I was just riding my bike around the corner when I saw the pretty pearl necklace on display. The little pearls behind the glass window so iridescent, they shone through like little diamonds dancing in a night sky. I almost heard glass breaking through the more I glued my nose on the window, so I thought perhaps if I stop by everyday, the glass will shatter every so often that one day the pearls shall breakaway in the skies flying free like a bird.
I became obsessed about it. I have my dinner nearby the corner street every night, watching over it with an eagle eye. Still, I know the six-digit price I have to pay in order to stop this. In this dark place I am in my life, these pearls became my precious gem. Then I began to feel that stiff coldness in the air.
It’s simple, really. They changed the pearl necklace into real diamonds. Now I feel the coldness in my heart, a hollow heart that I can no longer follow.
It’s barely there, you see; so elusive, so obscure – just like the day you waved goodbye to me forever, and all the days I’ve been through since then without you, the light of my life.
The Notebook. The Lion King – almost all the Disney classics but definitely all the Pixar movies. I used to watch The Matrix trilogy a lot on DVD, I was glued to the screen when watching LOTR Extended versions on DVD, I have played Spider-Man 1 and 2 countless times, and I enjoy the slightly vulgar rom-coms like The Ugly Truth but also enjoy the light-hearted ones like When Harry Met Sally. I love Madagascar 1 and especially 2, and Kungfu Panda too. I also love dramas like The Illusionist and Catch Me If You Can. And all the Christopher Nolan movies and all of Hollywood’s superhero movies. I also like Bruce Almighty because it’s so funny it made me cry so much I fell down from my seat when I was watching in the theatre. I don’t have a particular favorite movie – there are plenty of movie buffs like me too, I’m pretty sure, perhaps even buffer than me. But I hate thriller and horror movies.
Anyway, let’s get back to reality. I’ve just reposted an old note I wrote on Facebook here on this blog. I learned that I’ve been a hypocrite, not just this instance, though; of course, there are so many times that I realized that. It just never really turned out to matter a lot for me until I read back this Note entry on Facebook.
There’s a whole conventional current that people rode off on the mainstream, water rushing like a blue streak, claiming that they’re happy in this over-scrutinized, over-publicized, and constantly trying to please everyone except themselves in this life, but if they’re so happy, why do they have the blues all the time?
If you haven’t familiarize yourself with my blog, you’re going to learn that I’ve been depressed for some time now, for a couple of years at least. I realized that most of the time, especially in work settings, other people’s opinions are more important to me than my own. And I’m in blue all the time. As time goes by, I feel more inferior to others and less able to speak up. Maybe it’s the effect of growing up: You learn to go with the conventional current and accept their opinions as your own, then you self-compromise and you learned that you can’t change your own philosophy and then you torment yourself with this struggle to believe what others believe – until the end, when you don’t know what to believe anymore.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde
I am already tired of the pretensions I have to put up all the time; I don’t enjoy drawing as much as I like to write. If I have to do an artwork, I’ll plan every step like I write concrete images into descriptive words, and then I get too perfectionistic and fall in love with the details that I don’t have time to finish the piece in due time. And then the artwork becomes labor for me. Unlike words, illustrating narrative lines involves not the compromise you have to do for others; it’s in fact the total expression of your soul, so you fight for what you believe in in a laborious effort to produce something beautiful. Words, however, is a form of craft. You take pieces here and there, you lead using a single paragraph just below the heading line, you tweak the pieces into another language of your own, and you get a piece of article that connects the writer’s thoughts to the reader’s emotions. You create the same opinion, you join souls into one community, and you rejoice in that universal truth you’re speaking through that piece.
Now, years passed, and I compromised too much about myself because I listened to many different beliefs, and many different truths that are somewhat or really different from mine. I long to find the just, the eternal, the enduring. I know that I’m still a picky person and I recently regretted ever cultivating that trait of mine that’s now becoming a permanent characteristic. I lowered my standards in myself and in everything else, because I realized my standards was too high before and that’s how I brought myself down to the depression era I had. Then I saw that I concluded the Facebook Note on perfectionism with this:
And there’s actually nothing wrong about being picky, as long as you don’t lie to yourself about having something with a heart of 50% and enduring the feeling for the rest of your life, knowing that there’s something else out there, and instead fly solo and be everything you want to be and live the life you already have to the fullest! Because being picky always bring the best (and worst) out of ya…
And the truth is, I’ve been lying to myself for about 5-6 years now. Yes, I enjoy making art, but not as my career. I claimed I wanted to work for huge companies in the Bay Area but I didn’t have that passion. I have passions for other things, like becoming an author or a novelist, or an entrepreneur owning a publishing house, or working as a staff writer for a national magazine, or volunteer to perform readings for children and write my experience about it while taking note (pictures) about their cuteness. The truth is, I am having a Bachelor’s degree in art with a heart of 50% and enduring the feeling the rest of my life, except that after graduation I will turn that path into the road not taken. Throughout my college life, I thought I was just a lazy person who never go to the free drawing workshops and all the fun extracurricular activities involving drawing. I thought that I study people’s faces and drawing things under observations ever since I was a kid because I intrinsically like drawing. But no – given various writing assignments for the last couple of years, incidentally during my junior and senior years now in college, I realized that I’m a friggin’ hardworking person. It doesn’t matter if I get the extra credit or not, but I did it anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mid-term paper, but I learned a lot from writing out the blues in “The Blue In Black And White“. I don’t do it for the credits but for the assignments itself, which I enjoy doing. It’s a like a quest of your own to discover for yourself, which I’m guessing it’s why the English word for it is called a ‘quest-ion’. I’m such a hypocrite that I tell people don’t do things half-heartedly that I am precisely doing it right now.
“I don’t understand how we’ve got writing assignments from school already and you’re still seeking to answer essay questions for a hobby,” my brother once told me. Exactly. It’s like I can’t understand how these people keep getting their sketchbooks out and just start drawing, and keep on drawing for long hours with such a spirited face. That’s what I see everyday, going to school, feeling so left out, feeling so f***ed up, all because I realized I’m living a lie.
It is only in drawing half-heartedly and not remain a perfectionist that I can finish my big drawing assignments on time while at the same time committing to writing 100% all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is only through finishing my last few classes through graduation that I can finally break free from the prison I set up 5 years ago for the sole purpose of impressing others other than myself. Private college tuitions for as long as 5+ years was the price I had to pay for doing something untrue to my authentic self, and I don’t want that to happen to others who are pursuing their dreams.
And if somebody had to make a movie of your life, I’d better be the best actor there ever was for my role starting from today. Because if it’s adapted into a movie, it must be a pretty damn good story.
I was cleaning up my Facebook Notes, which I rarely do but occasionally I do. It’s too bad Facebook isn’t promoting the Notes app as much as they used to anymore. You might’ve noticed some of the notes I already reposted here on this blog. This is one of the entries I found worth reposting here, and here’s the original link. This note was posted on my Facebook on 3 August 2009. For better reading purposes, I edited a little bit here.
Here’s another new note that I came to notice I update monthly.
I came across the word ‘perfectionist’ again today after a looong time and discussed it with a few close peeps around me. It’s just hard; it makes you picky, it makes you indecisive, it makes your ego go sky high… Oh well, I’ll remember a quote in my online world literature class that really applies to how human beings work: “It’s never done; it’s only due.” We’re constantly changing ourselves, aren’t we? We are human, we make mistakes, and those mistakes are so generously forgiven by Jesus, and then we make those mistakes again, don’t you think we’re a bunch of idiots? At least that’s what a perfectionist would think…
During my summer stay here this year (in Jakarta), I’ve learned more than I have ever did than the previous years. After all, it’s a matter of fixing your attitude, isn’t it? You can learn a lot if you want, and be ignorant and refuse to learn new things. Because you always have a choice. And when you don’t, there’s always one thing that you can change, which is your attitude.
I realized that next year my age will start with the digit ’2′, which means I’ve went through more than a quarter (or hopefully just a quarter) of my life, and big decisions are coming my way to move on to the next chapter of my life. I went to a 3 full-day seminar by Mr. Tung Desem Waringin, a man who’s very happy, energetic, lively, successful, and loves God as he loves his family and his colleagues. I reckoned his spirits with mine during those 3 days, and I’ve made life-long decisions on my life following those seminars about my life, financially… Promises that I know I have to fulfill, because if not, I’m going to disappoint the people I love in the future. After all, who doesn’t want to be rich? Because, as Mr. Tung have mentioned, “Money = idea.” Money is not the root of all evil, neither can it buy you everything you want, it’s neutral. Just like water. But we’ll get on to that later.
Earning money is not as hard as people always think. It’s all about creativity, it’s just that, among all the seven deadly sins, greed is what people have and they think of earning money quick and big, when actually it’s all about tweaking little everyday habits and saving a couple of pennies, and sometimes, being creative can get you lucky. And what about water? Health professionals have bombarded the importance about drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, but researchers have found that it’s not actually a requirement, because there is no more benefit than filling you up and knowing you’re not hungry but just thirsty, and because there is no less benefit than keeping you hydrated, with 0 calories. It doesn’t help you remove toxins, improve skin tone, lose your persistent weight, nor ward off your headaches. Drinking less than that? No problem. You’ve got your fruits and veggies, don’t you? Because water is neutral. But after a day of perspiring in the sun and sprinting my ass ’til I sweat like a man, water tastes like heaven to me. (Oh and btw, I can now sprint 13.2km/h for 4 minutes! Thanks to chugging water) Just like money. After finishing a great project that I’ve loved doing and get a reasonable pay, that reward seems like the little moment in life where I can thank God that I’m alive. It’s neutral, you know? From there I keep the pennies, and I’ve been saving up till an amount where I deposited and changed the number of digits of the amount I have in the bank. Just because of this small habit. And chugging down water like a gentong? It made me feel so energetic that I just have to move all day and do things I love, without the emotional eating.
Last month, I also did my mid-term paper entitled “The Blue In Black And White“, in which I decided to write anyway because I want to and not because I remind myself that I’m doing a paper. For the love of God I got an A, and my instructor is one that rarely gives anything above an A- as she mentioned it herself. It’s an imitation paper, where I have to imitate anything I want; either the style, the subject matter, or the tone, ANYTHING, of any author I want to imitate. I chose Franz Kafka. Yeah. The most complex guy of the modern day, besides Haruki Murakami, of both I can relate to so much of being a misfit in practically everything. Kafka, being a German-speaking Jewish, social atheist, and family disoriented, is a man who has onlooking eyes to the days of World War I, and the complexities of any modern men today. I felt the same way, almost all the time. There isn’t any real fit in this world except with God and the people I love, and my jeans and my T-shirts, but other than that? There’s a whole conventional current that people rode off on the mainstream, water rushing like a blue streak, claiming that they’re happy in this over-scrutinized, over-publicized, and constantly trying to please everyone except themselves in this life, but if they’re so happy, why do they have the blues all the time? Oh well, I’ll upload my paper after the jump.
For God’s sake I have many, many independent dreams that I want to make in this life alone, and that happiness I would share with the people I truly love, because sometimes I get too tired of the surroundings that I have to be in and pretensions I have to put up. In any way, connecting with all different kinds of people in this world is a great thing, you know? It teaches you how to be a man (as in human…), constantly changing yourself and tweaking little things about yourself to make things work, to make YOU work to be worthy of the love from your Father. And there’s actually nothing wrong about being picky, as long as you don’t lie to yourself about having something with a heart of 50% and enduring the feeling for the rest of your life, knowing that there’s something else out there, and instead fly solo and be everything you want to be and live the life you already have to the fullest! Because being picky always bring the best (and worst) out of ya…
I’m halfway through reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers: The Story of Success” now, which is a bit late since its 2008 hit for 11 straight weeks in the New York Times Bestseller list. The first half made a point on the successful seizing opportunity, while the other half that I’ve yet to read, discusses about the impacts of their legacy.
What I’ve learned so far is that an outlier, meaning “something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body” or “a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample”, becomes successful in the world because they seize opportunities. They have had helps along the way, “…and no one – not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses – ever makes it alone,” explains Gladwell. They embrace this trait, aside from possessing the personality, the intelligence, the talent, and the ambition. These are qualities that celebrate a person’s individual merit, which is what most of us think of when judging the successful person.
They’re also lucky people thriving in their generations. If they lived in another time in another place, things would’ve been completely different. So much is predetermined, even when it comes to birth dates. It’s not a coincidence that computer whizzes were born in 1955, and business tycoons were born in the 1930s. The best hockey players were most mostly born in January, February, and March. That got me thinking… What about names?
More and more parents are getting unusual names in this generation compared to earlier generations. Why? In the age of change, we are placing individuality and uniqueness as higher values than ever. Almost a decade ago, when we hear Phoebe’s new name was Princess Consuella Banana Hammock from Friends (Season 9), we think she’s ridiculous, as the way Phoebe has always been. These days, you hear celebrity babies named Kal-El, Blue Angel, and Pilot Inspektor. A young man from Oregon changed his name to Captain Awesome. A British boy changed his name to Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk And The Flash Combined. Can you imagine someone with a name like that working in a mundane secretarial job?
Whenever I order something at Starbucks and they asked for my name, I often say “Michelle” or “Lucy”, just for the sake of simplicity and that I don’t have to spell out my name plus repeating myself.
My name is Stacia, and I’ve always believed that I’m the different one in the family. I’m the youngest child and the only daughter. I have two elder brothers named Vincent and Jeffrey. My name could’ve been Sarah or Stephanie – but it turned out to be Stacia. I asked my mother why, she never gave me a specific answer for 22 years. “We wanted you to be ‘Tracie’, but that sounds kind of like a guy. So we thought ‘Stacie’ would be okay, but then we went for ‘Stacia’. So there you are,” she half shrugged, half smiled.
There are plenty of friendly strangers on the streets of San Francisco who can start up a conversation with you, especially whenever you’re walking somewhere alone and you carry an open body language and walk in good posture. No matter how crowded the streets are, you get that. On one occasion, a stranger said this regarding my name: “It sounds like a stage name.”
Sure, a unique name makes memorable first impressions. But when individualism is taken too far, it can put us right into self-absorption. “I think it is an indication of our culture becoming more narcissistic,” said Jean Twenge, author of “The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement” and “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before”. Apparently this trend of giving unusual names to newborns began during the baby boom. Now that the world population is over 7 billion, parents are focusing more on their children standing out in the world. Now there’s a strong “drive for distinctiveness” in this era, so it was called in a new study by social scientists Jonah Berger and Baba Shiv. For someone whose name is Stacia walking down the fruits aisle, she would buy something like a dragonfruit or a rambutan to snack on for the week, as opposed to apples and bananas. Well, that’s not the case for me – my favorite fruits are apples and bananas and these days watermelons, actually. But the study tells us that people who are stimulated to think of distinctiveness were more likely to walk much further to get their favorite snack.
How did the researchers know about this? Well, they asked college students questions totally unrelated to food, then instructed them to write an essay on “a time they felt extremely distinctive … separate and different from the people around you.” Besides walking a lot further to get those snacks, they were also willing to pay about 70% more for it. Of course, studies like these are old news for the modern advertisers. Multitudes of mass-produced commodities are sold today that promises consumers that their products express the real, authentic you. Your Hermes Birkin bag, your Louboutin shoes, and your J Crew sweaters make you you. Who are we kidding?
“There’s been this cultural shift toward focusing on the individual, toward standing out and being unique as opposed to fitting in with the group and following the rules,” Twenge tells LiveScience. Before the baby boomers were born, parents placed higher priority on their children being obedient. That was in the 1950s, when Apple founder baby Steve and fellow computer whiz baby Bill was born. Now that we’re living in the midst of Millennial opportunists, society generally placed their values higher on standing out than fitting in.
As to whether these unique names lead to narcissistic traits or not, it’s still too early to tell. Nevertheless, a growing body of research do suggest that a name have long-lasting effects on the baby’s life, whether it’s good or bad, common or uncommon. David Figlio, a researcher at the Northwestern University in Illinois explains that “we’re always trying to think about the first bit of a child’s identity and so if we as a society pay a lot of attention to names it makes a lot of sense that people’s names might influence how they think about themselves and the way in which people might think about them.”
As a kid, I don’t really like my name. Because it’s weird and I always have to correct people how to pronounce it. But then, the belief that I am different in the family, just as my mother has always confess to me that she has higher hopes for me than any of my brothers, I became the most outspoken one and never really been afraid to speak up in a foreign environment or express my opinion in Speech class. As a result, I set expectations for myself and know that I have to work hard to reach them. The problem, however, is setting high expectations that are higher in value for me, but may not be valuable for someone else. That is, in fact, a dose of narcissism. “The relationship is so strong that when people want to measure self-esteem in a more subtle way you can do it with the name-letter task,” said Twenge while indicating a study method involving subjects picking out their favorite letters in the alphabet. Not surprisingly, those with higher self-esteem picked the letters in their name, especially the first letter in their initials.
And of course, I do like S. S stands for a lot of things, like Success (three Ss there!). But I do know that I’m Still Stuck in School, in my Senior year now, Strengthening my Soul and Stamina to Succeed in my Standard.