Hi everyone! How are you all doing? I do apologize for being AWOL these past few days. The exhaustion of endless dance practice finally caught up to me, and I simply couldn’t muster enough energy to upload posts every day.
The last I spoke to y’all was five days ago, on Wednesday, July 19. That was the day I luckily evaded jury duty and reunited with my high school English teacher over lunch.
Thursday through Sunday of that week consisted of dancing, all day every day. On Friday, I met a kind lady named Rose at the dance studio, who is a longtime student of my dance teacher’s. I told her about my daily commute from Redwood City to San José for dancing, and she offered to let me stay over at her place, which was but ten minutes away from the studio, so I didn’t have to spend money on transportation. I gladly accepted her offer, and on Friday night, after coaching, I spent the night at her apartment. We had a grand time, conversing about dance, men, her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and many other topics. We listened to beautiful Italian music, and she told me about her annual solo trips to Italy. On Saturday morning, Rose gave me a ride to the dance studio, where I practiced (with breaks, of course) until about 10pm. During my Saturday dance lessons, I was effectively murdered by my dance teacher, who was not in the best of moods that day, as he and his wife are busy organizing next weekend’s dance competition, International Grand Ball. That practice was the first time I cried in the bathroom in a long time. The same thing would happen in gymnastics, too, during especially rough trainings, when nothing would go right. When my coaches yell at me, I know they only want me to be better, and I know I should treat their criticisms as means of growth. However, I put a lot of pressure on myself when I’m not living up to my coaches’ or my own expectations, and its from this self-imposed pressure where the tears flow.
On Saturday night, I went home, took a long, hot shower and headed straight to bed after an entire weekend of dancing. The following day, I had a lesson with Bumchin, the guy I’ll be dancing with at Embassy. At around 4pm, my family and I headed to San Francisco for a family friend’s birthday party/BBQ. I was a bit reluctant to go, as I was exhausted from dance and wanted to catch up on writing and sleep. In the end, I concluded that getting out of the house and doing something social would do me good.
The party was pretty fun, even though it was mainly for my parents to catch up with long-time friends. Thankfully, there were people our age at the party, one of whom recently graduated from UCLA! We all played the game “Taboo”, which was very exhilarating. I was a bit nervous in the beginning, as I had only played “Taboo” one other time, several years ago, and was not confident in my ability. However, I quickly checked myself in this perfectionistic thinking. Who cares if I sucked at the game? I shouldn’t be living to impress everyone I meet. Just let go and enjoy! And enjoy I did.
Because I’m me, I insisted on bringing my laptop and book to the party, just in case I found time to write or read. I hope my actions didn’t come off as terribly rude to the hosts, who of course wanted their guests to have a good time. Right before leaving for the party, though, I was in the midst of working on my “Tips for Incoming College Freshmen” piece, which I’m having a blast writing. I get very attached to my work once I start, so during the lulls of the party, I’d whip out my MacBook Air and continue hammering away at the piece.
We left the party at 9:00pm, as my dad had to work the following day. Once home, I took a shower, read a little bit of Eleanor Roosevelt’s autobiography, and fell asleep.
Today is Monday, and I’ve officially declared Mondays to be my day off from dance. How nice it feels to finally have time to sit down, relax, and release my pent up thoughts and emotions on paper (or, in this case, screen).
Next week, I’ll be embarking on my weeklong New York trip, which I am SUPER excited about! I really have to continue planning out my trip, as I want to make the most of my time in the city that never sleeps. I plan on living in New York after I graduate college, so this will be a good first step towards getting acclimated to city life.
I had originally planned on self-funding my entire trip, and I still plan on doing so. However, I wasn’t able to make quite enough money from work as I imagined I would, so I made a deal with my parents that they’d help me pay for my trip, and after I return on August 8, I would work the remainder of the summer to pay them back every cent.
Things I plan on doing in New York:
- try out with a potential dance partner
- watch the Empire Dancesport competition
- try on some Latin dance dresses
- take dance classes in styles other than Latin/Ballroom
- watch a Broadway show (I really, really, REALLY want to watch Hamilton: the Musical)
- hang out with my best friend from college, Chiana, who lives in Connecticut
- spend time with my cousin, her husband, and their 2-and-a-half year old daughter, Isabella (my family and I were there on the day of her birth)
- eat good food
- explore the city (I really want to check out the NY Times headquarters, among other places)
- learn how to navigate the subway system
So, lots planned for my first solo trip across the country.
Speaking of trips… my brother, Chris, is currently in Italy for a piano performance. For some reason, whenever he embarks on these solo journeys, he never fails to experience a hiccup or two, usually from factors beyond his control (delayed/cancelled flights, lost luggage, etc.). This time around, his luggage from San Francisco never made it to his final destination in Italy, and it was only today, four days after he landed, that he was finally reunited with his bags. Without clothes, Chris had to buy clean underwear and socks and shirts. Thank goodness the luggage was not lost for good, otherwise Chris wouldn’t have had his performance attire or piano books! You could imagine how stressed out my mother was these past few days, then. Her youngest son was facing a crisis halfway around the world, and she was not there to help him.
Now, it is 12:19pm. I found getting out of bed this morning to be extremely difficult. My alarm went off at 8am, but I turned it off and slept until 10:30am. I’ve been feeling very drowsy lately. I think it’s a mixture of my intense dance training, as well as this new medication I started, called Lamictal. Lamictal is a mood stabilizer, often used to treat bipolar disorder or seizures. While my psychiatrist doesn’t believe I am bipolar, she does agree that my mood swings are severe enough to negatively affect my daily functioning. For that reason, she started me on a low dosage of Lamictal, and we’ll see how well I respond. So far, I suppose the medication is doing its job, as I haven’t experienced the extreme highs and lows I used to feel. However, one of the side effects is drowsiness, and I believe that is part of the reason why I’ve been so tired as of late.
For the first time in my life, I’m developing a newfound hunger to expand my mind in multiple dimensions and truly learn for learning’s sake. I don’t JUST want to dance. I want to read… everything. I want to learn more about politics, psychology, philosophy, theater, creative writing! I want to hone my skills as an orator and writer, and hopefully become a master of communication one day. I’m developing a fascination with people: their personalities, temperaments, body language, contrast between public and private behavior, adaptability in novel situations, self-constructed psychological walls and long-term personal development. Long gone are the days of dreading conversations with strangers. I love meeting new people! Just the other day, on the Caltrain ride home, I shared an enlightening conversation with two young ladies– Priscilla, who just finished her freshman year at UCSB, and Emma, a recent graduate of Brown University. We talked about all sorts of things: Koreos, a UCLA-based K-pop dance team; boyfriends, or lack thereof; regrets and triumphs of college life; how to become so confident in your own skin that you stop worrying about what others think of you; UCLA’s dope hip-hop scene; UCSB’s tar-covered beaches; Brown’s “chill” vibes; and much more.
It’s really interesting how much one can learn simply by talking to another individual. I think people are often hindered to strike conversation with others simply because they live in their own heads too much. They worry about how they’ll come off to the other person. What if I’m awkward? What if we have nothing to talk about? Trust, me. I used to be this way, 1000% percent. That’s why, throughout most of my adolescence, I’d never talk to anyone!!
Now, I’m blessed to be in a brighter place, outside my shell. I still get a bit nervous when first meeting strangers, but once the ice is broken, I’m an open book. I love sharing my story with others, and I love it when others feel comfortable enough to be honest with me. It’s the human-to-human connection that I greatly cherish, and I know that, whatever career I decide on, it must involve interaction with people. Ironic, that this is coming from a person who’s struggled with crippling social anxiety throughout high school!
It is 1pm now. I’ve been sitting in our beautiful backyard for the past hour or so, completely at peace with my surroundings. I’ll conclude this post here and do some reading and meditating. Later in the day, I will go to the Bay Club to finish up my paperwork for my job there as a childcare associate, head to the library to renew my library card, which expired on June 30, and let my body rest before another long week of dancing.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday, everyone!