Fifty Shades of Fun

For some it’s food. For others, maybe a comic book or movie. A dance or a song, etc etc. I’m always reluctant to admit it in front of my smarty-party friends, but the Twilight saga is definitely my biggest guilty pleasure.

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I know the critiques of it are numerous and the compliments are few. Everyone questions what it teaches the youth: that the most important thing in life is being in a relationship. The writing is second-rate, and it probably used about 1/1,000th of the creativity it took to make the Harry Potter series. It’s a cliched love triangle story, and a lack-luster one at that.

But, nevertheless, I love it.

Hey, that’s why they call it a guilty pleasure.
(Fun fact: I named this post after Fifty Shades of Grey, the latest S&M mommy porn novel that originally started as a Twilight fan fiction. Go figure!)

I’ve been on vacation with my family for the past week. The other night we were trying to find something on TV, and lo and behold we stumbled upon Breaking Dawn Part 2. It was the first time I had seen it. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I started swooning. I giggled like a silly school girl and I yearned for affection.

The Twilight saga always takes me back to the time when I first read the series (I believe the summer after 7th grade). Most of my friends were obsessed, and so was I. Admittedly I read the entire first book in a day, and the pattern continued with the rest of the series.

When I first read the series, I had just turned 13. I had never been in a relationship before and I had never felt love for anyone outside of my family. To me, the thought of this illogically perfect relationship with a man that loved you unconditionally for no apparent reason seemed like a dream. I wanted to be wooed and romanced, because I had never experienced that before. Reading it, I felt like I finally knew what passion was. Doing anything to make the other person happy, tying your life to theirs, wanting to twine your souls together for all eternity.

Not gonna lie, I used to stay up wishing I had a vampire watching me from the corner of my room. Swoon swoon.

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“The Proper Reaction”

But really, for someone like me who grew up knowing absolutely nothing about boys, I was pretty obsessed with love stories. This was just the first story I ever read that had sex in it hohoho.

To get personal, the reason I decided to write this post is because a dream of mine is finally coming true. In 3 weeks I’ll be going to the beach with my boyfriend! I’m 18 and Filipino, things like this don’t happen. Ever. But my mom is cooler than other moms and made my dad get over it. Soon I’ll be splashing in the ocean and walking down the beach holding hands with my sugar buns.

Growing up watching love stories and watching shoujo anime with their obligatory beach episodes where the heroine goes to the beach with a group of her friends (including sempai) and a series of events always gets them together in some dreamy ooey gooey romantic way, I never expected I’d ever get to do it too.

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And of course, obligatory anime beach episode watermelon smashing.

I don’t want an unnecessarily and awkwardly perfect relationship like Bella and Edward’s. I love being challenged by my boo. It’s just sometimes it’s nice to unwind with an old fantasy every now and then.

Questioning My Orientation

Not my sexual orientation, my college orientation.

As I’ve said before, I’m going to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (a.k.a. Virginia Tech) in the fall. It’s been the school I’ve wanted to go to since freshman year. It’s big, it’s beautiful, it has the best food system in the state, and it’s famous for its academics and research facilities.

Obviously when I got my acceptance letter I was pretty psyched (which is a pun because I’m a psych(ology) major). I was really excited for the freshman orientation too, getting to know the campus and meet and make new friends.

I thought new student orientation would be fantastic, and get me even more pumped for school in less than a month. But it actually did the opposite.

First of all, I almost threw up on the 4 hour drive there because I get incredibly car sick, so I know that going home and back is gonna be a bitch for the next 4-5 years.

Second, the people were way too preppy. So I have these 2 cousins that I love and adore more than anyone. We’re almost exactly alike personality wise, and we generally have the same tastes in life. For some reason, they don’t like Tech. They never have. They told me that it looked kind of off to them, and that “there’s a certain type of people that go there…” I never understood what they meant, but after orientation, I knew. And I should’ve listened to them.

A sort of mob-mentality was happening all day. There was a lot of cheering, a lot of screaming, a LOT of jumping and clapping and dancing. It was just extremely loud in general. And lord knows I hate loud. Also, for some reason there’s this foolish feud between Tech and the University of Virginia. Everyone at Tech hates UVA for reasons unknown to me, even though the UVA kids couldn’t care less. Even on the Facebook page for my class, 90% of it is UVA bashing, and it’s all very petty and immature and makes everyone seem like assholes. They continuously bring up uvarejects.com, but I acknowledge it as just a joke and believe that we shouldn’t let the action of a few individuals bring us to hate the school as a whole.

In essence, 50% of the day was used doing loud things, 40% bashing UVA, 5% playing games, and 5% actually learning about academics and the school.

Third, there’s such a big focus on sports. Tech is famous for their football (I think). A lot of the day was used to talk about the sports and teams and whatnot. This was of no interest to me, since I have no interest in sports. I’ve never seen a game on TV, never went to a football game in high school, never anything. Going to a school where the sports teams are so famous may not be favorable for my social life. Tech even just opened a new gym, which is a 10 minute walk from the other gym. So now they have 2 gyms. Instead of, you know, putting air conditioning in the dorms so I don’t melt to death every day, hell, let’s have another gym. One is never enough.

Fourth. I was excited because I knew that there were a lot of friendly and preppy people going there (my friends had very good experiences making friends during their orientations). So the entire time, I forced a smile and a handful of pep and put myself out there, to no avail. The other kids looked at me strangely and apathetically no matter how hard I tried to talk to people (and it was very hard and uncomfortable for me) and I still felt like the lonely little loser sitting in a corner during recess with no friends in elementary school. Even worse, I ate dinner by myself that night at a 2 person table. I put my backpack on the other chair and listened to my iPod with a book out so I didn’t look completely lame. I felt humiliated, and completely alone.

Fifth. I knew the campus would be big, but I didn’t know it would be really friggin humongously ginormous. It takes me 20 minutes just to walk from my dorm to my first class on Mondays. I don’t even know where any of the other buildings my classes are. It’s great that they separated the campus by sections (dorm area, food area, general classes area, etc) but it’s still too massive for me. I think I’ll have to leave an hour early every day just to make sure I get to my classes on time. And Tech has this thing called the math emporium. I have to go off campus on my own time to take my math class online, and there are tutors available. This is my worst nightmare. Math is my absolute worst subject, and knowing that I don’t have a professor and that I have to do most of the learning by myself makes me want to throw up.

Sixth. I have no friends going there. I met 2 girls online from the Tech Facebook page, but I don’t really know-know them. I’m terrified that I’ll have to relive the horror of eating by myself all the time. Being an optimistic little trooper, I brought my new card game with me, thinking that I’d make new friends during the day with my chipper attitude and we’d be able to play in the dorms at night. Well, I had no friends. I didn’t even have a roommate because the girl that was supposed to stay with me decided to stay with her parents at the hotel near campus. I should’ve done that with my parents, but nope. I thought I would have friends to stay with. Instead, I was terrified because the hallway was so loud with a mix of voices and laughing and music and partying. There was knocking on the doors and banging and god knows what they were doing. All I know is that it is not a good idea putting boys and girls in the same building unsupervised. I brushed my teeth and called my boyfriend, and he had to stay on the phone talking and cooing me until I fell asleep because I was too scared to be alone. (I instructed him to hang up after 30 minutes of me not replying.) It didn’t help that I forgot my nightlight.

I know it’s not good to make such big judgments about my school after having been there for only a day and a half. This post was pretty much just me letting off some steam. I know I’ll learn where everything is in time. I know I’m a good student. I know I’ll make friends eventually. It’s just absolutely, horrifyingly, paralyzingly terrifying going in blind. The entire time I wished I had just listened to my mom and went to the school near home. I wouldn’t have to worry about the scary dorms, I’d have a big group of my friends still with me (including my boyfriend), I’d have to deal with a smaller campus, and I wouldn’t cost my family endless money on dorms and food.

I’m just terrified. I’m sure everyone feels this way, and I really want to be optimistic about it but I’m just really, really, really scared.

And There Goes the Countdown

I got in a fight with one of my best friends.

It went on for a very long time.

There was a lot of arguing and blaming and cursing (on my part anyways) that I knew from the beginning would be pointless. I partly blame myself for going into the conversation, knowing his position on it the entire time. Never argue the inarguable.

It’s an argument that’s been going on around my group of friends only recently, this summer actually since we’ve all been hanging out more. But that’s not what this post is about.

This summer meant a lot to me. It was a summer where I had freedom: I can drive. I have more friends than I’ve ever had in my entire life. Every day is like a Saturday, and every day is devoted to spending time with my friends before we bid each other farewell as we go off to college at the end of August. Every day has been devoted to kindling friendships and reinforcing bonds, to make sure that no matter where I go, I always remember where I came from. To make sure that no matter what happens or who I meet, I always remember the people that built me up when I thought my life was shit.

Well this friend that I fought with tonight has been with me since the beginning of my transformation from piece of shit to confident young adult. He’s seen my transitions. The good sides and (many) bad faces on my die. He was certainly the last person I ever thought I’d lose this summer, but that appears to be what’s happening.

In the middle of the argument (which happened over a Facebook message thread), I thought, “Hey, why don’t I just leave the thread?” But then I thought, “No, that would just make me lose him. We’re mature, we’re friends, we can talk through this.” Well, lo and behold, he was the one that rage-quit on me. The last person in the whole world that I ever thought had the capacity to do so. But he’s only human.

I’m a bitch. I get violently pissed off very easy. I have an abundance of pride. Well, I put all of that aside and apologized to him. Granted it was gruffy, but I meant it. I never wanted to offend or hurt him. I made an ass of myself and messaged him endlessly, and to no avail. It was like suicide. I went against every natural instinct in my body and apologized — which I never do. And like I said, to no avail.

Then this most recent thought came to mind. “It’s okay, we’re going to college. I’ll never have to see his disrespectful face again.” It’s true. While this is the summer to strengthen friendships, it’s also the perfect summer to end them. If you’re not going to the same school, well that’s that. Even if you are, the campuses are large and there are so many people, it’s a safe bet you won’t run into them if you don’t want to. I comforted myself with this thought. Until the next thought came into my head.

I don’t want to lose him. It’s true that I cling to my friends like a leech on an influenza patient in the medieval period. Sure I can lose him now and probably forget about it 30 years down the road, one marriage, 2 kids, and about 100 patients later. But do I want to?

College is a lot like work. You leave, and you come home. But what are you coming home to? I don’t like to imagine all these reunion lunches and dinners and game days and hangouts without him, but if it wasn’t meant to be then it wasn’t meant to be.

I think the presence of this easy bailout option college provides is poison. It’s an escape, an easy way out. Why face your problems when you can run away from them?

It’s not just him that I’ve considered this for. I’ve considered this for all of my friends. The thought of ANY kind of long-distance relationship terrifies me. I have abandonment issues. Chances are high that my friends are going to colleges where they’ll meet their new friends and best friends and soul mates, but where does that put me? I’ll just be that one face they knew for a short period of time in the long-run of their lives. That person they talk about in stories that begin with “I once had this friend in high school that…” That light that once shone bright, but as they drove pass by it dimmed until there was no more.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that life happens. You win some and you lose some. You love some and you hate some. You’ll meet a lot of people in your life, you’ll touch a lot of their lives and hearts, and you’ll let them touch yours too. But in the end no one knows how long it’ll last. I guess in the end all you can hope for is that you were part of something great while it lasted.

Family Matters

So today I was filling out the “Virginia Tech new student survey” that I’ve been avoiding for like a month. It was some pretty generic stuff, and after the first handful of questions I was just answering automatically. You know, What’s your major, How long do you plan on being in college, What are you most excited for, etc etc…

Then I got to this question:

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Without thinking, I selected the “Starting or raising a family” option. After I answered a few more questions, the answer registered in my mind, and I looked back at the question. Strange, because if my brain wasn’t on autopilot, I know I would’ve picked “Employment”.

So why did I pick that?

All my life, I’ve been raised with these gender roles engraved in my mind. I wash the dishes and my brother vacuums, I polish the tables and furniture and my brother rakes the leaves, so on and so forth. I’ve been raised with this idea that I was meant to be a mom no later than my early 20’s.

I’ve been thinking about the future, but only as far as college, and a potential career. I haven’t thought much else. And the question got me thinking: What am I going to do after 4 years? Am I going to continue my education? If I find the right guy, when is the right age to get married and have kids?

My mom’s plan for my future:

I finish college, and meet my future husband along the way. After graduation I marry him and have kids, then focus on my career after the babies have had time to grow. After I’m settled in work, I consider more kids. I take care of the kids, watch my brother and cousins’ kids. Spend my life devoted to my family.

My future map in my mind:

I finish college. Start working on helping the world become a better place with my successful therapist career. If I’m still with my current boyfriend, we consider getting married. Hopefully I’m married at 24-25. Child at 28. I only want one kid, because money is definitely an object. Around 30 I go back to school for my extra degrees. If I’m up for it, maybe another kid at 32-33 but no later. Raise my kids, spoil them and myself and husband. Live a happy life feeling self-fulfilled with my career and family.

Yes, I want a family. But I also want to work on me and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of my life. Honestly, with the way I was raised and the way I was nurtured in society, I’m not sure which I feel is more important. They’re equally important. Thinking about it, I can’t imagine how all those moms (and dads) balance family and successful careers and education, but props to them. It sounds nearly impossible. I’ll find out in due time.

I think about the future, but not too hard. I’m 18, I’m at the beginning of my life. There’s one quote I remember that goes something like “Destiny doesn’t care about your plans.” In my opinion, everything will work out when it’s supposed to the way it’s supposed to. I know I’m going to do life my way, and in the end I’m sure I’ll find happiness. That’s all I need to know right now.

Nostalgia is the new Orgasm

Well the title may be a bit of an overstatement, but you get the idea.

At least for me anyway, I love reminiscing in the past. Maybe not all the horrible times I try to repress, but the good stuff.

So today I was cleaning out my room and I took out my sketchbook. I’ve had it since freshman year of high school, and now, at the beginning of my next freshman year, it’s finally filled. All 70 pages are filled with some kind of piece of work. That doesn’t sound like much, but it really is. I look at each piece as if it were my child. I see every pencil stroke and think about what I was trying to accomplish with it, and I look at the work as a whole and see if I had accomplished it. I laugh as I remember the inspiration behind every piece and who I had intended to see it. Art has been my salvation for the longest time.

On NickToons, they started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! and Digimon again. These were the shows I grew up with. To me, they are perfect in every way. When I watch them, I think of 9 year old me dreaming of becoming a duelist when I grow up. I think of me staring at my computer trying to find a Digi-Egg somewhere on the internet. It’s great remembering things that happened, but it’s also great thinking about my old dreams.

Honestly, I’ve been pretty disappointed with myself lately. I remember my freshman year of high school being my happiest. I spent all day watching anime, teaching myself how to draw, and learning Japanese. I wore cosplay to school everyday. My classes were easy so I didn’t have to think about them. Life was easy.

In senior year, I barely slept. After school I would hang out with friends, and later in the evening I would do homework until right before school started. Yes, I was starting to act like a “normal” teenager, but it always just felt… off. I’m more fashionable now, and I wear makeup. I have a boyfriend and friends, and I socialize on a regular basis.

In exchange for all that, I barely draw anymore. I haven’t read a manga in almost a year, and whenever I start a new anime it takes almost a year to finish it because it always gets pushed back with other things. I miss wearing my Naruto headbands everywhere. I miss walking around with a purse full of manga and my Yu-Gi-Oh! card deck. I looked like a dork no doubt, but I was happy.

Of course all these changes are just part of becoming an “adult”. I accept it.

I know why I’m feeling this way too. Honestly I’m terrified to leave home in a month and go to college. I’m terrified of all the responsibility and problems that come with it. I miss the times when life was easy and all I had to do was dream.

When I listen to “Shooting Star” by HOME MADE KAZOKU, I feel like a ninja, looking up at the stars waiting for my leader to push the team forward. When I see my YGO deck, I feel like a badass duelist waiting for some punk to come by so I can beat the Star Chips out of him.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to make this post is that I found an old letter from my friend. A birthday card, to be exact.

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Let me explain. I’ve had this one best friend since I was 12. One day we started talking about Yu-Gi-Oh!, and things escalated very quickly. We created characters — Sayaka Nakashima and Natsuki Kimura — and we started writing fan fiction. Except by fan fiction, it was more like one giant re-write with our characters this time. We made it all the way to the beginning of season 3, it was impressive. Well anyways, we wrote our stories in these journals, that we switched back and forth everyday. All I remember about middle school is writing in those journals every night for several hours, and thinking about what to write when I didn’t have them. She’s still the only person I ever talk to about this kind of stuff, but it’s died down considerably over the past couple years.

Every year on my birthday, she gives me a card. She addresses it to “Natsuki” and makes it from “Sayaka”. For some reason, I was taken off guard when I saw it this year. I guess my life had become so “normal” (as in, away from the weeaboo lifestyle) that I had almost lost track of that life. Seeing it brought a smile to my face, and made me start drawing again for the first time in nearly a year.

I know I can never go back to those easy days. There’s never an option to turn back the hands of time. But just because a person changes, it doesn’t mean all of them changes. That’s what allows us to feel the occasional surge of orgasmic nostalgia. Though I look like an average young-adult with a decent social life on the outside, I’ll always be the sugoi little geek running around with YGO cards doing ninja hand signs on the inside.

My Shining Debut

I’m 18!

In the Philippines, when a girl turns 18, she has what’s called a Debut. It’s a lot like the Spanish quinceañera, but instead of 15 it’s celebrated on the 18th birthday.

I have a big, beautiful, baby pink, sort of Victorian style dress, and a second cocktail style sky blue dress. I have a gigantic cake with 5 flavors (coconut, red velvet, chocolate, strawberry, and dulche de leche) in the shape of a castle (kind of, they tried their best). It’s going to take place in the ballroom of a fancy hotel, and all my friends are going to be there. It will be the one night I can truly feel like a princess. (I even have a tiara hehe.)

Part of the tradition is the 18 roses and the 18 candles.

18 Roses
I’m going to dance with 18 of my close male friends. They’ll approach me one by one, present a rose to me, and dance for about half a minute each. My brother first, then my cousins, my uncles, my friends, and lastly my boyfriend. By the end of it I’ll be holding 18 roses (though I’m not quite sure how I’ll be able to waltz with people after like the 8th rose…)

18 Candles
I don’t get to blow out candles on my gigantic cake. 18 of my closest female friends will line up holding these cute little candles and make a small speech (wish) for me, and I blow them out one by one. I hope they say nice things akdjnakjnkjdasd.

Before all of that, I’ll have my father-daughter dance. It’s gonna be awkward because my dad and I are awkward, and I guarantee that we’ll be laughing through the entire thing, but it’ll be fun.

I’m very excited. My mom has been planning this party for 2 years, and as of now it’s in 2 days. My family in the Philippines is poor so not many girls in my family got a Debut, including my mom, so somehow I can feel the joy and excitement and hopes and dreams of all my family on this one night.

This one night that is costing more than most modest-sized weddings. I’ve been pretty stressed about this, mostly because of the money. So I have approximately 150 people coming, and since it’s at a hotel it requires a guest list. Every name on the list costed $50. From this point on, everyone that cancels wasted $50 from my family. So far 2 people have cancelled, and it just makes me really frustrated.

Sometimes I feel like I’m more frustrated than my mom. She’s been pretty stressed, but I’ve been so angry at times that I can feel my pulse throbbing in my neck. BUT, I found a way to calm myself down!

My uncle is the manager of the hotel we’re having the party at. He’s been getting us a lot of free stuff (about $1,000 worth) so every time someone cancels I just think “Oh, well I guess we’re paying for the appetizers.” I don’t know, it just makes me feel less hostile.

Back to a lighter tone.

My whole life, I’ve felt like a reject. The kid that no one wanted to play with, the girl that no boy could ever love, the hideous mistake that doesn’t deserve the breath of life. Now I have lots of friends, a wonderful boyfriend, and a bright future ahead of me after college.

When I was a kid, I was always 100% convinced that I was actually a princess. I’m not sure why though… But yes. I always thought that one day I would wake up in a castle and everyone would want to be with me and I would be absolutely beautiful. On my debut, in my big, gorgeous princess dress, in my sparkly tiara, with all my loved ones watching, I know that I’ll feel like a princess. Somehow, I feel like this day may be bigger than my wedding day.

I may be frustrated now, and I seem stressed all the time, but I’m really excited. I know that no matter what happens, everything will work out alright and it will truly be a night I will always remember.

For one night, I will be a princess, and no person or irksome situation can take that away from me.