New Post, New Year

Hello again.

It has been a very long while since I posted anything on this blog and I’m sorry for that. If anyone is still out there, let me begin by saying, thanks for sticking around so damn long! I’m assuming you are looking for an explanation, and oh boy do I have one for you.

Today is January 4th,  2015. A new year, another lousy resolution. But lets back-track to October really quick…

I started attending university as a junior on October 2nd of 2014, which for a kid still in school marks the real new year. I began my academic new year with a list of expectations. Earning good grades, making friendly relationships with my new house mates and finding friends was on the top of this list. But as always, my expectations were not quite met. My grades have been good but not great. My house mates and I get along well but admittedly have had a few hiccups along the way. Thankfully, I have formed a tight group of friends, my only fear is that next quarter when we no longer share a class, we might go our separate ways. Despite all of this, I have totally relished living in my very own apartment, cooking my own meals and being independent! However, I didn’t quite prepare for the avalanche of depression that hit me over winter break when I had to spend almost three weeks back home with my family.

I met the same girls from high school I would typically see on holidays. As always, I found topics of discussion to be boring and uninteresting. New relationships, boys, loss of virginity and college parties were where the conversations usually swarmed around. It was difficult to share my thoughts on an upcoming internship, unlikely friends I recently made or the fact that I literally lived in the library during finals week when the only thing that made anyone’s ears perk up was a boys name.

Being home also meant that I was on my parents clock. My whereabouts had to be constantly reported and all activities had to be placed on hold immediately because I had to do the dishes “right now”! Whenever I would complain about my parents persistent nature, accusations on my filthy apartment living habits would be fired. The constant need to defend my actions, annoyance and crabby attitude were driving both myself and my parents up a wall. My blissful, independent moment of peace in college was interrupted by the oh-so joyous holiday season, leading to my sudden plunge into depression. In addition, the lack of connection I felt with my old friends made me question why I was putting so much effort in seeing them every other night. Suddenly, home didn’t feel like home. I wanted to go back to college. I was, unbelievably, college-sick!

For the past couple of weeks, I have been miserable. My entire demeanor has changed after coming home for the holidays. My friends and my family have asked me several times whats wrong and honestly, the only explanation I can fester is that I miss school. Watching my mom when I told her how badly I wanted to go back to school made me sad. I knew deep down my mom loved when ever I would come home, but even she could see that I really really didn’t want to be here anymore. Maybe one day, I will crawl all the way up to my parents doorstep, begging them to let me in, allowing them to shield be from the horrors of taxes, rent and unemployment. But until then, let me be my productive little self and for the love of god, allow this winter break to end once and for all!

Beyond my desire to run back to college, I have also dealt with the many unexpected tragedies of life that I constantly never see coming. My house mate whom I just met in October, lost a close friend recently. His unfortunate death has hit not only her, but our entire group of friends in college. I never went to a funeral but his was the first one I attended. I was definitely not prepared for the experience of seeing someone who was literally in my apartment two days ago to seeing them in a casket. In addition, during this break, I found out that another peer whom I graduated high school with also suddenly died. The shock was overwhelming and I didn’t know I was so impacted by it all until New Years Eve when I cried over their deaths in a drunkin, hazy state of mind. Although I am extremely embarrassed about my actions, It has also made my think twice about how much I bottle up my feelings and its scary to think that I keep so much away from other and most importantly, my self. This final emotional blow had further buried by depression.

As new years is a time of reflection, I dedicate this post to keeping you and me both updated on the many curve balls that life has hit me these last few months. Unlike my typical list of resolutions I would normally be hashing, this year is going to be a little bit different…

1. Death, when observed up close, teaches you many things. For me, death has reminded me to be more compassionate towards others and mirror the actions of those that constantly show their love and support for me.

2. Trying to be the mysterious girl who doesn’t say much is really hurting me. I’m going to try to talk about how I feel more often in hopes of gaining trust in others and myself so that I am emotionally and mentally prepared for all the crazy stuff that gets flung my direction.

3.  Expectations give me anxiety. They make me want to strive for perfection even with the knowledge of knowing perfection does not exist. Less expectations equals a more care-free and stress-free me. It won’t be easy to think without a plan but I’ll give it my best shot.

– J

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Bicycles and Butt Cheeks

My old bike from middle school has been sitting on my parents front porch for the past 4 years gathering dust. The tires are droopy and lifeless, the handle bars and framework freckled with rust staines. I take a good look at my old bike and heave a sigh. This is it. This is my main source of transportation for the next two years.

My dad and I go to the local bike repair shop to get a thorough cleaning and upgrade for my clump of metal and rubber. We lube it up, install some lights, a sturdy basket to the front and a ten pound U-Lock on the side. Finally, it’s ready.

When I get home, the first thing I do is go on a heart pounding ride up and down the street of my neighborhood. My legs, lazy from being bent 90 degrees all day sitting at my computer are finally getting stretched and pulled. My thighs explode as I climb up the hill the tension releasing as I let my legs straighten out allowing my feet to skid the pavement. My hair is pulled back in a messy pony tail but the wind still manages to slap it across my face every time I make a sharp turn while looking for on coming traffic. No helmet. No seatbelt. No rules. I feel like a kid again. It’s only until I get off my bike and and feel that sharp pain in my bum that I’m reminded of the harsh cruelty a hard bike seat will do to a lazy ass like mine.

In a few short days, I will have all my belongs (including my bike) packed away in the back of our car. Boxes of photographs, clothes, bedding and decorative “must haves” all piled up and ready for a 1.5 hour ride to my new apartment. Once their, I will collect my keys, meet my roommates and finally make a home away from home for myself. I think I’m ready… I think.

Allow me to explain. For the past two years I’ve been attending junior college while all my fellow high school graduates have been gaining a typical college experience. I’ll admit, mine is unique because for what seems like the longest time ever, I’ve been watching everyone else live a life I so desperately wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my experience at a CC one bit. If anything, its given me the opportunity to grow more than I could have imagined! But now that I’m finally moving out of the house; the moment that I have dreamt about for two years, things are feeling a bit shaky. No, its not homesickness but rather “Am I really ready for this”!?

For most of this summer, I have spent a great amount of time in solitude with my thoughts. At first, they drove me crazy! I thirsted for change for adventure. In the meantime, I prepared myself. Apartment hunting, packing, the occasional day trip into the city. I even got a mani-pedi (this was a big thing for me)!  I kept making excuses to do stuff with others. Stuff that at times I couldn’t rely on others to do with me which simply made the loneliness feel worse. And now, here is the biggest excuse to do something and what do I feel but scared. When I got off my bike that day and felt the aches and pains after years of neglecting a proper ride, I got worried. It made me feel unprepared which is a feeling far too similar to feeling out of control (another one of my fears). A new home a new school a new me. Was I ready for this? Well, I sure as hell wasn’t gonna live with my parents for another year!

You see my bike and I are really not all that different. Just like me, its been sitting and waiting for something to happen. Surely now that the tires are all pumped with air and its fitted with a shiny new basket it feels confident and ready to take the world, right? Nope. Thats because my bike has just been sitting on my parents front porch watching the world pass by. All it knows is patience. I imagine lots of things will be changing soon. Changes for me and changes for my bike. Like the fact that its actually gonna be ridden or that I’m actually moving out. All I have to do is hold on to the handle bars to gain some self control on what I imagine will be a very windy road. Yeah, the seat might be a bit stiff and the peddling needs some work but at least we are riding towards our future together. One sore butt cheek at a time. Wish us luck!

– J

UK Road Trip: Introduction

I went on a massive road trip across the UK from late May to mid June this year with one of my closest friends. Here is the first installment from our trip: a brief introduction to my partner in crime, Grace.

Grace and I have known each other since freshman year of high school and although she has moved several times in and out of the US, we remained in touch with one another. After two more turbulent years back in California, Grace and her family were permanently settling back down in the UK (where they are originally from). We started discussing our summer plans, mine working part time as a cashier while juggling college, hers adjusting to her new home up in Scotland. Our road trip idea first began over a tiny dream we both shared of traveling and adventure. “How amazing would it be if I actually came to England to visit you?!”, a constant fantasy I always poked at that slowly churned into reality over the course of our idle Facebook conversations. I promised her I would save up all my money from work to see her and after several long and tedious months of scanning peoples groceries, I finally booked a one-way ticket to London!

Little did Grace and I know the enormity of our nearly month long planned travels. After booking my flight, Grace quickly scrambled to pass her driving exams followed by rapid communication on which hotels to book and where to go. It was a frantic race to beat the clock before my arrival on May 27th! Most of the hotel bookings were done by Grace not to mention all the driving across England’s small, crooked streets. Grace was a nervous wreck and she had every right to be. Two twenty year old girls jumping from one city to the next in a soccer mom van was a frightening reality check. I was mostly in charge of getting my ass to Heathrow Airport on time and being the official navigator when our savvy, Aussie accented GPS screwed us over. Between all the anxiety attacks, junk food binges and wrong turns, we survived!

Although I have known Grace for nearly six years, being in a car with her for 3.5 weeks introduced me to a whole new person. We talked a lot about our future goals and aspirations, politics and family life. We mostly disagreed about everything and bickered constantly. We fought and drove ourselves crazy and annoyed the shit out of each other. While I was always looking for some mischief, Grace was thinking more logically. Safety came first to her while getting lost was always the first thing on my mind. Grace was comfortable on the ground, she kept our road trip steady and had her head screwed on straight. I was always up on some monstrous rock, feet dangling looking for adventure in dangerous places. Organized and clear headed, Grace was always one step ahead of me throughout the planning of our road trip. I simply sang along to the Spice Girls CD I brought, stubborn for some fun that would usually leave Grace worried. But through thick and thin, we always looked out for each other.  – J

Me on that monstrous rock I mentioned, Grace looking out for me from down below.

PS: Check out Grace’s side of the story! Click here to visit her new website.  

 

A Day Out in Santa Cruz

Quick update!
I had spent the last 3.5 weeks road tripping across the UK and Paris. It was a fantastic trip filled with lots of captured moments that I have the rest of summer to organize, edit and upload. However, I can’t seem to ignore the sunny summer weather here in Northern California. That being said, I’ll leave you with some camera phone pictures of a beach trip my friends and I took today in Santa Cruz! Now, back to scouring through the road trip photos and getting all that sand out of my clothes…