Do I Contradict Myself? Very Well Then I Contradict Myself, (I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes.)

⊹ ࣪ ˖ ꒰ঌ Currently... ໒꒱ ⊹ ࣪ ˖

Mood: Accepting

Weather: Mostly Cloudy

Listening to: "So American" by Olivia Rodrigo

Reading: The Premed Playbook Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement: Everything You Need to Successfully Apply by Ryan Gray

Watching: The Legend of Korra: Book Two: Spirits

Playing: Nothing (...Pokemon Go? Neopets?)

Drinking: Iced Caramel Latte

Perfume: Sweet Tooth by Sabrina Carpenter layered with Midnight Amber Glow by Bath and Body Works

(Title references this poem.)

Feeling yourself grow up and change is so strange. Whenever I notice something different about myself, even if it's just the accumulation of a bunch of small changes finally making a bigger difference in my life, it feels so alien. When I become aware of a "shift" in who I am and what I value in life, my immediate feeling is discomfort. It really sucks that this is my gut reaction because more often than not, the changes that I notice are positive and serve to enrich my life. I think I just don't like change. It's not a matter of disliking not being in control, because as I previously mentioned, it usually is a result of me taking control that things change. I actually consider myself to be very "go-with-the-flow" and adaptable when changes occur as a result of other people. Part of it is because I've had to be, but regardless of why I'm like this I've been told that I handle stress very well when things go awry due to external influences. So why is it that when I start to crave exercising everyday, a goal that I've been working towards for ages now, it makes my stomach sink?

I'm not diagnosed with anything that would make me neurodivergent, and will never seek any diagnoses because of the implications it'd have on my life as an already marginalized person. That being said, I find a lot of ADHD and autism tips that get sprinkled across the internet to be extremely helpful. Something that people with autism struggle with is "static thinking" or "black-and-white thinking", and I find that this resonates a lot with how I think about myself. I feel like I hear about "black-and-white thinking" a lot in regards to external situations, but I personally struggle to see myself as a dynamic ever changing organism. The monkey brain in me wants to perceive myself as a static person that will stay consistent like a fictional character. But I'm not a fictional character. I am not plot driven and two dimensional. I am influenced by the world around me. For as long as I can remember, I've hated exercising, but now that I've started to enjoy exercise (or how I feel after I exercise), it fills me with a feeling of malaise because who I am is changing. Now that I have some semblance of why I feel this way, I'm trying to become okay with feeling the initial discomfort, sitting with it, allowing my perception of self to change, and proceeding on in my life healthier and happier.

When I started to spend more time by myself, I realized that I didn't really know who I was and was dependent on other people to define who I am for me. Honestly, I perceive that a lot of the world pities me and looks down on me. Once all that noise disappeared I was forced to discover who I was, find parts of myself that I was not fully aware of before, as well as find places that I was lacking in that I'd like to develop more.

Something that I used to be really insecure about in the past was being "out of the loop" of popular culture. Between being a child with niche interests and having immigrant parents that I couldn't learn cultural references from via osmosis, I often had no clue what my classmates or friends were referencing or talking about. It seems like a really miniscule thing in hindsight, but at the time I was already dealing with feelings of detachment from others, so my inability to connect with others in this way made me feel awful. At the time, there were many popular television shows that I hadn't watched because my mother wouldn't allow me to, and many popular musicians I hadn't heard of because I felt like I couldn't relate to liking their sound or lyrics. At that age, I better related to anime characters in extremely exagerated fictionalized environments and vocaloids that told elaborate stories through their songs rather than listening to another pop song about heartbreak on the radio or watching serious movies about social norms that I couldn't understand. At one point, I became determined to no longer be an "outsider" in this regard, and I became addicted to watching countless television shows and listening to music from musicians that I didn't care about just to fit in. As a combination of my addictive personality and desire to catch up socially, there was a time in my life where I'd spend hours of my day wasting it on the internet just to make sure that I knew everything about anything that I could, just so that on the off chance that I was in a social interaction with someone, I wouldn't be ostracized for not knowing about something. It was awful. I hated myself for it. Especially because I know that if I was not living with my parents, I wouldn't have been able to take care of myself sufficiently. I have a lot of interests, and a lot of my interests have communities behind them: the personal/independent web, jfashion (girly kei and lolita), vocaloid, youtubers, game dev, podcasters. Even in my more niche interests, I didn't want to be "behind". I never wanted to be behind. At some point, it got to the point where I wasn't completing the basic things I needed to survive or get done. Luckily, because I lived with my parents, I was always well taken care of, but there was always a gremlin in my soul tugging away at me for not being a normal "functioning" person. In my head, everyone was born into this world with a little handbook teaching them how to be a functional and social human and mine never got delivered. So I've always been behind, always been forced to try to catch up.

I was always afraid to even indulge in some of my interests online because I was afraid of being seen as a "fake fan" of something if I didn't go "all the way" for some of the things I loved like constantly attending livestreams, or running and being an active fan account and being a good "mutual". I was perpetually keeping myself in a state of misery because of my own toxic standards and need to be everything to everyone. But it's impossible to be everything to everyone. I thought that the only things being worth into is whatever's "popular", not the things that I personally enjoyed. But the reality is, I work in seasons. I have a lot of interests, and they ebb and flow, and modern social media and the relationships that they cultivate do not allow space for that. People are expected to "niche down" and I don't want that for myself. Although I don't believe that modern social media is all bad, it's undeniable the effect it had on my perception of people, relationships, and myself.

I sadly don't recall which Youtuber said this, but they talked about how sometimes Youtubers who decide to quit the platform and pursue a "normal" job sometimes feeling like they are "losing the game". But are they really losing the game if they are quitting Youtube to pursue a career that is better for them? Having social credit and being popular isn't everything, especially being popular on the internet. It made me think about my mindset about having to feel like I was caught up on everything. I realized that I really don't want to be caught up on everything all the time. I used to believe that it was social media feeds that were the problem— the ads, the lack of privacy, the algorithm, the shortform content. In truth that was only part of the problem for me. I discovered RSS, and subscribed to the RSS feeds of everything that I could, but that only raised new problems for me. The longer I'd avoid my RSS feed, the more unread feed items would appear. At some point, I was spending more time than I was comfortable with just clearing my RSS feed reader. I wasn't even meaningfully interacting with the content that was appearing on my RSS feed anymore. It made me realize that I needed to let go of the feeling I've felt since a young age to "catch up", even if it filled me with an initial feeling of discomfort. I will never catch up. It is not possible to catch up because there will always be an endless feed of content to consume. I have to redirect my addictive tendencies elsewhere. I needed to let myself finally "lose the game": achieving the unttainable goal that I had set up for myself when I was younger. What I thought would make me happy (always being up to date on everything) was not bringing me happiness and fufillment. So I finally let myself lose the game. I want to use my completionist and perfectionism tendencies towards building a better and more fufilling life for myself.

I have been redirecting my addictive tendencies to other places now. Rather than allowing myself to become addicted to long form content like 2 hour long YouTube video essays or the endless tiktok or twitter scroll, my hits of dopamine come from completing tasks on my to-do list and doing small things to take care of myself, including but not limited to my exercise goals. I've been channeling my addictive tendencies into becoming invested in musicians and their discographies. I have only been allowing myself to be sucked into the things that serve me. Music is shorter than television shows or movies, and if I choose to take a break from my work to listen to a song, it will only set me back in my schedule a couple of minutes rather than setting me back 2 hours or giving me task switching hangover. Music also is a way for me to connect with other people, so I am still giving myself a way to be able to form connections with others whether it's through bonding over enjoying the same musicians or being able to introduce them to something new. I am able to listen to music while doing other things (i.e. my eyes don't have to glued to the screen to understand what's happening). I love being able to decipher the stories that musicians tell through their music. It is also capable of putting me in the mood to do more of the things I like: writing and art! In the past community wise, I was spending so much time consuming other people's work for "inspiration" that I wasn't even creating my own art anymore. It'd end up turning into doom scrolling, because I'd start to make myself feel worse about not creating while also obsessing over other's work. Ever since I started sourcing my validation from myself, I'm less inclined to feel pressure to be active in communities of my interests in order to make sure that people will interact with my content. I feel lighter and free. It's a lot more fun for me to channel that obsessive energy into things that I'll personally never be a part of like the music or movie industry. It hits a little less close to home consuming these things, so I'm able to consume that content without guilt. I don't feel lazy for scrolling instead of creating. Instead, I bookmark the pages of artists and websites that I like, so that I can choose to go visit on my own terms.

Maybe there are people out there who are able to be socially aware with the happenings of the world, take care of themselves, while also being able to do heavy brain things like keeping up with their school work. But I am not naturally one of those people. I've learned what's important to me and what to prioritize, and these things might not be the same for everyone. Accepting myself where I am as who I am has greatly improved my quality of life. I don't want to be the same person that I was when I was 16 years old. I want to grow and change and blossom into the person I want to be, even if it brings me discomfort due to change and letting go of things that were once important to me. I want to accept that although I was not the best person in the past, I simply did not have the resources and the experience to be the person that I am today. I don't want to hate the past version of myself for having different priorities than I do now; I want to accept myself growing and evolving, just as humans are meant to do. I want to accept that as I gain more life experience, I will change and I will have to get used to it. I want to accept that a "future me" may contradict a "current me" and that's normal. I was not put on this Earth to be popular or understood by people. I was put on this Earth to simply live.

Went through my old Tumblr blog from 2017-2018 and found this image that I had tagged "mecore". I need to remind myself of this sometimes!