Narrative Analysis, Student Life

Reevaluating, Prioritizing, and the Strength of a Pen

I’ve been away from my blog for quite a while and have missed the routine of writing a post everyday. The more and more I dive into the Astrophysics program on campus, my time becomes thinner and thinner, between the hundreds of pages of reading I have for my social sciences classes, and the hours of time allotted to even get through Physics homework. In all this time I’ve been away, I’ve learned a few things, and grown in different ways. New questions and obstacles have emerged, changing my conditions and the tactics I use to get through them. I feel as if I’ve entered a new book in my life, not even a chapter anymore, as I approach my 20’s and leave my late teens in the dust.

I’ve realized how true the statement “writers have no lives” is. Finding the time to write has become increasingly harder the more elements I introduce into my academic, social, and creative circles. My classes are more and more demanding, as I jump into the challenges of my core classes for Astrophysics alongside my upper division work in Race and Resistance Studies. The two paired together create this academic weight I’m constantly carrying: chapters and hundreds of pages of reading every week alongside Calculus and Physics homework that require 10-15 hours worth of intensive work every week. My social life is thriving, in more ways than one. My housemates and I have created a community in our home, where we all respect and care for one another. The house is warm, and a refugee from the outside. After being on my own, I’ve entered a healthy relationship, with the guy who’s the furthest thing from Greg. I’m starting to communicate better, trying to own up to my own faults instead of running away from them. My partner has also flowed into my creative circles, a bassist and producer himself, in which we share space with a music collective, in which the four of us collaborate on songs and our own EP’s.

There’s nothing wrong with where I’m at, if anything I’ve been waiting for the day I’d be here, it’s more so a matter of reorienting myself and making sure I don’t get lost. I need to reevaluate the space I’m in, vastly different from the place I was emotionally and mentally last year. I need to ask hard questions about what matters to me most now, and make sure that in all of it, I have the time and the ability to do so. In the context of my writing, I need to ask myself if it matters and, if it does, how do I prioritize it again?

My vacancy of writing stems from a lot of factors. First, I have a new creative outlet. No longer am I alone in a library typing away, but have been welcomed into a community of creatives, creating music, and applying my writing in the context of songs. I have a music background, originally in opera and Broadway music, but also in the world of Hiphop and Bay Area sound. Unlike my writing, I have a creative community in the world of music, with people who challenge me and are constantly introducing me to new elements of creating music. This support and constant growth explains a lot in my shift towards music, and a new application of my writing. In many ways, I feel isolated and alone as a writer. I don’t have writing circles, or people to challenge me the way I did last semester with my mentor. Being alone, I don’t have anyone to support me when writing gets hard to do, or to challenge my writing itself. I feel locked in place, with no room to grow but unable to put my work to the side because it still matters.

Another element is within my schoolwork. With a thriving social life, I’ve neglected aspects of my schoolwork. I’ve put off readings, only done homework assignments the day of their due date, and found myself in a constant state of catching up. In juggling my social and academic lives, I’ve forgotten about writing. I’ve forgotten how good it feels to break down all the processes that turn in my brain, all the elements of an argument that only go so far when I talk about them. I’ve forgotten its importance in my life in processing everything I experience, how vital it is for me to go through this process of interpreting emotions and thoughts and structuring them into a visual argument that I can reflect and further process; this loop within my writing that has been the catalyst to so much personal, emotional, and mental growth. My security, my safety blanket that extends past myself and on to others. I’ve left my lifelong passion in the dust and have become hollow as a result.

As I transition into the new school year, I find myself needing to put my writing and academic circles as first priority, letting the rest fall into place. I need to start thinking about what being an Astrophysicist means to me, and how it connects to my lifelong work as an organizer and writer. I need to start applying for internships within my respective field, devouring books and theory alongside. I need to start filling my life back with the melody of my writing, focusing on my short stories and blog work much more seriously than I have in the past. I need to remind myself of why I’m here in the first place, and the love that I carry within my work.

Without my writing, I’m hollow. Without my writing, I’m emotionally unstable. Without my writing, the world doesn’t make sense. Without my writing, I’m not the person I want to see, and I never want to be someone I don’t know ever again.

Social Justice & Organizing Work, Student Life

Fuck December

I haven’t really let myself feel for the entirety of December. The month has been weighed down by the stress of school, compounded by financial insecurity and issues within my romantic life. I haven’t been myself for a while, haven’t written the same way I would the last two months I’ve had this blog. I’ve been heavy, unable to face my personal issues head on, and unable to true connect to my writing. In many ways, I’ve been emotionally vacant and unresponsive, causing me to act out and take things too personally.

School within itself this semester was a shit show. Almost every class was traumatic. Calculus was full of egotistical frat boys and aspiring entrepreneurs, our professor spewing his apolitical rhetoric every now and then. The women and fem people of the class experienced a trauma well known within STEM, forced to deal with the bull-headed misogyny that resonated in the classroom.  My Earth Science class reeked of whiteness, within not only the professor but the students. Even in my most radical, critical thinking class was I met with trans-exclusionary, hyper masculine rhetoric and found myself scrambling to defend myself as an organizer in a space that I should feel free to share my radical politics in. One by one, my spaces became more and more violent and I found myself dependent on marijuana, scraping the last bits of each bowl.

This was compounded by my own financial stress. Too many bills and too many surprises came by way nearing the end, where I had to reach out to my parents for help after being independent financially from them since the Summer. It became increasingly harder to talk about anything financial and was especially traumatizing because of all the financial insecurities I held in my youth being brought to my attention for the first time. I had to deal with myself when I couldn’t, since somehow surviving was a blurry picture. I started to starve myself to bring down costs, feeding into my existing eating disorder. Everything took a sharp turn when I almost passed out studying in the library, and the instincts of survival kicked in.

This weight that I’ve been carrying with me for the entirety of the year is still very much so on my shoulders, but I’d be lying if I said it was the only thing I carried with me. Somehow in all this mess, between the booze and polarizing classes, I found a new love that opened up an unknown world to me. I found solace in my writing, each piece lightening my load. I was able to be mentored by an amazing professor, the same professor who ignited my fire for writing and gave me the confidence to demand my voice be heard. I found a new, revolutionary love within my collective. The kasamas and lifelong friends who only a phone call away, ready to be by my side through the hardships. I found a home, after feeling lost for so long.

Student Life

Finding My Voice

If you had told eight year old me that I would have been a blogger and author at 19, studying Astrophysics, she would’ve lost her damn mind. Writing has always been a core part of my life. The world of literature was never forced for me, as I danced with words and the mini universes created by my favorite novels. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done creatively where all of my skills were self taught. All the evenings cooped up in my school library, paid off. The world of words was home for such a different kid, that greeted me with open arms.

It’s especially interesting reflecting back on the path I’ve taken. I haven’t consistently written to write since my Freshman year of high school. The burden academia and school ranking took on me forced my hopes to be a writer to be put on hold. Whenever I thought about pursing it as a degree, I grew scared of sucking the life out of the practice. I had a bad professor my first semester of college that killed the creative part of writing for a long time for me. Now, being in such a nurturing writing space, not only has my writing improved and flourish immensely, but the quality of my life improved.

Each and every post I write is like an hour of my day that I take to confront myself. I dig into the deepest parts of myself to reflect all of my interactions and help give myself the tools to help my own self. Being critical gives purpose behind action, and reminds you of the bigger goals set for yourself. Being writer has also really solidified myself as a person. To have a strong voice within writing itself, you have to know who that voice is and what they believe in.

I’m glad to be a writer, and will continue to be a writer, unapologetically. It’s good to have a voice.

Mental Health

With The Stroke of a Pen, I am Released

For the entirety of my stay back home from a long day of Calculus midterms and my lab professor expecting me to teach the class, I’ve been trying to write on my blog. The evening planned ahead was full of hard cider and Star Wars films, thanks to a movie themed week in my English class. I was excited to sit back in my couch, the whole house to myself while the boys were away, to write my evening away. Then I started to experience glitches on my web browser.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we haven’t paid our Comcast bill timely, or I’m too dense to work a computer anymore, but WordPress wasn’t loading. My morale fell, taking my excited mood with it. My head filled anxiety: what if I was taken down by Capitalist entities? What if I’ve been identified as a Communist already from my first post? My chest soon became heavy and filled with grief, worrying about the safety of my mother and family if I was found out. What happens if my family sees through my post and starts attacking my mother for raising a ND organizer?

Then I snapped out of it. Reason started to wash over and realize I’m just some science student screaming into the void. In moments like these, I’m reminded most that I’m ill. My anxiety has always ruled my life, taking my peace of mind with it. I have never felt truly at peace as a human being, constantly questioning the people around me and their intentions. I’ve become guarded, living in fear of being crossed again. I live a very lonely life, absorbed in letter grades and moody authors.

Anxiety is the friend who never leaves my couch. She’s the friend who promised to squat for week and stayed for a lifetime. She never pays rent and drinks all our booze. Anxiety is the lover you never leave because she’s all you’ve known. She whispers in my ear whenever a boy on campus looks me. She cackles at my discomfort when old men stare at me too long. She sits back with a stoge resting between her grinning lips as I become nauseous at the sight of food. She will never leave me, and learning to live with her has become my greatest challenge.

It seems like the only time my anxiety is relived is when I write. Even as I write about my anxiety, my muscles have softened. The words flow like a stream of water bursting through a crack in a rock. I reach a deeper understanding and  of self, letting the gears in my brain turn as I reflect and analyze the thoughts spilling on the page. Writing is the one thing that makes me feel good as everything else around me gives into the pleas of gravity and crash.

I first started to write in early grade school. As I dashed through the halls, I felt the eyes of my classmates burn into the back of my head. Their daunting laughter ringed through my ears as I contained my emotions, darting from class to class. I found solace through my English teachers, who opened the world of books and language. I fell in love with the fear the ran through my body as I read horror novels. I gasped at the excitement of science fiction, the thrill of fantasy. I fell into hard, fast love into the work of creative writing and books at prime of grade school: 7 years young.

I wrote my first novel in 5TH grade. “The Haunted Locker: Locker 101” was held together with a variety of staples and binder paper, my smudged drawing of a locker covering the entirety of the front cover. The novel was almost 100 pages long, with ten chapters. It told the tale of a young high school Filipina girl who was assigned to a haunted locker. The locker was traced back to many dead high school students, and the young heroine had to do everything in her power to fight the deadly entity who was out for her life. She used the powers of “the scientific method”, whatever that may mean to a ten year old, to fight the entity and won a Nobel Prize.

I pushed aside my love of writing has I reached the end of high school. During my Senior year, I fell victim to the years of bottled up trauma I endured during the first few years of being a teenager. He was a local musician in my hometown, a friendly face in the city. I was in love with him and he saw me for who I was. He loved the way I sang, how my eyes twinkled when I laughed. He put a knife to my throat when he raped me, letting me know that “Baby, it’ll be over soon. Don’t you know how special you are to me?” I washed my sheets when he left and never wore that shirt again.

Being brutalized by my first love rattled me to my core. Every light in my world flickered out as I worked to piece together my self worth. I was in an out of hospitalizations from overdoses, unable to walk and eat. Whenever I mustered back my physical strength, SciFi somehow made its way back into my life as I clutched Issac Asimov’s “Foundations” close to my chest in my hospital bed. I read Ned Vizzini, comforted that people like myself weren’t just crazy. I took refuge in words, took comfort in sentences.

The world of writing and literature has always been my release in the darkest of times. Creating worlds at the edges of my fingertips has always been exhilarating and crucial to my emotional well being and development. Writing gave me a voice that was originally silenced and my ability not only express but stand up for myself has become that much more strengthened.