The glass half-empty mentality: realization

I mentioned in my story, Sky Bird, that the main character Kendall was inspired by somebody who bullied me in high school. One of the biggest qualities behind Kendall’s character was his inability to see past certain aspects of another person’s upbringing or lifestyle. Passing off failure or the inability to match another’s performance for external reasons, such as the other person being richer or having access to more resources, it is a very defeatist attitude. While yes, those who are more fortunate are born with more opportunities, that does not mean in any way that somebody who is less fortunate cannot work towards those same experiences, if not greater ones. Potential is by no means defined by what you are born with. It is based on your perspective and ability to work towards your end goal in sight. You could be a waiter at a restaurant, and with the right attitude, become the general manager of the same establishment in a manner of years. Or you could be a waiter at a restaurant, and be, for a lack of better words, pissed off and grumpy, and never be promoted.

While people who come off as optimistic are often looked down upon, or written off as naive, having that positive attitude, especially an infectious one, it goes a long way. Nobody wants to stay around a pessimistic. They may relate to them better, because they tend to be more realistic, but that negativity is draining and it often times, causes an individual to be anchored down by one especially spite-filled fixation. I think about the person who Kendall was inspired by, and how even after all of these years, he has not come anywhere since high school. We both went to the same high school, and more or less started out on the same foot. The difference was that I refused to stay complacent: I took more APs and Honors classes, and I took risks, even though they did not pay off. He chose to stay in his comfort zone, or at least more so than I did. Yet, whenever I tasted success academically, he would write me off as being lucky that my parents could afford me tutors or external help. Yet, was I the smartest person at our school? Absolutely not.

While I was blessed to have the additional help, it did not, by any means, give me a completely unfair advantage over any of my other classmates. There were people who were around the same financial standing as him, but they were leaps and bounds smarter than I was. It was because they pushed themselves and tried even harder than I did. And I genuinely applaud them for that too; I think about a girl named Nicole, who comes from a five person family, and they all live in a modest-sized apartment. She went on to graduate from USC and become a CPA before she even graduated. If you are somehow reading this, Nicole, I don’t meant to embarrass you by mentioning you. You just are somebody who shows others how you can humbly achieve a lot despite not having the same kinds of advantages that I had. You are naturally smart, have a great attitude, and are a phenomenal worker, so everyone in the world can take a page from that. As for the person Kendall was inspired by, he is still pursuing his undergraduate degree in college, even though he should have graduated with my year, back in 2017. He is set to graduate from community college in 2020. And his only professional experience is working as a cashier at a Mitsuwa supermarket.

Now I am not saying that going to community college or working at a supermarket are bad things. I am, however, saying that being pessimistic and close-minded, it hurts you. He is too busy being bitter at the world, making excuses for why other people are more successful than he is, to make the most of the opportunities handed to him. I am more than certain that if he was told about Nicole’s success, all he would have to say about it was that if he went to USC, he could have become a CPA too. But in reality, that is not the case. He did not get into USC, nor is he nearly as persistent or quite frankly, hardworking as Nicole, so he would not have ever gotten as far as she did, even if he was accepted into the school. His inherent behavior and attitude, being a glass half-empty, that closes doors before they could even open. He gets defensive at the success of others, and shuts himself away from them and their accomplishments. Rather than feeling motivated by the accomplishments of others, he grows angry and resentful. While it all boils down to a sense of guilt, him feeling unaccomplished, the only way for him to use that energy in a productive way is to adopt a “I can do it too. I just need to work towards it”-sort of viewpoint, rather than a “if I had that, I could have done it too” mentality. Perspective is something I stress a lot about, because it really does make a difference. So rather than being a pessimist all the time, live a healthier blend of positive and negative. You can be realistic, but you can also be ambitious. Never forget that, so that you can live a feather-light life.



Uncertainty: realization

Not knowing what you want, that is a huge proponent to growing up. As you gain more experiences in life, you better understand what you do and don’t want to do with it. Honestly, looking back at when I was a high schooler, I have no idea why everyone suddenly seemed to know what they wanted to major in. Pre-med, computer science, pre-law, business, etc. I personally had an inkling of an idea that I wanted to do hospitality, solely because I liked to cook and for no other real reason. How is an 18 (or younger) year old supposed to know if what they are investing money and four years into is what they want to do for the rest of their lives?

While yes, you can argue that people can change majors (fun fact, I had a friend who changed her major five times and almost didn’t graduate on time), but there are people who can commit to a major for all four years and still not be certain that this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Admittedly, I fall under this category. My resume is perfectly fragmented between experiences in accounting and in food and beverage. Even now, at the time of writing this post, I am not sure which one I will be involved with in five years. Currently, I’m an accountant, but next year, who knows? I might be a pastry cook again.

That sort of uncertainty, while it is the beauty of being young, it causes a lot of stress and showcases an inability to commit and focus. Finding a career that you can do both to, it is difficult. For me, I find that I can tolerate accounting, while I am not particularly crazy or in love with it, because it enhances my life outside of work. I have a 9-5 office job, where I can sit behind a desk and stare at a screen. Considering my background is in Hospitality accounting and food and beverage with a business minor, that’s surprisingly stable.

If you find yourself in a situation you don’t like, and you don’t feel like, even after trying at it for an extended period of time, that you can’t see yourself becoming a leader in that field, then you should question your commitment to it. As I am right now, I do question whether or not I can become a director of finance. I continue working in accounting for the above mentioned benefits, but I do know one thing, and that is I need to determine whether or not I can grow and progress, and I can commit wholeheartedly. This is something we all need to do, whether we want to or not, so that we can become successful in life.

The cleanse: realization

First off, I’d like to wish everyone a happy 2018, in hopes that they all had a wonderful 2017 preceding it. Secondly, I’d like to talk about New Years Resolutions. Normally, I am not one to believe in those. But this year, I want to truly bury all of the toxic people who I dealt with from 2016, so I’m partaking in what I call “the cleanse”.

This is basically where I remove everyone who has ever treated me horrendously or had a hand in treating me in such a way from social media. For me, I am generally a very docile and mild mannered person, and I don’t want to ever offend somebody by unfriending or unfollowing somebody, even when I know they are either not good people or closely associated with toxic people.

In situations like that, it is okay to cut them off. Those people, who support toxic behavior or attitudes, they are not really your friends. There’s no point in pretending you guys are at that point, and trying to remain indifferent is not going to change the fact that these people are still holding some involvement in your life. While yes, you could wait and hope that they detach themselves from you, but that’s ludicrous. You should take the affirmative action to cut them off if you know they’re not any good for you.

While you might think, “oh, but I don’t want to be that jerk and unfriend or unfollow them on social media”, you also need to realize that you’re being too nice and considerate and people who treat you poorly or actively support those who do, they’re not worth your kind thoughts. They deserve to be cut off, along with anyone else who is toxic to your health. If you have ever felt like somebody, and their friends, have treated you poorly, I recommend trying the cleanse. Sometimes we just need a clean slate in life to really enjoy it.

Damn real: conclusion

I had no real idea where the story was going to go when I first started writing it, other than the fact that I wanted there to be a strong female protagonist to contrast the last main female protagonist, Dakota, who was a bit too much of a follower for her own good. Namie is very independent, and while she might be a little aimless, she is still capable of sticking up for herself.

I even titled it “Fashionably Late” to reference Namie being supposedly late in life with her relationship status, but decided that it was not only anti-progressive to the feminist beliefs I was raised on, but does not send a good message that I want my stories to convey to my readers by making the focus about fashion and dating

I decided to title it Damn Real after the Koda Kumi song, and I wanted to make the themes focus on being realistic or practical with your decisions in life

I wanted Namie to be a very practical and decisive person to better reflect the title

Before, I wanted her to be more of a wanderluster, although aspects of that character do reflect in when Namie is testing the waters with her suitors, as well as in the end, when she decides to forgo everything in her life up until that point

Originally, Namie was going to receive a huge amount of money from her mother, but I changed that to being just a plane ticket. To explain her wealth, I wanted Namie to come off as more self-made, hence why I opted for her to have a mini fortune in stocks and investments, just to showcase her intelligence that much more.

Emiri was not a main focus when I began writing this. I decided that she could be a very good gateway for the reader to better empathize with a Mormon character and understand what she was taught to believe versus how she actually is as a person.

It was not decided until I started writing Chapter 2 that Melissa Chen was going to be the dance instructor. She was previously in my other work, How it is, as a college student who comedically destroyed tables with her krav maga skills.

I knew I wanted there to be two strong female supporting characters who were both driving Namie forward. Neither of them were from terribly realistic backgrounds, with Wei being a famous idol, while Claire is a famous beauty guru. But putting them next to Namie made her seem plain at first, but much more relatable by default.

A lot of who Namie was, it was based directly on my own experiences working in hotel finance. I became friends with the people working in the Front Desk, so that’s a huge reason why I made Namie, a general cashier like myself, friends with Claire the Front Desk Supervisor. It was just a natural fit, given their roles.

I do envy Namie to a degree, because she is a lot smarter, more driven, and more capable than I am, but I wanted her to have those qualities so that she could be a unique and admirable character. The fact that she is so multitalented, you cannot help but root for her when she chose to make a life changing decision to become a dancer. You know that somebody that committed to being the best will always succeed, no matter what route she chooses to take.

Overall, I hope that the takeaway of this story is to do what is right for you. You can just throw away your life and dive into a career just to get ahead, or throw away your career and dive into your passion. Either way, there really is no wrong answer, and that is what makes the ending of this story hopefully hit a real place for all of you guys reading this. No matter what choices you make in life, you may feel second thoughts and even regrets, but so long as your work ethic shines through, you will be successful no matter what. That is an even bigger truth and takeaway that I hope you all come to understand from reading this story.

Warrior Chef 5: Afterword

This season actually marked the first time where the number of female contestants vastly outnumbered the male contestants. And that was mostly attributed to the fact that in all three preliminary rounds, men were sent home. I don’t think I have ever had a 2:1 female to male ratio in a cast for Warrior Chef before; most of the times, I try to keep it even, or I follow the format of Top Chef Masters and have it be 7 male to 5 female, since I tend to focus more on the female characters anyways, being raised a feminist who is always rooting for the girls to win.

Of these twelve contestants, all of them were actually based on people I knew in real life, with the exceptions of Colt and Kenny, ironically, who were based on celebrities or television characters. Tiffany in particular, she was inspired by a dear friend of mine as well as Top Chef contestant, Tiffany Derry, who I am a huge fan of. I wanted Tiffany to go far, if not win, the moment I wrote her character because an African American winner was long since overdue, and her cooking style of taking extremely simple food and blowing away the judges with bold flavors, it was an amusing write for me.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this season of Warrior Chef, because I really do love to write them. Warrior Chef 6 has already been wrapped up by the time this post will be up, and I hope you all look forward to it as much as I look forward to continuing this series!

Warrior Chef 5 results

betrayal: realization

The concepts of trust, faith, and loyalty, I used to think of them as weaknesses. Shackles that kept me from being a better version of myself, in the form of relying on others and hoping that they can help me when I most need it. In this sort of world, people only ever remember the negatives, specifically when people hurt or backstab them. We hardly ever acknowledge the people who do pull through and give us hope in the world. And trust me, no matter how much you try to deny that there has been a person like that in your life, you will find that somebody, even for a fleeting moment, has pulled through for you when you needed it most. That sort of kindness, it is important to carry it forward. However, this post is not about cherishing those good-willed gestures. This is about betrayal, and why people act in such a way that it hurts you deeply.

It is one thing to put all of your trust into somebody, but when that person goes out of their way to disappoint you, whether it be distributing your secrets to other people behind your back, throwing you under the bus by using your secret as the excuse for a mistake or poor performance, or just refusing to be there consistently when you need them most, it really sucks. Simply put. Being told that somebody who you took the time to care for and emotionally invest in that they are stabbing you in the back in the way that they are, it hurts. But the main reason why is simple: on a subliminal level, you felt so emotionally attached and invested into the person that you want to see a return on that investment. You want them to come through for you in the same way that you have come through for them. So when they do not reciprocate or respect your gestures or actions, it hurts.

Now that honestly sounds shallow, almost manipulative, and materialistic, but it holds a lot of truth. Maybe when you swap out a word or two there. I refer to what a friendship consists of as an emotional investment, which comes off as cold and business-like, but try replacing that with more sentimental vocabulary, such as memories, moments, time together, etc. It automatically makes sense to you. Those memories you shared together in your relationship, you hoped for the sake of those that the person you relied on would help you. But that is not always the case. Some people, they will pull through and those are the friends you want to keep close to you. The ones that just drop the ball and never come through, even when it is a simple request, they are not worth any of your emotional investment or time. Yes, it will be hard to cut them off from your heart, and that sort of process takes time. That is understandable. We are only human beings, so having a sense of sentimentalism occurs naturally to us. The foundation of our intelligence is based on memories.

All I can say is that if somebody betrays you, wear a tough skin, make new memories with better people, and try to move on. At first, you will feel yourself actively trying to do so, but as you enjoy your new life more and more, that constant reminding of yourself to move on, it fades away. You will start to adjust and adapt to your new life. Sometimes, you might remember things about your past subliminally, whether it be seeing something or someone who reminds you of the person you are trying to forget or maybe seeing that person in a dream (probably a nightmare if that person is involved). All you can do when that happens is keep pushing forward. The fact that those memories continue to resurface, that means that you need to continue moving on and moving forward. Dwelling in the past, this is how those traitors in your life win. Their actions that hurt you will only sink in more by you allowing them to affect you. Be the strong person you are, and rise above it all. Don’t look back.

Humility: realization

Being humble can be a challenge when you are faced with so much praise. However, accepting that praise and allowing it to get to your head, that is a crucial mistake. In the past, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job as a line cook for a Michelin starred chef. I quit the job after two days, despite repeatedly boasting about how “qualified” and “amazing” of a cook I am. Oh, trust me, I got my ass handed to me in those two days. Day one, I was told that I could not cook because I did not have a ServSafe Food Handler Certification. They had me organize the pantry instead. Oh, and chop up a ton of pickled chili peppers. The pickling liquid seeped into my hands and I could not feel with them for the rest of the week. Day two, they told me my knives were crap, and that I sucked at using my knives on top of that. For me, the last straw was being forced into a back storeroom and being told that I need to organize that stuff because I did not belong in the kitchen whatsoever. I felt like every ounce of my dignity was stripped at that point. Granted, having an inflated ego did not help either. So I quit. I refused to be a part of an operation where the sous chef was treating me like a janitor, despite hiring me on to be a line cook.

But the main lesson here was, had I been more humble, I could have used that experience as a learning opportunity. Yeah, the sous chef was a complete jerk, but I let my ego stand in the way of the operation. I needed to realize that this was what I signed up for, and as an adult, I need to take ownership and responsibility for the tasks assigned to me, no matter how degrading or seemingly irrelevant that they were. Showing that willingness to do anything, no made what it is, that gets you farther in your career or life. Being able to swallow your own pride, and not let your sense of entitlement prevent you from doing things, especially in a hospitality setting, this is how you gain your stripes, so to speak. Yet, I was too arrogant and entitled to realize this. I felt that, because I was hired, that I was some epic cook who was destined to be a chef. Not true, whatsoever. If anything, it was the furthest thing from the truth. Getting hired is nice, but retaining the title and doing well in it, that can only be done by being humble and openminded, which I think are things I tend to stress a lot about in this blog.

Recently, I had just received an offer to work for another famous chef, although I will keep the name anonymous, but will say that if you think about famous New York bakeries, it will narrow it down to maybe three or four names right away, and it is one of those names. The point is, as much as I would love to work for this chef, I have to be humble and realize that I am nowhere near ready to do that. While I could learn so much, at what expense? Their resources, money, and their time? I could be wasting some culinary school’s time instead, and from there, save this famous chef a lot more money. To be perfectly honest, as much as I would love to accept this offer, I know I have a lot more to learn before I could boast that name on my resume. Especially after what had happened with the last chef. Plus, I asked my friend who did have the opportunity to work with this chef, and she told me about how it was run on fear-based management. Because of this, I know I lack the confidence and capability to survive or even operate in such an environment, based on my past experience, where I was constantly told I was garbage until I broke down in the middle of service.

All of the kitchen-related trauma aside, the point of this post was to talk about humility. It is okay to admit that you are not ready to do something, and it is okay to do things that at first might feel demeaning to you, so long as there is a lesson to be learned from it. Never think that something is too beneath you, because that sort of arrogant behavior will ruin your career in a heartbeat. Nobody wants to work for an entitled snob. Ever. Having humility makes you a better worker, leader, and most importantly of all, person, because you had an open mind and it helps you learn from every experience. And being able to take away something from everything, that is what it means to live a featherlight life.

Sensitivity: realization

I always had this issue in life where I would take things too personally. Little comments, remarks, small gestures, they would have such a huge subliminal impact on me to the point where it would bother me for ages. Sometimes I would act on it, albeit overreact and give people the rise they may or may not be wanting, or I would used to shelve it, and it become a massive mess when I would go volcanic. Instead of shelving any pain, I have been just trying to get it out of my system by exercising, and learning not to take things so personally. Rather than seeing anything as a personal attack on me as a person, I just try to understand where they are coming from, what their intentions are, and what I did to affect them to cause such behavior, or if their attitude was just normal to begin with, and I was misinterpreting their actions.

Half the time I get hurt or affected by the behavior of others, it is because something is stressing me out already, such as getting a job, family or friends-related issues, for example. I am already at a vulnerable state at that point, so little things would just get under my skin easily. I would always get so bothered to the point where I would not stop thinking about comments or remarks that irked me, and I would even lose sleep over how angry or annoyed I would get. It was not a pleasant habit, in the slightest. This kind of toxic, grudge-forming behavior is what caused a lot of problems for me in the past. I would burn so many bridges and be outcasted by so many people because I would get so easily hurt and would push other people away so quickly.

Unfortunately, that sensitivity had stages. The second paragraph described stage 1 of my toxically sensitive behavior. The second phase, it would get worse. I would not stop being affected by the fact that I pushed people away. That sort of guilt, it really does eat away at you. I would feel more remorse than you could imagine over hurting people like that, and it quickly turns to self-resentment. And I’m sure I’ve written enough about that to the point where it is guessable where self-resentment would eventually turn to. Like I said, sensitivity to that extreme, it is a vicious cycle that I have been trapped in for two occasions of my life already. At that point in time, I thought that I couldn’t really do anything about it, but that’s not the case. There is a way to break out of the cycle.

Distract yourself from these things by not thinking about them, but rather, focusing on things that you enjoy doing once you cannot do anything more in pursuit of your goals. Do not let the little things and thoughts bother you. Don’t read to deep into things, and try to excavate hidden meanings beyond what is actually there. Some might call it a naive way of living, but I call it building up a wall of indifference so that you have the space and time to grow thicker skin to these kinds of comments and remarks. I genuinely can’t stress enough how important it is to not take things to heart so often. When you do, it opens you up to that vulnerability, and if you are an overtly sensitive person to begin with, it will only end with you taking everything too personally and getting offended quite easily. Learning to relax, let go, and not get offended, that’s what it means to live a featherlight life.


Multidimensionalism: realization

Something that got me thinking was when I saw one of my classmates making a separate “food” Instagram account, and then telling everyone on FaceBook to follow her on it. It was a lot of an eye-roller, I will admit, but that is not the point of this post. I just want to understand why so many people, especially young people, find the need to create an entirely new Instagram, typically titled (Insert your name here)eats, or something to that effect. It’s honestly so unnecessary. Why can’t you just upload food pictures to your current Instagram? What is so difficult about doing that?

But the answer I am likely to hear is not a pretty one. It is almost always that these people want to be “discovered” as food authorities. They want the likes, the attention, the fame. They want an entirely different account for their food-related lives, in addition to their personal accounts, just to double the chances of them gaining likes and followers, which in turns, is supposed to help with their self-esteem and just making them feel better about themselves. And some people might make the argument that “oh, they don’t post the same photos in their Foodstagrams as they do their normal accounts!” But trust me, they do. Half the time, I get the same photos circulating my feed because they double-dip photos between both accounts. That’s why I came around to this conclusion.

Now, I just don’t understand why we can’t consolidate our photos and interests to one account. Yes, half of the this post is to call out people who are obnoxious enough to do that, but the rest of this post is to question the necessity of it. Are people, we are allowed to have more than one interest. We can express ourselves through these different topics and interests. Compartmentalizing ourselves to just one thing, or separating that one aspect from the rest of our lives, is it really worth compromising the multidimensionality of our personalities? And for those who double-dip their food photos between their two accounts, just why? Does it make you feel better to know that there are more likes on at least one of the same two food posts? And if you want a separate Instagram just to sort through your food posts, why make it public or go out of your way to advertise it to get a following? Those sorts of things, make them private, since you’re probably just using them to reference certain things you’ve eaten or made in the past. Or just be a less obnoxious human being a make a folder on your computer. Being able to see the different occurrences of your life, through your photos, whether it be a selfie, a photo of a sunset, or a picture of a dish you ate, that sort of variety is a lot more worthwhile if it is true to who you are as a person.

For me, I used to struggle with having that sort of variety at all. I came from the opposite issue, where I was obsessed with food and had literally no other interests. That is why I prefer and cherish that variety. Seeing others revert into something that I personally had to overcome, it’s unsettling to say the least. And for them to expect to be rewarded for that kind of behavior, again, it makes me uneasy knowing how vain or shallow certain people are. Now this blog is dedicated to good vibes, so I want to end this post on a positive note. embrace the different sides of your personality and admire them as a whole. Life is too short to be lived in pieces or compartments. Being able to showcase your interests in a great big mosaic, as opposed to smaller, separate ones, is a lot more impressive and makes you a much more beautiful human being. Don’t let stupid things like followers or likes define who you are as a person or what you are worth to the world.