Ambiguity.

How I feel about work right now. (via Tumblr)

Right now, I really should be writing my term paper or one of the many papers I have lined up for the rest of the semester. Instead, I’ve become fully invested in finishing Scandal and skimming the internet for further distractions (I really should be diving more into Margaret Fuller’s life). While researching distractions, I discovered that John Green has a Tumblr blog for every book he’s written.

On these blogs, he answers commonly asked questions by readers and gives the best response he can. There has been an a word that has stuck with me for the past couple days and I can’t seem to get it out of my head in the minutes before I sleep, in the moments when I’m walking home.

Ambiguity. It’s as simple and complicated as that. Green writes that “Finding a way to live with that ambiguity matters” and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that thought. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with being organized. Not organized in a way where my clothes are all put away and the dishes are all done. There’s a black planner that I’ve been using to try and plan out my days, keep track of when things are due and what I need to do.

Every week, I make a list of “things I need to do this week” and I follow it. I’m trying to lay out the steps to ensure that I have things together for the next week, next month, next summer. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life where I’ve worked so hard towards something. What is this something you may ask, well I’m still figuring that out.

That’s where the ambiguity seems to lay. There are only so many plans one can layout and even with that, things go wrong and plans change. The other thing is that the past is scattered with ambiguity. Sometimes, I think about what would have happened if I made different choices, if I had done the right thing (does anyone really ever do the right thing?). I don’t think anyone really enjoys living with ambiguity. I certainly don’t.

Yet, here I am, clearly living with ambiguity. So, I’ve been thinking about how the hell do I get around this? I want to say that the way to get around it is to plan things out. But, deep down I know that’s not how it works.

Maybe the best way to get around this is to accept that it happens, that ambiguity exists. It is unavoidable. I believe that every person wants to think they are a good person. We inherently want to make the right decisions, the good decisions. Whether that is true or if it really happens is a different story.

I’ve made plenty of bad decisions in my life, some that I regret more than others. There are questions I still have that I know cannot and will not be answered. It’s unfair, but to who? It’s unfair to me because I know I deserve answers, but I think it’s more unfair that I’m allowing myself to be swallowed by ambiguity. Ambiguity exists to prove that answers will not always be given just because you want them, or even if you need them.

I will not always make good decisions or get all the answers I want or have life planned out. I shouldn’t. We need ambiguity to remind ourselves that answers are not always the key to happiness.

Bloody Hell and Best Wishes,

Robin

Uncomfortable.

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I am convinced that there is no place prettier in the fall than New England. Last weekend, I took a solo trip to New York City and though I fell asleep for most of the bus ride, I woke up in time to catch a glimpse of the leaves changing color. The colors came in flashes and the trees seem endless along the highway.

This wasn’t a trip I took because I had pressing business in New York, it was a trip I took because I felt like I needed it. As much as I love being in Boston, after knowing it for so long, it seems small and too familiar. I began to realize that I miss going to new places, where I felt uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable, like wearing an itchy turtleneck. Uncomfortable, like trying a new place to eat without reading all the Yelp reviews.

I felt trapped by comfort, going to the same restaurants and walking down the same roads. I’ve gotten into this routine of bouncing back and forth between places I know without really branching off into anything new. Going to New York by myself was a little taste of new. Its not like I’ve never been before or didn’t know anyone there, it’s just a city I haven’t known for long enough to be at ease navigating the streets by myself without Google maps.

Next semester, I’ll be diving into a place that is completely different. A place that I’ve never been before, I know no one at and have only seen through the internet. Living in London will be more than just something I can cross off my bucket list or tell my future kids about. I’ve realized that I’m the sort of person that wants to go to a new place, become at ease with life and than yanked out to go somewhere new. I often find myself wanting to be uncomfortable, but not being brave enough to put myself in the situation.

Well, I’ve put myself in that situation now. Part of me fears leaving behind a life that I’ve known so well. I know that when I come back, things will not be the same. Unlike other groups of friends, me and my friends have all decided to study abroad during different semesters (as you can see, we like challenges). I know that this will probably be the last semester that I get with all the people I care about. The last time we can be semi-carefree before our diplomas are given and we’re stuck at a nine to five job (that is if we’re lucky enough to find one).

That’s the scary thing about being in your twenties. Everything is changing so quickly and sometimes it always feels like you’re a step behind. Yet, when you’re trying to catch up, you simply miss out on the things in front of you. Has anyone ever won this war?

Well, I guess those who survived to their 30s must of figured it out.

Bloody hell and best wishes,

Robin

Stories.

Basically me trying write decent publishable articles.

Stories are the backbone of my world. I hear them, I tell them, I write them. This summer I had my first big girl, real world job aka an unpaid internship (does a transportation stipend count?). Despite what I had seen in movies, there were no coffee runs or hours spent sitting by the copy machine. Instead, I dove into research and reporting with a fierceness I had never known could exist within me.

I would be lying if I told you that every minute was exciting. In reality, it was just a lot of waiting, leaving voicemails and learning how to type the right string of words into the Google search bar. The place I worked at had a small staff and the publisher brought in the most delicious cookies I had ever tasted on a weekly basis. Soon enough, I felt like I was part of a weird little family, which most people would find comforting. However, because I’m a worrier, I began to panic that I wasn’t producing material that was nearly as good as it should be. I was afraid I wasn’t telling the right story.

I think that a journalist’s worst fear is that they aren’t presenting their stories in the best light (and also an empty coffee pot) possible. People trust us to write the truth and more. Anyone can tell facts, but not everyone can spell them out with sincerity and motivate an audience to take action. Journalists want to write stories that capture the world, that change minds, that not only gives answers but asks questions (at least I would like to). The stories I had written before were read at most by my professors and friends and maybe the occasional college student. Never before had I really had a platform to write big stories read by hundreds if not thousands of people. And these weren’t just people who read my article by accident, these were people who wanted to read my story on purpose.

This audience put a whole new weight to my stories and changed the way I saw myself as a storyteller. I wasn’t producing pieces in a 48 hour time period, instead I was taking weeks to craft a near to perfect piece. Information trickled in drop by drop and my stories evolved with every bit of new information, making me both frustrated and overjoyed as I learned how to be patient and persistence with my work.

If there was one lesson that I took out of this summer, it was said best by one of my coworkers. Not everyone is going to  (or wants to) write for the New York Times, but no matter what, if you have passion for what you write, a good story will come about and everyone loves a good story. This stuck with me because as a student, you hear all these big company names thrown around and in reality the chances are slim to land those positions. In the end, the most important thing is that I write stories that are honest, passionate and inspiring to my audience whether it be 10 people or a million.

 

Bloody hell and best wishes,

Robin

 

Plums.

Trees and airplanes were the only things you could see; twas a good 12 years.

Trees and airplanes were the only things you could see; twas a good 12 years.

When I was six, my parents decided that it would be a good idea to let me pick what color to paint my bedroom in our new house. I went with a bright pink, and for the next 12 years, I grew up encased in a pink prison. Okay, a little dramatic to call it a prison, but I soon realized in my early teens that I absolutely despised the color. Instead of changing the color, I plastered posters (mostly of Jeese McCartney and Harry Potter) and pictures everywhere. When you walked into my room, you would be encased by four scrapbook styled walls. I always thought it was nice to have some personalized wallpaper. 

My parents sold the house after I graduated from high school. They had a made an agreement to keep the house until I went to college, that way I could finish my schooling in an environment I was already familiar with. Despite the flaws the house had, I knew it like the back of my hand. Even now, I can hear the thud of the last step on the stairs and the eerie sounds the laundry room made. I carved my named on the wooden structure in my living room when I was sick with the flu, and built 1,000 piece puzzles in the second floor living room to escape the heat and boredom of summer. 

12 years is a long time to live in one place. There were a lot of good firsts that happened in that home. My first kiss, the first nerd herd Christmas party (that’s what my friend group in high school called ourselves, as you can tell we’re super cool), the first time my dad taught me how to play catch, the first time I said “I love you” to a boy, the first time I got ready for a school dance; the list goes on. There are so many fond memories made in that home, ones that I shared with friends and ones that only I will remember.

One of my favorite memories, was picking plums from the plum trees in my backyard. I was excited every year to see when they were ripe enough to be plucked. I used to stand on my tippy toes or jump in hopes to catch as many as I could in my hands. When I got old enough, I would climb the ladder to grab them and eventually we got a fruit picking stick to do the work. I knew that summer was never complete until we had gotten enough plums to feed an army of soldiers (which usually meant my friends). 

I also have a lot of bad memories in that house as well. Big loud arguments, silent crying, rejections, my first real breakup; that house has seen it all. But, then again a home cannot be created with happy memories alone, sad memories need places to thrive as well.

I know childhood homes are meant to be sold and to be missed. Regardless, I still drive by when I can to check out the old place, to make sure it’s in good hands. The people who live there now have finally cleaned out the garage and the broken blinds are now changed. I don’t think my room is pink any longer and they finally fixed the overhead light in the hallway. It isn’t a different house because some lightbulbs were changed, it’s a different house because it is no longer a place I make memories, only a place where my memories are stored. 

I always have this dream, where someday I can buy back that house and make more memories with my future family. I don’t know if that can or will ever happen, but I’ve realized that my childhood home is only a skeleton where my memories live. It was because of the people I spent time with there, the experiences I had, the growing I did that made that home so special. It could of happened anywhere, in any house. 

So, I’ve been making new memories in my new home now. Some are wonderful warm loving ones, and some are hard ones. I’ve lived in the new house for about two years now, and I’m finally starting to see that this house is now a home. 

Bloody hell and best wishes,

Robin

Haircuts.

1997 vs. 2014, can you spot the differences?

1997 vs. 2014, can you spot the differences?

Haircuts seem like quite a silly thing to fear, yet at almost 20 years old, I find that my blood pressure rises significantly when scissors come in contact with my hair. Today, I went into a hair salon for the first time in seven months to change my hairstyle. I’m the sort of person that has a love hate relationship with change. I’ve had the same hair style for about six years now, but I’ve been wanting bangs. Every time I walk in to get a haircut, I chicken out and go back to the same style year after year. However, this is the year for some risk, some chances, and some bravery.

So, following the saying that’s tattooed into my right thigh (just a quick reminder it’s “All adventurous women do.”), I decided it was time to call upon the Gryffindor in me. I made the appointment last night and began Googling things like “side swept bangs” and “Asian girls with side bangs”. To be honest, I was going to back out at the last minute but alas I mustered up some courage and marched in (also I think there was a cancellation fee).

The entire time I was sitting in the chair, making small talk with the young, well-dressed stylist, I was paralyzed by fear. Even the hip Korean songs couldn’t get my mind off pieces of my DNA being chopped off. My heart was racing, I felt queasy and it didn’t help that I’m pretty much blind without my glasses, so my hair just looked like a large black bump.

I watched as chunks of hair fell past me and my mind was consumed by the nightmarish flashbacks to my bowl cut bangs (literally, a bowl was put on my head by my loving mother and hair was trimmed). I felt like I was going into a battlefield, when really it was just hair. It was just hair.

That’s when I realized, that as bad as it could turn out, hair will grow back. It will grow back and everything will be fine. I think that’s what scares people so much about change (myself included). We get comfortable at where we’re at in life, and change is this horrible thing that wrecks our safety net. It’s like having scissors come at your hair when you aren’t ready for it, but then again when will you ever be? What we don’t see is that sometimes it’s not so bad, and maybe we really needed it.

It’s safe to say that my haircut actually turned out pretty well. I’m still trying to get used to stray pieces poking into my eyes and the need to keep bobby pins in a reachable distance. In the end, I learned an important lesson. As scary as change may be, sometimes you’ve just got to take a leap of faith. Everything will turn out fine, and I mean, hair will grow back.

Bloody hell and best wishes,

Robin

Lost.

Getting lost is no new concept for me. Mostly, I get lost in parking garages and dark roads cluttered with frighteningly large trees. But, lately I’ve been feeling lost in other senses. As my twenties are just around the corner, I feel lost more than ever about everything including my career, my relationships, and my sanity.

Let’s start off with my career (or lack of). I’m still a relatively new journalist even if I have been a writer for most of my life. Recently, I found a notebook that was filled with the scribbles of  a 12-year-old Robin. It featured a story of a girl detective and a mystery that was never solved because it was never written. I think about a quarter of the way into it, I told myself I’d come back to it and just never did. I’ve always been the type of person to get lost in new ideas and as a result, other ideas are left unfinished.

I’m realizing that being a journalist means that you can’t leave things unresolved. In fact, you solve things and then you go beyond and find new problems to solve about the same thing. Keeping focus is key and the freedom to be lost without consequences is no longer a privilege that I have. As a writer, my job is to lead readers out of the darkness but how can I, when I am still lost in the woods?

In a sense, I’m feeling this same sort of lost in my relationships. People evolve, situations change, and no one has the perfect formula for how relationships should grow. Sometimes, people fail to change together and as a result, relationships no longer work out. I’ve come to terms with that for a long time now, but it doesn’t make it any easier to have to go through the process of shedding old relationships and starting new ones. I feel lost in the sense that I’m not sure who will stay and who will leave anymore.

Most of all, coming out of this whole debacle, I feel like I’m slowly losing my sanity. From overthinking to over worrying, my sanity is in jeopardy of being flushed away. The only thing that really keeps me afloat is being able to be lost in moments. It’s when I feel lost in moments that I feel this peace surround me. To me, being lost in a moment is forgetting everything else that matters except whatever is in front of you, happening, thriving, living. So rarely are we able to let our minds feel this freedom.

These past couple of months at home have allowed me to experience beautiful, fleeting moments to be lost in. I can safely say being lost in moments may be the best and only way I ever want to feel lost. Alas, life is never that simple (unless you’re a baby or a dog and unfortunately I am neither). I know that I will never stop feeling as if I’m lost in the complex maze of life whether I’m 19 or 99, and I’m coming to terms with it (or at least I’m trying to).

For now, I’ll work on crafting a map out of this maze and enjoy the moments where being lost isn’t so bad.

Bloody hell and best wishes,

Robin

 

June.

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(I could never get tired of a view that involves the Golden Gate Bridge)

It never quite feels like summer is in full gear until June hits. And now that June is coming to a close, I’m realizing that my summer is about half way over. Now I know I said I would write more, I always do. Somehow, some way, life seems to get in the way of it all. I either find that I don’t have the inspiration or the time or both. But, no more excuses. Here are a few words I have about June.

If I had to summarize June in one word, it would be lucky. Every time I’m making my late night drive home, thinking about blog posts, I can only think about how peaceful I feel. I’ve felt so unbelievably lucky to be where I am, surrounded by people who make me feel as if the world is in my hands. They make me laugh so hard I can feel my ribs cracking with joy. They sing with me with the windows down, our words mixing with the wind. They make me feel loved.

On one June night I laid in bed for hours with my best friend just discussing everything and nothing all at the same time. We laughed at how idiotic we sounded and sympathized with one another about the problems only we seemed to understand. On another June day, I saw friends that I hadn’t seen in months as we ate homemade cookies and frozen lasagna. Another June night was spent with games and liquid courage coursing through our veins as christmas lights lit the room with a dull glow.

I’ve never needed too much to be happy. Leave me in a bookstore and I can be content for hours. Strangers holding the door open for me can instantly make my day. June has allowed me to be intoxicated with love and kindness and time with people I don’t see nearly as much as I want to. I am fortunate that even within the chaos of life, I can find a effortless joy in good company.

There’s not much else I want or need to say about June. It’s as simple as this: “I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.”

Bloody hell and best wishes,

Robin