Junior Year, Fall Quarter, Week 3

Hey guys!

It’s currently 8:46pm as I sit in my warm, cozy bed, typing out this post. I hope you all had a nice, productive weekend!

Unfortunately for me, I managed to catch a little bug towards the end of last week and am currently fighting to get better before the start of this coming week.

In other news, I’ve got to say, I absolutely love my fall quarter schedule! No class Monday or Friday, so I get a four-day weekend each week! Tuesdays and Thursdays are a little bit rough, but I like the layout of my class schedule. Three classes, starting from 9:30am, and ending at 4:45pm, with 1.5 hour blocks in between each. I go to lecture, then use the time between classes to debrief on what I had just learned. It’s a good thing going.

I have my very first exam this coming week. I didn’t do very well academically last year, largely because I was so distracted with partying and other vices. Thus, my confidence in my test-taking ability has been shaken. I am determined, however, to get my GPA back up this coming year. I’ve been studying consistently everyday, reviewing my self-generated study questions, going through flashcards, and re-reading important concepts from the textbook. Sadly, I wasn’t able to do as much studying as I would have liked this weekend, because of the sickness. I spent most of today in bed, sleeping. It comes to show how important it is to take care of your health, while in college.

More good news– I found a dance partner! His name is Mert, he just moved to LA from Turkey, and he’s been dancing for about five years, a little longer than I have! We had a little tryout on Friday, and it turned out to be a good-fit partnership, so I am very excited to see where we go!

My hopes for this coming week are simply to recover from the illness, study hard, exercise daily (haven’t been doing enough of that, sadly), and limit my spending budget. Man, I love having clear-cut goals. You know what you want, and you know exactly what to do to reach them. I’m a goal-digger to the core. I love love love it!

Alrighty, guys. Time for bed. Gotta rest up for my study day tomorrow! I also need to get my phone fixed, as my clumsy hand dropped it in a hot tub. Really inconvenient, but stuff happens in life.

 

 

 

Have a good night!

 

Life Update 10/10/18: SCHOOL, SCHOOL, SCHOOL!

Hey guys, happy October! It’s been a hot sec since I last posted. I hope you all are doing well.

I’ve been so busy lately, and it’s only the second week of the quarter! Lots have been going on. My focus for this quarter (and academic year) is to get my GPA back up (after a rough patch last year), as my path, once more, is medical school. With this goal in mind, I’ve been going hardcore with my studying, and I’ve never felt more on top of my schoolwork than ever.

It’s so interesting. Last year, around this time, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I lacked focus and direction. And so, without a concrete goal to work towards, I felt… lost. Now, exactly one year later, I have found my path once more. And I feel so, so much more like myself. Driven. Focused. Passionate. I wake up each morning with a goal, a purpose. It’s an intoxicating feeling, and I’m absolutely in love with my current state of being.

It’s so true when they say that once you find your calling, you are unstoppable. You know what you want, and you will do whatever it takes to get there. But what people talk less about is the difficult path of finding what makes you tick. Finding your “thing”. Rarely are individuals born knowing exactly what they wish to do for the rest of their lives. It’s a long journey of trial and error, experience, and self-discovery, that ultimately leads people to understand what they truly wish to do with their lives.

For many, college is the place where that magic happens, which is why I’ve grown to appreciate my time here at UCLA, now more than ever. My time as a Bruin is finite. It is now. There are still a million things I wish to do on campus… so many ambitions, and so little time. I cannot believe I am already a third-year student! It gives me a shiver, each time I think about how the precious time has slipped through my fingers. I must appreciate each moment in its entirety. Is it weird, also, how I keep wondering whether or not I’ll run into my future spouse here on campus? LOL. I hear so many stories of married couples meeting each other at university, and I wonder if the same will happen to me.

But back to the topic of today’s post– what’s been going on with me! Besides school, I’ve been dancing consistently, almost every day. I’m getting back into Dancesport Club and hope to find a partner to compete with on the collegiate dance circuit. I’m in the process of forming my own dance club, Bruin Burlesque, where I’ll teach my fellow Bruins how to Burlesque! I applied to a couple student-run health magazines where I hope to be a writer/content-contributor. I auditioned and got onto an urban dance team, but unfortunately, I made the difficult decision of forfeiting my membership on the team, as my academic life takes precedence over all else. I know my own limits and priorities. My goal for this quarter was to get straight A’s. Would being on a dance team, as fun as it may be, serve me in achieving this goal? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I didn’t want to take any risks. The last time I was on an urban dance team, my GPA took a hit. I could not risk the same thing happening again, especially as my chances of boosting my GPA are wearing thin (I’m a third-year, gonna graduate soon!).

So… I have more to tell you guys, but my Psychology of Human Aging class starts in 15 minutes! Gotta get myself mentally prepared for the three-hour class! But I promise to talk to you guys very soon!

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia

 

 

Trichotillomania: The Real Reason Why I Tattooed My Brows

People often take a look at my eyebrows, and ask if they are tattooed. I reply that they are. Naturally, they follow up with, “Why did you tattoo them?”

Up until now, I’ve always told people that I tattooed my eyebrows for the sake of convenience. That I no longer have to pencil in my brows in the morning. That it saves time.

While those are all valid reasons, they are not the complete truth. To be honest, I’ve always been wary of revealing to others the main reason why I did permanent makeup on my eyebrows, back in senior year of high school.

I’m tired of telling white lies. So here it is: I suffered from trichotillomania. Defined as “a disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out body hair.” I was never diagnosed by a professional, but I know I had it, judging from my past behavior.

I was born with thick, full eyebrows. It was not until around sophomore year of high school that I started pulling them out, one by one. My trigger was anxiety. Whenever I’d get stressed, be it over schoolwork or any form of evaluation, I’d find that my hands naturally made it’s way to my eyebrows. And I’d pick at my eyebrow hairs, one by one, until one day, there was nothing left to tug at.

I found a release, when I performed this behavior. It became almost subconscious. I’d be studying hard, head bent over a book, when, all of the sudden, I’d catch myself performing the eyebrow-tugging ritual. Sometimes, I’d spend an hour in the bathroom, just picking out my brows with tweezers. With each hair I tugged out, my stress was diminished. By the time I was done, I’d have only a few sad strands of hair left where my once beautiful brows used to be. And I’d feel devastated and horrified. Then I would vow to myself to let the brows grow back, and never pick at them again. Each morning, I’d have to draw in my eyebrows before school. At school, I had to be careful with touching my face, lest I wish to smear off the makeup.

Tired of having to live the way I did, I did my research, and discovered permanent makeup. A solution to my eyebrow catastrophe! No longer would I have to draw on my brows each morning. At school, I needn’t worry any longer about accidentally rubbing off my eyebrows. It was a solution to my problems!

I’ve had my brows tattooed for over two years now. They have to be retouched from time to time. But otherwise, I have had no qualms about them. I used to be embarrassed when people asked me about my eyebrows, and why there are no natural hairs there. Now, I’m learning how to own up to my past illness and accept it as part of my history.

So there you have it. My deep dark secret. I suffered from trichotillomania for three years. THAT is the real reason why I have my brows tattooed.

Why I’ve Lost Social Confidence

Hey guys! It’s Wednesday September 26, 2018, 12:15pm. I’m sitting inside UCLA’s student activities center, writing out this post. Today I want to talk about why I’ve lost a lot of my confidence– socially, academically, basically all across the board.

In today’s post, let’s focus on social confidence. Coming into college, I was ready to break free from the quiet, reticent girl I was in high school. In high school, I had really bad social anxiety. So much so that I needed to go to therapy to overcome it. Once I got to UCLA, I developed a new identity– an outgoing, open, completely uninhibited Belicia. Little did I know, then, that a big part of this drastic increase in social confidence was attributed to the hypomania that comes hand in hand with bipolar disorder. It was only until summer in sophomore year of college that I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And that’s when I realized that most of my former social confidence was not genuine. It was the illness talking. And coming to that realization caused me to, once again, withdraw into myself, doubting my ability to handle all sorts of social situations where I am vulnerable to the evaluation of others.

I really admire that person I used to be, back in freshman year. I was quite popular on my dorm floor. In my head, everyone loved my infectious, outgoing, warm personality (perhaps some were intimidated, even, by my forwardness). I did things that were truly out of my comfort zone, and faced my fears courageously. At that time, I was still questioning whether or not I wanted to go into medicine. I seized every opportunity I got to interact with physicians and grill them with questions. I distinctly remember accosting a pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Warwick Peacock, and asking him all sorts of questions. Ballsy move, Belicia. We had a guest speaker oncologist come into one of my classes one day, and after lecture, I followed the poor guy to his car, again asking so many questions. I helped co-teach UCLA’s dancesport club. I gave private Latin dance lesson to members of the UCLA community. During a debate assignment for one of my classes, I delivered such a strong rebuttal argument that everyone in the class gave me a round of applause afterwards. In that same class, I decided to adopt a British accent one day, and disrupted the class by raising my hand and asking several questions in that terrible British accent (I’m sorry, everyone, for making you sit through that. But it definitely was entertaining!). I made so many friends, my freshman year, and met so so many different people. That summer, I traveled to New York City all by myself for a dance competition. I was totally unafraid.

I’ve definitely regressed from the person I used to be. A part of it is not totally bad. I’ve become more conscientious of my behavior in public and have developed a better radar for when certain actions of mine are appropriate or not. You can’t be totally uninhibited in every situation. You must play by ear, lest you wish to offend someone or get in trouble. However, there are parts of my social self that have lost much confidence. Once again, I am scared to speak in public. Meeting new people or being in group settings can be an ordeal, although at times I simply love crowds and running into familiar faces. I’m proud of myself, however, for being able to hand out flyers yesterday during the Enormous Activities Fair, where I advertised Dancesport club.

But I’m working on it. I’m working on developing that social confidence. Real, genuine social confidence, without the help of the mania or alcohol. I really believe that I will gain a lot more confidence when I start my own dance club. I will continue to attend professors’ office hours, as intimidating as it may be. I will become an official member of Bruin Toastmasters, the public speaking organization, as well as speech and debate club. I will do all these things to fight the social anxiety. And I’ll seek therapy as a support system as I fight this battle, so I won’t feel so alone or disheartened when I inevitably experience embarrassment in social situations.

Everyone struggles with social confidence at some point in their lives. Especially young people, who may not have much experience in high-stakes social situations. It’s totally normal, and shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. I must always remind myself that what I’m experiencing is okay, and that it’s not the end of the world if I am awkward or anxious during social situations.

Alrighty guys. I think the rest of the day I will chillax and get ready for tomorrow, when classes begin. I’m feeling pumped and motivated for this coming quarter. It’ll be a challenge, but I’ve never been one to back down in the face of fear.

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia

Commencement of My Junior Year at UCLA!

Hey everyone! It’s currently Saturday night, 10:17pm here in the Bay Area to be exact. I hope you all are doing well. Last time I posted, I wasn’t in the best of places… but being home this past week has brought me to a new level of clarity, and I’m feeling ready and recharged for the coming school year.

Goodness me… junior year of college, already? Before I know it, I’ll be graduating with my Bachelor’s in Psychology (and possibly an English minor). Time really does fly. Makes me a little bit sad, to be honest.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting these past few days (as if I don’t do enough of that!). Mainly just thinking about how much I’ve grown and regressed these past couple years at UCLA. Both my freshman and sophomore years at UCLA were tumultuous in their own rights. Freshman year, I made several drastic career path changes. I almost left UCLA to pursue a professional dance career, only to realize that that kind of career and lifestyle was not one I wanted for myself. And so, I returned to school for my second year… a wild year, indeed. I think every young person goes through a period of angst, rebellion, and exploration, to varying degrees and at different times. I happened to go through my phase during my sophomore year of college. Lots of partying, drinking, and boys. Am I necessarily happy about the kinds of choices I made, during that dark time? No. But I do believe that phase was a normative phase of my development. See, I was a sheltered Mormon girl all throughout middle and high school. Unlike most, I never rebelled during my early and middle adolescence. I was an angel child, brought up by wonderful parents with strong values. I think being sheltered to that extreme, however, increased the likelihood that I’d rebel and abuse my freedom, once I got to college. And rebelled, I did.

I discussed all this with my therapist, and we both agreed that I had gone from one extreme lifestyle to another. What can I say? I’m an extreme person who views the world in black and white and lacks a concept of balance. Now, it’s time to dial it back in and find a balance between work and fun. And work, I must. This coming year is no freaking joke. I’ll be taking 4-5 classes each quarter. On top of that, I’ll be cranking up on my extracurriculars. I plan on starting my own dance club, “Bruin Burlesque” (I’ll keep y’all posted on how that’s going). I’m also going to rejoin the Daily Bruin newspaper and continue as a writer in the blogging section. I’m currently doing undergraduate research under head and neck surgeon, which is a great professional development opportunity! I’m also getting back into ballroom dance (on my own terms), as taking a break from this art has made me realize how much I miss it (but I definitely did not miss the politics and drama of that insular world). Speaking of ballroom… I’m working with a group of computer science majors to create an app for competitive ballroom dancers. It’s basically Tinder, for dance partner search! If this app takes off, it’ll change the face of how dancers find partners!

So, lots and lots of projects to keep me focused and disciplined. Oh yes, I am also going back to church! I went to church last week, for the first time in several years. Seriously, members of the LDS church community are so, so sweet and kind-hearted. It’s interesting seeing people my age already married! But they are really great, wholesome people, and I think it’ll do me good surrounding myself with people who bring out the best in me.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling nervous for this coming year. I’ve been through this enough times to recognize a pattern in my college experience. I’ll go into each quarter super super motivated to do well in my academics whilst taking on a million extracurriculars. Shortly into the quarter, I’ll hit an exhaustion-induced wall. I’ll be forced to drop some of my extracurriculars, which will make me feel like a failure. My mental health will take a turn for the worse. By the end of the quarter, I’ll be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But ten weeks go by FAST, which is partly why I love the quarter system so much. The pain is intense, but it’s over quickly.

But let me say this– I’m feeling something very similar to what I felt right before my freshman year at UCLA. I’m feeling really, really hopeful. Hopeful that this year will be better than the last, just as I was hopeful college would be a gazillion times better than high school. Armed with more knowledge and experience gained from past mistakes, I will be ready for the obstacles that are coming my way. Here is a list of rules I will follow to a tee, this coming year:

  • Find a therapist, and go to therapy, regularly. Don’t throw your mental health under the bus, Belicia. A depressed Bel will not get straight A’s.
  • Get enough sleep. Take power naps, if need be. Sleep is the best medicine for SO many things, not to mention a key component of successful academic performance.
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthily. A healthy body is directly linked to a healthy mind.
  • Cut out the alcohol, cold turkey. It’s just really bad for your health, and will exacerbate your mental illness.
  • Replace partying with wholesome fun activities… like dance classes! Or skating! Or hiking! Or going on (wholesome) dates with nice guys!
  • Don’t overshoot or spread yourself too thin. It’s a recipe for failure. Focus on a few things that mean a lot to you, and do them to the best of your ability.
  • Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The most growth happens when you are scared. Don’t shy away from uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Lean into the thrill of it!
  • Really monitor your moods carefully. If you feel yourself slipping towards either one extreme (workaholic or partyholic), check yourself before you wreck yourself.

 

Alrighty, guys. I’m gonna go ahead and finish my packing, as we are leaving early tomorrow morning. I really do have a good feeling about this coming year. Last year was a dark time, but formative, nonetheless. I learned a lot about myself. I experienced things I’d never experienced before, for better or for worse. The good news is, I’ve emerged from that period physically unscathed, and much more mature and self-aware. It’s time to get back on track, and I have full faith that I will succeed this coming year. In addition to performing well academically, I will slowly rebuild my spiritual relationship with God. I will continue to grow as a dancer and writer. One of my biggest goals is to build more social confidence, especially in professional settings. Kick that fear of public speaking, once and for all. Be the grounded, super-star Belicia I’ve always envisioned.

Have a wonderful night, y’all!

 

 

Best,

Belicia

 

Lonely Nights

Hi guys. I hope you all are having a good Monday night. One day down, four days to go! Y’all got this!

I wish I could say I was doing well… but I’m not. Not tonight. I tried going to bed early at 10:30pm, but couldn’t fall asleep. I was feeling… lonely. Lost in my negative thoughts surrounding all the drama that’s been happening in my life lately. Fighting the depression. Gosh, whenever I find myself with too much free time on my hands, I get depressed. It’s been a consistent pattern for the past four years or so. Obviously there is so much I can do with my time… read a book. Study Chinese. Go to the gym. Dance. But that motivation is lacking… I’m ambitious, but lately, I’ve been lacking the follow-through, which concerns me. A part of me is excited for the school year to begin, as I will be busy once more, and I won’t have time to ruminate on negative thoughts.

It’s so bad– lately, I’ve been experiencing a constant urge to party and lose myself in reckless abandon. Whenever I am not clubbing or going out with friends, I feel… empty. A long stretch from the girl who used to study flashcards in her room for fun.

I sometimes feel like my life went to shit the moment I stopped dancing competitively. The choice was mine, of course. I was disillusioned with the ballroom dance world, and felt the need to take a break from the politics and drama surrounding the industry. However, I will say this: dancing gave me goals to work towards. I found it immensely fulfilling to see my continuous improvement. The time when I was dancing most, I was also the happiest I have been in my life. I feel that, if I return to competitive dancing, I will find fulfillment and meaning in my life once more. At the very least, I’ll be getting consistent exercise, and stay out of mischief.

It’s interesting. Whenever I write, I feel better, almost immediately. Tonight, I cried, as I was trying to go to sleep. I felt a mixture of emotions. Shame… Regret… Disappointment in myself. I prayed to God to help me through this difficult time. I even prayed to my late grandmother and late godmother, both of whom are watching over me from above. I know they would not be proud of the person I’ve become, as of late. And no one could be more disappointed than myself.

I miss high school, sometimes. I was a very different person. A better person. Focused. Disciplined beyond my years. Mature. Goal-oriented. Stable. I had so much potential and promise of success. I really hope that I can get back to that state I used to be in. No more mischief, wasting time, fooling around. I must get back on track.

Alright, it’s time to face my demons again. Time to let sleep come to me… blissful, sweet sleep. The only time I can be at peace. I wake up, and my overactive mind instantly turns to anxious and negative mode. I really need to see a therapist.

 

 

 

Belicia

Stripping My Life of Toxicity

Hey friends! Hope you all are doing well. I know I haven’t been writing daily, as I have promised in the past, and I apologize for that.

My life of late has been… quite crazy, indeed. Beyond my philosophy class, which I am doing surprisingly well in, considering that I don’t understand 90% of what goes on in class, I’ve been hanging out with a new crowd that I met at– get this– a strip club!

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in any previous blog posts, but a few weeks ago, my friends and I decided to go to a male strip club, just for the experience. Little did I know what would happen to me, that fateful night. Basically, one of the male strippers saw me dancing, and wanted to recruit me into a ladies Burlesque dance group that he was managing. We exchanged contact info, and I met his other friends, including the other manager, whom I will call Haley, who was in charge of the ladies portion of the group (the entire group is comprised of male and female subgroups).

Before I knew it, I was officially recruited into the group. Let me be clear– this is basically a stripping group. In the beginning, I was under the impression that the group was strictly dance-based– no stripping involved. I was wrong. But, I made it clear to Haley that I wasn’t comfortable stripping or giving lap dances, and she said that was fine.

There is no denying that the men of the group are… hot. Very, very attractive. And really great at their job, which is to seduce woman with flattery and affection. Unfortunately, I was one of those women. There were two men in the group in particular– whom I will call Trey and Matt– who sweet-talked their way into my heart. And I was dumb enough to believe that they actually liked me in an intimate way. The following is a personal piece I wrote last night, when I realized that their so-called “affection” was all an act:

My heart is a little bit heavy. Just kidding. It’s a LOT  heavy. Basically, Matt played me. He made me believe he liked me, when in reality, it was all a big fat joke for him. A way to stroke his ego. And Trey did the exact same thing. He even told me Matt liked me. As did Haley! I sometimes wonder if it was all a part of a grand ol’ scheme to manipulate me into staying in the group, or something. Well, if it was, it certainly failed, because now I’m not sure if I wish to stay in the Burlesque group at all.  It’s not just the fact that Trey/Matt hurt me. It’s the fact that I don’t agree with the lifestyle and culture of the stripping industry. It completely goes against my long-standing morals. Seducing women/men for money? Treating them as nothing but ATM machines, rather than actual human beings with emotions? Toss a little wink here and a caress there, and expect to earn a buck or two? Gosh, I would never be a part of something as objectifying and superficial as that. Then again… a part of me is intrigued, with the possibility of making good money, as Trey promised (which is probably just a lie, like everything he’s said in the past). More than that, though, I love the feeling of being flattered and accepted into a group. Everyone in the group (at surface level) has been so welcoming. The boys are really good at charming their way into women’s hearts. Which, unfortunately, is what happened with me. I succumbed. I fell victim to their manipulative, sweet seductive words… words that mean nothing at all. But maybe a part of me is holding on to the fantasy. When I’m around them, I can pretend that they actually like me, which of course is too good to be true in real life. Gosh, I’m so stupid. As Natalie so eloquently added, it’s “all practice for the big show”. Terrible. This is why I hate this industry. There’s no such thing as real, genuine intimacy. It’s all a game, to these guys. If there’s one thing I learned from all this, it’s this– I’d better watch out for guys like Trey and Matt in the future. Sure, they’re hot, and boy do they fucking know it. They also really like their egos stroked, as do most men (and sometimes women, too). So they try to make every woman fall in love with them… for no real purpose, really, other than to feel good about themselves. It’s sickening. Guys like them… they lack maturity and integrity, at least when it comes to the realm of intimacy. I remember something my dad told me, a long time ago: “Never go for the guy everyone is after.” They can have anyone they want, and they know it. So who are you to them, at the end of the day? Just a statistic. Another girl on their long list to fuck and conquer. There’s nothing personal about it, at all. I was a fool to believe Matt could actually like me. And it’s not a reflection of my own character or beauty. It’s the fact that Matt is INCAPABLE of loving and experiencing deep emotional connection… not in his line of work. And Trey. Bitch, don’t even get me started about that FLAKE, that WOMANIZER, that PLAYER. I swear, that boy can sweet-talk his way into any woman’s beating heart. Trey was the guy I was going for in the beginning. I fell for him that first night at the strip club, and was dumb enough to believe all the empty promises Trey made to me. He’d call me and shower me with affection and promises of intimacy and fun together. It was a sweet fantasy… but don’t worry Trey, I’ve seen the light. And I’m done with you, for good. I don’t want you anymore. If I do decide to keep my name on the Burlesque roster, my relationship with you will be strictly professional. Same goes for basically every man on the team. Professional. Drama-free. No strings attached. Natalie is right. The best way to exact revenge is to show them how good I am at what I do. To SHINE on that stage and fucking kill it. Show them that I’m not to be messed with. Make them BOW to me, then CRUSH EM’ like a bug. Ok, that was a little extreme… but you get what I mean. I want them to hurt, the way they hurt me. Maybe that’s not the healthiest attitude, though. No. I want to be the bigger person. If I try to hurt them back, it shows that I actually care. They don’t deserve my mental energy. They just don’t deserve it. So I won’t give it to them, simple as that!”

So, there you have it. I’m ready to cut out all the toxic bullshit from my life. Not necessary. I need to surround myself with people who will bring out the best in me. People who build me up, instead of tearing me down. People who make me feel comfortable in my own skin, instead of insecure.

Alrighty, guys. Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to you soon.

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia