May 3, 2019_Friday

I had a tough week this past week.

Every day was like carrying a big rock on my back and my chest [emotionally and mentally].

And I couldn’t seem to pinpoint the why.

I had an eventful and fun week, yes and done connected with people I like, and did the things I was supposed to do, but that doesn’t mean I was mentally or emotionally well through and through.

Sometimes, you’ve built good systems and processes and they prevent and protect you from breaking down on a foundational level, but you can still have soul-turmoil at any point in life.

I’m grateful for the friends and the schedule that distracted me from it during the days and into the nights.

Without it, I, human as I am would have gotten sucked down by the gravity of my feelings.

I know now it is the worst to keep myself to myself when I’m heavy in heart or in mind. It’s like encouraging soul-suicide.

It warps everything else. Because the things going inside.. whether the duration is temporary or long term begin to squeeze and alter everything else around– kind of like a cancerous tumor… and they dim you, change you.

But you’ve got to bring in others and keep a community very close (I cannot emphasize this enough) to you that are not occupied with such thoughts. They will, whether you recognize it or not immediately, shed a beam of fulle light into you, when everything else inside is squeezing down and closing in.

Think of community as your armor against an unhealthy, disoriented, frame of reference-stuck mindset.

Think of community as the things that help you breathe.

Give your mind and heart the space to loosen some of the tangles going on. Sometimes, you need to time to let the unconscious process what your conscious mind cannot. (ps, if you want to learn more about this, you can get into neuroscience, and you’ll find your way with the understanding part :))

You can accelerate the loosening of the tangles with help, such as getting personal counsel, looking to friends, and also starting to journal to see how you’re actually processing things.

Or sometimes you’re stuck, and you need to give yourself a day, or two. Maybe you need to let that breathe on its own too before telling it to go and putting an end to it. And that’s okay.

But, put an end to it you must.


 

In fact, I know what’s been hurting me.

I’ve just been afraid to call it out by name.

 

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A Piece of My Story

Let me tell you a bit of my story.
I had some scary things happen to me in my life: I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder in the 7th grade, was sexually assaulted by a family relative in the 10th grade, had my parents divorce after a traumatic narrative that spanned years, and was raped in my first year out of college.

This in tandem with my naturally emotions driven self brought forth a very unbalanced, and very unhappy Susan for a lot of my adolescence and into my early twenties. I could be happy and “on,” yes, but I was also severely unhappy.


I turned to a quick phase of substance abuse in the last year of high school into my first year of college, to control the control I did not feel I had.

There were certain years, when I did not want to live.
There were seasons I’d stand at the platform of a subway station in NYC and despite having just come out of a splendid date with a friend from NYU or with someone I was dating, I’d dissolve inside, trying to hold back the anxiety attack that was coming, only to barely control it or succumb to it and when the train finally pulled in, I’d enter the train heaving for air, so so relieved I was a bit of a pussycat and scared of jumping. There were also more times that I’d just cry in the train ride home, head down.
In 2013-2014, I was suicidal.
I remember thinking simply out of sheer despair:
I’m so scared of dying.
I’m so scared of dying.
But I feel so much pain.
I was also thinking
I don’t want to just live.
I want to LIVE.
God met me in this dark, dark place back then, in the latter half of 2014.
I then with all the courage I could muster, began to open up to some friends and to my family.

In 2015 I made a promise to myself, that I would not live this way, and 2015 was the beginning of my recovery and fight against the depressive thoughts and feelings I felt and heard in my head every single day.
In 2019, I am living and working to fulfill that promise to myself to live life at its fullest.
And now I am happy as a clam 🙂 (is that the right American phrase?)
For the past 4 years I’ve worked really hard to get a semblance of the joy others feel, and I’ve gotten there, even farther than I’d ever hoped.
I made a lot of mistakes in the process, but no one is perfect, and I was really trying.
(for example, falling in love with someone in early 2016, and not being able to handle the intimacy, or 2) not having been able to appreciate pleasure of touch earlier – I’m still working on that now, but feel like I’m on the tail end of it! I enjoy my romances now, thank goodness 🙂 I don’t feel any fear at all now! When I was younger, I’d feel tons of fear when a man touched me and would freeze inside and panic).
The healing is slow, and there are a lot more stories I want to share [and some justice I want to see in the world, if God wills it and it’s wise], but I will share them when I am ready to share those stories. All in their own time. One day, I’m going to be strong enough to call my perpetrators by name. For now, I’m going to work on continually healing and helping others lift themselves up too.
I don’t share this story with you because I’m over it, or because I’m stronger than you. Revisiting things like this make me quite sad. But I feel convicted enough and strong enough at this moment to share in order to encourage and stand with anyone reading this. It’s not easy, and for those who’ve had illnesses for a long time, I understand the hardened nature of the heart that comes with.
I believe that the world would be a better place if we all began to share and stand with each other more and hide, covet, and cover a little less. The world will not crumble down and your conservative family or community might gasp and make you feel shame, but who cares. That shame they make you feel is a lie.
It is your life one “wild, and precious life”, as Mary Oliver says.
On an overarching note, for anyone dealing with any present or past trauma, I want to tell you earnestly that there are ways out and you really won’t have to go back, that there are people all around you here to stand with you if you only extend a hand.
I’m with you.
So here’s to mental health awareness month.

My 2016 Book List: Let my Year in Books Inspire You as Well!

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Here is my 2016 book list of books I’ve carried through completion and thoroughly enjoyed, with random, rambling annotations:

Books with * = well read, well worn, well kept

Books with ** = SUPERSTAR

  1. *The Unpublished David Ogilvy by David Ogilvy, Joel Raphaelson
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  3. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann: Recommended by my friend Nick McClish; Hans Castorps take on life in a sanitorium is hilarious and may I say, morbidly magical.
  4. *Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  5. *How Proust Can Change Your Life by Marcel Proust: I bought this at the Strand bookstore for $2 and it opened me up to the world of Proust. Guys, $2 + tax can indeed change your life for the better.
  6. *In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust: This book changed my life, but if you are a grammar N*** or someone who considers brevity a virtue, then this is not that life-changing book for you.
  7. *Bible (NIV): For my spiritual and moral feeding – I hold this very close to my heart, always, for the truth of the Lord breeds the purest of love, knowledge, kindness, goodness, forbearance, joy, and peace.
  8. ** Leonardo’s Notebooks edited by Anna Suh: my eyes were burning from the amount of manuscript notes I had to read that he created; can you believe that someone with a non-classical education has over 20,000 notes in total of mind-blowing studies and findings found through sheer observation and experimentation? Wowzers.
  9. Chaos Monkeys by Antonia Garcia Martinez: hilariously scathing, and very tell-all by nature, a book on the going ons of the SV tech world from the eye of one man who managed to get acquired by or work for some top companies. A peer and Director of Salesforce who I recently met told me this is much like the HBO series: Silicon Valley, so for those who liked watching that, you ought to take a chance on this.
  10. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: I never got to read this in school, but all of a sudden I had the urge to read this now and on Machiavelli’s thoughts on acquiring, conquering, managing, and losing principalities/power/people. Pretty relevant, I’d say.
  11. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller: talks a lot about the moralistic brothers of the church vs. brothers who’ve gone wild and then returned to the folds of God – really cool and enlightening read on the hypocrisy of institutions like religion and even more importantly, why it’s even more necessary to stay steadfast in your faith in God.
  12. **Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan: I had been exposed to surfing this year through a man I loved, and naturally became curious as to the intensity of adoration felt for this specific hobby by him and by many other friends. Finnegan explains the surfing life perfectly, and I am totally hooked – theoretically speaking.
  13. *Blood, Brains, and Beer: Autobiography by David Ogilvy
  14. **Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: recommended by my friend David Kong. I enjoyed it and as a Jane Austen fan, really glad I got to read another stellar work of hers!
  15. Ein Mein Manifesto by Eric Jarosinski
  16. **Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  17. Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: My older sister had this on her Audible.
  18. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport: because I enjoy reading Cal Newport’s blog and was deeply changed by his book Deep Work. This is an earlier book of his, and I have noticed that his prose here is not so pithy, but still to the point. It serves its purpose.
  19. **Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations by Michael Malone and Rich Karlgaard: because I wanted to make the company I worked in at the time better.
  20. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
  21. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Recommended by my dear friend, Victoria Wong! It’s one of her favorite books. Funny story: There was a time when I was quoting this book, and a friend had asked me who the author was, when I replied, “Mila Kunis” with the sureness of a cock. I was deservedly embarrassed.
  22. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
  23. Who Needs the Fed by John Tamny: I picked this book up because my younger sister works at the Fed, and I am always down to read a book that will enlighten me more on the activities of loved ones.
  24. Virtual Billions: The Genius, the Drug Lord, and the Ivy League Twins Behind the Rise of Bitcoin by Eric Geissinger: The book in its entirety wasn’t engaging, but the first couple chapters were amazing in detailing the foundations of Bitcoin & its network, and the influencers * all the the ants involved in this crypto currency ecosystem.
  25. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane: written for the layman, it reinforces wise mental hacks that are necessary to live both in optimism and be successful.
  26. Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security by Laurence J. Kotlikoff: A book picked up in an effort to aid my parents when they become of age.

Things I’ve started or am looking to read in 2017!:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: I’m reading this one to get to know my younger sister better. She is a big fan of Tolkien.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: I’ve only read the first few chapters, and so far the story lines of the characters introduced and families are absolutely ACE! The complexity! The depth! The scandal! Recommended by my good friends: Sewon Yang and Max Heering.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man by Martin Kemp

I wish the world the biggest growth it’s seen yet this 2017.

Bises,

Soo