my insecurities

I think we all have insecurities about our appearances. I definitely do, and have had ever since I spotted the first pimple on my forehead. My acne, my nose, my underarm hair, thighs, arms, big toes, stretch marks, and the way my weight gain has made a lot of these more protruding. It speaks a lot about my own self-esteem and the fact that, at the crisp age of 22, I am as insecure as ever.

Then there are the other insecurities, the kind that stem from our experiences and our character, things that are deeply ingrained within our psyche. I have them too, and they don’t seem to get any better with age.

being rejected from college the first time

Back in 2016, found myself in a gap year after none of the 13+ colleges i applied to accepted me. None. There is no “community college” where I come from, so my options were limited. I decided that a gap year was the most viable choice given my options, and I reapplied to another 13+ universities the following year,  and have been in college for more than 2.5 years now. 

But to this day, I’m still haunted by those rejections. They are hard to accept, no matter where they come from. I’ve since received a lot more of them, in the form of club, job, among other rejections. Receiving rejections awakened a lot of insecurities and resentment in me. Sometimes, I felt like I had been cheated, that I had deserved that position. Sometimes, I felt like I had failed myself when I was younger, that I should have pursued another path to prepare me for this moment. But all these negative feelings were counterproductive; they just bathed me in a pity pool for myself. It was unproductive and hurtful, and I am still working to make peace with that.

my voice

I think we all think our voices sound really different or weird when we listen to it on a recording. I have a particular distaste for mine. Whenever I hear my voice coming out of somewhere other than myself, I cringe. Hard. I know that if I hear my voice often enough, I’ll eventually get used to it. But it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not counting on it.

To make things worse, I can’t sing. Because I studied music back in school, I needed to sing for my music theory classes, and it was hard. It was hard to listen to my voice, hard knowing that the teacher was listening to me intently, hard knowing that my peers were also doing so as well. Those music classes may have helped me sing notes in tune, but they didn’t help me sing in tune to songs overall because I just never practiced. I never wanted to hear my voice out loud. I am trying to coax myself into singing again, just because it can be good for my soul, but it’s been hard to make it stick. I like humming, though.

feeling like i’ll never be ___ enough

Everything I set myself to do, whether it be my career aspirations, side hustles, hobbies, or simply something I want to learn, more often than not I’m plagued by a fear of not being able to do it. This is particularly so when I’m just finding my bearings and everything about that thing seems so amazing and complex that I find it incredibly hard to truly feel that I, too, can do it.

being seen alone (and introversion)

Ah, the paradox of being an introvert with a fear of being spotted in their zone. I love venturing alone, eating alone, being alone – yet I’m horrified by the idea of being seen alone by someone I know. It makes no sense, because I never judge people who are doing their own thing, alone. That thought rarely, if ever, crosses my mind, yet I just can’t shake it off about myself.

I have a feeling that this insecurity is deep-rooted in my experiences when I was younger. Growing up, I was encouraged, pushed and convinced that I had to be more outspoken with my ideas and behavior. My dad taught me that I had to speak up in every opportunity that I could, because if I didn’t, then how would I be able to succeed when I got to college or the workforce? If I didn’t practice then, I would never be able to speak up for myself. My parents taught me that parties and hanging out with friends were just wasting time that I could be using to prep for the SAT (or SAT Subject Tests or ACT or TOEFL or homework), yet when I found myself in fun and sociable situations I didn’t enjoy them. I had voices pull me from the extremes of a confusing mixture, even though I never asked for any of it.

While I went through a lot of effort and anxious moments to practice being more social and confident when I was younger, not much about me has changed. I am introverted as hell, I’m not a huge fan of public speaking but have become okay with it as my confidence has naturally evolved on its own, and I have come to the realization that I don’t like parties. Or hanging out with more than a few people at once. And I’m okay with it – but I still fear being judged when I’m in public.

my social anxiety

There’s this phenomenon called “imaginary audience,” wherein we believe that we are the center of a narrative and everyone is paying close attention to us. We feel like we’re being watched all the time, our every move being monitored. It’s most commonly associated with teens, though it can happen at any age. I’m 22, and I’m still one of those people. Every time i step out into a public place, I fear being seen if I’m on my own.

I talked about being seen alone just now, but now I’m talking about the fear of not knowing what to do when I have to confront that situation. I fear running into people I know, or running into acquaintances and not knowing what to say. Do I want to acknowledge their presence, or just brush it off? Do they even remember me? Should I have a small conversation, or make up an excuse to walk away immediately? Do I even want to talk to them? Hell no. It’s all these “What if…?” scenarios that leave me ruminating endlessly.

Along with this, I also fear planned outings with friends. I’m lucky to have met people in college whom I love hanging out with and have no anxiety whatsoever when I make plans with them. But I also have friends, or groups of friends whom I do get anxious around if I don’t know them as well, and it can get pretty awful in my head in the hours leading up to the meet up. 

However, something that I am proud of is that I am becoming more okay with not having social plans every weekend. I love spending Friday nights at home and occasionally going out on weekend (or not at all). Whereas my younger self would have felt the need to go out in FOMO, my current self is content with my own company. That, I do have to give myself credit.

my shyness

So, not only am I a major introvert, I’m also shy. I was incredibly, astonishingly shy when I was younger. I always have, and always will be. Through my experiences growing up, I have learned to pretend to be otherwise when I’m interacting with others. I have grown comfortable to be my full, silly self when I’m with someone I get along with and trust, but I am still my same shy self on my outer core.

I can understand why my parents pushed me to be someone who I didn’t want to be. They wanted to prepare me for the real world, but what they didn’t realize was that this was something I had to face on my own terms. Shyness is fragile; you can push, but if you push too hard, all the effort might backfire. While some of the experiences I had did help me break out of my comfort zone, I also have memories of things people said that broke my confidence. They were situations that wouldn’t have happened had I not been put in that position; but I was, and I have to learn to be okay with that.

feeling insecure

And so it comes full circle. I am insecure… about being insecure, self-sabotaging my way to failure. I am so in my own head, so conscious of my fragile existence, that I fear how others might see my insecurities and think of me. It’s something that I hold myself responsible for, because I know that, at the end of the day, 99% of it is in my head. Everyone else who, by the rare chance, notices something that I don’t want them to, will completely forget about it by the next few minutes. If I just use myself as a test subject, I’ll realize that I couldn’t really care less about other people’s flaws and insecurities – and if I do care, it’s always to compare my own flaws to them, because I am so fixated on myself. I am still stuck in my own narrative, and I hope that acknowledging it can help me take the steps I need to take control of it.


the allure of minimalism

Lately, I’ve been getting into minimalism (*gasp*). Minimalism has been a rising trend for a few years now, and it has swamped a good portion of us into it: Marie Kondo-ing our rooms, downsizing our furnitures, and capsule wardrobe-ing our clothes. Before this concept started gaining traction, I was… a bit reluctant. The few minimalists out there seemed too much, the concept too foreign. But as more people hopped into the wagon, the idea of adopting this lifestyle started to tease me.

I’m not someone that’s immune to trends, but I also don’t adopt them blindly (at least, that’s what I would like to think). Trends dictate the flow of something, for a period of time. It’s hard not to go along with it, and I know that what I do is at least in part influenced by them. You can see it as inspiration, or you can see it as lack of individuality. Either way, trends influence me whether I’m aware of it or not. I can see it in all the Instagram themes that I’ve adopted and all the fashion “phases” I’ve been through. Something that I really appreciate is that, after every trend I’ve attempted to embrace, I have gotten a little closer to the style that represents me best.

Minimalism is the latest trend I’m adopting, and I think it’s here to stay. As an aspiring minimalist with a maximalist heart, I’ve realized that “minimalism” places emphasis not on ridding yourself of 90% of your belongings, but on digging out those few treasures that fulfill your life. To be minimal is to free yourself from the fetters of materialism. To show greater appreciation for the things that you have, and to be more creative in how you use them. 

To be minimal is to free yourself from the fetters of materialism. To show greater appreciation for the things that you have, and to be more creative in how you use them. 

In terms of fashion, I’ve been shifting towards basic colors that I know for a fact I like: black, white, and pastel pink. With the occasional pop of color here and there. This shift in mindset has been so freeing for me. I don’t think about all the clothes I liked but didn’t buy, because they are not an “option” in the first place anymore. I feel more justified in sticking to those same few outfits, because that’s my style. It also makes reducing the size of my wardrobe easier, as I feel less guilty for giving away an item that no longer fits my color scheme.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in having a distinguished fashion style and reducing my wardrobe is the confidence I get from it. By reducing my options, I created more freedom in my mind to be more sure about my choices. I want my style to be distinguishable. I want you to look at me and see what my style is. I want to surprise you with the occasional bright yellow dress or velvet red skirt that you didn’t know I have, but only occasionally.

By reducing my options, I created more freedom in my mind to be more sure about my choices. I want my style to be distinguishable. I want you to look at me and see what my style is.

I’m also drawn to this lifestyle because of my current living circumstances. As a college student, I’ve moved 4 times and lived in 5 different places over the past 2 years. Moving is a huge hassle in itself, but having to drag bags and boxes of stuff that you might not even use is an even bigger annoyance. I’m slowly ridding myself of things that have been collecting dust in my drawers for the past year or so, and it doesn’t feel like I’m depriving myself when I do so. It feels like I’m making space for the things that I do have, need, and enjoy.

I know minimalism is for me because just thinking about it, the idea of it, is so alluring to me. I’ve always been a neat freak, and though I’m not a huge hoarder, I’ve always been annoyed at how I tend to hoard the stuff I don’t want to get rid of (aka “sentimental items”), even though I clearly don’t need nor want them. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not embracing extreme minimalism in the sense that I want to rid myself of non-minimalistic things that make me happy. An un-minimalistic dream of mine is having my own library. Imagine a walk-in-closet of books. Not exactly minimalist, but it’s meaningful to me, and it’s me. I guess this comes to show that minimalism is merely a guiding principle to lead a more fulfilling life, not a law enforcement that you will be penalized for.

But minimalism is not for everyone. Some people thrive in the very antithesis of a minimalist space, and I respect that. It’s important to find what fits your personality the most, and embrace that. If having a messy work space with books invading your space and pictures plastered over your walls – own it. 

Minimalism is also a luxury. It’s not something that you can exactly worry about if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and have other priorities to take care of. It’s by no means a necessity to life, and I think it’s important to acknowledge this because I need to acknowledge my privilege of being able to make these choices about my lifestyle. Some people simply can’t afford to be minimal when going for the cheap and quick option is the most feasible choice in their life right now. Others may be minimal not by choice, but because they are simply too poor to be anything other than that. 

However, the thing about minimalism that I believe everyone can benefit from is letting go of hoarding. It’s such a vicious hole to fall into, and I think we all hoard things to some extent, even if unintentionally. It’s so easy to pile up your drawers with clothes that you no longer need, but have forgotten about due to their unuse. It’s easy, but it’s not fair for you or your (precious) space. To combat this unintentional hoarding, I try to clean out a part of my space – my desk area, closet, or other drawers – about once a month, and I always find things that I know can be put to a better use if I gave them away. And it feels good when I finally have that drawer cleaned out. It feels good, and it makes me want to keep my space uncluttered for longer.


a tough balancing act

Oftentimes, I find myself unable to shake off the noise buzzing in my head. I soon realized that a lot of it came from (surprise!) my passive consumption of social media. While I get so inspired and creative from looking at how people create their photos, videos and blog posts, I also find myself thirsty for more content to the point of spending mindless hours a day just consuming.

I decided to delete the Instagram and Facebook apps on my phone, giving myself the option to reinstall Instagram over the weekend to “catch-up.” I could also access both sites on my laptop if I really wanted to. After a week of doing that, I realized that not only did I get rid of that urge to check and mindlessly scroll through my phone, I was feeling calmer inside as well. Most surprisingly, I realized that I didn’t miss checking Instagram. I got a little FOMO, but after catching up with my favorite content creators over the weekend (within the span of half an hour or so), I felt like I had consumed enough. I thought back to when I deleted Snapchat from my phone a year ago, and how much more relieved I felt when I did that.

I always thought I’d have enough “willpower” to control how I consume and use things, but in a world where apps and devices are designed to constantly demand our attention, sometimes literally removing ourselves from it is all it takes to relieve us of that noise.

It’s been a few weeks since summer break started, and I’ve found myself reflecting about my usage of social media once again. I let myself reinstall Instagram on my phone for a few weeks, and I’m also consuming Tumblr and YouTube, and occasionally Twitter, on a regular basis.

But I’ve decided that if I want to maintain my sanity, I have to set some healthy boundaries. I’m going back to the weekend rule for Instagram, as I feel that doing so will make it a habit and thus break the loop of scrolling aesthetic feeds whenever I’m bored. I’ve also found my way back to books, as I always do when school isn’t kicking my ass. I take my precious Kindle Voyage pretty much everywhere I go, and read a few pages here and there instead of reaching for my phone.

I often think about finding that sweet balance between time spent alone and time spent with others. Though I claim to be an introvert, being alone makes me too well-aware of my self-consciousness, which often sends me down a spiral of self-doubt that ends up being counterproductive. In other words, spending too much time with myself can make me want to isolate myself to the extent of thinking that the world is conspiring against me. It’s very dramatic inside my head. I’ve now accepted that there’s no “sweet balance” in terms of my social life, and I don’t expect to find that with social media either.

Because social media is such a 24/7 accessible space, I do believe that limiting my usage can only have positive effects for myself and my social life. Social media may be an extension of social life, but it by no means can replace the quality of bonding with people in real life.


things that make me happy

Hello 2019! It’s insane how fast time has flown by, and it’s somewhat scary what lies ahead of me in this new year. There are a lot of things that I’m looking forward to, but there are also some things that worry me as well. Last year was filled with a lot of amazing moments, as well as some internal struggles, but nothing that I wasn’t able to conquer. This post is dedicated to the moments that make me happy. The process of doing these activities may not be perfect bliss, but they may put my life more into perspective and help me see that there are in fact few things in life that can bring me down.

Dressing up, just because. As a kid = like all kids – I had a wild imagination. My mind often wandered to the made-up worlds that glorified reality, and I would materialize them in the world that my dolls lived in. Though now I channel my imagination through other hobbies more rooted on reality, every once in a while, I find myself going through my wardrobe for more than just finding an outfit to wear. Normally, I’m just looking to see if my clothes still fit me, if they match with such pair of shoes, if they go with that set of jewelry. Sometimes, I dress a bit out of my comfort zone, putting on outfits that I would never dare walk out the door with. Dressing up in these outfits is a reminder that I still have that wilder side of me, if I allow myself to. And sometimes, I do.

Eating yummy food to enjoy the small truffles in life. In the past nearly two years, my relationship with food has been rocky, to say the least. I’ve let loose and I’ve gained weight, often with a guilty conscience. I’ve obsessed over my figure and distorted my once healthy view on food, spiraling me down in a negative cycle that seemed unbeatable. But now that I’m more settled in college, so are my eating habits. I have learned to use food to not only nourish my body, but also nurture my soul.

As a major food lover, I consume food as a way to make me happy, but I don’t feel the tendency to abuse of it anymore. I love tasting different cuisines and fusions, especially in the company of others. But I stick to a pretty simple diet on a regular basis, as this makes those food outings particularly memorable.

Learning a new skill that fascinates me. Especially when I invest this skill into something that channels my creative side. I love having a side project that I can work on by myself, such as this blog. It provides a safe place where I can try out different interests and learn more about them. Over the years, I have blogged about different topics and explored different writing styles. I have also somewhat learned to use different programs to improve the visual experience of my blog. These small developments have allowed me to learn more about my inner interests, and to better show them to others. My blog is particularly special, as it allows me to look back on earlier posts and see how different I am today.

Accomplishing something that scares me. There are some things that I do because it scares me. I take classes that I know will be challenging for me, because I know I will learn from them. I convince myself to talk to people on a regular basis because I know I’ll enjoy spending time with them, and learning from them. I take on leadership roles because it pushes me to be a better version of myself. I do things that scare me now because none of my mistakes have consequences that put my life at risk, so the real reason why I get scared lies within me. These situations challenge the person that I think I am, and prepare me for all kinds of difficult situations that I may encounter later on.

Sweating it out. Health is always at the top of my list, no matter what. With exercise, I am able to take care of both my physical and mental health, and it’s much needed on a daily basis. Exercise – any form – clears my mind, makes me feel much more relaxed and focused, and helps me sleep better. It’s a form of therapy that never fails.

I recently joined my college boxing team, and have been loving it so far. The conditioning, boxing classes, and working out with people who continuously challenge me is an environment that I really enjoy. Of course, I continue to strength train, do cardio, and take fitness classes on my own time as well. Keeping it exciting and novel is something that really helps me be consistent in this area.

Spending time with the people I love. As I’m getting older, I realize that I get a lot from spending time with people. I am majorly an introvert and enjoy my own company most of the time, but I have come to enjoy spending time with both old and new friends as well, and I learn a lot from these moments too. Most importantly, they make me happy. They allow me to see things from their eyes, and rethink about my own ways.

Something that I’ve also been learning to do is to let go of the fear of spending time with people whom I know won’t always be in my life. I have to remind myself that it’s a blessing to have them part of my life for however long they stay, and to move on when we part ways.

With this in mind, I have also started to appreciate my family more. I rarely see my extended family, but I’m in quite close contact with my immediate family – especially my dad. My family are the only people that I know will always care about my wellbeing, even if we aren’t in constant contact. I owe my life to them, and they are literally a part of me.

Doing things that soothe my mind. Journaling is something that I have consistently done since middle school. I have been consistent in that I’ve always had at least one journal or diary every year, but I have been inconsistent in that I tend to journal more when I’m dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil. And when I read back on these moments, they’re golden. They’re full of emotion, meltdowns, and the questioning of why I let myself go through such shitty moments – but they are precious memories. They are tangible reminders that I lived to look back on them, that I conquered these difficulties. It’s treasure.

Listening to music that rocks my world. I live on music every day. While I’m working, reading, exercising – pretty much when I want that background distraction. Different types of music may evoke different emotions in me, or influence the way I feel. But as much as I live by music, it has also made me appreciate the moments of silence, when I’m stuck with nothing but the sounds of nature, and my thoughts.

Reading a book that takes me on a journey to another world. Reading  has taken me on some of the best journeys in my life. To be honest, I don’t remember the details to a lot of them, but the way these stories made me feel will remain ingrained in my heart. Books are unlike other forms of entertainment because they preach focus on one sole thing. They are the product of endless hours of creating and editing, and they provide room for your interpretation of the story.

Traveling to experience the cities and landscapes foreign to me. Seeing things with your own eyes, witnessing the marvels of life. It’s quite a hassle planning a trip – paying for plane tickets, planning the places you want to visit, packing all the necessary documents and clothes, and preparing for the unexpected to happen. There are unplanned things bound to happen during the trip, and though these can be somewhat stressful, they’re also part of the experience. The experience of going with the flow, and seeing where these accidents take you.

Being part of a community – virtually and in real life. As much as I may have wanted to deny it, I’m no less of a social creature than you are. It’s our nature, and no one should fight it. Being in a college with tens of thousands of people, having a small community of people that care about me has done wonders to my happiness and self-esteem. I was lucky to join a club that suited my interests, and the people that I met there have taught me what it means to care for others without expecting anything in return.

Being of service to othersThere’s nothing more humbling than detaching from my own greedy needs, and learning to see from other people’s eyes. While we commonly associate the term “service” with helping those in need, i.e. community service, being of service to others can be to those around us, too. It can be towards your family, your friends, and those around you, when you see fit. When you give your time selflessly to those around you, you inspire others to do so as well. You learn to value other people’s time as much as your own, and that’s something that we should learn to do.

Being of service to others is as much about helping others as it is about helping oneself. It’s an act that benefits both parties, which in turn benefits those around us.

Immersing myself in the beauty of nature. There is something inexplicably healing, beautiful, and peaceful in nature. On some of my wanderlust adventures, I have had the opportunity to visit places like Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, which have blown my mind away with the vastness of their beauty.

When I’m at home, busy with school and life, I resort to taking walks outside, especially when I’m feeling particularly stressed out. I know this makes me sound like an old lady, but if I don’t make a conscious effort of stepping out, sometimes I end up holed at home for an entire day and that just brings my mood down. Stepping out is a way to recharge and feel the natural pace of life.


living alone as an introvert

For the past 3 months this summer, I have lived in a studio apartment by myself. My roommate recently moved in with me, and I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned from my first taste of adulthood. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to have a place to myself for the summer, as renting around this area is ridiculously expensive (but still cheaper than living in the dorms). Living alone has forced me to be more aware of how I cook, use my space, and spend my time all by myself. Waking up to myself every day has forced me to become more aware of how I truly behave when no one is watching. It’s been truly liberating at times, yet imprisoning in moments of insecurity. But all these experiences have naturally led to lessons that I am grateful to have learned:

To appreciate my parents’ support more. I was determined to stay in college and move into an apartment on my own with the hopes that it would allow me to not only learn to become more independent in all aspects of my life, but to also appreciate those that have made it possible for all this to happen. Ever since coming to college, I phone my parents at least once a week to update them on my life, as well as ask for their suggestions on issues that I’m dealing with.

Over the summer, I have come to rely on their mentorship even more. I would often phone my mom to ask her if it was still okay to cook a sprouted potato or what to do about the mini-slugs that kept appearing in my bathroom, and her answers always reassured me. I grew up watching her maintain the clean, beautiful and organized home that I was raised in, and I have naturally grown accustomed to living in such conditions when I came to college. Though not having her by my side made things more difficult, it forced me to tackle every issue on my own (after having googled it or asked my mom first, of course). I would phone my dad on issues about academics, health, and other issues of living alone. My dad has always guided me throughout my academic career, and though we certainly have differing views on education, his words never fail to comfort me. When I’m feeling frustrated about my classes or confused about what I’m supposed to do about anything, he gives me his take on the situation and lets me think about it myself.

My parents trust me enough to let me make my own decisions. Though I would like to believe that I am a very independent person, more often than not I’m very insecure about the choices that I make. But I notice that whenever I resort to my parents for their guidance and they give me a nod of approval (or disapproval), it eases my anxiety. It makes it easier to make a decision when I know that my parents support me. This has made me realize how similar I actually am to my parents, and how much I rely on their support and confidence that I have not yet fully developed on myself.

To listen to myself and nurture my needs. I don’t think I will ever stop surprising myself with newfound feelings and emotions. Living by myself meant that I was stuck with myself even when I didn’t want to. I did not truly put myself out there socially this summer, mainly because I wanted to spend a lot of my time cooking, reading, writing, and just seeing how much adulting I could do by myself. But as much of an introvert as I am, I think I may have secluded myself too much. It made me realize how bad I am at keeping in touch with people, at making plans with others, and simply initiating conversations.

This summer I also experienced some minor health issues; I started experiencing knee pain (on both knees, lucky me), an old injury in my left foot started up again, and I was also waking up in the middle of the night almost every night. I was working out more and pretty active most of the time, but beneath it I was and am not handling life as well as I could be. Though I had successfully moved into a very nice apartment, there were issues with the current tenants that intruded my thoughts almost daily. Unfortunately, I let my thoughts get to me, and I did not handle them as well as I could have. This showed me how intricately connected my mental and physical health are, and the dangers of dwelling over things for too long.

Understanding my relationship to food. I spent a lot of my time learning to cook, planning meals, and understanding how to feed myself balanced meals of protein, carbs and fats. I think this is a huge investment for anyone at any point in their lives, as you get to use it for the rest of your life. It’s one of the most essential survival skills, and one of the most healthy and helpful ones that you can cultivate. I learned to buy weekly groceries, plan meals, try out new (albeit simple) recipes, and mainly learned to not be afraid of cooking, which is a big victory for me! I experienced a few burns and small cuts here and there, made some disgusting and/or failed meals, but nothing that would deter me from learning more about cooking.

To be okay with not being clean all the time. Back when I was living in the dorms and sharing a room with two other girls, I only had to make sure that my desk, bed and closet space were clean enough for me. We vacuumed the carpeted floor one or twice a month, though it didn’t really matter because the carpet’s dark color masked any dirt on the floor. My dorm floor shared a co-ed bathroom on the floor and I ate at the dining hall, so cleaning the bathroom and kitchen were not an issue.

But now that I’ve moved into my own space where I have to clean my room, in addition to the kitchen and bathroom, I noticed that I had a slight obsession with keeping things a little too clean. The first few weeks of living here consisted of me cleaning and wiping every surface immediately after using. It seemed like a reasonable me-thing to do, but I gradually accepted the fact that not only was this unreasonable, it was also needlessly time-consuming. I had enslaved myself as a maid to myself. I gradually told myself to just stop it. Now I only clean my apartment about once or twice a week, and wipe the surfaces and vacuum whenever I think it’s necessary. A little mess doesn’t really bother me, as long as my bed and desk (my precious areas) are clean enough on the surface.

It’s absolutely liberating at times, imprisoning in others. Not having to close the door when going to the bathroom. Not putting on clothes immediately after showering. Playing soft background music all day long. Watching videos without ever having to put earphones on. Knowing that no one will ever walk through the front door, but me. Dressing up in different outfits and being able to walk around the apartment in them. Putting makeup on myself poorly, and laughing at myself about it.

But it also meant that I had to take extra precaution about my living environment, ensuring that I locked the door when I went out or came home, or making sure I hadn’t let anything turned on. Coming home and not having anyone to talk to. Not having anyone drag me out when I was stuck in my introverted shell. This led me to…

Dealing with solitude. As much time as you have to work on yourself when you’re living alone, solitude can be imprisoning at times. I feel that I am my best working self when I know that no one is watching me, judging me. But sometimes it was hard to keep up my motivation when I wasn’t feeling very perky myself. However, this feeling of solitude led me to reflect upon the type of solitude that I wanted for myself in the future. Somewhere not too busy, not smack in the middle of a city. Maybe in the suburbs, surrounded by parks and nature, where I can go to whenever I’m seeking some alone time in nature. Where I can drive or commute to convenience stores that are not too far away. Somewhere where my thoughts are not easily distracted by random external factors all the time.

This reflection on solitude also made me realize the type of company that I want in my life. Earlier, I talked about how much I have come to appreciate my parents’ presence and support in my life. I feel more appreciative of them now because there is now a palpable distance between us. The physical time that we spend together is limited, and they understand me enough to call me no more than a few times a week. Our relationship has become sustainable and satisfying, at least from my side. That’s the type of company that I want when I look for friendships and relationships.

During the academic year, I meet lots of people who easily become acquaintances and, some, even friends. But few of them will ever become close friends; not because they’re flawed in some way, but simply because. But their company will bring me a lot of memories and experiences, and that’s the beauty of meeting new people, regardless of how long they stay in my life. Though I certainly have a lot to learn about meeting people, making friends, and just putting myself out there, this reflective period has enabled me to see the value of company as what keeps us alive, inspired, and happy.

Living alone these past few months has also showed me how I’m not fully ready to live on my own – just yet. It has also made me realize a lot of things about myself (even if in a hard way), which are things that I can now work on. As much of an introvert as I think I am, I depend on the few important people in my lives to thrive. I still get FOMO when I see what others are doing on social media, I still let negative thoughts get me down, and I’m totally not fully comfortable in my own skin yet. All of these things have truly surfaced in these past months, so I guess that means that I’m still my parent’s little girl 🙂 Even though I’m almost 21!



dear insecure self,

I’m embarrassed to admit that you care more about your appearance and physique than you would like to admit. I’m particularly embarrassed that you gained at least 15 pounds during your first year of college. You have never gained more than a few pounds here and there ever, and you’re also realizing how hard it is to shed those pounds. You were never fat, and you’re not fat now, but it doesn’t change the fact that you gained 15 pounds in just one year. You can now see all that fat accumulating in your thighs and tummy, and it’s frustrating to see that in the mirror every day. Your old pants, shorts and skirts no longer fit you, and the new jeans that you got don’t always sit so well around your stomach either. You keep on thinking you’ll lose the pounds and go back to wearing them again – but it’s been a year. Who are you kidding?

I’m scared to reveal to anyone too much about yourself. I’m scared to tell people things they probably don’t even care about. I get anxious when college peers ask for your age. Would they judge you for only being a sophomore when you should be a junior and could even be a senior in college? I’m scared to tell people about this, your space on the internet, “mistyprose”. Would they judge you for making stupid videos and blogging about stuff that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things? I’m scared to let people on the internet know about you, too. What if they don’t like the way you sound or how you look? What if people from real life find out? What if they think you’re this spoiled, fake girl? What if…??

I don’t like how obsessive you get about doing things the right way. Getting exactly 8 or 9 hours of sleep every night; going to sleep at the right time. Eating at the same time every day; eating the right food, and the right amount. Working out at such time of the day; working out this many times a week. Don’t you see that being so uptight prevents you from enjoying life? Don’t you see that this obsessive attitude is actually making you gain weight and feel miserable?

I’m not sure how I feel about you spending time alone most of the time. It’s great when you’re at home and doing your own thing – you’re a great company, but when you walk out and are surrounded by people, something changes. It feels like people are watching you all the time. If you eat by yourself, you can’t help but feel eyes prying on you, wondering why you’re such a loner. Walking alone. Hanging out alone. These judgments come from past experiences, but now it feels like you’re just repeating them all over your head, again and again. When are the voices ever going to stop?

I don’t understand why you put so much on your plate. You want to do the things that you’ve done before coming to college, yet you still want to explore new things in college. But life is limited, and you seriously have to just choose. Or else you’ll end up so overwhelmed that you just end up doing… nothing. Except watch videos all day and bingeing on food, just to take your mind off from all your insecurities and unaccomplished goals. Which happens more often than you’ll admit to everyone.

I worry that you will not be successful in life. You are brave in choosing to study the subjects that you are passionate about, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder if you should have tried harder in other fields. If you should have given math or medical school a second thought before you decided on your path. Or maybe you shouldn’t have given up on your creative aspirations, and could be pursuing an art field instead. What do you even plan to do with your majors, huh?

dear self,

I am pleasantly surprised at how strong you have gotten ever since coming to college a year ago. Not just mentally stronger, but also physically stronger. You don’t fear the cold as much as before – heck, you wear more clothes that show skin and you feel great in them. You’ve started lifting weights, and you can actually see your thighs becoming more toned and defined. Most surprisingly, your immune system seems to become stronger each day. You still get the occasional cold-like symptoms – but they rarely blossom into a full-on cold or flu like before, and you rarely need medication. Your body is learning to fight back.

I am so proud of how much you have matured and how much you continue to do so. You may still feel conflicted about what you need to do in life, but you are progressively gaining control on the direction of your life. Your interests are no longer influenced by those around you; rather, they inspire you to learn more about the world that surrounds you, and have also helped you become more certain about what it is that you want to spend your time on. It’s okay to keep things to yourself. It’s not okay to feel like you have to hide them from people, or that you’re constantly being judged by the things that define you. This is something that you still need to work on, but that’s okay, too. You’ve got time.

I applaud you for your top-notch organization skills and mindset. Your thoughts may not always be in order, but you bet you keep your life in order with your calendar, sticky notes, and reminders. When you have to do something, you write it down and do it (most of the time, at least). You plan your weeks in advance to make sure that you’re working towards your goals – even if they are just baby steps. You make sure to eat right, sleep well, keep your space clean, and exercise consistently. Even though you most likely plan your ‘spontaneous outings’, you feel happier when you give yourself the time to do them.

I encourage you to love yourself more. Your insecurities will never leave you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the reins and still live your life. Even if it means doing them by yourself. You should go out, have fun, and meet people. You feel great when you do that occasionally. But you also feel awesome when you have the day to yourself, to do whatever your heart desires. I know it’s hard to always be comfortable when everyone around you seems so sociable all the time, but you shouldn’t let that guilt dictate your life. Your life is written by you and no one else, after all.

I love how ambitious and self-motivated you are. Whatever you’re doing, you always seem to find an intrinsic purpose for the things that you do. And if there’s no tangible end goal to what you do, you make sure that you’re doing it because you want to. Because you enjoy it. Because it aligns with the values that you strive to live by. You’re also realizing that it’s okay to find something that you really enjoy doing for a while, and then realize that it wasn’t meant for you.  You’re realizing that it’s okay to quit some things in order to make time for others.

I admire the choices you have made, even if they  don’t always provide you with a clear path ahead. You are not only studying the subjects that you’re passionate about in college, you’re also learning so much about the subjects that you didn’t know about before. You have learned the meaning of a liberal arts education, and are taking full advantage to explore the subjects that ignite sparks of joy in you. You know that your interests will change, and you know that it will be completely okay when that happens. College is not about studying that one thing that you’re set to do for the rest of your life; rather, it’s supposed to propel you towards different directions and provide you with options that you might not even know yet. So pursue knowledge with passion, and let go with satisfaction. This also applies for life after college too – nothing you do will ever ‘stay’ the same. And that’s the excitement of life. So fret not, because there will be a time and place for all that you wish to do in life.

dear loving self,

Llife is bittersweet. I’m not gonna deny that you’re full of flaws, because you are. You are flawed in many things, and flawed in seeing all those things as flaws in yourself. You pick fights with yourself, constantly. Every day. Your insecurities are persistent, but so are the strengths that come from them. You may look at yourself for the insecure person that you are, but it doesn’t change the fact that you have grown and blossomed because of these insecurities. Remember that both the flaws and strengths are what fill your life with meaning. And I know you will continue growing, slowly but surely, into the worthy person that you are and have always been.

the importance of taking time off

I am back home for winter break for a month, and it feels great. It’s allowing me to take a breather from school, wind down, prepare for the incoming year, and do the things that I personally love to do. My home is not as saturated as my college is. I’m not surrounded by multitudes of people everyday, I don’t have as many external demands, and I can sleep in without feeling guilty. My life at home doesn’t feel as fast-paced as it does when I’m in college, but this is what allows me to recharge for the incoming year.

To resume old hobbies. A lover of books, I realized a week into my winter break that I hadn’t touched my kindle once. I then consciously started reading, and the old habit kicked in. Other hobbies like playing the cello, taking pictures, learning about Photoshop, and catching up with films also followed suit. 

To reevaluate and set new goals. Winter break is a transitional moment, as it marks the end of a semester, a year – and the beginning of a new one. Reevaluating your goals allows you to see what changes need to be made for the coming year. Setting new goals allows you to be excited for the path ahead of you. The beginning of a new year always marks the start of a clean slate, and setting concrete goals allows you to not lose track of them as you go on with your life.

To plan ahead. As you go about your break from school, your thoughts might also drift towards where you see yourself in the incoming year. In addition to setting goals, you should have plans that will lessen your anxiety when the time comes around. I look at planning as the micro steps that I need to take to achieve my goals. Plans are not meant to cement your actions once and for all, as things are bound to change with time. But following through your plans will ensure that you’re going towards your desired path – progressively.

To reconnect with loved ones. For me, these are my family, friends from back home, and also keeping touch with new close friends I’ve made. I’m not the most sociable person by nature, but I value the few friendships and relationships that I have. While I had the excuse of being too busy while at school, there’s nothing standing in my way of spending more time with the people I care about at this time, especially my family.

To relax. This is necessary to restore calm and focus. I find that when I find myself free from demands, my mind starts creating new ideas, thinking of new things to do. I like to enjoy breaks by reading, learning and coming up with possible goals and things that I want to do, but I also have to remind myself that I can’t do them all at once. The world demands us to be in constant motion, but it’s also important to be patient with ourselves. Time is not unlimited, but neither are our abilities. Taking time to slow down is important in allowing us to see clearly what is most important to us – and to truly focus on those things.

Even with all the things that I’ve mentioned above, I reserve most of the time for myself. That means catching up on films that I personally want to watch, going shopping, sleeping in when I need to, catching up on reading, and simply enjoying my own company doing the things that I love.


blissful morning walks

I love when the sun rises early in the morning, and sets late at night, making the days seem longer and fuller. I enjoy walking out of my building and being greeted by the sunlight, even when it sometimes greets me too fiercely. I particularly relish my weekend morning walks around other parts of the neighborhood that I don’t normally pass by during the week. I love how the college dorms here are not inside campus, but rather in the areas surrounding it; it gives me the freedom to explore other parts of this town-like place, and it allows me to take these blissful morning walks. I am someone who believes in enjoying the small things in life, especially when nature is part of it. Taking a walk is the simplest way to wind down from the frenzy of life that surrounds us each day.

Taking a walk means challenging life’s demands. When I find that I’m overwhelmed by the demands of life, I make a conscious effort to walk in the places where nature is my surrounding company. It reminds me that I can choose to either rush my day to get as many things done as possible, or do a few things with thoughtful consideration without overstimulating myself. The world won’t end regardless of how much I squeeze into one day, so I might as well choose to spend it in the best way possible for me.

Taking a walk means doing something for yourself. By yourself. We easily spend so much time stimulating our senses artificially  that we deprive us of true alone time. We listen to music on our phones whilst we type away on our laptops, we watch videos or read articles online when we’re bored, we text people while we walk. Whenever we’re not interacting with others one-on-one, we fill our voids with the immediate stimulation that our devices can offer. But when we do this, we lose being in the company of ourselves. Taking a walk means listening to your footsteps, looking at the path in front of you, and noticing the details that surrounds you. Though I often feel like distracting myself with a good movie or burying my head in a book, it’s good to ground oneself back to reality at the end of the day.

Taking a walk means noticing our surroundings with a childlike curiosity. There are increasingly more places to see, cities to travel, and adventures to have. It’s always fascinating to go on a roadtrip adventure or visit an exotic place, as it’s literally an escape from our more mundane reality. It’s fun and important to travel somewhere where the culture and reality is different to that of your own, as it’s a valuable experience in itself. But it’s also important to remember that the things that surround us every day can be just as special. You don’t need to travel long distances to find novelty; you can find it exactly where you are right now, if you choose to do so.

I believe that it’s important to accept this before you decide to go out and explore more. It’s important to accept this because only then can you see everything that surrounds you with curiosity, not just the grand exotic places. It’s important to appreciate the richness in all the big and small things.

So, take a walk around your area, but take a different path this time. What story are behind the homes that you see? How do you feel, walking along a calm residential area as opposed to a busy city street? What sounds do you hear – are they human, animal or nature sounds? Welcome any thoughts that come into your mind as you walk along.


how to recover from a burnout

BURNOUT: physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.

We are all familiar with this. That moment when… anything and everything seems to be too much all at once. When you just want to shut the world down, and make everything stop. When you’re no longer stressed, but on the verge of falling apart. When you lose that drive and sense of motivation that you used to have.

I have experienced my definition of high stress, social anxiety, and demotivation for short periods at a time. I don’t think I’ve actually experienced burnout to the point of being unable to go back to work, unless it was due to some external reason. However, I do have a few methods, that I have used myself, to help you recover from any form of short-term burnout (if you experience a heavy, long-term burnout, please consult a professional):

1. Schedule time for yourself.

Turn off the notifications in your phone, stop checking social media, and let the emails go. One cannot truly relax if one is constantly being interrupted by things as distracting as Facebook, Instagram, and emails. You live in the now, in the present moment, not in the pictures that random people post on Facebook, nor the chaos in the news nowadays.

Acknowledge it, value it, live it.

2. Do something creative

Whenever I delve into something fun, like practicing brush lettering, taking pictures, or even just journaling, it feels therapeutic. I put on some soothing music, and it becomes me and my art. It allows me to recharge creatively and lose myself in the beauty of it for a while.

Simply choose something that you consider fun, creative, simple and relaxing. For me, it usually has to do with some form of pen and/or paper. I love journaling, planning, brush lettering, doodling and painting in a coloring book. It’s easy and soothing, and it gets me going.

3. Get out.

This one never fails me. Whenever I feel stuck, stressed, and even on the verge of a breakdown, I force myself to go out if I can muster the energy to do so. I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood surrounded by parks, and that’s where I go. Not somewhere crowded with people talking; just nature, people walking with their doors, and cars passing by.

Nature, besides it being there to allow us to live, is the best natural form of therapy. It will allow you to breathe in the fresh, fresh air. Let you slow down for a bit, and enjoy your view as it is. Get you up and walking, without going anywhere in particular.

4. Get active.

Following #3, once you’re outside – take it to the next step! You could start by walking or jogging, or skating, or biking, or taking your pet for an afternoon together. Make it an event. Get your body moving and your blood pumping. You will have to focus on your task at hand and, consequently, get your mind off your work. Your body will also automatically release endorphins, which will inevitably relieve you of the stress you were experiencing, and make you feel much, much better overall.

You can get active by going out for a simple activity like the ones named before – walking, jogging, biking, etc. or by signing up for a class that you’ll have to go a few times a week. I do both, so I get my dose of endorphins pretty much everyday – whether I feel like it or not – and always end the day feeling sore, but refreshed.

5. Get your zzz’s.

I know, I know. There is not enough time to sleep. But there is if you make it a priority. I prioritize sleep because:

  • It allows me to perform hours of productive and concentrated work everyday; if I don’t, I end up spending twice as much time in each task and accomplishing half as much.
  • I maintain my body’s health and weight by doing so; if I don’t, I end up eating more than necessary, oftentimes caffeinated products or just food my body doesn’t need. Your body should not be dependent or coffee or any other food at all if you get your sleep.
  • I love to wake up early. I’m not an early bird, but I can wake up relatively early if I sleep at a proper time, and a consistent schedule is what allows me to be the best version of myself every day.

This is also key to prevent oversleeping, which will most likely depress you even more, as you’ll feel like you’re sleeping your life away. In order to take care of your body, maintain your health and recover from a day of work, is to sleep no more than necessary. Lie in bed for a while after waking up, but don’t fall asleep again if you’ve slept enough, or you’ll wake up more restless than before.

Lastly, forgive yourself if things don’t go your way. I cannot reiterate this enough. More often than not, your day will not go as planned. When that happens, acknowledge your mistakes, forgive yourself, and move on. It will all be alright at the end.