What’s really standing in my way.  There’s a lot of things I could blame, but that goes against the Now what, So what  philosophy. If I wanted something to change I gotta make it happen myself. But after I get past, or look past the barrier, what is the next step?

My Dearest Friend

My Dearest Friend,

I feel like the art of letter writing is lost on our generation, and those after us. We grew up amidst a communication revolution, where letters and phone calls were replaced with instant messages and now 5 second pictures. But I think there is something quite profound and perhaps romantic about saying everything you need to say without editing yourself for, or in anticipation of, your interlocutor’s response. And then in turn responding to that complete thought, without interjection or distraction. In real-time conversations, and now in instant messages, it seems we often get so caught up with what we ourselves want to say that we forget to listen. Of course both forms of communication have their merits and their flaws, but I thought I would take a second to advocate for a forgotten art. I would love to know you thoughts dear friend, and did you receive the tuna casserole I sent you? I hope it’s still good.


Your Dearest Friend


Genuine People

I feel like that phrase is a little redundant. This statement is not quite as optimist as it sounds though. I think often times we say genuine person when we mean nice person. And the argument I want to make is that it is almost impossible not to be a genuine person. A deceitful person is being their “true self” by being deceitful whether or not other people know it.

Every action and every choice we make is based off our own experience, our own values, our own will, including how we choose to present ourselves. Some of our choices may be “out of character” at times, but even the things we regret had a rational behind it at the time (and whether or not something was learned says a lot).

If someone shows (not tells) you who they really are, listen.


Who am I trying to impress? Friends? Family? Females? Myself? I’m not quite sure. And why am I trying to impress them. It’s a purely selfish thing. Trying to impress someone is often just trying to influence the way you are perceived by others.

It’s almost seems like the overindulgence of that good feeling you get from helping other people. You try to demonstrate your worth so you can feel good about yourself; the actions can be good, but the intentions selfish. Is it “wrong” to feel that way, I can’t say, though I guess it shouldn’t be in some cases. Is it wrong to find self-worth in helping other people, in being of service? That being said, the total of my self should not dependent on the actual opinions of others.

I’m gonna try to be less impressive.

Turn Up

No I’m not talking about partying. I was just watching a TED talk about a guy who followed his dream of being a professional wrestler by deciding to turn up the aspects of himself that he identified strongly with.

We are all special in our own way and yet no one is more “special” than anyone else. That doesn’t mean we are all the same person, nor should we act like it. So the question is how do we turn up what makes us special individually without losing sight of what’s truly important (e.g. connection).

Though turning up requires nuance because if not carefully managed, intensifying certain aspects of yourself can be obnoxious. Not coming off like you are something special is a big part of it I think. Be humble, and not just on the surface.

This is something I struggle with constantly. I’ve had problems with feelings of inadequacy which has made me a bit defensive about the things that I consider myself to be good at. Having genuine aspirations of becoming a physician may also have left somethings to be desired in terms of “nuance”. I could blame a lot of things for being the cause of my vices, but what’s the point? Especially if I can do something about them. Focus is key. But anyways, that’s kinda beside the point.

I want to turn up my curiosity, my creativity, my compassion, and my humor (I’m super funny trust me).

What are some things you’d like to turn up about yourself?

Sweet Dreams

I feel like I’ve been dreaming a lot more lately, which is nice. I like dreaming. I don’t feel as regularly tired as I used to. Maybe modern education is bad for our health; sleep is very important. Sleep is a very stupid thing to do in nature. You are extremely vulnerable (yes in this case physically) as you sleep, so if it wasn’t extremely important, we would not have evolved to do it. It’s getting late, good night.


If I started a YouTube channel, the first video I would make is about insecurities, in particular my own. No one thinks about our own insecurities more than ourselves. And I think part of the reason why is because talking about them is kind of taboo. I don’t want to burden others with my problems…at least that’s what I’ll often tell myself. But the issue is not about other people, it’s about ourselves. I think the real reason we don’t like to talk about them is because it makes us vulnerable. We are scared to share certain parts about ourselves because we are unsure about how people will react. And social media has only worked to perpetuate this problem. Because God forbid I post something that deviates from the carefully crafted persona I have created for myself online and in-person.

Why is this such a scary thought? Why is vulnerability so scary?

Before we get there I am going to be “that guy” just because I think its interesting and because I took Latin (Shoutout to Mr. O’Donnell), but the word vulnerable comes from the Latin word vulnus, which means wound, a physical wound. Nowadays the phrase, “letting your guard down” is probably more commonly used in the context of emotional vulnerability rather than physical. So why in heck’s name do we associate our feelings with bodily harm?

When we talk about insecurities or anything personal we allow others to know the weak spots in our mental suit of armor. That knowledge could fall into the wrong hands and we could get seriously injured…emotionally. And we all know having emotions mean you are weak. Having emotions means that we are irrational and unstable…so better not risk it.

At least that’s one way to think. But we all have insecurities, we all have emotions, we are all human. So why not celebrate or at least be open about them? We all think we have it worse than the next guy, but the thing is he thinking the same thing.

We our often so focused on ourselves that we don’t even think about what other people may be feeling.

I’m a big believer in the idea that once you get something off your chest and out in the open, you worry and stress about it much less (I’m a believer through experience). So if we allow ourselves to air our insecurities we may just start to think little less about ourselves, giving us more room to build some empathy.

Of course there are certain details about ourselves that are need-to-know only or that would be considered TMI, but in the case of insecurities I think that if you ever find yourself at a place (not necessarily physically) where you have the compulsion and the ability to share it, I encourage you to do so.

We tell ourselves that the easy thing to do is to “be strong,” to suppress those insecurities and bottle them up tightly…but when has that ever turned out well for the bottle?

Past is Past

Sometimes I think back on how I could have done things better, but this is useless when it gets to the point of regret. Whenever people ask me if I regret anything or if I would have done anything different, particularly with respect to college, I usually say no. First of all (no meme intended) I can do nothing to change it now so what would the point be in wanting to change anything. Second, even if I could I don’t know if I would. The person I am today was created from all my past experiences, pangs and pleasures alike. From each experience there was something to learn, and if I didn’t learn it then I would learn it eventually.

One big one I’ve thought about lately has been my prep for MD school. Should I have started volunteering and shadowing and prepping, etc. earlier? Should I have applied last year? Maybe…but maybe not. I think about the time I am “wasting” by not having applied, but is it really wasted? I get more time to develop myself, not as a professional, but as a person. I really get to invest myself in my current occupations.

I was at a meeting earlier tonight for the new place I will be volunteering. The guy sitting next to me kinda looked miserable to be there. Same went for a couple of the girls sitting by me. It’s understandable, it was late, but I was pretty stoked to be there and was excited to start working. They looked unenthused, and all I could think about was how thankful I was not to have class the next day and not to have tests and papers looming over my head so that I could fully and properly participate.

So at this point, I’m happy where I’m at.

The Mirrorbox

There’s an exhibit where I work called the Mirrorbox. It’s creator calls it an empathy machine of sorts. Basically, how it works is you and a partner stick your heads into this black pea-pod-cocoon-looking thing and stare at each other. When the Mirrorbox is turned on the light inside turn on and begin to cycle in such a way that it blends your faces together. Sometimes it’s half your’s have their’s, sometimes it’s a mix of both, sometimes it’s just you. Through this “experience” you are made to recognize the other’s common humanity essentially. The whole thing is a very intimate experience; being vulnerable in that small space, without saying a word, changes how you think about the other, or other’s in general. It is about as close as you can get to climbing into another person’s skin without being a sci-fi monster.

It’s honestly all feels quite serendipitous that this exhibit is showing up at the museum at the same time that I am reading The Book of Joy, in which one of the primary themes is recognizing one’s own common humanity with the world, at the same time that I will be starting as a Companion Care volunteer, where I will be interacting with and advocating for the homeless and underserved on a regular basis.

I could be reading into it too much, as I do, but I don’t, something just feels really right.

His Collar is Always Up

His collar is always up, but not on purpose, like a detective who is posing as post-middle-aged Asian man who whipped his coat off the hanger on the way out of the house after making sure the all the lights are off and the doors are locked, and he plays the role well. He’s extremely practical, if not impractically so. He’ll literally go the extra mile to park in the one spot where he can plug in his baby blue Prius and walk that mile to where he is going; we still had seven miles on the battery.

He begins flushing the toilet before he finishes peeing in our small floral-wallpapered bathroom to save time because he knows you have to hold down the lever for at least five seconds for a full flush.

He taught me that if you can build it, don’t buy it, and if you have one, but don’t need it…you will (though often by that time you need to buy a new one anyway).

His mom called him lazy; my mom calls him crazy; but I call him Dad, and he dresses exactly as you would expect him to.