Hi, I'm Tina. Welcome to my journal.

31 Dec '17  — Scared to read

For the past few weeks, I borrowed only two books from the library. It’s nice to alternate.

I got excited during my following library visit since I hadn’t read so much in a while.

Six books, however, is far too many. I don’t know where to start.

Opening a book, I feel there’s not enough time. I have five waiting! All need to be done in three weeks!

I really don’t need to get through any but I feel pressure.

It’s like being on the internet. I only scroll through articles because I’m excited to read the next. I can’t concentrate because there’s always a link that seems more interesting.

The more options, the stronger I fear missing out. Are these additional books and articles really ‘options’ if I don’t have a chance to sink into them?

Perhaps it’s more of an illusion that there are so many options. Many books and articles have attractive titles, but once you start reading you realize they aren’t worth reading. The pressure comes from an illusion.

How can I adjust to such a strong illusion? Patiently bear with unease as I read each book? Perhaps next time, I’ll remember to simplify things and check less books.


30 Dec '17  — A horror enshrouded in hopelessness

Say you live in a building with an elevator that opens directly into your apartment.

One day, as you’re doing your thing, you notice fingers prying into the door. Someone is trying to get in. It’s disturbing.

‘Why can’t they come in the right way? Why can’t they come up like everyone else?’

Instead of confronting that person, I’m angry and upset to the point I push the fingers back. I barricade the door.

A couple days ago, I was recounting how I started having beef with a family member. My cousin spread a rumor that I was prostituting myself for drug money. It was such an exaggeration that hardly anyone believed but it still provided a good amount of gossip for my family. I was hurt. I never knew why anyone would do such a thing. What was more puzzling was this cousin was someone I rarely spoke with.

‘Why would anyone start such a rumor?’ I said those words out loud several times. It made no sense. For once, I begged to understand. The fifth time I got an answer.

My guts dropped. My insides started hallowing out. I felt a dark suffocating energy come into me.

‘Oh my god. That’s why.’

How can a feeling explain everything? In that moment, I realized that all the pain I went through was a drop in the bucket compared to what this person felt.

I just happened to be on the floor he reached out to, clung on, attempting to get a strong reaction from the outside world. It was one of the few openings he had a chance at.

As much as I was in pain, the event was never about me. I shuddered from the feeling: a horror enshrouded in hopelessness.

It’s so difficult to tell what someone is going through internally. I cannot verify whether my cousin was in such a state, however, understanding a feeling that was so dark, so far from the pain I felt–the existence of that space–I had to give him the benefit of the doubt.

What does it mean to forgive when no one is at fault?


29 Dec '17  — In husband I trust

I tell my husband my inner workings. Especially when it pertains to other people. I tell him how I read others, how I understand motives and desires. Then I tell him what I believe are the best steps forward.

This morning I felt I made a mistake sharing.

For the past two years, my dad wanted to gift us a trip to Japan. He was so inspired by his last trip that whenever I talk to him, he asks for our travel dates.

My husband and I have discussed traveling to Japan many times. Each time, we both came to the understanding that we’d rather be at home. Of course we’d have fun, but why bother? Life is good.

This morning, I thought, ‘Why not? Why not make my dad happy and go? I know we’d have a good time.’

“Maybe we should do it because my dad has been talking so much about it. I think he’d enjoy knowing that we went.”

My husband sighed with deep disappointment.

I was surprised. “I thought you didn’t care whether we went.”

“It’s just not a good reason.”

Is my husband uncomfortable with this gift? Why hadn’t I considered his feelings? Why did I have to work out my logic in front of him?

I felt alone. There’s no companion who can attend all the inner workings of life.

A breakfast later I got my husband’s message. I was never left alone even when the situation effected him.

We are not here to make sure people are disappointed. We live to do things we want to do.

If we don’t passionately want to go to Japan–than it’s not for us. Although I want to protect my father’s feelings, it’s not for me to protect.

I was driven by fear. The one thing that enslaves the majority of the population. I was afraid my dad wouldn’t get what he wants.

‘He’ll be disappointed.’

I recall someone suggesting a method that helped them focus on what matters:

“How much are you doing this because you don’t feel like disappointing someone?”

All of a sudden, the choice becomes clearer than day.


28 Dec '17  — No years resolutions

“7 Bad Habits of Highly Successful People”

Would this be a bestseller? Why limit the emulation to good habits?

There’s no shortage of people inspired to yell and be mean like Steve Jobs. Emulating his behavior shows how much you care, how demanding with high expectations you are.

Instead of being pro-active or doing anything positive, perhaps we should chug 5 hour energy, bite our nails, and eat fattening foods… It’s more fun. And plenty of successful people do the same.

Bad or good, the habits that I don’t have require a lot of work to attain. I’ll take the unsuccess I have today.


27 Dec '17  — I was transported...nowhere

I made a mistake and judged a game by its cover.

On the Bruxelles 1893 box cover was a glass atrium. Something you’d find in a grand European building. I was enchanted by the premise–each player was competing as an Art Nouveau architect.

But how could a board game transport me into such a world?

In game, I attended the opera to schmooze with politicians. This was represented through a board placement of a worker token. Where were the velvet ropes? Chandeliers? I didn’t feel like I was schmoozing with aristocrats.

The game had players gain renown as an architect. Gaining renown seems so prestigious but in the board game, I’m just sliding a token up some numbers.

Players have a chance to make art–by randomly selecting pictures from a pile.

I didn’t feel closer to the world of glass atriums. If anything, I felt further understanding I’ll never get a piece of that world through this game.


26 Dec '17  — Will this ever be available?

I wish there was a city app that worked like a museum audio tour with GPS.

Cities are museums with historic relics. I imagine wandering around a place like downtown Seattle, being able to track my walk on a map with GPS marker. At any landmark plaque, I’d be able to access audio, video, and images of what happened at the place, decades or centuries ago. Even if I can’t go into a building, I’d love to experience the history while being present at where things happened.

There are so many plaques in a city like London. But the plaques don’t say much.

While living in Berlin, I’d cross markers for the Berlin Wall multiple times a day. The wall in my neighborhood had been taken down so I never knew which side I was on. Often, while going to the grocery store, I wish I did. There are many other historic markers on buildings and sidewalks, however, no convenient way to access any info.

It could be a great way to travel–if guides like this were available in all cities. No need to follow a large tour group. No need to be on time meeting the group at the start of the tour. You can stop and continue whenever you like.


25 Dec '17  — 'And why do you need to know?'

‘Porsche Cayenne vs Cayenne Pepper’

I wanted google to give me an answer. The Cayenne used on Porsche should be different since the spice is not luxurious whatsoever. It’s not even spicy enough to relate to burning friction from fast movement.

What do I foresee for myself in acquiring this info through google?

I hold a belief that the Porsche brand is luxurious. I wanted to be ‘corrected’. I’m seeing it less than luxurious. ‘Tell me internet, I should see it differently, shouldn’t I?’

Why do I care? Such a concern allows me to escape my own life. It’s one of the most common ways I get lost online.

I want to get into the practice of consciously surfing the web. But I guess I have to start valuing my ability to think. Like most, I’ve wasted hours online. When I come out, I find I’ve done nothing with my life. There’s a feeling of hopelessness–everyone online is moving, fast. Nothing happens in front of me.

My mind is concerned with things that don’t pertain to me.

‘Meghan Markle’ I found myself searching about her after the engagement. Then I started daydreaming about her life. ‘Imagine all the cool mansions she gets to see.’ I saw a clip of William and Harry on a tv special about Diana. Their family and friends all had enormous castle homes. ‘Meghan is probably hanging out in one now.’

It’s possible to foresee the implications of each click. Yet it’s hard to pause before searching and think…where will this take me? How does this pertain to me? Will I be led to where I want to be?

In searching ‘Meghan Markle’, I didn’t get anything except a solidified idea of a modern princess. I can talk socially about her, reinforce her position in society. ‘Do I work for the Royal Family?’ I certainly do.

Whether it’s a brand like Porsche or the Royal Family, by not consciously evaluating what rabbit hole to go down, I’m letting others hijack my human capabilities.

Why would I let others take over me like that? Perhaps my internet behavior is a symptom of not having enough respect for my mind and my existence.


24 Dec '17  — When you can't wait for her to stop talking

Have you ever gotten tired of yourself?

I was making a point, about something I had a strong opinion on. Halfway through, I got tired of being the person who needed to assert a certain perspective.

Recently this started happening more.

I’d be talking to my husband or my mom. Each time we were discussing something. Halfway through, I’d feel a need to make a point, trying to get them to consider something they hadn’t. While articulating my position, I’d lose interest in making the point.

I’m midway through a sentence–wouldn’t it be too weird to stop talking?

‘Okay, I’ll finish for their sake…’

I arduously finish my point. But I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have mattered to them. I just don’t want to be too weird. Since I was little, my dad would complain because I’d never finish my sentence. I’m conscious about trailing off.

During these moment, I’m listening to my words, as if they were sounds with no meaning.

It’s strange to listen to myself. I can’t wait for me to shut up. Perhaps that’s why I had a tendency to trail off. No interest in continuing.

It’s strange to have to wait for my mouth to stop. It’s strange to listen to the last words come out knowing they have no meaning. They’re just there because of the momentum of what I started.


23 Dec '17  — A past life no one cares about

“I don’t need these.”

Without opening a crack, I threw out ten years of yearbooks.

When I ordered them, I thought the thick books were memorabilia I’d keep for a lifetime.

I could see one use value. Maybe I can look up guys I had crushes on. ‘How delusional was I back then?’ I wasn’t even that interested to even do that.

“Can we donate these to Goodwill?” My mom didn’t like seeing books in the trash.

“There are so many personal notes. You can’t donate these!” I was afraid some creep would go over the pages, the notes, try to figure out who owned the yearbooks. It takes a creep to know one.

I’m proud of my high school class. We couldn’t organize a reunion because not enough people wanted to go. Everyone had better things to do. Our lives had improved so much, it no longer made sense to look back.

But these yearbook publishers–wow. To score a deal with a school district. Someone was living off this business. Feeding off emotion and peer pressure of the young.

No one wanted to be the kid who couldn’t afford a yearbook. Even angsty kids who considered yearbook signing stupid had parents who ordered them one. If you didn’t have one, you were poor.

My parents could barely afford it. I wanted one so I could be like everyone else, partake in the exchanging of books to sign. The last week of school was all about watching movies in class while socializing and year book signing. ‘One day, I’ll look back at all these notes and reminisce the good old days…’ Little did I know that I hadn’t lived long enough to experience a good day (no school).

Everyone wanted to sign but no one had much to say. ‘Have a great summer.’ ‘I’m glad we had Spanish together.’ People were ashamed to expose how they really felt, especially to your book.

I knew peer pressure was at play, yet I succumbed to it. I wish I knew better.

There’s probably something I think of as important now. In the long run, it’ll just be as insignificant. I wonder what they are.


22 Dec '17  — It may look useful now, but in a few years...

I’ve been cleaning my parents garage. This is where my parents store all the things they’ve gotten for a steal. My dad accumulated speakers, cables, and electronics from yard sales.

‘Why do they have so much stuff?’

The items are now outdated. Old monitors no longer have the pixel resolution of today’s cheapest monitor. Everyone in my family uses bluetooth speakers. No one has a need for speakers that operate with multiple cables.

‘I’m not going to be like them. If something is left unused for a few months–take time to throw it out!’

I know they were intending to hoard up these ‘valuable’ items for a day when their current items stopped working. Did they ever imagine technology could have developed so fast? And get so cheap? My dad has not just one but several sets of bluetooth speakers.

Cleaning out the garage started as a chore, but it’s becoming a strong reminder. The future is more likely going to be better. More than likely, I’ll be able to afford better technology, that does more things in a device that takes up less space.

There’s no need to hang on to anything. There’s not much value in what today seems like an amazing deal.