Stray Thought 201025

I started my journey with regularly scheduled phone therapy a month into quarantine. The biggest area that I have been working towards healing is my inability to connect with my emotions, to identify them, to feel them properly. I am a slow learner, and I’ve been given guidance and assistance to walk me through this.

Today, after spending too many hours – hours I hadn’t intended – in bed, sleeping or reading for leisure, I finally sat at my desk and was suddenly overcome with sadness. I had connected to the discord server where my friends were chatting in the study hours channel, typing fast, and I couldn’t keep up because I was sad and unmotivated for reasons I couldn’t explain to myself, let alone to anyone else. The default move is to keep this to myself, bottle it up so that no one who isn’t looking sees.

On a whim, I guess, I said to my friends, I’m sad and I don’t know why.

Something I’ve been working on in therapy is this idea so deeply ingrained in my brain that dictates I am only a successful person if I can do it – whatever it is, and it could be everything, which is completely unrealistic, unsustainable – by myself. I would never say this to anyone else. I always encourage the opposite, so I am working to deconstruct this for myself. But, as I said, I am a slow learner.

Are you okay?

[privately] I’m here.

If it helps, stick around. I know being around friends like this cheered me up this morning, too.

So it’s only today, after months of therapy, that I learn and truly internalize that even this, feeling, is not something I have to do alone either. That does not make me weak. And that does not make me unsuccessful, or dangerously dependent, or incompetent.

And I learned today also that something as straightforward as acknowledging my feelings, having my feelings acknowledged, something that wasn’t common for me growing up, is really neat. Really goes a long way. There was almost an instant release, relief from the pressure building in my chest. It helped.

And I just think my friends are really neat, too.

On the Precipice of Death

Dear diary,

It is here at the dawn of the new year—yes, I had thought about what to call this time for far too long—that I experience a feeling with which I am, unfortunately, not too unfamiliar: Dread.

She has not evaded me a long time. I had just become accustomed to ignoring her, pretending her presence didn’t bother me when I could feel it boggling me down, one heavy limb at a time.

It is terrible that, just as the year is ending, and I am determined to uphold the one resolution that I want to hold dear to me—Take care of yourself, Tae—I contemplate on my failures of the past school term. All of my hard work has culminated to this, this fear of not passing the one required class of the semester in my first year of grad school, weighed by anxiety I did not and still do not know how to curb.

And so, the dread, the reality of my failures, are catching up to me. I am away on vacation, looking out wistfully of the window of my friend’s eighth-floor apartment, thinking about Laura, the girl who made me feel like she did not want me, when the email arrives. The essay I submitted is not enough. My kind and patient professor has advised me as much, has given me until Friday to resubmit it, if I want to, or defer further with a medical note. But I do not want to defer. I do not want to look at the cursor blink on the document of that shit essay as my shit brain reminds me that I cannot do this. My failures, the folder I have tried so carefully to tuck away in a deep crevice of my mind, expands. Pages upon pages of added, Am I cut out for this? Am I good enough for grad school? Will I graduate with my peers? Do my teachers think I am a fool? Should I give up now? Will I be fortunate enough to meet like-minded people if I wait and start again later? How many people will I be disappointing besides myself?

Etcetera, etcetera…

There is so much and nothing at all in my head. I want to disappear into a hole so deep, I can’t be dug out. I have not yet answered this email. But I must. I will try again to write this essay on a topic that does interest me—does teaching intonation have a role in improving French Second Language (FSL) fluency? It does, but how do I write about it without getting stuck in the process, without thinking and feeling and knowing and reading that what I am putting out is not good? How how how do I survive my brain without breaking down and crying or combusting or wishing someone would tell me to stop?

I must head out. We our travelling, making our way to our destination for our new year party. For the first time, there is a theme—it’s camp. Marty, our host, is excited. And Rowen is excited. And I am excited. And nervous, hoping maybe I will not be sober enough to notice the dread cross the threshold into the new year, because I could not leave it behind in two-thousand-nineteen.



I Want to Be Skinny

CW: Talk of body image, fatphobia, vague mentions of eating disorders, vague mentions of dysphoria, vague mentions of health issues, profanity

Image drawn and cropped by me.




I wore a skirt today for the first time in…what must really have been months. I didn’t chafe, and I felt cute, and I swore off pants to feel like this all the time.

And I went to the gym with my cousin. A part of me didn’t want to. I was so tired. But a bigger part of me wanted to make this a habit. Wanted to be one workout session closer to the body I want. I felt okay. I felt good having gone.

I felt ugly when I undressed to take a shower.

There is so much of me. Protruding at the belly. Skin rolling over skin on my back. Sometimes I wonder if the reason that my legs are crooked, genu valgum, is because of the fluctuating weight they’ve had to support my whole life.

My mom keeps asking me if I go to the gym regularly. That my arms are too big. That I need to stop eating so much.

My respirologist said, “Okay, well,” when I told him I fell off the rhythm of exercising. He said that it’s recommended people workout forty to sixty minutes a day. He said, without saying, you’re overweight and it might be causing you health issues.

I weigh more than I did last year, and the year before, and the year before. I can’t keep the weight off. I can’t commit to adding exercise to my routine. I’m always the biggest person in the group, in the room. I can’t shop in the same sections as my friends. Every day, I daydream that they cut away the fat and I’m left with the body I want, but the body I haven’t earned, or wasn’t born with.

I looked it up: dysphoria. Think I have it but have to expel that thought when my skinny friend – who is so, so valid, towards who I know I am thinking unfairly, but can’t help – says hers is acting up today. Well, then, I must not have it, or have it as bad, if it was so much worse for her. But if she thinks she’s fat, then what the fuck am I?

I will spend the night making myself feel bad – other people have exercised their way back to health, to their dream body – why can’t I?

I just.

I want to be skinny – skinnier. Or at the very least, I want to feel pretty. I want to like my body. But I never will.



Stray Thought 190322

I cannot believe that my last post on this blog was almost two years ago. So much time has passed since then, and so much has happened. I am cursed with a terrible memory, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you about anything anyway.

My return here is half accident, half intention. I was scrolling on Twitter when I stumbled across someone who said they had made an email account for their newborn son. He would send their memories to that email, and when he is old enough, his son will have access to the email.

I have been listening to the Hamilton musical soundtrack on repeat for the past month (yes, I know, I am four years late!), and reading the book that came after it, fascinated that so much of Alexander Hamilton’s life was extracted through his correspondences.

That’s how I came back to this blog. I have been itching to write, and to document my life and my feelings. Maybe I can make a new email, too, but then I remembered this exists. I could continue to do all of that here.

Another thing that brought me back was one of my own friend’s tweets. He tweeted that he was so happy that a very kind celebrity inspired him to be a better person every day, and for a reason I am only half aware of, this made me a little sad. Of course, I am happy that this celebrity inspires my friend, as he inspires me too! Seeing this just made me think back to one of my early loves (if I can call her that), who had decided to treat her mental health not because I had been encouraging her to do so for years, but because someone else made an offhand comment.

I don’t think this. . .I don’t know. I am not upset with anyone, and it certainly wouldn’t be fair to be upset with my friend who tweeted. But sometimes I do this, get too attached, too self-involved, and irrationally worried that my friendship does not have an impact on the people I care about.

It’s my first time putting it into words, I think.

Stray Thought 0225

There is, in the farthest corner of my memory, the recollection of complete betrayal, humiliation and isolation. And it comes at the hands of my family.

Among its members, one of the eldest cousins, Pol, is known to be a jokester, to me, intimidating in his stature, as he is very tall, and fit, and his successes in acadmics, sports and career. He is a well-rounded guy, witty, sharp-tongued, admired by us cousins younger than him. The others always did say that growing up, You don’t know this, T, but growing up, Pol was a real dick. And they would laugh as they recounted that time Pol was so mean, my brother just bit him. 

I was in elementary school making daily trips to grandmama’s after class, when Pol, who didn’t do this very often, came to visit grandmama. So it was Pol, and me, and my sister and K.E. and Raf, and we were recounting stories and laughing when I said, giggling, The others told me when you were younger, you were a dick.

But nobody laughed. The three young ones turned their blank gazes toward me, and Pol glared, mouth set, eyes dead, and it was quiet. Don’t you remember? I asked the others, who were there when we shared stories over a game of President, and I was made the asshole, the loser, the dork, and I crawled away to let the kids play with the cool cousin, while I became the alien.

Pol said good bye to me when he left, though I never rejoined them. We hugged and I don’t think I apologized. 

I have never felt comfortable in Pol’s presence, burdened by the guilt and the resentment of that singular moment. When I visited the city up North, to where he moved, and he asked me why I didn’t visit, I didn’t tell him any of this, and I didn’t feel bad about it for long.

I think about this moment a lot.

Stray Thought 1250

It is early Friday morning – or late Thursday night. The clock reads 12:50 AM and I decide now is as good a time as any to brush my teeth. 

I don’t do so idly. I pace the length of the bathroom, thinking about the big red zit on my nose, about downloading the WordPress app so I don’t have to note my thoughts down blindly in my diary, in the dark of my room, illuminated only by the screen of my phone so as to not disturb my sleeping sister. I think about words I havr uttered recently that I should have kept to myself, and the consequences that could arise because of my carelessness. I’d rather think about that, about anything else, everything else, if it means I can ignore the feeling in my chest, pressing heavy against my lungs, that is too reminiscent of a past, broken self I spent so long – too long – fixing.

I am disgustingly bitter, knowing that my former…the person who had once, twice, thrice broken my heart – this person is doing what I wish to be doing: practicing a better routine, and being active in transforming this body into something better?

It is such a trivial concern of mine, and yet, I am angry, because I do not feel like I am achieving what we sought out to do – exercise, be healthy – and she is capable of it. I am angry, and petty, and wonder how to turn this bitterness into motivation.

TTMIK, Iyagi and Reported Speech

I love TTMIK’s 이야기 series and listen often to improve my listening skills! I had just started learning more around reported speech but found it was too hard for me to get a hand on, or practice on my own. I’ll try it like this, now! 😀 I’m so excited!


My Korean Ramblings

I didn’t use Talk To Me in Korean much when I was studying beginner Korean, but now that I am at intermediate level (ish) it is becoming much more useful to me.

Iyagi (이야기 or story) is a series of ‘natural’ talks in Korean: the first series contains a massive 148 episodes! Each one is a downloadable MP3 and comes with a Hangeul-only transcript in PDF format (there are user-contributed translations in several other languages here).

Each episode is a 5 to 10 minute conversation between two people an everyday Korean topic – from hagwons (cram schools or academies) to dialect, birthday gifts to love and romance. You never really know what you’ll get, and for me that’s part of the attraction.

The recordings are primarily for improving vocabulary and listening skills, but I am using them in a much more specific way.

These days I’m noticing that there is some beginner and low intermediate grammar that I’m…

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Sometimes, when I give myself too much time to think about things, I can drive myself crazy with guilt. I like to think I am a changed person, and evolved person, but that’s one thing about me that hasn’t changed. It’s distressing and…annoying.

I was shopping with with Su today when I ran into a friend from high school at the shoe store. It was nice catching up with her. She was telling me that she took a year off from her studies and will be going back to school in the fall. When she asked me how my first year went, I told her it kicked my butt, but I was able to pull through. She said lack of motivation in something specific – like math – was something that could affect her greatly in her pursuits. I went on to tell her who you surround yourself with is a huge part of the success. If they are at least half motivated, it will motivate you too.

And I feel bad. I know the girls she hangs out with had a rough time and image some time during high school, and I just really hope she didn’t read that as me judging her friends. I really wasn’t! Because I’ve had the chance to at least be acquainted with these girls in high school to know that they have grown, and it is a beautiful thing for them to have once trusted me to tell me this. I was never too involved with them before, so who they were before never really bothered. I only knew them personally as the smart, capable young ladies who were ready to tackle whatever came at them, together or alone, and who have left their troubles in high school behind. Besides, it wasn’t so much them who caused them trouble, but rather the people surrounding them at the time…

But I told my old friend this because of my own experiences. I attended a university only three people of my year attend now. That meant sacrificing a lot that came easy with high school, like seeing my ‘true’ best friends every day. No doubt, my best friends and I can survive a lot, but I have met people at my university with whom I’ve formed quite a wonderful bond. And because of them, I wasn’t alone, and I was motivated to succeed. Because of them, I learned who you surround yourself with, and how you affect each other, is super important.

I think my friend is a smart, capable woman, and that she has surrounded herself with smart, capable women.

It isn’t at all for me to tell who people surround themselves with. But I do observe. And I will say that there is something reassuring when other people recognize what you have. Perhaps it’s just me? In any case, I wish I could have slipped in something like, “You have C and you have ML? You’ve got good people with you.”

I am overthinking my words and their implications, maybe. Overanalysing a casual conversation. I believe words have their weight, whatever the context, but I wish I didn’t anchor each of mine.

Post to Post

I picked up my diary earlier and read the last few sentences of the last entry I had written, which was way back (‘way back’ – snorts at myself) in October 2015. It ended like so, written three times (spaced out to make it more dramatic):

I resent her.

(I want to use all the fancy features of blog postings. Excuse my dramatic tendencies.)

You may or may not know, but the last thing I had posted on my blog pertained to some very dark feelings, about a friend, a dear friend, who contemplated many dark things as well.

I would like to clarify that I do not resent her…anymore lol. I have moved past that and have started talking to her again as of mid-January or end-January. (I was lazy more than anything else to start talking to her sooner…) It was my decision to ask for space and I am very glad to have had the time to get my head out of my ass and the time to heal. =)

I was really angsty in 2015! Such a teenager, ahaha. It was often the reason I found myself writing in my diary or on my blog – to vent, mostly. I have no particular reason to do so tonight! I simply felt I should Something about being crap at writing fiction, but I should write somethingHencefoth. Thus – here I am, ahaha.

Next semester, I should take a fiction-writing class. I am so scared to think about it. People will be reading the deepest parts of me through are for academic purposes…Though at least I will have E!

(E is a new friend I made in school. There is probably much to tell you about my life at university, my first year quickly coming to its end, the friends I have made, the assignments I am currently pushing off even though they are due tomorrow…But summarizing the last 6~7 months is a bit…;^^)

In any case! I think I will leave to write something short until my cousin calls me. That, and work on the physics project in the meantime – and there is nothing i regret more than taking that class.


I have many regrets. :p (I do not dwell on them too much.)

Until next time!

– t

P.S: I have had my diary for nearly 4 years now, and it is scary to think I can go back through my thoughts. Sometimes, I am embarrassed (of how I used to be? Of how much I haven’t changed as well, perhaps. lol…)

Dear Friend,

I’m not quite ready to be very candid about a lot of things, but I did write down how I was feeling at the end of the night! Read here at cherepersonne. ^^

Dear Person...

Dear Friend,

Thank you for letting me take this “break” in our friendship and for understanding why I needed to do…Or perhaps you don’t understand, but thank you nonetheless. When I didn’t know if I would next break down or shatter into pieces, you let me pick myself back up.

I will be honest…There was a lot of resentment. A lot of bitterness. A lot of unresolved hurt and angry feelings. But I have gradually moved on. For letting me do it, for granting me the silence I politely asked for back in the Fall, I thank you.

My friend, I want to thank you for picking up my call earlier today, and for greeting me – although a little bit surprised at first – very warmly. I want to thank you for letting me – for letting us pick up where we left off on good terms, and to…

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