Life, Thoughts

Countdown to the Philippines!

My mom and I are very excited for our upcoming trip. It’s less than two days until we fly out from Portland to begin our adventure to the Philippines! We’ve been packing and getting our travel necessities together this past week. I will try my best in the upcoming month to keep this blog updated with our adventures. My dad was kind enough to let me bring his iPad with me on the trip, and we will have internet connection on and off during our stay.

In preparation for our trip, I’ve gathered some helpful tips and tricks from travel blogs across the internet:

https://www.travelzoo.com/blog/20-tips-before-traveling-internationally/
https://www.travelandleisure.com/blogs/12-tips-to-make-international-travel-easier

Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Anthony Bourdain R.I.P.

I was on Facebook today and saw this picture posted by one of my friends. As I near the ripe age of 22 and prepare for my trip next Monday, this quote connected to me a lot:

34725765_939725249539480_4730168279040000000_n
Source: Facebook – The Chef’s Circle

Anthony Bourdain was highly admired, a star chef, and a lover of life. He showed us the importance of traveling and adventuring and experiencing another person’s lifestyle. In witnessing his exploration of the world I was taught empathy and passion and a love for food.

Growing up, my mom and I spent little time together as she worked the majority of the day and wouldn’t get home until late at night. Most of the week I was either in school or with my grandparents, where we spent our television time watching game shows or sports. During moments where my mom and I would be able to spend time together at home, we took pleasure in watching Anthony Bourdain’s: No Reservations on the Travel Channel. My mom and I loved his poetic and raw outlook on life, and it was always interesting to see what adventures he experienced. I have many fond memories of us watching his trips together, reacting to the dishes he would eat (how we would want to try this or that someday), laughing at his (sometimes crude, but always real) comments, and wishing to one day go where he has gone.

Anthony Bourdain suffered from heroin addiction when he was younger, the same difficult struggle my late brother battled with. While they were both alive, Anthony Bourdain’s triumphs and long life gave me hope that my brother would beat his addiction and life an equally full life.

He also suffered from depression, but didn’t let that prevent him from experiencing the world as much as he could. I also suffer from depression and other mental health issues, but Anthony gave me hope that the world could be better, that I could accomplish and experience things that I’ve only dreamed of. It saddens me that his battle with depression ended this way.  I was told that he never sought treatment, dealt with it by himself without trying to seek help. I am grateful for the community I grew up in and the information I was given about mental health and depression, to be able to seek and receive treatment. No one should ever be pushed to this point in life, where they feel like there is nowhere to turn to.

For anyone reading this: If you feel like you are alone and have nowhere to turn to, know that there are always options to get the help you need and that there are people out there who will care and support you. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Anthony Bourdain, you fought your demons for as long as you could and inspired so many people to live their best life. My condolences and best wishes to your family and friends. Thank you for all that you’ve done to bring the world together.

Life, Thoughts

Hot Yoga

In preparation for our trip to the Philippines next week, my mom and I have been taking classes at Flow Hot Yoga in Vancouver. We wanted to acclimate our bodies to heat before our trip while increasing our stamina. While it’s not our first time taking hot yoga classes, it’s still a pretty difficult and new experience.

Over the past ten days I’ve gone eight times, and it’s crazy how much progress I feel in my flexibility. Every other day they have a different class and different instructors, so there is a wide range of poses to do each week. I’ve noticed in my own body that I have underdeveloped upper body strength and a lot of tightness in my hips. The yoga classes have helped me identify these areas to work on and have given me a chance to appreciate the beauty and strength in my own body.

Hot yoga is different than regular yoga in that we do each session in a hot room. This makes the experience feel a lot more difficult than regular yoga. According to their website, hot yoga allows the body to detoxify, lengthens and strengthens muscles, increases lung capacity and circulation throughout the body, boosts metabolism, and burns 600-1200 calories per hour.

Each time I’ve gone I’ve definitely felt a lot better coming out of the studio. It’s a workout for sure, and lets me push myself and my limits to the max. This week I’m aiming to go every day before we leave next Monday. Hopefully when we come back from our trip I’ll be able to continue the yoga practice as much as possible before school starts up again in August.

Happy Sunday!

Life, Thoughts

Nostalgic Dreams

During the school year I didn’t have any dreams at all. Ever since moving back home for the summer, I’ve been having really strange dreams.

Last night I woke up twice in the middle of two different dreams, both dealing with things I’ve been working through in my personal life. One of the dreams I don’t remember as clearly, but I’ll share the content of the other.

I had a dream that we were throwing a graduation party in my grandparents’ house, and two of my ex-childhood best friends were there. I haven’t talked to them in a very long time but know that they have graduated from their colleges through pictures on social media.

In the dream, I remember them sitting at a table with me. I was so happy they were back in my life. I remembered one of them was very skeptical about being there, and didn’t want to be celebrating with me. I told them that I had no expectations for our friendship and didn’t care what would result from their visit, just that I was happy to see them and have them in my life again. Then a different person, an old classmate from middle school, came into the room and tried to pick a fight with me. They ended up grabbing a keyboard that was sitting on a table and tried to hit me over the head with it, which is about the time I woke up.

I miss my old childhood friends a lot, but understand that they no longer want me in their lives. I was surprised that when I woke up, I didn’t feel sad. I felt like my dream was trying to tell me something – to cherish the memories that I had made with them, but to move on. The things I said in my dream about just being happy that they were in my life resonated with me. It doesn’t matter how long they were there, it’s the fact that the memories were made in the first place. I should have no expectations about how long people will be in my life. I should just be happy that they were there in the first place and remember that people will come and go.

I think I’ll make a habit of writing down my dreams again in a dream journal. My brother had asked me yesterday about lucid dreaming and whether or not I had ever had one. I have, but it was only once or twice and it was after religiously writing down my dreams every night and working towards the goal of having a lucid dream. I think it would be an interesting goal to have again, at least while I’m on vacation and have the time and ability to do it.

Life, Thoughts

We’re Going to the Philippines!

I’m very excited to announce that my mom and I are going to the Philippines in less than a couple of weeks! We are leaving on the 18th and I couldn’t be more excited to go.

My mom, who grew up in the Philippines, hasn’t seen any of her immediate family members for over 12 years. She doesn’t have a lot of family here in the United States, so it will be a wonderful family reunion for the both of us. I have asked my mom every single year since I our last trip when we are going to go back, and now we finally have the opportunity to do so. The last time I went I was ten years old, so it’ll be a completely different experience to travel there as an adult.

During the school semesters I’m in Oakland and my mom works during weekdays so I don’t see her a lot during breaks. It’ll be a great way for us to spend some quality time together and explore where she grew up.

We will be leaving Portland for Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Singapore where there will be an 8 hour layover in Singapore (the Singapore International Airport is supposedly HUGE and is a place where people go for day trips), and then we’ll be in Davao. There is limited internet access over there, but I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated in while we’re traveling.

Life, Thoughts

I’m Back!

It has been a LONG while since I’ve posted anything. For the past four-five years I have been busy with school at Mills College in Oakland, California. I’ve decided to try and give my blog another shot, just because I think it’s a good idea to put thoughts into words and ideas into action.

I’ll be writing about a lot of different things – thrifting, my daily life, projects I’m working on, body positivity posts, and things that interest me. To anyone out there that is interested in following my journey, I am grateful for your presence and will try to keep up with posting!

Book Reviews, Life, Review, Thoughts, Writing

My Life as an “Odyssey” Essay

The following is a book report of sorts that I had done a few years ago. We were supposed to compare our life to the “Odyssey”, a Greek epic poem about Odysseus. This is both a reflection on my life and an exploration into the “Odyssey”.

 

 

 

 

My parents told me that when I was little, I was extremely independent and strong-willed. They told me that I had a creative, determined, and straightforward way of thinking. They said that if I there was anything I wanted to do, the only person who could stop me from doing it was myself.

As a kid, I knew who I was and whom I wanted to become, but as I grew up my inward stability started to sway back-and-forth. The older I became, the more I realized that my emotions were getting harder and harder to control. My unstable emotions started to become progressively worse in 8th grade, and by then I knew that there had to be something wrong with me. After a lot of research on mental disorders, I came to the conclusion that I was bipolar. My self-prescribed diagnosis was confirmed by my psychologist and psychiatrist in March 2012, who said that I had Bipolar II, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and intense anxiety.

The struggle to control my emotions and achieve balance in my life is the main journey that I go through every day. My constant mood swings affect nearly everything I do on a daily basis. It’s hard for me to maintain solid grades because my motivation to do things always changes. I can’t have a healthy dating life and my relationships with friends and family are constantly strained because of my lack of emotionally stability. Being bipolar affects me physically as well, because my sleep and eating patterns change according to whether I’m in my depressive phase or manic phase.

The problem with being bipolar is that you don’t quite know how you’re going to feel the next day, and almost every emotion is heightened and intensified. Instead of feeling “normal”, I either feel depressed and stressed and anxious, or charismatic and energetic and bubbly. When I’m in my depressive phase, the old Jazmyne that was determined and hard-working completely goes away, and she’s replaced by someone who’s lazy and unmotivated and surrenders to sadness. When I’m in my manic phase, the old Jazmyne is electrified, and it’s like I need to do a billion things at once in order to feel alive and tell people about everything beautiful and wonderful in life. And I can’t just ignore my intensified emotions, either- it’s always there in the back of my mind, ready to resurface and cause problems in my life. Similar to Odysseus’ struggle with overcoming adversaries to go home, it’s like every place I turn the thing I’m trying to overcome brings more problems.

Like Odysseus’ distractions, there are distractions I have to deal with that constantly prevent me from reaching my destination, which is achieving balance in my life. I think that one of the biggest distractions is my never-ending concern for other people because whenever something happens to someone I care about I become agitated and worried for them. There are so many things that my family members and friends deal with, and I always let their problems add to the stress of my own problems. Multiple family members and friends of mine have mental disorders, as well, and I always trouble myself more than I should about their happiness and well-being. Some of my family members also have physical complications, and so I get worked up about their health and how they are doing all the time. Many of my friends are self-conscious and complain to me a lot about their unhappiness about how they are, which make me feel the need to console and fret over them. Another distraction I have that ties in to my concern for other people is my concern for my family’s finances. I worry as much, if not more, about the financial stability of my family. I make a lot of sacrifices so that I don’t feel like a financial burden to my parents, and I worry a lot about bills and how I can help save my family money.

Odysseus is faced with many temptations throughout his journey, and every now and then it seems easier for him to surrender to the temptations that taunt him. For me, it’s also tempting to give up to my emotions, or to give in to negative ways to cope with how I feel. A lot of times I do submit to whatever phase I am in and I let my unstable emotions take over my life. When I’m in my depressive phase, it’s easy to just not do work and stay unmotivated. I rationalize that being in my manic phase is helpful to me because I get things done and I’m more social in that phase. Many times I’ve been tempted to turn to poisonous groups of friends to relieve or magnify whatever phase I’m in. In both of my phases, I can be extremely impulsive, which is a huge temptation I have to try and counter with rationalization (which doesn’t always work).

The main antagonist I have in my journey to maintain steadiness over my emotions is myself. I am a very stubborn, independent, and defensive person. At first, it took me a while to convince myself that I needed help to deal with my emotions because I am very reluctant to ask people for help. I always do this thing where I bury my feelings deep inside of me and never show it to people because I don’t want them to lose sleep over me. Most of the time I try to deal with my problems on my own and try not to involve anyone else in the problematic side of my life. My stubbornness and pride gets in the way of fixing my problems, much like how Odysseus had ran into problems because of his stubbornness and pride.

Even though there are a lot of things holding me back from achieving my goal of creating balance in my life, I possess a lot of things that help and support me while on this journey. Like Odysseus, I have people who support me and somewhat admirable traits that aid me while I am in a tough position.

I have a lot of qualities that counter my stubborn, independent, and defensive traits. When it comes to the things that I want to accomplish and the goals I have, I am very determined to get them done. Much like how Odysseus always put everything he had into his goals and was determined to get home, I work very hard whenever I really want something. I also have a lot of integrity when it comes to how I am. I am very honest with myself and with the people around me, so usually I am able to recognize when something is wrong with me, the reason for why I feel that way, and why I need to fix whatever problem I am having. Because I have a good amount of integrity about myself, I also know that whenever I’m in distress I know I should ask for help and do therapeutic, healthy things instead of turning to other means of relieving my stress and agitation.

Another thing that helps me along my journey is the people who support me. My doctors and therapists are supportive of me and try to do the best they can with diagnosing and helping me treat my mental disorders. My friends are also extremely supportive and understanding of my struggles, and try to help me in any way they can. A lot of times I use my friends members as a way to vent about my feelings, and they always offer their sympathy and advice and guidance. My family is also very supportive of me. At first they didn’t really want to believe anything was wrong with me, but after being diagnosed and medicated, they try to help me and know how to handle me in my different phases and how to make sure I stay sane and happy.

Even though the journey I have ahead of me is a difficult one to travel, I know that with the support I have from my friends and family and the drive I have to get better will help me through it. There will always be temptations along the way of this journey and distractions that will hold me back from being happy, but I know that eventually I will become prudent and have balance in my life. Similar to Odysseus’ long and painful journey, it may take many years and a lot of trials and tribulations for me to finally reach my destination, but I know that one day I will eventually be in peace with myself, be able to control my emotions and have a balanced life.

Synopsis of Books 9-10, 11, 21-23

Book 9

            Odysseus and his men land on the island of the Lotus-eaters, where the people who live there give them lotus fruit. The lotus fruit makes all of the men forget that they want to go home and cause them to stay on the island for a long time. Odysseus gets him and his men off the island and sail away. They land on the island of the Cyclopes, the son of the sea-god Poseidon. Odysseus and his men wander into the Cyclopes’ cave, where they eat his food and get eaten by the Cyclopes in return. Odysseus and his men escape the Cyclopes’ island by blinding him and then sneaking away under the bellies of the Cyclopes’ herd of sheep. Blinding the Cyclopes makes Poseidon angry, and guarantees Odysseus and his men an even harder journey back home.

Book 10

            Odysseus and his men sail to the island of the wind-god, Aeolus. He helps Odysseus by giving him a bag of winds. Using the western wind, Odysseus and his men arrive close enough to Ithaca to see it, but are then set back even further because of Odysseus’ jealous, greedy shipmates. Odysseus and his men eventually land on another island, the island of Circe, a witch. She lures in some of Odysseus’ men into her palace and turns them into pigs. Odysseus goes to find and rescue them, and with the help of Hermes, is able to avoid Circe’s magic. Circe makes Odysseus stay with her for a year as her lover, but eventually lets them go with advice on how to get home.

Book 11

            Odysseus travels to the River Styx in the underworld to find the blind prophet, Tiresias. With the help of Circe’s advice, Odysseus attracts the dead and finds Tiresias. Tiresias tells Odysseus about his fate and warns him about what he should do to have a smoother ride home.

Book 21

            Odysseus has returned home alone disguised as a beggar. Odysseus reveals his identity to two of his most trusted followers and asks them to help him in return for treating them and being a part of the royal family. Penelope has announced to all her potential suitors that she will marry the man who wins her contest. The rules of the contest are to string Odysseus’ bow and shoot through a line of twelve axes. All of the suitors try to string the bow but fail at doing so. Odysseus steps up to string the bow, and succeeds in stringing it and shooting it through all the axes.

Book 22

            After he wins the competition, his disguise disappears. With the help of his goddess, Athena, Odysseus and he and his son kill every suitor in the kingdom. He then proceeds to kill all the unfaithful women servants he has and take back his kingdom.

Book 23

            Penelope goes to see Odysseus and when she sees him, she faints. When she comes to, she finds Odysseus in front of her again, but doesn’t believe that he is really who he is. She thinks that the gods are playing another trick on her. She tells Odysseus that she needs help moving the bed back to the bedroom, a lie that only Odysseus could know the truth to. Odysseus gets mad and says that it was impossible to move the bed unless it was cut from the tree he grew around it. With the answer that she wanted, Penelope embraces him. Everyone is eventually appeased and lives happily ever after.