My Uncensored Feelings about Cleaning

Does anyone here get major anxiety from cleaning or the thought of cleaning? I’d like to come out and express my disdain for it. It’s genuinely the thing I hate most about adulting, and I am certain that I am not the only one.

Before I moved out, I considered cleaning a somewhat pleasurable activity. Granted, I only really cleaned my room and my sister’s room occasionally. My parents did most of the cleaning, one thing I really miss about living at home. It felt really productive to clean, do my laundry, and fold my clothes. I thought I was good at cleaning, or at least had a positive outlook about it. “If I ever became a housewife, I’d survive”, I’d tell myself. Fast forward to the present day, I can tell you that I’ve never been more wrong in my life. I’m pretty sure being a housewife for me is completely out of the question.

This Youtuber talked about how she hates cleaning in this video. I can relate to her on a soul level.

For the sake of clarity, let’s define cleaning as the following things: vacuuming, changing bed sheets, laundry (the whole process of it), kitchen housekeeping, dishwashing, throwing out the garbage, cleaning the washroom, cleaning make-up brushes, etc. If you live alone and do all these things routinely rain or shine, I’d like to congratulate you. You’re the real bomb diggity.

The reason I hate cleaning is frankly because it takes a lot of time. As a Type A personality, I am constantly thinking about opportunity costs, which is the concept that the cost of making a particular choice is the value of the most valuable choice out of those that were not taken (Yes, that’s straight out of Wikipedia).

Let me explain this in detail. The whole process of cleaning for me usually takes a minimum of 4 hours. FOUR HOURS. Let that sink in. I could have spent that time playing piano and learning a new song, writing a few blog entries, learning more about investing in stocks, or finishing a short book, opportunities for growth or mastering skills that I have now missed out on because I needed to clean. Not to mention, I get absurdly anxious when I see my place getting really dirty that I end up stress cleaning. The worst part is cleaning never ends, so the opportunity costs multiply.

I also find that there are two types of people, the low-maintenance and the high-maintenance. This will determine your feelings about cleaning. It’s not a binary system; it’s more of a spectrum. I would place myself as somewhere in between, but closer to the high-maintenance side, which is why I think of cleaning as a huge ordeal.

For instance, I know people who clean so often because they just love the feeling of cleanliness (these are obviously the high-maintenance folks). My mother is like this, as she is always cleaning day and night for whatever reason. She says things like: “cleanliness is next to godliness”. If you watch Friends, Monica is a classic example.

I also know people who only change their bath towels and bed sheets once a month (these are of course, the low-maintenance folks). One of my guy friends told me that this is how he cleans, and I honestly yelled: “What?!” to his face so loudly in utter shock.

Unfortunately, cleaning has to get done. You can’t run from it; you can’t escape it. It’s just an organic part of adulthood. Otherwise, our condos and houses would be infested with all kinds of nastiness and germs that we can probably die from. I’m also deathly allergic to dust for real.

But here’s my plan. Someday, when I’m at a stage in my career and my life when I can afford to pay for a cleaning service, I would totally do it. Not only will I be helping myself, I will also be helping out someone who needs to make a living. It will be a worthy business transaction. I really do look forward to that day. It’s going to happen, I promise.

For now, I must log out of WordPress and start cleaning.

Blogs are NOT Diaries

When I first told people I started a blog, most of them reacted strangely, as if I’ve made a poor life choice. “Why don’t you just write on your diary?”, someone asked me the other day.

Today, I went to see my doctor, and he asked me how I’ve been. I excitedly told him I started a new passion project, blogging. I told him about the things I’ve written about so far, like my relationship with Otherness and why I don’t regret majoring in Psychology. He looked at me with concern.

I then realized that people who are not blog readers don’t know that blogging has evolved significantly in the past decade. It’s not like it used to be. It’s different now.

You see, back in the olden days, blogs served as personal diaries. When I created my first blog on Xanga in the mid-2000s, all I did was rant, like I was writing on my diary. To my defence, I was a kid, not even a teen. I wasn’t mature enough to understand that there are repercussions to posting online.

This scene from The Social Network perfectly illustrates what blogging was like back in the early 2000s. In the movie, Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, gets dumped by his girlfriend, Erica Albright, played by Rooney Mara. Fueled by anger, Mark blogs nasty things about Erica on his Livejournal blog.

Then, in my teens, I moved on to Tumblr. Like Xanga, the blog served as a diary, but this time, I was smart enough not to put my real name on the internet, and I never promoted the blog because it was personal. Those who were on Tumblr knew that Tumblr was not meant to be shared on other platforms. It was like a secret club. I’ve been on Tumblr for more than a decade now, and still use it every now and then for inspiration.

After reflecting on the judgment I received from people who do not understand why I started blogging, I came to the conclusion that they thought that I was going to create another online diary reminiscent of my Xanga and Tumblr days circa 2005 – 2012, which would indeed be disastrous. I see where they’re coming from, but also shocked that they don’t know what blogs are for these days.

To this, I respond: Relax, folks! I’m a professional now with a big girl job. I’m no longer a teenager. I’m a mature, sophisticated woman. I am truly okay with anyone reading my blog, be it my bosses, parents, future in-laws, etc. I have a physical diary locked in a safe somewhere. Now, that’s where my deepest, darkest secrets are written. I will never let it see the light of day. It’s an over-my-dead-body type of situation.

This blog serves a different purpose, which I already explained in this post. Blogging is so different now that there are people who blog full-time and make a good living out of it. I daresay it’s a career. There are also different categories of blogs that provide so much information. For instance, my favourite niche is personal finance. I’m obsessed with “The Money Diaries” on Refinery 29 and follow a bunch of blogs that talk about money. It’s just so interesting.

I’m writing this because I want people to know that blogs are no longer just personal diaries. In fact, I don’t see anyone blogging about what they do on a day-to-day basis anymore, like how it was back in 2005. We’re entering the 20’s now, and I’m kindly asking people to get with the times.

In all seriousness, when people blog, they want to be heard; they want to spread a message; they want a response.

So, tell me, does that sound like a diary to you?

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

For the love of Psychology

Unpopular opinion: I miss being a student.

For those of you who don’t know, I work at a university, specifically, the university I went to for my bachelor’s degree, wherein I studied Psychology and Counselling. My school is now my workplace. Reminiscing comes naturally when you work at your Alma Mater and see your old stomping grounds as a student everyday.

When I say I miss being a student, I want to be absolutely clear that: 1) I don’t miss being a broke teenager making minimum wage and 2) I don’t miss the stress and anxiety of studying for exams. So, let’s establish that. I am not a psychopath.

What I really miss is learning about Psychology. I loved, loved, loved it so much!

As an undergraduate student, I was very fond of studying the history of Psychology. One of the highlights of my undergraduate life is learning about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. I’m huge fans of both, though not necessarily a supporter of all their theories. I am definitely very Jungian, but that’s a story to tell for another time. I know that a lot of people who majored in Psychology likely can’t relate, but learning about Freud, Jung, and Adler (let’s not forget him) just gave me so much inspiration. Honestly, we have those three to thank for the state of mental health care in 2019. Studying their theories was more entertaining than reading celebrity gossip. And trust me, I’m not one to shy away from celebrity gossip.

Social Psychology also rocked my world. Back in my undergraduate days, I tried to take as many classes as I possibly could about Social Psychology because I felt like it truly enriched my life and made me more emotionally intelligent. I almost didn’t take any electives because they just didn’t appeal to me as much as Social Psychology courses. One theory I learned that has really changed my life is the self-expansion theory. In fact, a lot of the actions I take (i.e., career, exercise, blogging, etc.) are motivated by my goal of positive self-expansion. I’m so glad my professors taught this theory because it’s so applicable to life.

All that being said, the main reason I majored in Psychology is that so that I could, one day, become a therapist. Mental health is something I value deeply, and I had hoped to help people deal with their psychological struggles and process their traumas. I envisioned myself as a crusader for eliminating the stigma of mental illnesses in society. However, I realized after graduation that I am not meant to counsel people. Through a brief volunteer stint at the Crisis Line, I came to a conclusion that I may have been wrong that it was my calling. That’s also a story for another time.

I don’t believe this is where my relationship with Psychology ends. I will continue to read books and continue to watch TED talks that are Psychology-related. I plan on starting a master’s degree sometime in the next few years, and who knows, it just might be related to Psychology. I’ll be a lifelong student of it no matter what.

Sometimes, I think about how I could’ve majored in something else that could’ve led to a higher-paying career like Computing Science or Business. I often joke that I should’ve majored in Computing Science, so that I could have moved to Silicon Valley, but who am I kidding? I was horrible at coding!

All jokes aside, I don’t regret majoring in Psychology. How can I when it has enhanced my understanding of human beings so much and most importantly, myself? I am who I am today because of what I studied. This blog would not exist had I not majored in Psychology.

If I had a time machine and ended up in 2012, the year I chose my major, I would tell my 19-year-old self: “Thank you for being true to yourself and studying what you love”.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The TED Talks I Go Back to Again and Again (Part I)

Last Saturday, I went to a TED event sponsored by my workplace. I consider myself somewhat of a TED enthusiast since I’m a sucker for great TED talks. I love hearing people talk about their ideas, some of which are nothing new, but inspiring, nonetheless.

It doesn’t matter to me that a lot of speakers preach the same “law of attraction” story for example. It’s a tale as old as time, and everyone has their own version of it. What matters me to me is the individual’s journey, and if they can tell their story well, I am always willing to listen.

So, folks, in the spirit of TED talks, here’s a list of the talks I find myself going back to again and again. If the talk made it on this list, that means I watched it at least 3 times and have given the speaker’s message a lot of thought.

I’ll only talk about 5 talks today because my real list is quite long. I will share the rest of the list in another entry.

Here goes Part 1 of the list…

How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins

This video is one of the most-watched TED talks of all time and rightfully so. It’s inspiring as hell and just makes you want to get up and get your life together! I ended up following Mel Robbins on social media after watching this video because I felt like I needed her guidance in my life. She talked about how “you’re never going to feel like it”, pertaining to motivation or the lack thereof, but argued (oh yes, she did) you need to do it anyway.

She’s the fairy godmother I wish I had.

The Person You Really Need to Marry by Tracy McMillan

YOU are the person you need to marry, according to Tracy McMillan. The message of this TED talk is self-love, which as she argued, is the foundation of successful relationships. I think teenagers and young adults will benefit a lot from listening to Tracy. She also opened up about her previous marriages and divorces in this talk, which is really worth the watch, as she is a splendid speaker.

Embracing Otherness, Embracing Yourself by Thandie Newton

First of all, I’m really shocked that this talk didn’t go viral. Thandie Newton is such a captivating speaker, who was so authentic about her experience with otherness. I once met Thandie years ago when she came to Vancouver, and my ultimate regret is that I didn’t get to tell her how much this talk meant to me. Instead, I told her I watched Mission Impossible 2 many times and really liked Crash. To be fair, I was also really starstruck and couldn’t think straight.  

The Sociology of Gossip by Elaine Lui

Elaine Lui is a self-proclaimed celebrity gossip for a living. This was such a courageous topic to discuss since gossip is so negatively perceived, so props to Lainey (Elaine Lui)! In this talk, she reasoned that gossip is a reflection of the human moral compass and social evolution, and to be honest, I agree. I also think gossip is just part of human nature.  Can you honestly say you don’t gossip at all?

Depression, the Secret We Share by Andrew Solomon

Often, writers can’t speak as well as they write, but Andrew Solomon is not one of those writers. This was a poignant talk that was delivered so eloquently. He said that the opposite of depression is not happiness; it’s vitality. When I first watched this video as an undergraduate student in Psychology and Counselling, what he said really stuck with me. I would encourage people who don’t understand clinical depression to watch this video because Andrew Solomon explained it very well.

Okay, I will stop there for now because I really do have a long list! This is a #ToBeContinued.

How about you – What are your favourite Ted talks?

Social Media: It’s Complicated

“Social media is toxic,“ says everyone. It’s fascinating to me how people have such a negative relationship with social media because it reminds me of my younger self. I once quit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter altogether some 6 years ago because I was on a quest to be a minimalist. I have since gone back and abandoned that path, so I can rightfully say “been there, done that”.

Misuse of social media can have a profoundly damaging impact on mental health. I know that from first-hand experience.

As I get older however, I realize the positives of social media more and more. I’d like to encourage everyone to envision what life would be like without social media. Fifty years ago, if you moved to another country, you would have likely lost all contact with your family and friends in the country you left. Now, we no longer have to worry about that because we have a myriad of platforms to connect with people all over the world.  

To give you a little backstory, I spent the first half of my life in Manila, Philippines where I was born and raised, and the other half in Vancouver, Canada, where I currently live. Thanks to social media, I remain in touch with my childhood friends. We still chat once in a while, share personal milestones, and talk about our day-to-day lives with each other. Social media has allowed me to continue my cherished relationships with people who are physically very far away from me. Without Facebook, I think I would have long been forgotten. It’s a privilege that I acknowledge, and that I think most people should as well. Now is probably the best time to be alive because of social media.  

Going back to the perception that social media is toxic, unfortunately, that’s not a lie. Ultimately though, we are responsible for how we use social media.  I believe it boils down to discipline and knowing your limits. For instance, I tend to spend a lot of my social media time on Instagram and Pinterest consuming content because I’m on a mission to discover and cultivate my personal style. As such, I look for inspiration in the fashion community, which dictates my behaviour as a consumer.

Following fashionistas on these platforms, I sometimes feel hopeless that I’ll never be able to afford the designer clothes and shoes that they wear and that I desire for myself. I also sometimes feel extremely unattractive after being exposed to a lot of ridiculously good-looking people. This sense of despair only looms over me after a significant amount of time browsing. I’m estimating, about 1 hour? I could be off, but the bottom line is that I could have prevented myself from feeling this way just by setting boundaries for myself while using social media.

By boundaries, I specifically mean limiting the time I spend browsing. When I first start browsing, the initial feelings are always those of excitement and inspiration, but after a while, I start feeling unproductive, lazy, and down. In my personal experience, it makes a huge difference when I only browse for 10 minutes as opposed to 1 hour.  But when I do browse for 10 minutes, I feel quite happy. Social media has a positive impact on my day.

So often, I hear people complain about other people’s usage of social media. Maybe it’s a neighbour who supports a detestable politician, a family member who is always fooled by fake news, or a classmate from high school who posts 10 selfies a day. Whatever the case, there’s always someone on social media that just somehow triggers a negative reaction from us. This is difficult because I think it takes a great deal of maturity to shield ourselves from getting annoyed by these things. I don’t know yet how to not be affected by certain things on social media, but once again, I will go back to suggesting that we must figure out our boundaries and discipline ourselves.  

At the end of the day, social media is just a tool. We, human beings, wield the power of how we choose to use it. I mostly see social media as a positive these days, after realizing that it has allowed me to maintain and nourish my relationships with friends and loved ones.

However, I’m not immune to the toxicity of social media, as it still impacts my self-esteem and will sometimes trigger some negativity in me. I think this is completely normal and just part of human nature.

If your experience with social media is always negative, however, that’s not healthy. As someone who has once left social media, I have a lot of thoughts about this matter. It’s time to examine your social media life, and perhaps learn where your boundaries are and enforce some discipline in your usage. Use it in a way that suits your life and your needs. Reinvent your relationship with social media. Remember that it’s not your enemy; it’s your ally.  

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

An Introduction to my Relationship with Otherness

One of the most pervasive negative themes in my life is Otherness, a feeling I have an intimate relationship with. I know it so well, and it knows me, too.

When I moved to Vancouver when I was younger, I felt very alienated and alone. I constantly felt like I didn’t belong. It didn’t take long for me to unconsciously create a story in my mind that I was the “Other”.

As a coping mechanism, I decided to try my best to fit in. In order to fit in, I had to be like everyone else. I had to like what they liked, hate what they hated, do what they did, etc. I had to relate to them one way or another.  

In high school, a lot of my friends were big fans of K-pop, and basically, anything Korean-related. To tell you the truth, I really wasn’t. I didn’t dislike K-pop, but I also wouldn’t listen to it if I had the choice. It just wasn’t my thing.

Korean dramas were also very popular. I thought at least this one, I could do, because I used to watch Korean dramas as a kid growing up in Asia and really enjoyed all of them. I especially loved the Korean dramas, Stairway to Heaven, Princess Hours, and Lovers in Paris. I actually had very intense crushes on the actors in these shows. So, good! Now, I can use Korean dramas to my advantage to relate to people, or so I thought. I was wrong. I really didn’t find K-dramas funny or entertaining anymore, not in the same way I did when I was a kid.

But I was set on my goal to be part of that Korean-obsessed demographic. I tried my best to pretend I liked K-pop and Korean dramas. I educated myself about K-pop culture, the popular bands, the songs everyone was singing to, the famous public figures. I did my homework. I also tried watching the newer Korean dramas at the time like Boys Over Flowers and You’re Beautiful. And once again, it just wasn’t my thing.  

Somehow, this lie that I liked K-pop and Korean dramas took a life of its own and went on for several years. K-pop and Korean dramas remain very popular to this day.  I continued to meet people who were fans even as an adult. Like my friends in high school, they, too, were heavily obsessed with Koreans. I thought it was an opportunity to once again, relate, belong, and shed off my otherness that I was so ashamed of.

Earlier this year, I watched a Korean Netflix drama called Memories of the Alhambra. You can probably guess by now. I still wasn’t a fan, but I pushed through, thinking that if Korean dramas were ever discussed, then I’d have something “current” to share with my friends who liked Korean dramas.

By Episode 8 of Memories of the Alhambra, I couldn’t watch it anymore. It just felt so (for the lack of a better term) wrong. It wasn’t because the show was bad. It was actually very well-done and creatively executed, but I had this sinking feeling that there was a deeper underlying issue that I had to acknowledge.

I had an epiphany that I have betrayed myself and sacrificed it in order to fit in. I was fooling everyone, but worse than that, I was fooling myself. I was so caught up in a lie that I also continued to tell myself that I liked listening to K-pop music and that I liked watching Korean dramas, that I began to believe it.

 After having an honest conversation with myself, I realized a lot of the things that I did weren’t really “me”, but just how I was conditioned by my environment and society. As human beings, it’s in our nature to want to feel a sense of belongingness. For the sake of belongingness, sometimes, we pretend to like things that are not really “us”, but we do it anyway to be part of a group.

This is not just about K-pop and Korean dramas, as I hope you, reader, realize. This is about staying true to yourself, which I have neglected because I was focused on my story as the “Other”, a story I told myself repeatedly until “Other” became my identity.

Now, if people ask me about K-pop and Korean dramas, I will simply tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s not my thing. That’s that. And you know what, there’s a sense of freedom in saying that, to just be honest and set that boundary that you don’t like something that everyone else does.

My struggle with Otherness doesn’t end here. There will be more layers to peel and more lessons to learn, but I am glad that I now have the self-awareness to deal with it in this in this long and winding road to truly knowing myself. It’s a start.

To begin, begin

I have wrestled with the idea of blogging for so long to no fruition. I was afraid of allowing myself to be vulnerable to the public and feared that I’d start something and not be able to commit and follow through. I am a perfectionist after all.

But, I believe there should be more authenticity on the internet. We’re bombarded with pretty images of influencers, celebrities, beautiful people that I admire, follow, and draw inspiration from. However, by monetizing ourselves, we sacrifice truth-telling and the real human experience.

As an INFP, I deeply value authenticity and constantly look for it in others. Sadly, I don’t see it much in this day and age.

So, internet, I am here to offer you authenticity and the truth according to me. I don’t exactly have a target audience. I thought, maybe, fellow millennial INFPs? No, it was too specific. I decided I will write about things I would want to read. Period. For me, I like reading about self-reflexivity, self-development, sustainability, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, hygge, career and work life, travel, media, and navigating society as a 20-something year-old. It’s a handful, but that is what I intend for you to get from me.

This is not a personal diary. Not all truths need to be told. There is power in keeping certain aspects of your life private. However, I will be writing personal reflections here that I believe will serve someone else positively. No matter what, the things I write here will always be written with good intentions.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you stop by once again.