August 2017 – Journal

Quote of the week: 

“Despite everything, it’s still you.”
Undertale

Undertale came out on the PS4 recently, and I’m starting to get those good ol’ DETERMINATION feels again.

(Also, this is one of my favorite fanart pieces of all time.)

Whelp, it’s been awhile, friends! I hope you all had/are having a lovely summer. Unsurprisingly, it’s hot here in California, though it’s only super bad during heat waves (like the one happening right now, ಥ‿ಥ). I realize I didn’t keep up with the journals in June and July, but um . . . summer! 8D

Anyway, on with this month’s journal challenge! As always, please feel free to join the conversation in the comments! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts and whatever awesome things you all are up to!

Fall bucket list

BAKE. I mean, I bake quite a lot during the holidays anyway, but I found all these amazingly creative and delicious-looking desserts for Halloween and Christmas on Pinterest, and I like, wanna bake ’em all.

I’d also really like to actually finish NaNoWriMo this year. At least to the point of writing every day.

What genres of music speak to you?

Instrumental, which includes classical music and film scores. I love me some violins. I also quite like pop music, like whatever comes on the radio, because it’s usually bouncy and dancey. Current favorite band, though, is Imagine Dragons; I like their sound very much, and I would say their lyrics speak to me, especially “Demons” and “Hear Me,” which were the first songs of theirs that really got me into their music.

Stress-relieving tips

Just take one (1) thing at a time. Focus on either only the most important thing, or all the little things first, whichever makes you feel more confident and relieved. Make a bullet list, even if it’s simplified to single tasks like “Breathe,” “Drink water,” etc. We get stressed usually when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Acknowledge that you’re feeling stressed, say aloud what is/are the stressors (“I have a job interview today and I’m worried about it”), and breathe. My therapist taught me this breathing exercise: Sit straight on a chair, feet flat on the floor, hands open on your knees (if you’re anything like me, you tense up when worried/anxious). Then, breathe in deeply through your nose, hold that breath for four seconds, and breathe out again through your mouth slowly. Take a few normal (slow) breaths, then do it again, for three minutes. The whole in-nose, out-mouth thing is to slow your heart rate down, relieving a bit of that stress and helping your thought process to slow down and regain focus on what needs to be done.

This is less about stress, but if you’re someone who has anxiety for any reason, doing that breathing exercise every day will help a lot. As was explained to me, repeated worries create a sort of path in the brain, one that your thoughts tend to run through whenever you’re triggered by whatever your anxiety is (for me, it’s thoughts about getting sick). It’s like a muddy trail in a field made by a huge truck, with huge divots in the ground, hence why it’s so hard to break the process and stop the anxious thoughts. So, the breathing exercise (basically, meditation) creates a NEW path for your brain to go down, one of relaxation and peace. Doing it three times a day, each and every day, will solidify that new path. That way, when you’re in anxiety-inducing situation, you simply do your breathing, and your brain recognizes this and goes down that path instead of the anxiety one, and you start to feel calmer. It’s simple but great because you can do it subtly and with no one being the wiser, if you’re concerned with that sort of thing. Of course, this won’t work for everyone, but having something to rely on when the anxious thoughts come helps me.

Celebrations you’re looking forward to

HALLOWEEN

CHRISTMAS

AHHHHHHH

How do you boost your confidence?

It kinda depends what I’m doing, but usually, it’s like, pretending I AM confident. I know that sounds silly, but the saying, “Fake it till you make it,” is kind of true! What tends to bring you down is fear and/or doubt. Push past the fear and disregard the doubt, and you can practically do anything. Also what helps is reminding yourself of all the things that you do do well, what makes you so darn amazing. I know some people who turn to social media for confidence boosts, and I don’t mean vague-booking for compliments, but being honest: “I feel a bit down right now, anyone give me a boost?” Or, if it’s about something specific: “Job interview coming up! Any tips or kudos appreciated!” By framing it in this way, it shows that you’re genuine in your appeal, that you actually need help, and people who reply feel good too, because they’re helping you out!

Personal prompt

We kinda got REAL in this post, so here’s a silly one:

“If you could make any ice cream (or frozen yogurt) flavor, what would you make?”

I remember being asked this when I was younger, and I think I said something like, caramel apple. Has that ever been a flavor for ice cream?? It probably has. And with things like Cold Stone and Yogurtland, you could just have apple sorbet and dump caramel all over it, and voila! Now, I’d probably make something more wild, like white chocolate-covered pretzel or something. Mmmm . . . *drools*

Miscellaneous

  • So, I had a pretty busy summer! As you may have noticed from above, I started seeing a therapist, to help me deal with my vomiting phobia. I’ve only been to couple sessions, and due to administration dealings, had to switch therapists, but so far, I’ve feel it’s helped. Just telling someone who isn’t family about these issues is, I think, a large part of it, as they have no judgment of you. I don’t do the breathing exercises three times a day (I forget), but I do try to do it at least once, right after I exercise, so it’s become a nice part of my daily ritual. Interestingly, the most improvement I’ve made in my life has come entirely outside of therapy. For some reason, I never liked the idea of schedules because I thought I would freak out if I had to deviate from it. I would maintain it for a while, and then as a sort of subconscious rebellion, deliberately do other things, just to prove that I “could” — or something. Even I don’t understand my brain. Deep down, I’ve always known that I like schedules and I am the most productive and happiest when I keep to them. And so, I’ve accepted this fact. And I’ve also accepted the fact that I certainly don’t freak out out when something in schedule changes (unexpected jobs come up, asked to go to lunch, etc.). I just rearrange my schedule! So now, getting work down is a lot better, I’ve made progress in my weight loss journey (sugar is ultimately my biggest issue, but ehhh, one thing at a time!), and I just feel better. I like feeling productive — I even like mornings! And Mondays! — and really trying to stick to my schedule means I have more free time. I’m still behind in my reading, but it’s less about not having time because I wasted it procrastinating, and more that I’ve just been doing other activities. I’m in a good place right now, and though I still don’t know where my work is going or what my future holds, I feel more confident in myself about it all.
  • OKAY, ENOUGH SERIOUS TIMES. I also went to AX (Anime Expo) in July! This was second year going with The BF and friends and staying in the hotel all four days and it was great (last year was a bit of anxiety-ridden disaster, and luckily, this did not repeat itself). Well, the first day wasn’t fantastic, due to a huge line fiasco because of increased security measures. But once we were in, it was good! The BF went as Professor Oak and handed out Pokemon charms to everybody who wanted one. I got some beautiful buttons from Artist Alley (again in the parking structure but with air conditioning this time!), and overall, it was a nice little vacation away from home.
  • Speaking of cons, I also went to SDCC again! Just for one day, like last year, but as I was a volunteer, I wanted to fulfill at least part of my commitment. It was tiring work but very enjoyable. I was on line management, which isn’t the most exciting of jobs, but I got to talk to quite a few interesting people, and answer a lot of questions and overall help open people out, which is my absolute favorite part of volunteering. I also got a snazzy free SDCC volunteer t-shirt! When I wasn’t on duty, I wandered around the exhibition hall. Last year, there were lots of book stalls just handing out free books like candy, but not so much this year. I went on Thursday, Day 1, so perhaps that was why. Still, I’m looking forward to doing it again next year, and maybe with The BF, my sister, and a hotel this time!
  • The reason why I couldn’t volunteer all four days was because that weekend was my big family vacation to Catalina Island! And when I say “big,” I mean my whole family (on my mother’s side) went, so grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a plethora of cousins. I’d never been to Catalina before, and I was pretty excited about it. Unfortunately, the place we were staying at — while very nice — was built into the side of a hill, and there was absolutely no cell phone reception. For those with T-Mobile and AT&T, anyway. Verizon people had a couple bars, but it wasn’t reliable. And the place itself was a collection of sort of timeshare resort condos, and so, basically people’s homes, and some had Wi-Fi. Ours did not. So, being cut off from the outside world wasn’t great. Buuuut everything else was! We took the Catalina Express from Dana Point (I hadn’t been on a boat in years and was a bit worried I’d get seasick — and I would’ve been very mad because I love the ocean — but I didn’t and it was awesome). With our condo, we also got a golf cart to drive! I’d never driven one before, and what a revelation it was to realize that they’re basically the cars you drive in Autopia at Disneyland. Like, right down to the smelly gas smell. (more accurately, I guess, the Autopia cars probably have golf cart-esque motors, but whatever.) We explored the town a bit, went to a few fancy lunches and dinners, swam on a (very) rocky beach, went night swimming, and last but not least, all us kids (with me being the oldest and everyone younger) did a zipline obstacle course! It wasn’t as challenging as it seemed, but then, I only did the beginner and intermediate courses, and I may have cheated a little: since I’m tall, I could reach up and grab the support line that the obstacle logs were attached to and kinda just shimmy along. That little trick, however, didn’t work on the very last leg of the course I was on, and I had a pretty rough time of it. And when I zip-lined down, I landed right on my butt. But overall, I felt quite strong and powerful, like Wonder Woman. I should like to go back to Catalina again someday and explore more of the island. I’m interested in how people live there all year round; one of our taxi drivers did, and as he pointed out, it may be an hour’s boat ride back to the mainline, but as far as commutes go, that’s often much less than some people spend in traffic every day, so there’s that. (My sister said she could never live there because there’s no Target and they weren’t showing Spider-Man: Homecoming in the theatre.)
  • My little brother is reading the Harry Potter series for the first time! He’s seen all the movies and knows a few extra things from what my sister and I have told him, but it’s not quite the same. This is exciting to me not just because having Potterheads around is always a good thing, but also he’s not much of a reader at all. He told me once that he didn’t quite understand why reading is interesting (broke my heart a little). But for school, he has to do a daily reading log and so chose Harry Potter. Last night, I went to his room to make sure he had done the required reading pages, and he said, “Yes, I did, but . . . ” Me: “But what?” Him: “But what if I want to read more?” Me: *trying not to cry of pure joy* “Well, I’m not going to stop you, go ahead!” And when I checked the book this morning, he had read THIRTY EXTRA PAGES.
  • Harry Potter is the ultimate reading gateway drug, y’all.
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