Proof, Lists, and Gratitude!

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Dining in at Proof at Gallery Place with Tirone!

January 18th, 2017

Take 6. I’ve begun to write this entry several times in multiple directions, however I can’t really pin down what I really want to talk about. Of course, a lot has happened over these past few months – but mostly personal things.

So I’ll make a list of some of the things I love in the world.

  1. Photographing people in their truly candid and quirky moments. I get this inspiration from that scene in Lilo & Stitch when she goes to the beach and we see all of her polaroid pictures of the messy, unposed everyday, normal people.
  2. Pay-it-forward. I love people who do nice deeds like pay for the person behind them or go out of their way to do something nice for no absolute reason. The other day, this guy parked his car in the middle of ongoing traffic in order to pick something up on the street for a homeless guy in a wheelchair. I’m sure he knew cars behind him were probably confused and annoyed, but it was very heartwarming to see.
  3. Pizza Stop. It’s this pizza parlor near my house on Bel Pre Road. It’s a family-owned parlor, and has bomb ass pizzas, subs, sandwiches, and a lot more items. I want to say it’s kind of a hole in the wall type of restaurant, but I feel like that’s just a personal opinion since my brother still goes out of his way to by Papa John’s. Either way, it’s a blessing in disguise hidden in the corner of a small shopping center!
  4. Ted Talks. Any time I feel down, depressed, or unmotivated, I find myself watching plenty of Ted Talks about self-confidence and vulnerability, just inspirational and motivational speeches that help me remember how nobody’s perfect and there’s always a way to become better… or at least think better about the world around you.
  5. Reading. As much as I hate having reading assignments for school and having to read studies and articles, I actually find myself somewhat intrigued in everything that I read and I definitely learn something new everyday. I’ve learned to think more critically and become more aware about the world around me. Although it is a dread to be somewhat “forced” to read some of these things, it’s more of a blessing in disguise in the case that I am ultimately gaining knowledge. Don’t get me wrong though, I do read a lot on my own time as well and I love it. And for those who don’t read, knowledge truly is power. It also improves my writing by a whole lot!
  6. Having a home with a functional shower and toilet. Okay, I know this one sounds weird, but I take multiple showers and baths daily, especially after I do my number 2. That’s a lot of water. I have an OCD of being clean! I know that I am abusive of having a functional bath or shower, but I am very aware that it is a privilege. It’s a simple thing to be thankful for, but throughout my travels to Cambodia, and other third world countries in Southeast Asia a few years ago, my eyes were open to the types of bathrooms they had… Public restrooms on the side of the country road were ill-maintained and had dirt and mud everywhere. There were no toilet paper in any “stalls”, but they provided buckets in tubs of water next to the toilet with which you were supposed to rinse your genitals with. I had no idea where they filled the water from and it did not look remotely sanitary, so we brought our own toilet paper to the restrooms. The actual toilets were holes in the ground that you would have had to squat over and do your business in… I know there are people there who use these types of restrooms everyday, so having a nice bathroom here in Maryland is definitely something I truly find gratitude in.
  7. Friends. Good friends. Friends who understand that you have a busy schedule and sometimes text back hours later. Friends who make an effort to make plans and see you during holidays and weekends. Friends who always take you back after you get lost in another crowd. Friends whom you can tell anything, and you never smell a hint of judgment coming off of them. Those are the friends I will keep close in my heart forever.

I’m sure I have a lot more but I’m also pretty sure I’ve spent a good 2 hours on this post, so I think I’ll end it here. I create a lot of these lists about things that I am grateful for, and it has honestly helped me see the brighter side of everything and helped me note a lot of silver linings. So for anyone reading this, if you’re ever having a bad day, just take some time to sit down for a good 10 minutes and write down at least 5 things you are grateful for… and really internalize that gratitude. I know it may sound stupid at first, but the more consistent you are with it, the more it’ll positively affect your psychology… And I can vouch for that.

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A Brain Dump: Just A Few Things

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An entry in my journal just about a year ago

Chapter 1. Madness

There’s nothing like a break up. Fortunately, that’s one of the biggest pains I have felt my entire life. (Because they’re not the worst things in the world that could ever happen to me). But goddamn, it hurts like a bitch. I won’t sugarcoat this post. I was angry. I have been angry since day one of the break up, but slowly that anger began to fade into sadness – the realization that I will never (or at least not any time soon) be able to talk to the person that I once loved (and still love so dearly) anymore. The realization that the person you knew every single aspect of, the person whose only schedule you cared about keeping up with, the only person you’d ever get excited about seeing, your partner in crime, your partner in errands, your partner in everything – they’re gone… and you just kind of have to bite your tongue and suck it up… Because what else could you have done? The relationship had come to a dead end. I could not change him, nor did I even want to. I could not change the way he acted, the words that he spoke, the way he handled fights and arguments… I knew that if the way we conducted our relationship did not make me happy (and if we had exhausted all other methods, in which we did), the best option was to end things. So I did.

Chapter 2. Invite the Sadness in, and Learn to Let It Go

I don’t know what’s worse. Being sad on a beautiful, sunny day or being sad on a cloudy, gloomy day. I feel like I’m wasting away in bed right now when I could be going outside to enjoy the weather. However, if it were cloudy… yes, I would have had a better excuse to stay in, but what’s there to look forward to when even the weather doesn’t seem to be feeling right.

I mean, I know for a fact that I will get better. I know that one day, I will wake up and fewer things I see everyday will remind me of him. I know for a fact that this will be easier over time. It hurts a lot right now, but I am letting the sadness encapsulate me in its nature and when the time comes, I will let it go and move on. I just wish I knew how long that would take or when that day will finally come…

I still have all of my photos of you and photos of us on my phone and all over my room and the photo frame that you made me, yet I can’t bring myself to get rid of them just yet. Because as much as I know it’s over, a part of me knows that if remove those things, it’ll be like you were never there… And how can I just delete a part of my life that I loved and cherish? The chapter may be closed, but the memories don’t have to be forgotten. The “ex-box” will be made when later throughout the healing process.

Chapter 3. “Keep On Keeping On” – A shirt that Childish Gambino wore in a 4 second commercial that stuck with me for weeks

I was a sad mess right before I pulled my laptop and started on this blog post. For a while now, I refused to write when I was sad or upset. It made me even more depressed to read it back. However, writing is an outlet for me and it is the friend that will never refuse to listen to me the days when I want to talk about myself and my dreams and my sadness and my heartbreaks, loves, hates, insecurities, secrets. It does not get tired of me, because it literally cannot! Writing doesn’t just wipe away my tears, it soothes the sadness inside of me. And with the emotionally draining challenges I am put up against, I will always be able to count on the art of writing in order to keep me sane. And with this blog post, I can announce what I COULD NOT announce about 2 hours ago… it’s that I am alright.

*Thank you to everybody who reads my posts. I am still shy about posting these extemely personal ones, but I told myself I would try harder to not be so afraid of such bad judgments as they should not matter if I am truly comfortable with myself. And thank you to the friend that helped me take this leap at continuing my blogging.

Autumn: The Season of New Beginnings

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“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – The Great Gasby

There are things in this world, that for whatever reason, do not work out. Family issues, anticipated exam grades, relationships, friendships, driving incidents… We’ve been through the everlasting fights and the painful heartbreaks, and sometimes we just have to realize that there is nothing that you can do except to accept and let go. I’ve learned a lot about accepting and letting go this past year. Whether it be the pain of an ended friendship with a person whom you once called your “best friend,” or the pain of loving a person who did not have the capacity to love you the same way. You can’t change people and you can’t change their opinions or their actions. You can only change how you react to the circumstances you are put in. I think that is one of the most important things I have learned in my life to this day.

This fall, I am actively utilizing this time to work on what I haven’t been this whole time: Myself. For the past 20 years of my life, Summer had always been my favorite season of all time and I never really liked autumn… but these past few autumns have been some of the most significant autumns in my life. Last autumn was the beginning of a new relationship, a new school, a new environment – this autumn is not the ending, this autumn is the beginning of a new era in my life in which I will stand up for myself more often, go out and do things that make me happy, and really indulge in every single moment that I am living in. I will surround myself with people who build me up, love me for my quirks, and accept me for the complicated ever-changing, spontaneous person that I am. It’s been difficult lately, but I know that life gets better and I have love all around me. I am so hopeful of that. I declare this to be another life-changing season, and I cannot wait to take on the challenges that are to come ahead of me.

The Story of an Extroverted Introvert

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Growing up, I was always a shy kid – didn’t talk much, was too scared to approach people. I always felt like that person that everyone knew of, but never really knew… At least that’s the way I saw it. Because I always saw other people with their best friends and their really big friend groups, I wondered why I couldn’t have that? Why couldn’t I click with that many people? I struggled with being shy and being an introvert for all of my life up until my freshman year of college at UMBC. There, I felt like I could start fresh. I could make a new reputation. I could make a new face for myself. And that’s exactly what I did. I put myself out there and attended different club organizations, took the initiative in group projects, presented in front of people without shaking or feeling anxious. I met new people, and learned how to break out of my shell. I felt like I could rule the world. Then I made the decision of transferring to a new school – University of Maryland, College Park. Over time living at College Park, I drew back into myself. I became shy again. The thought of presenting a speech in front of fifteen people put me in a place of distress. I felt so out of place and I didn’t know why. I was extremely confused as to why I was like this. Just a few months before that, I was thriving, I was excited for life, unafraid of being ignored because I knew it wouldn’t faze me. But it changed just like that, and I felt vulnerable again – I became that person I thought I’d escaped for good and put in the past. I knew I liked social interaction, but too much of it exhausted me. I could talk for hours on end, I thought… but only with the right people. I refused to call myself shy, awkward, or an introvert. The thought of not being a people person was repulsing to me. I HAD to be a people person, just because I knew that a “people person” or an “extrovert” was just the kind of person that most people liked. And I wanted to be that (as terrible as it sounds). So for the longest time, I categorized myself as an extrovert. I would force myself to make conversation with people just because I wanted to prove to myself I was truly a “people person”. But as nature took its course, I became exhausted all too easily while trying to keep up with small talk. My cheeks would start to become unnaturally numb from smiling for too long. I would hate myself for not being able to go at it longer, for not being able to keep up with the masses. I knew I overcame my shyness and awkwardness, but why wasn’t I good at all this talking?

After constant, confusing analysis, only just recently however, did I finally give into accepting myself as the introvert I am. Just because I like communication, doesn’t make me an extrovert and I had to accept it. I find that after hanging out with my friends for a long time, I find myself to get way too tired. My body physically gives up on me as the hours pass and I am still talking. But I know there is no better type of person whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. And even though I need a lot of personal time to recharge, I can still have amazing conversations with people I can click with anyway. That’s the thing with being an introvert.. I don’t click with everybody so when I find people I actually have a natural bond with, that I can converse with for hours (and not become tired), I know it’s special. I think that’s the best thing that has come with accepting that I am an introvert. And I’m not ashamed of being one anymore.