Tag Archives: life

Hey Teen Angst, I Remember You: A Retrospective on Old Journals, Scrapbooks and Laments

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As Kurt Cobain scribbled on the cover of an infamous spiral notebook,

 “If you read, you’ll judge.”

So read and judge away the inner life of young Lillian, ages 14-18, from high school through the first half of freshman year of college.

TRIGGER WARNING: May stir up buried rollercoaster childhood emotions. Also, I am much more self-actualized, more self-possessed a woman now–AKA, much happier on an average basis.

On Typical and Atypical Teenage Self-Hatred:

Age 14 — January 05, 2003 — “I started out shooting high, but now I’m just struggling to survive. I DO NOT WANT A REPEAT OF 8TH GRADE. Does everyone hide it inside better than me?

BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG.

IT’S FUCKING THURSDAY AND I KEEP TELLING MYSELF THAT MAYBE TOMORROW IT WILL HAPPEN, SO I JUST HANG ONTO THAT HOPE AND LIVE DAY BY DAY. BUT I STILL FEEL I SABOTAGED MYSELF IN SOME WAY.”

 “I started out shooting high, but now I’m just struggling to survive.”

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“I don’t know these people. I took their pic at a concert. Guess they are in love with each other and with punk rock!” – Anonymous

Age 14 — May 04, 2003 — “If I could do whatever the hell I wanted, I would write all over the wall until the words bleed out of the corners and onto my hands.”

Age 15 — Sometime in September 2003 — “For anyone who misreads me, disregards me, dismisses me, they don’t know the degree of my self-hatred, of my horror and even pain at seeing myself in pictures from the past. So leave me alone if I want to look like somebody else. I’ll never survive [in high school]. The intensity of my self-disgust is misplaced Why can’t I have pale skin? Why can’t I just fit into a niche, just like that?

I’ll never survive [in high school].

You know, all it takes to go from a pretense of self-confidence to a lip-curling scum feeling is one image of myself. Who was I? Who are the people I know? I don’t know if everyone’s as cool or shallow as they seem. Maybe I’m worse than the people I felt somehow intimidated by, or looked down upon by [sic].

Maybe nothing really sets me apart. How am I going to make a dent in everyone around me and let them know what I’m about if I never express myself?

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But it doesn’t stop because I feel so un-rooted in my own self-esteem and every affirmative, confident act of mine is mimicked from someone else, who may as well be having similar insecurities.

And in the end, I wrote this just out of a generational state of ennui. Am I really saying something for misfits? Am I being deep because I really want to be?”

On Regret:

Age 16 — Sometime in fall of 2005 — “Life, I have shit you away, I concede. And given our circuitous track record, it seems we may never end this cycle of antagonism unless we willfully decide to partner up.”

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On Journaling…and Bettering Oneself:

Age 18 — Undated, sometime in fall of 2006 — “I have learned that you can’t try to better yourself by “trying” to force a positive trait upon yourself. You have to work with whom you already are. Who I am isn’t that bad. I do enjoy writing deep entries in my journal, entranced by the superficial profundity of my own thoughts . Listening to the sounds they make in my head is very abstractly beautiful and soothing.

My brain makes an empty dum-dum sound…

I like the sheer beauty of writing. It’s my artistic sensibility. Maybe I’m not someone who can live with a structured lifestyle. Maybe order is the walls that encase me in my depression. I need to live with a clear view of all the possibilities in the world shining through at once.”

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On the religion of self-love:

Age 18 — September 07, 2006 — “I put myself first today. That’s what’s important. Feel proud.

I don’t necessarily believe in a God but if I did, I would say He is beaming with approval at my utter and complete self-love right now. I love you, Lillian. Contrary to popular belief, it is not vain to be in love with yourself.

People want a God to love. [sic] Because they’re afraid to love themselves.”

On Predicting One’s Own Breakdowns:

Age 18 — October 20, 2006 —

“Signs of a Breakdown oncoming:

  • When you start looking down on people (for no reason)
  • When you find yourself unable to be on time for anything
  • When you find yourself debating back and forth whether or not he “knows.”

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Exclusive: 2 Months of Online Dating… What I Learned

“So, what are you even doing on OkCupid?” A friend once asked me.

~

“I don’t know.”

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THERE IS A TALL, DIRTY BLONDE DRINK OF AN HAPPY ENDING at the end of this tale–the tale of my brief dip into the world of online dating.

OkCupid(.com) was as pleasantly normal a foray into online dating as to be expected in 2015.

  • No more tacit weirdoes-only policy
  • MUCH better pervert filters
  • Smarter ways of match-making (level-of-desirability-based, Myers-Briggs-esque personality question-based, etc.)

OkCupid turned out to be, well, more than OK. Hahahha. Allow time for pun humor to digest.

BUT… there were plenty of oddities I stumbled upon using this app (the desktop version is so much less cool) which I MUST divulge to you, the world and God–all from my single-at-the-time, young-in-NYC girl perspective.

1. THE “SPAMMERS”

It had not, nor should it ever have, occurred to me that there might have been automated accounts fluttering around on OkCupid. They may not even be spammers, but they sure sound as if they’re operated by robots. Not a whole lot better for a service based around the members’ ability to showcase their personalities (and looks, of course, obviously).

After I got done with the racket of registration forms, personality questions, personal profile write-ups and picture uploads, I was immediately stricken with a “Like” from a cute 26 year-old guy whose profile mentioned he was into “making music, doing photography, and learning Spanish and Japanese.” Just quaint enough to be believably human, not generated by some algorithm. I “Liked” him back within seconds, which, on OkCupid, means that they notify you the moment you guys have made a mutual match. This guy never messaged me. And he wasn’t the only shy lurker:

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SOME “MUTUAL LIKERS” WHO HAVE NEVER MESSAGED ME:

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There is a likely explanation for most of these men not even shooting out a short “Hi”– They’re too shy and/or too passionate about this whole newfangled “women should make the first move” nonsense (I did make the first move with my tall, blonde happy ending, that said).

2. THE PICK-UP LINES

Now, there are the men who actually did message me. In the hundreds in my inbox, most were… non-threatening. Easygoing, relaxed come-ons like “hi, what’s up?” and “you’re beautiful. May I take you out for dinner?” The ones I did take note of were:

CLICHÉ:

These are the truly hackneyed pickup lines you feel bad even mocking. Even though, here we go. One guy ACTUALLY used the oldest line in the book (I swear to God, there have got to be thousands of books on pick-up lines):

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At least he spit it out right. Another guy had similar thoughts, wooing me with, “If you were a triangle, you would be cute.” Struck by a smooooth criminal.

The cheesiest, however, are those who use the happenings of recent or upcoming holidays as icebreakers. At first, I thought it was just human-to-human chitchat. Until it happened with back-to-back messages every time there was so much as a long weekend:

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KINKY:

When I say my experience on OKCupid was happily banal and serial-killer/pervert-free, I meant it. There were no men who seemed in touch with their Hannibal Lecter or John Wayne Gacy side. There WERE plenty, however, who seemed more than comfortable questioning me about my boudoir habits right off the bat. These same men would make me feel safe and at ease discussing our common interests one second (films, public figures, sports, etc.) and flick a switch and ask me, “Do you prefer @#$% or @#$%?” the next. Um, watch out for the sexual Jekyll & Hydes of the Internet, ladies.

AND DOUCHEY:

One message from a guy became emblazoned in my memory forever.

“Let’s say that you were taking me out for sushi. I’m in a rush. How long does it take you to get ready?”

I’m sure lots of people will remark on how reasonable that question is, and within the right context, they would be right. But four things:

1. His default picture was of him at a nightclub, crossing his arms around four girls, each of their faces classily blurred out. Now, sure, display yourself as a fun guy who has friends, but I strenuously doubt his most consistent party buddies were those four specific ladies. Also, if you happened to just like the way you look in that photo, how about a good, old simple crop-out?

2. ME take YOU out? I am more than happy treating my man on a date.  But introducing yourself to a girl by telling her she is arranging and paying for a first date is NOT how you get the girl, fellas.

3. How long would it take me to get ready? In your hypothetical situation? F**KING FOREVER.

4. I’m pretty sure he sends this as an introductory message to “all” the girls.

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Hate to admit it, but a flattering number to any girl

3. THE GUYS I DID DATE:

Of the guys who liked me and, and out of those guys who’ve messaged me, I’ve only actually dated less than a handful. Of those less-than-a-handful men, there were zero crazies, just your standard-issue stage-3 (and 5) clingers, flakes (stood me up; claimed family emergency), and guys with sincerely-busy schedules. Two examples who did not make the cut:

1. One who worked topsy-turvy hours as a television camera operator; Also, he did not understand any references or jokes that weren’t completely literal (he is Jersey-born and raised).

2. One who was WAY too quick to accept my offer to go Dutch on a first date to the movies.. an offer I made in sincerity when he already had his wallet out but took forever finding the cash to pay for both tickets. That wasn’t a deal-breaker but definitely a dampener. Ick.

  • THE DEAL-BREAKER were the many daily texts I received saying really nothing when he knew I was definitely at work. Oh, and his constant need to talk to me on the phone, any time or day. He’s a Millennial like me. We don’t talk on the phone, unless it is with a parent or long-distance friend. Or boyfriend, which he was not even close to being, at least not in my book. Clearly, we were reading from two completely separate chapters.

My biggest revelation from OkCupid.com?

Men get catfished WAY more than women do.

From all the dates I have attended (and from simply chatting with other men who have online-dated), I have learned one thing: Apparently, guys are catfished WAY more frequently than women are. Every guy I’ve met in person looked more or less how they did in their selective profile pics.

According to the men, however, they have hoards of stories about girls showing up looking insanely different than expected. Some only chose to post photos of themselves in professionally made-up instances (weddings and the like) and some simply had gained a tremendous amount of weight (whether in muscle or fat) after those posted photos were taken.

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Catfish, much, ladies?

The WORST catfish story, of course, has nothing to do with looks. My date dished about a young lady who, during wintertime on their first date, had stuffed the fingers of her gloves with her dog’s fur for warmth and offered him use of such gloves. This was the same date on which the girl proudly declared that she uses her cat’s insulin needles to draw her own blood and paint with it on a canvas.

Dog fur in gloves. Paints with own blood using pet insulin needles. Got it.

The same guy who told me this story? My blonde, tall, and handsome drink of hot tea (oh, so punny, I am). One crazy girl’s loss turned out to be my win. He’s Chicagoan by roots, random and morbid in sense of humor, and ambitious and daring enough to simultaneously pursue law and entrepreneurship. He’s also super-loving despite his sardonic shell and disturbing desensitization to horror movies. There is hope for love on the Internet after all, ladies.

Much love,

Lil xx

Cheeseburgers and Sneakers: Getting Out of My Own Way

 #LILGRIPESLIfe

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Courtesy of Carl’s Jr.

WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD, I became obsessed with McDonalds. One problem was that I hated the cheese that came with their burgers. “I’ll just have hamburgers for the rest of my life,” I thought. Except my 9 year-old self had a sneaking suspicion that this meant something far, far worse than me simply eating cheese. A terror steadily crept over me with each subsequent ham–not-cheese–burger order that I placed there: I was growing concerned that I would never recover from this fear of cheese and much. much worse…that something was horribly wrong with me. My fear of cheese was unnatural and unacceptable and would actually lead to my finally being shunned from society one day. I was the one with the problem, was the conclusion to which my 9 year-old self had jumped. From then on, I operated under the assumption that of all the toys in the children factory, I had come off the shelf with an inherent defect.

Skip forward or backward a few years, I was in gym class, changing for the first of several grade-school tennis lessons. All students had been instructed to wear white sneakers. Simple enough, right? Then, I quickly observed that while everyone else’s were traditional white lace-up Nikes, my sneakers were completely lace-less Keds (Who knows if they were actually Keds? I was a kid, for God’s sake–didn’t know where my shoes came from). So, as class progressed, my shoulders sloped further and further downward ’til I was just staring at my feet with the embarrassingly wrong white sneakers my mom had thoughtlessly purchased. Eventually, I made my way back to the locker room, eager to slip out of my white nightmares.

“Cute shoes!” Exclaimed one of my classmates.

“HUH” was my appropriately dumbfounded reply.

“Where did you get them? I really want a pair just like those! I hate these boring ones.”

“Um…WHAT?”

 

Not quite white Keds, but let’s say I feel better about my shoe choices these days…

About 20 years later, some few weeks ago from composing this blog entry, I connected these 2 completely isolated and seemingly insignificant incidents. The fear of cheese meant that I would be a social pariah forever. The non-Nikeness of my gym shoes meant that my whole family had terrible taste in shoes and that we basically couldn’t do anything right. On both occasions, I had jumped from point A to point D, point D being a place of utter and complete self-defeating delusion. Just because something was mine meant that it sucked.

I have always underestimated myself. Not that who I actually am is likely any greater than whom I have underestimated myself to be. I have just always been afraid to be myself, to be an original… Because I live with the constant fear that “myself” has never been and will never be quite good enough.

That’s why I have always attempted to copy what others ate, what others wore, the mannerisms with which they spoke, the facial expressions they have when they experience a particular emotion… Yes, it sounds totally “Single White (Asian?) Female,” but the truth is tragically less salacious–I have simply been afraid to be who I am and own what I own, lace-less sneakers and whatnot.

Well, welcome to the chronicles of the rebuilding of a woman from the ground-up. The Lillian Project, if you will. (Oh yeah, if you don’t like Mindy Kaling and/or “The Mindy Project,” you should just stop reading. And probably stop living)

Endnote: The last time I used a blog for personal reasons was chronicling my deep well of teen angst during HS years on Xanga …You guys remember Xanga. It was BlogSpot before it was Myspace before it was Facebook…before it was Tumblr and WordPress.

CUTE STUFF:

 photo courtesy of http://www.thedomesticgeekblog.com

I hope you stick around, my lovely readers. I promise I’ll try to entertain.

Much love, 

Lil