너여야만 해

17th birthdays are like being in front of a firing squad waiting to get shot because turning 18 is like getting shot. It’s even worse for me because I’m definitely an only child and turning 18 and leaving home will be like getting shot. Pretty sure getting hit in the body by a speeding bullet is still healthier than eating ramen seven times a week and gaining 15 pounds in the course of a semester.

The older I get, the more anticlimatic birthdays seem, not that I’m trying to sound jaded, because who would try to sound jaded. But I’m sure by the time that I’m 50 or something the pendulum will swing back around and birthdays will feel good again. Now they just feel like I’m robbing my parents of money they could’ve used to take a vacation or something instead of wasting on headphones. I’m an awful person. 
Self-deprecation aside, going back to the dungeon (it’s literally a dungeon!!!! our school was literally designed by a guy who designs prisons!!!!!) for yet another year of school takes on a whole new meaning because it’s our last year ever (EVER EVER EVER) of mandatory schooling in the United States. It’s a little bittersweet. Bitter in the sense that an American education doesn’t really teach us anything that we need to know in the real world, like how to do taxes and how to buy a house, and we’re going to be graduating next year without really knowing how to do those things.

Sweet in the sense that we’re closing a chapter of our life that we’ve been writing for the past 18 years. Some of it was already written for us, by our parents, by our teachers, even by our friends. But next year, at around this time, we’ll have at least written the first few paragraphs of an entirely different story, if we wish.

As an only child, my parents are the center of life, always have been, always will be. I can’t imagine how else it would be. This time, next year, I’ll be laying in some disgusting dorm room bed attempting to get over my homesickness, maybe gaining a lot of weight, maybe pulling all nighters in some library somewhere, wishing that I could have my old life back.

One of my pet peeves is when American kids glorify the process of growing up, yearning for the freedom that not living under your parents’ roof brings. And then three months later they come crawling back, with bags of dirty laundry in tow, a hangover pounding at their temples, a car full of Sonic drink cups, new understanding of stomach pumps, and a heavy sense of homesickness that won’t go away until they move into a house they can finally call their home again. I’m certainly not afraid to admit that my home is wherever my parents are, and that I’ll be lost without them for a good length of time.

But as all humans do, we learn to adapt. Years from now, I’ll look back on my life before graduation and the memories will be faded, like old photographs left for too long in the sun, maybe even stained with a few tears and ripped in places where I wasn’t careful enough with them. They’ll sit in a forgotten box, along with remembrances of the people I once knew, the music I once listened to, and the things I once accomplished. But they’ll be there nonetheless, and the painful moments will hurt a little less, and the joyful moments will feel a little less jubilant.

It’s important to capture what’s happening right now, the warmth of the sunny September day on my skin, the dogs barking in the distance at a stray child on a tricycle, the temperamental wind blowing my hair into helpless disarray, the smell of yet another suburban barbecue party down the street, and the endless depth of the blue, blue sky, and try to hold on the memories of times gone past.

Cheers to good times that we had, cheers to the nostalgia we’ll have in the future,
Linda

Why Do You Wear So Much Purple?

Ah, one of the most iconic moments in Gossip Girl history… Chuck Bass’s father had just died, and Chuck was currently indulging in a downward spiral. He, much to our astonishment, seemed to miss his father, despite the neglect the mogul had foisted upon Chuck from the moment he was born. Chuck even made an effort to dress as much like his father as possible, blue dress shirt, red tie and all, for the reading of his father’s will. And Chuck, when asked whether he knew of the contents of the letter his father had written him before he died at said will reading:

“I think I can guess. ‘You’re a disappointment of a son, I’d die of embarrassment if I wasn’t already. Why do you wear so much purple?'”

While we can laugh about Chuck’s sometimes amusing, sometimes appropriate propensity for violet couture, we can all relate to the sense of self-deprecation he feels when he refers to his father’s mostly absent approval. Humor is in this scene, but it’s of the kind that makes us smile sadly on the outside and sympathize with Chuck on the inside.

Or maybe I just feel this way because I feel the same way every time I supposedly disappoint my parents. Every time I perform below their standards, every time I tarnish their reputation, every time I say something that they feel is off-color. Notice the common factor in all of these situations? It’s them. Their thoughts, their methods, their standards. I have let this false sense of obligation and propriety dictate my actions for much of my life, and it’s probably too late to break free from my responsibility and dependence to them.

I’ve wasted tears and effort on fulfilling their wishes, and I haven’t stopped and thought about what makes me happy at all. Chuck, on the TV show, spends a lot of time filled with regret that his father never loved him, and tries hard (in some cases at least) to make him happy/love him, but it ends up a hopeless mission, because of some conditions he could not control. He spent needless hours agonizing over a decision that ultimately determined nothing but whether his father spends five minutes or ten minutes of his precious time dictating his son’s well-being.

Perhaps Chuck isn’t so different from us after all, despite him living in a hotel on the Upper East Side of NYC and having a lot of parties and sex. His very human interactions with his father helps us all realize that living life isn’t about pandering to authority figures, or about fulfilling legacies too heavy to shoulder. It’s about figuring it all out for yourself. Happy or not, married or not, rich or not, it doesn’t matter at all when the puzzle pieces fall into place and your life, not theirs, begins to form.

I’m young yet, a teenager, and a positive sapling in many people’s minds, but a lot of adults, most of them, in fact, have forgotten what it feels like to face the unknown with nobody but yourself for company. They’ve become jaded and forgetful of the trials and tribulations of teenagers. This is my pet peeve, and I reserve my greatest contempt for these people. These are the people that become the Bart Basses of the world, the ones that neglect their sons and daughters and force their standards on their offspring, and don’t even have the good grace to love them.

Bitter as I am, even I can appreciate the moment at the end of the episode when Chuck shucks his red silk tie and blue shirt, and casts them away from him, in a symbolic gesture of release. I wish I can do the same, but it’ll be a while yet. In the meantime, save yourselves, kids! Don’t be like Chuck Bass!

You know you love me… Oh, forget it.

Knighthood is a Zero-sum Game

World Cup + Debate Camp = Clusterf*ck

Debate camp is the very worst place in the entire universe to watch the World Cup. Like actually the very worst. Debate camp, by itself, is already pretty messed up. Then you add soccer (oh, I’m sorry, football) to the mix, and things get really fecking strange. Not that debaters aren’t strange enough in the first place? But debaters, wimpy and pale and unathletic as they are, seem to really enjoy watching soccer (football) for some unknown reason. I mean, it’s not as if they can actually play it without pulling every muscle in their pale and undertoned bodies. But I digress. Debaters really, really enjoy soccer.

They enjoy it so much they play it in the dorms and call it “dormball” and injure themselves in pursuit of a “goal”. And rip their pants. And scrape up their knees. And get thrown into fences. These things actually happened.

And I suppose we did well enough at the camp tournament. But debate camp is not really about debate at all. No matter how nerdy or how antisocial you are, if you think you can find social refuge at debate camp, you’d be sorely mistaken. Even though debaters are often at the bottom of the social pecking order, there are ingroups and outgroups nonetheless. And they’re mostly not based on debate skill, either. Cool debate kids exist, but only really within the confines of debate camp, because outside of debate camp, debate kids get lumped together, into one uncool blob.

And since I like to make lists a lot, I’m going to make a list of things I learned while at debate camp.

    https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/6CHs4x2uqcQ&source=uds

  1. No matter how good at debate you are, you are worse at debate than Patrick Kennedy
  2. Patrick Kennedy is the frattiest smart guy you will ever meet
  3. Not all Asians are good at ping pong
  4. Don’t sit right next to a debater giving a speech because you will actually get drenched in spit
  5. Bring your own laptop stand. Otherwise you’ll be stuck using the trash can/recycling bin
  6. Eating ice cream for lunch is only a good idea if the ice cream is not from a university dining hall
  7. Don’t drop your laptop on the ground
  8. Team Robot is the only team. Humans are inferior. Robots will rule the world. Empathy is overrated
  9. You WILL lose at least three things at camp, and one of those things will be actually important. You’re lucky if those three things are rounds
  10. If your lab likes Kanye, run very fast very far away
  11. Best show to watch at camp is probably either Big Brother or Gossip Girl, no other competition
  12. Good Morning

Knighthood is a zero-sum game: the poor little knight who’s now stuck cowering in a corner in his underwear will be restored. that’s how it works, right?”

Activsm Dickishness

Everybody is freaking out nowadays over how to seem more compassionate about the human race as a whole, and “underprivileged” people in particular. It doesn’t even matter if you’re doing it to pad your college resume or whatever, or to make yourself feel as if you’re actually doing something with your life. But please, please, PLEASE, don’t come up to me and tell me that you’re doing this to “make a positive change”. Excuse me while I puke in that fake plant over there.
But all joking aside, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s activism dickishness. Specifically, taking an arbitrary cause and utilizing it to make yourself/your resume look better than it actually is. Take Michelle Obama’s Bring Back Our Girls Movement. If you want more information on the Bring Back Our Girls movement, check out the State Department’s *fantastic* press release about the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls.

http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2014/226221.htm

Some of our classmates decided to hold a “rally” (I’ll use quotation marks a lot to showcase my appropriate use of sarcasm) to “draw attention” to the issue. There are a few problems with this. List, here we go.

    Really though this is sick

  1. The whole point of a protest is to draw an authority figure’s attention to a problem that exists in the status quo. Since MICHELLE OBAMA, ONE OF THE AFOREMENTIONED AUTHORITY FIGURES, is running this entire movement, authority figures in the US clearly already know about the issue, entirely destroying the point
  2. The authority figure in Nigeria, where this whole problem is going on, is not going to hear about a small high school in Kansas that held a “rally” to “draw attention” to the issue, so that whole goal is moot
  3. Even if he does hear about it, Boko Haram sure ain’t gonna listen to him, even when he uses his weak ass “executive powers” to try and get the girls back
  4. In fact, the Nigerian government JUST REJECTED AN OFFER TO EXCHANGE BOKO HARAM PRISONERS FOR THE 276 MISSING GIRLS (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/us-nigeria-girls-prisoners-idUSBREA4D0NV20140514). This is important, folks – the authority figures in Nigeria doesn’t even care about this cause. Holding up signs in a high school is not going to help at all to convince him otherwise
  5. The only thing that will fix this situation is money. The only motivation for these people is either power or money, and since they already have the former, only the latter will ever serve as an effective bargaining chip. Why don’t we do like a Kickstarter or petition some millionaires? It would be a better use of our time than making signs
  6. Besides, what’s the solution to the problem? Convincing the president with your paltry protest efforts for the US military to roll in with their tanks and demand with hard/soft power for the radical terror group to let the girls go? What a fantastic idea! While we’re at it, we should also start recolonizing the Congo and expanding our sphere of influence in Afghanistan again! 
  7. Not to mention doing so explicitly violates the UN charter (Article II, look it up) and every nation’s right to sovereignty within their own borders – excellent plan of action, commander!
  8. Also that above picture: ironic/hypocritical/awful or what?

So children, whenever you think about joining a rally or a volunteer organization, ask yourself the motivations of the movement, and also question what that rally/organization is really trying to accomplish, or if it can be effective in achieving its goal. 

Take this advice. Don’t engage in activism dickishness.
Toodles. Volunteer mindfully.

Quickie (Not the Dirty Kind)

A quick update on my life (which I’m sure you’re all on the edges of your seats for):

  1. AP exams are coming up and I’m freaking out because my world WILL IMPLODE if I don’t get 5s on all of them (which is totally a lie but I’m freaking out anyway because I’m Linda and that’s what I do ((that is also a lie)))
  2. Finals are coming up (not that I care, finals are dumb, the only thing that matters is the AP exam, and precalculus is the worst thing that has happened to me)
  3. State swimming is coming up (once again, caring is at a minimum, considering that swimming is literally moving your appendages back and forth to propel your body across a certain body of chlorinated man-made water)
  4. Nationals is coming up (oh by the way, I’m going to the National Speech and Debate Tournament, with four others from our squad – we’re going to party it up in Overland Park!!!!!!! Not really. We literally live 30 minutes away)
  5. Debate camp is in a little more than a month (now that is going to be sooper rad – Gen and I are going to kick some serious ass – shoutout to Gen for being an awesome debate partner and one of the only cool gingers I know and also reminding me that I still had this blog and should probably write something – also for making fun of the majority of my blog posts)
  6. My birthday is in a month (which I’ll be spending at the National Tournament, partying it up in Senate Congressional Debate)
  7. I’m getting a Macbook (EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Gen and I will be that intimidating Mac team with the matchy matchy Macbooks and flamboyantly colored cases ((also I’m Asian)))
  8. SOPHOMORE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER WHAT AM I GOING TO DO COLLEGE IS IN ONLY A FEW YEARS I’M NOT READY TO BE AN ADULT I DON’T WANNA COOK AND CLEAN FOR MYSELF OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
  9. I panic like above only once every week, and then I get over it
  10. I have an obsession with lists now, they’re so organized and stuff!
  11. I also discovered that Soundcloud is totally a thing – a totally flame thing! that I spend too much time on
  12. *Sings Under Pressure*
  13. *Breaks down in tears over stress over the AP exams* 

And with that, I’ll leave you with this: 

nothing

The Worst Titles for Blog Posts are Britney Spears Songs, or Racism

No offense to Britney or anything, but her songs make terrible titles for anything. Like Hit Me Baby One More Time? Sounds like a Twilight fanfiction gone bad. Oh wait… that already happened… it’s called Fifty Shades of Gray.

Damn, am I on fire today…

Sorry. I was going to write about something deep and philosophical, but I forgot all of the wonderful insightful things I was going to enlighten you about. So I’m going to ramble about nothing in particular in hopes of inspiration striking again.

It’s January, brotha, and that means everyone is going to be turbo depressed when we head back into the fray on Monday. The worst thing about this Monday is that it’s a Monday in addition to being the first day back from the doldrums that is winter break. I can barely handle the Monday after Thanksgiving, how am I supposed to handle the Monday after the mind-numbing holidays? And when I say mind-numbing, boy, was it ever. Or maybe I feel that way because I hate life in general?

Is that a question or a statement?

I’m not feeling particularly inspired or anything, so I’m just going to write about stuff. Isn’t that nice? So I was at school the other day, and this guy comes up to me, someone vaguely familiar, and starts talking to me about something inconsequential that I forgot, stuff like grades and classes. I didn’t know who this dude was, and I was sort of panicking like I always do in any kind of awkward social situation, and I was still speechless with indecision.

Then I was all like, “Bro, who the frick frack are you, and why are you talking to me?”
He looks at me and is like, “Oh shit, you’re not *insert name here*, are you?”
And I was like “Uh, no.”
And he’s like “Oh man, all you Asians look alike.”

ALL YOU ASIANS LOOK ALIKE
ALL YOU ASIANS LOOK ALIKE
RACIST ASSHOLE

Seriously. WTF, man, that was low. Lower than low. Low as you can go. I’m going to use this instance as a teaching moment for everyone. Racism is very pervasive in society, people. Even the most educated denizens experience it because we are conditioned by society to believe certain things about certain races. Even something as simple as the appearance of a race can extend to something so much more harmful. I get stereotyped pretty much everyday because I’m Asian. Because I look Chinese. Because I have small eyes.
People tell me to do their homework for them.
People tell me to go back to my homeland.
People tell me I’m a communist.

To them I say…
Absolutely nothing because I’m a coward.
There it is, folks, the everyday plight of the common minority group. It’s not even that rare. It happens all the time. And even I’ve become somewhat desensitized to it. But it’s always there, and it’s not going away.

It’s song time, people! Let’s bust out some Lily Allen! Even though she talks about sexism here, the words of her song still ring true.

With that, I leave you with this Nietzsche quote. Nietzsche is the best kind of close any blog could have.
What are man’s truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors.”