Tiger Got Her Claw

Tiger Got Her Claw

I know there are many of you out there who believe I need to take better care of myself. I know there are many of you out there who believe I need to stop pushing myself. I know there are many of you out there who believe I should just…s…l…o…w……d…o…w…n.

And I admit, everything that I’m trying to do gets overwhelming at times. I admit, there are days, maybe even weeks, where I am just in over my head. I admit, there are times where the pressure of expectations, both from the “outside world” and myself, truly get to me. But, there’s always a yin to a yang, right? There are days where I get so much done and you get the spark/explosion of feeling so damn productive. There are days where I see proof if my work paying off, whether it be actually understanding hard concepts or receiving a well-deserved grade on an exam. There are weeks where I have laser-beam focus and…it feels divine.

And, yes, there are those situations that just slap me across the face. There are those “little dramas” here and there that just give me hell. There are days where I struggle to even say that I’m struggling. But, this tiger has claws. I know for a fact that I’m stronger than most of you may think because, hell, I’m constantly finding out that I am a lot stronger than I even knew.

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Someone

Someone

In this period of time where nothing but work and study should be a priority, I find myself yearning for a little bit more time to spend with my friends…to spend writing my heart out…to spend exploring the beauty that surrounds me with my camera in hand……to spend with family.

It’s a headache to have to do nothing but work and study from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn. It’s exhausting to never really get the human interaction component in your life that you crave so much. It’s petrifying to see yourself become so exhausted and so stressed that you have become pale, have lost any appetite for a meal, or snack, even, and have no longer find sleep comforting.

I know…I know…
I made this choice. It was my call whether I wanted to take the hardest portion of calculus over summer, and take another STEM course, AND work part-time to have any income. I could’ve avoided this if I had just said ‘no’.

But, guess what?
I don’t regret it.

I find myself completely engaged every morning when I go to lecture. I find myself easily smiling and laughing at the side of my classmates during my night lecture and lab. I find myself feeling proud of myself when I check off yet another task from what seems to be an endless to-do-list.

The only thing missing is…
Someone. A close friend.

Someone to tell stories to about my day and about the amazing lecture I just went through. Someone to hear my giggle as I go off about how excited I am for this fall, when I get the honor of learning from these professors even more. Someone to look at me wide-eyed as I tell them about my studying schedule and for me to just laugh back at them because, even though I agree with them on the fact that it sounds like hell, and maybe it is but, I will make it through.

Someone to go to lunch and talk about our plans for the next week, for the next month, for the next semester. Someone to fantasize the future with. Someone to talk about new discovered pet peeves, about new coffee shops, about new friendships, about the “new life” that we find ourselves living. Someone to complain to about how long lecture was or how much studying we always try to avoid but always have to get through. Someone to laugh with, to joke around with, to tease endlessly…to make those beautiful summer memories.

Basically, someone to make all this feel like SUMMER, feel like LIFE.
Because, without all that, without a close friend by my side, in my life, I’m not “living” but I’m simply “getting by”.

Don’t doubt that I’m not so proud of myself for wanting to try this and actually going through with it, despite all my fears, worries, and doubts. Don’t doubt that I wouldn’t go back into time just to do it all over again. Don’t think that I wish for any of this to just “go away”. Because, I don’t.

I know this summer has been hard. I know this month has seemed like it lasted for years and years because of all the stress and pain. I know it’s had its suffering days. I know there were nights that I just couldn’t sleep. I know there were nights that I would wake up with yet another nightmare. I know it hasn’t been the watermelon and strawberries that is summer.

But…it’s my summer…

I’m working hard to achieve a goal. I’m working hard for a future that is still unknown. I’m doing my best to get by with what I have and what I know how to do. I’m doing my best to keep it together and get it all figured out. In the end, I’m doing something with my life. I might not have the time to go shopping, to simply lay in bed and complain about the heat, to spend all my days with friends, or to binge that show on Netflix (not that I haven’t watched a few episodes here and there), but I’m getting shit done.

The only thing I will complain about…and will probably complain about some more after I’ve written this post…is the fact that I haven’t really spoken to anyone in a month. That human interaction that we, as humans, naturally crave? Yeah, that has somehow disappeared from the equation that is my life right now.

That “someone”/ those “someones” are nonexistent right now.
And it’s such a pain to have to chase after people during my busy schedule that is driving me insane.

I’m exhausted. I’m out of energy. I’m drained.
I’m stressed. I’m worried. I’m restless.

I don’t regret this summer…but, like I said, the only thing missing is…

SOMEONE

What Am I Doing?

What Am I Doing?

I laugh at myself sometimes. Sometimes I can’t help but ask myself, “What the hell are you doing with yourself?” Because sometimes, even though I know better, I retrace my steps within the new circumstances I’m facing.

I know better than to let someone this close to me. I know I get emotionally attached a little too easily and always end up getting hurt. But it seems like the more I walk down the same path and end up hurt, the more I don’t care about getting hurt. I know I’ll survive and I know I’ll recover from whatever trauma I might experience. But I also know that if I don’t take the chance and take a leap of faith when meeting someone new, I know there is the possibility of them making a hug difference in my life that I would be throwing away.

I know better than to get pulled back into the past. I know reminiscing will only make me yearn to relive the blissful moments just one more time. I know looking back at all the mistakes I’ve made will only make me regret them more and hold myself accountable yet again as if I hadn’t already hated myself one too many times. I know remembering all the hurtful comments will only make my brain keep them on a broken record that keeps running through my mind. I know allowing myself to feel all of that again will only hurt me even more.

I know better than to get distracted from my studies and let my guard down. I know that the more lean way I give myself to get my work done, the more I won’t want to get anything done. I know that the more time I give myself to work on my hobbies, the more I won’t want to stop working on the things that have become a second nature to me. I know that the more time I spend relaxing and letting my guard down, the more I will miss it when I’m in a tense environment. But the more I let myself live happily and the more I let myself be who I truly am, the more I get reminded that’s the true way to live despite what my life is.

I know I am independent and strong on my own. I know I can go through my days without someone needing to remind me of what to do, but I still ask him to remind me here and there when I can. I know I do perfectly fine without telling someone about my plans, but I still find some peace in letting him know what’s going down. I know I can deal with my life on my own, but I still find it soothing to know someone cares enough to get updated. I know I’ve gone through almost the entirety of my life without someone checking in on me, but I still find it so comforting when he asks me how I’m doing and genuinely cares to know. I know I am perfectly fine with being independent but the more I find reassurance in his presence and support, the more I find me telling myself that being a little dependent on him is okay.

I know turning off my emotions will only harm me in the future. I know I should deal with the emotions as they come, but I always find myself pushing them into a mental box when they come as intensely as they do. I know I will break one day when I’ve shoved too many emotions into the already-full bottle, but I always find myself going back to my old ways. I know I’ll pay in the future for the countless times I’ve used this defensive mechanism, but I have yet to learn better. I know I still haven’t learned how to deal with my emotions because of this, but I still haven’t found enough courage and support to start learning now.

I know better! …yet I don’t at the same time.

Trace

Hiding, but Still Found

Hiding, but Still Found

When I think of a “hideout” I think of a place where I can be 100% myself, where I don’t have to worry about other people’s judgements, critical, and hate, but most importantly where no one can reach me.

There are my physical hideouts, and then my mental hideouts.

My physical hideouts include my L-shaped desk – where no one dares to bother me due to my intense work schedule-, next to my best friend – where his company feels like home and I don’t have to worry about anything other than present time -, and behind my camera – where once I get into the zone, I am gone to the world-.

To be honest, my desk is a hideout just as it is my most stressful place in my life. It’s where all my tasks come out of my daily agenda and scream at me to get them done. But my desk is also the place where I can simply focus on myself, my needs, my work, and MY schedule.

I say being with my best friend is a hideout because being with him is basically the happiest place on earth for me. I don’t have to worry about judgement, because he is so understanding (and, let’s face it, he already knows everything about me that’s humiliating and sad). It’s a place where I find it in myself to relax and not stress about all the things that I might need to get done. It’s a wonderful feeling, being with him.

When I’m behind my camera, when I get into the ‘zone’ with editing or a shoot, I am GONEE! There’s something about my passion for photography that takes me to a place where nothing else matters. It’s when I try to see life in such different angels sometimes I surprise myself by what I come across. It’s where I am the most focused and also where I am the most observant. I come more aware of everything surrounding me in the tiniest details, yet I seem to pull myself out of the picture to really grasp what is behind the scenes.

Then, there is my mental hideout.
You may be thinking, a hideout is a physical place. What’s a mental hideout?
But to me, a hideout is simply somewhere no one can reach me and somewhere I can be 100% myself without any fear.

My mental hideout is…not a place I can describe (since it’s not physical) but you know I am there when 1. I zone out 2. I am deep in thought 3. I seem to be contemplating something 4. (sometimes) I’m curled up in some sort of ball (ex: sitting in the corner of my room with my legs pulled close).

When I’m in this state, really no one can reach me. I go into a state of ‘awe’ almost. I start reflecting on my past and my past relationships, asking myself why a certain event happened or what caused a drift in a current relationship and so forth. When I’m like that, I completely zone out. I don’t hear the physical world. I don’t see the physical world (almost). I don’t seem to be in the physical world (in my mind). There’s nothing there except my thoughts and myself.

You might be thinking, that doesn’t sound healthy. I am not going to determine whether it is healthy or not, but I am going to say that it works for ME. It’s where I pick myself up the most during my dark days, it’s when I see situations more clearly than I ever have, it’s how I…get along with myself/learn about myself. Yes, if you let your thoughts spiral into darkness during this time (where no one can reach you), yes, it would be dangerous. But that is why, it is also the time to learn the most about yourself, reflect on your habits, and change what you might not like about your current lifestyle.

When I hide, I tend to hide purposefully by trying to see my own life, and the lives of those around me, in a different perspective in order to gain new knowledge.

Hideout

A Little Escape

A Little Escape

Overloaded with work, stressed with the lack of time, frustrated with the inability to finish everything to the fullest potential, worried about not making the cut etc., my day is filled with this and that to add onto the workload and stress I have. Everyone has this. But the difference that I’m very, very grateful for is my little escapes from life.

No matter how stressed I am, no matter how hard it is for me to just breathe, I meet him for the day and all my worries seem to go away. Cliche. I know. But it seems so true and so real. All the weight on my shoulders seems light as a feather, the tension in the air that was causing me to have trouble breathing seems to vanished within milliseconds, and huge workload I had seems to not be as much or as impossible to accomplish as before.

No matter how many things I have running through my mind, no matter how busy I am with myself running this way and that, I go into the darkroom for photo and everything else doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I get this time gap where I can focus on what’s in front of me and the things I want to get done. I work, productively, on my prints and my negatives (my photos and my film). I get this little island of peaceful calmness where all the chatter in my head silences. Everything is calm. Everything is quiet. Everything is okay.

These are my little escapes from life.
I don’t add my writing to my list because that isn’t always the effect it has on me. Writing can boost my emotions, causing more of one particular feeling to double in intensity, but writing can also calm my emotions, making me only focus on the one that I actually want to feel. Writing can clutter my thoughts, making the mess in my head ten times worse, or it can be the way everything gets out on paper and vanishes from my mind. Writing can do either or, but the other two have basically the same effect every single time.