Earlier this year, I deliberately forgoed New Year’s resolutions and goals in general. There was no quarterly planning this time. I briefly thought I’d attempt another quarterly planning session for April through June, though that also got derailed. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. It’s still a bit too early to tell. But! I will say, a lot of unexpected events unfolded this year so far, and it’s not even halfway through the year yet. I’m also glad that I didn’t prematurely converge and commit to goals that I could not see through.
In January, I decided to take one day at a time, and I noticed myself feeling driven to become organized once again. I started decluttering again, and ended up clearing and organizing my space in a way that I hadn’t experienced since… South Korea. xD That was… 2016. I didn’t fully unravel why my life would constantly fold to chaos, clutter, limits, and fears. This was despite me delving so deeply into self-improvement.
The mini world surrounding me had not caught up to my inner reality. And, time did not make the difference. I learned that my trust wounds were repunctured (I actually don’t know if this is an accepted word, but I’m using it!) and reopened, because the people around me were not interested in working on themselves. I was told to “forget the past” or to “let it go”, not because it would help or benefit me, but because it would be a quick solution for them to forget and to excuse their behaviors.
It was only in recent years that I started asserting myself. People will often take advantage of the kind-hearted before they took a look in the mirror and reflect on their own crooked behaviors. And unfortunately, the victims (the abused, the hurt, the suffering) are the ones who have to take responsibility for how other senseless people treated them. It’s worse because when well-intentioned people do mean to help them, they often have no idea of how abuse/trauma can mess up a person and how the cycle doesn’t really end without proper intervention. On the outside, the somewhat unconscious victim– unconscious in a sense that they themself do not know what the root issue is– appears to be problematic or to be self-pitying and such, when in reality their boundaries are constantly being violated and no one is stepping in to call foul and to guide them out of it. (I have a tangent blog post I’d like to write on this as well– the concept that people are quick to point out what’s wrong in others, but who are also unwilling to extend themselves to help those people resolve those issues permanently.)
Despite all the progress I made in Q1 of 2022, I found myself in a situation where 3 steps forward meant 4 steps back. I was deluding myself into think my circumstances were okay, basically tolerating a 0/10 situation, because I had been gaslit to the point where I had mostly ignored my intuition and my own pain (literally and figuratively). Decisions were made on my behalf (and if you’re wondering how or why this could happen to me as an adult, lol, abuse is still tolerated in many parts of the worlds and in many homes, even in the US). Although I started receiving more opportunities to advance my career, my finances, my social life, my relationships, my health, etc… Out of nowhere, BAM! Cumulative resistances and stressors started waving frantically at me, and I got to a point where my intuition cracked and said, “You better effing listen. This situation you’re in? It SUCKS. You’ve already tolerated this for years. This can no longer be your safety net. It was never safe to begin with. You’re stuck on recursion, and if you want to fix this permanently, your whooole focus needs to be on that, and you cannot let anyone gaslight you into thinking anything else is worth your attention right now.”
The first deliberate 90 days of divergent exploration extended to another 5 months. I had finished creating a vision board by the end of January, and it was almost like everything was coming at full speed. Suddenly, health became a pressing issue. It reminded me of my early days of psychosis and even just before it had happened. My extended social support cracked, and some of the ones who remained somewhat surprised me. And although I have ways to go, I am relearning how to stop feeling bad for harsh declines. Some people won’t take no for an answer. Some people are terrible communicators. Some people try to make others responsible for their emotions. Just because other people are used to taking from others all the time, doesn’t mean that me as a natural giver has to put up with that BS. I am human too. I have needs too, and the moment you demand me to prioritize you over myself, you are getting cut off. That sounds simple enough, right?
Well, as I mentioned, this is what I’m relearning. And while the lesson is still fresh in my head, I am doing as much as I can to establish a new environment. People who are used to violating boundaries and getting away it will never work on themselves unless they find a profound reason to do such. So for all of you who are wondering why you’re in this cycle of people using you or abusing you or forcing you to do things their way and then gaslighting you… and you not realizing this until years later? Yeah, imagine if we blamed black Americans for the decades of slavery in this country. You’re literally beating yourself up (or the victim up) for no good reason. Sometimes, and here’s the shocker… you’re not actually the problem. If you’ve been working on yourself for years and you’ve noticed some significant shifts in yourself, start taking inventory on your circumstances. Are the same people who were there 5 years ago still in your life or influencing you in any type of way?
This is also why I started to have a bit of resentment for self-help in general, as it came off almost as preachy as a church sermon. Ironically, self improvement is supposed to be about learning and growing as a person, but some of the people leading the field are also quite narrow-minded and dismissive, as they view those people as engaging in “self-pity” stories. Oh yes, how dare you complain about surface-leveling cyberbullying and advocate for a safe space when you’ve dealt with years of domestic violence and abuse? Get out of here with that unconscious stuff you deal with. Maybe it’s best to admit, you don’t actually understand what the underlying problem is nor how to solve it adequately.
I had to do that with myself (and in regards to making quick judgment calls on others’ situations as well). I didn’t understand why my health was always fluctuating so much, especially compared to my peers. It took me years without much direct outside influence to figure out my struggles with motivation and learning in general. I didn’t realize my emotional needs as a kid that were going unaddressed and further compounding. Adults around me were so busy getting upset with me over throwing away my potential, that they didn’t realize what was actually impeding on my progress. Once in a while, they’d see me acing a course with flying colors, and then they’d wonder why I didn’t “apply myself” to other subjects. Gifted kids don’t become gifted kids on a fluke. If you weren’t curious, then of course you’re going to miss out on the context clues to how they became exceptional in certain ways and why it didn’t happen in other ways.
That might seem like a tangent, maybe? But, then I started connecting all the dots, and tracing them back to the roots. And then, I remembered parts of why I was so angry back when psychosis first happened. Every single time I took a moment to follow my intuition and to progress on the work I was curious about, I was stopped. I was disrupted. I was disturbed. Suddenly, someone else’s fears or expectations were pushed onto me. It’s time for you to get a job. It’s time for you to get married. Go get your MBA. Stay with your parents. Don’t stay with your parents. You can’t do music seriously. Think of your health insurance benefits. Why would you ever bother learning Korean? Focus on passive income, not your passions or interests. I need you to be here for me right now because what I’m experiencing is more important than anything you’ve got going on. I know you’re in pain, but–
And why was I taking everyone else’s fears and expectations so seriously? It cycles back to violation of boundaries and consent in general. No one ASKED me what I wanted. No one entertained my dreams just as a hypothetical, not even for a moment. No one listened to my concerns and then accepted that I was free to make my own decisions. Well, at least no one who mattered. The people who mattered were the people in charge. And, the people in charge were same fools who did not know anything about me as a person and what I was capable of doing for myself. And, the people who took advantage of me and left me to deal with a whole range of problems, never looked back or reflected or thought for a second to apologize or to ask if there was anything they could have done at all.
And that’s why, I said, eff goals. And I decided to focus on experiences. And eff (a lot of) people as well. And I also decided, eff reality, because this is not what I asked for. I did not ask to be stuck in a cycle of abuse and suffering. And I don’t care if people think I’m being dramatic. I didn’t ask them to be involved or to stay updated on my stories. If they want to hear more from me, they’re free to. If not, they’re free not to hear from me. I’d rather be dramatically vocal and get what I need anyway vs. allow people to step all over me, as they have been for many years. (I also cannot wait to share stories and profit off of it. This is also why I support previous victims in “being petty”. Might as well benefit in some way from my years of suffering, hopefully getting some laughs and dollars from it along the way. That is how I hope to alchemize my pain.)
My intuition at the moment… well, honestly, part of it was communicated through the voice I hear as well. I try not to listen too hard to it, because sometimes it is not fully present in reality. But, it kept communicating that I would not be able to fully immerse myself in my work in the way I’d like, unless I moved. Immediately. I tried to reason with it that I still need to continue working. But, then real life circumstances compounded to the point where yeah, I really couldn’t focus on work much. So, I unfortunately had to drop significant requests to collaborate and such. It also became impossible anyway not only because of the interruptions, but because of body pains as well. The only significant activity I’m participating in right now is this singing competition. Otherwise, I’m focusing on moving (high priority), health (habits that compound + thorough analysis), socializing (for sanity reasons), and then anything urgent that pops up along the way.
I’m not trying to personally attack anyone. But dang, I’ve been told way too many times no, and unfortunately NOT just no. I’ve been forced to do things a certain way. I’ve been forced to compromise so many times, when my intuition is clearly shouting, “This is where the opportunity is at! DO NOT IGNORE THIS.”
Remember when I went viral on TikTok? Yeah, no, that didn’t happen. My song went semi-viral by accident. My account had no links to my music and had 0 followers. I was actually in treatment when it happened, and though my song was going around through word-of-mouth and shares, I myself did not have the energy to build upon it and truly capitalize on it. And still, the people around me were telling me to dim my dreams. I keep getting told about what I can or cannot do based on a “failed plan” that I never even had a chance to execute. It’s like I’ve compiled a program for a game, and before anyone can play the game and see how it works, they’re already telling me that the game sucks and that I have to go find a “real job”, whatever “real” means, or as if the work I do is irrelevant or meaningless in comparison.
This quarter turned 5 months turning 6 months of deliberate divergent exploration, I decided, I no longer want to preemptively lock in goals, even if it is slightly based on fear. I came up with a new mantra weeks ago, based on my own values. It is, “I choose love over fear.” In any decision, I choose to love myself vs. give into fear. In any decision, I choose self-love over the love I already extend (and in some cases overextend) to others. I am okay with letting others down. I am okay with giving myself more time. I am okay with choosing my health. I am okay with appearing “selfish”, or “cold”. I am okay with prioritizing my happiness. Because if it were anyone else, I would be understanding, and I would want the best for them. So, why I would I not do that for myself? Although I am not familiar with making these types of decisions, I feel so much better once I do these things. I feel better cutting off unreasonable people or requests. I feel better not giving into toxicity or hardcore hyperproductivity/ambition. This is coming from a former perfectionist gifted kid. I know what I want, what I’m capable of, my strengths… I know myself. And the moment anyone tries to sway me into thinking I “should” do things a different way, I know that they are just scared.
I also am scared, in my own ways. As I mentioned, I have deep trust wounds. But, the last thing I would ever want to do is project those fears onto others. I’d be open about it. I’d be honest about it. But just because I’ve had health issues or have gone through abuse or have struggled with friendships/relationships… that doesn’t mean that other people have had these issues or are dealing with the same scenarios. “Learning from others’ experiences” only goes as far as how relevant it is to your circumstances. You could technically learn from anyone, but what parts are you trying to replicate? I often cringe when employees try to give advice on scaling a business, or when random friends or family try to give advice on music business. Like sweetheart, I know you’re trying to live vicariously through me, but let me handle that. If I’m open to the feedback, I’ll ask. If not, then I don’t want to hear it.
Another thing that happened unexpectedly this quarter… I took a break from social media. I was so sure I’d continue posting daily on TikTok. I even participated in a growth strategy session. Nope. Not happening with the chaotic environment I’m in. Right now, I’m writing this, and part of it is reflective. I’m trying to remind myself, why this is so important to focus on right now, moving. I even wrote it earlier when revamping my blog, that I’d want to look into moving out again in my early 30s. Weeeell, here it is! And, it’s quite urgent and important right now, if I want even more autonomy over my life. It’s kind of depressing that I’m even having to share and spell out, yes, I’d like to continue my path on this creative journey in general, and yes I’d like to have full control over my health/financial decisions. I’m done being scared about being 302’d and being heavily medicated on a drug that I did not consent to. I’m done with staying quiet so I don’t make others feel uncomfortable for stupidly or unconsciously contributing to the greater problem. I’m done with feeding into people’s BS, because others also have porous boundaries and do not speak up when there is an issue.
My intuition has led me to this… stop running away from controversy; learn to embrace it. I’m done with living two separate lives. I’m done trying to appease every single crowd. I’m sorry, but no, I don’t identify as a Christian. I am not religious. I am spiritual as best, but not even. I view stories in the Bible as psychological case studies more than spiritual lessons, and I connect spirituality with psychology more than anything. I don’t understand why prayer (speaking to oneself or to a voice in their head that they assume to be God) is acceptable, but speaking to myself in public is considered insanity. I am not a nice person. I have feelings, and I have boundaries as well. And if you don’t like it, too bad. I have a personal life, but I don’t have to share with you all the details unless I want to. And if you talk behind my back, good, it means you either care or you’re pretending as if you don’t care, but we all know the truth. I have body insecurities like anyone else, and gets me a bit peeved and self-conscious when my own family is pointing it out. I have allowed friends to treat me poorly. I’ve been abused, and according to a quick Google search, I’ve probably experienced moderate to severe abuse in every major category. Yes, even seemingly happy and pleasant people in real life have experienced abuse, and your assumptions won’t change that. No, I don’t know much about Indian culture, because I was born and raised speaking English in the US and did not grow up immersed in the Indian community. Yes, I am skeptical of people, and I have trust issues. Yes, I have a disability, and more than one. No, I don’t want to mentor your daughter for free on how to build a music career on TikTok, when your daughter is still in school and you clearly have finances to support them. I’m still trying to figure out how to cover healthcare expenses long-term, and you clearly have no intention of my well-being or of exchanging any help to me. No, I will not donate to your charity case; I’m my own “charity case”. No, I do not care for your cold calls or unsolicited services. Most of you don’t even know me in person. (This is only the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to write a whole page on this that I can easily link to others; I’d probably label it “Immediately No”, which is a concept some Guild course takers or CGCers may be familiar with!)
Fortunately, I’m learning to tune into my intuition more. There were a few times recently when I almost completely succumbed to fear. I also recently learned about the modes of givers, matchers, and takers, which I wanted to look more into. When I notice myself giving a lot and not getting much return, I pause for a moment to reflect on what is going on. Sometimes, it feels okay, like I’m enjoying creating/sharing, even with no immediate benefits such as money or views. And other times, it’s like I’m investing into a co-creative project, and I’m still waiting on the other person to do their part. I try not to take it personally and to cut my losses there, though I will admit, I still get triggered when someone tries to guilt me or shame me for not giving them more for their own selfish gains. I was not born to be someone else’s compromise or sacrifice. I’m done trying to rescue people when I’m already having a hard time staying afloat myself at times.
My most vital step once I move out is to carve out my social circle/support deliberately. I’m also lucky in this regard, that I know some people who can fill this gap for me. Some are “mentors”, more like friends now. Some are professionals or experts in various fields. These are natural giver types, ones who are not looking for anything particular in return or who do not have any hidden expectations (e.g. immediate results and appreciation). I’m kind of doing away with “matcher” or “taker” types in general, until I learn how to set firm boundaries and what to do when people purposely violate my boundaries anyway. And then once I feel somewhat grounded, I’m okay with engaging with “matcher” types. And then takers? Yeah, they can drop like flies. *shrugs* I really don’t want to deal with those types right now. I already deal with a lot of those in my life, and have been tolerating that for a long time.
I’m guessing that I won’t be able to focus on quarterly planning again for Q3. I think some of these goals are kind of happening organically anyway. I ended up solo traveling for the first time since experiencing psychosis! I ended up finding more opportunities for my line of work. I’m moving soon (and I might be moving out of the Philly area in general early ’23, maybe!). I am performing live, publicly, for the first time ever. I’m connecting with great folks. I’m opening up about my struggles and am not being shamed for it, but am actually being heard and regarded. I even– gasp– considered a digital nomadic lifestyle, again.
Mostly because so many unexpected events happened early this year that helped me tap into the realm of possibilities again, I don’t see myself engaging in more thoughtful or outlined/detailed quarterly planning, not until maaaybe Q4 or 2023. And even then, I might generalize it as opposed to fine details. I usually end up having to pivot anyway, or focusing too hard on completion that I miss out on the experience. So, I’ll probably looking into a planning system that is more focused on overall experiences vs. hardcore yes-or-no goals.
Oh, also, I might be revising my streaming setup idea again. I’ve been leaning into in-person again, which is so nice and lovely. And I’ve been less keen on sitting at home mostly even if I had my own studio or streaming setup… I’ve been leaning more into the mobile setup, possibly with a laptop, though I’m also not focusing too hard on that right now. That’s another thing that I’d like to explore once I move out and am feeling more stable health-wise.
ANYWAY, this is my big update, and it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve also learned earlier in this week that I’m okay to type like this! Though, I am still avoiding social media, until I move at least. I also was kind of curious about a digital detox? Though, I’d want to have more social support in-person before I do a deep dive on that. I’d also want to do that ideally before diving hard on creating for TikTok again. Right now, I prefer real-life cuddles to likes on selfies, anyway. This is the one time when I dismiss any friends’ advice about not caring for socialization, because most of them are now either married possibly with kids or at the very least have a significant other or healthy dynamics with family. I unfortunately do not have such luxuries, lol. It’s sad that I even consider that a luxury, which is another tangent. But meanwhile, I took down my contact page since it was mostly spam requests. And if anyone wants to actually meet up in person and possibly assist in me doing a digital detox, let me know (well, if you actually know me more personally to do so, heh)! 🙂