Gap Year Blog Series: Day 20

Hello everyone! Happy almost-hump-day! It’s currently 2:46pm on this sunny Tuesday afternoon. No class today, just work in the evening. I woke up at 8am and had a great morning workout with my friend Anna, who is a UCLA gymnast. It was really cool seeing how UCLA gymnasts train. The workout was undoubtedly intense, but not as unbearable as I anticipated it to be! Oh, another thing– I saw this cute guy in a yellow shirt in the weights room this morning, and if my eyes don’t deceive me, I believe I caught him glancing over at me a couple times? Once as I was working out, and once as I was leaving the gym. Oh, what a feeling that was. But no matter, nothing is coming of it, as I’m leaving LA in a couple months, on September 14th. No point in stirring up romance where it doesn’t belong.

One of my goals for this gap year (and life in general) is to take better care of my physical health, which means getting back in shape. Having graduated college, I no longer can pull the same old excuse of “oh, I’m studying all the time so I can’t work out”. I am now more committed than ever to accomplish my long-term goal of getting fit, and gaining back my pre-college toned physique. Later today, I’ll be working out again at around 5pm, after which I will teach an hour-long dance fitness class at UCLA’s gym. I find that two-a-day’s (aka working out twice a day) works really well for me.

So what else have I been up to, since I last spoke to y’all? Well, my job at the figure skating rink is really taking off. I recently started teaching a rhythmic gymnastics class at the rink, and the girls seem to be loving it! My Saturday 11:50am class is super big– 10 little girls in a small off-ice area twirling ribbons, bouncing balls, and spinning hoops. And I have to oversee it all. Definitely NOT an easy task, but as long as they’re enjoying, that’s all that matters. Clientele is really building up for me. Word got out that there was a new stretching/rhythmic gymnastics coach at the rink (aka me), and a lot of parents have been hitting me up for lessons. Oh, how it breaks my heart that I must leave them so soon! Indeed, my decision to move back home in September was not an easy one. But I know I must put my mental health first, and if going home to gain access to better and more accessible mental health care is what it takes, then return home I must. Even if it means giving up a great job at the rink, as well as my job as a dance fitness instructor.

Alrighty, guys. Time to get some studying done before heading to the gym. I’ll talk to you guys soon!

 

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia

Gap Year Blog Series: Day 9

Hey guys! Happy hump day / day-before-July-4th!

I’m actually sitting in class as I begin today’s post. The lecture is not particularly engaging, and the material is nothing I do not already know. So here I am, passing time by writing this post!

Life is really good. Busy, but good. I’m taking classes and working full-time at the skating rink and school gym. Taught my first dance fitness class yesterday, and I think it went really well! Turnout wasn’t super big, but that’s to be expected, as many students are gone for the summer. Plus, it’s the week of the 4th of July, and some people are out of town. As for my skating rink job, I’m getting a lot of new clients who are demanding private lessons in stretching, conditioning, ballet, and even rhythmic gymnastics! There’s one mom in the rink who is super desperate for her kid to get flexible. She’s been demanding private lessons three times a week and giving me a detailed list for things to work on with her kid. Talk about a crazy skating mom! But she’s also been really helpful in spreading the word about my services, and because of her I’ve been gaining more students, which is great for me.

Mental health-wise, I’m doing pretty well. While I’m very busy, I don’t feel super stressed, as really do enjoy work, and my classes are not too difficult. I finally picked up the phone and scheduled a therapy appointment, which will happen on July 18. If this therapist specializes in bipolar disorder, that would be ideal, as I’m very eager to learn more about my illness and how best to cope with it. I read somewhere that it takes at least 10 years before people with bipolar can find a medication and behavioral regimen that works to keep their moods stable. Lots of trial and error in the process, and I was only diagnosed about two years ago, so I still am a long ways away from stability. Sometimes, though, I wonder if gaining mental stability is worth the cost of giving up my hypomanic episodes. For it’s when I am in my states of mania that I feel the most energized, creative, and passionate. Maybe that’s the illness talking… but the fact is, when I am on my highs, I am able to do what most normal people cannot.

I am currently on a 30-day sober cleanse, meaning I am not touching alcohol for at least 30 days. I think it’s about day 6 or 7 now. Honestly, cutting alcohol out of my life has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time! My liver will surely thank me for it! It was definitely hard at first, resisting the temptation to go out to the bars with friends and drink. I remember laying in my bed at 10pm on a Friday night, feeling such FOMO because I had decided to stay in that night. The next night I also stayed in, and the next, and the next. Slowly but surely, that nagging temptation to go out grew smaller and smaller, until now, on day 7 of the cleanse, I no longer have the desire to engage in nightlife! Go me!

Alrighty guys. I’m about to study, so I shall bid you all farewell. Until next time!

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia

Gap Year Blog Series: Day 5

Hey y’all! How are y’all doing? It’s currently 11:55pm on this Sunday night. I actually just got back from a date, which I think went pretty well! Summer classes start tomorrow– though I graduated class of 2019 and was able to walk the ceremony, I still have two more requirements to complete before I can receive my official diploma. I am taking Physiological Sciences 5 and Theater 120A, the former being my last GE, and the latter being a random upper division class to fulfill required units.

Today was pretty chill. It was my last day of “vacation” before work and classes ramp up. I took a beginner jazz funk class at Edge Performing Arts Center, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’m in the process of reading “A Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, which is a book I’ve always wanted to read. At around 8:00pm, I went on a nice and wholesome dinner date with a guy named Gilbert. He was really sweet, and we ended the night on my rooftop, enjoying the view. While the date went well, I don’t know if I like him enough to see him again. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

This week is going to be extremely busy. I was called for jury duty on Tuesday, June 25, which means I’ll have to fly back to the Bay on Monday– aka, tomorrow night. I’m going to call in tomorrow and see if I need to go to jury duty, or if I can possibly be exempted. If I have to go to jury duty, I would have classes Monday from 11am-4pm, then fly home at 8pm, have jury duty all day Tuesday, then fly back to LA Tuesday night at 10pm. I have classes again on Wednesday, as well as my first day of work as a dance fitness instructor. Thursday I have work all day at the figure skating rink. Then, on Thursday night at 11pm, my best friend and I are taking a bus back to the Bay, where we will hang out until Sunday. So yeah, rough week ahead. Really hope I don’t need to do jury duty, LOL.

All right, time to head to bed, even though I am not the slightest bit tired. I’ll talk to you guys soon!

 

 

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia

Meeting the “Dancing with the Stars” Pro’s

Hey guys! I have some exciting tea to spill!

Yesterday, I took a Latin ballroom dance workshop at the esteemed LA dance studio, Playground LA. The workshop was hosted by none other than Dancing with the Stars professionals Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna (Johnson) Chmerkovskiy! Also there were professionals Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd, and Alan Bersten. I was fangirling so freaking hard and managed to say hello to all of the dancers! I even got to dance with Alan Bersten briefly! The highlight of the workshop (besides learning the awesome cha-cha dance) was when Maks gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek, after I waved at him maniacally and gave him a high-five.

I was a little bit sad when it came time for groups to perform. Jenna hand-picked ladies from the class to perform for the camera, and I really wanted to do it. I thought I was good enough to perform in front of everyone. However, Jenna didn’t pick me. I want to believe it was just because she didn’t see me in the crowd. But my insecurities set in, and I wondered if it was maybe because I wasn’t good enough, or didn’t have the “look” to be in front of a camera. Oh well… I’m still grateful for learning the dance and having a blast!

It’s 8:50am right now. I woke up early in the morning and started crying because it finally hit me that I have graduated college! They were bittersweet tears of relief, nostalgia, and fresh fear of the uncertainty that the future holds. I still can’t believe college flew by, just like that. It was such a roller coaster, but I honestly would not change a single thing– even the lowest lows– because all these moments have shaped me into the person I am today.

I don’t have much planned for today, other than attending another dance workshop at Playground. It’s a heels dance workshop at 4pm, taught by celebrity dancer Marissa Heart. Super excited!

Alrighty, friends. Time for me to do some reading. I’m gonna pick up the book A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I started the book but never ended up finishing it. Man. When was the last time I even read a book, cover to cover? It’s been too long! Okay, I’ll talk to you guys soon!

 

 

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia

Gap Year Blog Series: Day 1

Good afternoon, everyone! It’s currently 1:36pm on this cloudy Tuesday morning. Had a pretty productive morning– fit in a run and a workout earlier, learned some new dance choreography via my good friend YouTube, and called maintenance over to fix our clogged kitchen sink.

Gap years are often called “growth” years. It’s not a time to just screw around and waste your life away. Yes, of course, a big reason why students take gap years is to relax and recharge after experiencing burnout from undergrad. But a gap year should also be a time to grow yourself in some dimension, whether it’s traveling the world, gaining professional work experience, or focusing on personal passion projects. The way I see it, a gap year is a form of education in itself. It’s an out-of-classroom learning experience. A transition from student life to post-grad life. Oftentimes, when you are stuck in the insular environment of college for 3-4 years, you tend to lose sight of the fact that there is indeed a world beyond classes, exams, drinking, partying, and hook-up culture. I definitely lost perspective on the bigger picture. I also lost a big part of myself while at UCLA– the self-disciplined, focused, passionate Belicia who worked hard each day for her goals. A big part of my gap year will be devoted to getting back on track, straightening myself out, cutting out the bad habits and temptations, and living my best life once more. Heck, I’m thinking of rejoining the Mormon church, so I can be surrounded by a wholesome community who will help me get back on track.

I found that I’ve been writing less and less frequently on this blog, especially these past two academic quarters. That lack of daily self-reflection has honestly taken a toll on my well-being. I am no longer living with a calming sense of clarity. I feel like I don’t really know who I am anymore, as I am so different from the person I used to be, before UCLA. Some of that change is good, but some of it is really toxic and unhealthy. For instance, my lifestyle. I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight from stress-eating and not exercising every day and drinking/partying too much. I am currently in the worst shape of my life, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to point to college and college culture as the scapegoat, but really, all of my actions and choices were in my control this whole time. It’s my fault I chose to go down a toxic path, and it’s up to me and only me to change my direction.

Warren Buffett once said, “Write down your top 25 goals. Draw a circle around your top 5. Focus on those, and say no to the rest.” Here are my top 5 goals for my “growth” year.

  1. Live a healthier lifestyle. This means getting back my physical shape, cutting out alcohol, meditating, doing yoga, sleeping early and waking up early, and staying away from toxic people who don’t serve me.
  2. Take care of mental illness. Meaning, finding a bipolar specialist and attending regular therapy sessions. Staying on my meds. Practicing mindfulness meditation every day for 20 minutes. Checking in with myself regularly to see if I’m doing okay.
  3. Get back into dancing. I think I started losing myself the minute I stopped dancing as a hobby. I miss the feeling of getting hooked onto a passion and waking up each morning with intention and eagerness to continue improving. As scary as it may be, I think I need to get back into Latin ballroom dancing to feel like myself once more.
  4. Become financially independent. My dad is retiring next week, which means I need to start supporting myself. I need to pay my own rent, at the very least, and cut down on unnecessary spending.
  5. Continue writing. Voraciously. This is a given. I love writing so much, and like with dance, once I stop writing regularly, I feel like a big part of me is missing. I’m actually planning on writing a book (I know, it’s been my goal for a long long time). And now that I’m out of college, I will finally have time to do so! I’d say, working on the book for an hour or two a day is enough to get started.

So, there you have it! My top 5 goals for the immediate and long-term future. I will make it my purpose during this growth year to tackle these goals, and ultimately get back to living my best life. I’m getting started today– I’ll be taking a Latin ballroom dance workshop taught by Val and Jenna from Dancing with the Stars! Super pumped to meet and learn from such great dancers. I’m sure I will walk away super inspired!

I’ll talk to you guys later. Happy Tuesday and keep on growing each day!

 

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia

I Graduated from UCLA (and got dumped by a guy)!!!

Hey y’all! How are you guys doing? My life this past week has been pretty ordinary… eating, sleeping, studying, doing laundry… oh, and get this—I GRADUATED FROM UCLA!

Commencement was this past weekend. My parents drove down to LA on Thursday and attended my Friday and Saturday commencement ceremonies. Friday was the College of Letters and Sciences ceremony (the one people pre-game and drink before), while Saturday was the psychology department one (where you actually get to walk). It definitely was a time of great celebration and joy, and I’m honestly still processing it all!

So how have my first couple days of post-grad life been treating me, you may well ask? Well, in all honesty, it got off to a pretty rough start. Last night, I got “dumped” by a guy I had been seeing for a few weeks. That’s actually the topic of my blog today. My experience of being dumped.

Let’s call this guy “Ben”. He’s a PhD math student at UCLA, and I met him at a bar in Westwood a couple weeks ago. We hit it off and saw each other on and off for the past fortnight, and I honestly was starting to like him a lot.

Then, last Wednesday, I met up with him, and he told me about a past girl in his life who had just returned to LA. I was a little shaken, upon hearing this, but he reassured me that it was “no big deal” and a complete “whatever”. So I brushed it off. That night, we made plans to meet a few days later, on Saturday night. Sounds good, right?

Come Friday morning at 2am, I texted him to confirm our meeting for the following day. He replied, “yea, definitely”. Saturday at 6pm, however, he texts me and says, “Hey, can we actually reschedule? I partied too hard last night and feel like death right now.” I thought that was totally sketch and was pretty disappointed, but I simply replied, “Hey, no worries I hope you feel better! Let me know when you want to reschedule!” And that was that.

Sunday night, my friends and I continued our celebratory activities at Rocco’s Tavern. When I walked in, I saw Ben sitting alone at the bar. So I approached him. Except this time, instead of smiling and greeting me warmly, he stayed at his seat, looking completely aloof. I said hi to him, and he greeted me back with a lukewarm, half-hearted wave. At this point, I had already suspected something was up. The past few days, he had been texting me less and less frequently, and when I told him that I graduated college, he merely replied, “oh hey, congrats!” So I knew something was wrong. My suspicions were confirmed when I started talking to him last night. He wasn’t making eye contact with me, and did very little talking. Somehow, we got onto the topic of the girl from his past who had resurfaced in his life. Long story short, he basically told me that he preferred her over me, and was going to choose her. Humiliated, I bade him a heartbroken farewell and left the bar, in tears.

So that was last night. Today was really rough, as all first days after heartbreak are. But, I’m happy to say that with the help of supportive friends and family, I’m ending the day doing alright. Ben is just one fish in a sea of many. And honestly, it’s his loss that he chose her over me. I’m sure she’s a great gal… but he definitely missed out all I had to offer. Lol.

I’m about to head to bed, so I will talk to you all later. Just thought I’d share my experience. I’m still hurting a little right now, but I know I will be okay.

 

 

 

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia

Life Update 5/28/19

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

Life these past couple weeks have been… hard. Motivation is at an all-time low, and I’m not doing as great in my Chinese class as I’d hoped. Worried about keeping my 3.8 GPA up, I am currently waking up at 5:00am every day to study for a few hours before class. After class, it’s straight to the library for another study session. It’s the grind before finals, and I absolutely hate it. But I have no other option but to do well, so I must grind away.

Another reason why these past couple weeks have been difficult is because my moods have shifted to a low. I think stress is a trigger for my depression and anxiety, and I’ve been taking on a lot of commitments beyond schoolwork. I recently wrote an article on ballroom dance legend and UCLA alumnus, Victor Fung, and published it a few days ago. The article has gone viral in the ballroom dance community, garnering over 6,000 views thus far. My heart is so very full because of the article’s success, and I am so glad that Victor’s story was able to inspire so many people, particularly young dancers worldwide. However, I encountered a lot of stress trying to meet my hard deadline in submitting the article. Moreover, I’ve been preparing for my numerous post-grad jobs, getting all the paperwork filled out and attending new hire trainings. Finally, I am continuing to run my club, Bruin Burlesque, which, while fulfilling, is also a lot of work. Sometimes I need to remind myself to slow down and take time for myself. Yesterday was Memorial Day, and in addition to honoring veterans who have honorably served our nation, I took the holiday as an opportunity to recuperate. It was a great day– in the morning, my best friend and I went to the beach and chilled there for a couple hours. My only qualm was the fact that a giant piece of tar got stuck on my shin, and it took a long time and copious amounts of baby oil to remove the sticky substance. After the beach, I went to Sawtelle with some other friends to eat some good food for lunch. At 3:30pm, I had a 30-minute tutoring session– this time, I was the student! My friend Izzy is fluent in Chinese, and she has agreed to tutor me for the final exam. At 4:30pm, my friends and I watched the live-action version of Aladdin. I honestly loved the movie so much. Beautiful soundtrack (give the song “Speechless” a listen, I promise it won’t disappoint) and brilliant choreography. The movie is a must-watch for lovers of musicals and performance arts. Naomi Scott and Will Smith killed it as Jasmine and the Genie. The actor who played Aladdin was not bad, either!

What else has happened these couple weeks? Ah. Regents’ Scholar Society end of the year banquet! It was only these past two quarters that I’ve gotten more involved in RSS, first through SPIEL, and then through the Inter-UC Conference. At banquet, the RSS board members gave toasts to individual members. I received a toast from my friend Irena, and honestly, I was so moved. Irena was my coordinator for the Overnight Stay Program back when I was a senior in high school, so I’ve known her for quite a while now. Her words really resonated with me, and I am forever grateful to have met her. For superlatives, I earned the award for “Best Splits”. At the Inter-UC conference, which is a two-day event where Regents’ Scholars from all the UC’s gather for a day of fun activities, the group of UCLA students took their group picture, and I decided to show off in the front and do the middle splits! Hence, “Best Splits”.

This Thursday, I will be hosting my graduation party, cleverly named “Bye Belicia” (it’s a spin-off of the popular meme, “Bye Felicia”). The party will be a lot more low-key than my birthday party. It’ll take place on the rooftop of my apartment building. There will be food, drinks, and dancing! A last hoorah of sorts, before I graduate and transition to post-grad life.

Alrighty guys, it’s currently 6am. I’m sitting inside Peet’s Coffee, sipping on my iced mocha and munching on my sausage and egg sandwich– both of which I bought from Starbucks. Lol. I’m feeling a lot better today, and I’ve learned that the best way for me to stay stable is take it one day at a time, and try my best to stay positive. I mustn’t anticipate the next mental breakdown, because that will just fill me with anxiety and dread. My medications have been working to keep me stable, which is good.

I’m going to head to the gym right now. I’ll talk to you guys later!

 

 

 

XOXO,

Belicia