11.2

11:

One of my favorite numbers.

It’s probably because in elementary school, when we were assigned a class number, I was #11 for multiple years.

It was also the number of people in a group with whom I thought I’d be friends with forever.

11… 

More than 10, but less than 12.

There was something “odd” about it (no pun intended).

But this is probably another reason why this is one of my favorite numbers because I always felt like the odd one out.

2:

Not one of my favorite numbers, but I can appreciate it.

After all, they say two is better than one.

Two peas in a pod.

Two halves to a whole.

A lot of things come in pairs.

If we take the 1’s in 11 & add them, well, 1 + 1 = 2.

2 makes us feel complete.

2 tells us we get a second chance at life.

But when we add 11 & 2…

11 + 2 = 13

13:

The unlucky number & quite conveniently, my karmic debt number.

12 is considered universally perfect; it represents harmony & all good things.

But 13?

13 tells us that we took things one step too far, & now harmony has turned into discord.

13 causes us to look back & try to figure out where we misstepped.

Did we do too much just to receive so little?

We try to go back to the very beginning.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I made it back to the very beginning with a sad smile on my face.

But as I scrolled through the archived messages on my desktop, the system crashed.

Perhaps it was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to be looking.

If we take 11.2 & turn it around, it becomes 2.11.

And I see it as 2, 1, 1, as if I am nearing the end of a countdown to something big, but I am afraid to say “zero” because I fear becoming nothing. 

I’m counting down the days to my showcase, to my graduation, to moving back home, to my MCAT.

I’m counting the days I spend time with people, & the ones that pass where I wish I could renew a friendship.

I’m counting the days of my hair growing back, while hoping that the stress I’m feeling won’t cause it to thin again.

I close my eyes & count to 10, hoping this is all just a bad dream.

Because I’m terrified by the numbers.

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Wind & Water.

They were as wind & water.

The wind moved the water to create beautiful, calming ripples.

But the wind, by nature, is ever-changing.

Thus, the wind could incite the tranquility of the water to become a tsunami.

Why is it that this storm must take place in order to see the depths & heights of all that is meaningful?

great_wave_off_kanagawa2

You are You. 

You are you.

Imperfectly, perfect you.

You may not see it now. You may be tearing yourself apart right now for all the shortcomings. For not being where you want to be.

But you are here & that’s what matters.

You compare yourself to the models on TV, to your friends who have graduated & are working towards their dreams.

They are images of beauty & success.

But you are your own model, & need not follow them. For their beauty & their success is theirs, not yours.

You are your own person on your own journey & that is something that will never change.

So if you get sad thinking about how “behind” you are, stop that.

Stop it right now.

No one will travel the same road as you.

There will be times when paths meet & you will walk alongside someone. It may be long, it may be brief. But in the end, it’s you that you have to live with.

So love yourself & find what you love.

No one has that sparkle in your eye like you do. That spark you carry is solely your own.

Because no one can ever replace you, ever be you.

You are you.

Wonderful & worth the whole world, you.

Why I Write.

I am not usually one to share my writing to anyone, lest it be posted on this blog or for a school assignment, blah blah. But just recently, I had a friend of mine read a piece from the notebook I started keeping. He asked me if what I wrote was inspired by things I actually experienced in my life.

I thought about it and the answer to that question is “yes.”

I write because I can never properly formulate the words to exit my lips as elegantly as I am able to do so on paper. Though the sword cuts through the body and spews blood across the land, it is by the pen that the tragedy of war is remembered. If it were not written, then it could be more easily forgotten. For the blood is eventually washed away by the rain. And it is the pen that tattoos the soul with awe of how we are all connected.

For when I am in the moment, I cannot describe what I feel. But when I close my eyes and twirl the ink rod between my fingertips, it becomes an enchanted wand that allows me to repaint the memories and live again, whether in pleasure or in pain.

To feel.

And to understand.

That is why I write.

Them.

It’s hard, I know.

They screw you over.

“It’s okay, we’re human.”

It happens again.

“Have patience.”

And again.

“Forgiveness is key. Don’t worry.”

And again…

You find yourself looking in the mirror,/ Trying to stare deep into your soul.

“What’s wrong with me?”

At this point, it’s time to let go./ You’ve done everything you could.

You’ve forgiven and tried to forget./ Then you realized that you can’t forget./ Because if you forget, did you learn your lesson?

You’ve loved when it was hard./ You’ve given, even when people told you it was pointless./ Who else would be there if you weren’t?

But sometimes they just don’t see it./ Sometimes they just don’t understand./ They don’t know the blood./ They don’t know the sweat./ They don’t know the tears.

They may have been there for years./ They may have been there for months./ And in an instance, gone./ Like they didn’t even know you./ Like you don’t even exist.

All you get is a head nod./ Sometimes just a stare./ And you crawl into your shell for a bit,/ Because you feel out casted./ You don’t belong.

But darling, it’s okay.

That’s just the way life is.

People come and people go./ You are wonderful./ Imperfect, yes, but nonetheless.

You feel like a lone wolf,/ But you’ll find your pack someday./ Not everyone can run beside you./ Not everyone can keep your pace.

If it’s meant to be, maybe they’ll come back.

But baby, don’t waste your time.

Because you are worth much more than they make you feel.

“What’s wrong with me?”

It’s not you, it’s them.

What am I Supposed to Do with My Life?

As someone currently preparing for the terrible storm that every college student knows as “finals,” a few things have been running through my head. My initial thought? How nervous I am and how I could possibly be able to schedule out all my time to study for all my tests and pass with a good amount of success. Hooray, Dead Week (for those of you lucky to have one). Personally, I’m not someone who likes to settle for a C. It’s bound to happen at one point in my career, but today is not that day (I hope). Along with this whole “freaking out” over final exams comes the questions that run through everyone’s minds, I’m sure: What happens if I don’t pass? What does it say about my career choice? Is this path that I want to travel truly the right path for me? And if not, what am I supposed to do with my life then?

Ahh, the big question. “What am I supposed to do with my life?” This is what sucks: though I’m sure this feeling of uncertainty probably popped up over various decades, the pressure for young adults to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives is weighing down more heavily than ever. I mean, at the age of 17 or 18, we open up our college apps and pick a major: Biology, Engineering, Architecture, Art History, Philosophy, the list is endless. And while we want to pick something that we enjoy, there’s always that parent or family member that expects you to be a doctor or a lawyer and scoffs at you if you simply mention the idea of Fashion Design. And it’s like, HELLO?! Our brains are still developing. We are old enough to make some of our own decisions, but not old enough to solidify them just yet. We must not forget that this world is constantly, changing, and that includes the young population of today.

And has high school properly equipped us to fight this battle that is the adult world? I think not. Our generation’s education system has done a pretty brutal job of testing how well we can stuff multiple subjects of information in our head while seeing how it takes a toll on our mental and physical health. While I for one can say I found some enjoyment in being able to balance myself out by participating in a handful of musical curricular activities while still maintaining a high GPA, I can say that at least half of the stuff I learned in high school I have forgotten and will probably never use. Ever. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but as a future doctor, will I really need to find trigonometry to find some kind of defect in the angle of a person’s elbow bend? No… Like, what? And as an architect, is it necessary to know how to play the diminished 7th chord on a piano? Perhaps not. I have to give the American education system some credit; I admit that we should be more diverse in our learning and really keep our eyes open to what we may want to pursue, but there’s only so much of this that the institution can feed us before it starts to choke us. I think everyone should learn a little bit of history so that tragedies of the past may not reincarnate themselves on us if we are improperly educated on a matter. It’s also nice for people to learn how to sing a perfect harmony to get their creativity flowing. But we can’t always get what we want.

I think what bothers me, along with many others, is the fact that most secondary schools fail to teach us valuable life skills like how to budget, how to cook, how to prevent credit card fraudulence, etc. Some people enter college with little to no understanding on how to do any of these things and for lack of a better phrase, they’re well, kind of f*cked. There are organizations like Girl Scouts and recreational classes that people can participate in to learn this stuff, but that costs money. And if a child lives in an uncomfortable situation where a parent or guardian may not be able to provide this type of guidance, because education is pretty much paid for the first 18 or so years of your life, shouldn’t the system be focusing on taking complete advantage of this? I’ve shared videos from the 60’s where men actually had legitimate, body working physical education courses and where women were required to take self-defense classes. What happened to this, huh? My generation has been blessed with an abundance of technology and opportunity. And with a growing number of young entrepreneurs, inventors, and the whole list of geniuses, we all kind of expect that we can only move the human race forward. However, technology has also caused us to retrograde in a sense. We can navigate to a desired destination by typing out an address on a GPS. But what happens when we don’t have signal or battery? How many of us actually know how to use a map? We waste our time laughing at vines and retweeting the latest Kim Kardashian memes, but when we turn on the news and see protests and violence and disaster around the world, we can choose to change the channel. Push a button, the bad disappears. Push another button, something we want becomes ours. It’s sad and selfish and leaves me wondering many-a-night on how this could possibly the future, and what it will do to the future. Now I know not everyone is going to be like this, but as younger generations become more and more tech savvy, I can’t help but worry.

Okay, what now? This brings me back to the question of “what am I supposed to do with my life?” If you’re stuck in a rut and feeling like you’re useless because you don’t exactly know what to do, DON’T LET IT GET TO YOU. You are still young, and even if half of your friends and classmates are getting married or having kids, remember that you are not them, and you set your own pace. But what about money? F*ck money. Yes, money has pretty much proclaimed itself as the ruler of the world, but it isn’t everything. Be happy first. If you find your passion and create something amazing out of it, money will come. You will be able to make it somehow. Still feeling useless? Go out and educate yourself. Do good deeds. Learn the lessons that your dumb, old high school probably didn’t teach you. Turn on that TV and watch the news, but also, understand that there may be some corruption in the way the media portrays a situation. Donate to an organization that helps with disaster relief. Even a dollar helps. Volunteer to tutor kids and teach them how to paint. We often forget the wonder and innocence of children because we worry so much about all the tasks we have to get done. Talk to someone on the street. Ask them their life story. Smile. Give them a compliment. Do a random act of kindness. These things seem so miniscule compared to the creation of the latest smart phone or a new cancer drug, but these things make a difference too. I talk about how I used to always be such a bitter person, but after taking random adventures alone to clear my mind and sharing water or food with people I just met, I feel happier and hope that the people I met feel happier too, whether or not I see them again. You may not know what career you want, but you have a purpose in life, which is to find your own way to make the world a better place. And when you find the ways you like interacting with people, and you mold this with your personal skills, your career WILL come. We worry so much about being stable and rich, but stability and richness is not only found in materialistic goods. There is a line in a song that goes, “treasure is measured in units of love, which means you may find that you are rich beyond your wildest dreams.”

So my friends, worry not about failing. This is NOT me telling you to abandon your flashcards, burn the nearest textbook, and bomb your final exams (although the sheer thought of bad-assery is pretty tempting). No one really tries to fail on purpose. It happens. We’re human. And it’s cliché to say, but it’s all part of a learning experience. Whether it be in a class or a relationship or another life situation, take this opportunity to step back and ask yourself: what went wrong and what can I do to make it better next time? If you can do better, always do it. And in it, you will find yourself eventually. Soul searching is a long journey, but we are all on this path. Never forget that somehow, somewhere you have people out there rooting for you. And when you meet that random bum on the street and buy him a sandwich, who knows? He’ll probably end up rooting for you too. Do not let finals get the best of you. First and foremost, worry about your own health. Then go and spread it to others because they might need it. Life is so much more than sitting in a cubicle for 10 hours. Life is about the people you come home to after those 10 hours. The pressure is on, but remember that failure is only failure if you refuse to pick yourself up. Remember that love and humility is worth more than money. The world may say otherwise, but compare Manny Pacquiao, congressman, singer, and loving dad, to Floyd Mayweather, a man who owns a plethora of cars and his own personal jet, but also cussed out an interviewer, and beat his wife. Who is more of the people’s person? Who has made more positive impact?

I believe that you can make it. I may or may not really know you. We may have drifted apart. We may be new friends. But there’s nothing wrong in giving a fellow human being a push of encouragement. Amidst the stress and breakdowns and overeating, we all have a voice. Do not be afraid of that voice. You may be struggling through thorn bushes and low branches on your path, but it’s still a path. Hell, dance your way through that path. And you will still get somewhere. Educate yourself. Take matters into your own hands. You will be fine. And with that, happy studying. 🙂

Excuse Me if I’m a Bit All Over the Place.

It’s mid-April and with a little bit less than a month left of school, I have succumbed to the stressors of the final stretch. With my second year at my small, private university coming to a close, the deadlines and things needing to be done are starting to dance around my head. Combined with my desire to go out to concerts and events, but my unfortunate circumstance of being a broke college student, I have definitely become more grumpy.

But what is all that without a bit of insecurity to be the perfect cherry on top?

With the spring semester being filled with more time-consuming events than fall, such as the rehearsals for a cultural showcase that took place multiple days of the week and endured for about 3 months, I gained weight and lost definition in the muscles that I had just barely gained back over winter break.

As I had to spend more and more time going into the lab for research, I found that I was having to spend more time by myself. I saw people for even shorter periods of time than I did during the previous semester. Some people had switched majors, dropped out of classes, or changed sections for classes we had together. And while I admit without shame that I thoroughly enjoy a full dose of “me time” as much as I can get it, sometimes I feel as if I’ve isolated myself so much that I just don’t fit in with places and people I was a part of.

To be quite frank, I never really fit in anyway.

One time in elementary school, every person in class had to give a presentation about a certain type of music. While most of my peers chose HipHop, R&B, and Pop, I chose to present on Italian Opera. And long before EDM became widely popular among my friends as it is now, when people asked me what my favorite song was in the 6th grade, I would reply, “He’s a Pirate (Tiesto Remix).”

And as far as looks go? Well, I’m no poster girl…

I can say I am grateful to be blessed with a skinny physique. Standing around 5’4 with slender arms and legs and my size 7 feet, people have often asked me if I am dancer because of my stature. Or maybe it’s the way I walk… Or how I sit? Or dance around? I don’t know. Anyway, to be honest it makes me smile when people think that, (1) because they think I have talent and (2) because I can appear fit without putting so much work into it. Don’t get me wrong, I DO dance; I just consider myself more at home on a dance floor doing my own random thing rather than performing choreography on a stage in front of a large crowd. Also, just because people think I look fit, that doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy with my body sometimes. Trust me. I still have to put in serious work at the gym.

But sometimes it’s hard to get my boyish figure to cooperate. For some odd reason, at one point in life I thought I had an hourglass figure.

HAH. I’M FREAKING HILARIOUS.

You stupid little high school girl..

I’ve come to realize that I pretty much have a straight figure. I’ve always been a late bloomer and can still recall being ridiculed for “having no butt.” It was the talk of the town about how I couldn’t really fit into a pair of pants just right without needing a belt and how my cousins’ butts were so big. WOW. BIG WHOOP-DEE-DOO, AUNTIES. So when I was able to slip on a size 24 of Forever 21 skinny jeans that hugged me perfectly, it was a very, very sweet victory. Thankfully, my bum has grown a lot since then, and no one has uttered a word about it. It’s not big, but its presence is slightly acknowledged, and I’m content with that. And it’s not knocking anything over, which is cool. However, being boyish in figure means not having boobs and that’s a little harder to embrace. I would like to wear strapless dresses or clothing with bold cuts more than I do and actually have something to show off. To make matters worse, it doesn’t exactly hide weight gain. Seems like the girls who have slightly bigger breasts than mine and can fill B cups and even some A cups can conceal their tummies better. As someone who’s trying to workout to look and feel better, I frown in envy at the bitches who eat all they can at restaurants all the damn time and still come out looking fabulous.

Then there’s my flat nose, with an almost nonexistent nose bridge. My chubby cheeks (a result of excessive sodium intake from a phase when I would snack on sunflower seed for hours in a day). My deep eye bags. My eyebrows that may or may not be visible in certain lighting.`And my scars, blemishes, and uneven skin color. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, Allex. That’s a lot of negative things you’re pointing out about yourself. Can’t you think of anything you like?” Of course I can. I like my big eyes My straight, pearly white teeth. And my lips (you can find me trying new shades of lipstick all the time). My legs, my feet, my fingers, and even my innie belly button. But these things to me have become so overwhelmed by the imperfections that it’s hard not to feel bad about them. I’ve grown up feeling a lot of pressure about my appearance. Filipino aunties can be blatantly brutal about your flaws and it’s unfortunate to say that it has affected me to such an extent. It doesn’t help when random cuties are flirting with your cousins or friends either. Guess who’s left in the corner on their own looking a loser? Oh, me. Again.

Didn’t mean to sit on the pity pot for too long, but I just needed to get that off my chest.

Don’t mistake me for a girl who is rushing to get into a relationship, because it’s actually quite the opposite. I’m guilty of being a bit overenthusiastic when I meet someone new or when things start to get serious, but for now, as I mentioned earlier, I’d rather spoil myself. I like this freedom that I have. And while I am aware that one day, I will be able to dance around without a care and have someone by my side that will accept my craziness and probably dance alongside me in the goofiest way possible, today is not that day. I’ve had a scary close encounter, but I have not yet met my match and that’s fine by me. I don’t want anyone holding me down and I don’t want to hold anyone else down. I just don’t feel as if I’m ready for a relationship yet. Simple as that. I still carry a lot of baggage and a lot of it I feel is stuff I need to learn to take care of on my own. I want to be the best I can be when entering a relationship (even if I’m still far from perfect) and I definitely know that I have to really, truly love myself first. I could have the whole world telling me to stop putting myself down and that I’m beautiful, but it all doesn’t matter unless I believe it myself. But just for shits and giggles, I like to think that, because I don’t really possess the stereotypical type of cute girl looks that guys covet, it just means that there’s an extraordinarily atypical cutie out there for me that’s waiting to be found.

I’m definitely a work in progress. Looking back though, there is significant growth from this exact point in my life last year. I’ve learned to love, forgive, and let go, and for those who’ve known me since at least high school can definitely attest to my issues in doing so. These first four months of the year have already brought events to test how much I’ve grown, but for the most part, I can say I’ve combatted then pretty successfully. Clearly, some tweaking needs to be done, but it’s a lot better than it was. The struggles live on, but God knows I’m happier.

As for the relationships in my life, I know I should break out of my shell even more than I have. I’m beyond thankful for the new friends I made in such a short amount of time and have taken me in like family nonetheless. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve strengthened. I’m thankful for having a few people out there that I can always fall back on no matter what, even if distance separates us and we don’t get to talk that often. You know who you are. 🙂 I’m also thankful for realizing that there were some people in my life that are really not even relevant and that I shouldn’t give two shits about. You’ve given me some valuable lessons and it’s nice to take a break from worrying so much. There are still kinks: people I hope to reconnect with, people I hope to get to know more, just some things that are up in the air, but I hope the upcoming months will help lay that down for me.

As I’m writing this, it’s just about to hit 5:30am and I’m going to get up in a few hours because I’m supposed to be productive and grind down on these last few weeks of school. This is what I get for napping at 7:30pm and drinking caffeinated tea at 11pm… Shout out to all the insomniacs!

So I’m a bit all over the place.

My life is a state of chaos. I don’t quite know where I’m going anymore and it’s scary, but I’m also okay with it. I have my share of bad days like today, but I have never loved my life more. I’ve discovered just how passionate I can be and reignited my desire to travel, so God willing, when I have some idea of what I want to do, I’ll be able to take my passion and go great places, literally and figuratively.

In a sense, I’ll always be “all over the place.” Whether it be with the internal struggles in my head right now, or traveling around the country and eventually the world with friends and family, there’s just something fantastic about this whimsy. I once wanted to be an ornithologist. For those who don’t know what an ornithologist is, it is someone who studies birds. And here is yet another atypical thing about me because, let’s be real, how many people have said, “I want to study birds for a living!!”? I say this because admire the freedom of birds. There is good deal of sadness in a caged bird that is never let out, but a bird in the open air, able to express its full potential in flight, is a sight that enraptures me, reason being I can relate to this perfectly. I’d consider myself a baby bird, given that I’m still trying to get used to this and I’m not as independent as I wish.

But I’m still a free bird.

So I will sing. At 6:15am.

And probably make a mess.

But you’ll have to excuse me.