Friday, January 31, 2014

Ruminations of the week

On Monday I took my first Introduction to Drama class, and it was wonderful! Ever since I jumped on the Tom Hiddleston bandwagon--I'm not ashamed!--I grew even more curious of acting. I think it's the way he explains his process that makes sense to me. He approaches his roles by building a psychological map--creating a background--for his character, and it is intriguing and not nearly as scary as method acting. As a psych major, all I can say is "YES!" (Note: precisely why I love Cillian Murphy, but that's for another time.)

Digressing, Hiddleston is not the main reason why I'm taking the class. It was thanks to my speech professor in St. John's University. I had opted to perform my speech out of classroom, face to face instead of in front of the class. I had a serious case of stage fright. I now realize it was deep insecurity, and the inability to trust my own voice. I think I'm still horrible at public speaking, even though I had to take another speech class here at Harvard. But I am more confident in myself and have a different approach to life, more on this in a little bit. So, its really thanks to that professor who suggested I take acting to "get out of my shell". He was also the one who told me of my "melodious voice". I think I sound like a child, though I'm not nearly as "young" sounding as Yoo In Na, God bless her.

I must admit that I am a spectator and like to observe. It was (again) thanks to one of the leaflets that my Pastor puts in our Sunday programs that I have slowly began to change my mind. Okay, no. It's a few factors. The first would be Hiddleston quoting something French and translating it to "We all have two lives. The second one begins when we realize that we only have one." (He's not the originator of the quote, but he translated so I'm citing that--ugh, citations!) The second would be my Psychology of Resilience class, where one of the characteristics of a highly resilient individual, also a coping mechanism, is to engage the environment (wait, I may have this wrong. Its a bit fuzzy in my brain.) Thirdly, it was the leaflet in my church's program that says "Life is not a spectator sport (Join in)". I'm sure the first half of that quote was from someone else, but the "join in" part resonates. 

The bottom line is that I don't want to spend my life observing. I'm cerebral, yes. I'm introverted, in that, I like my alone time and sometimes find social gatherings taxing. I remember my parent's 25th Anniversary party, I snuck away from the hall for an hour, literally sitting by myself, and then joined by my aunt, to get away from the noise. I don't do well in crowds of more than five people. But I was trained by my father to schmooze at a young age and I can do it very well. I have held myself back from doing "fun" things because I was too engrossed by observing. I mean, why can't I do both? Well, now I am. 

One thing I am trying to rectify within myself is something my Drama Prof mentioned. He said something along the lines of "there is no such thing as multi-tasking...its actually trying to shift focus quickly." I can agree with what he said because I have believed for some time that one can't have a "balanced life/schedule". Perfect time management and a "perfect schedule" is a myth. Life is weighted, just like grades, oddly enough. Spending time with family should mean more than spending time fixing the car. The meaning of the time spent cannot equal each other--rephrase, it all can't be equally important, which is why the whole "balancing time" is a lie, at least to me. 

Focus, right. So lately I feel like I've undertaken some immense things, like painting, writing, and (pleasure) reading. I am have all these things I want to do, too. I want to get rollerblades and a bike. Hopefully, I can hike as well. I just want to live. 

Yeah, I want to live.

This morning I told my sister that our central passion is what defines us. For me, its my spirituality--my faith in Jesus. I know that my education, my capacity to work or have a career, and everything else is superfluous. All the knowledge and acquired skill sets are actually not for me but for the higher calling to serve like Jesus did. I'm not greedy then, when I say that the next step is to go to Oxford (though I've got a nagging feeling it'll be Cambridge, sigh) because whatever I learn there I will hand down to those I mentor. Its my act of reasonable service to myself, my family, my community, and humanity. This is how I translate my faith. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recalibrating myself

I am sitting in my room taking stock of the first 22 days of the New Year. To my left I posted up a Sunday program insert from my church. It reads "How I will live my life differently in 2014". The message that Sunday, the first Sunday I got back up here in Cambridge and of the New Year, was about change, or something like it. My pastor stressed that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Which leads to the challenge aforementioned.

Taking stock of all the positive things first. I have been writing and painting. I also have been going to school. I was able to travel to NY for my grandfather. I was able to fix up my room, and do laundry--no easy feat. I've been good, and eating in. I've been eating more fruits and drinking water. I'm not sick.

Taking stock of all the "misses". I have not been punctual with assignments. I have not been reading class readings as closely. I haven't been spending quality time with God. I've been Tumblr stalking. I haven't done chores. I honestly thought I was going to have more negatives on this list. Interesting. Perhaps, those are just feelings or expectations I place on myself that bog me down. I don't know, I'll have to think about those feelings I haven't listed.

I know that this year I am just trying to be me, to accept myself as I am, no matter how disappointed I feel with myself. If I really look at the bright side--optimism isn't one of my strong suits, I'm...accomplished? Suddenly, I remember my professor mentioning that social comparison is not beneficial. It's hard not to do here in this culture of academia.

I remember my sister's message last Sunday. I have to get rid of the diversions. I am awash with them, apparently. As I write this, I listen to the hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", and the line "and the things on Earth will grow strangely dim" hits the spot. Last year the only thing that upheld me from the crazy vibes I was feeling was Jesus. It was the only thing that made sense. Now, I know and understand. It's not bothering me as much, but I have to come to terms and rectify how I feel about certain people, which is easier said than done. 

Since scaling back my life, I think I have to scale back the things that occupy my time. I have to stop multi-tasking so I can focus and not lose precious milliseconds, which do add up. I know I can do it. The "things of Earth" have to grow dim, because these things aren't of eternal value. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Half awake; need a shock blanket

My bias is showing, but one of my classmates look like Prince William. It's the nose, I think.

I had a great time just recuperating last weekend. I got to vegg out, marathon Sherlock (and Elementary), and do art. I was also writing. Fun times.

My brain is sputtering, still. That means I don't really have the longest attention span. Look at this post. Haha.

I felt really crappy this morning and didn't really want to go to class. I was feeling a bit anxious since yesterday evening--can one wake up from a nap anxious? Apparently I can. Sigh. But really, I think it's just the intake of caffeine. I've been drinking too much Earl Grey.

I'll list the things I'm grateful for so as to combat my anxiety.

1) My art supplies came!
2) My High School mentor(s) may have my art stuff.
3) My family is okay and getting better because everyone's not feeling 100% healthy. (That's the nicest way to put it. Haha.)
4) My brain isn't feeling as clogged, even though it's still taking more effort to think clearly. At least it's not foggy. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome, New Year

I just wanted to have a quick post before I started school--intensive J-term.

Coming back to my apt in Cambridge, I was quite happy to be back in my own space, and since I feel like I've de-cluttered my brain, I don't feel as stifled. I have high hopes. A lot of things were healed inside (and out) in the two months I was gone. Thank God.

I signed up for Saatchi Online, which is an online gallery. At the moment, I don't have anything to upload. I bought a new easel which, thankfully, comes with an "introductory" set of 5 canvases, basic acrylic paint set, and brushes. Yay! I dusted off my art stuff and made space so it's more accessible. Soon, I will be able to make something. In the mean time, I'm doodling/practicing stuff on my sketchbook and phone.

I am still debating whether to get my floor done, that is, refinished. I should get one that. Haha!

So, yeah, J-term. It would be the first time, in a very long time, that I will be attending school four times a week. I think the last time I was in 4x a week was around 2007.

Also, as for writing, I was able to go 4,700+/5,000 words during my first writing exercise. I decided to cut the story short, totally abrupt, because somewhere around 3,000 words I realized that I had laid the plot thickly and it was more of a 10,000 word short story or ficlet. Hmn, I will have to revisit that story and expand when I am finished with the 10,000 word short story exercise.

All this practice is a bit taxing, but enjoyable. It's been 4 years since I painted/sketched/etc, and a good 2 or 3 years since I wrote anything of substance. (Not that poetry isn't substantial!) Even longer, actually, since I wrote an original piece--not fanfiction. Flexing mental dexterity. Oh, yeah!

Here's to a new day~