Rejected, Yet Again.

Unrequited love. The worst kind there is.

This is not my first post about my experience with one-way-street infatuation, nor will it likely be my last. No matter how many times it happens, the pain of rejection will always sting, at least initially, until time closes the wound.

On Wednesday, I put myself out there by asking a guy out on a date. I had met him through one of our school’s hip hop teams, and interacted with him all but two times, before I decided to jump. I figured, I barely knew the guy, but isn’t that why I should ask him out? To get to know him better?

Well, the guy never returned my message. It’s been nearly two days now. I may as well take that as a big fat NO.

To be honest, I am so proud of myself for putting myself out there and being vulnerable to the forces of external judgment. Asking any person out on a date takes guts, and I commend all the men out there who’ve traditionally had to make the first move on the ladies. Really, it’s not an easy thing to do.

I had my friend write the actual “asking out” message, and another friend press the “send” button. I could barely fall asleep after the message was sent, anxiously waiting to hear the oh-so anticipated sound of my phone notification. No such sound played that night. Nor the next day, and the next. Eventually, I gave up hope and stopped checking my phone every ten seconds. With the help of my friends, I heaved that door shut, locked it behind me, and labeled it as yet another in my ever-growing pile of rejection.

REJECTION. Oh, what a fun word it is. The word implies that you are not good enough. Subpar. Below expectation. To be rejected is one of the worst feelings in the world, for we often take it as a signal of our lack of self worth. This, however, is a distortion. Rejection, by nature, is the outside world acting on our inner being. It is some person or force telling you that you are not enough, or not worthy. But, what really does it matter what others say or do, if you are equipped with an unshakeable pillar of self-confidence and self-worth, so assured and grounded that nothing can shake you?

So that’s it, then. Rejection hurts. But it is by no means a definition of your own self worth. There’s only one person in the world who can define who you are, and that person is yourself. If a guy doesn’t share your sentiments, that is absolutely okay. It is in his every right to feel the way he does, for attraction is not something one can force. The chemistry is either there, or is not. However, it would be wrong of you to then morph that rejection into a label. Just because one person does not like you, doesn’t mean you are not lovable. Just because one person does not find you attractive, doesn’t mean you are not beautiful.

Rejection strengthens you. It builds character. Each rejection adds on a layer of armor to your skin.

So, in a way, I’m grateful that I’ve been rejected. Not once, not twice, but continuously, one right after the other. Slowly, I’m becoming immune to the pain of NO. I still have my insecurities. Each rejection throws me into a state of questioning. Am I pretty enough? Am I likable enough? Smart enough? Skinny enough? Am I enough?

The answer, of course, is a resounding YES. I am absolutely enough, in every sense of the word, and I don’t need a guy to validate that.

 

Social Anxiety Update 1/17/18

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I last updated you all on how I’m doing with my battle against social anxiety. So, here goes!

Last night, I went to the Foundations Choreography orientation (you know, the hip hop team I auditioned for). Technically, I wasn’t supposed to be there, as I was placed on the waitlist for the team, but I didn’t let that stop me from attending.

At the end of the orientation, our Foundations team headed to Koala Tea for dinner. There, we shared a wholesome conversation about the stereotypical Asian parents, sex, and more sex. Lol. It’s interesting, because I seemed to be the dominant figure in the conversation. I felt completely at ease with these people I had just met, which is a sure sign of improvement. I’m sure that most people who meet me now would never have guessed that, at one point in time, I was an incredibly shy girl who couldn’t raise her hand in class without feeling like throwing up out of fear.

I had a chance to talk to the directors of our team. They all remembered my audition, and described my dancing as “spicy”. Lol. They wanted me on their team, but unfortunately, since I had submitted my application way too late, I was placed on a waitlist instead. Bummer. But that won’t stop me from attending the weekly practices, to learn hip hop in the presence of friends new and old!

Today, I attended my very first honors’ seminar, Psych 189. The class size was pretty small– around 15 students, and the professor. For some reason, I found myself very nervous when it was my turn to introduce myself. We had to state our name, hometown, current year/major, and what our future plans after graduation were.

A part of me wonders why I have seemed to regress in this aspect of my battle against social anxiety. Maybe I just haven’t done self-introductions in a group setting in a little while, and am a little bit rusty. All I know is, self-introductions for me are the hardest part. Once the ice has thawed and I’ve cozied in to my surroundings, I feel completely at ease with my peers. Some may even call me outgoing. I call myself an ambivert– introverted in the beginning, but extroverted once I’ve gotten over the initial obstacle of meeting new people.

Again, guys, I’m trying to find confidence in my social identity without the aid of my manic episodes. The manias helped me through my shyness. They gave me a false sense of courage and confidence. My mood stabilizers have significantly reduced the magnitude of such hypomanias, and thus, have grounded me to reality. I don’t know if I like this change in me or not. For without the manias, I question how confident around people I truly am. I’ve grown more insecure and less steady, in social situations, at least in the initial stages.

All of this is a process of rebuilding a pillar of my identity from scratch, and I am no stranger to such a phenomenon. I must be kind to myself as I build up my social confidence, just as I did when initially diagnosed with social anxiety disorder at age 16. Don’t judge myself too harshly when I lose my cool in social situations. Befriend the anxiety, then attack in head on.

After today’s episode, I am determined to improve my speaking skills. Bruin Toastmasters meets every Thursday at 12pm. Unfortunately, I have class at 12:30pm, but because this particular class is BruinCasted (video recorded), I can afford to skip it and simply watch the lecture online. Starting tomorrow, I will attend weekly Toastmasters meetings and chronicle my increase in social confidence. I have a good feeling about this! More than Toastmasters, I will take initiative to raise my hand more often in class, and maybe even rush a sorority– if for nothing else, to gain more exposure to meeting new people.

The thing with social anxiety is, it never truly goes away. You always have to do the heavy-work of keeping the anxiety at bay, by continually challenging and exposing yourself to situations that may make you nervous. It’s called maintenance. Just as one with diabetes must be attentive to diet and exercise, so should those with anxiety take measures to exorcise those demons, on a daily basis.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

 

 

 

Best,

Belicia

Work-Life Balance As The Key to Long-term Happiness

Hello friends! It is currently 2:31pm on this Monday afternoon– MLK day– as I begin this post.

This past week has been such a fun one, in so many ways! As you may know, I auditioned for a hip hop team last Wednesday. It’s been nearly a week since the event passed, but I’m still reeling over the fun my friends and I had auditioning in front of– and effectively shocking– the directors of the team. Performing is my element. I simply love it. Every time I get out on the dance floor, I feel such an indescribable exchange of energy between me and the audience… it’s unreal. I think that’s why I love going out to clubs or dance parties so much. I get to show off my moves in the center of the dance circle, driven by the whoops and cheers of hyped-up watchers. On Saturday night, my friends and I headed out to frat row, where we went frat hopping. There was one frat house that had a pole in the middle of the room. Courageously, I hopped on top of the platform, where I performed a completely improvised pole dance amidst the cheers and flashing phone cameras of entertained partygoers. What fun. If, in high school, you told me that I’d one day be the life of the party, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. It’s funny how a little bit of confidence can change a person.

Beyond dancing and partying, I had a great time with friends last night, when we headed to downtown Santa Monica for outdoor ice skating. I enjoyed showing off my very, very limited arsenal of skating tricks, including the “lunge”, and my very own move– the “fall into middle splits gracefully”. After skating, we went to Sloan’s for ice cream sundaes. I had the “Flower Pot” sundae– three scoops of ice cream, topped with whipped cream, Oreo bits and a cherry on the top.

I guess you could say I am enjoying my college life thoroughly. This– sharing memories and conversations with dear friends– is what I will remember most, after my college days have long passed. I’ve definitely changed from the hardcore pre-med student I was at the start of my college journey. I was highly disciplined and focused, yes. But also very limited in my scope of life’s wonders. Then, grades were my only form of validation. Without good grades, I was nothing. My hopes and dreams depended on a perfect GPA. Failure was not an option, because to underperform was a direct reflection of my self worth. I had placed the weight of the world on my shoulders, as a naive freshman. Now, though, I realize that there is so, so much more to life than earning good grades. Don’t get me wrong– I still strongly value academics, and I will always try my best in school. The difference now is, I no longer view my grades, and any external achievement, for that matter, as a direct reflection of my worth as a person. I think this mindset shift has been one of the most formative of my life. As I no longer view each test or evaluation as a measure of who I am as a person, I am freed from the prison of perfection. Life is now so much richer… so much happier.

My mother doesn’t necessarily agree that my shift has been a positive one. She wonders why I am no longer as “disciplined” as I was in my youth, as a competitive athlete. Sometimes I wonder the same thing myself. Discipline is the key to achieving success, and in my youth, discipline was my very being. It was all I ever knew, since age five. Prided on this endearing quality, I equated my self worth solely with the intensity and drive with which I tackled my goals.

Now, I’ve discovered many other positive qualities about myself, beyond my good work ethic. I’ve developed a more balanced, well-rounded identity, one supported by many pillars, rather than a single precarious one, threatening to crack under the immense self-imposed pressure.

I once carried myself with an “all work no play” mindset. By some twisted mode of thinking, I found inherent meaning in suffering and pushing myself to the breaking point. This hard discipline sucked all joy and color out of life, leaving me lonely and self-pitying. Of course, I could only know this in retrospect, as then, I had no mode of comparison to my unhealthy, unbalanced way of living. It was only recently, when I switched to a major I thoroughly enjoyed, whilst fearlessly pursuing my many passions, did I truly realize how limited the scope of my life had been, during my days of intense discipline.

I still live life with ambition and drive as my predominant themes. However, I’ve also learned the beauty of balance, and instead of spurning this so-called “noncommittal”, “lazy” way of living, I’ve learned to embrace it wholeheartedly. I’ve learned the importance of nursing friendships and finding joy in life beyond work and goals. I hope my mother can understand that, what may seem to be a softening of the will, is indeed one of the greatest, most gratifying mindset changes I’ve experienced thus far, in my two decades of life.

I Auditioned for a Hip-Hop Team!!!

Hello everyone! It is nearing the end of week one of winter quarter 2018. Here are a couple updates on what’s been going on:

  1. Lighter courseload. What was supposed to be the quarter from hell (over 20 units) turned into the quarter from heaven, when I made the decision to drop two of my classes– Chinese and English, to make more time for my dancing, as well as my newfound hobby of figure skating. Some may question this tactical maneuver of mine, especially since my goal is to graduate early… but with summer classes, I still will be on track to graduate in three years, with a psychology degree. The best part is? I get to keep up my passions for dancing (and now skating) outside of school, whilst studying a topic that greatly interests me! It is a win-win for all.
  2. The remaining three classes I’m taking are: developmental psychology, intimate relationships and abnormal psychology. All upper-division classes, all very interesting. So far, lectures have been very straightforward, workload has been light, professors knowledgable and engaging in lecture.
  3. Moving on to the meat of today’s post: last night, I auditioned for Foundations Choreography, UCLA’s non-competitive, beginner-friendly hip-hop team! Auditioning was such a fun experience. For one, I got to do it with my best friends. Secondly, I was pushed out of my comfort zone by learning a style of dance vastly different from Latin Ballroom. Essentially, we were taught the audition piece by the choreographer (also a UCLA student), and, in small groups, performed the piece in front of the directors. My group of five was the last group to go that night. By the time we reached the audition stage, all of us had forgotten the choreography– which was to be expected. See, the cool thing about Foundations is, it doesn’t recruit based on skill level. Recruitment operates purely on a first-come-first serve basis. The first 200 people to submit their online application to Foundations are guaranteed a spot. Anyone else is automatically put on a waitlist. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter group of people, as I didn’t submit my application until the day before auditions; but no matter. Back to the story– so we braved the stage with blank minds and pounding hearts. The director asked us to say our names and audition numbers. We were to perform the piece two times– once in the back row, and once in the front. I started as one of the people in the back. Before I knew it, the music started playing, and I found myself gyrating my hips and pulling sexy faces, in an attempt to seduce the directors with my sensual Latin dance moves! Basically, the audition was a trainwreck; no one in my group remembered the choreo, so we had to improv. Thankfully, due to my prior dance training, this was no problem for me. At the start of the second run-through, my improv took on a whole new level– I shimmied my way over to my friend Tatt, who was dancing right next to me, and we danced on each other promiscuously, shocking all the directors, whose jaws “literally dropped”, as my other friend later recounted. Another of my friends, who was one of the directors, later said that I was the only one of all the 100+ auditioners trying to seduce the directors. That’s to be expected, I suppose. So yes, the audition was a trainwreck. I forgot all the choreography we were supposed to dance. But did I have fun? Yes. Did I manage to make a statement, make myself known? I would hope so! Even if I don’t land a spot on Foundations this quarter, I’m so happy I put myself out there and auditioned. And I’m even prouder of my best friend, who went into this with ZERO dance background, and still killed it!

Pre-Winter Quarter 2018 Thoughts

Hi everyone! I apologize for not having posted in a while.

Lately, I’ve been stuck in some sort of a creative drought, with faltering self-esteem being the culprit. These past couple weeks, my confidence in my voice and story wavered. I began to think, what is an average girl like me doing sharing her story like some self-obsessed, self-absorbed narcissist, ignorant to the world beyond herself? These thoughts brought me back to what this blog came to mean to me, after all these years. My blog, my brain-child, my baby, is a means through which I can use my way with words to inspire others through my highly relatable story. I share my struggle with mental illness; my ongoing journey of finding my calling; my triumphs and pitfalls during some of the most formative years of my life.

Anyway, I’ve decided to come back to blogging, simply because, at the core, I love to write, and I love to tell my story. This reason alone is enough to justify my continuation of this blog.

So, it is currently 2:13pm as I sit at Gate 24, awaiting my flight back to Los Angeles. This time around, I won’t be home for about six months, as I’ve decided to stay at UCLA for spring break. The check-in / security process went smoothly; to my relief, emotions were contained, and no tears were shed by my mother, father or grandmother.

It’s a funny thing, how we find ourselves unable to live in the present. All throughout break, I found myself anxious to get back to daily, busy grind of school. Last night, as I was packing, I wondered why on Earth I didn’t enjoy my break as much as I should have. Why I spent my precious moments with my family arguing, instead of laughing. And in that moment, I wished for just one more day at home, one more day with my loved ones, my life.

How can I learn to live and be happy in the present moment? Meditation and yoga are my friends, in this regard. I will be buying a yoga pass for this quarter— only $45 to attend any of the many yoga classes offered by UCLA Rec.

I’m really looking forward to the other extracurriculars I’m taking on this coming term. As always, I will be dancing and training hard. There are several dance competitions these next few months, so I have a lot to look forward to.

In addition to dancing, I will be picking up– you guessed it– FIGURE SKATING! On Friday, I watched the US Figure Skating Nationals, Ladies Singles event. These national were extra special, as they were also the Olympic qualifiers! I was so inspired after watching the competition… And, being the go-getter I am, I decided to start taking figure skating classes with hopes of achieving my dream of one day becoming a competitive figure skater. Last night, I booked my first lesson with former Olympian, Tiffany Chin. Tiffany is, believe it or not, a fellow Bruin! So relatable, me and her. I’m also enrolled in a weekly adult skating group class that meets every Saturday at 11:45am, for 8 weeks. Very much looking forward to that, as well.

6:32pm

Arrived at my apartment and unpacked my things– or what I have left of them. See, the airline for some reason lost large green suitcase, filled with clothes and other articles of necessity. The TSA person suspects that my suitcase got on the wrong flight– the 5:55pm flight from SFO to LAX. They said they’d give me a call if the luggage turns up when that plane lands, and deliver it to my apartment. Nonetheless, this whole situation has been an ordeal. I start class at 8:00am tomorrow, and I’d rather be focused on that, without this lost suitcase debacle distressing me. Thankfully, I have all my tier-1 necessities– chargers, laptop, medications, toothbrush– with me. The green suitcase was comprised primarily of winter clothes, though I had an expensive pair of leather booties in there as well. I really hope the luggage turns up; otherwise, I will have to buy new clothes, which is a big bummer.

Anyway, I’d better grab some dinner, then get ready for tomorrow. I’ll talk to you guys soon!

Belicia

Blogmas 2017 Day 15: YEAR IN REVIEW

Well guys, it’s that time of the year again. With a new year just around the corner, it is time to reflect on this past 12 months’ highlights, triumphs, and tribulations.

College / Life Decisions

This year, I completed my first year at UCLA, as well as the first quarter of my sophomore year. I renounced the pre-med track, opting for the renegade life of creative freedom instead. I almost left UCLA in pursuit of dancing, only to realize that leaving a great university and cherished community for a very slim chance of success as a dancer was not what I really wanted. So I returned to UCLA for my second year. The themes of 2017 were indecision and uncertainty regarding life paths, and courage to break free from the grain, leave my comfort zone and ultimately follow my heart. None of it was easy. But you know what? I survived. And I emerged so much more self-aware and enlightened through this roller-coaster ride of a year. The ultimate lesson I learned was this: YOU alone are the captain of your own ship in this journey called life. People will judge; people will tell you what to do and what not to do; but at the end of the day, only you can decide what you want for yourself. Have the courage to listen to your heart and not be afraid of what you hear.

Here are some blog posts highlighting this past year’s journey of self discovery as a university student:

Anticipatory Anxiety About Pre-med

Thoughts On Leaving For College

Confused

Winter Quarter 2017 Reflection

Big Life Decision!!!

The Beauty of Self Exploration

 

A New Mental Health Diagnosis

Over the summer, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It explained a whole lot of my past behaviors and mercurial moods. The initial diagnosis threw me into a bit of an identity crisis. The question that kept playing in my mind was, how much of my past success was due to the hypomanic states of my illness, characterized by increased goal-oriented behavior, obsessive achieving and high-flying motivation? Could I have achieved what I have in the past, without my illness aiding me? Was my public persona of heightened social confidence and bubbly, infectious energy all just a a symptom of my illness? What was the real Belicia, and what was the sick Belicia? Now on mood stabilizers, the effects of my bipolar disorder are greatly mitigated, and I finally have the chance to discover the real me, behind the mask of illness.

Read A New Mental Health Diagnosis to learn more about my mental illness.

 

Dance

This past year, I went from relegating dance to the status of a mere hobby, to wanting to pursue a professional dancing career at the expense of a university education, to returning to university and making dance a hobby once more. At this point, all I know for sure is that I will always continue dancing, because dancing brings me joy. I hope to one day reach a high competitive level, but whether or not that means going professional remains to be seen. So long as I’m at UCLA, dance will be a part-time thing. I will try my best to dance as much as I can whilst remaining a full-time student. It is most definitely possible; I just have to find a way to make it happen.

I traveled to New York City this past summer to scout for a dance partner and immerse myself in the ultimate dance culture to dig for some answers regarding my career decision. I watched the Empire Dance Championship and had the chance to meet some of the world’s greatest ballroom dancers. Read more about my New York adventure here: New York Trip Reflection. I competed at Embassy Ball in September– it felt amazing to be out on the floor again after a hiatus of more than one year. Here’s a blog post about my experience: Embassy Ball 2017.

 

Writing

I’ve done some of my best writing this past year. I find that, in my moments of greatest angst, I have so many emotions and pent-up thoughts screaming to be released– and so, I write. I bleed my soul onto the page. And that’s where my greatest works come from. Straight from the soul. I will most definitely continue writing, not just in 2018, but for the rest of my waking days. Stay tuned for an update on the semi-autobiographical novel I’m currently working on!

2017 came and went, and I’ve emerged truly changed. Let’s hope for another joyous, formative, memorable year of tremendous growth.

 

 

 

Goodbye, 2017. Hello, 2018. Give me all you’ve got.