Vulnerability is Strength
On New Years Eve, I went with six friends to the park where we would be watching fireworks above downtown right across the bay. That park is beautiful in the summer but I had never gone at night or in the winter. At midnight, the fireworks went up. I watched as firework after firework bloomed in the sky, right above the bay reflecting the starry night and the city lights. The fireworks sparkled ephemerally and then turned into wisps of smoke, which seemed to linger just long enough to wink at us as if to say that what just happened was something between just us, our little secret.
The fireworks were so beautiful. It was short, but so nice.
Motivation and inspiration surging through my veins, I turned to my friends, and the seven of us made our way back home, talking excitedly about our plans and resolutions for the new year.
I looked at the grinning, laughing faces of my lovely friends. I thought about my own face which was presumably grinning and laughing also. How genuine was this smile? It faltered for a split second, but the corners of my mouth curved again at the realization that my smile was genuine. I thought about how precious smiling at each other is. Not only is it a simple gesture of “being with you makes me happy,” it is a gesture that is mutual in its meaning. A group of people here, now, are sharing a moment of happiness, motivation, excitement. This simple act of sharing our bliss seems to strengthen our relationships. But what about other times? How often do I grin not genuinely? How often do I turn off my emotions? How often do I suppress my feelings and simply put on a logical smile? How honest am I with my friends? My family?
I already knew this about myself though, especially previously. None of this was anything new. It pains me to burden others with my petty worries, especially the people I have come to love: my family, my friends. But moreover, it is difficult to tell people I care about if I am sad, angry, frustrated, worried, or secretly happy about something. What if they laugh at me? What if they use this information against me later? What if it makes them not like me anymore?
But one of my greatest memories with my friends includes when she shared with me something that was truly worrying her. I didn’t know what to say, and I tried to logically solve the situation with her. I tried my best to console her. To this day I’m not sure if it made her feel any better. But I think it did. She was able to let something go that had been bottled up in her, spreading like a virus. More than anything, it made us closer.
Sharing our worries, our frustrations, our anger, our sorrow, and our happiness with people we love not only helps us in our emotional health, but it also lets these people know that we trust them. We trust you as friends, as family, as fellow human beings with emotions and feelings with one of the most important aspects of our daily lives.
Here I am. This is me. The real me. Take me for what I am. I trust you. I rip out my heart and brain; these are my thoughts and feelings. Do what you like with them. I trust you.
You cannot hold anyone in your arms if you are using your arms to shield your heart and mind.
I used to think that swallowing my sorrow, worries, ecstasy—no matter how bitter or painstakingly sweet—was a sign of strength. I thought that suppressing the urge to purge these terrible tasting thoughts or emotions somehow made me internally more stable. On the contrary, I have been thinking that true bravery, true strength, true internal stability is rooted in our ability to take the risk, to expose ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable.
I want to be able to trust people with my emotions and share what I think or feel with them.
I want to be able to stand up with my arms outstretched, vulnerable, facing the people I care about.
I want to be able to do this and trust that they will understand, that they will still like me too.
I want to be able to do this and create even stronger relationships with them.
That’s one of the things I’m going to try for this lovely year of 2012.
Thank you fireworks. Thank you friends.
(More posts on New Years resolutions to come. :9 )
Why, hello there.
Good god. It’s been decades since I last posted. Literally. (Not literally. This is just a joke in poor taste. -teehee-)
How have you been? I’ve been quite well—thank you for asking—aside from the fact that I might have forgotten how to blog. However, I’m going to try anyway.
I have a lot of things I want to think through.
Get ready, all of you (all two of you who actually follow my tumblr). The posts are coming.
好きなものバトン：Stuff I like
『ワンダフル ライフ（Ｗｏｎｄｅｒｆｕｌ Ｌｉｆｅ）』、『Ａｍｅｌｉｅ』、『Ｏｎｅ Ｆｌｅｗ Ｏｖｅｒ Ｔｈｅ Ｃｕｃｋｏｏ’ｓ Ｎｅｓｔ』、『もののけ姫（Ｐｒｉｎｃｅｓｓ Ｍｏｎｏｎｏｋｅ）』、『Ｐｓｙｃｈｏ』
（（Ｗｈｅｎ Ｉ ｗａｓ ｉｎ ｈｉｇｈｓｃｈｏｏｌ）Ｂｙ ｍｙ ｆａｖｏｒｉｔｅ ｍａｎｇａ ａｒｔｉｓｔ：Ｙａｚａｗａ Ａｉ）高校の間大好きだった漫画家：矢沢あい の『Ｐａｒａｄｉｓｅ Ｋｉｓｓ』、『ＮＡＮＡ』
（Ｉ ｒｅａｄ ｔｈｅｓｅ ｓｏ ｍｕｃｈ ｉｎ ｅｌｅｍｅｎｔａｒｙ/ｍｉｄｄｌｅ ｓｃｈｏｏｌ）小学校、中学校の間夢中になっていた：『フルーツ・バスケット（Ｆｒｕｉｔｓ Ｂａｓｋｅｔ）』、『ＬＩＡＲ ＧＡＭＥ』、『らんま１/２』
■好きなドラマ５ ＴＶ Dｒａｍａｓ
ドラマ見たいなー 『流星の絆（Ｒｙｕｓｅｉ ｎｏ Ｋｉｚｕｎａ）』、『Ｓｃｒｕｂｓ』、『Ｔｈｅ Ｏｆｆｉｃｅ』、『ＬＩＡＲ ＧＡＭＥ』、『Ｔｈａｎｋ Ｙｏｕ｛韓国ドラマ｝（Ｋｏｒｅａｎ Ｄｒａｍａ）』
Ｂｅａｔｌｅｓ『Ｇｉｖｅ Ｐｅａｃｅ Ａ Ｃｈａｎｃｅ』、コブクロ『莟（Ｋｏｂｕｋｕｒｏ’ｓ”Ｔｓｕｂｏｍｉ”）』、Ｄｅｂｕｓｓｙ『Ｄｅｕｘ Ａｒａｂｅｓｑｕｅｓ』、Ｒｅｇｉｎａ Ｓｐｅｋｔｏｒ『Ｔｈｅ Ｃａｌｌ』、Ｂｉｌｌｉｅ Ｈｏｌｉｄａｙ『Ｓｔｒａｎｇｅ Ｆｒｕｉｔ』、Ｇｅｏｒｇｅ Ｇｅｒｓｈｗｉｎ『Ｒｈａｐｓｏｄｙ ｉｎ Ｂｌｕｅ』、Ｔｃｈａｉｋｏｖｓｋｙ『くるみ割り人形（Tｈｅ Ｎｕｔｃｒａｃｋｅｒ）』・・・などなどｅｔｃ
納豆（Ｎａｔｔｏ）、野菜（Vｅｇｅｔａｂｌｅｓ）、フルーツ（Ｆｒｕｉｔｓ）、カレー（Ｃｕｒｒｙ）、母の料理 ［ああぁ・・・母の料理が恋しい・・；；］（My ｍｏｔｈｅｒ’ｓ ｃｏｏｋｉｎｇ）>
Catcher in the Rye
It’s been very busy recently, what with final papers and tests and finals week coming up. To give myself a break, I’ve been doing things like reading and chatting with friends. I finally finished The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. It was a really great classic, and though I read it once a long time ago—I think it was elementary school when I read it last—this second read resonated a lot more with me. I think I understood it more.
In the story, the main character Holden Caulfield is a young man who was kicked out of his high school. He, like many teenagers his age, feels very misunderstood and disenchanted with his life and the world. He runs away from school and subsequently meets and talks to many people. He takes a cab through New York and attempts to have a conversation with the driver, but he is dismissed as a child with nothing but childish things to say. He flirts with some women at a bar, but when he tries to have a conversation with him, none are interested in listening to his story, or about his feelings or thoughts. He goes so far as to hire a prostitute and tries to talk to her, but she, along with seemingly everyone else simply becomes frustrated with him.
I found that one of the most importance themes for me in this book was that it is important to listen to people. Everyone always has so much to say. People are filled with opinion. Talking heads on the news are constantly fighting each other for more face-time and talking over each other. We are all so engrossed by our own thoughts and I feel as if, in some ways, this isolates us as people from each other. Sometimes, I feel that people, like Holden, are so overwhelmed by their thoughts and stressed by the chaos in their heads that they need someone to simply listen to what they want to say. Listening means so many things: acceptance without judgement, understanding, an open mind, caring, and more. We need to realize that everyone has problems, and everyone wants to talk about them. We can make our relationships stronger by putting our own needs aside and taking the time to simply sit and listen to what others have to say.
And that’s what I’ve been thinking about since I finished the book.
I’m going to try my best (both to listen to people and also with my end-of-academic-quarter-busyness) -hehe-
Long time no see, guys. It has been such a long time since my last post. Mostly it has to do with the fact that school started and OH MY GOD IT HAS BEEN SO BUSY. It’s been really hard just to get everything done on time.
Since we last spoke, I had my birthday. It really was a lot of fun. It reminded me that I am so lucky to have my family and friends, to know such kind, fun, interesting people.
I’ll write again soon. I thought I’d give a shout-out to the awesome family and friends. You guys are awesome. : )
Perhaps some day I want to live in a house - or apartment, whatever - with a beautiful personal library.
…Preferably one that is well organized (and stays that way).
Deep Thoughts 30 Day Challenge: 30
So, as I expected, I didn’t end up finishing the 30 Day Challenge in thirty days. It’s a little bit disappointing, but I can’t honestly say that I didn’t see that coming. Summer was busy and I just wasn’t always in the mood to think deeply enough to do one prompt a day, every day. It turned more into a summer project than a one-month challenge. It was fun to indulge in my guilty pleasure of daydreaming, though it was sometimes a little mentally tiring to try to put ideas into words in a concise manner. A lot happened over the course of this summer. I made friends with my parent’s new pet, Mocha, I did a lot of leisure reading, I started an internship, and I got a part-time job, just to name a few things. I had incredible opportunities and learned so much that I can barely believe how much I was able to absorb. I met so many kind, successful, interesting people and was also able to reconnect with people I cared about back home. It was a summer full of amazing opportunities to learn more about different cultures and perspectives, and absorb and adapt those new ideas into my continuously morphing and evolving system of beliefs.
I did an internship at a major hotel chain’s timeshare branch to study about the hospitality industry and marketing. Before my internship I hardly knew what timeshare (what the industry prefers to call “vacation ownership”) was; I also had no experience with marketing, not having taken any classes relating to it previously. Neither of my parents works in sales or marketing, so I had very little exposure to (or interest in) the business world. It seemed to me that sometimes, business was about deceiving consumers into spending their money on a product that they don’t really need (this is really exaggerated for the purpose of making my point). As my internship continued, however, I realized that this was not was business was about. Where I was, it was about informing customers about a product that the employees genuinely think was a good product. Yes, the employees need to make money, so I’m sure that’s definitely also on their minds, but I began to understand that they truly loved the product that they were selling. That product is vacation ownership. Why did they like that product so much?
I’m going to abruptly change the subject to discuss my other job during the summer: a server on a dinner cruise. The cruise included a five-course meal, entertaining musicians, and a lovely view of the shoreline and especially the sunset. The cruise was hugely popular amongst couples on vacation, those celebrating anniversaries, and those visiting for their honeymoons. On this job I learned a lot about exquisite customer service, and about the little things that I could do as a server to accommodate customers and ensure that they had a good time. At the same time, I had to balance this with the fact that servers were on a strict serving schedule. Each course had to be served by approximately a certain time. Having this kind of schedule definitely made it easier to pace myself. It also made my serving job incredibly routine. I needed to serve lobster and assist any customers who had any problems cracking it open with a fixed amount of time. I needed to then bring out the steak, the next course. Though my experience on the cruise ship was based on routine, that of the customer was completely different. In many cases, the couples had saved up for years to be able to afford going on a trip, and this dinner cruise and the romantic sunset in the evening was the climax of that much-anticipated dream-like vacation. Their experience on the cruise was completely un-routine.
This brings me to my point. Why do people spend so much money buying timeshares at luxury hotels? Was it because of the lovely weather in that area and the fact that the hotels were located so conveniently near tourist attractions and shopping malls? Why do people save for years to go on expensive dinner cruises such as the one I worked at? Was it because of the delicious-looking lobster and steak dishes or the romantic sunset? No, it was so that they could experience a completely foreign culture. It was so that they could travel comfortably to new places and have a break from the stress and routine of work and daily life. It was so that they could spend quality time with family and friends. It was to create happy memories with the people that they love. People don’t value lobster and steak dinners, we don’t value expensive hotels, and we don’t value money itself; we value the infinitely happy memories that these create.
Internet sensation and award-winning novelist John Green once said something in a YouTube video that really stuck with me. He was asked, “Will you continue to make YouTube videos forever?” He answered, “I’m going to spend the majority of “forever” being dead.” This made me think a lot about something I think people - especially college students with a lot of time - think about: why am I studying? Why do we get jobs? Why do we have hobbies? Why do we bother trying to stay healthy? What’s the point if we are all just going to die one day? We are going to learn so much, have incredible experiences, and meet so many people. We will learn more about different cultures and people, and develop insights into ourselves. We will have fun, and we will become hurt, and we will feel apathy. We will love. And then, after a while, we will die. The evidence of all of our lives will fade though we might leave traces of ourselves behind. (it’s a really negative thing to say, but I’m exaggerating again to make my point… I’m really not this much of a pessimist.)
But that is exactly the point. When we die, we will no longer be able to enjoy our hobbies, eat delicious foods, and experience different countries and cultures. We will no longer be able to create memories with the people we care about, and we will no longer love. That’s precisely why we value our family and friends, traveling and culture, delicious food, dinner cruise tours, expensive hotels, and comfort. We value them because these things make us happy, and our time to experience them and be happy is limited. And so while death is a sorrowful concept, it is the reason that we enjoy life, establish relationships with others, and love. In this sense, death is beautiful. A fully blooming flower is beautiful because it wilts after time. Similarly, human life, the things we can achieve, and our love for our family and friends are beautiful because our lives have ends. We love life only because we realize that it is limited.
That’s something that I thought about over the summer. I exaggerated a lot to make my point, and I feel like when I wrote it all out this post turned out a lot more cliché than I intended…but this will have to do. It took me forever to write this, and if I try to make it perfect it’s never going to get done. (Writing is never finished, only abandoned. –haha-) In any case, I’m happy I was able to finish this 30 prompt challenge. I thought a lot and it was a lot of fun!
I look forward to posting some time again soon.
Thank you as always for listening to my thoughts.
Deep Thoughts 30 Day Challenge: 29
29. If you could be doing the same things you do now, only in your own way, how would a normal day in your life go?
I’m not really sure what the question is asking. I have to be doing the same thing but I can do the tasks my own way? I guess I would eliminate all time-consuming transportation. All of that would be replaced by teleportation. Also, there will be no uncomfortable weather.