Life Update: 4/16/18

Hi friends! Long time no talk! How’ve you all been?

It’s currently 1:43am on this Monday morning as I begin this post. I had planned on sleeping early and waking up at 5am, and sleep early I did! But I ended up waking up at around midnight, and was unable to go back to sleep since. So naturally, I decided to update you all on how my life has been going!

So, spring quarter has sprung. And it’s been, in all honesty, quite stressful thus far. This quarter, I am taking the notorious psychology “weeder” class, Psych 100B. It is a research methods course that teaches students how to write a proper research paper. While writing is indeed my strong suit, I much prefer creative over scientific writing. Past students have described the course as a “living hell”. Having heard all these negative remarks, I went in to the course immensely stressed and nervous, as I really want to do well.

In addition to Psych 100B, I am taking a course on adolescent development (also notorious for being a tricky class), as well as Philosophy in Literature, a very ready-intensive course. All of my classes involve a LOT of reading, more so than I’ve done in my life. It doesn’t help that I am naturally a slow reader. So, academically, this quarter is challenging, despite the fact that I’m only taking three classes.

The academic stress has taken a toll on my mental health. I find myself constantly irritable and on edge. Thankfully, dance has proven to be an effective outlet for my angst. As for extracurriculars, this quarter, I joined a beginner/intermediate hip hop team, Foundations Choreography. We have practice every Monday/Wednesday from 7pm-11pm, and are expected to practice on our own as well. During the first two weeks of the quarter, I used dance as a means of procrastinating from studying, which of course was a terrible idea, as I ended up falling behind in my classes. That is why I spent this entire weekend cooped up in my room, catching up in my studies.

I know I should be grateful to be at UCLA… but sometimes, I grow bitter at the very thought of studying. I wish I enjoyed learning more… I really do. But I’ve never identified as an academic or intellect. For most my life, I’ve had to suppress my inherently artistic nature, as my family and surrounding community conditioned me to believe that life as an artist was wholly unrealistic and unsustainable, and should never be one to strive for. Since moving to Los Angeles for college, away from the suffocating influence of my parents and upper-middle-class community, I’ve finally gained the courage to dig deep within my soul and be true to myself. Here’s what I’ve uncovered: despite being a skilled test-taker, I cannot call myself a lover of learning. I’ve always studied hard, but not because I genuinely enjoyed what I was learning, but rather, to get those A’s, because that’s just what I needed to do. I wonder how I can change my attitude in such a way that I can grow to love intellectual stimulation and classroom learning… but sometimes, I feel completely out of place in my college campus, surrounded by academics. It’s so hard to be an artist whilst in school… but, I recognize the importance of earning a college degree, as education is and always will be my ultimate safety net, in case my artistic career does not work out.

I am graduating one year early. Then I’m taking a break from school altogether, so I can focus wholeheartedly on my dancing. I’ll live at home to save money, and continue growing myself under the tutelage of my dance teachers in the Bay Area. Once I am ready, I will move to New York City to further my dance career, and hopefully find a dance partner there.

If dance doesn’t work out after a couple years, I will go back to school and study to become a sports psychologist. I am fascinated by competitive athletes’ ability to perform under tremendous pressure, and would like to study this phenomenon further. Such an endearing skill extends far beyond the world of athletics; in applies to everything, be it performance arts, medicine, business, law, and even everyday life. I sometimes think of life as a sort of performance… how does one deliver, under the face of pressure? Having experienced a career-ending knee injury that took me out of gymnastics, I also wish to help injured athletes cope with the psychological stress of injury– a phenomenon overlooked and misunderstood by many. In short, there are many reasons why I am drawn to sports psychology. With my expertise in the field, I can also help many professional dancers mentally prepare for high-stakes competitions and performances.

So, that’s a rough sketch of what lies ahead for me, in the immediate future. Of course, the only certainty in life is uncertainty, which means my trajectory is bound to alter its course. And that is okay! It helps me, however, to have a sense of direction to guide me and keep me focused on achieving my goals.

It is week 3 of the quarter, which means midterm season is fast approaching. In this coming week, I hope to be more positive in my outlook towards school, and not stress unnecessarily.

It was great catching up with you all, and I hope to talk to you guys soon!

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia

 

Spring Break 2018!!!

Hey friends! I’m writing to you as I sit inside the San Francisco Caltrain station, awaiting the bus to Los Angeles. The bus was supposed to arrive at 8:00pm, but annoyingly got delayed to 9:00pm. So here I am, passing time by writing this post!

This spring break was definitely one for the books. My friends and I accomplished most of the things on our bucket list:

  • Karaoke
  • KBBQ
  • Beach day!
  • Hike to the Hollywood sign
  • Road trip

It’s funny, because originally, I was not planning on coming back to the Bay Area for break. One random night, in a flash of inspiration, my best friend Chiana and I spontaneously decided to take a bus back to my home. I notified my mother, who frantically prepared the house for our arrival.

After missing our 7am bus on Wednesday morning, we took the next bus at 10am, and arrived in San Jose at around 5pm. That first night, my parents, Chiana and I ate dinner at a Thai restaurant. The Pad Thai there was not quite as good as the one at Mr. Noodle in Westwood; nonetheless, we shared good conversation over a generally delicious meal.

On our second day in SF, my parents kindly chauffeured us around the city. We took pictures at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf. After sightseeing, my parents dropped us off at Union Square, where Chiana and I walked around and made fun of all the expensive, high-end stores lining the streets. We window-shopped at Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, and Neiman Marcus. I think it was inside the Jimmy Choo store, where one of the sales associates flirted with me! Apparently my jacket tag was sticking out. He pointed it out, then proceeded to reach his hand down my neck to fix it for me. I kindly thanked him, to which he replied, “Bye sweetie.” Don’t get me wrong— this guy was hot— but I didn’t appreciate being treated in such an objectifying manner, and most definitely was not flattered by his actions. Similarly, when Chiana and I were walking along the streets, three men from a white truck wolf-whistled at the two of us. At first, I didn’t think they were referring to us; it was only when they continued staring at us through a rolled down window did I realize what had transpired. Ugh. Men. What can you do? At 4:30pm, Chiana and I headed to the top floor of Neiman Marcus, where we had afternoon tea at the Rotunda. We felt like royals, sipping on our exotic teas with milk and sugar, while munching on the finger-food delights arranged meticulously on a three-tiered fine carousal. All was well, until we got the check— $45 per person! I thought the experience of high tea was worth it, though.

Friday morning began bright and early at 5:30am! My friend Jung, who also goes to UCLA, made the spontaneous decision to join me and Chiana in SF! At 6am, she came knocking on the front door, and I welcomed her inside, groggy-eyed and all. I then went back to sleep on the couch, while Jung took a much-needed nap on my bed after her 8-hour red-eye bus ride from LA to SF. After we all received sufficient beauty sleep, my mother drove the three of us to the SF zoo! There, we took many pictures and saw many exotic animals, including:  lemurs, monkeys, giraffes, penguins, black bears, Grizzly bears, tigers, hippos, rhinos, foxes, panthers, pigs, goats, sheep, and several insect species. The zoo closed at 4pm, so we saw as much as we could in the 3.5 hours we were there. After the zoo, we made a quick walk down to Ocean beach, where we dipped our toes in the cold Pacific Ocean water and collected seashells. Afterwards, we took an Uber to my favorite Pho noodle place. We enjoyed a great meal of hot chicken noodle soup. Aside from the grumpy demeanor of the waiter, we were very happy with the meal, and left with our bellies full and warm. After dinner, we made the 30-minute walk back to the beach, just in time to catch the 7:30pm sunset. The trek through the biting cold wind was definitely worth it— the sunset was a sight I will never forget. After taking our pictures, we took an Uber to the Bart station, where we took the train back home. We concluded the day with beautiful, heartfelt, vulnerable conversations and disclosures. Twas’ a memorable night, indeed.

Saturday (aka today) began around 8am. We spent the morning at Bay Club, the local health and fitness center I grew up in. I didn’t realize how blessed I was to have been a member of the Bay Club until I saw my friends’ reactions to the place— awe and wonder at the center’s bourgeois nature. I guess I kind of just took the Club for granted, having been a member since the age of four. At around 3pm, we headed to the Caltrain station, armed with all our luggage, and bade farewell to my mother, who, surprisingly, shed a few tears upon our departure. I later asked her why she got so emotional; she said that she knew how difficult college was for all of us, and seeing us walk back into the lion’s den of another quarter pained her But, the pain and suffering is all for a good cause… we are getting an education and opening doors to a brighter future!

At the station, we met up with one of Jung’s friends, Eddie, and headed to the city. There, we took an Uber to Ghirardelli Square (there’s an extra “r” in that word that I didn’t know existed), and bought a bunch of chocolate goodies for friends back at UCLA. It was definitely a hassle to lug around our heavy bags while maneuvering the crowded streets of SF, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated at the situation. After Ghirardelli, we came across a modern art museum, and proceeded to culture our young and hungry minds. The curator gave us a detailed history overview of some of the artwork, and the whole experience was very informative!

We made it back to the SF Caltrain station at 7:30pm, where the Megabus would depart. The original departure time was 8pm, but, due to a series of extenuating circumstances, the bus was delayed until 9:15pm! I was quite irked at this change of plans, but hey, what can you do? We sat inside the train station, where it was a little less chilly, and waited until 9pm to line up in the bus line.

The bus ride back was pretty uneventful, aside from the one unexpected stop we had to make, due to mechanical malfunctions. I slept most of the way back to LA. We arrived at LA Union Station around 5am. Upon getting off the bus, I had the good fortune of running into a friend from UCLA, Clifford, with whom we split an Uber back to Westwood.

And so concluded our very fun and adventurous spring break! I definitely have no regrets, only beautiful memories to cherish forever.

Where Did My Discipline Go?

“We’re stuck but we’re more than free”.

Such are the lyrics to Tove Lo’s song, Got Love. They refer to the artist’s hedonistic drugs, party, alcohol, and sex lifestyle. She is mired in this self-destructive way of life, and despite how “free” she may feel in the very moment, she secretly longs to extricate herself from the jaws of this negative cycle.

Interestingly enough, at this time, I can relate on a million levels to these lyrics. This past quarter was one of delayed rebellion; I tried many things I’d never imagine doing, back in my innocent, wholesome high school days.

Man… high school. Seems like ages ago. I actually had a dream last night about being back at Carlmont High. I didn’t enjoy high school very much, as I never felt accepted socially, amidst all the superficial cliques and immature exclusivity.

Looking back, though, there are a select few aspects of high school I sorely miss. One is the structured and disciplined lifestyle I exercised in my teenage years.

Funnily enough, most 17-year-olds struggle greatly with self-discipline. That was never a problem for pre-college Belicia. At my peak, I’d wake up each morning at 5am to dance before school. After school, I’d head straight to the studio and dance for several hours, before going home and getting straight to homework. I’d be in bed by 11pm, then rinse and repeat the following day.

Back in those days, my life consisted of many healthy habits. I was consistently exercising, dancing, eating healthy, meditating. I wish I could say I was doing the same, right now at UCLA. Instead, after I left the bubble of my home, I’ve succumbed to the myriad of temptations around me, and I have never felt more lost in my life.

One of the hardest things I’ll ever do is to get back my discipline. The mere thought of waking up at 5am to dance is unfathomable, at this point. Most people become more disciplined as they grow older. I can’t help but feel I’ve sorely regressed.

I know I am, at the core, a strong person, and I will get out of this rut. It is spring break now, which is the perfect time to regain my former healthy lifestyle. It is time to find myself once more.

Being the Subject of Gossip

Hi guys. I write to you all with a heavy heart, as lately, my personal life has been rife with petty drama surrounding a new friend circle I involved myself in.

I want to preface this post by letting y’all know that I am, largely, a drama-free person. I vehemently dislike conflict and find it very difficult to get mad at others, even if I have every right to do so. Instead, I internalize the conflict and ruminate over all possible things I could have done to instigate such discord, leaving me distraught and very upset.

Ever since coming to college and putting myself out there socially, I know people talk about me behind my back, be it good or bad things. That’s the price of being socially uninhibited– you open yourself to the judgement of others. You climb out of the safety of the trenches into No Man’s Land, completely unshielded from the open fire. But let my qualify that metaphor. High self-esteem, thick skin, and disregard for the haters serve as impenetrable, invisible shields to the blows. The only problem is, I am lacking in all three! Mind you, I am a very sensitive person, and tend to take criticism and negative judgement very personally. That’s where the rub is– I take strides to be as open and genuine as I can with everyone, expecting (hoping) that I will be accepted by all; but the reality is, not everyone will like you back.

Let’s get on with the story, shall we?

I recently began hanging out with a new friend group that I was introduced to by a good friend from class. I began spending more time at this friend’s place, first to study, then to just chill and have nice conversations with him and his friends.

Two days ago, my friend invited several members of his group out to eat sushi. He listed out the names of everyone he invited, to my face. My name was not amongst them.

Now, on a normal basis, this would not have bothered me— I understand that I am new to the friend group, and existing “members” might not be comfortable with me being all chummy and hanging out with them quite just yet. However, in this case, there were two other girls who were also new to the group. Yet the two of them were invited, but not me! I definitely felt left out that night.

The next day was Thursday. Earlier in the week, my friend had promised me that we would drink and party together Thursday night. The whole week, then, I had been looking forward to that night.

At around 8:20pm, I texted my friend, asking him what time I should come over. Twenty minutes later he replied, telling me that, as a collective, they had decided that it would be a “small group” thing. I was, in other words, disinvited.

I was hurt. I felt… unwanted… rejected… alienated. This is why I never liked cliques— the exclusivity of it all is, in my opinion, immature and too reminiscent of high school. Why can’t everyone just get along with one another? I love meeting new people, and I love that my current friend group is so open to inviting others to hang out with us.

I didn’t come to college to experience high school drama all over again. My close friends all told me to forget them; that I have enough genuine friends, and that I don’t need them. It’s so important to know who your true friends in life are, and to cherish them dearly.

All of this drama, as insubstantial it may seem, is still pretty fresh, and I still feel sad at the thought of it all. I keep wondering if I did anything to make these people not want me in their group. I was informed by an insider that they had a group chat, and that on the chat, they were talking about me. They said that I always left my things at my friend’s apartment on purpose, as an excuse to hang out with them.

This could not be further from the truth. Don’t worry guys, I am not that desperate. Yes, I did leave my things at my friend’s apartment on two different occasions, but it was out of sheer ignorance and forgetfulness on my part— absolutely no ulterior motives involved. I’m a very straightforward kinda gal, and I don’t believe in playing petty games.

Being rejected hurts. But friends, know this, and know it good. It is never your fault if someone else decides they don’t like you. That’s on them, and it is in no way a reflection of your own worth. Trust.

Spring Break 2018, Day 6: Morning Musings

Good morning, friends! It is currently 5:36am as I sit inside the local Starbucks located next to the Bruin Theater. Sleep did not come easy last night, so I said, “Screw it”, and dragged my baggy-eyed self out of bed to get an early start to my day.

Sometimes, it seems that the longest days ahead are the ones where you have nothing planned. I do know that tonight, my friends and I are gonna party hard at Tigerheat, a gay club. Before that, though, I have the entire day to myself. A blank page, a white canvas. How will I choose to write my narrative?

As I went about my daily morning routine, I had a thought. What if today was the day I began my first novel?

A little while back, I told y’all that I was working on my first book, an autobiography, which would be but a compilation of my blog posts. After talking to my fellow community of writers, though, I came to realize that the process of writing a book is rarely as simple as mashing together blog bits. I have since scrapped the project, and am itching to start a new one.

How cool would it be to become the next J.K. Rowling?! To entertain and inspire millions with my brainchild… My goodness, though. The level of Rowling’s creativity is out of this world. Literally. The Muggle world was too boring for our beloved author, so much so that she had to create a new, magical one where her unshackled creativity roamed as free as can be.

But first, baby steps. Blogging, journal writing, the Daily Bruin– all are ways in which I can perfect my craft as a writer. Not to mention the plethora of creative writing classes available to undergraduate students at UCLA!! Ahhhh, the bounds are endless in this beautiful world of words. I’m so excited to see how far I can stretch my potential as a writer.

Alrighty, guys. I’m gonna order a smoothie, then I’ll start on my morning journaling. Talk to you soon!

 

 

 

 

Love,

Belicia

Spring Break Day 5: Done With Finals!!!

Hi guys! Welcome to day 5 of my spring break! It is almost 4pm as I crunch out this post.

I took my last final exam this morning. It was for my abnormal psychology class. The interesting thing about this final is that it is optional. If the score you get is higher than the lowest grade of one of your exams, then the former grade will replace the latter grade. If the grade you earn on the final exam is LOWER than the final grade, then it will not affect anything. In other words, the final can only help your grade, not jeopardize it.

I thought the final was pretty easy, to be honest! The truth is, I didn’t study as much as I should have– mostly because I wasn’t planning on taking this final in the first place! When I decided, the day before, that I wanted to take the exam, I should have crammed like crazy. Instead, I spent the day out with my girlfriend, Ekayana, exploring Los Angeles and stuffing our faces with IHOP pancakes. On the day of the final (this morning), I studied for a good 1 hour before tackling the test. Turns out, all the information I needed was up in my head, already! I finished in about 30 minutes, though we had a full three hours for the exam.

After the test, I felt immensely accomplished. I called my dad, even, to brag about it! I’m so glad I decided to take the exam at the last minute. I could have just told myself, “Screw it, I’ll live with the A-.” But I know that’s not my kind of attitude. If there’s even the slightest chance I can improve my grade, I’ll jump at it. If I didn’t take the exam, I would deprive myself of any hope of getting an A in the class. Now, if I did take the exam and scored below my lowest exam grade, at least I can say that I tried my best and left no stone unturned. And so, I took the final exam, and am hopeful that I will be able to bump my grade up to an A!

I had left my Beats headphones at my friend Milton’s place the previous day, so after exiting the exam room, I walked through the pouring rain to Milton’s apartment. By the time I got there, 80% of my gray sweatpants were soaked, despite my efforts to shield out the rain with my rainbow umbrella. I blew-dry my sopping pants, and crashed on the couch while waiting for the rain to quiet down.

At around 1:45pm, I left the apartment to grab lunch with my friend, Jung. We talked about boys, boys, and more boys, over pho noodles and deep-fried shrimp chips.

After lunch, I headed to Jung’s dorm lounge for a bit, where we shared yet another conversation about boys.

Afterwards, I headed back to my own apartment, where I quickly took off my drenched clothing, and replaced them with warm and dry ones.

At around dinnertime, I walked over to In-N-Out with a couple friends, where we got burgers and fries. Cheat day everyday!!!

After dinner, we watched the horror movie “Veronica”, which actually is in Spanish! Thankfully, all of us are literate and know how to read English subtitles. That would really suck if we couldn’t, lol.

After the movie ended, my friends left the apartment, leaving me alone to muse about my life and its wavering direction.

And so, concluded my wonderful (and very, very rainy) spring break day! Hope you guys enjoyed following me along this journey!

 

 

 

Love,

Belicia

 

Spring Break Day 3: RELAXATION

Hi guys! Welcome back to my blog!

Today is the third day of spring break. So far, I’ve been relaxing and recuperating after a long week of finals.

At 12:00pm, I headed to Westwood to get my nails done! I figured, since it’s spring break, I may as well pamper myself. I got black-painted acrylic nails, save for my left and right ring fingers, which were painted sparkly gold.

After getting my nails done, I headed back to my apartment for lunch. After lunch, the food coma kicked in, and I took a two-hour nap. When I awoke, I decided to read the book, “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”. I’m hoping to finish that book by the end of spring break!

After my nap, I cleaned my room, living room, and kitchen. I also made a new YouTube video about growing up as a triplet. Check it out here!

At around 6pm, I walked to In-N-Out Burger for a wonderfully healthy meal of hamburger and french fries. Hello, dancer’s bod!

After dinner, I headed back to my apartment, where I chilled with friends and engaged in light-hearted conversation. At 8pm, I headed to my other friends’ apartment, where, in celebration of the end of finals, we broke open a bottle of Rosé and sipped it out of martini cups.

Later that night, I walked back to my apartment and took to bed.

What a relaxing day it was! Nothing too exciting happened, but sometimes, that’s just the way I like it– nice and simple, drama-free, content.