One Day at a Time


dreams in emoticons
Diary of a Woman-in-Training

Here's to finally sticking to something and hopefully figuring out who I am in the process.

Yeah, I know. You've probably said the same words to yourself before. I guess it feels different for each person, in the sense that every goal and struggle feels intensely personal even though you know other people are right beside you trying to do the same thing.

So here's to keeping a journal and writing something worth writing every day. You may find my life to be similar to yours. Most likely you will. I'm not particularly exotic or witty and I don't have a fascinating job or wicked sex life (try none). But hopefully, you'll find something in these posts that resonates with your own life and things won't seem so unsettling and alone. That's what I'm shooting for.

Well, I'm not doing this entirely for you. ;) Each day, I'm going to try to take an active step towards improving myself and eventually maturing into my idea of an ideal woman. My standards are high, as they should be. I can condense them into what I call the 3 C's -- Confident, Capable and Compassionate. Above all, I want to be happy with myself and master the fine art of giving myself to others without being drained. In order to do that, I have to understand and accept myself as a whole person.

I don't need a fancy explanation to tell you why this is my goal, that is to give without being drained. All you need to do is look at someone who is truly happy -- they can readily embrace others' troubles and pains and bring joy and solace to their lives not because they want to compensate for some void in themselves. They have come to terms with their flaws and their lives aren't forever plagued and limited by their insecurities and issues. They can push themselves to do whatever they want because they fully believe they can -- and they have no worry of leaving any parts of themselves behind.

Isn't this the route to true happiness? As for love, I believe this process should be the required prerequisite before getting involved with any of that truck. I suppose with the right person, anything's possible, but it seems to futile to wait around for that to happen.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm trying to fall in love with myself. I'm doing it in my usual methodical and scientific approach to everything, simply because it seems more efficient and effective as opposed to waiting for my aging bones to just automatically impart wisdom into me by osmosis. Wouldn't you agree?

I feel silly. But I'm sure something good should come out of this if I just keep at it long enough. One day at a time.

Goals for tomorrow:
- Speak in a louder voice and don't sound so meek. Do not take coworkers so seriously. Coworkers are people. People have bad days. People tend to take their bad days out on other people.

- Walk slower.

- Stop messing with the computer so much. Read a book, draw, take a walk.

- Listen attentively to people. Stop worrying so damn much about what they think of you.

- Stop worrying so damn much.

See you all tomorrow.
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dreams in emoticons
Argh. Today was just one of those days.

Funny thing about moods. They used to scare the hell out of me. When I was in a bad mood, I would feel utterly crippled by my belief that life was horrible and not worth living. I believed that, if no one else, I could always be sure that I could trust myself. I couldn't see why I would ever betray myself or let myself be in needless pain. So when my feelings told me I was worthless and undeserving of love, I believed them. How could I doubt such a feeling so strong? Why would I feel that way if it weren't true? As for the whole "chemical imbalance" truck, why would my body do this to me? Isn't your body programmed to do whatever it takes to survive? Why would it disable me like this unless it was trying to kill itself off? That subconsciously, it was true; I was better off not living?

So I logically succumbed. It just made sense and who was I to argue with good, logical sense? Maybe in this day in age, where worth is measured more by the quality of mind rather than brawn, natural selection had begun to strike at a deeper level in order to weed off the weaker organisms. Darwin wasn't waiting around for a lion to pick you off anymore; now it's just "You're taking up too much room. Get rid yourself now and don't you DARE reproduce."

Nowadays, the predators are all in your mind. They chase after us, devouring the old, the weak, and the sick: those aged by their conviction that life has nothing left to offer them, those weakened by lack of faith in their capabilities, and those too diseased in the heart to give and receive love.

Where did I fall? I think Group B describes me best during my low times.

I guess depression isn't something you can just conquer. You just find little ways to deal with it and bear it until it passes. Me, I bitch at Darwin. Darwin, fuck off. Who the fuck are you to tell me I'm taking up too much room? I'm going make lots of little babies and then we're going to go dance on your grave. Take that, you party pooper.

I think the key to alot of things is just a change in perspective. Sometimes I can force my mood to change by pretending it's a challenge or a test of some sort, just Darwin checking up on me to see if I'm still kicking. Sometimes I just have to wait it out. And that's okay.

As for my theory that my body was trying to kill me off, I've revised that to simply, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It's just like tearing muscles in order to do splits or shedding a skin to make room for a better one. You need pain in order to grow. You need pain in order to appreciate joy.

A woman would be able to endure all kinds of pain and come out stronger. A woman risks being in pain in order to get to good things. A woman can kick Darwin's ass.

Anyway, not so much preaching next time. I don't want this to turn out to be some Lifetime for Scientists special. Like I said, it was just one of those days.


dreams in emoticons
I'm usually a very, very, very conservative dresser, never straying far from my small assortment of neutral skirts and pants and nondescript tshirts. But today, I pulled out this very pretty, but very low-cut shirt that's been gathering dust on my dresser (aka, top bunk).

I honestly don't know how some women can wear that stuff every day. I didn't feel sexy; I felt like a goddamn moving target. Suddenly, guys found a new place to rest their eyes when I spoke to them and it seemed like I was stuck standing next to some lecherous old fart every time I stepped onto a train. One of my coworkers, a guy old enough to be my father, kept touching me lightly on my shoulders and small of my back. Being unused to that kind of attention, I just thought he was being really friendly until he kept on fucking doing it and my instincts were to freeze up and pretend nothing happened.

It's like every time I try to dress up a bit and feel pretty, I end up feeling like crap. On the last of school last year, I wore a skirt for the first time in months and got groped for the first time on the train. I dressed up a bit when I tried to confess to a crush and became some simpering little schoolgirl that even I couldn't take seriously. It doesn't work. And yet, I'm tired of looking like I'm twelve. I guess I still need to find a formula that works.

There was a good side effect from my attempt to doll up though. My female coworkers were being alot more nice to me, especially one whom I'll call "20something." 20something isn't someone I would confide in or anything, but she definitely has alot of qualities I admire and respect. She's confident, intelligent, capable, and very comfortable with herself. I think I confused her because she wasn't quite sure what to make of me. She has very finely honed social skills so when I didn't respond properly to certain cues, she wasn't sure if I was just ignorant or being a bitch. Anyway, my outfit today put her more on familiar ground (she usually dresses like that), so we actually made some substantial conversation and we're both relieved that the weird mixed message game is over for now.

Come to think of it, my office is riddled with these incredible independent women. The men work on the other side, so I don't have to deal with them as much. There's this pressure to feel equal to them, although it's hampered by the fact that my job is to do all their tedious and menial tasks for them. That's me, intern extraordinaire. Aside from that, I can't pinpoint exactly what makes them so different from me. I don't know what I need to work on. They just seem so far beyond me.


dreams in emoticons
My mother and I had an interesting conversation over dinner. I don't think she takes me very seriously since I act like an insane 5 year old around her (gotta let loose somewhere), but we were talking about my best guy friend, Tom, and the topic eventually veered to guys in general.

Me: You know, I definitely liked Tom alot more in ninth grade. I don't like him at all now.
Mom: You liked him? I didn't know you liked him. You should like him; he's very smart and motivated.
Me: I meant as a person, Mom. He turned into such an arrogant ass. I liked him when he was all bumbling and cute; he was so shy back then.
Mom: Oh give me a break. Guys don't act like that forever. Remember your brother? He was so adorable back then too, lugging his huge bookbag early to school every morning. Now look at him! *snort*
Me: No, I don't mean he grew up or whatever, he just fucking changed--
Mom: Well, I don't like little snivelling guys like that. Can't stand them.
Me: It's better than a guy who's oozing with ego. Ooh lookit me, I'm Tom, I'm so full of myself, I know everything, I talk in a big loud voice and I'm full of shit!
Mom: Oh you don't know guys yet. That's what they do when they're older. Anyway, I think Tom's good for you, he's so smart.
Me: *groans* You know, I'd like it if he smiled once in awhile and not that little "oh, I just said something incredibly witty" smirk.
Mom: As far as I'm concerned, there's something wrong with a guy who smiles too much.

This worries me. What exactly happened to Tom? I don't see why he had to change; I thought he was just perfect the way he was in ninth grade. All the others guys were all girls, girls, sex, sports, guffaw, scratch crotch, sex, but not Tom. Tom smiled and stuttered sometimes and even sung along to fruity anime songs with me. And then Tom went over to the dark side. I wish I had more guy friends to ask. He's the closest guy friend I've ever had and I seriously have no idea what goes on in his head. He turned into such a fucking jerk. I don't even really consider him a friend anymore, but I doubt he cares.

I have this little daydream sometimes where I turn into a beautiful boy and enter an alternate universe and seduce my female self. And then when I creeped myself out too much (that sort of daydream could only go so far), I would imagine myself wooing other girls and because I was once a girl, I would know exactly what they want and pamper them they way they deserved to be pampered. The sad thing is, it's not so hard. There would just be a few simple things I'd need to keep in mind and my female self would fall head over heels for me. I wish I could be a boy for a day, find some sweet, lonely girl and treat her like a princess for a day. Although that would probably end up hurting her in the long run.

I'm still waiting for my feng shui book to come in (the one Gypsy uses), but I decided to start getting rid of all the junk in the room in the meanwhile. My mind already feels a bit less congested, so :up: from me.


dreams in emoticons
You know, I'm actually pretty grateful for PMS. I can count on one week a month where I'm completely allowed to pin all my bad moods on a natural and proven hormonal inbalance. I can actually count down the days until I know I'll be feeling better and more stable. Even though it sucks, I can rely on it. And that almost makes it worth it.

Today was just wild. I received a strange compliment, which instantly brightened my world for a good 3 hours. The elevator guy asked me if I got Fridays off and I replied I did. He asked with a grin if I was going to go drinking. I blinked and told him old I was. He freaked out and forgot to stop the elevator in time so it plunged halfway down the basement. After a moment of surprise, I let out a belated hoot of delight and he told me he thought I was at least 18.

Good grief. I'm so used to people thinking I'm much younger than I am that this was truly unexpected. Do I seem older now? I felt fantastic after hearing that, although I don't think it was his intention to compliment me. That just makes it even better. Even though I wasn't feeling too great about my actual looks, just the thought of knowing I appeared like a woman to others made me hold my head up higher. I'm so used to being looked at and treated like a child. Even when I was working, I felt like a shy little girl trying to play grown up. For a few hours, I felt like I was no different from all those beautiful Manhattan women swarming past me.

I came home and became a child again. It's hard living in a bilingual household. We speak Cantonese at home, and it is incredibly difficult for me to express myself as well as I could in English. It's such a plain, literal language, almost void of all those lovely synonyms with subtle differences that English has. When I speak, I have an English running monologue going at the same time in my head that has what I'm REALLY trying to say, but it comes out in this broken Chinglish gibberish.

Anyway, the feng shui book I ordered came in and I was hoping my parents would be really into it too. Like Gypsy said, what have you got to lose? It seemed like our Family gua needed some fixing up in any case. With great gusto, I partioned the first floor into their respective guas (MUCH easier said than done) and eagerly chattered about the different guas and what elements were strong in each. My parents seemed mildly enthused in what I was saying, but they tuned me out at random intervals, like a television program. They were probably just humoring me. My mother was feeling especially bitter and ragged today and she ranted and raved at my dad with abandon.

I know all this feng shui stuff seems silly to them, just another little pet game I invented to amuse myself or something, but at least I'm trying to do SOMETHING. Slapping some green in the Family gua seems to be more productive than spitting the same stale bile over and over. My mom bitched that no one in this house did any housework but her and no one wanted to help her at all. Usually, we all ignore her and let her run her course until she feels better, but this time, I awkwardly tried to explain the Helping People gua and how I could fix that area up a bit for her. She gave up humoring me and gave me a foul look, one she usually reserves for my dad. It's times like that that I wonder what she really thinks of me, if I'm no more than just a little pet to her or something.

I don't know how else to help her. All she seems to want from me are good grades, good looks, and a perpetually sunny disposition... basically provide plenty of bragging material for her friends and no aggravation for her. She doesn't really take me seriously, and I doubt she'll ever see me as a fellow woman. Yet who's the one actually trying to fix things rather than complain about them over and over? Who's being more mature here? She rants enough about her problems, but never personally confides to me or gives me any other option to help her out other than stupid indirect ways like this.

Even though I know her approval of me isn't based on much, I panic when I don't have it. She's very upset that I've become so tan lately. I don't mind, since I'm so skinny that I need a tan in order to avoid looking like an invalid, but my mom subscribes to the whole "pale is pretty" ideal, especially for asians. She also showed me a Victoria's Secret ad in the paper and insisted again that I wear those ridiculous padded bras she bought me months ago. This time I tried to argue with her instead of giving my usual disgusted silly face. I told her I was happy with my chest, however flat it may be, and joked that my friend once said she envied how I could still sleep on my stomach. She just gave me this little disapproving look and told me I was too flat. I gave her one of my usual exaggerated silly faces, but she was not amused at all and told me I was getting much uglier lately. She didn't really mean it (she said it in a half-joking tone) but that kinda hurt. I laughed inanely and told her it must mean I was getting older because even the elevator guy said I looked like an adult, ugly or not, and it's better to be a woman than to be not ugly. It came out much more incoherant than that in actuality, but I doubt she was really listening anyway.

My dad was much more responsive to my feng shui babblings. I sympathize with him more, although I often goad my mother into picking on him, sometimes intentionally. I can see why he disgusts her, but in some ways, he's alot more reasonable than her. He has just as much right to complain about her, but he only lashes out at her when she digs too deep into the scarce renmants of his male ego. I take out my bad tempers on him too, an unfortunate habit I've picked up from my mother, so I think he regards me as a more tolerable and controllable mini-version of her. Even though he's less hurtful than my mom, I hate dealing with him because I don't respect him nearly as much as my mom. One of these days, I'd like to know why he lets so many people walk all over him.

Then again, I let people walk over me too. And I can be just as irrational and judgmental and destructive as my mother. What right do I have to complain about them?
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dreams in emoticons
Today was a lonely day. I'm sure everyone has these sometimes. Right now, there are probably thousands of people sitting in their rooms feeling sorry for themselves. Forgive me, but I feel the need to indulge in this communal wallow if just for tonight.

You know those days when you're just... off? No matter what you do, you can't focus, can't perk up, and everything's just moving alittle too fast. I just couldn't get it together today. My voice shot up a few octaves and became whispery and meek again and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. Just waiting for things to get better again. Just waiting this shit out.

I don't know. I know I'm a dork, but I always thought it didn't matter because I was all right in all the things that did matter. I try hard to be compassionate, to be a good listener, to constantly strive to improve myself, and be a nice, good person. Isn't that all you can really ask from a person?

Somehow, I feel like I'm still doing something wrong. I can't seem to maintain a close relationship with anyone without something going wrong. All my friendships are so unfulfilling and not worth the pain. You put in all this effort to be understanding and caring and love it when they come to you bitching and weeping and begging for advice and a hug, but they certainly don't feel obligated to return the favor. Like Gypsy and oldlady said, in the end, you only have yourself to count on. Is that just how things are? I'm young, you tell me.

I mean, hell, I think I have enough experience to know already. You just can't expect much from people. You just can't expect them to give as much as you're giving. The trick is making sure you don't give more than you're getting.

Yeah, yeah, that's nothing new. I'll try to cheer up tomorrow and spare you all the angst.


dreams in emoticons
Alright, feeling better! :up: Guess all I needed was a decent night's sleep to set my clock back in order.

Despite the smarmy weather, work was pleasant today. I got a copy of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work" and I've been glancing through it for days now. It's so helpful and positive, and only slightly too patronizing. If anything, it's improved my attitude towards work, so I guess it's worth it.

An odd thing happened today, another strange spark that drastically altered my mood for the better. I had downloaded a funky wallpaper onto my assigned Mac and everyone seemed to like it when they saw it. A day later, it was replaced with the default. I assumed the computer just spazzed and went back to the old background when it restarted. Today I found the wallpaper again and put it back up. Much different reactions this time around.

Let me explain this picture to you. It features a female character from the japanese manga series "One Piece," the spicy little redhead whose name I can't recall. She's pictured reclining on a stack of beer bottles and one of her arms is outstretched and wielding a pointed gun. The coloring is fabulous and vivid, which is why I thought my department (art) would like it.

One of my coworkers whom I'll call MLC (Mid-life Crisis) comes up to me and starts loudly remarking on the wallpaper. She asks me where I got it from and I start explaining about One Piece before she cuts me and asks me how old I am, her voice getting louder and more chummy. Confused, I tell her I'm sixteen. She points at the screen and says I shouldn't be looking at that. I look at the screen. I can see how it could be considered rather inappropriate; it features a teenage girl in a tight dress surrounded by beer and guns for god's sake. But good grief, I thought MLC was alot more lenient than that.

She pointed at the screen again. By then, a small group of female coworkers had formed around the computer. I was confused and shook my head. She cracked up and pointed at the gun.

"It's a PENIS!"

I blinked uncomprehendingly. She repeated herself. I stared, eyes growing in horror. Instead of melting to the ground from mortification, I cracked up. Everyone started laughing; apparently I was the only one who didn't catch that. It could've been a tale to take home, a mightly "Don't let this happen to YOU!" for all future interns. But instead, a barrier between me and my coworkers was broken. My voice happily fell back to its normal pitch.

Today was a good day. And I found out even seemingly normal adults act weird when sex becomes a topic. :nervous:


dreams in emoticons
I finally saw Tom online, even though he's off in Guatemala or Mexico. He couldn't wait to tell me all about his fantastic and bizarre summer so far. According to him, colleges love hearing about crazy and unique summers so he went ahead and found himself the wackiest one he could finagle: a clown/magician training seminar in Guatemala. Yeeeeah. I'd be happy for him if only he'd paused to take a breath and ask me me about MY summer. It was obvious he only wanted to brag about how wacky and exciting he's become and how impressed he hoped everyone would be.

As far as girls are concerned, Tom sorts them into three categories.
A) Related or waaaaay too old or ugly --> Off limits and low priority (i.e. his amazing younger cousin who adores him, but he couldn't care less about)
B) Total bitches --> Off limits (i.e. my friend Amy who claims to hate him, but tolerates him better than most)

Everyone else is up for game. And it really is all just a game to him.

Tom is of the opinion that a man and a woman cannot be friends unless one of them falls into the first two categories. Tom thinks he still has a chance with me if only he'd condescend to put in more effort (I turned him down in 10th grade and wounded his ego -- worst thing you can do to a guy like him). Tom is damn lucky I can still somewhat tolerate him (since he is one of the two "friends" I have in high school).

He made sure to crow over how he could go to bars and drink beer in Guatemala because they thought he looked eighteen, but then he had to go rush off to his next activity, no rest for the wacky and weary.

Guys like him make me wish I could voluntarily choose to be gay. There are too many guys like him out there. But I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of thinking that has to be the reason why I haven't fallen for his charm yet.

He would make a wonderful friend. He's a good person, but his priorities are seriously screwed. For reasons unknown to me, he's trying his damnest to become the typical male teen stereotype, apathetic to everything and everyone that doesn't serve to bolster his supposed fragile male ego. I could go on and on about this and hate him, but I can't work up the energy to anymore. This is just old news to me, but I felt it important enough to post. I will say this: I could forgive him for being too frightened and insecure to be true to himself. I could forgive him for choosing not to take women seriously. But I can't forgive him for the way he hurts people by disregarding them no matter how much they care for him and the way he makes excuses for himself instead of apologizing for his mistakes. I can't forgive his horrible and self-righteous inability to make any compromises. And I will never forgive him for being completely unwilling to sympathize with other people and forcing people to take pity on him instead. He'll run away when people confront him, fully believing himself to be the only victim and that no one understands him anyway.

I'll probably get into this further another day. But it's funny. As much as he's trying to become a man by playing into the media's hands, he is the most whiny, ignorant, self-absorbed child I know. The Tom I knew in ninth grade might've taken this journey with me. If I even told Tom about my goal now, he would've scoffed and imparted me the only advice I'll ever need to know: You really need to get a boyfriend. (I have long since stopped telling him my problems because of this)

Contrary to what this post may have led you to believe, I had a fantastic day. Tekkamaki, Intern Extraordinaire, was in high demand today. I love, love, love busy days like this. I feel appreciated, needed, and completely in control.

Tom always gets me going. He's one the few friends I have; knowing that he has degraded so far saddens me and makes me wish I could've done something to stop it.
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dreams in emoticons
First post from work, so I'm kinda paranoid that someone's going to pop in on me even though I'm in the tiny backroom.

I'm bracing myself for a rough day. I managed to get a total of three hours of sleep, one of which made me an hour late for work. No sleep easily messes with my system and I can't think straight for shit. And I hate coffee, but I hate needing it even more. It always get me lightheaded and sick and does a number on my insides. It was either that or flopping onto my keyboard for a nap.

20something's been acting strange lately. I don't know if it's just me, but I can't figure her out. I've become more confident and less dorky at work, so I figured things would get less awkward between us. Not happening. I get the feeling she doesn't really like me for some reason. Whenever we talk, she holds for my gaze for a bit longer than necessary and has this little look on her face. I think she doesn't quite trust me because my behavior is so inconsistent, but it's not like I have some creepy ulterior motive or something. I'm still missing alot of her polite social cues, so maybe that's it. I'll never get all this subtle behavior crap.

Ok, I've been lingering here too long. I got my first PM about this journal today though. Thanks AkuJin. I don't know what doing right, but I guess I'll keep on doing it.


dreams in emoticons
Oh wow. I think I need to start being pessimistic more because I LOVE it when I get proved wrong. And today was so wonderful.

I don't know what got into me, but whatever it is, I hope it's going to stay! For some reason, I just felt so good about myself and was especially... I guess the right word would be outgoing. Everyone was so relaxed with me all the sudden. I had genuine conversations with almost everyone in the office and made friends with 20something. I think it was just my paranoia that was getting me down about her. I asked her about this book she was planning on writing and sincerely encouraged her because writing your own book is such an arduous and amazing goal. I could tell that made her really happy and she warmed up to me right away. I didn't realize it until now, but I've been really, really wound up about things lately.

There was this description I read in ivyangel's journal about a new coworker of hers. It was something like "she's really quiet, so it's hard for me to get to know her." It seemed to me that if I looked at myself through someone else's eyes, that would be my thought. It's not necessarily that they didn't like me because of my flaws and inadequacies. I've been so shy and reticent around people that I wasn't even giving them a chance to form a justified opinion of me and then I'd get mad because I felt misunderstood. And because I don't open up to people, they don't feel comfortable opening up to me and I'm left wondering why I can't get close to anyone.

So I need to loosen up on myself and at least give people a chance to get to know me before angsting about what they think of me.

Almost everyone asked me how long I would still be there and told me how much they hoped I would still work part-time for them in the fall. :blush: And so many people complimented me today on how nice I looked and how helpful I was to them. I felt so appreciated and liked. I'm going to make a conscious effort to give as many genuine compliments as I can. Like Sugar-Snit says, a genuine compliment can really make a person's day. And everyone likes to feel better about themselves.

I think I made real progress today. Funny how nicely things turn out when I stop worrying about them so much.


dreams in emoticons
I worry about what's going to happen to my parents in the future.

They've been around my entire life, so it's easy for me to take them for granted. The only time in my life that I was away from them for longer than a month is when I was about four years old and both my parents were working their butts off to provide for me and my brother. My younger years were mostly spent with my grandparents, a period in my life I barely remember.

Once upon a time, my mom was just a woman and my dad was just another guy. They had their own hobbies, dreams, little social circles and personal dramas. It's like after they had kids and settled down, all that was gone and they became Parents. When I look in photo albums of them in their 20's, I'm always disturbed by how happy they looked. My mom looked so carefree and girlish with short skirts and long wavy hair and my dad looked pretty handsome with all his hair and no beer belly. Over time, something inside them died and they started defining their lives by their kids. They don't have any hobbies anymore. My dad likes to mess with the garden, but only because he's laid off and there is literally nothing for him to do besides housework. My mom spends most of her day working, bitching at my dad, doing housework, or gossiping with her chinese mom friends about their kids or the other chinese moms.

I think after working so hard for ten years to raise us and make a living, they just fell into this routine. I don't think they quite realize it yet that me and my brother don't need so much attention anymore. We still need them, but in a more emotional support way and they can't really handle that. I think part of the reason why people, especially women, like to have children is for that wonderful feeling of being intensely needed.

My parents spoil us. Despite how much my mom bitches about all the housework she has to do, she doesn't let us kids help her out much. My brother doesn't offer to do anything but vacuum occasionally, but I ask her alot if she could teach me how to use the washing machine or cook or let me do the dishes. Even when she does let me do these things, she always does them again by herself when she thinks I don't notice. I thought that first that she was so used to doing these things by herself that she didn't trust that anyone else could do them as well. But then I realized if I took her housework away from her, she would be in the same situation as my dad. The only difference is that she does the bulk of the housework and we count on her to keep the house in order. It fills up most of her time. My dad sits on his ass watching tv all day or finding little ways to amuse himself. I think she's scared that she'll end up as pathetic as him. Despite my attempts to save money and only get a limited allowance each week and only get paid for doing chores, my mother wouldn't hear of it. She didn't want her kids scrimping for change like she had to as a kid. Every time I ended up being broke, no matter how fast, she would always refill my wallet and let me off with a warning. My brother thought I was an absolute idiot for complaining. My dad still walks me to the bus every day, even though he knows damn well I roam around Manhattan until 8 by myself.

I'm going away to college next year in September. My brother attends a community college, but he's twenty and I doubt he's going to freeload here much longer. In as little as two years, my parents will have nothing but quiet and free time and each other. For a couple who loves each other, this would be no problem. Deep down, my parents might love each other, but I worry they'll drive each other insane without any kids to distract them from each other. They were both each other's first loves. Neither of them had a boyfriend or girlfriend prior to meeting each other. I think they know enough that they feel unfulfilled by each other, but no clue how to work things out.

I'm kinda rambling here. My point is, I'm worried about them. They've rushed through life so fast. They're both pushing fifty now. Half their lives are gone and they're stuck with a life partner they can barely tolerate and... I don't know, I just get this awful image of them sitting in this huge empty house watching tv for hours and bickering with each other. And all they have to look foward to is a phone call from me or my brother or a relative who hasn't died off yet. And when they die, they'll wonder where all the time went and how did everything pass by so fast and their last words will end in a question mark.

I'm morbid tonight. I don't know how my posts always stray so far from my original purpose. I intended to just complain about how my mom likes to pit me against my dad. Ok, here's to getting back to the point.

My mom's a home attendant. She's spent the last ten years taking care of little old ladies and switching off whenever one gets sent to a nursing home or kicks the bucket. Lately, she got assigned to a very possessive old lady who wanted her to stay twenty four hours every day with her, EVERY day of the week. I know she's lonely, but gimme a break. Still, my mom has to spent five days a week with her, Thursdays and Saturdays off. I'm stuck with my dad for the three days a week she spends there overnight.

I yell at my dad alot. I can be a total bitch to him, even when I know I'm being absolutely unreasonable and horrible. I get especially furious whenever he tries to tell me do something like go to bed. I just hate the way he responds. It never changes. He would make a series of lame threats that he never follows through with and then leave after awkwardly lingering for a minute. The louder I scream, the faster he's gone. I know I'm horrible for treating my dad like this. I know he's weak and doesn't have a backbone for shit. He got it from his mother, who's even more pathetic than he is and is a shining example of what I'm worried my parents will end up like. Last week, I was especially abusive to him because I was depressed and feeling stepped on and I was particularly disgusted with the way he let me smack him around (not literally) because he reminded me of myself and I was furious that he might've passed his patheticness to me. Whenever he told me to do anything, I would automatically clap my hands over my ears and just scream. No words or curses. Just horrible, infuriated shrieks.

He complained about me to my mom when she came back and I was at work. When we were all lounging around the living room, she mentioned it a light tone of voice. I couldn't tell how she felt about it, whether she was mad or not. I shrugged and indirectly told her she had no right to lecture me because she does it even worse. Later, I was sitting between the two watching television and they started bickering about something. I frowned and made a pissed off noise and my mom asked me who I thought was right.

"I wasn't even listening, okay?"
Mom: "See? She wasn't even listening to you."
Me: "I mean, I don't listen to you people."
Mom: *haughty satisfied voice* "See? She doesn't even listen to you people."

Directly translated from chinese, "you people" sounds like "people like you." I didn't realize my mom deliberately interpreted what I said to use against my dad until much later. She seemed kinda glad that I was wailing on my dad and no apologizing for it. And she didn't seem to mind when I told her flat-out I got it from her, thinking she would assume that I disapproved of it. My mom likes that my brother and I cling to her and her side of the family more.

I think it's horrible of her to use me against my dad like we're some sort of tag team or something, but I did bring it upon myself. I do want to be closer to my mom, but definitely not like this. No wonder she was so chummy with me today. I thought she was just happy to see me. So I guess I'll have to be nicer to my dad and make a point of not preferring one to the other. It's going to piss off my mom, but I think I owe it to my dad. He's a good person, just very weak and pathetic and old. It's not right of me to hold that against him, just because I can't look up to him like I wish I could.


dreams in emoticons
Thanks for the PM, riact.

I know I have no right to judge my parents, just as I'm infuriated when they can't seem to see me as a person. I respect that they have gone through alot of provide for this family and given up alot for me and my brother to pursue our own dreams and live in relative comfort. The whole concept of an "obediant daughter" truthfully never made much sense to me though. I respect all that they've gone through, most of which I won't understand the true value of until I become a parent myself, but I really think there's a certain degree of respect that they have to earn from me. It may be presumptuous of me to say that, but I can't automatically give someone all of my respect simply because I have their chromosomes. I will try to be nicer and more forgiving to them, because I don't really understand them but they are good people in the most of the ways that DO matter. I don't understand why my dad is such a doormat or why my mom complains all the time but never does anything about it, but I'll try not to hold that against them.

It would help if they tried to respect me more too though. They don't really give me room to grow, since I feel like I have to live up to this certain ideal. And I know what can happen if I get frustrated and fall out of this ideal -- it's happened to my brother. I know I disappoint them alot, my mother in particular, but they're just going to have to be satisfied with what they get. And vice versa, that's true for me too.

I actually broached the subject of Life After Kids to my mom with unsatisfying results. I'm no good at these little mini-dialogues, but it seems better than just paraphasing.

Me: So you know, in two years, this house is going to be empty of kids.
Mom: Two years?
Me: Yeah, I mean, I'm leaving for college soon, and Sam's going to move out soon, right? He's going to be 22 or something, it's going to be kinda embarrassing for him to still live at home soon.
Mom: No, no, I think Sam's going to be here for awhile. Where else is he going to go?
Me: Well, so, what are you and Dad going to do with no one here?
Mom: *pause* Wait for your phone calls!
Me: :nervous:

Then again, they are grown up people and they can take care of themselves. :) I'll just be sure to call alot and invite the kids over alot to visit the old folks.

Considering if I ever have kids. Right now, my opinion of men and marriage is low enough that I NEVER want to get roped into that, but I would like to adopt. Maybe when I'm forty or something. There are so many unwanted kids out there; I don't want to risk my life shooting another kid out into the world and then be dependant on a man to take care of it with me or wait for his child support. Yeah, I have a pretty pessimistic view on marriage. I guess it's because I've seen so few HAPPY ones.

But kids. I love kids. :)

Damn, it's really hard to be serious and contemplative when my brother and his idiot girlfriend are having loud monkey sex RIGHT NEXT DOOR. He needs to move out soon or I will seriously kick his ass to the curb. The first time they were at it, I made the horrible mistake of pressing my ear to the wall because I thought they were fighting and he was making her cry. It took me weeks to look him in the eye again. NO sister should know that much about her brother's sex life. :puke:

He's been nicer to me lately though. I don't really want to get into a long entry about him because I guarantee I can go on and on about our relationship, but I do feel like talking about him a bit. Very subtly, he's been growing up more. He's more mature than Tom, but they are similar in some ways. My brother (Sam) can't sympathize well with others either, but he's pretty unpredictable about how well he can clean up after himself. He apologizes sometimes if he knows he's been taking advantage of people too much, but he can really be a selfish bastard. When he's in a good mood, he's alot of fun to be with, but he's the kind of person you can't let your guard down with. He'll get genuinely pissed off if you laugh too hard or seem too excited or happy or enthusiastic about something, even if it's for him.

Nevertheless, we were up until 6am playing Dark Cloud together on his PS2. I'm no good at action/adventure stuff (I get too worked up and paranoid) but he's great at them so I watched him. It was nice hanging out and getting excited about something together. It's weird. My parents are much better people than my brother, but for some reason, I'm more willing to forgive him and care about him more even though he's such an asshole. And he deliberately sets out to hurt me sometimes, something my parents would never do. I think I'm kinda warped.

Truthfully, that's partly why I don't want to get married. I'm worried that I might be subconsciously drawn to men like him and let them hurt me because I feel bad that I wasn't enough to help my brother become a better person. Or that they would replace my brother in a sense and I would treasure whatever affection they give me twicefold because it would be like my brother was caring more about me too. No, seriously. Forget my parents, I really worry about what would become of myself if I don't become a great woman before I meet a man who would delude me into thinking I love him and then he could manipulate me into doing whatever he wants. Like Lori Sunshine's sig says, "I've got to find myself before someone else does."

I mean, I'm sixteen. I've only been in one relationship before, when I was thirteen and that guy was alllllll about his ego and how many girlfriends he could get. And I was so flattered that a GUY actually liked ME and OMG, I had a BOYFRIEND, that I didn't stop to realize how much I was disrespecting myself to let myself be treated like that. So I've had pretty much no experience with guys, except a pretty bad one, and I'm know I'm naive about alot of things. But I don't want to learn the hard way.

I've read somewhere that a girl becomes a woman after a period of tragedy and/or heartbreak. Must this be the catalyst? Does a girl have to forced into a depressed and broken mess first before being able to emerge as a woman? Is personal experience really the only proper teacher a girl can have? What I'm asking is, could a girl go into a period of intense self-reflection and introspecting and fierce search for wisdom and truth and forgiveness instead of learning the hard way and having her world and heart shattered fifty billion times? What does it matter which way you fortify yourself and mature as long as you do it?

It's not that I'm scared of pain. I am scared, but I'm willing to go through it only if it's absolutely fucking necessary.

You know, maybe I'm overthinking this. Ok, yeah, I'm overthinking this. It's good this isn't for a school paper; unfortunately, you readers will often have to wade through my thinking process with me until I come to a nice succinct conclusion. I figure, there will be alot of pain I can avoid by accepting and discovering myself, but if there are things that only experience can teach me, there's not much I can do to avoid them until they come after me. I'll just try to make sure I learn from them so I don't get hurt unnecessarily.

I'm hoping that eventually, for your sake and mine, as I mature, my thoughts will become shorter and more concise because I will cease having to need to think through everything first. Certain truths and wisdom will just come naturally to me; things will start just feeling right and I'll learn to trust myself more instead of double-guessing myself or analyzing them to bits in my mind. So stick with me, readers, one day at time, we'll get there. :bleagh:

By the way, there's a reason why I chose "One Day at a Time" instead of "The Enlightening Escapades of a Woman-In-Training!" Two of them actually. First one is that the latter sounded too cheesy and pretentious. Secondly, I wanted a boring title because I wasn't sure if I wanted too many people reading this. Like alot of people, I'm really paranoid and sensitive about what people think of my journal, especially since I'm baring so much in here. Thanks to everyone who's reading my journal. I would love feedback if you have any. :)
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dreams in emoticons
Oh wow, I just had the most amazing dream. There are so many minute details I can remember, which rarely is the case for me, and this rocks even more because I WANT to remember as much as possible!

I was sitting a table across from a gorgeous guy. I kept shooting him little glances just because I couldn't get over how beautiful he was. For any watchers of Gundam Wing, he looked exactly like Trowa Barton with the hair and all (in my opinion, the sexiest Gboy). He wore all black and had a long brown "bang" over the right side of his head and the other side was shorn rather short. He smiled at me and I shyly asked him how he got his hair to do that. He laughed and ruefully ran his fingers through it. I could see that it was packed with styling products and kinda matted when I looked close. For some reason, that delighted me.

After that, it was a mishmash of very vivid or very vague scenes. I remember being in his car alot. He would say he had a fun surprise for me and I would smile and lean down to sleep on his arm. I can remember the feel of his arm so clearly and how I laid there peacefully for a few minutes. It was a sweet comfort I've never experienced before, just being so near someone I liked alot and the soothing feeling of a relaxing car ride in the night. I curled up closer and rested my fingers along his arm softly. He was startled, but I could feel him smile.

Somewhere along the line, I discovered his name was Gable and due to a bizarre scene where he apparently gave me a few intricately quilted blankets, I forced my little sister awake (I don't have one in real life) and we hurriedly scrawled my name across them in black marker. Strangely enough, I found out my name was "Mary" (it's not).

I lolled around in bed for a good while, trying to make the dream last and being damn glad it was a Sunday. The only thing that freaks me out is if Mary and Gable really ARE out there and I accidentally stumbled into Mary's memory while I was sleeping. I would so jealous if that was the case. Lucky, lucky girl. :mope:

Afterwards, I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and parked it in front of the computer in standard Sunday tradition. This all just felt so mundane compared to the wonderful dream I just had. Real life just pales in comparison. If only my dreams would give me useful visions, like me as a brilliant and spectacular student so I would have more motivation to get off my ass and start studying.
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dreams in emoticons
Second post from work. I just felt the need to write, even though it's going to end up being all babbly and nonsensical, but hey, that's ok!

Ergh, paranoia. I wish this room had a door.

Thanks for the pm. :) I'll properly respond to it later.

Today was riddled with images of... ergh, best way to phrase this... snapshots of human beauty. Little things kept popping out to me and seemed wonderful and "erotic" would be WAY too strong a word, but something like that. My ability to form coherant thoughts is shit today. The area from the jawline to the curve of the shoulder strikes me as incredibly beautiful. There's something so delicate and intricate about the shell of an ear. The small of the back, that patch of skin between that and where your rear begins.

I wanted a camera for my birthday, but I'm hesitant about using money. I wanted a digital camera in particular, a fairly good one, but my mom has been using money lately like nobody's buisness.

Ok, paranoia too much. Will continue later. Off to volunteer (save the world!)


dreams in emoticons
Alright, at home with my mug of milk and comfy chair. I think I need to stop posting from work. My job seems to do funny things to my head...

Anyway, I'll continue from where I left off, just for the sake of tying loose ends. My mom recently bought a $500 diamond bracelet. A few weeks ago, she asked me if I would like a diamond bracelet for my birthday, but I told her I don't really care for expensive jewelry and she knew I had my eye set on a digital camera or keyboard. A few days ago, she took this puppy out and asked me if I would like to have it. I was kinda freaked out and told her she knew I didn't want something like that. She put it on and said she figured she would keep it if I didn't want it.

I have a good idea of our family's finances, since my mom asks me to help with her sometimes. With my dad barely working and the cellphone we just got ($400 upfront), we don't really have an extra $500 to blow on a chunk of metal and rock. Then again, my mom's right. She doesn't own anything made of real diamonds. Since it's her money, I guess it's up to her if she wants to spoil herself, but now I feel really fucking bad about asking for something as expensive as a good digital camera or keyboard for my birthday. The only way I can get one without ignoring my conscience is if I shell out my own money for more than half, which kinda defeats the purpose of having a birthday.

I know if I told my mom I wanted to pay for it because I thought our finances were tight, she would protest and buy the damn thing for me anyway. My brother would have no problem with that, but it just doesn't seem right. Ugh. Birthdays aren't supposed to be this complicated.

Just a quick warning: this entry is going to have alot of quick and random topic changes. I have alot I want to write about, but there's no decent way to string them together. Or maybe I could take a cue from Nomdeplume and have everything under neat little headings so it looks like I'm organized. Yeah, why not.

Where have all the straight ones gone?

I mentioned I was going off to do some volunteering. It's at a store in Chelsea, which like Shanextopher said, is notoriously known for being a gay-friendly area of Manhattan. Unfortunately, I am neither gay, nor male. For a few hours, I get to watch pairs of hot, muscular guys in their 20's stream by me, all of which are gay, gay, GAY. A great deal of my coworkers are gay and male as well. And is it just me or are a vast majority of gay men really attractive? Even some of the "ugly" ones have this sort of acceptance and confidence with their bodies and sensuality that's really appealing. In any case it's the perfect environment to feel unattractive as hell, even though you know it's not your fault. What's a straight little asian girl to do?

I had my palm read earlier this summer by a guy who told me I would find love this summer. With a month left to go and my poor choice of hangouts, I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon unless I suddenly sprout a penis overnight. The only love I'm going to find this summer will probably be for and within myself. I'm okay with that, I would RATHER have that, but a little romantic excitement would've been nice. As a kid, I thought when I turned sixteen, I would be slapping on makeup on a regular basis and have my year punctuated with intense romantic drama. That's what I get for reading romance novels and watching cheesy teen sitcoms instead of learning how to tie my shoelaces. (I still don't know how to properly tie my shoes, according what my friends say. I probably tried to teach myself between commericials and settled on whatever worked.)

I just find it ironic that I once told a friend that my idea of hell would be to be constantly surrounded by hot gay men. Am I just a masochist or does someone up there really not like me? :p

Asian in America

This is in response to Tonsils' nice PM about my journal. I really appreciate the few PM's I've gotten by the way. As well as brightening my day, they often offer great food for thought.

I once read an interesting book of essays by a Chinese-American man (who used to write speeches for Clinton incidentally) on what it means to be Asian in America. It was a fascinating look on what it means to be an Asian person and the difficulty one has going about trying to define themselves when caught between cultures, backgrounds and histories. There are alot of stereotypes concerning Asian families and an easy way to define your own is by how well your family adheres or doesn't adhere to them. I don't like this method, mainly because I still have fresh memories of trying to write a 12 page paper on comparisons between certain stereotypes and truths and how messy and complicated it ended up being.

My parents both came to America when they were in their mid-twenties. Like alot of immigrants, they came with the primary purpose of raising their family in a better environment and giving them opportunities they didn't have themselves. My brother was born in Hong Kong, but I'm the first in my immediate family to have been born an American. In some ways, it's obvious that I'm not wholly Chinese. I have the worst mastery of the language, I have more faith in American ways and medicine, and I don't have a single Asian friend since attending a tiny Manhattan private school.

I know the original point in the PM was about asian american families, but I don't really know how my family differs from any other on a fundamental level. We have some different customs and ways of doing things, but I think alot of families share the same issues and problems as mine. Since I don't really know many other asian-american families, it's hard to pinpoint the similarities between mine and theirs, aside from silly things like daily rice and common languages.

I like the question this train of thought led me to though. How Chinese am I? By how much can I identify myself as a Chinese person? At times, I hardly take into consideration that I'm Chinese, except when it complicates my life. My friends treat me just the same, but it's awkward when I have to translate for my parents what someone's saying like when they meet my school advisor. And boy do I hate it when someone slaps a stereotype on me based on my race. Other than that, it's easy to forget I'm Chinese sometimes. I have no particular deep knowledge of the country's culture or history and I consider my homeland the US. My knowledge of the language is shoddy and I don't really use it outside of home. I do things without knowing whether or not it's the American way or the Chinese way to do it.

There are alot of times I would rather not be Chinese. When I walk in Chinatown or Flushing, I don't feel a kinship towards the people around me at all, except that I'm vaguely irritated that so many of them look like me regardless. I dislike going to chinese restaurants on my own because I'm the only Chinese person ordering in English. It's for the same basic reason I don't like meeting my mom's friends when they come over. One look at me and they know I'm "johk sing," which means Americanized Chinese person. They act like I'm out of their little clique, like I'm "not Chinese enough" for them. There's alot about me that's flawed, but I don't think it's right to feel ashamed for not properly adhering to a culture I don't feel I belong in. I don't know if China is really a part of me or not. How much of it is "in my blood" aside from my looks?

Truthfully, I am much more fascinated and interested in Japanese culture than Chinese. My mother was fine with that and put up with my obsessions with most anything Japanese, until I told her how so many people were mistaking me for being Japanese. My features do somewhat resemble a typical Japanese person's more so than a Chinese one (larger eyes, pale skin, crooked teeth, and brown hair). She then admonished me and told me to not forget that I am Chinese. In her eyes, it was wrong to idolize and prefer another culture to the extent of wanting to replace your own with it. But if I consider myself more American than Chinese, am I not committing the same crime? What exactly am I doing wrong here?

Anyway, I kinda took your PM and ran off with it, Tonsils, but I thank you for taking the time to pen your thoughts to me. I'll be sure to check out Ani Difranco's music when I can. Have fun in Thailand. :)
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dreams in emoticons
Deleted the last post. I'll keep Post-It note material on Post-It notes from now on. It was basically a list of possible anime cosplay options, something that has no relevance to this journal.

Long, lousy day. I am so glad to be home, if just for the knowledge that I'm not obligated to haul my ass off this chair if I don't want to, but I can just as easily roll right into bed if the whim struck me. I also just snarfed a tinful of these neat little wafer rolls with gobs of chocolate jammed inside, which also perked my mood some.

I got my period at work today (explains alot, lemme tell ya) so I was feeling pretty emotional and crampy all day. I actually teared up at work reading Gypsy's latest entry about her daughter -- praying all goes well for you two. Sugar-Snit had me in a tizzy of YES WOMEN ROCK YAY FOR WOMEN RAWR. I caught up with Thorn's delightful journal today too. Makes me want to throw on some leather duds and hop on my bike, if I had any of those things.

No self-reflection for today. I just spent a grueling few hours at the store in Chelsea. There was this one time I was having a really bad day and when I came, the place was totally overstaffed and I felt even more useless and unwelcome. Before I could talk myself out of it, I grabbed my bag and left. Now it's come back to bite me on the ass. Apparently, alot of people were pissed that I left early without telling anyone and now treat me like I'm some shifty outsider. Now I know it was my fault, but I definitely didn't need this today.

God what a wasted day. I spent all of it feeling like shit and feeling sorry for myself.

Well, maybe not entirely wasted. This morning, I saw an asian woman walking through the train station and she had practically the same body type as me. Her arms were incredibly frail and thin like mine and she was tiny and child-like like me too. The way she held herself though, it was like there was nothing the matter with her at all. She wore this little black dress and walked briskly with a slight swagger. I couldn't see her face, but I just knew right away that she was an adult, even though she was no bigger than me and dressed younger than me to boot.

Seeing other women and girls who are as skinny as me always makes me feel a bit better for some reason. I'm too skinny for it to be considered attractive and it looks more like I'm anorexic or an invalid. I eat as much as the next person, but I inherited really small bones from my mother, so I can only pack so much meat onto them. I've felt a bit like a freak because of it, because practically no one I know is cursed with unnaturally thin bones. It's usually the opposite. I made myself feel better by eating whatever the hell I wanted, but now I'm saddled with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a growing gut, an area whose growth unfortunately isn't hindered by small bones.

I don't relate to models at all though. They're not small like me -- their bones are all the right size, but they barely have anything on them except for skin. They could look normal and healthy, but they choose not to. Lucky for them, most of them have striking facial features that justify the rest of their unnatural, otherwordly bodies. I have no such saving grace -- I like my looks, but they are by no means striking.

I've been snarfing down calcium, but it's nice to know that even if I don't grow out of this, it doesn't have to hold me back when I'm all grown up. Being tiny and light does have its advantages: I'm not very strong, but I can run really fucking fast when I need to. Comes in pretty damn handy, lemme tell ya. :p


dreams in emoticons
Just need to add a bit to that last post.

I loathe it when people think I have nothing to complain about. I know alot of people would like to be thin and it would be a blessing if they could eat and eat, but never look big. Girls on diets resent me.

I don't know how being overweight would feel, but I do think I have a right to complain too. Lots of girls bitch about how they need to shed their extra pounds, but it's not acceptable or considerate of me to complain about my weight or body because I'm skinny in a skinny-obsessed society. Some people who are all anti-stereotype, anti-media, anti-society, etc dismiss me as another shallow teenager who's ruining her body in her attempts to be thin. Like I said, I can't eat whatever shit I want because being skinny doesn't mean I'm healthy. Because I'm small and pale, people assume I'm fragile and weak. I do not have better luck with guys because most guys don't prefer thin girls -- they prefer curvy, voluptuous types. And curves I have not.

Girls with anorexia or bulimia piss me off. Why risk your life just to be saddled with a new set of problems? What's so great about being envied for how well you can kill your body off without actually dying? It's just not worth it.

I don't know why I'm so fixated on appearances today. It's such an easy thing to attack and blame -- your own looks. Truth is, no matter what you look like, there's always going to be someone who thinks you're ugly or judge you based on your looks. I don't know why I tend to dwell on stupid, futile shit. We're all just a bunch of masochists, eh?


dreams in emoticons
Ahhh, Thursday. Hello three day weekend. Man, I deserve this. I have a quite a bit of work to catch up on, but most importantly, I can finally sleep! I was running on nothing but chocolate, literally. Barely no sleep, trying to swear off the coffee, couldn't resist when my coworker offered me this huge fucking chocolate chip cookie. Came home, snarfed down a pint of ice cream and more of those gooey chocolate wafer and sat on my ass for a few hours watching my brother play Dark Cloud and my stomach ballooning forth ever more.

Woo. Okay. Need to cut back on the whining too.

Coming home was so pleasant today. My brother, Sam, and the idiot girlfriend were here, but she was just about to go home so I got to see her off. Come to think of it, Sam is being really nice to me lately. He has alot more fun when I watch him play video games, so now he tries to pace himself so I can follow along better. He even told me right out he liked having me watch him play. During dinner, I felt so giddy and happy for some reason. I was babbling about work and stupid stuff and Sam and Mom were so into what I was saying and laughing at the funny things. Usually, either one of them ignores me. I think maybe it's because my birthday's coming up. In any case, I'm really grateful for today.

I stopped by Kinokuniya today and was amazed by the sheer number of new series that are translated. I quickly scooped up Hana Yori Dango aka "Boys Over Flowers" but there were at least three other books I wanted to get just as badly. The latest Karekano book was out and the first books of Naruto and One Piece arrived. It's a bit bewildering how quickly anime and manga are catching on here. I'm too young to know the "old days" when anime and manga were a strange and rather unknown hobbie of college kids trying to scramble money to import things from overseas. Even so, the popularity of this artform has skyrocketed since my friend first loaned me her Ranma 1/2 books in seventh grade.

I'm glad that it's gaining so much popularity over here, but I wish more people would take it more seriously, especially the companies that are licensing these titles. Anime and manga are like any other art form or literature. Even if you own the rights to a title, you should respect and appreciate your product and treat it with the consideration it deserves. Flipped manga annoys me because the company who chose to publish it that way is disrespecting both me, the consumer, and the original artist/author. They think we Americans can't handle something so freaky and foreign as reading a book the other way and a product has to be Americanized and as thoroughly expunged of foreign references or the fact that manga is Japanese in order for it to be marketable.

Lots of companies now are making an effort to rectify this initial trend and keep the translated material as faithful to the original as possible. I appreciate that and that's what makes me keep buying their stuff. Now it's more of an issue of quality and price for me. I like Tokyopop because they publish alot of the series I like and they do it quickly and cheaply, with occasional compromises on quality. Tokyopop gets a bad rep for bad translations and too many willful alterations and slang, but I don't really notice it unless I've tried to read the original before and compare translations in my head.

Viz has begun changing its look and lowering its prices, which will put it in much fiercer competition with Tokyopop. The saving grace it usually has against Tokyopop is that Viz usually has better quality and translations, although I was considerably disappointed with their treatment of Hana Yori Dango. I need to get more Viz products before I can make a real comparison, but Tokyopop does a better job as far as I can see. There are references to Japanese culture in the story, but they're not explained in footnotes, so it doesn't make sense to most Americans unfamiliar with the culture. Doumyouji's funny habit of mixing up Japanese sayings and quotes was replaced with French in the translation. I didn't really mind this, because it was a clever and fitting alteration that kept the original intent and meaning intact, but later on, they switched back to Japanese, and then to English! Inconsistency in a translation is a major pet peeve with me, as it simply means laziness and lack of care on the part of the translator.

I hope one day anime and manga will be so accepted here that we'll begin making our own (as in cartoons geared towards older audiences) and more people will be able to become professional manga artists if they want to. I don't watch much tv nowadays, so the former might've already happened already. In any case, at least there's alot more anime on tv now!

I'm practically braindead right now, so I'll leave it at that. I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. A hearty welcome to all the new journalists. So many have joined here lately... :)
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dreams in emoticons
God, I don't know what's wrong with me. My mom cooked up this great breakfast for me, stuff like you order in a fancy (not takeout) chinese restaurant and I threw a total hissy fit and screamed. I just spent a few hours crying in a bathroom, kicking myself for being such an idiot. I don't know what possessed me to do it. But why do I always do shit like this? I've been so happy these past few days, now I go and mess it all up.

I was reading a magazine and wanted to finish it before eating. She kept telling me to go eat, so finally I threw down the magazine and complained that she didn't have to keep hounding me to eat it. She started screaming how ungrateful I was and how hard she works for this family and how she doesn't give a damn if I eat or not. So I started screaming even louder that I'll eat it just shut up already and she screamed again that she didn't give a damn what I did and went back to reading the paper. I went to the bathroom and just started crying my eyes out. What the hell is wrong with me? I always, always do this. I'm never fucking happy with I get. I always have to test it and prod it and then get pissed when it's not absolutely fucking perfect.

So my mom's not perfect. She's bitter and not particularly sensitive or understanding. I threw a tanrum because I wanted to test her. I should've known better than that. I wanted to see if she would come to talk with me or ask me what was wrong because I don't normally act like such a baby. But she didn't, and I knew she wouldn't. I knew that she would know she was right and she's sick and tired of attending to everyone's needs and I would have to suck it up and get over myself. And I was being a baby, biting the hand that fed me and expecting it to caress my head reassuringly when I broke down.

Right on the cusp of my birthday too, I do this. Maybe it's a sign, that I'm officially not a child anymore and I can't expect my mother to always take care of me or forgive me when I fuck up. If I'm going to be all grownup and hoity toity and presume to view and judge my mother as her own person, I can't expect her to still coddle me as her little daughter or something. As a person, she thinks I was being whiny and unreasonable and if I feel like shit afterwards, I brought it on myself.

I did feel hurt. Right now I have it all figured out and articulated, but I felt like such a baby before, crying and crying and not understanding why I was in such pain only that I was and it hurt like fuck. I would breathe deeply and smile, then hear my mother turn the pages of her paper and change channels on the tv and I would crumple all over again.

Then again, I knew what to expect from her. It's my own damn fault for wanting and expecting more. If I feel pathetic or rejected or alone, it's not because she's actively trying to reject me, I'm just expecting too much from her. She doesn't expect me to help her with her problems or comfort her when she's feeling bad, so just because I'm younger and came out of her doesn't mean I can expect that either.

It's all because I've been reading that damn book "Anne of Ingleside." I love the Anne books, because they have this innocence, joy, and simplicity I can't find anywhere else, but it sure got depressing once Anne grew up and had six kids. That was when I couldn't relate to her anymore, since the whole book was about her kids' little adventures and how good of a mother and wife Anne is. Instead of feeling invigorated and thinking "hey, I can be like Anne too," somewhere in my mind, I was growing more and more disappointed that my mother wasn't more like Anne.

One thing I admired most about Anne as a mother was her gift for unconditional love. I call it a gift because not every mother has it. When I fuck up or even have a bad mood, I get the feeling that my mother loves me less, or even stops loving me for awhile. At one point, my brother just broke down and started a whole chain of fuck ups -- dropping out of school, smoking, drinking, staying out for days -- that my parents told him flat-out that they don't love him anymore or gave a damn about him (my dad was especially vehement about this), but my mother told him it hurt her to see him ruining himself that way after all they did for him and he had to realize his actions had effects on other people too.

I mean, I guess if I didn't have bouts like this from time to time, I would explode and end up like my brother. I was closer to him than our parents, but even I didn't see it coming. I think he just grew more and more unhappy and kept it inside himself until he didn't give a damn anymore. He never talks about his feelings, such a guy, so I don't know how he actually feels about us all. He's nice to us all, but he doesn't listen to my parents anymore and does as he likes. I think now my mom does still love him and spoils him silly to show she does care, but she makes it obvious she prefers me over him.

I wish I could stop focusing on all the bad stuff, even if I am being honest, stop making my life seem like such a drama, and just be happy with what I have. I have two parents who care alot about me, a brother who's maturing and whom I get along with much better, a roof over my head, no worries of being blown up or starved, all my limbs and such intact, a long life ahead of me, a future just ripe for the picking... I mean, can someone just smack me the next time I get all whiny and pissy?
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dreams in emoticons
After awhile, my mom knocked on my door and asked me if I would like to go to Wendy's. I was starving, so I agreed. I was acting kinda quiet and bitchy and embarrassed, but my mom pretended nothing happened and hinted that she assumed my listlessness was from not having eaten anything all day. She didn't seem mad anymore and I didn't want to draw this thing out any longer, so I pretended everything was fine too.

I mean, this isn't the first time I've snapped and blown up at her. I think she's just accepted that I fly into inexplicable rages from time to time, but I'm a good daughter the rest of the time. She assumes that I'm just in a really foul mood or haven't eaten or slept enough and I'm taking it out on her. I used to get really angry about that, but I would expecting too much if I wanted to have a "talk" with her. "Talks" are what you see on 7th Heaven. We get along well as long as we don't probe too deeply into our relationship. I have this insatiable need to analyze and define and understand things, but maybe some things shouldn't be looked into too deeply. Maybe some things just need to be. If I could've just been satisfied with my mother the way she is and the way things are between us, I could've spared myself alot of pain.

A friend of mine just came back from a summer away at Skidmore. Of my few close friends, she's the closest. Let's call her Ann. Ann is the most confident, talented, amazing person I know. She has a deep passion in life, art, and she knows exactly where she's heading, what she wants to accomplish in life, what she expects and deserves from her friends, what is means to be a good friend, and is talented and knowledgeable in anything she has a strong interest in. Needless to say, I really admire and respect her.

Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve a friend like her. She's giving and patient and often the only person I can turn to when I have a problem or need to vent. We often have venting sessions, where we take turns bitching to each other without holding back. It seems like she usually knows just what the right to say or do to make me feel better. I feel bad because I can't always do that for her. When faced with someone else's problems, I'm usually at a loss for words and kicking myself for not knowing how to better help them cope. I worry that I drain her or that I often disappoint her. She has so many other amazing and witty and opinionated friends that I don't know why she sticks with me sometimes. Sometimes she would tell me amazing things about myself, like I'm honest and a good friend, and that I am funny and talented, and sometimes I believe it. I want her to continue to like me and respect me, so I make an effort to be witty and funny and opinionated too, but that can be really draining sometimes.

It's easy to do that online though. See, we've only met in person about twice, since she's Tom's cousin, ironically enough. She's the one who loves Tom like a brother, but he could care less about her. As much as I dislike Tom, I am glad that I met Ann through him.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know about Ann. Nothing particularly happened that I needed to introduce her, but she's an important person in my life right now and I figured I might as well.