Transformation: Who Am I?

I’ve been reflecting upon myself after the release of MONO. by RM (Kim Namjoon of BTS).  Up to the release, people had tweeted what the album could be about and how it relates to his mixtape titled RM, especially its monochromatic theme and how RM struggled to live between the labels of artist and idol.  He has a life curve that mirrors his struggle where he asks “who am I?” and eventually reaches “Amor Fati.”

Amor Fati is the encompassing of all events that make a person who they are and accepting that fate to the point of contentment.  It’s more Nietzsche (his favorite) coming through modern philosopher Namjoon!  Watching RM develop and chart his own path of personal growth is inspiring, so much so that I’ve thought to myself, how would I answer the same question if asked, “Who am I?”

I can’t. (⌣_⌣”)

I’ve lived a long time, battled depression and anxiety, but what do I have to show for it? If I were to define myself, I should at least be able to say, without a doubt, what motivates me.  What am I passionate about? What attempts ended in failure?

As luck would have it, I was looking for something in the attic and came across some very old childhood “artifacts” (thanks Mom for keeping them! Lol!).  They’re hilarious:

And also impressive:

The DRAAAAAMAAA! LOL! (ᗒᗜᗕ)՛̵̖

All in all, the efforts seemed passionate and heartfelt – something I taught myself to leave behind.  (I was too romantic! It hurt to be so sincere!) I’m now rethinking my inner-struggle.  Maybe I wasn’t too far off in my post about living with two “personalities” that are conflicting with each other.  Could I possibly be reverting to some of the optimistic, romantic qualities I had as a child?

Maybe I was avoiding my fate? Maybe it’s time to embrace it? Nevertheless, I’ll ponder what descriptions suit me until I can directly answer “who am I?”

I’m very thankful for RM.  I don’t think I’ve had a muse as intense and relatable.  Sure, I’ve had comforts, but nothing that could speak to my heart and assure me I’m not the only one; That everything’s okay.

I’m also grateful that I’m mature enough, and have lived long enough to appreciate MONO’s message.  It’s a very good time to be alive.

Transformation: Four Year Plan

During the hardest moments of my depression, my co-worker was talking about getting her master’s degree.  Our CHRO was encouraging her and they’d openly talk about which colleges to attend.  I liked that.  It gave me hope and I wanted to be a part of it.  In my head, pursuing a Master’s would help my depression, and at the very least, keep me so busy I’d lose track of it.

*Gets on her soapbox* Honestly.  Our education system sucks.  Who said the best way to learn is to study an unholy amount of reading from a dry, over-worded textbook from a bunch of PhDs that have lost contact with reality and to complete the accumulative of 200 pages worth of writing and group projects (just for one class!), none of which reflect actual writing and team assignments in the workplace.  Adult learning is about bite-sized information that can be reinforced with experiences and on-the-job use.  If we can only remember 10% of what we’re taught, why are they cramming all this excess into our heads?! *kicks her soapbox away*

So! On July 23, 2016, I wrote a plan that by the time I’m 35, I’ll have my Master’s, be SHRM–CP and IPMA-HR certified, conversational in Japanese, Korean and Spanish, and live a healthier life.

Now for the big reveal!

As of October 7, 2018, I have completed my Master of Science in Human Resources Development and I am SHRM-CP and IPMA-HR certified.  I know most of the Korean alphabet and Japanese Hiragana and Katakana, including some sentence structure.  Spanish…well…um…we’ll get to it eventually lol!

It’s a damn shame.  My mother has been living in Mexico for years and I don’t even try to speak Spanish while there.  In fact, I took over five years of Spanish only not to use it and to forget it all.  But! One of my Spanish teachers said I have great pronunciation! *finger hearts, pew pew!*

It’s time to finish the rest of my plan!  This is a very exciting moment because I’ve been dying to get back to language learning *whispers* and healthy living…I guess, but more so language learning! How will I do it? I think I’ll start where I left off!

Each week I’ll complete a chapter in the Genki I textbook and workbook, starting from chapter 3, and I’ll include writing practice with Japanese Hiragana & Katakana for Beginners workbook (Tuttle).  Since I’ve done so well memorizing the Korean alphabet, I’ll start level 1 of the Talk to Me In Korean Workbook series and return to the Simple Korean workbook for writing and listening practice.

I can mold Spanish language learning around my other studies with apps such as Memrise, Duolingo, and Lingodeer until I find a workbook that I like.  I can take spare time, such as during my lunch break, to complete short levels in either of the apps.

This plan may sound rigorous, but it’s really easy.  My biggest hurdle is my memory, so the last thing I want to do is overload myself.  Since this plan is my own, I can change it however I need to fit my learning style.  If I have to take a break, or I have to take more time on a certain chapter, I will.  Notice, I do not have a structured schedule with calendar dates and time periods.  I’m trying to stay as flexible as possible.

I can’t end this entry without talking about how I’ll tackle healthy living…though I really want to *sarcasm* LOL!

*Whines* Healthy living is haaaaard.  I want to eat all the gummies, popcorn with extra butter, tacos, pizza, and bacon.  Hell, I’m drinking peach soju as I write this.  I was planning to buy hard cider next pay! LOL!

I had lost 11 pounds doing a modified One Punch Man workout and intermittent fasting, then I gained it all back during the holidays last year! Since this plan worked for me, I owe it to myself to give it another shot.  It really curbed my cravings and appetite, and helped with digestion and bloating.  I did have a boast of energy, but I’m Pisces.  I’ll always find time for a nap.

What I’ll do is cut out fast food and most sweets (touch my gummies and I will die).  I’ll have a breakfast shake in the morning, eat lunches prepared at home, and not eat anything after 5 PM.  Intermittent fasting requires me to only eat within an 8-hour window, some windows are shorter, but the remaining 16 hours must be for fasting.  Also, lots and lots and lots of water.

I primarily drink water.  There I said it! I freakin love it.  A girl loves her hard cider and flavored soju, but I’m usually chugging water.  I cut pop years ago, before intermittent fasting, because it would make me feel sick.  Strangely enough, the change in my diet clicked and I’ve never looked back.  This gives me hope that I’ll find the same with better eating habits and exercise.

What also helped to burn fat was using 30 minutes to exercise:  the modified One Punch Man workout.  Every day, I’ll do push-ups, crunches, leg lifts and squats, then increase the repetitions by 5 each week.  So, at first I started at 25 reps, but by the next week, I was doing 30 reps and so on.  Eventually, I got to 80 reps before I went eff it in-front of all the holiday foods.  It’s my desire that I get to the hundreds so I can have toned arms, stomach, thighs and bum!

Wish me luck! This will be a lonely journey as no one that I know, I MEAN NO ONE, is eating healthily.  I work in human resources so there’s always food.  I’m about to be knee deep in Halloween candy and the holidays are around the corner.  Please wish for me to keep focus because I only have about 1.5 years left to accomplish my plan.  I need to be able to look back and say, I did that, in four years!

Aside

Randomness: Old Posts

If you’ve read my One Punch Man workout post, you’ll realize I’m not the most timely person. Hell, I’m late to everything, so why would blog posts be any different?

But also, I’ll write these amazing posts and find a way not to publish them:

  • It’s too long – I need to shorten it
  • It’s not good – no one will read it
  • I’ll publish it tomorrow – finds other things to do. 

Or, worse yet, I’ll just forget about it.

Since my most recent post about expressing love, I have started writing another piece! Unfortunately, none of it made sense because I didn’t publish my older posts (LOL!).  They’re a HUGE piece of my transformation puzzle.

So! For your reading pleasure, you’ll see a few old, and I mean oooold, posts before I publish my most recent ones!

Thanks for handing in there with me on this blogger journey! ❤⃛ヾ(๑❛ ▿ ◠๑ )

Transformation: How Do You Love?

This February I want to challenge myself.

February is all about love.  Think Valentine’s Day:  Chocolates, cards, sweets, Kdramas and the like.

It just so happens (lucky me!) I’m a part of a Facebook group (a heavily BTS biased group, but embraces multifandom too) that does various events for camaraderie.  This time, they’re having a Valentine’s Day edition card exchange! Perfect! This will get me out of my comfort zone and interact with different people around the world (Yes! I’ll be sending cards to the UK!).

Coincidentally, I’ve already given a lot of thought about love.  What is it, how does one portray it, how is it possible to exude love after building up defenses?  It doesn’t seem easy, but I wanted to try to understand and be more loving.

I’ve always thought myself to be a bit difficult and hardened towards other people.  This February,  for the card exchange, it would be great to challenge myself to show love to people I don’t quite know.

Hopefully, you know by now that I love me some RM.  I’m still recovering from Mono. and one of his singles Forever Rain (I listen to it every day y’all).  In it he says:

“I wish it rains all day
Cuz then people wouldn’t stare at me, yeah

Cuz the umbrella would cover the sad face
Cuz in the rain people are busy minding themselves.”

Genius Lyrics

We individually hide our feelings from each other as if we’re scared to be honest, afraid of ridicule (hence the scary faces in the MV and RM’s desire to mask his emotions in the rain).  This is silly because we all have the same feelings and we all share similar experiences.

When this album came out, so many people appreciated RM’s honesty.  Plenty of people experience depression, dissatisfaction with life, and a myriad of other emotions within the album. Why can’t we show these feelings outwardly in hopes to connect with other people who need help too? And why can’t those people be honest and reach back? It’s like we’re afraid of each other.  We shouldn’t be.

Soooooo, I hate when people ask me how are you cause I’m obliged to say “I’m good and you?” Well, I’m not good! And if I told you, would you listen? Or would you feel inconvenienced? Did you even care to know in the first place or are you just being cordial? It sucks! I should just start saying, “I’m terrible! I have uncoerced mood-sings, I don’t want to be here and I’m unhappy with my life!” Shake things up a bit! Lol!✧(σ๑˃̶̀ꇴ˂̶́)σ

This is why I’m challenging myself. Love is the most powerful force in life.  It shouldn’t be complicated or withheld from someone that needs it. So my cards all have love in it, within the body of the message, stickers, and salutations. I’ve been saying I love you more to family and friends, but now I’ll make a bigger effort (Since it’s February/Valentine’s Month, I can get away with it without being creepy lol!).

Hopefully, these cards will hit the spot and I’ll learn something from this challenge.  In the very least, I want to be able to say the word “love,” more often.  Every little step towards love, loving others and myself, will be excellent progress. I’ll give an update when the event is over with some additional remarks.

I love you!

It’s over the top, but I had fun making it! The front of the card is to the right. The PC and heart confetti goes inside! Uwu! (ෆˊ͈ ु꒳ ूˋ͈ෆ)

PS:  Cause I love Forever Rain soooooo much, I’ve added some analyses for your viewing pleasure ❤

Confessions: Two Personalities

*testing vocal cords* ♫ ♪ THESE ARE MY CONFESSIOOOOONS! ♪ ♫

Yes, I used to act like I was singing Usher and post some very embarrassing, but honest admissions to my Facebook page.  It was silly, but it challenged my social anxiety.

Now, I want to use it as a means to stay human, by expressing what we’re all probably experiencing, but too afraid to admit or accept.

Granted, you may not find an antidote here.  These confessions may not offer anything other than comfort to know that you’re not alone in these sentiments.


 

Around this time last year, I had an intense, almost overpowering desire to take over me.  It was like a fire that wouldn’t go out for a month.  I needed to cuddle.  I needed to hug, to give and receive warmth.  Almost thought I’d die if I didn’t, just burn to ash.

Two weeks ago, I was looking forward to Fall.  There’ll be bundles of blankets, extra rich and extra hot chocolate and soothing teas to warm the body.  There would be autumn colors covering the trees, crunchy leaves to walk through and crisp air to help me appreciate a warm house with cuddly cats.  I’ll even learn to make some soups!

I’ll walk through the fall, embrace the atmosphere and I’ll walk through the winter snow too.  There’ll be icicles descending from trees, homes, and cars! I pictured sunlight glittering across the snow and rainbows forming through the ice.  Maybe I’ll build a snowman or make a snow angel.  I’ll love the outdoors because it’s beautiful and welcoming.

These thoughts are very childlike.  Only my 8-year-old-self remembers how beautiful, breathtaking and fun the changing seasons are.  These emotions and desires, I’ll call them Her, has been knocking on my heart to have adventures, see the world, meet new people and fall in love, not just with one person, but with life, friends, places and foods.  She doesn’t know anger and resentment like…Him.

He is my most dominant personality.  He’s what I’ve known for my adult life.  He’s my anxiety, bitterness, cynicism, and cause of my seclusion.  No one can be trusted.  Look at the news, governments, schools, work-place, and overall, how people treat each other.  What has humanity become? He’ll look at people side-eyed, scrutinize them until he sees their flaws.  He’s not confident, he doubts himself, is fearful and is at no means able to explore the world.  He’s too insecure for that.  In fact, whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably about him and you’re right.  He’s convinced it’s best to enjoy solitude until time is over.  Avoidance is more comfortable.

I have two distinctly different personalities wrecking my heart.  One is of love, the other isn’t.  Out of self-preservation, I’m questioning whether I ever knew myself or if I’ve just accepted the person I’ve become.  Could I really be as loving as Her, but suppressed that personality with resentment and anger over malevolent people?  What is my true self and how do I heal? Can I even join these personalities so my heart can mend?

I repel the thought of being vulnerable, because why should I let anyone hurt me on purpose? It’s my fault if I let my guard down.  Meanwhile, I’m burning up inside from lack of affection and of expressing love.

This conflict feels like a physical weight on my chest and it’s worsening my depression because I know I can’t move on until I’m willing to address years of self-made impediments to live as the person I truly am.  When I reflect on these personalities, I can honestly say I want to love like Her, but it’s easier being Him.  I want to look to my memories in fondness of all the great experiences and people I’ve known.  I want to nurture, provide and take care of the people I love…but I also don’t want the hurt and pain that can come with it.


 

The way in which I use the pronouns “him,” and “her,” have nothing to do with gender and I definitely do not feel they define societal roles.  I just needed a way to differentiate these conflicting characteristics.

Also, I think there’s room to explore how I’m connecting being outdoors to love and possibly happiness.

Transformation: The Pains of Therapy

I left an easter egg in the first post of the year that I was seeking help for my depression, and I found a counselor.

Luckily, my employer offers an employee assistance program (EAP) that covers up to five counseling sessions free of charge.  These counseling sessions can be for anything, depression, grief, marriage, etc.

Take it from an HR professional, don’t snub your nose at EAPs! If an employer has a good EAP, use it! They’ll help with dependent care, child care, legal assistance, health concerns, financial assistance, you name it! They’re designed to people balance their work and personal lives.  Better call them!  ೕ(˃̵ᴗ˂̵ ๑) 

It took me a loooooong time to commit.  I just felt embarrassed and insufficient for therapy, like my depression wasn’t heavy enough for a counselor.  I literally was measuring how critical my depression is compared to what I believed warranted therapy.  If it’s not that serious, why waste the counselor’s time?

Also, I have a fear of being vulnerable.  I’m nervous and tense every day to the point that my shoulders always ache.  Usually, I’m anticipating being rejected by someone who doesn’t like what I say, how I think, what I do, etc.  If I can’t be transparent or if I’m nervous about the counselor, how was therapy going to help me?

Swear, I’ve been working for the same employer for the past 15 years and no matter how many staff meetings we have, I’m ALWAYS nervous to speak.  I mean lip quivering, hands sweating, word fumbling nervousness.  It’s actually at a staff meeting that the co-worker complimented me on my style.  She did it out of kindness because it was painfully obvious my anxiety increased 1,000 fold when I had to explain to her, the new girl, and all (EIGHT!) of my other co-workers (that I see almost EVERY DAY!) about my job functions.  She helped complete my sentence and gave me a compliment to calm me down.  By then, most of the group was having side conversations.  She effectively ended my nervousness without anyone noticing. ٩(๑˃́ꇴ˂̀๑)۶

A mood swing at work stopped my over-thinking and I reached out for help.  It was all web-based, through their client portal.  I had to submit a request for counseling and describe why.  The EAP then sent me approval via email with the name and number of a recommended counselor… then I requested someone else.

I knew that, with all of my anxieties and inhibitions, I’d never open up to someone I didn’t feel comfortable with.  I really feel social prejudices and systematic racism also affects my depression.  I needed to confide in someone that could understand, so when I learned of an African American counselor that helped a co-worker through the loss of her father, I asked the EAP to connect me with her.

Now that my fifth counseling session is tomorrow, I can say it’s been an incredibly tough journey.  I cried a lot and had two anxiety attacks, but the fourth counseling session reeled me in a depressed state for three days.

Like usual, the counselor asked me how I was doing and conversations lead to me stating that I question my self-worth.

“Do you call it that?”

I said yes, and she asked why.  I couldn’t be honest, so I summarized my value amounted to the usual issues of self-image, feeling valuable…and I trailed off.  I started to get emotional thinking of all the horrible things I’ve told myself over the years.

The counselor stood, got a whiteboard, told me we HAVE to explore what I’m upset about and instructed me to write it all down so we can discuss each one.  I cried badly because I felt I was laying myself bare to be ridiculed.  I had to face in writing that I’ve told myself I’ll never be pretty, intelligent, strong, interesting or loving enough for anyone else AND that no one loves me.  The counselor, another human being, was going to judge me for it.  It hurt like hell.

I cried my eyes out for at least 15 minutes and tried to stall until the hour was up! I was like 8-year-old destroying tissue and hiccupping over something I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t even finish the list.  I just wanted the whole notion to disappear.  The counselor reassured me that I could take my time and that there’s nothing wrong with expressing emotion (cause I was legit crying all over the place!).  She even gave me privacy…which may not have been a good idea if I didn’t have some self-control.  I almost erased the board before she could see it! “Ψ(≧ω≦)Ψ“ *cackles*

“You wrote ‘pretty enough.’ You must think you’re pretty, but not pretty ‘enough.’  Define pretty.”

What do you say to that? I didn’t have a good answer.  I mumbled about being fat, not having an attractive face, that my aesthetic isn’t portrayed in media, that black women aren’t seen as desirable.  She dispelled the rest, but not the fact that the odds are stacked against black women in dating, “I’ll give you that.” But, she challenged me to define pretty and to tell myself that I am pretty and why then we’ll begin tackling the rest of my list.

I remember crashing in my bed and crying myself to sleep.  I was so emotional and downtrodden at work the next day that I really could’ve called off and stayed burrowed into my bed.  When I tried to affirm that I’m pretty, oh my god, the tears! How could I say that?!

But, after pacing myself and steadily trying,  I had a breakthrough.  It started with just, “I’m pretty,” without choking up.  And over a few days, I realized that I can’t trust and force myself to measure up to other peoples’ definitions of pretty.  This was probably why the counselor wanted me to have my own definition.  So many people believe certain things are attractive, how can I be all of them at once? And, if people aren’t being honest with themselves, I can’t wait for them to validate me.  Some people think fat people are sexy, but they’ll never introduce their fat lover to their friends or family because they’re embarrassed and fear being shamed.  How is this a healthy measurement?

I realized my definition should be absolute:  I’m pretty because I am.  I’m not limited to other people’s standards and I can’t counter this logic with negativity because as long as I’m alive, I’m pretty.  I can choose my own standard so I choose something infallible.  I’m just pretty.

“You need to love yourself.”

I began to connect, “I’m pretty because I am,” AND because, “I love myself.”  It’s the icing on the cake.  It’s that added touch that will make accepting my new-found logic a bit easier.  Not only can nothing take away my prettiness from existence, but loving all parts of me will make the work ahead with the counselor a bit easier.  I’ve by no means conquered these issues.  I’m not cured.  I’m making progress.

So tomorrow is the fifth and final session covered by the EAP and we’ll have to decide if I should continue therapy with the counselor on my own.  Although these sessions have been rough for me, and almost felt counterproductive, the progress, even by this much, has me hopeful that I’m on the road to recovery.  I’ll hold on for a bit longer…hopefully the price is right lol.


 

It’s my desire that anyone reading this will learn that therapy is great at any moment in life.  Attend as many sessions as you see fit, but don’t ignore the signs.  Recognize when you need help and don’t discourage yourself.

Also, the purpose of this entry is to give a realistic depiction of the hard work necessary for therapy.  Therapy is not an immediate solution, but a way to guide you to recovery.

Sorry for the long post, but hopefully, there are some takeaways.
(੭ु´・ω・`)੭ु⁾⁾