Life is So So So Beautiful…

1:30am

Dearest friends,

I have just experienced one of those rare moments of clarity, the kind that keeps you awake and filled with warmth and excitement, so much so that you cannot find sleep without capturing the infinite moment.

Where can I start? It was around midnight, when my roommate/best friend and I took to bed. We had one of those beautiful, enlightening conversations that have lately been difficult to come by, what with the pressure of finals consuming our lives. Our exchange of thoughts and deepest emotions ranged from topics like relationships, both platonic and intimate; ambition and life meaning; mental health and culture; pressure and expectation of perfection; bright hopes for the unknown future; and much much more.

The conversation continued in my mind, long after the exchange of words ceased to be. Here are the following lessons I’ve garnered in my rare glimpse of light:

One can live a meaningful and happy life without doing something “big”. One needn’t be an Olympic champion to be deemed a successful person. Which leads me to my second point…

We are not defined by our achievements and failures. If you told me this one year ago, I would never have believed you. Being a goal-oriented person by nature, I’ve long struggled to quiet the distortion of NEEDING TO ACHIEVE to deem myself worthy. Only now am I beginning to realize that, one isn’t defined by external validation or rejection. Meaning is created from WITHIN. Self-love, by definition, originates from within. In the past, I could never have imagined how anyone could live without ambition, or a hunger to be “the best”. I am still driven by a hunger to achieve… but I am no longer doing so to gain acceptance and praise from outsiders, but rather, because I am intrinsically motivated to make this world a better place by nature of my existence. I have become more understanding of those whose lives are not driven by ambition, but rather, a longing to simply be happy amidst the people they love. A simple life. Sometimes deemed by others as a “small” life. Sometimes, though, the “smallest” lives are the richest by nature. How empowering is it to not have to prove yourself to others, or live under the magnifying glass of others’ scrutiny? To simply be happy and at peace with oneself and one’s being…

The third thing I realized is, PERFECTION IS A PRISON. I’ve said this one before, but tonight, these words have never rang truer in my mind’s eye. Humans are, by nature, imperfect beings. To live in the pursuit of perfection is to set oneself up for disappointment, whilst creating undo pressure and negativity for oneself in the process. Mistakes, trial and error, FAILURE– this is how we learn and grow. Perfection is the ultimate hinderance to learning. If one is so afraid of trying new things, because being a beginner at something necessarily entails being imperfect, how can one live a full life? TAKE RISKS. SCREW PERFECTION. LIVE. I sometimes wonder… in the past, I’ve been consumed by the “Olympic dream”– representing my home country on the world’s greatest stage, doing what I love… but the extreme amount of pressure placed on these near-super-human athletes to be perfect, is crippling. Can one call it living, to have every microsecond of one’s life scrutinized, judged, attacked, ripped apart? To carry the weight of the world on one’s shoulders? No wonder professional athletes need the help of sports psychologists to not only function at maximum potential, but function– period. Makes me wonder if such romanticized ideals of “glory” and “fame” are really things to strive for, as a means to happiness.

I realized how beautiful and short life is, and how silly it is to spend it doing something that doesn’t make you happy. I’m grateful to have found my passions for creative expression this early, and to have faith and courage to pursue my dreams. Life is truly wondrous. It would have been the greatest shame, had I chosen to end it, in my darkest moments.

Alright. Now that I’ve taken the time to release my thoughts, I will head back to bed. Tomorrow is my last full day of study before my last two finals commence. I hope you guys enjoyed my thoughts, and I wish you all a great rest of the week!

 

 

Love,

Belicia

 

A Day in the Life of a Manic-Depressive

Hey guys! It’s 9:37am. My Russian final starts in a little less than two hours. I’m already on campus– after a restless night, I woke up at 7:30am, and couldn’t stand being cooped up in the apartment. So I’m here right now, sitting on the Janss steps grass, writing.

I’m definitely on one of my manic episodes right now. Couldn’t sleep last night, so I headed out at 4:00am to go to Starbucks. Had a peppermint mocha, and was planning to do some work, but the drowsiness set in shortly after I drank my mocha (I know, weird right?), so I decided to head home to get some shut eye. My attempts at sleep were unsuccessful, however. I basically just laid in bed, eyes open, listening to music. Eventually, I managed to fall asleep for a few hours, which is better than nothing.

Once I arrived on campus, I couldn’t decide where to go. I basically strolled around for half-an-hour, unable to make up my mind on where to settle down. That’s the thing about mania— your mind is on overdrive, and settling down is not an option. I made my way to the Humanities building, and wanted to sit inside the auditorium where the final would take place, but a class was already in there taking an early morning final. So I sat outside the auditorium, trying to take a nap, but failing. Eventually, I tired of the blank, suffocating walls, and headed outside. I laid down on a bench, staring up at the clouds and trees. It was quite serene, and for a moment in time, I found peace. Then, I tired of my locale once more, and continued walking around. I called my brother, asking if he wanted to have dinner that night. He said he would confirm with me in a bit. Finally, I decided to write, as time seems to fly every time I engage in my creative outlet. So here I am now, writing, and waiting for my final to commence.

I don’t feel much pressure for this Russian final. During week 3, I switched the grade type from letter grade to pass/no pass. I was worried that, with my mental illness, I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of my coursework, so I decided to lighten my load. Well, the other day, my teacher informed me that I was currently sitting at a 96% in the class, and he suggested I switch back to letter grade. “Even if you bomb the final,” he said, “you’ll still end up with an A- in the class.” So I tried changing my grading type back to letter grade, but apparently there’s a deadline for switching grade types, and that time has passed. So here I am, guaranteed a pass in the class, technically without even needing to take the final. I barely studied for this final– just a little bit of brush-up and grammar review on Saturday. No need to stress. Due to scheduling conflicts next quarter, I won’t be able to take Russian 2, which really sucks, since I’m eager to continue along the path of mastering the beautiful Russian language. The only other language that fits with my schedule is Chinese 2A, so that’s what I’ll be taking instead.

Ugh… so much time left… probably shouldn’t have left my apartment so early. Probably should have slept in a bit more. Oh well. What’s done is done. I’m gonna head over to Bruin Walk now, where there are dogs and donuts awaiting, to help stressed out students de-stress. Talk to you guys soon!

10:51am

Hello hello! It’s almost time to head into the auditorium! I can’t wait for this final to be over. Then I can head back to the apartment to sleep. Afterwards, I’ll head to the gym to dance, followed by a major study session. Sounds like a solid day. But right now, the immediate focus is the exam..

12:54pm

I’m done with the Russian final! Was in an out of there in less than an hour. Didn’t find anything surprising on the final, and I’m confident I did well. The Russian department is so nice- they were giving out piroshki’s, a type of Russian pastry, filled with either meat or veggies, to students before the exam. Despite the difficulty of the language, I’m really gonna miss learning Russian… Perhaps I’ll pick it up once more, later in my college career!

I am about to take a nap, after which I will commence studying for the next two finals– LS 15 and Psych 100A! Good night!

4:18pm

Hey guys! Just finished dance practice. As I haven’t danced in a couple weeks, what with finals and my relapse into depression, today’s practice was about easing back into the groove… not pushing myself too hard, and not getting too frustrated with myself. 99% of my battles during practice are mental in nature. I struggle to silence the negative mental script that plays back on a loop, oftentimes driving me to tears of frustration. In times like these, I need to take a step back, breathe, and ask myself if dancing must be this difficult. As so many others before have told me, dancing is a marathon, not a sprint. I won’t become a good dancer overnight– it takes time. I just have to be patient and believe that, slowly but surely, I will continue improving, and one day reach my greatest potential as a dancer.

I have a review session for LS 15 at 6:15pm… I’m debating whether or not I should go– on second thought, I probably should. It’ll be very helpful, and, as LS 15 is one of my major prerequisite classes, I would like to get an A in the class.

I think I’m going to end today’s post here. Gotta study for my last two finals!

 

 

Love you all!

 

Belicia

 

 

 

An Undying Olympic Dream

Hi guys! It’s currently 1:17am on this Monday morning. I have a Russian final at 11:30am today, which means I should probably have been long asleep… but my sleep schedule has taken at 180, and I find myself most awake at this late hour.

I was compelled to write this post after watching a video of the King and Queen of ice dance, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canadian ice dance world and Olympic champions. Their 2017 free skate to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack was nothing short of perfection. The skate touched my soul to its very core, moving me to the verge of tears.

I then splurged on Tessa and Scott videos– past skates, interviews, TED talks. The couple’s story is so inspirational. They’ve been skating together for 20 years now, giving up a normal childhood to get to where they are today. In their youth, they’d wake up at 4:15am each morning to practice at the rink before school, then head straight to the rink after school, followed by homework, then sleep. At the ages of 15 and 17, the two relocated to Michigan to train under the best Russian coaches. At the age of 20 and 22, the two won their first Olympic gold medal at Vancouver, and are hoping for another gold medal this coming Winter Olympics.

Hearing their story, I am reminded of my own. Having grown up a competitive gymnast, I know of the insane commitment and sacrifice one must make for one’s sport… Ever since retiring from gymnastics, I’ve struggled to re-find that structure and discipline that characterized my first 15 years of life. I look back quite fondly on those days of waking up at 5am for morning practice, followed by school, followed by 3-4 hour training, then dinner in the car ride back home, then homework, then sleep and rejuvenation for another long day. It wasn’t an easy life, for sure… but the structure of it created a sort of simplicity, a simplicity and certainty I so long for, at this moment. All was well. I had a long-term goal that drove and consumed my very existence, and I knew exactly how to get there, with the aid of a wonderfully supportive family and excellent coaches. All was well. I woke up each morning with a great sense of clarity, and a passionate “WHY”.

Coming to college has been an enlightening experience, indeed. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I sometimes think, however… how different would my life have been, had I never gotten injured? If I had continued gymnastics throughout high school, made the national team, and postponed college for a chance at the Olympics? Granted, I was never blessed with the body for rhythmic gymnastics, so even if the injury hadn’t hindered my dreams of Olympic glory, my bodily limitations would have. Even so… I’ve always longed for the life that Tessa and Scott– and countless other Olympians– led. Complete dedication to their passions. Ever since middle school, I begged my parents to let me to online school, so I could focus more on my sport. Being strict, conservative Asian parents, however, they adamantly said NO. So, I tried my hardest to balance school with gymnastics, and with a whole lot of hard work and discipline, succeeded.

Of course, the amount of pressure these Olympians face is insane, and one could only understand it fully by living it. These guys carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. That kind of pressure would be enough to make a mentally stable person crack, let alone someone with an anxiety disorder. As much as I’d like to believe that, with the proper support, I could handle the pressure, I don’t have much confidence that I’d make it in the pursuit of Olympic glory, without cracking. That’s always been the case with me. When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my coaches chose a select few gymnasts to be on the competitive team. Skillwise, I was there. The coaches were reluctant to move me to the competitive level, however, as they didn’t think I was mentally ready. To this day, I still struggle with insecurity and lack of confidence in myself. I constantly question my ability, even if I’ve prepared extensively. It might be my anxiety talking… but either way, the truth is, I have a long way to go in terms of building mental strength, if I wish to become successful in life.

So, back to Tessa and Scott. They are incredible, brilliant athletes and artists. Watching them skate has inspired me to get back into competitive dancing– not necessarily as my career, but as a lifelong passion. I strive for continual improvement, and am eager to see how far I can go in the world of Latin-American dance.

That leads me to my next question– how am I to support myself, after college? I now am sure of where my true passions lie. Writing; dancing; and anything related to the performance arts, with an emphasis in creating beauty through movement and music. Beyond dance, I wish to learn how to figure skate, at some point in my life. I want to get back into contortion, and maybe re-visit ballet. I will get back in shape, regain my strength and flexibility… maybe become an artist in Cirque du Solei. I want to somehow, someway, one day, make my mark. I never got the chance to pursue my Olympic dream… it’s an unfulfilled dream that will continue to nag at me, until it is fulfilled. Or, at least have a genuine chance at pursuing it.

But all this, I can only do in my youth! My body is only good for so long. After a certain point, as strong my dreams remain, I will be physically incapable of pursuing them. I need to go for it, while I still can.

Of course, college is a must. I will earn my psychology degree– I’m almost halfway through college, anyway. After school, I can pursue my passions to my heart’s content.

But man… how ever will I support myself?

Olympians have sponsors. They are literally PAID to receive the best training, physical therapy, sports psychologists, etc. Unfortunately, ballroom dancers don’t have such a luxury. Training is completely self-funded. Most dancers teach full-time as a means of income, which they then use for their own lessons. It is a difficult life, indeed. Is this one I wish to pursue? In moments like theses, I truly long for a life like Tessa and Scott’s… Becoming Olympic champions was undoubtedly a difficult path rife with pressure and adversity, but at the very least, they had their basic financial needs met, and were generously supported along the way.

I may never have the honor of competing in the Olympic Games in my lifetime… but in spite of everything, the hunger remains. There exists an unfulfilled dream, an internal tension, screaming to be released.

Am I on one of my manic episodes, again? Is this burst of intense passion but a fleeting moment, only to be dampened by a deep depression in a few weeks’ time? Or is it a long-lasting, silent but steady drive? Only time can tell…

I don’t know what I want to do after college, at least in terms of a day job. Unfortunately, I was dealt a difficult hand– a beautiful one, at that– but still difficult, as my passions unfortunately don’t align with a life of financial stability. If only I could be passionate about something like… oh, I don’t know… computer science. Or medicine. Something that would put food on the table. Writing, dancing, performance arts… it is so so difficult. At this point, though, I know I need to go for it. I just know it. Otherwise, I will spend my life regretting… living with that undying dream, tearing me apart from the outside-in. That kind of regret holds an indescribable pain, and I know this, because I’ve been through it firsthand. The injury that took me out of gymnastics prematurely. It happened right after a great season, too. Things were looking great for me and my career– I truly believed I had a shot at national team… and then I didn’t. And every day, I regret it… I shouldn’t have trained through the knee pain. I should have listened to my body, taken time to rest and heal, before resuming training. Maybe then, I would not have had to retire. At the very least, I would have had a shot to pursue my dream.

A big reason why I am so bent on pursuing a dance career is, I see dance as a means of fulfilling this unfulfilled dream. But the question is, do I want to pursue dance out of love for the art, or because of the very fact that I never had a shot at fulfilling my dreams as a gymnast?

Let’s just conclude this lengthy post with this: I am a dreamer at to the core. And I fully embrace that part of myself (to my parents’ dismay). Why suppress it? Those who have ever achieved greatness did not do so in comfort and safety… maybe a life of financial stability, in spite of being conditioned to believe that such is the ideal life to strive for, is one I’d be willing to give up for the pursuit of my artistic dreams. Yes, that’s gotta be it… it’s the only way.

Alright guys. It’s 2:03am now. This post flowed like a hot knife through butter. I speak from the soul. I hope you all enjoyed.

 

 

 

Love,

Belicia

The Train Has Struck Again

Hi friends! Hope you all are doing well. Lots have happened in my life since we last spoke.

As some of you may have heard, several wildfires have been scorching through different parts of Southern California these past few days. Thankfully, everyone at UCLA is safe, with the only health hazard being polluted air from the smoke and ashes of the fire. My heart goes out to all those affected by this disaster, and I wish for everyone to take good care and STAY SAFE.

The reason I haven’t written these past couple weeks is because I’ve sunken into a pretty bad depressive low, and only now am I beginning to climb back up and put the pieces back together.

I read somewhere a description of manic-depressive illness that I cannot deem more accurate: “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the light of an oncoming train.”

This round of depression was neither impactful nor sudden, like a train crash, but rather, a gradual downward spiral, like a virus that slowly invades your body, rotting it from the outside in. I can’t pinpoint exactly when the depression began, but I want to say it was around week 5 of this quarter.

Sometimes, depression has no concrete cause, but kinda just happens. I saw the depression manifest in my low motivation to do… anything. Getting up in the morning for class was a near insurmountable hurdle. I slept, a lot. Too much. Studying was an ordeal. Sitting down and getting myself to focus on my schoolwork was impossible. I tried studying in various places– my room, the living room, the library, the coffee shop– nothing worked. I knew my depression was bad when it started affecting my school performance. In the past, no matter how lousy or miserable my mood, I would always find a way to continue delivering as a student. These past weeks, though, I couldn’t even muster the strength to sit through a lecture without zoning out or falling asleep. Towards the end, I stopped going to lecture altogether, as I knew that to go would be useless. My mind was just gone. It was off, floating in another dimension, taking all my serotonin with it.

I found that going out to party temporarily alleviated my depressive symptoms. I’d lose myself in the music, dancing with reckless abandon amidst the cheers of the crowd, liquid courage flowing through my veins, taking me to a brighter place, away from the depths of my sick mind. It was all a dream, of course. I’d wake up the next morning, my pounding head a rude awakening, bringing me back to my dark reality.

I guess I am in large part to blame for all this. I stopped my medications in the middle of the quarter, thinking I’d be okay without them. Of course, I was dead wrong. Without Prozac and my mood stabilizers there to support me, I spiraled downward. I never hit the point of suicidal ideation, thank God, but I was at a loss of how to get out of the deep hole I’d fallen into. I guess living with bipolar disorder can be likened to trudging across a land of mountains and hidden potholes. It’s constantly up and down… never a steady, stable normal.

So there I was, well into the quarter, feeling absolutely miserable and greatly concerned about my grades. Now I understand why many students struggling with mental illnesses need to drop their classes and take an “incomplete” instead; the weight of depression and other mental disorders is crippling and pervasive. How can you bring yourself to study, when the mere task of rolling out of bed is impossible?

I had dinner with my brother a few nights ago. I told him about my depression, and how I had stopped taking my medications. He implored me to start taking them again, so that night, I did. Immediately after swallowing the three pills, I could feel the serotonin flowing into my brain’s synapses. The dead weight on my chest lifted, replaced by a light optimism and hope that all would be okay, after all.

So here I am, now. Eyes adjusting to the bright rays of sunlight (or is it the light of an oncoming train?) that seep in through the gaping mouth of the dark hole I’ve called my abode of these past few weeks. I’m starting to feel normal again. Not 100% myself, but definitely a lot better. And it’s good timing too, seeing as my first final begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!!

 

 

My Father, the Classroom Beast

Hey guys! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are ready to get back into the daily grind.

A little update on my life before we get into the meat of today’s post: I just finished a Russian exam this morning and, as I finished early, have a bit of time to kill before my 11:30am music practice session (I am getting back into piano and am also picking up singing). So, I decided to crank out this blog post, ’cause what better way to kill time than to write?

The next couple weeks will be devoted to prepping for finals and finishing the last of my classes’ curricula. My apologies in advance, if I don’t do much writing for the next fortnight… painful as it may be, I gotta prioritize my studies above all else. Although, I’m of the mind that, as important as classroom learning may be, out-of-classroom learning, like reading, watching classic films, traveling and gaining work experience through internships, may be just as, if not more valuable than what you learn in the textbook. A big theme of mine this past quarter has been doing outside reading beyond the classroom. Not only is losing yourself in a brilliant novel a wonderful way to de-stress and temporarily remove yourself from the pressures of academics– it’s also yet another means of enriching your mind and gaining a well-rounded education. I recently finished the memoir “An Unquiet Mind”, written by esteemed UCLA and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor of psychiatry, Kay Jemison. Jemison herself was also a survivor of manic depressive illness, and in this way, I can relate tremendously to the harrowing experiences she recounts in this life-changing memoir. Stay tuned for a future post on the myriad of ways in which this book has altered my view on my mental illness and helped me greater understand manic-depressive illness.


 

Alrighty guys. On to the heart of today’s topic– MY FATHER! So, my brother Austin and I went home for Thanksgiving holiday and spent some much-needed time with the family. We were eating out one night at a Chinese restaurant, when the topic of my father’s college days arose. Mother, always the braggart, boasted of how my dad graduated top of his class in pharmacy school, and number two in medical school. Dad, ever the humble one, said nothing, but only smiled knowingly. My mother continued, “You know, your dad scored the highest grade for this one midterm, and all his classmates told him to ‘Stop doing that’, as his outrageously high score was raising the class curve!” My dad, brought back to the memories of his disciplined youth, said, “I remember I got a 119/125 on that midterm– it was a pretty difficult exam– and the next highest score was a 109!” My mother, probably trying to inspire Austin and me to be more like our father, continued: “Your dad would get 100% on all the exams, until one time, he didn’t. His professor told him, ‘Thank goodness, Tom. You’ve finally proven that you are human!'”

All the while, Austin and I looked at each other, thinking, Man… our dad was a freaking BEAST in the classroom! While Austin and I have always been great students, I don’t recollect us ever being in the top 1% of the class (at least not me), let alone THE number one student. I jokingly remarked to my dad, “Why are you so smart?” My dad replied, “I’m not smart. I just work very hard. But I also sacrificed a lot to achieve what I did.”

Mad respect for my father.

But I also wonder… was it all worth it in the end, for my dad? At the end of the day, what difference does it make if you graduate first or last in your med school class? Everyone becomes a doctor! My dad gave up a lot to earn the A+’s he did in the classroom… I’m sure he didn’t have much of a social life in his 20s… and he’ll never get those days back. I asked my father what drove and inspired him in his youth, and he replied, “I always wanted to do better than my parents did.” Which made sense for him, as he was a first-generation immigrant from Hong Kong.

I later said to Austin, “I think I work very hard in my studies, just like dad did… Why don’t you think I can be top of my class?” Austin replied, “I don’t know… privileged upbringing, maybe?” I brushed this off as one of Austin’s usual witticisms, and laughed. But there seemed to be some truth in what he said… Perhaps, having grown up in a place of security and privilege, my brothers and I may lack some of that hunger– both physical and mental– that drove my dad when he was our age. Never has poverty been an issue for my brothers and me… not by a long shot. Truth is, we are very, very lucky. We never had to go through the suffering that our forefathers endured. And maybe, just maybe, that took off a bit of our competitive edge in the classroom. To many young people in first-world nations, school is just something they “have to do”. To first-generation immigrants like my father, school was the ultimate key to a better life… a life without hunger or poverty or physical suffering. It’s difficult for me to put myself in my father’s shoes, as my upbringing could not have been more different than his. But if there’s one thing I’ve garnered from my dad’s inspiring story, it is this: I must appreciate the privilege and opportunity of higher education. It is true that education leads one to a better life. It is the surest way one can climb up the social ladder. I mustn’t resent school and studies. Instead of trudging myself to lecture each day, I should be skipping with joy and gratitude! It is truly a privilege for me to be at such a great university like UCLA. If I don’t see this, I couldn’t be more ignorant. And to think that, not very long ago, I was willing to give it all up for a dream to become a professional dancer… How silly was I? No, not silly… just blinded by what was, at the time, a guise of a burning passion. With time, though, I realized that my aspiration to make a mark in the dance world was simply an extension of my unfulfilled Olympic dream as a gymnast. I love dance… but I can imagine myself doing so much more in life. I am transitioning to a chapter of my life devoted to the enrichment and expansion of my MIND. Dance is only one of the many ways in which I do so.

And so, having been freshly inspired  by my father’s story, I am ready to tackle the rest of the quarter with resolve and determination. The goal is not to be top of my class, as my dad once was… but, rather, to appreciate the opportunity I have to be at UCLA, surrounded by equally driven and intellectually hungry peers, learning and growing under the tutelage of my brilliant professors and mentors.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2017!

Hi everyone! As the minutes of Thanksgiving Day wind down, I wanted to quickly share with y’all some of my deepest gratitudes that fill my heart not only on this day, but every day.

First and foremost, I am grateful to be alive today, and I mean that quite literally. As you may know, I suffer from manic depressive illness, more commonly known as Bipolar II disorder. The illness often manifests itself in late teens and early 20s. It is characterized by extreme mood swing– hypomanic episodes, inevitably followed by depressive lows. One way I like to think about the illness is this: “In your darkest days, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It is the light of an oncoming train.” Anyway, I went through a particularly bad bout of depression over the summer, which left me suicidal and ready to put an end to my inner turmoil and suffering. Thankfully, with the love of family and friends and support of my watchful therapist and psychiatrist, I was able to climb out of that deep, deep hole, and emerge scarred, but alive. I am forever indebted to these people who have saved me in my darkest moment.

What a perfect segue into my next gratitude– family! I have been blessed with the greatest, most loving and supportive family in the whole wide world. Words cannot encapsulate the amount of gratitude I owe to them… my love, my life. My parents support me and my brothers UNCONDITIONALLY in ALL we do… they have, and will always remain, my greatest rock amidst my tumultuous, tidal temperament and emotions.

And of course, I am so grateful for all of my friends, who fill my life with so much color and dimension. There was a time when I found it very difficult to open my heart to others, leaving me lonely and withdrawn. So to all my friends today– I love you, and am so lucky to have you in my life.

I am grateful to have such creative mediums of expression as dance, music and writing, to enrich my soul. Especially writing… In my darkest of days, writing has never failed to alleviate the pain, even if only slightly. Writing is the first responder to my artistic temperaments, manic moods and bouts of depression. Being able to express through words, with the blood and tears of my soul serving as ink for a never-ending scroll of heavenly paper, has been one of God’s greatest gifts to me.

On that note, three minutes to midnight, I shall end this post. I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings!

P.S.– I MADE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL! Do check out my first video, fittingly themed for this special holiday. I basically discuss everything I’ve mentioned in this blog post, except in video form! More on why I decided to start a YT channel / future video ideas, at a later date.

 

 

 

 

Love,

Belicia

What Is She To Do, Now?

Hi guys! Long time no talk– how have you all been?

It’s currently 7:05am as I sit inside Corner Bakery, awaiting my omelet breakfast whilst typing away. Ah, my breakfast just arrived! But before I dig in, I’d like to finish my train of thought.

Life has been… slow, lethargic and slightly melancholic, as of late. For the past couple weeks, I haven’t been feeling quite myself– hence, the hiatus in writing. The spiral has been moving at a constant, gradual pace, interrupted only by brief euphoric moments–coaching the UCLA gymnastics team, seeing UCLA HOOLIGAN theater’s production of “Cabaret” (the musical I helped choreograph) come to fruition, sharing fun conversations with friends. These breaths of fresh air never last long, though, and too soon, I find myself suffocating once in the mugginess of my melancholic, mercurial moods. The effect has been consequential. Focusing on studies is now such an ordeal. Each day is a battle against low motivation and reluctance to hit the books. Never before in my life has this happened… in the past, no matter how hurt or bitter or depressed I may have felt, I always somehow delivered academically. It was as if my grades were immune to the volatility and unpredictability of my tidal emotions. Academics have been the most the consistent part of my life, beyond the love of my family.

Now, I can’t seem to sit still long enough to get in the groove of my studying. Although, last week, I was pleased to have earned a 95% on my stats midterm, despite not studying as hard as I typically do for exams of that importance. Perhaps just a fluke of nature.

I’m trying, guys. I really am trying, to regain my discipline and direction, and push through such low plateaus, with the steadfast hope that light will soon follow.

My life of late has been lacking in direction. In truth, I have yet to figure out what I wish to do with my life. The pre-med track offered me that linearity, predictability and direction that I so crave at this moment. It is high time for me to seek internship opportunities, but to do so is like grasping for thin air. I haven’t the slightest of what I wish to do with my psychology major. Become a clinical therapist? Pursue professorship, and become a quadruple-threat– teacher, researcher, therapist and writer? Maybe I won’t even use my psych major. Maybe I’ll pursue a career as a full-time, freelance writer. That would be cool, if I could somehow make ends meet. I’d embody the archetype of the struggling artist– doing all sorts of odds-and-ends jobs by day, and perfecting my craft by night. If all else fails, at least I can fall back on my skills as an academic tutor, what with my UCLA degree. And I know that my family loves me enough to never let me starve on the streets. Still, I don’t aspire to be living under my parents’ roof at age 30.

And what of dance? Oh, dance… I really do love it. A part of me just wants to take time off between undergrad and grad school– if I decide to pursue grad school, that is– and focus on dance, see where it leads me. Maybe join a cruise agency and work as a performer whilst traveling the world. What’s wrong with doing that? Sure, when you tell someone you are a cruise ship performer, they may snicker inside, or meekly nod their heads out of politeness… or is it pity? Either way, it shouldn’t matter what others think. If I want to dance, travel the world, and get paid for it, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go for it. Another dance-related pipe dream of mine is auditioning for “So You Think You
Can Dance”. My background in gymnastics and ballroom makes for great versatility as a dancer, and performing on a tv show would really challenge my performance anxiety, boost my confidence by lightyears, and open more opportunities in the world of dance. Still another option would be to audition for Broadway. I heard that many Broadway cast members are neither singers nor actors, but trained professionally only in dance– they simply have their mics turned off while on stage! After my recent stint in musical theater, I’ve grown more and more intrigued by this new and beautiful world… I hope to improve my singing and acting skills by getting more involved in UCLA student theater and a capella groups. Dreamer I may be, I am smart enough to recognize that I’ll never be a Broadway star, as I entered the world of musical theater much too late.. but to perform on the Broadway stage, even as a background dancer, would be an experience for the books, nonetheless. And that is all I want– to live and experience fully. I will always be a writer at heart, and to write compelling work, one must have content to write about. My greatest inspiration comes from my physical and spiritual interaction with the universe. I must live to write, and write to live. My muse, then, is not one single thing or person or place, but simply, life at large.

It is 8:05am now. I have Russian class at 9:30am, then the rest of the day is mine. My brother and I are flying back home to the Bay Area tonight at 9:00pm, for Thanksgiving holiday. Will chat with you guys soon!

 

 

Toodle-pip! (quote from “Cabaret”)

 

 

 

 

Belicia