Overwhelming– Poetry Place

patrick-fore-381200Two poems for you today, pay attention and see if the context is a little different than you think— you tell me.

But we all have certain things we run from, pieces of ourselves that are hard to separate from the rest; it can be quite the crisis of self that comes when we try. So here you go, for my finals week, here are two very dramatic poems that I kind of love. Especially the second one.

Let me know what you think.


One

tim-marshall-82948-unsplashIt’s exhausting, the way you follow me around

and believe in yourself when you take me down

to drown out all the noise that you put in my head

with words I don’t want to hear, your presence like lead.

It drowns me, suffocates me, while I lose all the love

that I believe can help fix me up; you just push and shove

your hands straight into my chest, the other wrapped around my throat

I can’t breathe a single breath, can’t even stay afloat

paul-wong-465234-unsplashbefore you take me over. It’s no longer a choice to make

I have no other options, only to let you in to take

every last bit of my sanity, I let you under my skin.

Because I’ve played this game, I’ve fought this battle

too many times, and every time

you win.

Two

I sat there watching as you crawled over my skin,

grinning as you gnawed your way through me

past my gritted teeth and screaming eyes, asking you not to.

I knew you wouldn’t listen.

I could feel it in my bones as you hollowed me out,

inch by inch I lost every space I called my own

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Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

to the shaking the hoping, the fading in my body.

While you drained that hope from the inside out,

my vision went blurry, the voices in my head

twisting the volume up and up and up

as high as it could go. The louder you got

the louder I needed to be, hands shut over my ears,

screaming against the cacophony of your voice;

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay

its—but it’s not okay.

I don’t like the way it feels when you make a home

out of me, make me shake and make me cry,

you make me question why I’m alive

so  I can’t answer when someone wants to know

if I’m okay; you take my tongue, you twist it up and

all I can ever seem to do

is let you.


See you Friday.

 

Self-Care: If We Don’t, Who Will?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

With a few exams under my belt already, we’ve got finals coming up next week and I have just the thing for you today. Because lately, I have to be honest in saying I haven’t been taking care of myself at all— I keep telling myself that I’ll sleep tomorrow, or I’ll eat after I finish this one assignment and well… Time just keeps going and I wear myself down even more.

So for the good of each of us, I have five ways for you to add to your self care toolbox today. Because you’re the number one advocate for you, the self-care starts with you. So let’s get started together.


Sleep

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

This will always be one of my biggest things to advocate for because, just like Snickers says you’re not you when you’re hungry, you’re also not you when you’re tired. Take it from someone who was in bed by 9:30 last night, sometimes you really just need the sleep. Whether you’re working or just trying to enjoy a day off, sleep is the first step to having a solid day of doing what you want to do without holding yourself back. Treat yourself to some zzz’s today, nap a little if you have to. Pay attention to your body and it’ll pay you back in feeling more ready for whatever comes next.

Get Out

Sometimes, it truly does help to just get out of the house and go outside. And no, I don’t mean the outside you’re in while you walk to class or go to work, I mean surround yourself by nature and walk in a park or go for a hike. If those aren’t an option, then find a coffee shop or some place to sit down and relax for at least thirty minutes without doing any work. And if you really can’t do that either, then change your surroundings even if all you do is clean your room or move to a new area. One way or another, get out of your current space for a bit. Your mind and your body will thank you.

Drink. A lot.

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Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

And I mean water, come on now. Hydration is incredibly important for your body to function properly, but on top of that, it helps you feel more balanced throughout your day. Not only does staying hydrated help your focus, sleep, and overall feeling, but it also helps to keep you from snacking throughout the day. If you’re like me, maybe you procrastinate with food, or even just snack when you’re stressed. Drinking more water can help you with that because sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need water. So grab a glass of water and treat your body well today.

Meditation

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Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

When I say meditation, I could mean it literally for some of you, especially if you’re into the headspace app. But if you’re not, this could also mean maybe meditating over a good book, or even better, a good meal. Just take a step back from whatever else is going on in your life and be present in the moment. Give your full attention to those around you, your work, your books, and even your shows. Just be there and be a little productively unproductive for a while. You probably need it.

Company

anthony-intraversato-455600-unsplash (1).jpgFor some people, self-care might look like studying and working until it’s all done and that’s one less thing to worry about. For other people, it might look like spending a little extra time around the people who matter to you. After all, they say misery loves company but in reality, all of us need a little extra love sometimes. Whether it’s the moral support or even just a fun time to get your mind to relax a little, you know yourself and your people the best. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.


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Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash

I know we’re all busy people with busy lives, but I hope that you can take some time to care for yourself today, you deserve that much. It’s a Friday after all, why not head into the weekend with a mind and body feeling rested and ready.

And hey, if you’ve got anything that works really well for you, feel free to tell me about it in the comments; I can always use more tips for my toolbox!

So happy Friday. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. See you Tuesday for Poetry Place.

Heading Into the Holidays With Good Intentions

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Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

Without Friday classes today, this is the official start of my Thanksgiving break. Working here on campus means a lot of things, including having to work one of our breaks; looks like Nick and I are sticking around here until Wednesday. As much as I love being able to go home and get out of this place for a little while, there might still be a bright side to being here.

Because without the distractions, the friends, or the classes, I’ve made myself a goal— by Wednesday, all my final papers, projects, and homework due by the end of break will be done. At least that’s the goal.

As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions right?

Speaking of good intentions, remember when I said I’m doing NanNoWriMo?

Well the goal is to get to 50,000 by the end of this month, and well… I am about 15,000 words behind as of today. Sure, I plan to catch up over this break and put in a lot of hours at my computer, but that is a really high deficit right there. With the month already halfway over, it’s a pretty daunting task to try and catch up at this point.

So what do you do when you’re crunched for time and there’s almost no way to make it?

You start from where you’re at.

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Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash

It’s like trying to get over a cold or the flu, recovery won’t happen in a day. It takes a lot of sleep, medicine, hydration, and time for your body to catch up. Getting through all my work this break will take about the same, plus some real motivation to get back to where I need to be. Cause let’s be honest, there’s a lot to do and only about 5 days to do it all.

The older I get, the more I seem to remind myself that a break from school isn’t really just a break anymore—it’s extra time to fill with all the things you’ve been meaning to do on top of all the things you should have been doing in the first place. It’s the time for fun and the time for productivity, mix in a little bit of family and travelling and well… That sounds like break to me.

There’s this balance I’ve been trying to find, between working hard and fun/self-care. I definitely haven’t found it yet, but I’d like to think I’m getting closer. At a certain point, self-care truly just means using your time wisely and setting yourself up to succeed with whatever you’ve got on your plate. Even if that means sleeping at a more reasonable bedtime than I ever do and actually managing my time properly.

Moving into Thanksgiving break here, I’m hoping to find a better way to move forward with my work and responsibilities. As of this week, I just committed to something huge for the rest of the school year involving Orientation Team; on top of my own personal goals along with the homework and my grades, I sometimes question whether or not I can handle what’s coming next.

I guess the only way to find out is to take it on head first and go from there. For now, I plan to settle into this next week of no classes and try to set myself up for success. Hopefully these good intentions lead me to something good.

So happy Friday, and I will see you all next week. For those of you travelling, be safe and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I’m thankful for everyone who keeps up with me every week. So thank you and happy holidays.

Living on the Border– What Happens When That Line is Crossed

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Photo by Phước Lộc on Unsplash

I woke up yesterday morning, walking to my 7am class, the way most of us “millennials” do— trying to use coffee and twitter to drown out the noise of the snoring I could be doing, were I still in bed. But instead, I was walking through a cold building, dragging my feel to class, only to finally look down at the lit screen of my iPhone to find the news of Thousand Oaks staring back at me.

I wish I was surprised.

Because these things seem to happen, far too often, something I’m sure the few unlucky enough to go through this shooting and the Las Vegas shooting know only too well. So I sat through my first class of the day wondering about the trauma, the people, the lives…

How would the news twist this one?

Was the shooter white, would it become another not-so-subtle attack on race?

Would it be blamed solely on mental health, on the system?

What’s wrong with our system?

So I sat through class, nodding along and taking notes with hands only sort of conscious of what I was writing down. Then I left that class to go to another one, only this time, I was waiting for a text back.

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Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

We talked through the readings and went over what a writing center looks like, my leg bouncing and fingers constantly tugging at my pen for the next hour and a half; I was only halfway paying attention. Because it took me a minute to think about where Thousand Oaks is, to realize how close Borderline was to Pepperdine, to Cal Lutheran, to the college student friends I had who just might have been at that bar on college night.

Just like everyone else, I had to wait.

I didn’t want to find out through Facebook that another person died, not again. I didn’t want to sit in class and think about the 10, the 11, the 12 people who lost their lives.

I didn’t want to think about the fact that one of those people could have been one of my people.

I was lucky enough not to have to think that for too long— ironically Facebook was the bearer of good news this time when my friends checked themselves in safely.

Even while I was relieved, immensely so, I also worry about how it feels to be a parent in this day and age. You’re supposed to be able to send your child to a daycare at a preschool and not worry about the big what ifs: what if they they don’t come home, what if someone breaks into the school, what if they have a gun? What if I never see my child again?

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

People send their children to work, to worship, to college, into the real world, so they can understand how to live. This is what sets them up for the rest of their lives after all, this is when the living really starts. At least it’s supposed to.

I will never understand why or how things like this happen, let alone what we’re supposed to do after it does.

Because life goes on, even when it feels like it shouldn’t. Some people woke up this morning not missing loved ones lost, not wishing this reality was just a nightmare. People are going to work or to class or to school today, just like any other day. Some loved ones are accounted for, some aren’t, yet plans are still made for Thanksgiving, planes arranged for break, and people go on with their lives.

Tonight my PCE (Pilipino Cultural Exchange) family gets to welcome in over a dozen new members to our ranks, and tomorrow we all get to eat good food and celebrate our togetherness as one big club. Our lives go on, not thinking about how easily this could have happened in our town, at The Grad, or even to one of us visiting Borderline last night.

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Photo by Angelo Pantazis on Unsplash

That’s the thing about what happened, about what keeps happening: nothing changes. Not really. Sure, we get a little more scared and a little more worried, or maybe we hold people tighter for a little while. And we keep that up, until we don’t.

Personally, it’s a little exhausting and I sometimes wonder what it’ll be like to raise my own kids— would this have gotten better, worse?

I don’t know where we’re going from here, but something has to change. And I guess our lives will go on whether or not something does. For most of us.


I’ll see you on Tuesday for Poetry Place.

How to Start Something You Don’t Feel Ready For

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Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

Without hesitation.

There’s really no other way to do it. When you go into something doubting your own capabilities, what you want, what might happen… You have to jump in head first. 

That’s what WOW was for me this year.

I’ll be honest, the summer was rough with two summer classes I willingly signed myself up for and a whole lot of work hours, among so much else. There was some fun in there, I promise, just not quite what I wanted to do with myself this summer. And as always, when the days rolled around to when I needed to be heading back here to SLO, I wasn’t ready.

I never am, I hate leaving home— especially because it always means I’m coming back here.

That sounds bad, doesn’t it? Well, I used to mean it.

But I don’t anymore.

You see, the way I started this year was completely different than any other. Part of the issue I’ve had at this school was finding a place to settle down into, whether it’s my major or especially my people; it’s been difficult to say the least. But I committed to WOW last year with the hope that I could find my own space in it and not “settle in” to the year, but throw myself in— there was only one way to do it.

Somehow, when you’re starting something that you don’t know if you can handle, there’s no room for hesitation. There’s plenty of space for stress, doubt, worry, hoping, finger crossing, and trying. But not an inch for hesitation.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

If I had hesitated on day 1, I wouldn’t have done WOW at all. And I wouldn’t have realized that being a minority of this campus can be hard; being a minority at a PWI with a family of minorities by your side since day 1 could also be the #1 thing that stops you from feeling like you don’t belong.

CCE is that family.

There are a few things that happened last week that made me question our collective value at this school— when all the CCE students of color get sent to the back of the building just so we can then be told a pre-scheduled event can’t happen for us, it seems a little off. And when a pre-scheduled bowling night somehow gets double booked and all 300+ of us are told to find something else to do, “a little off” is an understatement.

Or at WOW-a-rama, the event where all the WOWies basically meet each other and run around and play icebreakers as a collective whole— ask one of my CCE leaders and her kids what it was like to run through a tunnel of excited and hyped up WOW leaders, only to be called racial slurs by a transfer WOWie.

These things made me question why they would put all the students of color in groups like CCE for Week of Welcome— so they could be subjected to racism and disrespect as a group? Then I thought back to day 1, a day that was never awkward and had my group crying or supporting one another like a family from the very beginning, opening up a sharing personal things because they were comfortable on day 1.

Tell my why these kids were so happy to be a part of CCE, despite the people asking why all the “colored kids” are sitting together. Because at least before classes started and they’d then be surrounded by people who didn’t look or feel or hold a perspective like them, they would still have a foundation of family to come back to whenever they needed us.

There’s nothing wrong with white students– it’s almost like white people are being attacked or prejudiced now for simply being white and that is absolutely wrong; I am not holding anything against them. But there’s also nothing wrong with giving the minority students a safe space they know they can fall back into when they need it.

If there is anything this last week held, it was the opportunity for a home in CCE for all of the first years who were part of the program this year, and I am grateful to have been able to help give them that. College is hard after all; it’s the kind of thing 18 year olds are expected to jump into while figuring the rest of their lives out in four years along the way. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

Only if it’s done right.

This goes for anything— if you’re headed into a new job, sending the last kids off to college, deciding when/where to retire, questioning new relationships, or building back old ones, don’t hesitate.

Raise your questions if you must, tackle that doubt any way you can. Take your time and let the good or the bad things come, but don’t hold yourself back. Never hold yourself back.

Dive in head first, do not hesitate. And be ready for whatever comes next.

A Little College Advice

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I wanted to give you all a recap on this past week because it’s something I really want to share with you– yet, with two days left of WOW, I’m realizing I can’t do a recap until it’s all over. Because there are too many moments still to come.

So instead, I’m going to talk about the fact that yesterday was my first day of junior year. I only have one first day of school left in my undergrad career. I know there’s a whole lot I still need to experience and learn, but there is also so much I’ve learned already that could maybe help other people to know too.

Here’s to sharing what I’ve got for you.


Asking questions and being wrong is better than never asking at all.
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Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

The thing about college is that we go into it thinking that we’re supposed to be responsible and have things under control. If something goes wrong, we should fix it on our own… But what if we don’t know how?

We probably don’t know how to do a whole lot of things, because this is a learning process. I remember coming in as a freshman, I was too afraid to ask questions from directions to a certain building to how to balance the fun versus the not-so-fun.

You only know if you ask, I mean I guess you could do a trial and error approach, but trust me, asking is a whole lot easier.

Fear is part of the game.

I can’t say I’ve met anyone who wasn’t at least a little bit scared about college. Whether they were first years or fifth years, there’s something daunting about the next steps you have to take.

Just don’t let that stop you from taking them.

This year with WOW or even last year with the very social Philipino club (PCE) on campus, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. With PCE, I let that hold me back; I participated just enough to be there and still make friends while still questioning every mood I made. I forgot to rip up my cool card and let myself just exist however I wanted to be in that space. Comparing that to WOW, I can tell you that SO many things have gone wrong or differently than I expected but I started this off the only way anyone should ever start anything.

Unapologetically. Among the fear, start there and let the pieces fall where they may.

You’re going to make mistakes.

A lot of them. Whether it’s coming in as the wrong major (I get it) or maybe failing a class you probably shouldn’t have (I get that too), you have to remember that none of this is going to be perfect. Part of the fun is seeing what comes after the mistakes, after all, you only get out of an experience what you allow yourself to.

If you’re hoping for a seamless adjustment to every year of college, great grades, best friends, perfect roommates, and the picturesque experience, you’re probably watching too many movies. The idea is to be okay with making mistakes as long 1, you learn from them and 2, you don’t let them define you.

Simply take a chance on yourself let them help you grow.

College is what you let it be.

A lot can happen in 3-6 years. You could fall in love, find your lifelong friends, make a career change you never saw coming, or even move to a new place that fits better than the old one. But your experience is yours, and yours alone.

If someone spends their time studying, always, and you don’t… That’s okay.

If another person wants to go out on bar crawls (when of legal age of course) or line dancing every night and you’re more of a stay in and watch a movie kind of person… That’s also okay.

There are pieces of your college experience that only apply to you and there’s nothing wrong with having your own way of doing things. As they say, if it ain’t broke…

Just remember, whatever routine you get into, don’t forget to break it sometimes. Ditch a movie night to go out to a party and let loose for a little while. Or maybe study early for an exam this next time instead of procrastinating like us college students always end up doing anyway.

I’m not saying you have to always push yourself out of your comfort zone. But I am saying that college isn’t supposed to always be comfortable… It’s supposed to be one of the biggest and most transformative four years of your life. Leave the doors open for new opportunities to come.

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Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

And do something that changes you.


If I think of anything else, I’ll probably do a midyear advice thing during winter quarter. But now, I have to get back to another WOW event and take my own “college is what you let it be” advice.

So I will see you all on Tuesday for another Poetry Place. Otherwise, have a fantastic weekend. And if you can, get some extra sleep for the both of us.

Pushing the Boundaries That Need Breaking

I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time. — Michael Phelps
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Photo by Parker Gibbons on Unsplash

I made a lot of goals for my first two years of college, but I ended each grade with a changed mind and questions of whether or not I met those goals… Whether or not I even wanted to.

This year, I can already tell that things are going to be very different.

Like a lot of people, I tend to stick to my safe zone, you know where the status quo is something you’re used to and find comfort in. It’s always been easy for me to stick to that boundary in most of what I do. It’s comfortable there after all.

Last quarter I committed to something that would completely shove (not even lightly suggest or push) me out of that zone.

You see, there’s this event on campus I’ve seen people put on for the last two years and I always watched, thinking “that will never be me.” It looked like a lot of work and frankly, I wasn’t the type of person to sign myself up for everything it entailed…

Yet here I am, day 1 of WOWies (first-years) on campus and I’m doing it. I am a Cross Cultural Experience group leader for the Week of Welcome (WOW).

There are probably a lot of things we look at in our lives, swearing up and down that it would never be us. Instead, we watch people put in the work and go through the whole process of trying out a different role, one that maybe we still want.

What if it could be us?

That’s been one of the biggest concepts surrounding my college experience, recognizing things I could be doing or should be doing, versus actually doing them. With WOW, I guess you could say I decided to do it for one reason and stayed for completely different one.

I joined because someone asked me to and so I could throw myself into something new and find a purpose here at Cal Poly, maybe find a way to prove to myself that I didn’t choose the wrong school– that the wrong school didn’t chose me. I’ve wondered that since my first day.

Even after the partner I thought I would be going into it with found someone else, I stayed. Normally I would have bailed, I almost did too. But I stayed.

Because, well, I already have a purpose here. Through the people, the cultural clubs and first official CCE program in WOW I have the honor of being a part of, there’s a meaning to what we do. I stayed because leading new students and throwing myself into situations with no safety net or expectation makes me uncomfortable– in all the best ways.

Like Phelps said, goals shouldn’t be easy. And the goal of college– beyond the education– is to grow.

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Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

When people say college is the best four years of their lives, some of them mean it in exactly that way. Beyond the facade of what we think it’s supposed to be, maybe it can live up to that.

Whether or not I hop on that bandwagon by the time I’m done here, I do think that these years should be the ones that impact us the most.

I can already say I believe in that.

And the moments or the lessons I remember the most are the ones that made me uncomfortable, the ones that I honestly couldn’t see coming and wasn’t prepared for– the ones I didn’t think I would be in until they were already happening.

When it comes to college and a whole lot of what we do in our lives, maybe those are the moments we really need.


Happy Friday everyone, I will see you next week. Who knows, maybe you’ll get an update on how WOW is going too. Have a great weekend.