Writing To Procrastinate

Good morning, friends! It’s 10:09am as I begin today’s post. I’m sitting inside UCLA’s Bombshelter, South Campus’s premier food court. I can feel the wind blowing from outside, and my thin denim jacket is doing little to block out the cold.

I have discussion at 11:00am and am just killing time by doing some much-needed writing! I really should be studying for my impending exams… but lately I’ve been struggling so hard with motivation, which is quite uncharacteristic of me. I feel relatively prepared for tomorrow’s abnormal psychology exam; gonna do some brush-up studying when I get back to my apartment. My main concern is intimate relationships– I got an 85% on the first exam, which was disappointing. The class is not curved, either, which means that what you get is what you get. The paper was a bit better, at a 92%… but not enough to offset the debacle of my first exam. I need to score near perfect on my final exam if I am to get an A in the class. Shit. Being the darn perfectionist I am, I can’t settle for anything less than an A or A-. Maybe I should change my attitude towards grades. Yes, I want an optimistic future, and good grades will indeed open doors for me. At the same time, though, because I want to pursue a dance career, I don’t necessarily need to get straight A’s in school, as doing so would not serve me as a dancer in any way.

Next topic– boys! I’m so done with them. Lol. I’ve had my fair share of fooling around this past month, and have since concluded that most men don’t deserve me. I am back to focusing on myself, my goals, and the people in my life who mean the most to me. I must temper my 20-year-old hormones and stop jumping at every guy who shows me the least bit of affection. I must develop my self-esteem from the ground up, and learn to stop seeking validation from the outside world.

Honestly, I love writing so much. I find that I’m always in my best mental and emotional state when I’m writing consistently. When I’m in a bad place, I sometimes stop writing, for to do so would be to turn the mirror inwards, giving me a glimpse into my tainted soul. But writing is the very thing that will save me from the dark times! It’s my primary form of catharsis and relief from my depressive lows. I thank God every day for blessing me with such a precious gift.

Ah, what to write about next? Honestly, I’m still talking to you all because I can’t bring myself to study any more. After my discussion, I will head back to my apartment, where I will study until my developmental psychology class at 3:30pm.

The quarter is nearing the end, which warrants a time of reflection. Academically, I was a little bit disappointed with regards to the classes I took this quarter. My favorite topic was social psychology, but unfortunately, I was stuck with a bad professor who, while very sweet, would simply read off the slides during lecture, which was disappointing. Abnormal psychology was interesting as well, but again, same problem– not a great professor. Intimate relationships was alright, but I found that the professor, while extremely knowledgable, oftentimes embarked on tangents during lecture, during which time I’d get lost and zone out. His exams are pretty tricky too; you really have to read the textbook in great detail if you want to do well in the class. Developmental psychology was just disappointing. The class material was dry; it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. Moreover, the professor wasn’t a very engaging lecturer, though I do appreciate her occasional humorous interjections and anecdotal examples.

All things said and done, I’m glad that this quarter is almost over. It’s been rough emotionally; I feel like I’m almost always guaranteed at least one mental breakdown per quarter, which is pretty lame. I need to regain control over my constantly in-flux moods, and not allow them to take over my life and negatively affect my daily functioning. I would love to get A’s in all my classes, but I’ll live with an A-, and even a B+. The Earth will not shatter, and life will go on.

It is 10:32am now. As much as I love talking to y’all, it’s time to get back to work. Talk to you soon!






Monday, March 13, 2018– Reflection

Hey guys! Welcome to today’s blog post! It’s 12:14am right now, but seeing as I’ve become a night owl, sleep will not come to me until later.

I fell asleep at around 4:00am last night (or this morning). So tired I was, I slept all the way until– get this– 3:00pm!!! YEAH, I KNOW… CRAY.  That’s the latest I’ve ever slept in my life! I even missed my 8:00am discussion and abnormal psychology lecture, which was a bummer.

At 3:30pm, I headed to a review session for my intimate relationships class. Unfortunately, I arrived late, just as the TA was finishing up.

Between 4:00pm and 5:00pm, my friend Milton and I studied for our intimate relationships final. At 5:00pm, we lined up to get tickets for the Foundations Choreography Winter Showcase! Foundations is a beginner urban/hip hop dance company, comprised of five separate teams. It was the company I really wanted to get into at the start of the quarter; unfortunately, they could only accept the first 200 applicants, and because I applied late, I did not get in. I plan on doing Foundations next quarter, though!

The showcase started at 7pm. Before the lights dimmed, I socialized with a lot of my friends and had a good time.

I enjoyed watching my friends kill it on stage! Let me just take a minute to express how proud I am of my best friend, Chiana, who was on the team SOL. She came into Foundations with absolutely zero dance experience. She had originally joined because our mutual friend, Tatt, urged her to do it. Tatt ended up dropping out of Foundations in the middle, but Chiana bravely decided to stay, regardless. Watching her legit dance on the stage was so heartwarming and inspiring! My friends and I couldn’t stop screaming her name. She genuinely enjoyed herself, and her improvement in dance skill level was tremendous. Chiana is an inspiration to me, and I love her so so much.

After showcase was over, we headed back to the apartment. Chiana and I shared a heartfelt conversation about our first impressions of each other. I learned that, when Chiana and I first met, she perceived me as the “popular” type whom she’d never envision being friends with. She knows I am much more than what I put out to the public, however; that beneath the sass and bubbly nature is a sensitive, deep, reflective soul. It’s so interesting, how many masks we all carry… Sometimes, I feel as though I’m putting on a performance for the public. Ever since I started college, people have perceived me as super confident, outgoing, energetic, charismatic. And because people expect that of me, I feel pressure to fulfill such a public image. Don’t get me wrong– I genuinely enjoy being in the company of people, and I pride myself in being a gregarious person. I know, however, that deep down, I am not as confident as many make me out to be… I am a deeply flawed human being, rife with insecurities. I am a self-proclaimed ambivert; very outgoing at times, but also socially inhibited and quietly withdrawn at other times. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted. It’s just sad, how Western societies value individualism and leadership; the introverts get the short end of the stick. It’s almost as if society shames us for being introverted, which shouldn’t be the case.

How am I doing, in terms of mental health? Unfortunately, I think I am mildly depressed at the moment. The good news is, I have started back up on my medications, but because of the latency period, the real effects of the meds have yet to kick in. I don’t know what exactly is bothering me at the moment. Perhaps it is all the stress of finals hitting me. As I’ve told you, I have four finals this week. Yuck.

My goals for spring break are to get back into my dance training; explore the greater LA area with my friends; take a break from boys and focus on myself; write every day; get back into my meditation routine; and simply have a good time. I truly want to be happy, and in spite of all I’ve been through, I have faith that, with time, I will find long-lasting happiness. It’ll be a long time before I reach that mecca; I first have to learn to manage my roller-coaster moods and get my bipolar disorder under control.

Alrighty, friends. I gotta get some shut-eye, even though I don’t feel the least bit tired.










Late Night Chat: Pipe Dream Edition

Hey friends! It’s currently 2:30am on this beautiful Monday morning. It is officially week 10 of winter quarter– aka the week before finals week. Everyone’s studying away, frantically meeting paper deadlines and pulling multiple all-nighters to cram ten weeks’ worth of information into their brains.

All of my finals this quarter are during week 10. I have abnormal psych on Wednesday, social psych and intimate relationships Thursday, and developmental psych Friday. Good news is, I get an extra long spring break, as I’m home free during the actual finals week!

You may ask what the hell I’m doing still awake at this odd hour. For some reason, I can’t seem to fall asleep. It’s probably from all the napping I did during the day… Perhaps I should use this valuable time to study my flashcards, but alas, I cannot bring myself to do so!

I had a fight with my mother earlier about my plans for the summer. I wanted to take a 15-unit Chinese intensive class to get my foreign language requirement out of the way, but my mother objected on the grounds that it was not a smart financial investment. It’s true that summer school is expensive; but I told her I wanted to graduate early so I could get the heck out of college and live my dreams, to which she reacted angrily. She kept saying I was ungrateful for not enjoying my time at UCLA, and that I need to change my attitude towards school. Clarification: I do love college life, but I’m honestly quite burned out academically, and I don’t wish to spend any more time than I need to with my nose in the books. You know, some people are just not natural-born academics. For some, it is not in their DNA to like school! I certainly never enjoyed academics– not in high school, and, despite my best efforts, not even now, in college. As fascinating the field of psychology is, studying is still a chore, and I oftentimes find myself daydreaming about doing something else… like dancing in NYC. Is it such a crime, to wish to do something other than academics? Of course, I know that school is my backbone, my safety net, which is why I choose to stay in school, rather than drop out. That, in my opinion, would be a foolish thing to do. So what else can I do but earn my degree as fast as I can, then finally live the life I envision for myself?

I wish I enjoyed school more… I really do. Life would be so much easier, to be an academic in a world where school is romanticized as the only means of rising up the social ladder. But for as long as I can remember, school to me has always seemed a hindrance to what I truly wanted to do, which was gymnastics– and now dance. Once I get my degree, I’ll be liberated. Is it so bad of me to think like this? I know I should be grateful to be at UCLA, studying at a renown university under brilliant mentors. But there’s always that nagging bitterness that resents being in college, for so long as I’m here, I can not be dancing as much as I need to.

I bet my parents wish I were more like my brother, Austin. He’s a mechanical engineering major. He’s going the conventional path, and is well on his way to financial stability and independence. His head is straight and unclouded; he lives safely in reality. No fantastical pipe dreams, like me.

Well, parents, I’m sorry I am not like your firstborn child (by one minute, lol). I am an individual. I concede that I am not the most rational thinker, as my judgement is often clouded by my hypomanic episodes and “unrealistic” dreams. But I will say this. I have so, so much passion within me… and I cannot apologize for that. Isn’t it better to have loved, than to never have loved at all?

Alright, friends… this conclude my late night tirade. I should really get some shut-eye. Got a very long week ahead… in spite of everything, I remain a perfectionist at heart, and still strive for those straight A’s, even though a good GPA won’t serve me in the artistic path I choose to pursue. Still, I want to try my best, because I am not one to accept failure, or be content with mediocrity. Work hard, play harder, is my new motto.







Turning 20: New Decade, New Me

Hello friends! Welcome to my first blog post of age 20. Man… I still can’t believe I’m embarking on this new decade of life. I feel so old, lol!

The last month of my teens were wild beyond imagine. I suppose all of that bottled up teenage angst and rebellion that had been so well-suppressed for most of my adolescence unleashed itself during the month of February. Now that I’ve experienced my fair share of the “college experience”, I’m happy to say that I aim to live a more wholesome life from here on out. I’m not saying that I’ll completely cut myself off from partying and other activities of that persuasion, but I will indulge in such vices in moderation. It is time to get my life back on track. I am 20 years old now, and I must live up to the responsibility that such a number entails.

First off, I will take better care of my body. Limit the junk food and substance consumption. Exercise and dance regularly. I will begin my regimen once I recover from this annoying flu.

Secondly, I need to start holding myself to a higher degree of financial responsibility. I’ve been blessed to never have had to worry about money growing up. The thing is, my father is retiring soon, and money will no longer be a luxury I can take for granted. Especially not now, while my brothers and I are in college, and money is tight. I can no longer mindlessly spend on non-necessities like clothes and restaurant food. It’s time to hold myself accountable and be a smarter consumer.

Thirdly, I aim to take better care of my mental health. That means sticking to my medication regimen. As a person with bipolar disorder, I have a love-hate relationship with my meds; at one, they stabilize my mercurial moods and give me a semblance of normalcy. On the other hand, the meds take away the highs that come with my disorder, and this is the very part I hate. I stumbled across a quote the other day that perfectly encapsulates my sentiment: “Don’t take my devils away, because my angels may flee too.” The medications help me through my depressive lows, yes; but in doing so, they also take away my hypomanic episodes. My therapist often cautions me against romanticizing bipolar disorder and its corresponding manias, for no matter how on top of the world you may feel while high, you are still, at the core, ill. I mustn’t stop my meds in an attempt to recapture the highs I used to experience at the onset of my illness. Usually, when I stop my medications, I end up relapsing into a depression, rather than float back up to the clouds. So not taking my mood stabilizers ends up hurting me further. I must diligently heed the advice of medical professionals, and neither self-medicate nor stop my medications without consulting my psychiatrist. I must find a regular therapist down in Los Angeles whom I can talk to on a weekly basis– not just when I’m in dire need of help. By then, it will be too late.

Alrighty folks, I must head back to my studies. I don’t enjoy studying (honestly, who does??) but it’s my job, as a student. I’m not sure if I told y’all this already, but I have plans to graduate by spring of next year. My current plan is to take a gap year(s) between undergrad and grad school, to pursue my dancing dreams (yes, in spite of everything, my dream is still alive as ever). After I’ve given dance a fair go, I will return to school and study to become a therapist/researcher/writer of some sort. Maybe I’ll even go into academia and become a university professor! Who knows? The world is my oyster!

I had originally planned on taking summer classes, but have since decided not to, as I am still on track to graduate early, with or without the extra summer quarter. Might as well save money and live at home, whilst working part-time and dancing my heart out. I’m feeling something I haven’t felt in a while– hope and ambition. Setting goals for myself is also a great way to keep my depressive lows at bay (hey, that rhymed!).

Ok, time to end this blog for real. Catch you guys later!






Last Day of Being a Teen!

Hello, dearest friends!

It is currently 11:02pm as I sit at my desk, tapping away at tonight’s post. This piece is a special one, as it is the last one I will write of my teenage years. Come tomorrow, I will officially be a non-teenager, celebrating my first two decades of life! Like, where in the world did the time fly?

I’ve thought long and hard about the fate of my blog’s name– “Teenage Struggles”. In a little less than one hour, I will no longer be a teenager. Does this mean I must change the name of my blog? Or leave this platform, and start anew?

I realized, though, that no matter how old we all get, there will always exist within each of us a bit of that teenage angst that shapes and colors some of the most formative years of our lives. As teenagers, we have a lot of “firsts”; we are taught the important life tenets of responsibility and accountability; we learn to cope with life stressors big and small; each day, we question and question and question our identities, and grasp for answers to the age-old question, what is to become of me? Our teenage years are certainly some of the most tumultuous and uncertain of our lives, and a big part of me is jumping at the fact that soon, I will be leaving the hurricane behind. Indeed, this past month has been one of the most trying ones I’ve lived; many mistakes were made, and lessons humbly learned.

At the end of the day, though, there is a certain beauty in being a teen. Of course there are times when everything– the pressure to perform (academically, socially, etc.), the suffocating fear of uncertainty, the youthful inability to cope with reality– gets too much, and all we want to do is stand at the edge of a cliff, scream “FUCK THE FUCKING WORLD”, kiss the cruel universe goodbye, and fall into blissful oblivion. But those of us lucky enough to survive have seen that, in life, following every storm is a beautiful rainbow. Adversity sucks. And there’s a lot of that during our teenage years. But adversity begets inner strength. It promotes self-growth and profound wisdom. And that applies to all chapters of life, not just the first decade.

I started this blog at age 16. That’s almost four years ago to this date. I’ve got to say, these past four years have been formative beyond imagine. My blog gave me a voice in this world. It empowered me to share my story with others. It made me realize that, as insignificant a being I am in this vast universe, I still am able to make a positive impact in the lives of others, in sharing the many contours of my life journey.

So, here’s to another decade– no, an entire lifetime– of continual growth, exploration, passion and inspiration. I don’t know how much longer I will be on this Earth… but I do not intend to let my time go idly by. I have a personal mission– to stay as true to my heart as I can, and live as fully and passionately as humanly possible, without losing that childish naivety that drives me to dream big. These past four weeks, I’ve strayed far from my heart, my morals, my values… but it’s all over now. Tomorrow is the start of a new chapter. A new leaf has turned, and I have been reborn. It’s time to get back on track. Reevaluate my long term goals, regain my discipline and fire, and go go go! One thing I like about myself is my ability to remain hopeful, even in the darkest of times. I carry myself with the confidence that, no matter how deep a hole I’ve dug myself into, I have the full ability to STOP digging, and make my way back into the light of day. I am a strong young woman, fully capable of achieving greatness. I just need to surround myself with people who will help me stay on track; people who help me live my best life.

My parents are coming down to visit me and my brother tomorrow. I’m excited to see them, but at the same time, I don’t wish for them to see me in my current mental state. I am in the midst of a depressive low, after a couple weeks of hardcore partying and hedonism left me feeling drained, empty and filthy. The thing is, this whole time, I’ve told my parents that I’ve been feeling absolutely fantastic; that I’ve been diligently sticking to my medications; that school has been great and my life is butterflies and rainbows. I lie to protect them. And come tomorrow, I will have to lie once more. Put on a facade. It’s all out of love… because I don’t want to hurt them.

Anyway, I must get to bed. I’m currently weathering out a flu, and wasn’t well enough to go to any of my classes today. Being cooped up in a dark room is never a great remedy for depression, and I really look forward to going back to the land of the living tomorrow.

I wish you all the best– health, happiness, vitality. Dark times will pass. The best you can do is surround yourself with people who will make the ordeal a little less painful.








Getting Out of the Biggest Slump Ever

Hey friends! It’s currently 1:51pm on this Thursday afternoon. I’m sitting inside Kerckhoff Coffeehouse, sipping on my raspberry Italian soda, feeling drained after my intimate relationships class.

The rest of this week is pretty chill. I’ve finished midterms for this week, and have one more on Monday. After I finish writing this blog, I will get started on studying for Monday’s abnormal psychology midterm. But, let’s no think too far ahead. What is on my mind, in the now?

I guess I’m just wondering how the hell I’ve let myself slide so far down, in every facet of life. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Psychologically. Morally. Everything seems to be slipping. I’ve completely lost touch with myself, and I’ve grown mentally weak. A part of it may be the depression talking. The larger culprit is the series of bad decisions I’ve made these past few weeks. I feel like freaking Dorian Gray, the title character of Oscar Wilde’s tale of a pure man corrupted by the evils of worldly pleasures.

Could it be delayed rebellion? Curiosity? Whatever it is that’s prompted me to choose hedonism over school, dance, writing and self-care, is beside the point. The most pressing matter at hand is to figure out how I can get out of this slump, and back into my flow.

I need to realign myself with my goals and ambitions. What matters to me, and what steps must I take each day to get there? I need to find direction once more. I mustn’t get distracted by boys… the right guy will come, naturally. In the meantime, I must focus on my own self-development.

A short post this was, but it served its purpose. I feel a dead weight lifted from my chest. I am ready to get into my study flow and attack Monday’s midterm with full force.

2/17/18: Checking In With Myself

Hi guys! Hope you all have been doing well. I haven’t posted in over a week, largely because school has been kicking my ass. I have two midterms next week and do not feel ready for them, at all. So that’s what my Lunar New Year / long weekend will be comprised of– studying, and more studying. Fun fun.

Lately, I’ve completely lost touch with myself, my morals, my discipline. I’ve stopped dancing. I’ve stopped going to skating class. I’ve been skipping lecture. Stuffing my face with whatever food I crave. Partying to oblivion. Feeling… lost. It’s interesting, because just ten days go, I was manic, riding the wave of the high, feeling on top of the world. Now, I’m coming down from that high, and the low is slowly sinking in. All of my deviant behaviors this past week have been a manifestation of my mood disorder.

This is what I’m telling you guys– bipolar is a bitch. It’s a double-edged sword. The highs are amazing and dangerously exhilarating. The lows… those are the worst. But it’s good that I’m keeping track of my mood patterns, so that I’ll have a greater sense of awareness for future bouts of extreme mood swings.

I’m planning on giving a talk about bipolar disorder at this year’s SPIEL– basically, a TED talk event for students, put on each year by UCLA’s Regents Scholar Society. Did you know that bipolar affects only 1-2% of the U.S. population? So many people are in the dark with regards to this mental illness, unaware of what this mood disorder entails. In speaking openly about my illness, I aim to bring more people into the light by being vulnerable and sharing my personal struggles with bipolar.

I don’t want my life to be governed by my illness. I must regain control of my mind. The first step is being aware of when I am sliding down the slippery slope of depression. This often happens even before the symptoms of depression manifest themselves; my lows always start with my highs. Upon realizing that I’m not okay, I harness a strong set of coping mechanisms to get me through the rollercoaster ride, until it finally stops, and I regain a transient semblance of stability and control. And then, when the rollercoaster starts back up again, as it inevitably does, I must dissect the trigger that kickstarts my mood swings, and be wary of them in the future.

Next thing on my mind I wish to discuss– hookup culture. Coming into college, I spurned the very idea of hooking up. I found the act animalistic, insensitive, and ultimately pointless. It’s true that the human sex drive is quite strong at this age, but why seek out another person to satiate your physical cravings, if you can take care of it yourself?

But, as is often the case when immersed in a culture, you get caught up in it. And soon, I found myself partaking in the very thing I had once eschewed.

These past two weeks have been, let’s just say, wilder than I’ve ever experienced. I thought long and hard about sharing the details of my private life, before ultimately realizing that the insight I’ve come to transcends the inevitable judgement I may face from many of you guys, in all my vulnerability. So, here goes.

Through my experiences, I’ve realized that the root of many people’s drive to engage in meaningless sexual activity stems from LOW SELF ESTEEM. So worthless and empty you feel within, you turn to the outside world for validation. Soon, the external validation becomes a drug– you’re constantly looking to others to bolster your self esteem, because you don’t know how to feel good about yourself intrinsically.

During sex, individuals feel wanted by their partner. Desired. At least in the act. It’s not so much about the physical pleasure of sex as it is the emotional and psychological reinforcement sex provides many people with. To be able to give your partner physical pleasure is enough for you; as long as you feel your partner wants you, you are fulfilled.

That is, until you are finished. It’s after the act is over that the cruel nature of hookup culture rears its ugly head. Your partner leaves you. Cuts off all ties with you. Pretends as if the physical intimacy that happened between you two, never happened. In the end, you’re left feeling emptier than you did before. Drowning your sorrows in alcohol is only a temporary form of relief. Eventually you’re left feeling downright shitty about yourself, longing for another means of validation.

And so, you seek out another partner. Same thing happens– ego boost in the moment, downward spiral immediately after. It’s one step forward, ten steps back. Soon, you find yourself caught in a dangerous, toxic cycle, unable to stop.

I’m grateful for my dear friends who’ve helped me cope through this emotionally tumultuous time. They’ve intervened, and I am now turning to healthier means once more– namely, writing and dancing– to cope with my low self esteem. I am slowly finding myself once more, and learning to love myself wholeheartedly. I am holding myself to a higher standard; not throwing my body to any person who shows me the slightest bit of affection and validation. My body is my temple, and I must cherish it.

Alrighty guys! This was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. You know I’m all about vulnerability, as my aim in sharing my story is to humanize the day-to-day struggles we all know and love. Some parts of my life are easier for me to admit than others, though, and these past two weeks have not been my proudest of moments. But, they provided me with tremendous insight and growth, and I hope those of you going through similar struggles with self-esteem could learn something from my experiences.