Rock Bottom

The stress of life is getting to me. Today I failed my math test (I don’t know for sure but it’s not looking good). One of my professors once told me that college is the place that weeds out the weak. It separates the ones who are meant for college from the ones who crack under pressure (modern-day Darwinism).

These two math classes are getting the better of me. I don’t remember when the last time I had a good night sleep. The lack of sleep is affecting my ability to focus. The lack of focus is affecting my test scores. My low test scores is going to be the reason why I’m going to be laid off from a great job. The fear of losing that job is making me worry for the future. This stress also keeps me up at night, one of many factors (It’s a vicious cycle).

While all this is happening, my will power is fading. The Green Lantern’s oath isn’t enough to regain my will. It’s at this time where discouraging thoughts enter my head. Am I cut out for college? Will I fail at everything that I try to accomplish? Would my girlfriend stay with a deadbeat loser? Is this how a mid-life crisis feels like? Can you have a mid-life crisis at the age of 25.

Do I have a back up plan for my life. All my previous dreams have been shot down. I’m not that creative to become a stand out musician. I don’t have the resources to be an animator. I lack the personality to become YouTube famous. I definitely don’t have the time to be a full time blogger.

Don’t you hate it when you think your cut out for something and realize that you may not have what it takes.

All those college success stories don’t help either. You hear people graduating from UCLA at like 22 and already set for life. I know deep down that I can do it. It may take me 10+ years for me to finish but I know I can do it. No one said it would be a cake walk. Just got to crawl out of this pit one leap at a time.

(This would be a very inspirational story to tell my students one day)

The Call of Adulthood

I might disappear for a while. I must heed the call of adulthood. Summer is creeping around the corner (my mortal enemy. Well, next to styrofoam). Summer is a great time for some but not me.

For context, I work as a paraprofessional for an elementary school. It’s like a combination of a teacher’s assistant and a campus aide. We do almost everything a teacher does (minus all the praise and admiration). Greatest job in the world if you’re a college student. You work isn’t the most physically demanding job in the world. I can make my money and have a good day at work. My only problems with this job is the requirements and the holidays.

You don’t get paid for holidays, which could be worse. But that means you don’t get zilch for the dreaded summer break. This my only job at the moment and it’s so much pressure already ’cause I’m practically living paycheck to paycheck. I could get a second job but it’s a competition to get good jobs out there and I don’t want lose valuable time I can use to study.

This is important to note because to be a paraprofessional, you must be a college student that must complete 12 units a year (it differs from college to college). Not bad, but I decided to take two math classes, which are geometry and calculus (I am working on my A.A. degree in mathematics). You can’t fail any of those classes or the school district will fire you, plain and simple. You can argue all you want but all they will do is pack up your stuff.

My grades in those classes are bad. I’m putting more effort in those classes because I don’t want to fail and be out of job. Even if do manage to scrape by with a D (because D’s are passing grades for some reason), I still need to look for another job.

I write my blogs on the bus (like some traveling philosopher) because that’s my only time I really want to write. But recently I have used that time to submit two applications a day to hopefully get a job by summer. It’s either that or save every single penny I can to cover 4 months of rent, food expenses and other miscellaneous bills. So that’s where I’m gonna be. Adulthood isn’t pretty at times but we got to manage somehow (which is why I tell my students to enjoy being a kid while they can).

Nobodies Have Voices Too

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” One of my favorite philosophical questions that has to do with metaphysics. It’s an idea that is supposed to raise questions on perception of reality and point of views. Now let me propose a similar question. If everyone you knew about suddenly forgot about you and no one remembers about your existence, did you even exist? That’s how I felt after high school.

Let me elaborate. I have become what I like to call a Nobody. What’s a Nobody you say. I couldn’t blame you for not knowing since it’s hard to prove we exist. A Nobody is someone who has a tendency to fade away from our minds. That’s how I feel right now. I am a ghost of my former self.

I’m pretty sure that almost everyone in my high school has forgotten who I am.

High school was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was losing myself. I was so confused of who I wanted to be and who I was. My school counselor was the only one who noticed that I was having an existential crisis. She suggested to have a counseling appointment with all my friends about my problems. It was hard but I was able to confess somethings. I told them about my crippling social anxiety at that time. They didn’t realize how bad it was (they just assumed I was really shy). I was literally shutting myself in, holding my feelings in and I was generally afraid of what they would think of me. I felt like I was having a mental breakdown.

My worst fear is being alone in this world, just not in the literal sense (like emotionally). And that’s where I was thrown. I had faded away from the memories of my friends. The only people who knew about my anxieties have left me (it’s not their fault. I could have talked to them but I always found it hard to talk to people about my feelings). Talking about how I feel to my family was never an option. They would never take what I had to say into consideration. Do I even exist if no one even remembers me.

I was on the road to becoming a Nobody. I was my own worst enemy due to my anxieties. These feeling were sealed in by my high school bully (or at least I thought she was. Oh, and by the way, I did say she). Let’s call her Mary It was like her mission to kick me while I was down. She was a popular, straight A student and I was the guy who had no drive to do anything in that class (I mostly slept in class hoping that no one bothered me). She had no reason to hate me. I did my group work, did my best, and even took leadership. I got an A (one of few) in that class so she had no excuse to dislike my guts. She was the one who called me a Nobody. She went on to say that my life was going to be a very sad one, saying I wasn’t going to amount to anything in life. With nothing to be remembered by, I was going to live very lonely life where everyone will forget you (not her exact words. Still, who says that. I’m not sure I deserved that). I would fall asleep when she berated me in class, pretending that it didn’t get to me (but damn, those words cut deep).

I always try to find the bright side of things. Being a Nobody probably has some upsides (Maybe if I had no ties to anybody, I could have a future as a spy). But it can get lonely at times. I just want to have connections to other people so I can talk to others with similar interests and problems. But most importantly, I want people to remember me so for who I am to reassure people I exist. Maybe I can’t use my voice to speak up. But I don’t want to stay quiet more. I will use my words here to because I matter. Because my words matter. We are allowed to have our voices heard because Nobodies have voices too.

Loveless Romantic 4: Acceptance

There’s a moment where boys become men (and no, I’m not talking about puberty). All of a sudden, your life will be changed. You understand what you want and the responsibilities it come with. It’s a shame that I didn’t find out sooner. Young me had the polar opposite idea what it meant to be in a relationship. Here I thought that women wanted calm and reserved guys (like your cool guys, but no cool guys here). High school dating was pretty bad because it so artificial. What I learned from dating in high school is that no matter who you date, your look will change. I’ve dated “ugly” girls, “easy” girls, “needy” girls and so on (not my opinion on them, just what I heard people saying). Because of that, I was also labeled some pretty harsh things.

Why bring this up? Well, because I realize that all those relationships were doomed. Why? The simple answer is honesty. I wasn’t being honest with myself and my partners. Those relationships weren’t for me. The reason was I wasn’t myself. I was afraid to face them about my hobbies and interests (they’re not even that embarrassing). Most importantly, I wasn’t honest about my social anxiety (but I am surprised that I even made it that far to actually date, even though it was a mess). I always appeared distant, calm and cool. That was just a front. I mean, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t like to go out a lot and who afraid to socialize

I realized that I needed to find someone who can accept me for who I am and who wouldn’t try to change me. For example, if your one of those people who value space in a relationship, your partner should understand that and work with. Works with the polar opposite.

This is important because I found the one (and it only took about 10+ years). Instead of trying to reinvent myself like a phoenix, I should find someone who will accept me for the awkward, shy fire chicken that I am. This happened during my college years coming out of a bad relationship will she who shall not be named. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a relationship after that train wreck. Her name is Ashley and we met in a speech class (IRONY!!!). Something about her called to me. She seemed like a person who can understand me and it helped that she was a bit shy. So thankfully our professor put us together to work in a group.

[Something to know about me: the only thing that ranks higher than my social anxiety is my professionalism. I’m really responsible in work and school and will get the job done, even if it goes outside of my comfort zone. I’m just gonna look back at this, curl up in the fetal position, and die of embarrassment]

I think I would had trouble talking with her if I didn’t have a need to. This just stems from seeing other girls dismissing guys. (Hey, sometimes you just got to put yourself out there to get the girl. But if you see that the girl wants none of that and she WILL let you know, then wish her a good day and walk)

I would be lying if I said I handled approaching her with a smooth, slick demeanor (a lot of stuttering coming out of my mouth and confidence throwing itself out the window). But she gave me a chance after almost being friend zoned. Still not sure why she gave me a chance. It was an awkward first few months due to both of us having social anxiety, but we stood with it and we warmed up to each other. Our relationship is strong because I insisted on honesty from the get go. I let it all out. I told her, “I sweat too much, play video games for a crazy amount of time and I’m overall geeky”. And we understand each other and accept each other for who we are. That’s the beauty of this relationship. Sure, we may not share the same enthusiasm for our hobbies but our strength comes from an emotional and personality level. We are just so compatible and compliment each other.

[Warning: Mushiness levels will exceed normal capacity]

She’s the best thing that’s happened in my life. Not only is she the love of my life, she’s also my best friend. We are now a power couple. It’s us two in this game of life vs. whatever the world can throw at us. She will pick me up where I fail and vice versa. Knowing that there someone who loves you unconditionally is the best feeling there is. I have trouble articulating my words but I let her know how much I love her through my gestures.
If you’re reading this honey, I just want to say that I cant wait to see what we will conquer next. Here’s to another 53.74+ years together (cause the average life expec…. I’m gonna stop there before she dies of math boredom)

Love, Edward

Loveless Romantic 3: Break Ups and Break Downs

For every two steps forward you got to have a step back. Now I wasn’t always the perfect Romeo that I strive to be. Man, the worse thing about dating young is you never really know what you want. If you do have a significant other that’s been there since grade school, kudos to you. Your relationship has lasted the test of time. That’s why i was pretty jealous of my friends who I shall name Chester and Pearl. These guys were the definition of the power couple (yes, sadly they’re no more). I really just wanted someone I could connect with. I wanted someone who I can express these anxiety problems with and love me for the mess that I am (probably too much to ask for at that time now that I think about it). Movies always made it seem like love was the ultimate goal.

This blog is going to be a little different. I was an immature, inconsiderate guy in high school (well not to everyone). I didn’t know what I wanted. I’m now man enough to admit it and there so much that I wish I had the courage to say but I’m just gonna lay it here because I’m nervous to talk to them in real life. Most these girls were also good friends so that’s why I feel like I need to say some things.

To the person who inspired this blog, and yes, you know who you are: Middle school and high school was a mess and I felt comfort knowing that there was someone was struggling with anxiety. It’s not supposed to sound that selfish. It means that for once, I didn’t feel alone. What I want you to know is I wish I wasn’t inconsiderate and selfish. You deserve more happiness than you’re getting. I’m afraid what anxiety is doing to you.(I wish you didn’t have to keep it bottled up). I consider you a great friend and if only knew what you were going through after we parted ways, I would have kept in touch with you. It may not seem like it but I only want to see you happy. It seems like you don’t trust me 100% but i understand if you don’t. So much has probably happened that I dont even know about. Sorry

To Spidey (that was her nickname), Iris, Bri, and Meli : I led you girls on. It wasn’t like I didn’t like you. But I did lead you on to thinking that i wanted serious but i wasnt ready for that yet.

To Yes and Chelle: One of the main reasons I broke up with you girls is that didn’t like the crowd you carried with you. How can you be friends with people who are that rude (but who am I to judge).

Over the years, I matured and was more wary of people emotion. I’m doing this post cause I want to mend some tears. Most people won’t admit these things but I’m changing recently. I want to be free of my social anxiety and these thoughts that prevent from having healthy friendships. These confessions will probably never make it to them but it makes me feel better that I got this off my chest.

Loveless Romantic 2: Finding Ourselves and Losing Eachother

In comes high school. That where I was a bit more confident in myself. Still, there was the cloud of anxiety and shyness looming over me. New school meant there was trying to find others I can connect with and hopefully do it without making myself looking like an awkward mess. I was still in the honors programs from high school so I found myself in the same classes with acquaintances. That didn’t make me feel like a total fish out of water.

Speaking of water, it wasn’t until P.E. that I realized I was pretty good-looking. I started losing a lot of weight because of this class and the fact I was kinda starving myself (Don’t worry. I wasn’t doing this intentionally. I just hated school food and waited till I got back home to eat.) And couple that with the intensity of working out in the water, I finally felt good about my appearance. Not to mention some of the girls commented on my hairstyle. For the first weeks of high school, I was still rocking out with that ridiculous spiky hairstyle. So when I got out of the pool, my hair was all down, showing my luscious locks. I came out of the pool looking like a Hispanic Fabio (wouldn’t it be called Fabian). This did wonders on my self-esteem.

I met a couple of girls in that class. They were actually all friends from a neighboring middle school. There was one that stood out to me. I shall name her Agnes. She had a great personality despite her bossy and even sarcastic nature. It’s a bummer cause her self-esteem was low too. She knew many people called her ugly. I didn’t know what everyone was talking about.

I hung out with them to the point becoming good friends with them. One day they were just talking about the people they like. With my confidence at an all time high, I just said Agnes. The girls were shocked and here I was trying to keep calm. Her friends literally were trying to gift her to me like if she was never going to get a date. They convinced her to go out with me.

Now there’s a red flag there and I knew it, but I just wanted to pretend it was purple. Everything was going smoothly but I did notice her pulling away. That relationship was doomed to fail from the start. We broke up after a month.

But something rare happened. We actually become really close friends after. She was my best friend in the early years even after our break up (talk about taboo). Everyone saw it taboo but we went with it. About a year later or so, she goes into more detail about our break up. Turn out she likes women too much (it explains everything). She was opening up about her orientation and I was happy for her. I was happy because I got some closure on our brief relationship. I just wish she isn’t ashamed of me.
This was at the time that I was experiencing a lot of anxiety. I was slowly become less sociable. I was being closed in by this invisible force and I wanted to talk to someone about it and I thought Agnes can help me out of this rut. Ever since she started dating her current girlfriend, she turned her back on me. She wanted nothing to do with me. Maybe she didn’t want an ugly reminder of her fake self hanging around her. I’m not sure if that’s still a good reason to end a perfectly good friendship.

I think I found a root to my anxiety (they weren’t kidding when they said blogging can be like therapy). It been like 6 years since she stopped talking to me and I think to help my anxiety problem, I just need closure on this chapter.

Loveless Romantic: A Sap Story

This is going to sound cliché but my dream in life is to be a husband to a lovely wife and a father to 2.5 children living in the suburbs (2.5 is the American average of children at home. Someone didn’t do their math right). Living in a house with a white picket fence sounds like a good dream to have. It’s uncommon for a guy to be open about his feelings because it might destroy any street cred I might have (if I had any to begin with). For as long as I can remember, I was always, and still am, a romantic. There is no better feeling than knowing that someone out there loves you and admires you. That’s why I was always crushing on girls throughout my school years and had plenty of girlfriends and dates. I just wanted to find my true love. I wanted to love and be loved.

[Disclaimer: I did date a lot of girls but it wasn’t a number contest for me. I was searching for my true love. Their plenty fish in the sea, and I thought it would be easier to find my true love if I got my feet wet. I treated these girls with respect even though some of these relationships ended on less than favorable terms. Please don’t bash me. And from now on, I will use similar names to protect these people’s identities. What I mean by that is that Elizabeth is going to be Eliza and Jarred is going to be Jerry. I’m going to do that to protect their identities but similar enough so if they do read it, they know I’m talking about them]

Now as the anxiety ridden and shy lad I was, you can imagine that some of these settings were… awkward (that’s an understatement). Let me take you back to the magical time of middle school. The awkward teen phase where we grow into our disproportionate, pimply bodies. The time where it’s socially acceptable to be with a girl (because in elementary, girls are icky). In comes our protagonist, me. At this time, I came into middle school with a new positive attitude and new horrible hairstyle (why did I think spiky hair looked good with my curly hair?). I was in the right mindset to reinvent myself, to hopefully get myself out of this hole of mediocrity.

And it worked. I caught the eye of a girl named Jan. Jan was an equally shy girl. We seen each other around the neighborhood. It wasn’t until we both enrolled in a tutoring program for our elementary school that we really talked (think of this program as an unpaid teacher’s assistant internship). We really got along there and she was one of the first girls I connected with. So it was obvious that we took the next step. I don’t remember who asked who out, but I want to say it was me. She said yes. My first reaction to any successful start of a relationship is to act out that one scene in (500) Days of Summer and strut down the street with “You Make My Dreams Come True” playing in the background. But our relationship was just kinda a status. I think we both wanted to be known to be in a relationship. Just the status of likeable to the other gender is enough to start getting other people interested. Our relationship ended under a week but I think we are still pretty cool. But I don’t know if two shy people can survive the first month in a relationship because I know that for sure. Someone needs to be brave enough to break that shyness barrier. And for us, it wasn’t broken, ultimately dooming our relationship.

I wanted to go over all my relationships not to toot my horn but to go over the girls that shaped me to the person I am today (you know, minus the nervous awkward part). Jan, you gave me an insight that if I wanted myself to have a healthy relationship, I had to buck up and get over this hurdle even though it’s not going to get any prettier.