S1E6 - Bookmarks: Why Not Just Dog-ear?

5.7.18

S1E6 - Bookmarks: Why Not Just Dog-ear? 

 

Books have been part of the insanity of waking life for many, many years, and 20 years just for me. At least, since that’s when I started reading words all by myself. Most of the time I’m still pretty good at it, although once in a while I’ll see a sentence or name of a store and think one of the words is completely different, but it usually settles back into making sense after an impactful moment of clarity within brain fog. Now that I’m onto longer chapter books that aren’t always appropriate for a single sitting, thought goes into how to treat the physical book. (Yes, even when I stay up late into the night sucked into some crazy story, crying with Stephen King’s “The Green Mile,” terrified with Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy.) Library books, borrowed books, books from our shelf of books a.k.a. the bookshelf, there is always care I put into the act of reading. I find that I use bookmarks to leave no trace in respect to the act of engaging with a physical book. The trace left is in my brain, memory, whatever, not on the page. Sometimes I’ll write a sentence down that holds on, or an idea, but the underlining of college days didn’t stick with me. Reading for me is basically a ritual that goes like this: I choose a book, I choose a bookmark, that bookmark stays with the book, and when I finish the book the bookmark goes back with the other bookmarks. While reading, I set the bookmark next to me if I’m safe in my home, stationary and staying put for a while, or in another portion of the book when I’m out and about like on BART to San Francisco. I often use handmade bookmarks because for special occasions growing up my mom would make beautiful watercolor-painted bookmarks. There’s one from when I was at Interlochen for the summer in 2009, my feyoncé has one with a guitar from a birthday, and all of them are special memories. Some of the bookmarks seem to have left the pile indefinitely and are probably in books that I have yet to finish. On that note, I should really always keep them poking out of the top of books so I know which are in use. I can always pull one out and give up on the book; sometimes that just happens! I do dog-ear one particular book, a daily sort of topic-based meditation-y book I keep in the bathroom. It became a habit since I go through it each year, but maybe when the edges fall off that will change. How do you treat books in your moments of mind-bending literary exploration?

S1E5 - The Pit in the Stomach: Can We Make It Rock Our World?

4.2.18

S1E5 - The Pit in the Stomach: Can We Make It Rock Our World? 

 

Before I think or talk about how mundane and annoying this feeling, the pit in the stomach, usually seems, the answer is yes, absolutely, it can rock our world! I never used to think that, though. I’m the sort of person who often plans what to say in my head for days for a simple conversation about something I have strong feelings about that I didn’t express earlier. When I was in school (even college which was a few years ago now), I went over speeches for academic classes over and over because I thought that if I could just say exactly what I planned on, everything would be ok and the anxiety would have been worth it because it made me prepare well. As a mainly classical violinist, only recently have I felt a desire in certain intimate performing situations to talk to the audience, and they really appreciate it each time and make me want to do it more. People love to know that we care and think deeply about what we do, and I love to know what other people care about too! It has been a long journey for me, an ongoing battle with feeling like everyone knows I’m really just an inadequate, uninteresting, bullheaded human being. Which, you know, we all kind of are since when do we let ourselves really delve deep and reach our full potential with a project we have? But actually, we’re also all pretty great! We could do more, and hopefully with more balance in life and time for the things that actually matter that will come to pass for each of us. Until then, humbleness blended with confidence is a scary balance, and more often than not I feel that pit in my stomach telling me I need to hunker down and numb myself and stop wanting to accomplish more. “It’s too much,” my stomach tells me, “you’re not good enough.” **Pause, angry voice** STOP IT, PIT IN THE STOMACH, WHY ARE YOU REALLY HERE??? **Pit in stomach voice** “Oh, well let me sing you a little ditty - I’m a karma karma karma karma karma chameleon. I’m here to stay, I’m here to stay. I’m here to talk with you, I’m here to rock with you, chamilamilamilamila chameleon!” **Back to me** Wait, what? Stop for a second, you’re here to rock? Wow, I never thought about that before. That pit in the stomach suddenly becoming really groovy is a game changer, but how do remind ourselves it’s here to communicate? It’s scary, but not the mean thing we might think! One thing I believe is that we need to let ourselves out of our comfort zones, past discomfort into the zone of letting ourselves be who we are. Because honestly, being uncomfortable is out of my comfort zone, thinking always that something is wrong. I’d much rather burst into a random song and mess it up then be like **Pitiful voice** arghmelksjdfowhf;alskdjf I’m so scared, I can’t say anything. **Normal voice** And that chameleon song is something I actually started singing this past Friday morning when I was asking what the pit in my stomach would say. Let me back up and tell you that I’m in the middle of a huge internal process. I’ve journaled a lot in the past few months, and I’ve talked to people in a lot of situations that were highly stressful for me specifically because of communication. I felt embarrassed and scared, but in the end very relieved that I had these conversations and let both sides be heard. Sometimes I don’t know quite when to let something go and I still take things personally a lot, but good communication is a muscle that used time after time seems to become stronger. The past week or so, for the first time ever, I am engaged in fully reading and enjoying a self-help book. It’s called “How to Be Yourself,” written by Ellen Hendriksen, PH.D (she also has the Savvy Psychologist podcast, which I highly recommend). The book is specifically about social anxiety, but really taps into things that work for all different forms that anxieties take in our minds. And she asks us what the lurch in our stomach would specifically tell us could go wrong. We can’t say everything any longer. Wait, what? We have to be specific about our fears? But isn’t that just dwelling on the negative? Nope, not at all. It’s showing ourselves that our minds are often very confused and not rooted in the reality of who we are. The pit in my stomach has become that telltale sign that some anxiety is healthy and trying to take hold, and it wants to help us know that! Feelings, emotions, fears, all of these things and more are part of every human’s thoughts. Often we think we’re being super pragmatic with a situation and feel relieved when we make it to the other side unscathed, but that is a huge stressful thing, constantly rolling details over in our minds and being like, “it’ll be over soon! I’m not gonna die, but basically everything else bad could possibly happen.” Personally, I’ve spent years overthinking, putting myself in a limbo of practicality I can’t escape, ruminating (yeah cows, we have multiple stomachs, too! Thought stomachs in our weird brain digestive system.). I want to feel like I’m doing what I can and not holding myself back, and I realized the whole “you get what you give” thing is absolutely true, within ourselves as well. We can’t just sit back and think it’ll all work itself out after a while if we let it go. We need to embrace our fears and show them it’s ok to be scared and unsure. And to leave this moment with a hope for what I want to work on - here are 3 things I always want to be: dedicated, kind, and assertive. What values do you hold that are the most important to you?

S1E4 - Red lights: Why Don’t They Last a Bit Longer?


4.23.18

S1E4 - Red lights: Why Don’t They Last a Bit Longer?

 

When I’m driving and hit a red light, or a yellow that turns red, it becomes a waiting game. Is it like that for you? If only this daily occurrence could be a reset button for drivers, a calm breather that gets us ready to focus on the road for however much longer. 1, 2, 3, ahhhhh. Instead, people around me constantly inch forward, itching for that chance to go so they can be 2 seconds ahead until the next light. One day about a year ago I saw someone like that get t-boned in an intersection in San Jose because someone else ran the red light we were waiting for the other people to get. I got a lot more cautious at intersections after that and started wondering, why can’t the light which is about to turn green just stay red for a few more seconds? Well, duh. It’s not us, it’s them, obviously. The technology that would make this possible is definitely there, but we of the “I need instant gratification for happiness” world aren’t ready. Like, we’re way past dial-up internet so lights need to change immediately for us when the other direction is finished with its turn. We learned to share in kindergarten, and that’s where it stopped. But I wait anyway, especially when the other cars don’t seem to be slowing down. Honk all you want behind me, just don’t kill me. I’ll be as safe as I was trying for, and guess what? I won’t think you’re that cool. Since I know you care.