Resistance – it’s that weird force that keeps us from doing what we really want to do. Resistance doesn’t want us to grow, it wants us to stay the same. Resistance loves comfort. The War of Art has recently opened my eyes to how resistance can lurk everywhere in our lives, and if we’re not aware of it, we can let it get the best of us. Let’s empower ourselves and regain control over our lives—we have to fight and beat resistance every single day. That’s the only way we can win this war.
I love traveling. My brother is spending his summer in Seattle, so my mom and I decided to make a trip out of it and help him move in! I absolutely love how the city overlooks the ocean—cities on water are so my thing.
The first video covers our arrival and Pike Place Market. The second video covers most of the rest of the trip: Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Japanese Garden, driving onto the Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island, Microsoft visit, and Elvis’s incomplete speech. Tried out a voiceover for the first time in the second video and I’m digging the style. Let me know what y’all think!
I try to swim at least once a week. I started a “Swim Mondays” tradition in January and have been going pretty consistently since. Although Swim Mondays has turned into “Swim Any Day of the Week Before the Next Monday Comes,” I’m still quite proud of myself for picking up a new habit and getting back into swimming. I even go in full gear in my swimsuit from my high school swimming days, swim cap, goggles, and ear plugs. Yep, I get serious.
When the ear plugs go in and I make my first launch, the world drowns out, and all I can hear is the sound of the water swishing and my own breathing. It’s calming at first, focusing on my breathing as I swim laps. The world is quiet and it’s just me. Then I get tired. As I start to take faster breaths, all I can hear is myself struggling, and then I get slower and slower and eventually find myself chilling in a lazy backstroke as I catch my breath.
But today I tried something new. As I swam, I started thinking about my day and being grateful that I had a productive and healthy day of work, dance, and now swim. I started thinking about my mom and sending her good vibes, acknowledging my love for her and thanking her for everything she’s done. I thought about how I want her to be happy and healthy. Then I turned around for another lap. I moved on to my brother, whom we just left up in Seattle—he’ll be there all summer for an internship. I started wishing him luck with his new job and with living away from home for the first time in a new place with no friends yet. I know he’s uncomfortable right now, but I’m confident he will be just fine, as he always is. I spent two laps sending my thoughts to my brother. Then another lap for my grandma—the queen of our giant family, resilient as ever. And another lap for my other grandma who’s in Shanghai—I haven’t seen her in a while, but I still love her and wish her well. Then more laps as I moved on to other aunts, uncles, cousins.
Swoosh. I got to Shirley, the first of our cousins to be a mother, and just being so proud of her for being the best example of a mother I’ve seen. Swoosh. Then on to Donna, Frank, oh, and then Raymond—thankful for him picking me up from school and swim practice back in the day. I even swam one for my Gemini friends who are having their birthdays over the weekend. “Happy Birthday Allen!” I thought mid-lap.
I kept going and going, because I had more and more people to thank, more people to think of, more people to send love to because they deserved it (I would name them all but I’ll save you from boredom). With each lap, I realized how many awesome people I have in my life, how many people have supported me and loved me and contributed to who I am. And for them, I had the stamina to keep swimming. There were even some laps where I wanted to tear up in my goggles because I just felt so much love.
Eventually, I did start to get tired because my legs were cramping. And then I got to my cousin Kevin. Oh, Kevin. He’s a man’s man: a big guy with a beard, who BBQs, shoots guns, loves cars, and can build machines with his own bare hands. He’s a strong one. I have to be strong too, like Kevin. And so I finished one more lap, just for that.
When I finally stopped for water, I realized I had never swam that many laps nonstop with so much energy. I wasn’t even that out of breath. I could keep swimming because I had a reason to keep swimming. I had people to honor and thank and love. I felt so much energy from focusing my thoughts on the people I love and that really fueled me.
What I learned from this: It can be boring to focus on yourself all the time. Try to focus outside of yourself once in a while, appreciate what’s around you—the people, places, and things that have contributed to your life—and be grateful for it all. Next time you exercise, consider running each lap for a specific loved one, or dedicating each rep to something that you’re grateful for. Just like how people get through workouts by letting music pump them up, see if you can create your own “music” and get pumped up by thinking about who and what really matter to you.
Now my legs are so sore, but I’m happy. And I’m looking forward to get back in the pool because I still have so many more people and things to swim for.
There’s a lot of talk surrounding the UCSB shooting that occurred on Friday. First of all, my heart truly goes out to the victims, their families and friends, all of the students at UCSB and its surrounding community. Also, I do not want to give the shooter any attention so as to mention his name, because he does not deserve any of it. I just want to share some thoughts since I feel this event brings up deep issues in our society that we need to pay attention to, reflect on, and work to improve together. Yes, we could talk about gun rights and mental health issues but I honestly just want to focus on the misogyny and male entitlement that fueled this tragedy. I’m here to talk about the #YesAllWomen hashtag and why it’s so real, relevant, and important. (If you haven’t kept up with the hashtag, please do so now. I’ll still be here when you come back. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
The UCSB shooter blamed and hated on women for not being attracted to him, as if that attention was something he was entitled to. He objectified women and based his self worth on his ability to acquire those objects/women, adopting an extreme example of a definition of masculinity consistently depicted and reinforced in our own society. Quoting this post from Reappropriate:
For [the shooter], masculinity was defined primarily through sexual conquest: the degree to which a man successfully woos a woman, and the quality (i.e. beauty) of the woman wooed. Disturbingly, Rodger’s sex-based definition of masculinity was not unique: it is a definition prevalent throughout American popular culture, and one embraced by the Asian American community, too. It is reflected in countless popular culture films (for example, Don Jon), and it is a central tenet of the “seduction community” where it is called the “game.” Pick-up artistry refers to self-help workshops (costing thousands of dollars a session) that purport to teach men the seduction skills to “score” a woman (called “targets”) rating 7 or higher on the program’s standardized beauty scale.
Our society is flawed in that men associate masculinity and power with how well they can “get girls;” as if women are objects and courting is a “game” to win; as if they are entitled to “conquer” or “own” women. There’s a real problem when men blame, hate, and punish women for not complying to their desires or for being autonomous with their body, their words, and their life. It’s sad that it’s easier to say “I have a boyfriend” than “no” because men are more okay with respecting another man’s “domain” than respecting a woman’s autonomous decision that she’s simply not interested.
And the double standard for women that arises from such views is so unbelievable and difficult. Read this article on the impossible paradox on women’s sexuality that became deadly this week: Slut Shamed to Death For Saying Yes to Sex, Murdered for Saying No… I just can’t. Those tweets to Alyssa Funke are disgusting and terribly sad. They’re the same people rebutting the #YesAllWomen tag with dumb misogynistic remarks and jokes—it’s all very sickening and I can’t believe people like that exist in our world.
Ultimately, a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body, her words and her life, like every human being should. Women’s rights are human rights. It really should be quite simple. We need to start respecting people for who they are and for their decisions, even if we don’t agree with them. It’s called having love for the human race, AKA justice.
To all the guys out there saying #NotAllMen are like that—yes, you’re right. But these tweets:
“UNFAIR! NOT ALL MEN!” Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful. Not all M&Ms are poison. #YesAllWomen
— Martin Wagner (@wagnerfilm) May 26, 2014
Women know that not all men are rapists, murderers, or violent—but the thing is, there’s no way to tell. This article speaks it clearly:
…when a woman is walking down the street, or on a blind date, or, yes, in an elevator alone, she doesn’t know which group you’re in. You might be the potential best guy ever in the history of history, but there’s no way for her to know that. A fraction of men out there are most definitely not in that group. Which are you? Inside your head you know, but outside your head it’s impossible to.
And more importantly, this:
— Jean Johnson (@JeanJAuthor) May 26, 2014
Stop being defensive, because when you’re defensive, you’re not really listening or making an effort to understand. If you want to be constructive, start actually listening, supporting, and speaking up amongst other men. Promote discourse until it becomes more and more the norm.
Here’s a snippet from a solid article Not All Men, But Still Too Many Men:
Instead of telling women that it’s not all men, show them.
Show them by listening and supporting.
Show them by cleaning the dogshit out of your ears and listening to their stories — and recognize that while no, it’s not “all men,” it’s still “way too many men.” Consider actually reading the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter not to look for places to interject and defend your fellow men, but as a place to gain insight and understanding into the experiences women have. That hashtag should serve as confirmation that women very often experience the spectrum of sexism and rape culture from an all-too-early age. Recognize that just because “not all men” are gun-toting, women-hating assholes fails to diminish the fact that sexism and rape culture remain firmly entrenched and institutional within our culture.
Because if your response to the shooting is to defend men (or worse, condemn women) instead of speaking out against this type of violence and attitude, then you best check yourself.
This isn’t the time to talk about nice guys. Or friend zoning. Or men’s rights. Or rejection.
I hope you also share your thoughts on this with somebody, anybody. Just start the discussion. Because when you don’t speak up about misogyny and violence against women, your silence condones it. In order to become better citizens of this world, we all need to open our minds, ears, and hearts and make an effort to understand the issues around us. We can’t change the world alone, but by continuing to share our thoughts and promote discourse on social issues, we can collectively shape a new norm and move society towards a brighter future.
Fear. It’s what holds so many of us back from doing the things we truly want to do. Fear signals that we are outside of our comfort zone and it’s meant to protect you (because yeah, you could get hurt chasing your dreams). But your fear can only see the danger, it can’t see how much you have to gain. That’s our job to see. Instead of letting our fears cripple us, we should view them as a natural part of the journey to becoming our best selves. Once we do, then we can use fear as our compass to guide us in the right direction.
Acknowledge Your Fear
The first step to letting fear be your guide is to acknowledge it. Don’t deny it or hide from it. It’s there for a reason, so ask yourself why.
What Type of Fear?
Sometimes fears are real and valid—ie: the fear of get eaten by a tiger you’ve encountered. But most of the time in this modern world, the fears we feel are not deadly and they come from another place within. Ask yourself if this fear is rooted in your own insecurities or self-doubts (ie: fear of failure, fear of criticism, etc). If it is, then you should pay attention to it. Take it as a gift and a guide to where you need to go.
Let Fear Be Your Guide
See fear as an indicator—it tells us what we have to do. A general rule of thumb: the more scared we are of doing something, the more we have to do it. The things that scare us the most are the things that mean the most to us. Those are the things that enable us to grow the most into fulfilling our potential.
Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway
Fear is not going to go away; it will always be present as long as we have boundaries of what is comfortable and uncomfortable for us. Acknowledging that fear and going for it anyway will empower yourself to become better. It’s supposed to feel super uncomfortable; it’s stretching yourself to grow.
It’s okay to be scared or nervous. What’s important is that you take the action and actually go through with it. Don’t let fear hold you back; instead, let fear be your guide. Let it take you to those places where you’ve always wanted to go but were too afraid to. Let it take you to achieve things that you thought were impossible, because once you do them, you will be so empowered to continue to do that and eventually develop into your best self.