The unhappy and anxious feeling

Sometimes you encounter a day of embarrassing moments and awkward situations. You might feel frustrated at the events of the day. But sometimes there’s little you can do because you are who you are.

At the end of the day, you feel almost uncomfortable. You’re not happy, but nor are you horribly upset. You just don’t feel right.

You had a great conversation with a friend over ice cream—your favorite flavors, but somehow what was supposed to be relieving isn’t. You got a massage earlier in the day meant to relax you, but it almost adds to the pressure.

And so it’s almost time for bed, it is a nagging feeling, but you don’t know what will turn it off.

So all you do is close your eyes knowing that when you wake up, the sun’s rays might blow the negativity away. And a new day starts over.

The ones who didn’t register to vote

When I turned 18, I registered to vote. Just like when I turned 16, I took a driver’s test. During my latter years in high school, I watched a lot of MTV. The VJ on TRL said it was important to vote. So I tried.

But because of college, I somehow couldn’t myself to the polls back in my hometown. I didn’t vote in 2000. It was time. In 2004, I voted. For Gore. I couldn’t vote for any of the other propositions because I didn’t know what they were. So I didn’t vote for or against. I should never make an uninformed decision, I thought.

Yesterday at my mom’s birthday lunch (she brought it up), we talked about the propositions. As generational divides are, we had different opinions on the presidential candidate and the propositions. I am a San Franciscan. I lived in life surrounded by diversified people and choose to engage myself in liberal media. My mom listened to the conservative Chinese radio and had friends from Church. I knew better than to make it a heated conversation.

Suddenly I heard something from my aunt. A small voice. She rarely attended family events because she was busy. She worked two jobs. No kids. She was almost 50 years old. Married. She was the one who introduced my dad (her brother) to my mom (her nursing school classmate). She stood shorter than me and had a laugh that was infectious like my dad’s oldest sister.

“I am not registered to vote,” she said as a silence wavered over the table. “Never thought to do it.”

Breaking the silence, I tried to repeat David Sedaris’ joke about undecided voters. Nobody understood it.

I indirectly asked to nobody in particular, “So if you don’t register to vote, then you don’t have to do jury duty?”

Chris assured me there were other ways to get called into jury duty.

My grandparents shut in by language barriers often listen to what their friends and church tell them to do. Also sometimes, my mom gives them a cheat sheet to follow when voting.

Chris says that he is a staunch Democrat, very active in the clubs in high school and college. He says he reads the voter’s pamphlet thoroughly. I tried scanning them yesterday, but like everyone else, I felt a little dazed and confused.

Toxic people are unhealthy

In my city life, my usual evenings are about catching up with friends. A I haven’t seen you in a long time dinner. I would rotate every few months targeting the friends that I would never see in any other circumstances. 4 weeks have passed since we have seen each other? Time to ping him.

And so it went for the first year of my urban lifestyle. But there was one friend whose company I enjoyed. He was interesting and provided a perspective that at the time I thought was mature. Not to mention, he would always bring me to interesting restaurants.

But we always discussed change in our personal lives. He always talked about how much he hated something. And for over a year, he stated his opinion of people I knew in life. Obliviously, I overlooked it. I kept initiating our meetups—sometimes awkward, but I was compelled to do so almost as if I had signed a contractual agreement.

One day, he brought up his opinion of someone I knew very well.

As he throttled down Gough in the Red Toyota Scion, he turned to me, “I don’t know why you’re still around.” He painted a picture of reasons and potential strife. At first, I provided defense. As we crossed Market, I swallowed my pride in his growing louder comments. As we turned left into Valencia, I became silent, letting him take over. When he dropped me off at my apartment, I thanked him profusely for driving me. He suggested Santa ramen next time. I nodded, thinking perhaps…next week would be ok. I would be available then, I think.

I’ll call, I said with a sudden fleeting earnest. It has been 5 months to the day and I haven’t.

Being sued for libel

“I will sue you for damages no less than $25,000,” the message read.

Automatically, I calculated my savings, thinking of course I could cover it.

Then panic set in. Me sued? Me, the one who can barely lie? Me the one who abides for rules even accidentally saying, “Yeah people under 21 shouldn’t drink! [because the law said so]” And even the one struggling with moral principles when everyone is taking an extra sample.

Because of a review I wrote on an unnamed site, I was threatened by a lawsuit of libel and defamation by a former business I frequented due to my naivete. I spammed the yelp talk and twitter. I notified my parents in fear that they will feel the force of retaliation (the business only knows my parents’ address).

But they say truth is all that matters. I can be sued, but I will always win. Because I cannot tell a lie. I can give an opinion and fortunately I live in the United States.

Meeting great people

The bride and groom were amazing people, everyone said. I had never met them, only tagging along with Joe to an event where I didn’t know anybody.

He is so sweet, another friend repeatedly said. I have known him since he was 8. He saved me.

The stories, the amazing stories were told over and over again. Of the family’s pride, the parents and strength. And the groom finding a bride cross-country who was as accomplished as he was. As adventurous. And daring.

When I first was introduced to the groom and bride nearing the end of the reception, I was almost afraid that I would ruin the image of amazement and success—that in a shake of a hand and greeting I would through my own faltering ways find their glaring faults. But I shook their hands in silent awe as they continued greeting the guests who were smiling in joy.

With no power, we panic

This morning at approximately 9:30 am, the floor where I work lost power.

The jazzy, electronic music that was played stopped. Chatter grew into nervous giggles. Power lost again.

I was accustomed to it. I have a desktop. Sometimes someone kicked the power cord and it was off. Or the fuse broke.

I resorted to my secondary method of working—by paper. Sketching, people around me seemed to panic. People didn’t want to go into the restrooms which were like dark caverns. The fridge was dark, but I still poured myself a glass of orange juice. Those with laptops were lucky.

But two hours later, people filtered out. But then there were those who had desktops who couldn’t get to those huge files. A coworker related how he used to rely only on paper 15 years ago. We’re so dependent on power. The computers that contain life’s work. I couldn’t even microwave my lunch.

Without power, we’re almost nothing. Ironically.

Thankfully, I was a big proponent of printing. Wasting trees in the process.

Relaxing isn’t for the active

I am a planner. I get cabin fever easily. I hate feeling like I am missing something (good). I want to come back with a story.

And so that’s my idea of a trip to an exotic destination. Never in my plan would there be days of unplanned activities or days…of nothing. Every day must have a purpose to exploit anything available. I wouldn’t want to put myself in a position of you missed something totally awesome.

Unfortunately, most people are not like me. A vacation is a vacation. It’s relaxation. Vacation to me is time spent away from the every day—the moments where I can revel in what I enjoy doing whether it’s exercising my strengths and desires.

Plan. Execute. Completion.

Ever since taking the improv class, I have regrets of…I could be doing this and that. A coworker observed once how many extracurriculars I have. But it’s not entirely true. I want to do everything and commit to a little. Because there’s the yearning to always be active.

What do you do on Thursdays? Dinners with friends. Freelancing. Book-reading. Cooking. Talks and lectures. Flash mobs. Tutoring. Other social events.

Another strength I had from strengthfinder is responsibility. I have trouble saying no. And when I say yes, I will do it because I said I would. Promises aren’t meant to be broken.

Run for the challenge

“Because I love a challenge,” – Elle in a near-retort in Legally Blonde (a moment of guilty indulgence a few weeks ago)

Rise to the challenge. Take the lead. Problem solve. Anything can be done if you have the willpower.

I do love the challenge. But the kind that can be solvable. And especially the kind where I can see an ending within sight.

There are ones who choose a path because they can nurture something or someone to the full potential. But I in my planning ways, I want to fix and resolve. It frustrates me when I cannot. Even when I repeatedly tell myself there’s little I can do.

Who has a better quality of life?

We would all like to think that we strive for the pursuit of happiness equally. That once we have harvested our fruits, we are content. The world should not trouble us more if at all.

But to me, it almost seems there are two types of personalities. Differing in tolerance of reaction and change. Differing in acceptance of injustices of life.

There is the passive, introverted one. One who is likely to perhaps be pushed around. Walked all over. But in spite of it all, react almost passively to injustice. In some way, it is better. In times of anger, those are the ones who may seem more controlled even if the reaction is just slow to start. Take the safest route.

Then there is the active almost aggressive one. One who speaks first. The one who shouts and protests in face of injustice. American society suggests this is who we should strive to be. But in observation, these are the ones who get into more trouble. Not trouble I mean with the law, but the arguments with strangers and perhaps risk-taking behavior.

I would like to see myself as the latter, but I am so naturally the former. In face of injustice, I react slowly processing the event. Did she just kick me out of my seat? Then I pause for a moment, considering my response. I should say something! I didn’t like how I was treated. Then I process some more until the moment passes. She is leaving. It really doesn’t matter. And then maybe a minute later, I am relieved that I didn’t do anything. She is disabled, but I couldn’t see.