Hi everyone! It is Tuesday February 26, 2019, 12:41am, as I begin this blog post. How are you doing? It’s been a while since I last updated you guys on my life! I’ve been the busiest bee EVER this quarter, what with running my own dance club, choreographing the musical, staying on top of my studies, and being invited to be a student speaker at a student TED talk event!
Man… where do I even begin? The month of February has been a whirlwind! Earlier this month, I auditioned to speak at a student TED Talk event, and to my greatest joy, I was selected to be one of the four speakers! The event is actually happening this Wednesday (aka tomorrow)! I am feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement. Though I’ve performed and competed my entire life, I’ve never spoken in front of a large crowd before. I’m always nervous when doing something completely new, and sometimes overthink it, but hey, that’s only human! I’m going in with the following mindset:
- People are there to hear me speak about a topic I am both immensely passionate about, and am an expert in. It’s a friendly audience!
- People are rooting for me to succeed.
- It’s not a gymnastics competition. You aren’t being judged. So toss that perfectionism out the window!
- Don’t judge yourself. It’s a new experience– again, no need to try to be perfect.
- Be conversational, and be yourself. You have a great personality! No need to try to be someone you are not!
I believe if I go in with this healthy mindset, I will be fine. Everyone I have spoken to has believed in me, and has told me I will be great up there. I will let my passion for my topic, which addresses mental health in the world of competitive sports, carry me beyond any fear. I know I will feel nervous beforehand; but it’s just like performing in gymnastics or dance. The anticipatory anxiety is there, but the minute I step on the floor, I transform!
I am slowly but surely gaining so much more social confidence! This is the metamorphosis I have been waiting for, for so long. In addition to speaking at SPIEL, I will be speaking at several mental health events. There is one on February 28 (the day after SPIEL), one on March 9, and one on April 16. I’ll be sharing my journey of surviving the deep depression that followed my gymnastics injury; the social anxiety and identity crisis, also following my injury; the trauma and abuse I faced during my time in gymnastics; being diagnosed with bipolar II disorder during my sophomore year of college, and going through yet another identity crisis; and my experience of mental illness in the context of my Asian-American background, where mental health stigma is unfortunately so strong.
I am finding my voice. I’ve been writing for a long time, and now, I am learning how to speak. I feel more empowered than I ever have in my life! It’s a wonderful feeling, and I will look back on this time of my life– my early 20s– as some of the greatest, most transformative years.
This week is so tough. I have a Chinese reading test and big exam for Psych 136A, both happening tomorrow; SPIEL on Wednesday; a Chinese quiz Thursday; and dance performance Friday. In addition to all that, this week the theater is having full run-throughs of the musical that I am choreographing, and I have to be at all the rehearsals. I will be SO SO proud of myself once I get through this week. It’s gonna be a doozy, but I am no stranger to stretching myself thin. Not that it is necessarily the healthiest way to live… but desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
Alrighty, folks. That’s my little update for now. Gotta go to bed to prepare for tomorrow’s long day. Stay tuned for a reflection post about SPIEL!