Hi guys! It’s currently 1:54am on this Wednesday morning. Sleep isn’t coming easy tonight, so I decided to write a blog post!
Today was a productive day. I worked, went to group therapy and took a group dance lesson that got me sweating like crazy. It was the first time in a long while that I felt proud of myself.
My whole life, I was taught to do strive for excellence in everything I do, be it gymnastics, school, or dance. These past 6 months back home have been difficult, to say the least. Perhaps worst of all has been my loss of direction and discipline. For the first time in my life, I am no longer a student. It didn’t dawn on me how big an impact such a transition would have on me and my identity. Without school as my anchor and compass, I was left feeling lost and confused. How do I go about my days, without classes or extracurriculars filling up my time? Of course, going into my gap year, I had many goals for myself. Work. Dance. Figure skate. Write. But my pursuit of these goals was sidelined by mental health issues, as well as the difficulty many newly-minted college graduates face when transitioning out of school. The post-grad depression hit me like a truck. I spent my days lying in bed at home, not really doing anything with my life. I led a miserable, stagnant, listless existence. I longed for that passion, that burning flame, that discipline that I had in college.
But today… today I finally found hope. Hope that with time and patience, things will get better. And they are getting better! I’m getting back into dancing. Going to therapy and acupuncture every week. Working as a tutor to financially support my dancing– although I am struggling a bit in this realm, since ballroom dancing is super expensive. Slowly but surely, I’m getting back on the horse.
I have no doubt that once I find my direction once more, I will be unstoppable in the pursuit of my long-term goals. That’s just the type of person I am. I identify a goal and go full-throttle to achieve it. And more often than not, I do achieve these goals. But my hunger for success is never satiated. I always strive for more, to improve and grow and reach my maximum potential. I’m type-A to the core. I am passionate. And I dream big.
It’s just that this whole transition out of college shook me to the core. I didn’t anticipate it being so difficult, for so many reasons. I am happy to say, though, that I’m out of the woods. The hardest part is over. I hit rock bottom a couple months ago. With the help of therapy and medications, I’ve recovered. And slowly but surely, I’m brushing the dust off and picking myself back up.
So, here’s a list of some of the goals that await me.
- Take care of mental health. This one is obvious. As many of you may know, I have bipolar disorder. This is a very serious mental illness, and when left untreated, the consequences can be devastating. In order to manage the illness, I need to go to individual and group therapy diligently, take my meds religiously, and revolve my lifestyle around the illness. Thankfully, I am finally putting my mental health as a priority, rather than an afterthought, like I did in college. I recently underwent a change in my medication regimen, and the whole process was painful. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. I was completely non-functional. Yesterday, my psychiatrist put me on yet another medication, which I hope will help me get out of this funk.
- Dance. I came into this gap year aiming to dance all day, every day. I hoped to improve my dancing as much as possible, perhaps even find a partner and compete together! Sadly, I have not stayed true to my word, and this goal has yet to come to fruition. But instead of beating myself up about it, I’m learning to treat myself with compassion. I realize that this transitional period has been difficult, and because of that, I haven’t been able to focus as much as I want to on dancing. What are my goals with dancing, you may ask? Well, I simply wish to improve and learn and grow as much as possible before going to grad school. This is the first time in my life that I don’t have school! Now, I can really focus on my dancing and see how far I can take it. I’m dancing with my teacher right now, since it’s really hard for me to find an amateur partner. But I hope that with enough practice, I will get good enough such that the partners will come to me. That’s what keeps me going, when I lose hope. I need a dance partner, so I’ll work my ass off to improve my dancing skills.
- Write my book. I’ve been talking about writing a book for, like, forever. Well, now that I don’t have school and have so much time on my hands, I can finally do it! The book will be a compilation of some of the blog posts I’ve written these past five years. It’s coming along nicely, actually. In fact, I think I’ll work on it after I finish today’s blog!
- Work. Obviously, I need to work to support my dancing. It’s not easy. Today, I had a minor meltdown in front of my mother regarding the expenses of dancing. I was looking around the house for another pair of dance heels, since my main pair broke. And, I don’t have enough money to buy a new pair. I couldn’t find any other pair of heels, and thus grew extremely frustrated at the situation. In a moment of exasperation, I exclaimed to my mom, “I can’t even afford a damn pair of heels. I can’t afford to pay for dance lessons. This is all just so frustrating!” My mom simply replied, “Well, you just have to work harder to pay for dancing.” When she said that, I grew even more frustrated, but I recognized the truth of what she was saying. I’m not going to ask my parents to financially support my dancing. They supported me my entire life thus far, be it with school, gymnastics, or dance (in high school). I’m not going to ask them to pay for my dance lessons, now. I graduated from UCLA. I’m turning 22 in less than a week. It’s time for me to take some responsibility and become independent. If I want to dance, I have to work to make it happen. Just last week, I couldn’t take any lessons because I didn’t have any money! But, such is life. It’s reality. I just have to figure out a way to make it work, because dancing feeds my soul, and without it, I am incomplete.
Well, guys, that’s all I have for tonight. Like I said, I’m going to work on my book for a few hours, or until I fall asleep. I wish you all the best, and talk to you later!