guided meditation videos for anxiety, depression, sleep, positivity, and many other themes– but ended up falling asleep. Solution: don’t meditate on the bed. Its comfy softness and warmth is far too tempting. At 12:45pm, my brother Chris woke me up by pounding on the door. He told me that Ms. Gold, my sophomore year high school English teacher, was at the door! I rushed out of bed; I had asked her to pick me up from my house, from which we’d go to Amici’s for lunch and catch up!
It was absolutely wonderful, reuniting with Ms. Gold. She was honestly the sweetest teacher I had at Carlmont. I remember being in her first-period English class and sharing light morning conversations with her before the start of each class. As the year progressed, and I gradually grew more comfortable with her, I disclosed to her my struggles with anxiety, particularly social anxiety, and how much I dreaded public speaking. There was one occasion I remember clearly– I had an anxiety breakdown in her class and ended up explaining my struggles to Ms. Gold, through stifled sobs. I remember Ms. Gold sitting there, listening so compassionately, and really caring about me.
Over lunch, we caught up on the myriad events of these past three years. I had not seen Ms. Gold since sophomore year of high school, so you could imagine how much I had to share with her. I didn’t know where to begin, as I’ve embarked on so many new journeys since 10th grade! I told her about starting competitive Latin-American dancing; my growth in the realm of mental health and battling anxiety; my exciting UCLA adventures; my journey towards finding my calling; the unfortunate experiences I’ve faced with gross, objectifying men; the difficulties of facing (romantic) rejection, and rejecting others; lifelong reading lists; my blog; Chris’s piano endeavors (Chris was also in Ms. Gold’s English class); and much, much more. I loved hearing about her continual growth as a teacher. Apparently, Carlmont recently started this program called the “Biotechnology Institute”. Students join the program during their sophomore year, and take the same English, history and science classes, up till their senior year. The program caters to students who have an interest in science, with the three core classes revolving around science in some way. The English class Ms. Gold teaches is called “English for Science”. I wish this program had been around when I was still a Carlmont student! I feel that, while I was in high school, our English and math departments were exceptionally strong, but the sciences were lacking a bit (especially physics). Perhaps, had I partaken in this program, I would have developed a stronger interest in science, instead of being turned off by factors beyond my control.
Ms. Gold divulged to me her joys of having me as a student. She saw in me an “intelligent”, “adaptable” and “kind” person, and she never could have guessed how I suffered inside, during that time of my life. I marveled at hearing my former teacher’s perception of me as a student in her class. Sure, I was never the most extroverted person in the room, but that I dealt with social anxiety, she didn’t know, until I told her so. Hearing someone I look up to greatly– a mentor, and now a friend– speak so highly of me definitely gave me a surge of self-confidence. I still struggle with confidence, but I can definitely feel a change within me… as I grow older, I am coming to my own. I am growing more comfortable in being ME and living the life I envision for myself. I am taking the helm of my ship and steering it in the path of my heart. I feel a lot more in control… but at the same time, I am learning to embrace uncertainty and accept that, in life, no matter how old we may be, we never truly have everything “figured out”. Sometimes, it takes a little bit of faith and courage to trust in what the universe has to offer us. Certainty is comforting, yes, but to live in omniscience and tippy-toeing your way through existence makes for an unexciting, uninspiring life.
Ms. Gold kindly treated me to lunch and gave me a ride home. On the ride back, I gave her a brief summary of my recent Europe trip, and showed her some vacation pictures! I left her car with warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s always great to reunite with important people from your past and marvel at how much your lives have changed since then.
When I got home, I was exhausted. Probably the food coma talking. I sat on my bed and did some more meditating. I’m gonna be honest– as important as frequent meditation is, I feel like I use meditation as an excuse to “relax”, especially when I feel drowsy. Ironically, the practice itself is supposed to be mental exercise, and there is nothing easy or mindless about correct meditation. Remember, brutal honesty with oneself is important. I need to start taking my meditation practice more seriously, and not treat it as an excuse to be “lazy” or take a nap. Lol.
At 5pm, Chris headed to the airport to fly to Italy for his piano performance. I am so, so proud of my brother. Ever since going to college, his piano journey has blossomed! I have full faith that he will deliver at this upcoming performance. My only worry is the traveling part- Chris has traveled plenty of times on his own, but never to foreign countries. He did express some anticipation about his solo trip. I completely sympathized– heck, if I were in his shoes, I’d be ten times more nervous than he! Austin and I called him right before his flight, telling him that all would be well. If he had any questions, he could just ask the people in uniforms.
At 7pm, we had a homemade dinner. I supped on leftover re-fried rice, asparagus and grandma’s soup.
After dinner, I went back to my room and wrote my best friend, Chiana, a hand-written letter. Chiana lives across the country in Connecticut, which kind of sucks for the two of us. The good news is, I will be seeing her in a couple of weeks when I embark on my week-long New York trip! And the best thing is, we are gonna be roommates next year!
After the letter, I began writing this blog post. It is now 10:41pm as I conclude today’s piece. So, no dancing again today. Which is fine. Thursday through Sunday will be super busy, filled with dance lessons, practices, coaching, tutoring and appointments, so I took today to mentally/physically recuperate and prepare for the coming days.
Alrighty friends! I’m gonna wrap this up now, do my night routine, meditate, and go to bed. Normally, around this time, I’d start reading “Wuthering Heights”, but since my library card expired on June 30, I was unable to renew the book, and had to return it to the library. Tomorrow, I will get that whole shenanigan sorted out, so I can reunite with my beloved book.
Good night, friends!