The Problem with Being an Extrovert

… is that I often feel like I have so much to say, and so many thoughts, but when it’s not the appropriate time or place to say it, I just want to EXPLODE!! For some reason or another, it’s been difficult to talk to most people about things going on, both for fear of their reactions and also because the timing isn’t right. (So much of my scheduling revolves around school! And the number 1 rule of finals time is that no new factors can be introduced to my life, or everything gets thrown off whack!!)

This has been a test of my patience, and a challenge of focus. I’ve been looking into character/personality things lately, like… horoscopes… hahahaha I’ve always identified a lot with the descriptions of the rat from the Chinese zodiac, and never really paid much attention to the Sagittarius descriptions — I’ve been finding myself agreeing with them both. Not really my style, but perhaps it’s helpful now to just rely on something outside of myself. The feeling trapped thing is manifesting itself, pushing my energy/focus in some weird outlets lately.

Looking forward to these two weeks to be over so I can let loose and re-find myself.

 

Boundaries and Connections

I’ve been exploring some of the central themes in my life, and trying to figure out how these major themes have existed and affected decisions I’ve made in my life.

I’m realizing the boundaries is something that comes into play a lot for me. A little background: I grew up in as the youngest, only girl, in a rather traditional and hyper-protective Chinese household. Asking to hang out with friends outside of the house required a lot of strategizing, needed assistance from friends, and was only requested when I REALLY wanted to go out. I understand my mom’s reasons for keeping me in, and I understand the irrational/random/spontaneous dangers of the inner-city I grew up in. She just didn’t see why I needed to go out. I was an extrovert raised as an introvert. So, as a consequence of my house rules, I constantly plotted ways to get out — I yearned for freedom.

Once I got to college, I first felt guilty for doing anything my mom wouldn’t have been okay with. I made these own moral and ethical boundaries for myself, internalized by my upbringing. But once I started spanning outside of those fences, I just let loose. I felt empowered to expand my rules, I set my own boundaries, and sometimes I didn’t even have any. It was so incredibly liberating.

In conjunction with learning about social structures and social constructs, I spent my undergrad years researching, analyzing, dissecting, and breaking down the social rules that are invisibly in place, specifically concentrating on sexuality and gender. Understanding the sexuality is fluid, that it can change, that it’s not JUST black and white, THAT spoke to me because I don’t believe that sexuality can be just boxed into categories of being 100% heterosexual or 100% homosexual. I don’t believe in that binary — there’s so much gray area, and it’s our upbringing and our cultures that shape what we we’re ALLOWED to express and feel towards certain groups of peoples. (And I disagree with the term “bisexual” because the word itself further reinforces that gender is the main component to attraction when I see it as seeing connections BEYOND one’s gender. “Bisexuality” also is used in a way to mean the “in between” of heterosexuality and homosexuality; it further reinforces that there are only two boxes you can check off for “sexuality.”) I truly believe that people crave connections, and it should cross boundaries to make those connections in order for us to truly reach our full potential. A person without connections becomes crippled; humans are social creatures. We’re meant to be connected to each other.

In my work, in a work setting and with projects, I’ve been told by supervisors that I excel at working within a few boundaries —not too many rules, but also not completely unstructured. I think that’s why I do well in school. I have the rules of the assignments, and I explore the entire space of how far I can comfortably go within that space.

Even in my everyday life, the way I approach situations, I find myself frequently testing my boundaries. I push the envelope to see how far I can go without getting in trouble. I find myself needing to set myself apart so that I don’t fit within the mold — I refuse to be a part of the status quo without knowing why. “Be a sheep, but be a smart sheep.” As social animals, we have to fit in, but we should be conscious of when we do.

Boundaries are definitely shifting in my life right now, a little bit beyond my own control, it seems. Previously, I felt like I was in control of where I set my markers of how far off the path I should go. This time, I feel like it’s an external force that’s influencing me, and I’m just carrying the marker until something tells me, “Here! This is the spot!” This is a bit scary, blindly following my instincts…

Revisiting Vulnerability

Connections, feeling connected, feeling belonging is what our lives are all about. And so much of what we feel and what we doubt/second guess about ourselves is how we perceive our ability, our WORTHINESS of being connected. The thing that DISconnects us is caused by the FEAR of not being worthy of connection.

Shame is the fear of disconnection, that we’re not worthy of connection. Shame isn’t guilt. Guilt is focused on behavior (“I did something bad,” “Sorry, I made a mistake”); shame is focused on the self (“I am bad,” “Sorry, I am a mistake”). Shame grows exponentially with secrecy, silence, and judgement. The antidote to shame is empathy.

Empathy comes with being able to connect with others. And in order for connections to happen, we have to let ourselves be seen — REALLY seen. We need to be transparent, we need to DARE GREATLY, and make ourselves vulnerable in order to let others see us for who we truly are.

*** Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, CHANGE, joy, belonging, love. ***

I’ve been feeling a bit introspective lately.

Perhaps it’s because I’m half-way through my time at Art Center, perhaps it’s because 30 is creeping up on me, perhaps it’s ’cause a lot of my friends are married and have children. I’ve been thinking a lot about life, love, friendships, goals in life, and I’ve been visiting the past a lot lately. So much of it has been attempts to do some soul-searching.

Every time there’s a big life change, I can’t help but to feel small moments of being lost. In my teens, I was challenged with finding my own goals and my own personality.  Events in my early twenties pushed me to be truly comfortable in my own skin, to be confident in who I am, despite the status quo. The last few years has been concentrated in my career, what I want to do moving forward, what kind of impact I want to make, how I might achieve my goals.

I don’t really know. Most days, I’m okay with that. It’s scary, but I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, especially when creativity requires space, nurturing, and exploration.

I’ve been feeling trapped, probably because I’m running on fumes at school, and I desperately need a term off. (It’s my fifth term straight, packed mostly with studios!) I want to travel. I want to discover new places and sights. I crave something new.

I want deep connections. I want to feel intensity. I want to explore life.
This is so Sagittarius of me. Trying to hang in there these next four weeks!

A mission to make a stronger body

The last five years has been a bit of a whirlwind of experiences for my body. With vertigo, RSI, bunion development, and an overall weaker body, I really take for granted the youthfulness of my teen body.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat better (will be going on a low/slow-carb menu soon, and I’ve cut out a lot of sugars since moving to LA), been trying to swim/jog frequently, get to yoga twice a week, and keeping up with physical therapy workouts.

I know it’s hard to see the outcome when it’s a slow gradual build, but I’m really looking forward to this new initiative to just be healthier, and to treat my body nicely.

One thing I’ve been thinking has been: would my pregnant friend eat this? Helps me figure out if it’s worth eating certain foods or not hahah

Cheers to healthy living!