Fighting for yourself: dream 7

What I am about to talk about feels more like a nightmare than a dream, but alas, it’s a challenge we all face in life. When I pursued a career in the culinary industry, I only had myself to stand by. When I started college, after having such a traumatic experience in high school, I had to fend for myself, and become somebody people can look to as a role model, as opposed to being a generic, ignorable person like in high school. I had to put on a brave face, stand tall, and fight against everyone who ever doubted me. This fight, it was my chance to prove myself. It was a battle for me to validate my self worth, to them, and most importantly, to myself, because I doubted my worth until this point.

Fighting for myself was important. It helped me gain confidence and purpose. It helped me zero in on what needed to be done, and gave me clarity moving forward. I really wish that this world did not require us to be put in theses sorts of situations where others judge. But unfortunately, we will have to deal with people who think we are lesser than them, and it is up to us as human beings to prove to them that we are not. These sorts of underdog moments are what make us grow, humble us, and if we can overcome the situation, just makes us better people in general.

I really cannot begin to stress how I wish we did not have to be put into this sort of setting where images and opinions dictate your perceived potential or value. I dislike this aspect, and I have tried to ignore the opinions of others for as long as I could back in high school; that’s why others saw me as mediocre or ignorable, and on top of that, I started to see those qualities in myself. If you are going to push yourself for any reason, do it for yourself. Push yourself so that you can see how far your potential can take you. At the very least, don’t try to be complacent with where you are, or else you will find yourself peaking very quickly.

Fight for yourself is a statement that to me, means that you will do whatever you can to improve yourself. You will continuously do what you can to make sure that you don’t let any opportunity, go or shorten your potential. One of my biggest sayings is to never repeat the same mistakes and never relive the same regret. You do not want to make that mistake of not pushing yourself more than once. Always challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid, either. Embrace every obstacle that comes in your way as a chance to prove you can overcome it. Do not feel like you are being burdened, but rather, given an opportunity. That’s essential to being feather-light.

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Awkwardness/confidence: dream 6

What does it mean to be awkward? A Google search will tell us that it means to be “causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.” For the longest time, I would be described as socially awkward, and I’d interpret that as being weird and funny; generally, quirky. Even in a previous post, I assumed that you can be comfortably awkward around true friends; obviously, I meant to say quirky, not awkward. Friends would not make you feel unaccepted, uncomfortable, or like you are an inconvenience. Friends, you can be quirky, comfortably in your own skin, and just exuding of confidence.

Being confident for me means that you can be strong for yourself, even when nobody else is. It’s hard to do that at times, when you feel alone, isolated, or outnumbered when it comes to people who believe in you. I had to fight through a lot of self-doubt and anxiety to be a confident individual. Whenever I step in front of a crowd of people, I have to ignore that fear of people looking through me, and only seeing me for my awkward childhood. That fear of being awkward, it’s a constant battle between trying to be confident, not awkward. To feel like my existence serves a purpose, rather than creating a burden.

I wish I never had to worry about being awkward. I would rather everyone just be equally confident, but not try to treat each other in a condescending way, just because they act or think differently. Everyone should be entitled to their own opinions. I obviously say that with the exception of people who strongly believe in extremism or sadism, because in almost any situation, those things are obviously not going to help the world in any way, and I don’t want the internet trying be a smart-ass with my words and try misquoting me. Sorry, snarky moment there.

The real question for me is why can’t we all be confident? Why can’t we just be happy with ourselves and believe in the purpose our individual existences provide the world? Without every person here, we could not function as a species. We wound not be able to move forward so easily. The only reason we have for feeling awkward is that we let the opinions of others weigh us down. While yes, if others dislike you for being rude or selfish, that is something to think about, but if they just call you weird (assuming you’re not like a pedophile, furry, cannibal, or something along those lines of extremeness), then you really just need to ignore them. Feel confident, not awkward. That’s how you can really enjoy your life that much more.

Pomegranate-blueberry sorbet: recette 5

I grew up eating these Powerberry chocolate candies, and they were really addictive. These tiny, concentrated jellies made from pomegranate, blueberry, and acai juice, coated in dark chocolate. I could go through a bag while studying for school. The experience of eating them made me happy, and I still remember using them in desserts all the time because the flavors were all very complimentary to most desserts.

The combination of fruits in this sorbet base is reminiscent of those power berries I would eat as a kid. I also included a vegan dark chocolate cone recipe, because I don’t want to just to serve just the sorbet and be called boring or basic by just sharing a sorbet recipe and nothing more than that.

Sorbet base:
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup blueberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon mizuame
a pinch of salt

Dark chocolate cone:
2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pureed silken tofu
1/2 cup cold water
4 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan vegetable shortening; melted

Puree ingredients together and strain. Continue doing that until there are no lumps of tofu left in the batter. Heat a pan with some oil or shortening. Ladle in enough batter to just coat the bottom of the pan. Allow the edges to brown before flipping and allow the other side to cook for about 30 seconds. Roll into cones and allow to cool.

 

Closure: dream 5

I am the type of person who needs closure to be happy. Whether it’s knowing who my Secret Santa is, the ending of a long series, or what I will be doing the summer following a school year, I just want to, and for the sake of my mental contentment, know what to expect. I guess it comes with my Myers-Brigg; I am an INTJ. That means I’m introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. My judging attribute just means that I need to have a plan, a schedule, and for me to make these sorts of things, I need to know what to anticipate so I can prepare accordingly.

One thing I guess I can never understand is why certain people need time to process change before they can talk; by time, I mean like a bloody month. I’m sorry, and I will try to not sound insensitive, but when things change, you need to confront it, and talk about it. That’s how I am. I need to confront when there are issues or changes that are put in my way. People who need time, I don’t understand if they are just immature and need more time to understand these things, or if they are being passive aggressive and trying to slowly torture somebody like me, who would rather just rip off the bandage and talk about a controversial situation.

I would rather be in a world where people are driven, direct, and upfront than a world where people are slow, “chill” as so many of my peers would say, and take everything in at a very slow pace. For me, I just prefer to get it over with. Having to take time, I get that if a situation may be dire, people may need time to process the exact repercussions and changes, but do these changes really need 1-2 months to really let them sink in? I’d rather just live in the moment, put the awkwardness behind me, and then move on to the next part of my life.

One of the things I have recently learned is that I am a Type A personality. I just need to do rather than see. That, coupled with my Judging designation, means that I need to know things. I need to finish anything I set my mind to, and have a full understanding of what and why I need to finish them. I guess another thing to consider is that when it came to the Thinking category of my MBTI brand, I was 100% Thinking, but 0% Feeling. So maybe it’s that sort of callous attitude that makes me get over things rather. I really try to not live through my feelings, because whenever I have tried that in the past, it ends very poorly. Fun fact, I cannot feel my way through life. I like using logic and my brain. But in an ideal world, I would much rather people be upfront and direct about their thoughts, and honestly, I don’t even care about things like spoilers. Just let me know what to expect. Give me that closure. That way, I can feel less stressed or worried. I can finally feel feather-light.

Trust: realization 8

If there is no trust, then there is no true relationship or friendship. That’s what happened between me and my recent roommate. I thought I could trust them with my secrets, I thought I could trust them with my stories. I hoped that they could trust me with my thoughts, feelings, fears. I wanted to know that our apartment was a safe place for both of us. Unfortunately, that sort of trust, it’s too much to ask for from certain people.

The fact that my roommate could not feel comfortable enough to tell or show me the extent to which they were worried about me when I was going through my depression, or tell me they were afraid I was developing romantic feelings for them, that hurt the most. They hid these secrets, either because they were afraid of escalating the situation, or that they didn’t want me to get angry at them. Regardless of whichever one, it felt like at the end of the day, they only cared about their own safety.

If they really wanted to help me, they would’ve expressed the worry, expressed the fear. But instead, they bottled it up, because they were afraid of me yelling at them. I feel pretty hurt about the situation, just because as much as I trusted them with my secrets, feelings, they could not bring it upon themselves to do the same. Instead, they lied. They claimed to be tired, because they wanted to avoid me in my state of depression. They could not tell me the truth about how they felt.

They shafted me in a lot of ways. Isolated me, tried to push me away. Rather than trying to tell me how they really felt, they lied to me, pushing me away, and I misinterpreted it as them being better off without me. I just felt like if I disappeared, they would be better off without me. In the moment when I tried to kill myself, I only had a gut feeling that my presence made my roommate uncomfortable. I did not know the exact reasons, but I sensed contempt and discomfort from them.

What really hurt in that scenario was hearing my roommate confess all of their discomfort to my other friends, who showed me through video recordings. It just broke my heart, knowing that they couldn’t trust me enough to tell me these things in person. To tell me these things when I was going through my depression. Even though they probably did not want to worsen the situation, had I known I had this effect on them, it would have made me that much more aware that I needed help. Granted, retrospect is a complete bitch. It could have made me angry, even for a second, but at least I could have appreciated the truth coming from them directly.

The lack of trust is what can really harm a friendship. While my roommate has been emotionally scarred by the whole ordeal, the lack of confiding in me caused me to misinterpret the situation, and it led to me trying to kill myself. Trust is important. Being able to feel comfortable and safe enough to tell somebody what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling, it really does help a relationship. The lack of that, it unfortunately leaves the mind up to assumption. Doubts, fears, it all builds up, until something irreversible could happen. If you do not feel comfortable speaking from your mind and heart to somebody, maybe they shouldn’t be your friend. And if you cannot bring yourself to do that with anybody at all, then maybe you should start trusting people more. Either way, trust is needed, if you do not want to lead a lonely life. Being able to feel safe amongst the people you surround yourself in, that’s key to being feather-light.

Caring: realization 7

I was always somebody who cared too much. Ironically, caring about what others thought about me was a more recent thing. Typically, I cared too much for others and for organizations I was a part of. There was just something about another person entrusting something to you, carrying that sort of legacy, that really spoke to me. It made me feel like I was a part of something bigger. That is why I really cared about the causes I was a part of, or the people who gave me their time of day. I felt empowered, knowing that others relied on me.

But there is a such thing as being too caring. That’s what I realized when I became a mentor/older sibling figure to several through one of my clubs. I had to look after not even just a family of younger sibling figures, but basically two families’ worth of siblings; thirteen people to be exact. It got to the point where I would lose sleep over being that concerned over all of their wellbeing, their future plans, their lives. It was all-consuming, stressful, and when I felt like none of them even reciprocated that sense of care, it just felt hurtful and depreciating. I let their treatment of me affect me that much. For me, it was excruciating to care for that many people. But when my attention and care is being distributed amongst thirteen people, it gets diffused, diluted, to them, it probably did not seem like I cared that much.

I still don’t understand why I cared so much. Some people seem to know how to not care a lot easier than me. My guilty conscience, it’s probably my biggest weakness. I feel bad knowing that I let others down. It’s like there’s a voice, nagging at me, telling me I could have done more, I could have done better. I guess it stems back to elementary school, when I was frustrated with my fourth grade teacher. To put it bluntly, she was a creativity-smiting, fun-hating, heartless bitch. And in response, I basically went on strike and refused to do almost any of the assignments or tests. And naturally, my grades reflected in that, and my mother would cry hysterically, thinking that I was going to be a failure. So I begrudgingly tried, even though I knew that my doing well in school would reflect well on that oppressor as a teacher.

When it comes to things I love, I care. When it comes to things that pertain to people I resent, I will refuse to try, unless that person can hold something hostage that I do care about; in the fourth grade teacher case, it was my mother emotionally, as that teacher controlled my grades, which in turn, controlled my mother’s emotional security. I guess learning to not care will be a process in itself. Un-investing myself in friendships that aren’t worth it,  causes that waste my time, it will be something that I understand the need for, but still need to work on in the future. I need to know when to and not to care, regardless of what is emotionally charging me. Only then can I live a feather-light life.

My sanctuary: dream 4

As a child, I would have two of the same recurring dreams: somebody dropped a nuke in the ocean, and it decimated the entire planet, leaving behind an ocean-less wasteland filled with decaying whale carcasses, and me finding myself in a vast grassy plain, with nothing in sight for miles, except a white canopy tent for shade and shelter from the occasional breeze. Yeah, very contrasting images. Obviously, the latter is my happy place.

I have always wanted to find a place where I can feel safe, loved, and happy. My happiness and strength come from solidarity. As much as I want to appreciate other people’s company, I spent so much of my life having to fight my own battles and live my life alone that I much prefer that to being constantly surrounded by and bombarded by others. Being in that grassland, completely alone, I could probably die happy in such a place.

Life should not have to be so complicated. Being judged, having a lot of money, making 6 figures, those are the things that people are wary of these days. But when you don’t have an entire society in your presence, then do you really need to be preoccupied with those things? Who is there to judge you? What need is there for money? At that point, I feel the most safe. When those fears and worries are not there.

Sanctuary is synonymous to a happy place or a personal haven for me. The grassy fields where the only thing I have to worry about is the occasional breeze being too strong, that’s a great place to be. When life gets too stressful, I always go to places where the nature overshadows civilization. Having to not think about people, trying to embrace this sort of transcendentalist practice, it really does put my mind at ease. It makes me think that my problems, worries, obligations, they are somewhere far, far away. They can never touch or enter my sanctuary.

Friends: realization 6

For the longest time, I’ve made the mistake with who I trusted. Like I mentioned in my dream post about who to love, you need to be very careful about who you bring into your life and close to your heart. This realization is more because I have made mistakes in the past and I’d rather share those mistakes so other people don’t make them as well. Let’s start with the beginning.

Back in first grade, I befriended a group of people who I enjoyed spending company with. And they were rude, rambunctious, troublemaking, and they used and abused me. I only stayed because I didn’t know better; I assumed that all friends did this. I thought it was normal for somebody to take my entire lunch and eat it, and label that as me “sharing” my food with him. And then when they ripped up my stuff, calling it trash, that’s when I started crying. They cut me off their group after that.

Just in that example alone, it just shows that when being in an abusive relationship can be hard to notice, especially when you are initially brought up thinking that it is the norm to be treated that way. I remember I cried, begged them to take me back, and they just cut me off. Little did they know, that was a huge favor to me, because all they did was abuse me anyways. But the big takeaway here is that if you give everything for your friends, and they do not give back, then they really aren’t your friends. And no, I don’t just mean you get them a $100 gift for Christmas and they get you a $1 ballpoint pen. I mean you consistently go out of your way for them, taking time out of your life for them, and they do not ever wish to do the same. That’s not okay.

You might think that a friend who is trying to help you is somebody to value too. But if that friend only makes the situation worse, because they inherently are manipulative, self-centered, and controlling, then they aren’t worth having in your life either. When I was about to jump, one of my friends, she called the police to find me, and then contacted my family, who then flew over to see me just out of the hospital. But then that same friend basically took control of the entire situation, and wouldn’t let me confront the person who was probably the most affected by my attempt; my roommate. She then outright denied having anything to do with the situation, screaming that it wasn’t her problem, when my mom tried to confront her on what exactly she was trying to do by interjecting herself into the situation. To make manners worse, that friend, and her older sister, got into a shouting fest with my mother. That sort of disrespect is the reason why I cut them out of my life.

While yes, I am thankful that she called my family, because I needed them, I am not thankful about how she tried to interject herself into a situation that she did not know the full circumstances of, and then on top of that, after making the situation take a ridiculous extreme (fun fact, I had to move out of my old apartment with my roommate, and spend an additional $11,000 on a new apartment; I can neither sublease or rent out the one I was living in to make up the cost because it’s a dorm), denying any involvement to it, and having herself and her sister block me on FaceBook. That just shows insecurity, and immaturity. While she’s busy sorting out how she feels, I’m going to be moving on with my life.

Lastly, friends should know when enough is enough. With my roommate, the reason why they were so affected by my suicide attempt was because we were close friends, and because they saw my depression get progressively worse and found themselves increasingly more helpless on what to do about it. My roommate and I still aren’t talking to this day, because of how scarred they are from my attempt. I don’t know if they feel guilty, sad, scared, but they won’t talk to me, so I guess I’ll never know. But the point here is that if you notice something getting progressive more out of hand, then that’s when you should be finding outside help. In my case, rather than trying to just push the entire burden onto themselves, my roommate should have just forced me to go to a psychiatrist. Even if I denied needing it, it was obvious that I needed the help, and that there was only so much that they could have done for me in that situation.

There are people who my sister would refer to as merry-weather friends; people who only want to hang out with you when things are good, but are nowhere to be seen when you need help. Those people, they should mean absolutely nothing to you. True friends stick with you, and go out of their way for you when you need the help or are in trouble, and on top of that, they are constants in your life. The thing is, the ambulance calling friend, she had a hand in my depression, because she isolated me from everyone in my usual social circle, besides my roommate. A friend does not turn friends against each other. Even if they have personal grudges, they don’t involve other people, or force other people to play the whole “it’s me or them” game. To me, that’s petty and immature, and those are qualities you really don’t need in your life.

While it might be hard to let go of certain people from your life, it’s typically for the best, no matter how many happy memories or good times you’ve had with them. Ambulance girl and my roommate, yes I had several great memories with them, but given how they both acted and treated me during and after my depression, it shows that they really aren’t there for me, but rather, they only cared about themselves. If they cared about me, in ambulance girl’s case, she would’ve backed off; calling the police and my family were enough. She didn’t need to interject herself between me and my roommate. For my roommate, they just needed to be honest with my from the get-go. They needed to tell me that they felt uncomfortable with how I was treating them, how my depression was getting worse, and how they were afraid that I might have had romantic feelings for them. The fact that as my roommate and one of my close friends at that time, they did not feel safe telling me this, it just shows how emotionally immature they are. They still need time to grow up, because as they are now, they’ll just keep hurting me emotionally and mentally.

Friends are such a specific subject. You really need to be selective and it’s okay to be picky. I’ve had to realize time and time again that entire social circles were not worth keeping around, because immaturity, discomfort, rudeness, etc. Cutting them off is always the hard part, because you are breaking a norm or a routine, but it needs to be done if continuing your interaction and friendship with them is only hurting you. Always know that you owe it to yourself to be surrounded by people who love and care about you, and who are emotionally and mentally mature enough in case an extreme situation such as depression happens. The last one, it’s hard to gauge, but it’s important, especially in worst-case scenarios. Being with good people, it’s the key to living a feather-light life.

An ideal life: dream 3

When I think about what I am working for, it’s to help reassure me that what I am currently doing is the right thing. For me, a perfect life down the line would include being happily married by the age of 30, living in Japan and owning my bakery, while my spouse would also be doing some sort of non-hospitality job in Japan as well. For kids, maybe before I’m 35, because I don’t want to be so old that my children cannot relate to me at all. I would like at most two kids, since we as parents would also be preoccupied with our respective careers.

In my bakery, I’d be preparing mostly modern desserts. Think Reynold Poernomo’s concept in Sydney, Australia, Koi Dessert Bar. Actually, Reynold is somebody I aspire to be one day, and it’s not just because we are the same age. The desserts he creates, they take you away to a magical land, far far away from all your troubles. That’s what I try to do with my desserts as well. For the kinds of desserts, I’m probably going to do French-Japanese, because it’s something I love to do.

With my kids, I plan on raising them when I’m not working. I’ll probably go into the bakery early in the morning, just to get the operations started, and as my bakers come into the kitchen, hand tasks off to them to finish. Hopefully, I’ll be done early enough to pick up my kids from school and take them home. I’d expect my spouse to come back home maybe a little later, since most jobs are 9-5 outside of the hospitality industry, and then I can leave the house, come back to the bakery, and close shop. After closing, come back home, eat dinner with my family, and then go to sleep and start the day over.

For me, having a family to take care of makes me happy, because I am a naturally caring and nurturing person. The bakery side will keep me preoccupied with both my love of baking and storytelling, but also presenting me with challenges that will help me continue to grow as a person. Just thinking about being able to live that life, I want to work hard, just to make the steps towards achieving it feel more like leaps and sprints.

That sort of routine is enough to make me happy for the rest of my life. I have family, I’d have my own business, and most importantly, I’m doing something that I genuinely love. For anyone out there reading this, just know that with life, doing what you love makes doing the obligations you have now, such as school or jobs you don’t like, all the more worthwhile.

Who I wish to love: dream 2

My heart is a fragile thing. I find that people who come close to it, they hurt it that much more, and with the little things they do. I’ve experienced it twice where when I befriended somebody and let them close to my heart, they could not handle how sensitive I was beneath the surface, and it ended very badly; both times, with suicide attempts on my part after extended periods of depression where I felt I was better off gone.

The heart is a sensitive thing, and that’s why you need to be more careful with who you allow close to it. Keep in mind, for me, loving somebody is what that metaphor entails, but in both cases, people can be close to my heart or loved by my in either a romantic or platonic way. Regardless of the way, people can still hurt me badly if they are not careful of the way they act, especially when I am depressed.

When it comes to things like family, they come first. Even if a close friend is the one doing it, anyone who badmouths my family, they will find up on my “dead-to-me” list. You could even be dating me, but if you disrespect my loved ones that much, then go away. For friends, so long as I know that you will go out of your way for me, then I will do the same for you. Friendship needs to be a two-way street. Finally, when it comes to romance, I feel like there is just a different criteria altogether.

I prefer to be with somebody who is completely independent of me. Somebody who I can wholeheartedly trust, and who is just as capable and confident in themselves as I am with me. I want this person to help push me to better myself, while I hope that my company with them would do the same. My intentions of that are because in a relationship, we stand as equals. I refuse to be the sole provider in a family-type setting, because when money drives a wedge in a relationship, it’ll only go south.

Now I’m just getting picky here, but the person also needs to be in a completely different industry. I don’t want to get competitive with my significant other. They need to be the type of person who I can come back from a long day of work to, and when we look at each other, neither of us are reminded of our jobs. Even if I love what I’m doing or they do, our company really should just be our company, and nothing else sidetracking that.

But enough about the fact they might need to create another version of the Bachelor(ette) for me because of how nit-picky I am. Love is such a fickle thing. Romantic love, I know that the biggest turn-off for me is practicality. But I’ll elaborate on that another day, when the time is right to talk about why certain people cannot be loved a certain way. For now, I think I have stated enough about the different kinds of love that I feel, and why they really do depend on the person that you are. I don’t want to mistakenly love somebody the wrong way. Nor do I want anyone to misinterpret my love. That’s happened two too many times, and it needs to stop.