1 – the good times were good, the bad was real bad
Ah February. You half listened to what I wanted from you, and gave me some good times, but also some p bad ones! I’m ending February and beginning March much like I ended January and began February, meaning that there has been a string of Real Bad Days that I’m eager to leave behind. I did some nice things in February, to be sure – had good times with friends, went on a lil trip to Big Bear, did some good hard work in therapy, got an A+ on the midterm for this class that everyone said was terrifying. But I also was stressed out and tired bc of health and home things, and of bad things to happen, they were pretty bad things to deal with. We’re not even getting to the public bad news of February, lol. Anyway, March is my birthday month, I’m really hoping it’s a better time. Fingers crossed!
January has been an utter shit to me. The first few days were still winter break for me, but then I started winter quarter, which I have heard many people say is the worst quarter out of all of them. So I’ve been trying to balance my four classes, internship, job, and not give up eating and showering, but I’ve also been dealing with this health thing. My stupid body’s taken me to doctor’s office, specialist’s offices, so many please hold’s on the phone, insurance customer service, and a whole nightmare. It’s such a slog to take care of yourself, god. I’ve been so tired. Cried a lot. Cried in a school bathroom for the first time! A professor’s office! All that fun stuff. So, yes, January has been a shit, and I am hoping February turns out better. On the up and up, right? (It’s Feb 10 as I write this, so I can say that I thiiiink I’m coming out of it.)
We’re fully into 2020, so here are the things I want to do this year. New year, same me just tryna get a little better to give myself more joy and peace. I really like this Instagram post from @revelatori; it helped me conceptualize goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions not as antidotes to our deficiencies (“I suck and am lazy but this year I’m going to not”) but as exercises in self-compassion and gifts to ourselves to make our lives better, because we deserve to not hate things all the time (“Taking care of my body will bring me physical and mental strength and improve my life, and I want that for myself”). Anyway, we’re like mostly through January already lmao so heeeere are all the things I am hoping to do in the coming days and weeks and months!
I’m a sucker for tidy endings and new beginnings. Aren’t we (humans, that is) all? Let’s look back at the year and all that I did/did not do from the list of things I said I wanted to do at the beginning of the year. I think I looked at this list maybe four times maximum out of the entire year, so this will be a discovery to me as well as you.
My first quarter at UCLA ended in December, so that was my first finals week and all that here. I’m really happy with it overall! So, a couple weeks into the month, I headed back up north to do not much for winter break. I watched The Mandalorian, cuddled a lot with my boyfriend, saw friends and my brother, and wondered if I’d ever use the yoga mat I packed for winter break. It was nice to get a lil rest from everything, but we are already in January 10 and boy oh boy has winter quarter hit me like a truck.
2 – things i liked
The Anthropocene Reviewed: John Green, of The Fault in Our Stars and Crash Course fame, hosts this podcast where he reviews various aspects of the human-centered world on a five-star scale. I discovered this on the 99% Invisible podcast. When I was in middle school I loved Green’s books and my friends and I even went to see the Vlogbrothers live. Then he got even more popular and I think I thought he was too self-aggrandizing and pretentious, especially his Tumblr presence, and now I haven’t thought about him in a couple years. Until now! I was so surprised when he came on the show, and pleasantly so when his podcast turned out to be funny and insightful and touching. They feel the same way as his books felt for me years ago, only a little more smart, and a little less teen angst. The episode on the potatoes of Lenin made me cry, and the episode on penalty kicks in football/soccer made me care about sports more than I ever have in my life. I’m happy to have come back to John Green in this way.
Baby Yoda: We watched The Mandalorian, not all of it, and the best thing ever is Baby Yoda. The rest of it, eh. It was good, but I don’t care for fighting. Love Baby Yoda though.
Mario Party on Nintendo Switch: Not much to say, other than I play as Monty Mole and am not very good, but still have a grand old time.
3 – things i did not like
Someone stole my Instagram post: I posted a photo of UCLA and then someone else posted it! This was weird and I felt weird at how annoyed I felt. I thought I should have been more chill – it was an Instagram photo, some pixels and that’s all. But I was pretty upset about it. She ended up crediting me in her caption and said she thought it wasn’t my photo in the first place, so whatever, sort of believable mistake. Just a weird occurrence in my month, lol.
Vacation with some people is not vacation: Taking breaks is important, and I was really glad to go home and see my boyfriend and friends and moof around a lot. Sometimes ‘home’ doesn’t feel like home though, because people there impede your sense of self and safety. A big realization for me!
4 – other things i liked that you can click and also like
I had no idea what I wanted to do, and felt “stuck” for a long time.
Eventually – when I was working in restaurants, unable to afford going back to school, and feeling like I was so far away from doing anything I enjoyed – I gave up on having a 5 year plan or destination/dream job, and just started to follow my curiosity and values to create meaning in my life outside of work. That led me back to the path of community work and activism that led me to Congress. The funny thing is that I had been invested in community work since I was young, I just didn’t quite realize it.
That’s all to say if you feel “stuck” one of the most helpful (and difficult) things to do is to let go of expectations about external achievements (title, job, money) and start listening to what you are immediately curious about, invested in, or good at and follow that in ways outside of work. That can help you re-orient yourself.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram Stories, answering the Q ‘how did you know you wanted to do what you do?’
5 – camera roll
In closing, I leave you with a reminder of what my face looks like from a photo my brother took of me a few months ago and a Tweet I believe in strongly.
Happy almost New Year! Here are some more photos from my trip to Rome in uh July! Today is the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It was incredibly hot and I was tired and grumpy as a result.
We were so confused about tickets. So, so confused. I was really tired this day and it was really hot and we walked alllll the way from our hotel to the Colosseum and my travel companion and I are not bosom friends who can spend upwards of 72 hours together and have me still feel :]. All this to say, I almost cried when we ran into ticket trouble on top of all my other feelings. It’s always like that, huh? Depression? A bunch of things go a bit off and if your headspace is in a depressed hole at that time, it’s only a matter of time before one of those things pushes you to burst into tears! These posts about Rome have been colored by my depression during that time, and while I was there I felt so guilty for feeling depressed amidst all the beauty and privilege of travel. I still feel kinda guilty about it but I’m trying to remind myself that it’s OK to feel whatever I’m feeling and let it just pass through me, instead of feeling bad and then feeling bad about feeling bad on top of it all.
OK let’s get back to the Rome stuff!! This is the Arch of Titus, the sort of entrance point to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It was built after the Romans won their war against Judaea (present-day Israel, I think?) in AD 70 and so, uh, it was built by the Jewish slaves who were captured by the Romans. How awful, right? Your people lose the war and you all get captured and then you have to build an arch depicting that victory with all your enemies carrying off menorahs and slaves aka you?? Jeez. Caring about people really ruins how pretty some fancy old things look.
You think this woman’s saying “Look! It’s the Roman army carrying off a menorah! This is when the Jewish Diaspora was created because they no longer had a home!”?
The Basilica of Constantine, now. These arches are the side niches of the old basilica, so originally this place would have been fucking massive with a statue of Emperor Constantine on a throne at one end. His finger would have been as big as a human!! Lordy lord. I’m imagining an ancient Roman style Grand Central Station from NYC lol, because I think that’s the biggest rectangular building I’ve been in where I felt like whoa. I imagine that’s what this would feel like in its proper glory.
Some kind of temporary exhibition that I no longer recall the details of due to this being several months ago.
So, it’s the last month of the year and I am writing three final papers and trying desperately to come up with “good original ideas which contribute to a scholarly conversation”. Isn’t it funny how you go through school for so long being told to cite experts and remember this important objective fact and don’t give too much of your own opinions – and then eventually you’re just expected to pull some original insights out of your ass with no explanation of how to do that? Isn’t that just awesome?
So clearly I’m in a ‘really need a vacation’ mood. It takes energy to put myself out there and walk thirty minutes uphill to class each day and exercise seasonal wintertime dreariness away, and I am ready to be done with it for a bit. It’s the Sunday before finals week – I’ve only got a bit left. That feels so wild to me, because it literally feels like just yesterday that I was moving in and getting lost (I still get lost, so that is less a “feels like” thing and more a “happens on a regular basis” thing), and also just yesterday that I was far, far away from LA and had no idea why UC students always knew what numbered week it was. I am really looking forward to December – finishing up my first quarter here, hopefully seeing some good grades come out of it, my favorite holiday (Christmas!!), getting to take a breather after all this school, seeing friends and catching up and all that. November has been alright, all in all! More of the same, but with a bit of Trying Not Get Seasonal Depression seasoning.
2 – what is good
Queen & Slim: The film club here at UCLA did an advance screening of this for free – I felt very cool for seeing a movie before it was released and also wonderful for spending $0 to do such a cool thing, lol. This movie wrecked my whole damn heart and then some. The premise is that a black man and woman go on a first date and it doesn’t go that great. They’re driving home when they get pulled over by a cop, and he’s the worst kind of cop. He’s unreasonable and aggressive and makes demands he has no right to make. The woman steps out of the car and is like, hey man, I’m a lawyer, and you can’t do that, you need a warrant! The cop ends up shooting her in the leg and then fights with Daniel Kaluuya’s character, who grabs his gun and shoots him. They drive away and are basically on the run trying to escape to Cuba for the rest of the film. It is exactly as tense as that summary suggests, a blistering mirror to America, and it’s also so full of heart it makes you weep until your whole face doesn’t remember what it feels like to be dry. Melina Matsoukas directed – it’s her first film but she’s previously directed a whole truckload of music videos, like Beyoncé’s Formation. Lena Waithe wrote the screenplay. I know nothing about film – most of my movie reviews are just “yes good I like made me cry” – but I know that this one deserves attention. It is the kind of two hour long experience that leaves you troubled over the state of your racist, anti-black country and yet a little heartened by human connection and love; just enough to keep from barricading your heart up forever. It came out properly over Thanksgiving weekend and I really hope it gets a strong reception.
Community: Big tone switch here. This TV show has been over for a while, but it’s a sitcom that follows a study group of community college students and, you know, hijinks ensue. In community college I had a study group and one time we were talking about Community and people were like ‘haha let’s cast our study group in the roles in Community!’ and they decided I was Annie. I had never seen it at the time, so I Googled her and was like, oh great, I’m this prissy cardigan-wearing nerd girl. Thanks a lot. After that I did a lot of Wikipedia reading on the TV show and character, but didn’t actually watch the show until now. In hindsight, my Wikipedia activities entirely prove the accuracy of that casting. So I’m on season two now and it’s very funny! It’s so weird seeing Donald Glover being funny instead of dancing intensely.
Van Gogh at the Hammer: Another cool LA thing I did was go to a couple lectures on Vincent Van Gogh at the Hammer Museum! You guys, it was super fucking cool. Art historian John Walsh lectured on Van Gogh’s time in a three-part lecture series and I went to two of them. I learned so much about him and his art! I got to see some really cool paintings and drawings they carted out for this! And it was all free! They even had my favorite cookies from Trader Joe’s at the reception afterwards! Agh!!
Warranty earphones: My earphones broke and I was super bummed. In one fell swoop, I lost the ability to listen to podcasts while walking to class, music while doing laundry, absolute silence while walking past people I just don’t want to talk to… Anyway, turns out the warranty was still valid! So the company, Anker, sent me some new ones. This is the first time I’ve ever actually used a warranty, lol. It’s wonderful! Thank god they exist!
3 – what is bad
College dining halls, or rather, what they have exposed about me: I enjoy eating and I am extremely averse to spending/wasting money (in other words, cheap). I have grown up knowing that when I walk into a buffet, I cannot leave until I am stuffed to the brim and have to unbutton my pants, because that is how you know you got your money’s worth and didn’t waste food, because did you know your father grew up poor and food-insecure? So, now I’m here at UCLA, and the dining halls are the home to “the #1 college food in the country!” as the advertisements will proudly declare, and I have a meal plan that I’ve already paid for, and the set-up is exactly like a buffet. And I just keep eating!!!! And then I leave and go to class and I’m like “holy fuck, I feel like I’m gonna barf”!!! And the next day I go back and eat the same uncomfortable amount!!!!! I really need to learn a lesson here. It’s just so hard to shake this mindset of scarcity concerning food and money. I literally don’t need nine flatbread slices for dinner! I was probably full at five! Maybe even four! Why did I keep going! Agh!
My poor left loafer: One night I left my loafers out while trying to figure out a good interview outfit. The next morning I put them on and saw these things on them and, I mean, it can really only be my cat’s nails, right? I can’t think of anything else that would cause this shape so I think she must have decided to do a bit of biscuit kneading on top of them. Now my shoes look like this and I am very, very sad about it. I should look into how to get it fixed or if that’s possible at all.
The Now/Then app: A number of months ago, I declared my love for this app – it lets me track everything I do! In satisfying color blocks! Amazing! Actually, it became pretty terrible. Every time I did something I felt vaguely panicked because I had to pick what category my activity fell under. Is curling my hair under “health and hygiene” or “leisure”?? The stopwatch that goes when you hit start on a particular activity is stupid stressful. I’ve been trying to step back from endless productivity being a main goal of my life, so I deleted this app. It’s been going really well. I enjoy bar graphs and pie charts in nice colors depicting random facts of my life very much, but it ended up making my brain constantly panic over measuring how productive I was being.
My fingers/hands: I think I may have carpal tunnel, arthritis, or tendonitis. We are working on figuring what, but it’s pretty shit.
4 – cool things from the internet that i liked looking at
Am I overjoyed that I am Li? Do I think it is all of my positive traits and I am a cute fat panda to boot? Yes x2.
I got really into looking at embroidery and cross stitch things. I hope eventually it spurs me into making my own lol.
Erica Weiner’s Secret Message Acrostic Ring: This is $600, so approximately $580 more than I would ever consider spending on a ring in the next several years of my life, BUT BOY OH BOY. If you like fancy shiny things, secret messages, personalization, and romance and sentimentality, have I got the ring for you!! Acrostic rings were big in ye olden days (starting late 1800s, apparently) and each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a different gemstone. So it’s a SECRET FUCKING MESSAGE SPELLED IN EXPENSIVE FUCKING ROCKS. My god, how cool. Take my money. Let’s forget for a second that I don’t have the money for a $600 ring – what would I spell with it?? Isn’t that so hard to decide if you don’t have a spouse or a kid??
5 – camera roll
Doggo spotted looking at Van Gogh with his ma!
I used this recipe, although I did change it a little. It was pretty bland, which I guess is my bad for using an Indian recipe from a white person. I just thought it would serve me well as someone who cannot handle spicy food. But I added a lot of cilantro (as you can see) and it got much better! I think cilantro does that to everything.
My roommate and my friend sent me this meme literally less than ten minutes apart. My heart felt so full, like all those cheesy Pinterest boards say.
Thank u for being here with me. I hope the last weeks and days of your 2019 are good, safe, and easy.
What time better than midterm season to look back at my time in Rome, eh? We start in the Pantheon, which is actually unreal. Even with all the people there, like the Chinese couple I saw using it as an opportunity for a photoshoot (I am srs, this man had a huge variety of intense camera lenses and the woman had multiple scarves to do outfit changes as she posed it up), it is ~breathtaking~. Very much one of those buildings that you see in person and stop in your tracks and go, I understand what the postcards are about! Shit!
There are lots of fun facts that I learned from the audio tour on the Rick Steves in Europe app, but I have forgotten them. I do remember that this altar has changed according to the dominant religious and theological views of the time. Now, it’s Jesus and a Catholic cross, but back in the earliest days it was for Jupiter, the Ancient Roman god.
I always wonder what the people who work gift shop and custodial and everyday kinda jobs at these fancy tourist spots think about. To them, are we just fools gawking at their everyday background? Do they ever stop to look up and gawk themselves?
This is Rafael’s tomb! I was reading the little plaque about him and thinking about his life and work and getting all in my feelings and started to tear up… and then I heard a conversation behind me between a couple Americans that went something like –
Mom: Look, Rafael is buried here! The man the ninja turtle is named after!
Son: Oh my god. Wait. RAFAEL IS DEAD?!?
– and then I was snapped out of my feelings and had to stifle laughter. Americans deserve our reputation for being horrible guests in other countries.
OK out now! The square in front of the Pantheon is so busy all the time and it still blows my mind how so much modern life just happens in and around ancient buildings.
Our hotel walls were painted to appeal to hapless tourists like us.
I did the first half of the Rick Steves’ audio tour on his app today, starting at the Campo de’ Fiori. During the day it’s kind of like a farmer’s market vibe, but I get the impression a lot of the vendors just target tourists rather than it being a place for actual Romans to shop. One of the guys selling cabbages yelled “Konichiwa” at me which was a surprisingly racist start to my day.
Loved this show of EU solidarity!
The center of this square has a statue of a monk called Bruno, an outspoken Dominican priest who ended up getting kicked out of Italy, the Calvinists, the UK, the Lutherans in Germany, before finally getting burned right here by the Inquisition. Chilling, right?
It’s the penultimate month of the year and I am in week six of this ten week quarter thing and that calendar system is, you know, about as terrible as I thought it would be. (Except also I will be taking more classes and doing more stuff next quarter and I shudder to think at how overwhelmed and tired and stressed I may well be then.)
Anyway, I have been doing well. It feels a little weird to be like “yeah, I’m good”, and I’m pretty sure that’s me just used to being really anxious and depressed and not feeling good and now that I’ve made such a big move and am Surviving it’s like – Is this a joke? When’s the bad thing gonna happen? Where’s the proverbial other shoe that is definitely going to drop? I’m trying improve my self-talk, though, and just stop myself at “I’m good” before I get to catastrophizing and the like. In October I turned in my first few assignments here at UCLA, I got a good grade on the one assignment I got back, I hung out with people, I hung out with myself, I went to the gym, I kept my room relatively tidy except for one corner, I ate 100% more dessert items than I do at home. I feel pretty good about October, actually.
The thing I find myself comparing now to is a few years ago in Edinburgh. It was the same time of year and I was, in many ways, doing similar things: meeting new people, going to class in the form of huge lectures, walking about twenty-five minutes to get to class, eating by myself in the dining hall, studying and doing homework in fancy looking libraries. My mind is expecting Now to turn into That any second now, with the accompanying crying in bed, missing my boyfriend, agonizing over how I haven’t made my Best College Friend yet, feeling self-conscious about not laughing uproariously over dining hall food with a hashtag girl gang. I’m definitely in a better headspace about the whole thing now and, like I said before, I’m mostly sure my unease is me not quite knowing how to be OK. I’m figuring it out though, and I am OK. Soon I’ll be OK with being OK.
2 – good things
Cheyenne Barton on YouTube: This woman’s YouTube channel is so so nice, my lord. She’s an artist in a lot of different ways – she illustrates, makes videos, acts, and sings. Her videos on YouTube are so sweet and charming. I really love seeing her sit down to draw her stickers while her cat Sophie walks around her, make tea with her partner, and go to cafes and whatnot in the Pacific Northwest where she lives. Her illustrations are colorful and cute and happy. I usually put some YouTube videos on when I do my lil nighttime bathroom routine of skincare and teethcare and whatnot and recently I’ve been watching more videos from artists rather than influencers and it’s very nice! We’ll tackle the debate on whether influencers are artists another time, but for now my clarification here is that most influencer YouTube videos say something like “here are things I bought or received from PR teams this month and some affiliate links, hooray for capitalism, consumption, and destroying the planet with glitter packaging”. Anyway I digress from my praise of Cheyenne, highly recommend, love her, cannot get enough.
The Mind Explained on Netflix: This is a spinoff of the Vox ‘Explained’ show focusing on, well, ~THE MIND~ so psychology and the brain and that sort of thing. It’s informative, wonderfully edited, and narrated by Emma Stone, who still has a lovely voice despite her Scarlett Johansson-esque choice in roles recently. My favorite episodes so far have been ‘Psychedelics’, which features the author Michael Pollan and discusses research on LSD and shrooms as treatment for mental disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression; and ‘Mindfulness’, which explores mindful meditation originally from Buddhism and features Buddhist monks as well as Western biomedical researchers who explain what happens to your brain waves when you’re a master meditator like those monks.
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson on Buzzfeed: Such a good article about an awful thing. AHP is my fav celeb PhD Buzzfeed journalist speaking truth about Armie Hammer. Writing on her own experience becoming a professor in this quote below, she explains how millennials and the generations that follow have been raised with lessons that are no longer true for us. We now face systemic, institutionalized barriers to our future, and that’s our own personal economic future (and our lives on this dying planet, which are linked in the most fun, heartcrunching way).
Still, thousands of PhD students clung to the idea of a tenure-track professorship. And the tighter the academic market became, the harder we worked. We didn’t try to break the system, since that’s not how we’d been raised. We tried to win it.
I never thought the system was equitable. I knew it was winnable for only a small few. I just believed I could continue to optimize myself to become one of them. And it’s taken me years to understand the true ramifications of that mindset. I’d worked hard in college, but as an old millennial, the expectations for labor were tempered. We liked to say we worked hard, played hard — and there were clear boundaries around each of those activities. Grad school, then, is where I learned to work like a millennial, which is to say, all the time. My new watchword was “Everything that’s good is bad, everything that’s bad is good”: Things that should’ve felt good (leisure, not working) felt bad because I felt guilty for not working; things that should’ve felt “bad” (working all the time) felt good because I was doing what I thought I should and needed to be doing in order to succeed.
“Yet the more work we do, the more efficient we’ve proven ourselves to be, the worse our jobs become: lower pay, worse benefits, less job security. Our efficiency hasn’t bucked wage stagnation; our steadfastness hasn’t made us more valuable. If anything, our commitment to work, no matter how exploitative, has simply encouraged and facilitated our exploitation. We put up with companies treating us poorly because we don’t see another option. We don’t quit. We internalize that we’re not striving hard enough. And we get a second gig.”
We optimize ourselves for work so much, making sure everything we do is in service to our economic stability, like growing an online following with a hobby that we later leverage for a job and feeling somewhat guilty when we do something just for fun, and it’s literally all for naught. I’m not really sure what to do here now that we know this and I don’t think she is either. But at least we’re self-aware, right? And I think that’s the first step.
3 – not so good things
Being a renter: In a realization shocking to no other renters I am sure, being a renter has been Not Fun! Our apartment has a whole bunch o’ problems and our landlord doesn’t really respond to maintenance requests. I also, apparently, am in the single most expensive rental market in this whole goddamn state according to the LA Times.
Missing familiarity + the work it takes to gain it: Everything is new here and I am a homebody and creature of comfort with social anxiety, so predictably I’m having a bit of trouble fighting the urge to just curl up under the blankets forever. I miss having a routine and a regular schedule and knowing which restaurants in town have specials on what days. And I don’t like not having that but perhaps more, I dislike the work and time and effort it takes to gain that. It kind of scares me how complacent I am with being in a place I dislike just because I’m terrified of the work it takes to get out of it. So there’s something I’ll work on with a therapist if I ever get around to finding one here.
That is the problem with power: It incentivizes forgiveness and forgetting. It’s why the dozens of ethics complaints filed after the Kavanaugh hearings complaining about the judge’s behavior have been easily buried in a bottomless file of appeasement, on the grounds that he’s been seated and it’s too late. The problem with power is that there is no speaking truth to it when it holds all the cards. And now, given a lifetime appointment to a position that is checked by no one, Washington, the clerkship machinery, the cocktail party circuit, the elite academy all have a vested interest in getting over it and the public performance of getting over it. And a year perhaps seems a reasonable time stamp for that to begin.
The problem with power is that Brett Kavanaugh now has a monopoly on normalization, letting bygones be bygones, and turning the page. American women also have to decide whether to get over it or to invite more recriminations. That is, for those keeping track, the very definition of an abusive relationship. You stick around hoping that he’s changed, or that he didn’t mean it, or that if you don’t anger him again, maybe it’ll all be fine when the court hears the game-changing abortion appeal this year.
I went thrifting at Jet Rag Vintage’s $1 sale! I got some really good stuff, some of which I have worn and some of which I am unsure if there will ever be a situation to wear it to (bolero top with pandas and tigers on it, hello), but all of it was a bargain that would make my grandparents proud.
I am always behind on finishing up my planner pages – hence this from September.
Using my foot as a pillow!!!! (I typed those words in the wrong place just now – i.e. “using my pillow as a foot”. I’m not drunk or sleepy or anything, perhaps just a little dumb, but isn’t that hilarious?)
Sometimes Pisces memes hit me right in the heart. Here’s one of them that Josie sent me. On the very day he sent me this I had earlier masturbated to procrastinate writing my philosophy paper. I also think my remix of track 8 would be Cross Stitching and Baking Shows feat. My Cat.
My friend sent me a letter with a crane she made!!!! It is on my bookshelf now and I am uwu about it.
I wrote and mailed letters to a couple friends and a boyfriend! I’m pretty happy I did this because I have a problem of wanting to send letters (/ do art) and not actually sitting down and getting around to it. I also got to use the wax seal I got in Rome with my initials on it. How pretty and useless, eh?
My laptop refused to turn on one day shortly before my first essay was due and I freeeeeaaaaked out and Lyfted over to the nearest Apple store that would get me an appointment right away. They fixed it thank the lord (and thank the lord I’m in a financial situation courtesy of parents to pay for that) and I met a really cute dog there. It was also the first time I was in The Grove, which I’ve seen many a time in influencer vlogs lol, but I didn’t enjoy it due to laptop-related heart palpitations.
I used the leftover thread from my Van Gogh cross stitch to make some lil plants from Stardew Valley! I used the guides here – the book costs $32 but there’s a sample PDF which is what I used. I also bastardized the colors completely just using what I had in store lol.
One dark night in LA, I was driving with my roommate home from Target when we saw the local cinema closed off. A big sign read “El Camino”. “What’s that? Do you know that movie?” I asked. “I don’t know, I’ve never heard of it,” my roommate replied. I forgot about it. UNTIL I WENT ON INSTAGRAM AND SAW THAT IT WAS A MOVIE PREMIERE THAT BOBBY BERK ATTENDED. I.E. A TEN MINUTE WALK FROM MY APARTMENT. WE WERE SO CLOSE. This is obviously my first brush with celebrity and I am not a native Angeleno.
On the shelf in my philosophy TA’s office!!!!! She said she didn’t know anything about it and it probably belonged to someone she shared the office with, but I was overjoyed. Am thinking of asking to borrow it.
On Halloween I went to a club in Koreatown lol. It was a pretty off brand activity but was still fun and an interesting insight into the ABG lifestyle! I couldn’t do it, y’all – I lack the ability to apply fake eyelashes well, the knowledge of how to twerk, and the dedication needed to up my alcohol tolerance.
Happy November, friends. I hope LA cools off soon and I get all the classes I want for winter quarter. I hope you get whatever you’re wishing for and your favorite fruit is on sale when you go shopping.
I’ve moved to LA! Halfway through the month I moved 400 miles south. The first two weeks of September were spent finishing up at my internship and restaurant job, packing up a lot of stuff, and feeling very unprepared for the end of my time in my lil ol’ hometown. Then I had a six-hour drive, a confused cat, a helpful boyfriend, blessedly absent parents, a very difficult IKEA bed, and the beginning of whatever I’m doing now!
I’m in the first week of my first quarter here at UCLA and hopefully two years from now I’ll have a bachelor’s degree, a few friends, some cool LA thrifted clothes, and some cooking and tidying and general house skills to show for it. I still feel pretty weird but I’m looking forward to feeling normal here eventually.
2 – things i’ve liked a lot
Silent D Shoes: I was so fucking #influenced and I’m only slightly ashamed that I was seriously going to spend $150 on these. Ashley from bestdressed wears these in black a lot and they look so fucking cool that I clicked on the link and looked at them seventeen times a day for, like, four days straight. I think the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes is around $100 (for my Sam Edelman loafers), everything else is in the 50 or 60ish range, but lord. Shoes are my biggest wardrobe weakness and I went from “wow, I am generally uncomfortable spending anything over $50 for shoes” to “I need those $150 shoes right now and I will express ship them if needed” at a frightening speed. My bf thought they were hideous (he’s wrong, obviously) and expensive (he’s got me there), so I checked Ebay and Poshmark and Mercari and LO, $30 ON POSHMARK, MY SIZE, THEY’RE MINE. I wasn’t sold on the silver at first as it’s a bit loud, but for $30?! I’ll take ‘em. I really like them!!!! I really love them!!!!! The silver isn’t as unwearable as I had feared and, I mean, they’re kind of an out there shoe look to begin with so in for a huge buckle penny in for a shiny silver pound, eh?
Moving away from my parents: Don’t want to put anyone on blast here, not least people who are responsible for funding the vast majority of my life, but let’s just say I have very much enjoyed some geographic distance from a few people who are not the most helpful to my mental health. Depression, actually improved. Anxiety, same. Acne, still fine because of my acne cream. 🙂
My new tattoo: A lot of big changes this September!!! Another being that my right arm has this big piece o’ black on it now! Claire at Tex Tattoo in SF did it for me and it is so gosh dang pretty. I wanted golden poppies (for sweet home California) and thistles (for sweet birthplace Scotland) and she whipped up this cute lil thing. My butt was numb and hurt by the end, but my arm didn’t feel too bad at all and it’s healing pretty well now. My parents are disappointed in me which is par for the course, I know the rest of my family is going to be (I think this is an emoticon we need to bring back from the 2000s graveyard), and I myself think it looks so so nice.
3 – from my camera roll
Thank you cards I made for my internship office! I wasn’t the happiest with the middle one but I also lacked the time and energy to make a new one lol. For my last day we went out for lunch at a Mexican restaurant and they got me a California State Senate resolution which meant a lot to me. It’s good to be appreciated for ur work u kno!
This sign was at my vet one day and I mean, my god. Zoom in and you can see those lil animal faces. And my tears because it is so sad.
We did a lil day trip to SF to get my tattoo and had ramen in Japantown afterwards, as well as picking up some donuts for the drive back home.
Saw this sign in Berkeley on the way back – I think someone hacks into those traffic signs to say stuff like that :O ✊✊✊
I’m trying really hard to remember this! I think it’s important. My resilience being responsible for me being me – not shit that should not have been there in the first place. Just me taking care of me.
This is literally me every time I go to a Chinese restaurant without my parents lmao.
While my bf was helping me move in, we went to Santa Monica Pier where I saw my gosh darned name on a tourist knick knack for the first time in my entire life. It was less exciting than I thought it would be.
Lots of people go fishing here!! It’s wild.
I finally finished my cross stitch! I didn’t even properly finish it because I lost the instructions lmao; I think I was supposed to backstitch a detail or something. But I’m really happy with it! I have a lot of trouble doing art and creative things because I’m afraid of being bad at it – and that’s a thing I’m working on getting over because obviously when you learn new things you’re not amazing at them + sometimes it’s nice to do things you like even if you’re not really good. So I’m proud of myself for being persistent with this guy and I hope my next project doesn’t take me two years! (I’m not that bad, it took me 2 years mostly because I would start and then forget about it for three months and then pick it back up for a week and then repeat the cycle.)
And this is a wire grid from IKEA I got as ~decor~*. I’m really looking forward to making this space mine and feel like home, so this is me trying to decorate!
After moving/building furniture, we went out for a very late dinner at Fat Sal’s. We realized very quickly that this is definitely food that’s great at 2AM when you’re drunk.
It’s really bright in my room. My blinds don’t do anything! So I put up my towels in a sad attempt to block light and this is Luna being confused about my interior decor.
Actual images of me trying to be social and make friends right now lmao.
I leave you with this hILARIOUS Chinese meme.
4 – things i have not really liked at all
Long distance: My boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship now with 400 miles between us. It feels pretty sad to not be able to drive fifteen minutes to see each other and have to schedule phone calls every couple days. I’m really thankful we’re making it work right now, but it’s just sort of sad, you know? When your individual life plans mean you kind of have to not be physically together. I don’t think I realized how sad some small things would be or just how empty it feels to receive 0 hugs a day instead of 30.
Being sick and lonely and a bit overwhelmed: The day before the quarter started I woke up with a sore throat, and I’ve still got a cold! It’s not great timing. This is kind of big change in my life and, you know, it’s not the easiest. I’ll figure it out in time, but right now I haven’t yet and it doesn’t feel great.
I may be just an ordinary orc, but I wasn’t at all surprised when the Dark Lord Sauron became the leader of Mordor. A lot of my smart, liberal friends, though, reacted as if Middle-earth was coming to an end.
It’s all very well for those of you who dwell in the Shire, the haven of Rivendell, or the quiet forests of Lothlórien. You live in a bubble. You don’t know what life is like for the average orc, in depressed areas like the Trollshaws, the Misty Mountains, or the Dead Marshes. Let me tell you, it’s hard out here for an orc. We experience tremendous insecurity, not knowing whether we’ll have a job, or be able to raid peaceful villages, or if our friends will eat us. Sauron appeals to us economically challenged goblins because he offers us the chance of a decent wage, respect for our values, and renewed pride in being the corrupted spawn of Morgoth.
And to those who say it’s time we choose someone like Lady Galadriel, forget it. There are still a lot of people who will never vote for an elf.
GOOP has no issues weaponizing fears about femininity for profit. They use words like “pure,” “clean,” and “natural” — the same language as the patriarchy — to market supposedly better than conventional (but not really), yet definitely more expensive products as taking charge of your health.
GOOP has promoted vaginal steaming, the origins of which include the false belief that a uterus is full of toxins. If the myth weren’t so harmful, it would be laughable. If menstrual blood were filled with deadly toxins, how exactly does an embryo implant and thrive?
This lie has been used to exclude menstruating women from school, work, and religious services. Vaginal steaming is a literal tool of the patriarchy. A literal tool of the patriarchy.