Late Night Chat: Pipe Dream Edition

Hey friends! It’s currently 2:30am on this beautiful Monday morning. It is officially week 10 of winter quarter– aka the week before finals week. Everyone’s studying away, frantically meeting paper deadlines and pulling multiple all-nighters to cram ten weeks’ worth of information into their brains.

All of my finals this quarter are during week 10. I have abnormal psych on Wednesday, social psych and intimate relationships Thursday, and developmental psych Friday. Good news is, I get an extra long spring break, as I’m home free during the actual finals week!

You may ask what the hell I’m doing still awake at this odd hour. For some reason, I can’t seem to fall asleep. It’s probably from all the napping I did during the day… Perhaps I should use this valuable time to study my flashcards, but alas, I cannot bring myself to do so!

I had a fight with my mother earlier about my plans for the summer. I wanted to take a 15-unit Chinese intensive class to get my foreign language requirement out of the way, but my mother objected on the grounds that it was not a smart financial investment. It’s true that summer school is expensive; but I told her I wanted to graduate early so I could get the heck out of college and live my dreams, to which she reacted angrily. She kept saying I was ungrateful for not enjoying my time at UCLA, and that I need to change my attitude towards school. Clarification: I do love college life, but I’m honestly quite burned out academically, and I don’t wish to spend any more time than I need to with my nose in the books. You know, some people are just not natural-born academics. For some, it is not in their DNA to like school! I certainly never enjoyed academics– not in high school, and, despite my best efforts, not even now, in college. As fascinating the field of psychology is, studying is still a chore, and I oftentimes find myself daydreaming about doing something else… like dancing in NYC. Is it such a crime, to wish to do something other than academics? Of course, I know that school is my backbone, my safety net, which is why I choose to stay in school, rather than drop out. That, in my opinion, would be a foolish thing to do. So what else can I do but earn my degree as fast as I can, then finally live the life I envision for myself?

I wish I enjoyed school more… I really do. Life would be so much easier, to be an academic in a world where school is romanticized as the only means of rising up the social ladder. But for as long as I can remember, school to me has always seemed a hindrance to what I truly wanted to do, which was gymnastics– and now dance. Once I get my degree, I’ll be liberated. Is it so bad of me to think like this? I know I should be grateful to be at UCLA, studying at a renown university under brilliant mentors. But there’s always that nagging bitterness that resents being in college, for so long as I’m here, I can not be dancing as much as I need to.

I bet my parents wish I were more like my brother, Austin. He’s a mechanical engineering major. He’s going the conventional path, and is well on his way to financial stability and independence. His head is straight and unclouded; he lives safely in reality. No fantastical pipe dreams, like me.

Well, parents, I’m sorry I am not like your firstborn child (by one minute, lol). I am an individual. I concede that I am not the most rational thinker, as my judgement is often clouded by my hypomanic episodes and “unrealistic” dreams. But I will say this. I have so, so much passion within me… and I cannot apologize for that. Isn’t it better to have loved, than to never have loved at all?

Alright, friends… this conclude my late night tirade. I should really get some shut-eye. Got a very long week ahead… in spite of everything, I remain a perfectionist at heart, and still strive for those straight A’s, even though a good GPA won’t serve me in the artistic path I choose to pursue. Still, I want to try my best, because I am not one to accept failure, or be content with mediocrity. Work hard, play harder, is my new motto.







Turning 20: New Decade, New Me

Hello friends! Welcome to my first blog post of age 20. Man… I still can’t believe I’m embarking on this new decade of life. I feel so old, lol!

The last month of my teens were wild beyond imagine. I suppose all of that bottled up teenage angst and rebellion that had been so well-suppressed for most of my adolescence unleashed itself during the month of February. Now that I’ve experienced my fair share of the “college experience”, I’m happy to say that I aim to live a more wholesome life from here on out. I’m not saying that I’ll completely cut myself off from partying and other activities of that persuasion, but I will indulge in such vices in moderation. It is time to get my life back on track. I am 20 years old now, and I must live up to the responsibility that such a number entails.

First off, I will take better care of my body. Limit the junk food and substance consumption. Exercise and dance regularly. I will begin my regimen once I recover from this annoying flu.

Secondly, I need to start holding myself to a higher degree of financial responsibility. I’ve been blessed to never have had to worry about money growing up. The thing is, my father is retiring soon, and money will no longer be a luxury I can take for granted. Especially not now, while my brothers and I are in college, and money is tight. I can no longer mindlessly spend on non-necessities like clothes and restaurant food. It’s time to hold myself accountable and be a smarter consumer.

Thirdly, I aim to take better care of my mental health. That means sticking to my medication regimen. As a person with bipolar disorder, I have a love-hate relationship with my meds; at one, they stabilize my mercurial moods and give me a semblance of normalcy. On the other hand, the meds take away the highs that come with my disorder, and this is the very part I hate. I stumbled across a quote the other day that perfectly encapsulates my sentiment: “Don’t take my devils away, because my angels may flee too.” The medications help me through my depressive lows, yes; but in doing so, they also take away my hypomanic episodes. My therapist often cautions me against romanticizing bipolar disorder and its corresponding manias, for no matter how on top of the world you may feel while high, you are still, at the core, ill. I mustn’t stop my meds in an attempt to recapture the highs I used to experience at the onset of my illness. Usually, when I stop my medications, I end up relapsing into a depression, rather than float back up to the clouds. So not taking my mood stabilizers ends up hurting me further. I must diligently heed the advice of medical professionals, and neither self-medicate nor stop my medications without consulting my psychiatrist. I must find a regular therapist down in Los Angeles whom I can talk to on a weekly basis– not just when I’m in dire need of help. By then, it will be too late.

Alrighty folks, I must head back to my studies. I don’t enjoy studying (honestly, who does??) but it’s my job, as a student. I’m not sure if I told y’all this already, but I have plans to graduate by spring of next year. My current plan is to take a gap year(s) between undergrad and grad school, to pursue my dancing dreams (yes, in spite of everything, my dream is still alive as ever). After I’ve given dance a fair go, I will return to school and study to become a therapist/researcher/writer of some sort. Maybe I’ll even go into academia and become a university professor! Who knows? The world is my oyster!

I had originally planned on taking summer classes, but have since decided not to, as I am still on track to graduate early, with or without the extra summer quarter. Might as well save money and live at home, whilst working part-time and dancing my heart out. I’m feeling something I haven’t felt in a while– hope and ambition. Setting goals for myself is also a great way to keep my depressive lows at bay (hey, that rhymed!).

Ok, time to end this blog for real. Catch you guys later!






Last Day of Being a Teen!

Hello, dearest friends!

It is currently 11:02pm as I sit at my desk, tapping away at tonight’s post. This piece is a special one, as it is the last one I will write of my teenage years. Come tomorrow, I will officially be a non-teenager, celebrating my first two decades of life! Like, where in the world did the time fly?

I’ve thought long and hard about the fate of my blog’s name– “Teenage Struggles”. In a little less than one hour, I will no longer be a teenager. Does this mean I must change the name of my blog? Or leave this platform, and start anew?

I realized, though, that no matter how old we all get, there will always exist within each of us a bit of that teenage angst that shapes and colors some of the most formative years of our lives. As teenagers, we have a lot of “firsts”; we are taught the important life tenets of responsibility and accountability; we learn to cope with life stressors big and small; each day, we question and question and question our identities, and grasp for answers to the age-old question, what is to become of me? Our teenage years are certainly some of the most tumultuous and uncertain of our lives, and a big part of me is jumping at the fact that soon, I will be leaving the hurricane behind. Indeed, this past month has been one of the most trying ones I’ve lived; many mistakes were made, and lessons humbly learned.

At the end of the day, though, there is a certain beauty in being a teen. Of course there are times when everything– the pressure to perform (academically, socially, etc.), the suffocating fear of uncertainty, the youthful inability to cope with reality– gets too much, and all we want to do is stand at the edge of a cliff, scream “FUCK THE FUCKING WORLD”, kiss the cruel universe goodbye, and fall into blissful oblivion. But those of us lucky enough to survive have seen that, in life, following every storm is a beautiful rainbow. Adversity sucks. And there’s a lot of that during our teenage years. But adversity begets inner strength. It promotes self-growth and profound wisdom. And that applies to all chapters of life, not just the first decade.

I started this blog at age 16. That’s almost four years ago to this date. I’ve got to say, these past four years have been formative beyond imagine. My blog gave me a voice in this world. It empowered me to share my story with others. It made me realize that, as insignificant a being I am in this vast universe, I still am able to make a positive impact in the lives of others, in sharing the many contours of my life journey.

So, here’s to another decade– no, an entire lifetime– of continual growth, exploration, passion and inspiration. I don’t know how much longer I will be on this Earth… but I do not intend to let my time go idly by. I have a personal mission– to stay as true to my heart as I can, and live as fully and passionately as humanly possible, without losing that childish naivety that drives me to dream big. These past four weeks, I’ve strayed far from my heart, my morals, my values… but it’s all over now. Tomorrow is the start of a new chapter. A new leaf has turned, and I have been reborn. It’s time to get back on track. Reevaluate my long term goals, regain my discipline and fire, and go go go! One thing I like about myself is my ability to remain hopeful, even in the darkest of times. I carry myself with the confidence that, no matter how deep a hole I’ve dug myself into, I have the full ability to STOP digging, and make my way back into the light of day. I am a strong young woman, fully capable of achieving greatness. I just need to surround myself with people who will help me stay on track; people who help me live my best life.

My parents are coming down to visit me and my brother tomorrow. I’m excited to see them, but at the same time, I don’t wish for them to see me in my current mental state. I am in the midst of a depressive low, after a couple weeks of hardcore partying and hedonism left me feeling drained, empty and filthy. The thing is, this whole time, I’ve told my parents that I’ve been feeling absolutely fantastic; that I’ve been diligently sticking to my medications; that school has been great and my life is butterflies and rainbows. I lie to protect them. And come tomorrow, I will have to lie once more. Put on a facade. It’s all out of love… because I don’t want to hurt them.

Anyway, I must get to bed. I’m currently weathering out a flu, and wasn’t well enough to go to any of my classes today. Being cooped up in a dark room is never a great remedy for depression, and I really look forward to going back to the land of the living tomorrow.

I wish you all the best– health, happiness, vitality. Dark times will pass. The best you can do is surround yourself with people who will make the ordeal a little less painful.