Swimming through the universe, one light-year at a time.

Swimming through the universe, one light-year at a time.
NCG 4631 "The Whale Galaxy"

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

After Death

We all experience suicidal ideation at one time or another, and in varying degrees of seriousness. If I were to do the deed, I would make it look like an accident, and I would do so without causing a wreckage and putting anyone else in danger. In fact, I have what is in my head, the perfect method. I have researched my method in detail and how the moments leading up to my death would feel, including a few survivor's stories. I chanced upon reading about Near Death Experiences (NDE), mostly those of non-suicides. But I was curious, so I continued browsing. I have read everything from people experiencing what could only be described as "Heaven," and even a few of "Hell," as well as everything in between and more neutral albeit no less impacting stories

In one person's NDE story, God asked him, "What have you learned? Whom have you helped?"
Although I don't believe in "God" as an anthropomorphized being, I tried to ask myself the same questions. But I couldn't answer in full. In fact, they sounded quite tepid and pathetic in my head.

Someone suggested perhaps the reason we are on this earth is to learn how to deal with depression, how to confront our problems and demons no matter how difficult, instead of running away. All I know, is these are the cards I was dealt. And while I may hate myself and my inadequate brain, it is all I have. We all have to make of ourselves and our lives what we can. The truth is no one really knows what happens after death (unless, you believe in a religion that says otherwise), but we have free will while we are alive. It's not your brain chemical imbalance or unfortunate circumstances that make you who are, it is the choices you make despite them. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Discrepancy


I lead a troubled life, inside
due to great discrepancy
in my head
between who I long to be
and who I am.
And the pressure built between temples
has proven to be a friend,
propelling the mind to new heights of comprehension
before pushing it off the edge.
Can I forfeit yet, would that be alright?
The sun that shines so mercurially for me 
will soon set.
The path that was never meant to be tread
will soon end.



Sunday, June 09, 2013

A Paradox with Flies

What can I say? I moved again in Daly City. I admit it was a hasty, almost desperate decision, but now that I am spending my first night in my new room, I don't regret it one bit. It is on the small side, but warm and cozy with a huge window to allow in as much sunlight as possible - a major mood-lifter for me. The view contains BART running in the background and the suburbs of this city that is so close to SF, but not. Below me in sight are the rooftops of other apartment structures, giving me a facetious sense of superior invisibility from prying eyes in lower windows. A good decision, in spite of the financial repercussions.

I need to make better decisions in life, I know. But the truth is I had to get away from my old rental unit. That room, while I had become accustomed to it, was marred with the corpses of flies (literally) which I associated with, even symbolized my growing depression over the last year. Starting with just one or two pesky flies daily that I'd have to swat dead with a rolled up math solutions manual, they grew in numbers, so gradually until I couldn't keep up with killing one before another one would appear. Then one night, in the light of the lamps, they just multiplied like crazy. An entire colony of black, flying maggots swarmed my room. Just like the evolution of this swarming, filthy, blackness inside me.

I can usually beat back despair with a few drops of rationality or optimism. While my blog posts have never been the most uplifting, there are actually few times in my life where I have let it get this bad. The best way I can describe it is like an implosion of self. For so long I had been harboring these worsening self-hating sentiments, it finally reached my core and simmered to the top, manifested as utter desolation and apathy for life. I could not have cared less if I died; in fact, I wanted to. My life was not only completely devoid of meaning, it was taxing. I was so exhausted, all the time, even the smallest actions seemed monumental. I could see myself and my world for what it was worth, and that was nothing. Everything I did or wanted was pointless, just trivial things I tried to pretend held some importance to fill up space before death, but it was immaterial, just like myself. And every day was the same cycle of an attempt against disappointment, failure, chronic fatigue, and emptiness. Every day just a microcosm for an entire lifetime of morose meaninglessness. And that knowledge engulfed me in a strange, black, doom-like supernova.

All that is in the past now, even if I feel that happiness or just "normalcy" is a precarious and elusive state. I got help, and I am getting better. A lifetime is not the same as a single day. It is a process of continuous days of improvement. A process.

And in your eyes I see so much more
than that place you always go back to.
You can pull yourself away from
that face that constantly haunts you.

~Darkest Hour, "(The Light) A Paradox with Flies"

Monday, April 01, 2013

A Scanner Darkly

It is much easier to hate yourself than to love yourself, I've learned. Loving yourself requires work: physical and mental energy, boundary pushing, and constant self-reassurance. Meanwhile, hating oneself is effortless, a simple pessimistic thought is all it takes to slide back into familiar, dark oblivion. Do people enjoy being depressed? I don't think so, but I do know it is something like a safety trap, as unpleasant and painful as it may be to be there, at least it is well-known.

Realizing this I've decided to take proactive measures to alleviate my melancholic condition. A more active routine, with healthier meals, consistent study habits, sleep curfew, and perhaps a mood journal for my sine waves of irrationality. For this past spring break has been bad, really bad. Feelings of irritation, isolation, and night insomnia was a general theme this last week. Although I slept plenty during the day. Things have been getting worse for me, as the need to be alone piqued then fell sharply. How can someone who longs for alone time so fervently, suddenly feel extremely lonely, ugly, worthless, and ashamed? I love being alone, but sometimes it is a form of self-sabotage to escape from an ugly world and my own feelings of self-disgust. The stress of what comes after this rainy spring break has also prevented complete relaxation.

My boyfriend has proven to be a ray of reality in a dismal illusion of self-persecution. At times I want to escape my head; he makes it enjoyable to be there, in the present, with him or just the knowledge of him as part of the reality. He is so kind to me: considerate, caring, sexily intelligent and logical, and facetiously uplifting. He has done wonders for me, and probably does not even realize it.

"Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost perpetually, deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well. A portion of him turns against himself and acts as another person, defeating him from inside. A man inside a man, which is no man at all."
~A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick

Friday, March 01, 2013

SAD Fractals

Cold, foggy days are always difficult to someone of my disposition. I am pretty sure I have S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) even after years of living in SF, I still cannot shake the cold weather blues. Life literally looks more optimistic when the sun is out, and the wind freezes my bones and aspirations. When I was younger I had held such a romantic ideal of the city - now I can't wait to escape to a warmer life.

Beginning my day with a slight argument with a fellow Math Labmate about whether the square root of x squared was the absolute value of x (it absolutely is, by the way, without a fucking doubt), the rest of my day seemed burdened with a realization that the path I am on, with all the mistakes I have made along the way, looks quite daunting and unrealistic. With a GPA and stress tolerance so low, a workload and demand for acute intelligence so high, it seems to me that I am setting myself up for failure. Whereas I used to look forward to tutoring, now it mostly just seems aggravating and time-consuming. And I am already short on time.

In Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, mathematician Ian Malcolm mentioned the concept of fractals:

"There are good records of cotton prices going back more than a hundred years. When you study fluctuations in cotton prices, you find that the graph of price fluctuations in the course of a day looks basically like the graph for a week, which looks basically like the graph for a year, or for ten years. And that's how things are. A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there... And at the end of your life, your whole existence has that same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day."

Lately, the last line has been swarming terrifyingly in my head: Your whole life has the same shape as a single day. And as far as I am concerned, this has been dead on. Nothing that I have ever set out to do has truly been accomplished, not in a single day, a month, or in my lifetime so far.

If I really think about it, I would be perfectly content doing some specialized vocation, massage therapy, or something, and going to community college and just having plenty of time to learn and pursue trivial yet fascinating hobbies. But I don't want my whole life to be one be one big procrastination after the other. Being content with oneself is not the same as being happy with oneself. In many ways, I have no choice but to continue the hopeless path I am on, and slowly change my individual days to somehow shape a life contoured by something other than disappointment and depression.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slave Ship

I grow tired of my bearings
burdened by the very sails which guide this vessel
always in need of direction
but is just a prison in which I bury myself.
And the the aspirations that guard my cell
prevent escape or early leave
from the life which has no meaning,
but to embark upon destinations unreachable
and heated hopes that cannot be quelled.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Set Theory


I feel my life is nothing but an empty set 
that I continuously fill with trivial elements, ephemeral
though they are, still splendid in their disconnectedness.
And I, a mere instrument, to ravel together the segments 
in-between birth and death 
so that they may be perceived as 
though they were of great importance.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Anatomy of a Crush

A crush is not about the other person. A crush is about you. You, and your projected idealizations of what you ultimately find lacking in yourself is what you find so attractive in another person. A way to cover up your own shortcomings, you willfully fantasize of another person who you believe carries these attributes, and the fantasy manifests itself as love, or rather, obsession. Now sometimes, a crush can be a driving force to better oneself in hopes of impressing the one who fulfills this illusory role. More often, however, it is a self-perpetuating instrument of hatred of self. Because the inability of not only the smitten but of the desired to meet unrealistic expectations reinforces one's unchanging state of loneliness and low self-esteem.

A healthy relationship, on the other hand, still contains elements of fantasy in another but aims to have a deeper understanding of the significant other, warts and all, and still find beauty in him or her. At the same time, a certain vulnerability of allowing the other to see the inherent flaws in oneself, and still be desired is what characterizes a good relationship. A relationship is about self-acceptance and improvement. A crush is about self-hatred and denial of reality.

The new guy in my life may not know every pathology of mine yet, but what he has seen he takes in stride and inspires me to become a better version of myself. He cushions my sharp falls with humor and rationality. Similarly, I can tell his unspoken insecurities are soothed by my repeated presence in his life. It's strange for such a callused pessimist as myself to be with someone again, but I must say it is sweetly comforting in the darkness of my everyday troubles.

Quarter-life Crisis

Coming home to Cupertino used to be such a relief from the choking grip of city life. But ever since my mother caved to her depression, now San Francisco has become the welcome break from the suffocating stench of mental illness in my parents' home. As much as I want to spend time with my family, the effects of my mother's breakdown on me is hefty. Depression is an infectious fucker. All I want to do when I feel my mom's lackluster is pull the sheets over my head and sleep all day. Forget school, forget my friends, forget everything I used to know and love about life.

Perhaps the sudden arrival of my quarter-life crisis has also fueled an easy descent into mental instability, but I'm too stubborn to let it handicap my life the way it does my mother's, the way it used to mine. I find myself thinking about how much time I have wasted being down, when all I needed was to have completed a small task to have moved forward. Now I am 25, still 2 years and a semester shy from obtaining a Bachelors. The hell I am going to allow more time to be taken by my or others' pathology.

An important element to any life crisis is fantasy, and mine is no exception. I fantasize about the alter-personality of mine, the one that's sexily intelligent, cunning, attractive and strong. The one that has a Master's degree, a job in teaching mathematics, yet the freedom to steal away on the road on a whim's notice blasting classic rock riffs and wearing a black leather jacket. The one who is in control of her life. The imagination can either drive one to success or blind the same to disassociated failure, and I find it a tender balancing act.


"I hate my illness and I want to control it. This is what I believe to be true: You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining."
~Silver Linings Playbook