onwards, twenty eighteen

what an incredible year it has been.

to those who read this blog: thank you. i am humbled & hope goodness and light is in your life as much as it has been brought to mine.

taking a hiatus from this blog beginning in 2018. this has been such a wonderful outlet for me to express my thoughts.

one day, someone i loved told me that he had lost to the fight he thought he had won. you don’t win or lose this fight, i said. it’s not a zero sum game.

you fight, and you fight, and you fight.

until that fight becomes the dream of happiness that you chase after.

that fight which had threatened our relationship and broken us became the strength we needed for our own selves, years later.

i love you — you know that — and i love you for fighting. you will never, ever lose this fight.

know that there are always others who love you, who care for you, who hear you and want to be there too. i will love you as much as i have learned how to fight anxiety and depression myself.

beginning in twenty eighteen, i hope to help others make mental health and wellness a priority. offline and onwards!


III. kindred spirits


this picture circa 2010 aptly captures our friendship. we’re not terribly photogenic, and we often end up on strange detours like obscure, nudist hot springs in the middle of the mountains instead of picturesque outings that are immaculately recorded onto social media. we’ve had our fights, our ups and downs, and our phases of growing apart; but on the whole, we’ve grown together and closer than ever before.

my two oldest college acquaintances are intelligent, kind, and hard-working girls whom i’m proud to call my best friends. it’s still incredible for me to fathom that we’ve literally grown into women who have achieved some of the dreams we talked about during our late night pillow talk sessions in the dorm room. i used to spend days in their room because i was so afraid of spiders invading my room next door. i honestly don’t remember everything that we did at the age of seventeen, eighteen because so much of our time was consumed idly while drawing up lists of ideal, fictional types and doing Photo Booth shoots. on thursday nights, boys from the neighboring all-boys dorm would come serenade us girls in the courtyard, and on saturdays, we were treated to the amplified concert music at the venue next to us. we went on donut runs at 1 am and sometimes, on the weekends, meandered onto the trails in the surrounding hills.

this picture was taken right at the beginning of our junior year in college, when one of my best friends and i moved into our first “real” apartment. the microwave was awkwardly positioned at the end of a wooden table (which i believe we got off craigslist), and the brightly colored paper plates filled with an odd variety of vegan and Asian food. we weren’t old enough yet to go to fancy bars, sample charcuterie at finer restaurants, or buy our own furniture.

having momentarily been transported back to this lifestyle this past year, it’s been a humbling experience to rediscover my kindred spirits who have truly supported me when it got really hard (or as one of my besties says, when shit hits the fan). i can’t count the number of times i broke down and called one of them in tears, and then ended those calls laughing (chortling, really). when i was at my worst — when i felt my worst, when i thought the worst — they embraced me miles away with open arms and empowered me to work harder. when i had yet another existential meltdown and questioned why i chose to pursue a path, they reminded me of my passion and conviction.

there’s not enough talk out there about the hardships embedded in the process of chasing after one’s dreams, let alone the sheer magnitude of hard work it takes to stay positive and grounded on a daily basis. we value independence, strength, power, and success, yet often we overlook the aspects of dependence, vulnerability, collaboration, and failure that can be necessary to attaining the fruition of those values. there should be more open dialogue about the benefit — in fact, the necessity — of relying on others and asking people for help.

my posts lately may have been more sentimental than usual, but i feel pretty strongly that we should be able to openly share our struggles. showing vulnerability, particularly in today’s political climate, should be a sign of strength and not weakness. i’ve always prided myself on self-sufficiency, but my pride has often blinded me from the virtue of counting on others for support. figuring things out on your own doesn’t make you a better person per se, and having the courage to accept and use that lifeline to another should be commended.

finding kindred spirits who can revive our faith in ourselves is truly a beautiful thing.


II. perspective


lately i’ve been revisiting some of my old entries on marathon training. a few years ago, i trained myself to run a 10k, although i never completed the training due to a back injury. i ended up taking barre and yoga classes regularly until i quit my job, traveled for a bit, and then started school again. since then, i’ve rarely found the time to exercise on a routine basis — there’ve always been events and assignments and readings to do that cut up the day into strange hours that have made it difficult to find a good block of time to escape to the gym, or even to a change of scenery in the city.

getting back on the exercise train has been a challenge. it’s something that i’ve made a priority this summer, recovering and working out everyday. i’ve already recruited workout buddies to do barre and yoga with me in the city, and i wanted to share this on my blog because i’ve received incredible encouragement on my fitness journey in the past. having lived in new york city for almost a year, i’ve prioritized my relationships with the city and my career over my relationship with myself, by investing in exploring a new museum or going to a networking happy hour and putting another hour in the library with a casebook, rather than taking the time to go on a run or pamper myself with a home-cooked meal and marathon of parks & rec.

one of my best friends recently told me this: when we are enveloped in uncertainty during this time of our lives, sometimes the greatest comfort arises in the little things: getting a fantastic 45-minute massage, finding delicious croissants at a neighborhood bakery, or stumbling upon a really great artist. sometimes, in the fast-paced hustle and bustle of figuring out how to be an adult, we forget how to take care of ourselves. we’re taught to chase after passions and to do what we love, but sometimes in the process of doing so, we overlook loving ourselves. a little self-care now and then means tending to our own garden and nurturing ourselves — even if that requires learning how to run and do crow pose again.

wish me luck!

I. fortune cookies


Starting a new project as of today. Each week, I’m going to try to post a picture accompanied with short prose about an event, a passing encounter, or a mood.

Currently the last week of 1L. S and I took a practice exam, and fatigued by the intensive fact pattern, we decided to head over to this Chinese restaurant before returning to the library. It’s the kind of gimmicky establishment adorned with red lanterns at the entrance and ornate gold tablecloth overlaying circular tables spread throughout the spacious (but mostly empty) interior. A tourist trap for the Greenwich Village passerby, or perhaps a pit stop for the drunken crowds swelling in and out of the bars on West 3rd. It’s the kind of place you stumble upon without forethought, because you meandered too far into this area or you forgot to make a reservation at a Yelp-approved venue in the East Village.

It’s the kind of place that gives out golden-orange colored fortune cookies wrapped in plastic that read “Fortune Cookie” with a depiction of the fortune cookie on the front. And when you crack open that fortune cookie, there is a fleeting exhilaration of revealing the unknown contained in that small token of cultural idiosyncrasy — only in America. Then you share the profound wisdom printed onto that thin, white rectangular piece of paper with your friend, and after exchanging the wisdom you’ve gleaned from these valuable documents, you both ponder over the poignancy of its words.

I don’t know if my fortune will ring true. I’m two exams away from finishing this long, challenging year. Perhaps the profound wisdom that this fortune cookie has really taught me is that I can share the fortune with the best companions. After scoffing at our fortune cookies, S and I went back to the library, struggling together over our practice exam and sounding like two crazy girls postulating over criminal law. If I could rewrite that fortune, it’d probably read instead: “You are lucky because you have chosen great companions.”


the existential identity of america

the week i turned twenty-five, my life was rooted in the ordinary. even the existential questions concerning identity, the questions that are supposed to arise when one reaches that quarter-century-mark, didn’t quite faze me. i was mostly preoccupied with figuring out the nebulous rules of bluebooking for my upcoming legal research memo due the day after my birthday, with outlining for final exams, and with pre-empting any further coffee and tea stains on my leather-bound casebooks.

above all, i was assured in my moral values: of empathy, tolerance, respect, kindness, and inclusion. i was confident in this value system and in how i perceived and related to the world.

that was the first week of november. the air was becoming crisp, the leaves had taken on golden-orange and copper hues, and new york was settling into that season of wistful optimism meets nostalgia between autumn and winter.

on election day, november 8, i was barely able to focus in class because i was so excited about the election. i genuinely believed in the possibility of being able to call a woman the elected leader of my country — a woman who had dedicated herself to public service and fought tirelessly for this nation’s ideals. i had, however, become so desensitized to all of the negative and hateful remarks in the media portraying the campaigns over the past several weeks and months that much of my excitement and passion for the election had been diluted. these were personal and hurtful remarks by and against both sides, engulfed in a sea of negativity that i found discomforting. for me, the prospect of  america moving on from the election so that  “normal” life could continue largely overshadowed the prospect of a woman elected to preside over the world’s leading liberal democracy.

at around 4 pm, i met my friend in washington square park to head over to javits center, where hillary’s official election viewing party was held. as law students with pages of reading we had yet to finish, we (or at least i) had contemplated whether we should go to the convention center at all. he persuaded me rather convincingly that we had to see the historic glass ceiling for ourselves, and en route to this architectural and metaphorical feat, i couldn’t help but take in the sights of new york city that night and create an abstraction of my experience at a symbolic level. here i was, i thought, walking past the stone arch at washington square, to riding the subway, to passing the beautifully lit empire state building adjacent to the new yorker sign in the sky, where these symbols represented a progressive world of opportunity and change, and it was in this world, this amazingly beautiful and fast-paced and entrancing world that i was going to witness history.

the security surrounding the periphery of javits center was incredible. i had never seen a political spectacle of that scale, and the number of people, the sheer energy, the helicopters overhead and news trucks at ground, and the NYPD officers and sand trucks in the area astounded me. my excitement and passion for the election were returning and growing by the minute.

after returning home early, with the intention of getting some work done, i proceeded to check the new york times and five thirty eight forecasts while playing CNN’s coverage of the exit votes. that excitement soon turned into anxiety. as the meter showing trump’s chances on the new york times forecast continued to increase, my sense of apprehension rose. the rest of the night is history. somehow, in the middle of the night, the veil of the world i thought i knew had shattered.

i woke up the next day in another world. new york was grey and its clouds were distressed with tears that rained down onto eeringly quiet streets. in a city where the hustle and bustle is accentuated by the purposeful and aggressive rhythm of new yorkers, it almost seemed as if these tears were shed for a broken and divided america.

in hindsight, the question of how the world had appeared to have undergone an utterly cataclsymic  metamorphosis was clear. this year had been a precipice for transformation, one so profound that a revolution was bound to take place. in my own life, i moved to a new city and started a new chapter, while in the rest of america and the world, small events had been taking place all along that solidified the birth of what felt like a deeply traumatic scar. i guess the changes for me and for the world came before we could even rationally perceive them, as we fervently tried to hold onto the vestiges of the past that still remained.

home, for me, is california. in the aftermath of the election, the california i called home had isolated itself in polarizing anti-trump rhetoric. people were furious, upset, and despondent, and some protested by taking over highways to forcibly demonstrate. their fundamental disagreement with the election outcome made evident the intensity and rawness of their fear for their livelihoods under the president-elect. i hurt for those people at home, many of whom i call friends. immigrants, racial minorities, LGBT, and women felt a fear so raw that it shook the very  core of their beings. they denounced the bigotry and hatred exhibited by the president-elect and his campaign as a danger that threatened their existence and safety.

yet as much as i hurt for those back home, i soon realized the day after the election that the isolationist dialogue in california had blinded me from the discussion in the rest of the nation. it took something as simple and profound as talking to my classmates who shared heartfelt personal anecdotes of their family and friends from places they called home, where there were others who were celebrating the outcome because they sincerely believed that the president-elect they voted for through the elaborate democratic process of america’s political system could represent them and address their concerns. whether that entailed his promises on abortion or on jobs, there was something fundamental about the opportunity he represented to these relatives and friends of my classmates.

for a girl from the liberal heart of california, this was a powerful lesson. i saw my newfound friends in law school struggle with the dichotomy between their personal convictions and the political leanings of their loved ones. friends who came to law school out of the dream to reform civil rights and become government prosecutors suddenly found themselves in an alien world where it didn’t seem as feasible to pursue these passions. when we graduate in a trump administration, would we still choose to work in government in the pursuit of justice — whatever that means a few years from now? meanwhile, i saw how the calls for california’s secession and refusal to accept the outcome of the election only further secluded my home from the rest of the world. it was, and still is, a stark and disturbing dichotomy in which the battle lines have been drawn in ways where fellow human beings have become the heroes and villains by a mere measure of political belief.

new york city  — and law school — have taught me that the world is a far bigger place than i had ever envisioned. voicing our opinions and standing up for what we believe in are rights we can and must practice affirmatively.  turning twenty-five, in turn, has handed me a sobering yet empowering realization of the world i live in. with these sacred rights we have, we don’t turn to flee and cower from a confrontation. we fight. we use our rights as tools to work tirelessly for what we believe is the greater good. i know all this sounds incredibly sappy, but it is in times like this year, in which there have been such profound moments of breaking and falling apart, then reflection and healing, that we understand the depths of our passion, vulnerability, and finally — strength.

to another year of learning, growing, and loving.

travel musings

there is something romantic about traveling across a foreign country. when one is suspended in time and space within a vehicle, the landscape beyond the glass windows slowly unfurls itself to the traveler. airplanes and boats impress us with the grandiose beauty of the sky and the sea; cars and trains reveal the vibrant scenes discovered at the ground.


i read once that the journeys we spend traveling from one place to another can in themselves be considered as definitive spaces. this idea intrigued me. we often consider the routes between a certain point A and point B as merely insignificant travel time, a commute towards a destination from an origin that lacks the quality of physical actualization that we attribute to the places to which we are traveling. these places are real. they are concrete entities that we can call a space, populated by the tangible: people, animals, buildings, flora. the process or very act of traveling is too abstract to constitute a space. travel, at its most intrinsic core, is not real.

by conceptualizing travel as a space, however, we can give it significance and an entirely new perspective on our own travel experiences. the hours spent on the subway to work, on a plane to an exotic getaway, or even while walking in transit to meet a friend — all these are spaces, with physical boundaries primarily defined by the fixed path taken to the next place.


travel is perhaps one of the most intimate spaces we can occupy. at the times we travel alone, we have only our own thoughts, and maybe our private interactions with music and the media, to explore in that space.

i’ll be posting more on what i’ve seen and learned while traveling for the past month. 🙂


the bum life

i recently came across these articles regarding the blog writer’s decision to quit her job, and her experience has helped to validate my own.


Two months without a job taught me what I really want from my career

during the first few weeks of unemployment, i was ambitious with how i wanted to structure my time. i thought i had to rigidly discipline myself in crafting new skills and gaining knowledge in areas that i thought i was supposed to pursue, and not necessarily ones in which i found personal meaning. i thought i had to enrich my life and surround myself with people who could push me towards new frontiers, challenge my comfort zone, and encourage different activities.

but what i’ve found is…it’s okay to do only the things i love and with which i feel comfortable. it’s okay to stay within my comfort zone instead of constantly taking spontaneous risks that i don’t intrinsically want to pursue. my happiness, i discovered, centers on stability and staying grounded in the people and activities that naturally lie within my comfort zone. and it’s okay for me to be happy that way, without radically pushing against the limits of familiarity towards new experiences. i learned that it’s okay to be a comfort-seeker, homebody, and a low-energy introvert. it’s okay to spend long stretches of time by myself doing things i enjoy such as reading at cafes and bookstores, exploring random neighborhoods, and going on long hikes alone. it’s more than okay to passionately devote myself to new cooking experiments, listening to music for hours, and painting in a uniquely impressionistic fashion because such activities are not extraneous hobbies, but rather important units of time invested in creative self-expression. these are the things that make me happy, and i shouldn’t have to seek what external conventions deem are required for a twenty-something when i am already conscious of my intrinsic sources of happiness.

i’ve also learned that patience is an essential virtue, particularly during one’s twenties. patience is integral in the development of a relationship, in the timing of particular circumstances as they unfold, and in the slow but inevitable growth of character and understanding of self. patience is also intricately connected with faith, and i’ve begun to see the importance of having faith in and trusting in myself and in others over time. people, relationships, skills, values, and hobbies — all these must be nurtured, not coddled; respected, not threateningly undermined; and gradually cultivated, not aggressively transformed overnight. while some feelings and interests may fleetingly come and go, those passions that are meant to stay, will stay. fortune does not occur out of sheer luck or coincidence; instead it is built upon a foundation of patience, hard work, and trust.

in the the past few weeks, i’ve clearly spent a great deal of time with myself while engaging in an internal monologue that has been both ridiculous and quintessential (such as — how can i achieve a meaningful life? can’t i have another decade between my twenties and thirties to get better at this adulting thing? am i even allowed to postmates anymore while i’m unemployed?). at times, i’ve desperately wanted to get back to work, questioned moving to new york, also questioned going into law, questioned a whole series of life decisions, and generally, cried and had a few too many meltdowns.

being funemployed is hard. it seems like a blast, but suddenly launching yourself into a stage in your life in which you have the complete ability to manage your own time (aside from financial circumstances that may externally affect that capacity) can be overwhelming. self-discovery is a tedious process and making the conscious decision to quit your job in order to actively control that process is as admirable as it is daunting. leaving a job towards uncertainty, especially, can be the equivalent of starting a new career that I’ll sappily entitle “Finding Myself”– in which you are the employer, the employee, the client, and multiple other roles, while overseeing an investment portfolio consisting of assets allocated to achieve the best possible you.

taking the time to evaluate self-growth is necessary and important, but i think the mental and emotional hardships associated with this process are often underplayed. it is no easy task, and certainly it is a continuous process that, ideally, evolves constantly. to all those who have, are, or even may be contemplating taking a break to pursue this process, i commend you and support your endeavors with much respect.