Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Quarter Life Crisis

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher. My mom told me I couldn’t be a teacher because I would be poor. I was horrified, so I resolved to stop romanticizing myself as Ms. Honey (that's a Roald Dahl reference for the noobs) and find another career choice. I thought being a counselor would be awesome because psychology was the only thing that interested me.

In college, one of the requirements for graduation was a civic duty class. We had to find a volunteer job that was related to our field of study that would help us figure out what we wanted to do in the real world while serving the community at the same time. It took me no time to figure out that it was impossible to find a volunteer position at an esteemed institution because the waiting list went around the block like a dirty trick. A couple weeks in, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer for a “possible” call back, so I  sucked it up and signed up for a position at the YMCA in the Tenderloin.

I was initially a tutor in the computer lab. The kids came in after school and were allowed to play online until 4pm, which was when they had to start on their homework. Every week, I came in and sat in my corner and fearfully asked the kids to log off MySpace and pull out their homework, and they always said the same thing – We don’t have homework. Maybe I should have been more assertive, but when you’re in a room full of 13-year-old boys who were twice your size with facial bruises, you just meekly nod in agreement. I complained to my supervisor and he told me that I couldn’t do anything about it, but it was at least better than being on the streets. I quietly continue to baby sit them for a few more weeks before I asked the director to transfer me.

I ended up playing scrabble with grannies who were former prostitutes and immigrants, and it was great! I learned so many new things from them, but honestly, they didn’t need me, and at times I felt that they were trying to entertain me. I went back to the director and told her that I wanted volunteer with the kids in a way that was meaningful, and that’s how I ended up cooking for them.

I was a shit cook, but I’ve seen my Popo cook enough times to know that you could saute anything with onions and garlic and it would be delicious. For the first time the kids acknowledged me and I think one of them even used my real name! And who doesn’t like to hear that my “shit smells and taste hella gooood.” But by then, I only had a couple more weeks left, and when my last day came, I was thrilled that I didn’t have to step foot in there anymore. I realized that I couldn’t make a positive impact in these children’s lives because their basic needs were not being met. Honestly, who cares about homework when you have to worry about where you’re going to sleep that night or where your next meal is going to come from.   

This changed how I felt about my career choice and I knew that I didn’t have the strength or patience to be any kind of a counselor. I quietly graduated and found a job in research pushing paper. I’m 26 now, and still don’t know what to do with my life.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bitch Is Just A Nickname

Our admin group is probably not the friendliest, especially with The Russian who uses her OCD issues as a defense mechanism and T-Rex who hordes and dispenses office supplies according to her personal merit system. I have to admit, I'm not very nice sometimes, especially when assholes come up to me and tell me that I need to buy sugar for coffee IMMEDIATELY or when people call me by the other Asian's name. So it's really no wonder that people have special nicknames for us, but I was surprised to find out that my nickname was The Short One.

There are five women in this department, and all of us are petite, but I am the tallest of the petite! You can argue that I'm over reacting to this issue, and I have to confess that this probably stems from the shame I've felt about my physical underdevelopment in my child, teen, and part of my young adulthood years. Ladies and gents, I didn't lose the baby fat in my face and develop breasts and hips until I was 22. I also experienced a roughly 1.5 inch growth spurt. I'm not a ravishing beauty, but at least you can see that the mosquito bites on my chest vaguely resembles female secondary sex characteristics.

You know the typical rite of passage into adulthood where you got pissed face drunk and slutted around with your cohorts and you finally felt like a man or woman? I didn't do any of that, but when this physical transformation came, it was as if I was finally initiated into this exclusive club! But more than that, it was certainly a relief when the number of men my grandfather's age sexually harassing me dropped to a trickled. So to call me The Short One makes me feel like I'm a 12-year-old boy again, and to castrate me verbally like that makes me butt hurt. On the bright side, I'm not The Angry One or The Old Asian Bitch.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Medicate Me

Based on an informal survey, a couple people (re: co-workers) think I might be depressed, but I honestly don't know because I tend to use my rock bottom moment as my baseline. I'm not on some stranger's rooftop pissed face drunk, so I feel like I'm doing ok. Just to make sure, I decided to get a second opinion. I would ask my closest friend, but she's in Chicago right now. But you know me, I'm just an attention whore and I have no sense of personal boundaries, so I asked my co-workers. Both said yes, maybe. And there there are the several people who have recommended that I start drinking because I was so stressed about work. But I'm not sure because my outlook on life is this: life is shitty and you suffer the majority of the time. Maybe that isn't so healthy? I'm going to call my doctor, but I haven't picked up the phone yet. Is this what being an adult is all about - calling your primary care physician for meds?

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