people > places > things

Why I Don't Fuck With "Nice" Guys (OR Girls)

Jessie MaComment

I: First Of All, There’s No Such Thing (To Me)

In my last post about “Intro/Extroversion”, I explained how I’m not very fond of the idea of “types of people.”

"She's the kind of person that..."
"Our relationships is...."
"I'm a..."

To me, the generality of labels unfairly rule out the gloriously complex nature of a person or relationship or feeling or event.

...As much as one can predominantly lean toward being a "Something," so much of human behavior is unpredictable.

I don’t get married to the idea that I’m a “good/nice person” or even a “bad person” because I don’t think of anyone as any “type of person.”  


II: There Is, However, The Choice To Act

One time, a friend had made a huge mistake and was grappling with a lot of guilt and self-loathing.

I tried to console him by saying “You’re not what you do,” to which he replied,

“Actually, Jessie, you are exactly what you do.”

I didn’t realize how right he was. You are what you do.

If you smoke, you are a smoker. If you quit, then you are, in effect, not a smoker anymore.

If you are a lawyer, but leave your firm to start selling cupcakes, you’re now a baker! (And ex-lawyer.)

But we must be careful not give too much credit to one-off instances. If you cheat once, you’re not defined as a cheater. You were. And if you continue to – you still are. But if you made an isolated mistake, admit it, atone for it – then you’re someone who has cheated, but is not currently “a cheater” (And hopefully your partner, whether you stayed together or not, can also see themselves as someone who had been, but is not being cheated on.)

So, correction: You are what you repeatedly do.

Maybe this is too simple a way to “define” people – but like I said, I’m not a fan of doing that anyway.

I’m glad to have found actions as a way to, in my eyes, see people in a way that’s not restrictive, but flexible and empowering. Because –

If who you are depends on what you do,
And you have control over what you do,
Then you have control over who you are.


III: Using This Control To Your Advantage

This has been a surprisingly therapeutic way for me to think. Not only does it give me control over “who I am,”

It makes me more forgiving of others:

My friend got deeply hurt by someone she trusted.

But she was able to forgive them and remain on good terms.

I, a level 9000 Grudge Holder, asked incredulously,

“How can you be so understanding? So forgiving?”

“Because I’ve done so much bad shit, too.”

Here’s a fact that’s neither good nor bad, purely a fact:
People kinda suck sometimes. Including yourself.

We are all capable of darkness, deception, of neglecting and hurting others, of being selfish and careless and bitchy and rude. Maybe you’re like, ~awesome~ 99.9% of the time – I mean, you don’t necessarily have to succumb to every bad impulse. But you do make mistakes, too. And those mistakes are things you have done, not who you are.

What’s important is that you are aware of how dark your thoughts get, how shitty your actions can be, how capable you are of destroying someone else. Knowing how flawed you are allows you to find forgiveness for others, recognizing them as being just as human.

And it makes you more enlightened as a whole:

I truly believe that people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. My biggest turn-off is when someone fumbles around with what they perceive as “niceness” with an almost ignorant naiveté, as that is all they have met.

I’m attracted to people who are a little fucked up, who’ve seen themselves be cruel, who’ve felt scary amounts of anger and hatred and rage, who, in all, have familiarity and fluency with both their good and bad parts, and make the choice to do the right thing, anyway.

NOT because "good" is all they know. But because they see their own full spectrum of capabilities, and decide on it.


IV: Context Is King

It’s pretty clear by now that I don't care who people "are," rather, what they choose to do.

But what makes your actions "good"?

Well, as with all things, that's contextual.

Let’s say a man goes to church, pays his taxes, but cheats on his wife and gives no love to his children. Is he “good”?

Depends on the context, right? Good man of Christ, responsible citizen. But bad husband and neglectful father. 

Does how "good" your actions are
depend on who's watching you?

In Better Call Saul, a spin-off show from Breaking Bad, protagonist Saul Goodman (AKA Jimmy McGill) is a lawyer who consistently skirts around the law to get things done in his own, sometimes questionable, way. In stark contrast, his brother Chuck (also a lawyer), abides strictly by the book. Chuck sees Saul’s methods as being inadmissible, almost personally offensive, no matter how successful the outcomes are.

When I first read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I found a heroine in Lisbeth Salander. She’s the victim of so many evils, and goes on to find retribution in creative, illegal, dangerous, but (to the reader – at  least, to this reader,) admirable ways. Fuck rules, she gets justice. Her prerogative.

I side with Chuck and Lisbeth. People who watch themselves.

I don’t think it’s necessary to go to such extremes, per se (I mean, these stories are fictional), but to me, being/doing “good” is not exemplified by following someone else’s (even the Bible’s or society’s) set of moral codes and rituals. To me,

Altruism is instead defined by
your ability to create your own set of moral values
and stick to them

Does the ideal of “who you are” matter as much as the reality of what you do?

And can “what you do” stand its own ground in your own context?


V: MY Context Is “People That I Love”

One of my best qualities is that I’m not a “nice person." At least, I’m not nice to everyone.

In fact, I don't prefer to even be friends with "nice people."

Not because I don't like them, but because THEY TERRIFY ME. 

The worst thing you can do to someone
is pretend to like them when you don't

Manners and civility don't scare me. Duplicity and FAKENESS scare me. 

If I don’t like you, YOU WILL KNOW THAT I DON’T LIKE YOU. (But I dislike like, maybe 2 people total lol).

Niceness for the sake of being nice, is an overrated, overvalued, highly inefficient, sometimes hurtful value.

The outline of integrity that I created is based on the people I love. I'm open to loving anyone – but it's fair to say that I don't treat everyone the same. The love I have for dancers in the community is different for the love I have for my mom. 

I'm a "good person" in "my own context"
through my dedication to the people that I love,
(not people in general)
based on how they want to be treated.

Is it because I'm Asian (collectivist culture) and my sense of "in-group" is strong AF? Doesn't really make sense because I didn't really grow up there... :thinking emoji:

Or maybe I'm just sOoOo loveless and stingy that I can't afford niceness to anyone other than those I love? But I am open to everyone, it just takes some time??? 

Orrr, DOES IT MAKE COMPLETE SENSE because even evolutionarily, we're taught to fend for ourselves and our tribes. If you tried to give to everyone equally (communism much?), a group of strangers might live a day longer, but your family lives a day shorter. 

Who's a "good person" to me?

Someone who can defend and serve themselves & their people.


VI: Don't Be A Nice Person, Be A GOOD Person

I know I sound like a gigantic asshole. As if I don't care about anyone other than me & my own. 

I do have basic respect and empathy for all living things. I stand by those I love in practical ways, not at the expense of others.

Friend 1: *talks shit about my Friend 2*

Nice Person: Hahahaha um.. yeah hah.

Good Person: Hey, that's not cool, she's my friend. If you have an issue with her maybe you can talk to her privately but I don't think it's right to bad-mouth her behind her back like this. 

Good Person – No disrespect to Friend 1. Just saying what needs to be said.

Nice Person – Spinelessly avoiding any confrontation to keep peace in current situation, not in the full reality of situation.

I used to be such a people-pleaser. I never spoke up about things that mattered to me, or even defended those important to me – even myself. I would never take sick days or show that I was hurt when someone hurt me. I'd never say "no" to favors, no matter how outrageous they were and how much I had to sacrifice for someone that gave no shits. 

I was way, way too nice.

On some level, I knew my "niceness" was a sign of emotional immaturity. I knew I was hurting people I loved (including myself) by not being able to assert my "goodness." To be there for me and the things that actually matter to me.

I'm not an asshole about it, but I say "no" now. Er – "no, thank you." And if someone hurts me or someone I love, I say something.

I don't think I'm a good person, but I try to choose good actions based on my hierarchy of goodness, where people I love always come first.

I'm not nice all the time, to everyone.

But I like myself better this way.

Oh we FUCKED fucked, huh? (Unless we do something.)

Jessie MaComment

There was once a time, not too long ago, when I had the privilege of finding politics boring.


In this episode of his podcast, John Green talks about the terrifying terrors of climate change and even more terrifying ease with which the “rich world” can feel separated from them.

It can be 120° outside but many of us can turn on the A/C to a comfortable 74°. We can go to the grocery store and get strawberries during any season of the year.

Even if climate change is happening, it’s not happening in our lives.

If you were a farmer, surfer, or if you were homeless, you’d care about climate change because you have to. You’d care because it's real to you.


The day Trump became President, I moved through the world in a vague cloud of unease, rather than in a fully-formed position of defiance. It felt as if aliens had begun to invade the earth, but they were still deplaning their UFO and a photo of their weapons had yet to leak.

Desperate for any tiny act of personal rebellion, I immediately donated $100 to Planned Parenthood under “Mike Pence.” Because if I knew anything, it was that our new Vice President might be an even more regressive and women-hating person than our President. And together, they would likely advocate for change that’d be dangerous to my well being.

I stopped finding politics boring.


Politics are made to seem more convoluted than they actually are.

History books, legal jargon, and the silly, dated, inefficient procedures make the average person feel distant from bureaucracy. Beneath layers of tedium, political matters just stem from core moral values that anybody can understand.

So yeah. Let’s dumb it down.


Right now, there are a lot of shitty people with trash values deciding how we should live, what we’re allowed to do with our bodies, what values our future kids will grow up with. 

They’re telling us that families deserved to be ripped apart and it’s okay for children to be locked up in cages. This isn’t a reality that all of us can relate to. But we all have loved ones, and we can imagine how traumatic it would be to be forcefully, indefinitely separated from them. It should be common sense that human beings shouldn’t treat other human beings like this.

They’re telling us that women who were raped should have to go through the physical, mental, emotional trauma of an unwanted pregnancy and dedicate the rest of their lives to raising a child that they never planned for – one that, no matter how much they grow to love, was conceived in probably one of the worst events of their lives. The idea of someone else weighing my health risks and my future livelihood against their personal beliefs baffles me.

Basic human empathy. Ownership over your own body.

These are a few things that matter to me. These are a few things that have always mattered to me. It never occurred to me that I’d have to defend such fundamental values against anybody, much less those with zero respect for experiences outside of their scope of understanding.


The Kavanaugh-Ford hearing is a caricature of some major issues in our national discourse:

  1. Misogyny

  2. People of questionable character in positions of power

It’s infuriating the way people think this case ends at its verdict. Even teenagers can understand that the issue goes beyond that courtroom. Whether or not Kavanaugh is innocent, the hearing brought out undeniable character flaws that reveal him to be quite unfit for a position of this caliber.

He’s a blubbering idiot that can’t wait his turn to speak or answer a simple yes or no question. He’s shown himself to be rude, aggressive, and temperamental. Before evaluating him as a judge, I’ve already dismissed him as a person.

In the middle of this process, Trump mocked Ford at a rally. He hijacked the conversation and “weaponized victimhood” in presenting a skewed picture of men’s fear of false accusation as more important, worthy of sympathy, and necessary for defense than a sexually assaulted woman’s trauma. He just trods along collecting other misogynists in his pussy-grabbing fraternity to perpetuate toxic models of behavior towards the women in our country.

It’s tough having a vagina. The world literally needs us yet we are abused, silenced, gaslighted, and ridiculed for the wrongdoings of entitled men.


Watching these events unfold left me disappointed but not surprised.

However, it did light a fire under my ass. Prior to the last few years, I was that millennial – uneducated and unbothered because none of that which transpired in that big room with the old white men ever trickled down to my life.

I can forgive myself for that – our capacity to give a fuck about something depends on how much it overlaps with our personal realities. Now that I’ve become aware of that overlap, I am empowered to take full responsibility for the values I want to uphold.


Political issues are personal issues.

Whether the issue is reproductive rights, immigration, or some other divisive topic, the question you should be asking yourself is not “What political position do I take?”

But rather, What kind of person am I?”

Figure it out.

Then vote for it.

You have until October 22 to register.

Your Tribe Is Waiting

Jessie MaComment

We were belting out lyrics to a song (which one, I now forget,) at the top of our lungs when –

I slam on the breaks. The momentum throws our bodies forward and our seatbelts snatch them right back. I let out a gasp of “what the fuck” as my eyes settle back into their sockets. I squint to make out what triggered me to stop: 

Half a dozen cars in the previously clear single-lane ahead, lined up like a funeral procession. Some passengers had stepped outside, some were calling their friends in others to make sure they were okay. Most were kind of frustrated by the interruption, eager to get going, and all were thoroughly confused – “What happened?”

A few minutes pass, and the cars start to inch forward. Brows furrowed, I mutter a prayer. Heart in a knot, I manage to put the car back in Drive and gently press my big toe on the gas, as if politely tiptoeing through a scene that had suffered enough noise.  

We see a mangled motorcycle on the right, an ambulance on the left, a coroner's truck next to it. 

We pass by, forgetting how to breathe.


“You’re a different person to everyone you meet.” – Chuck Palahniuk 

We all play different role in other peoples’ lives.

You are YOU, to you. But to everyone else in the world, you are: friend, daughter, cousin, co-worker, teammate, a stranger they smiled at while crossing the street, etc. 

This person whose life ended moments before we passed through the accident scene still had a relationship with us. Though nameless, faceless, they were a part of our journey up the mountain, and our lives as we move forward. 

They reminded us of the fragility of life. The preciousness of the now. To keep our eyes on the road. To take care of each other. To forgive. To Love. To BE, as much as you can, while you can.

You, my friend, were and are with me – and will always be. 


The first time I lost someone close to me, I had so much trouble making sense of my own grief. I’d never before thought of death (nor life) in such a focused way, never had to force myself to accept a truth I found unacceptable. 

In order to find some meaning, I volunteered at a hospice; my role was to, more or less, just BE with a patient (as their family/caregivers can’t be with them 24/7). 

Surprisingly, the visits were never strange nor painful. I felt so honored to share a part of their lives with them – one of the most vulnerable parts. I sat by their beds and read books as they slept, listened to their families talk about what made them special, what they will miss most about them. Once, I held hands tightly with a beautiful great-grandmother as she prayed for her family to be safe after she passed.

These were moments when I felt so human, so connected – not because the looming salience of "Death" made the light of "Life" shine brighter, but because I grew to understand the connectivity that both are defined by.

I learned that the greatest gift you could ever give anyone – including yourself,

is to simply be, together.

A few days before our trip, I asked Philip what his intention with this project was. He was having a group of 30+ dancers hike up a mountain to perform in the dirt for a group of strangers that none of us have met before. (And we were all, as you can see, super down).

He said that he got his inspiration by the idea of a "tribe" – and fusing it with "the earth's natural energy - everything from the intensity of the mountains, the flow of the waterfalls, the resilience of the forests, the calmness of the deserts, to the force of the ocean waters."

We incorporated nature's movements into our bodies' movements to craft these stories of family, community, hurt, healing. 

On the way up the mountain, we talked and laughed and celebrated how good it felt...

To just be with your tribe.

“Find people who can handle your darkest truths, who don’t change the subject when you share your pain, or try to make you feel bad for feeling bad. Find people who understand we all struggle, some of us more than others, and that there’s no weakness in admitting it. Find people who want to be real, however that looks and feels, and who want you to be real, too. Find people who get that life is hard, and who get that life is also beautiful, and who aren’t afraid to honor both of those realities. Find people who help you feel more at home in your heart, mind and body, and who take joy in your joy. Find people who love you, for real, and who accept you, for real. Just as you are. They’re out there, these people. Your tribe is waiting for you. Don’t stop searching until you find them.”

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Thank you Arthur for coming in so clutch with these designs!


Note: The Angeles Crest Highway leading up to the San Gabriel Mountains is one of the most scenic, yet dangerous roads in the country. There are numerous accidents and deaths reported each year. If you're planning to drive through, please check road conditions, the weather, and your car beforehand. Safe travels, my fellow Earth Tribe 🌎

Intro, Extro, Whate-vert

Jessie Ma1 Comment

I've never been a fan of labels.

Well – okay – I've never really understood them.

When I was in rehab (long story) a decade ago, my group leader explained how important it was to separate you from the thing.

"You suffer from an addiction; you're not addict."
15 year old Jessie nods...
But is also confused why that was even worth clarifying
To her, it felt so intuitive.

To have, say, do, but not be Something.
She never thought of herself as her disorder, as Anything.

Maybe it's because I'm so particular with my words. As much as I love them, (and boy, do I love them) ONE word is never enough to summarize anyone or anything... 

It still freaks me out when people define themselves categorically.

"She's the type of person that..."
"Our relationships is...."

"I'm a..."

To me, the generality of labels unfairly rule out the gloriously complex nature of a person or relationship or feeling or event. The dissatisfaction and curiosity drive me mad.

I guess that's why I'm so obsessed with stories.

I have to know the who/what/when/why/hows behind a truth.

YEAH, I HAVE TO.

I understand people not by ASL or zodiac signs, but by their idiosyncrasies – slight lisps, rose-tinted memories of a past love, the way they doodle bubble letters in their Passion Planner or use flirty sarcasm to deflect compliments because of an underlying insecurity or flinch when someone raises their voice because their dad used to yell, regularly, in a drunken rage when they were growing up.

These bewitching little details are everything to me. That's what makes someone them. It's hard to see society bundle all those characteristics in a tortilla and just call it a burrito.

I am not a burrito.


I remember first watching Susan Cain's TED Talk, "The power of introverts" and having mixed feelings. 

On one hand, I could relate to so much of what she was describing as "introversion." The craving of solitude, heightened responses to stimulation, even an introvert's ideal work environment for optimal creative flow and productivity. 

But I was so confused because (and I'll bet ya $5 on this–) no one that has ever interacted with me would think to label me an introvert. 

I am* outgoing, friendly, and happy to meet new people.
*Not because I naturally am, but because I want to be. 

Basically, there is gap between my "introvert nature" and "extrovert actions," and that discrepancy exists because of social pressures, work expectations, a deep-seated compulsion to transcend my suffocating shyness – to name a few.

So, how is one actually defined... 
By their true, inner, knee-jerk responses?
Or by their conscious actions and behaviors?
Nature or nurture?
Private self or projection of self? 

The label "Ambivert" is even more confusing. To me, that just describes a damn human.

Oh, you have different responses to different situations??
Totes both an introvert AND extrovert. ✅ 

WHAT?!?!? ISN'T THAT EVERYONE????


I'm not shitting on all the surveys and studies on personality.

I just want to be understood in the way that I try to understand people – not by a word, but through words

Because any time the black/white dichotomy of introversion/extroversion comes up, I find myself struggling to explain the grey area that my identity occupies. As much as one can predominantly lean toward being a "Something," so much of human behavior is unpredictable – playing off context, environment, and most of all, mood. 

THIS is the whate-vert I am:

Honestly, I'm terrified of (and terrible with) most social interactions. I always feel like I'm talking too much or too little, not funny enough or not serious enough, or somehow offending or annoying the other party. I cut conversations off prematurely to let them escape and talk to someone more entertaining (or just less anxious). 

Don't even get me started on eye contact.

Yet social interactions have become somewhat of a masochistic, self-satisfying challenge. I throw myself in environments where I know I'll feel pushed, then be proud of myself for the moments I made someone laugh or feel loved.

Living situations have always been tricky. Throughout college, I either felt guilty for not engaging with my roommates, or stretched so far from what feels comfortable when I did. Because in my head, home = quiet. Now I live with 2 strangers I found online. People may think it's weird that we seldom interact, but I think that's how all of us prefer it.

As much as I love all the dance teams I've been a part of, it does involve a high dosage of social activity, which does require mental prep. I am writing this, literally, after walking out of a rehearsal I realized I could not handle. I could only get through 15 minutes before my hands started shaking. This week's been rough. I need more me.

I've found my home as a Creative because I know I have cool shit in me that I wanna share. But I can't always depict them face to face with people. So I spend most of my time letting my mind wander then making something that showcases my humor, pain, dreams, and endearingly relatable emotional instability. On the internet. 
Like my meme page – fuckin' dope.

I'm way closer to guys than I am with girls; always wondered why. One day a (male) friend **said, "that's natural, most girls are like that because they never have to question whether the guy wants to really hang out with them or not because guys always wanna hang out with girls."
**A theory based in heteronormative thirst, and like, no real evidence... but I can see where he's coming from. Whole 'nother rabbit hole. Anyway –

On this note, the only people I ever felt genuinely comfortable around were my (ex)boyfriend(s) and my mom. Those are also the most convoluted relationships of my life because I am a fucking crazy person and only they have seen/felt my full crazy. But in the same vein, they have also experienced my truly warm and loving heart. That's why I still hold onto them so dearly. Because once upon a time, their presence made me feel less alone.

And I always feel alone.

When I go to dance events, I put on myself the pressure to be a human champagne bubble.
"Hi! 。◕‿◕。 Nice to meet you!~~ YAS GURL LUV LUV LUVVVvvvvvvv"
Then I go to the bathroom, close my eyes for 5 minutes, take a deep breath. Then I skip back into the ring.

Yes, there are times that I want and even initiate hanging out. This is rare and happens only when my love for someone overpowers the comfort of my own company. And when I can, for moments at a time, quiet the voice in my head that tells me I need to perform in any way. If I have ever asked you to get coffee, you is so special to me.

I'm bad at interacting with people, yes, and EVEN WORSE at maintaining relationships with them. (As described in re: dance event vignette), I can be great at meeting people. Punny banter is my shit. But a deeper, more meaningful level is reserved for specific individuals, not a group, and it gets hard to manage. 
My closest friends are scattered around my life. A soul mate from college. A mentor in dance. A sister in faith. Etc., etc. They're all so colorful and extraordinary and lovely and I crave them – but it's so hard for me to ask for them to just be with me. I need to work on keeping in touch – by first believing that they need me, too. 

I always think that, if I were Filipino and had a debut (or ever got married but sigh I'm too behind in life to think about that rn UGH), my "court" (or bridesmaids) would NOT KNOW WHO THE HELL THE REST OF THEM WERE HAHAHA

And all of this is made a million times more confusing because I have ADD/ADHD. My focus, desire for stimuli, and energy levels are hard to balance. Even with medication.  

But that's okay.

That's me.


My point isn't that I'm socially crippled and it's sooo sad (although that is kind of the direction this took, my bad).

It's that I find it wildly insufficient and, quite frankly, boring to say "I'm a ___," when what I really am is a unique collection of predispositions and habits and feelings and scenarios.

I think personality tests are fun (ENFJ or INFJ here, depending on my mood when I take it), but I think embarrassing anecdotes and outrageous sex dreams are approximately 1000x funner. To me, building relationships is about accessing an authentic part of the self, story by story, rather than skimming the back cover of a book.

I want to challenge each of us to consider the stories in others.

The most alienating feeling in the world is to feel misunderstood... or even worse: that no one is trying to understand you.

Ask, and most are happy to share. 

Share, and most are happy to listen.

This is important because your stories make you You. 

Not your job title, but how you make custom cold brew coffees for your coworkers.
Not being petite or plus-sized, but how sexy you look in that white sundress.
Not your relationship status, but the way you wake up to a puddle of her drool on your chest and it somehow makes you want to stay with her forever. 

And, circling back –

Not me as an intro/extrovert, but the ebb and flow of figuring out how to love and be loved as Me.

(Whate-vert that is...)

To Be An Adult With Child-like Wonder

Jessie MaComment

Lately, several conversations with friends in my age range (mid-late twenties) have revolved around the topic of this developmental “limbo” we’re in. 

We just feel so… old.

Yet we recognize that, in the grand scheme of things, we're still so very young. 

Face to face with the real shit in life – holding down a stable job, filing taxes, maintaining our health,  fostering a promising relationship (organically, which is hard because it requires the drowning out of the increasingly loud ticking of our biological clocks), and trying (this gets more frustrating with each passing day) trying not to get fat as fuck cuz our metabolisms are like “Yo, I’m tired" – while feeling, at the core, unready (and quite frankly, too lazy) to actually “grow up.”

The things we know we need to do... feel at war with the things we want.

Because honestly...

We still feel like children at heart. 


As Britney Spears would say, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” 

Bitch I FEEL U.


I avoided those “adulting” responsibilities for a long time.

K fine – I thought I was exempt from having to deal with them.

My short-sightedness could be to blame. I chased the immediate gratification of fulfilling my wants, while seeing any possible long-term reward only as a sacrifice in the present – and not an investment for the future. 

Basically, I spent all 4 years of college dancing because it was fun. And having fun was enough of a reason to direct all my time and money toward it. I trudged through my expensive UC education just to get a degree I knew I wouldn't use and never much thought about planting seeds for my career.

I gave my heart to guys I knew I had no future with. Which, to be fair, is totally fine if this is you and you're dating just to date. But I, the hopeless romantic who always dreamed of finding The Love Of Her Life, settled for The Loves Of Right Now. 

I wrote and wrote and wrote because I loved it, got several jobs writing, then when the writing started to feel like work, I quit. How could I compromise my passion like that???

Yep, it was all rainbows and butterflies, no responsibilities or ramifications. Designing this Neverland was my antidote, my blatant denial of a reality I didn't want to admit I lived in. 

Because giving in to the demands of the world would mean that I lose me. My spirit. My inner child. 

So I defended her.

"I'm a free spirit! I do what I want."


Last year, my sister gave me this reality check: 

“Being a free spirit doesn't excuse you from growing up or thinking about others’ feelings.”

Since then, I’ve noticed how guilty I am of acting rashly, impulsively, insensitively – often at the expense of others – and excusing it as “just how I am.”

Perhaps it is "how I am,” but it is definitely not how I’d like to be.

While it’s fun to prance around and give no fucks, that lifestyle is certainly not sustainable. 

That lifestyle cannot foster relationships, pay the bills, stay healthy, or pursue goals.

It forces you to confront crises, tragedies, and emergencies big and small with no idea how to navigate the situation because you never prepared for them. 

It's terrifying.


Yet another narrative of a Millennial blaming the world for her lack of practical skills... 


Well, not really.

Growing pains are not specific to our generation.

But with mine, I feel like I am playing catch-up to my peers, because instead of recognizing my weaknesses and trying to gear up for the real world...

My Peter-Pan mentality convinced me that, if I traded in my time to do more "adulty" things, my ability to see the world with curiosity, creativity, and wonderful appreciation would be in jeopardy.

Perhaps my naiveté compounded the situation, but we are too often told that cynicism is an unavoidable side effect of growing up. We witness ways that society will kill your inner child and rob you of the inherent joy and wonder that makes life worth living...

Getting older, working full time, settling down with a partner = no more funs.

Basically,

Growing up means that we give up everything we want

for the things that we need in life.


Lately, though,

A lot of needs have become my wants. 

And it doesn't feel like sacrifice.


I work (this is also because I work for a start-up) virtually non-stop. I spend several nights a week visiting my mom’s house, typing away while she watches Korean dramas. I stopped checking Snapchat to see the ratchetry my friends are up to on Friday nights; I got money to make.

I went from being the most anti-relationship cynic, giving up on love and chasing watered-down affirmation from guys who barely know me, to being in a committed relationship with someone I Love with a capital mutha fuckin' L. Being with him feels both like having a middle school crush and a 50 year marriage at the same time. 

I spend less time making excruciating small-talk and more time nurturing friendships with people in whom I'm genuinely interested, whom I care for, who I know reciprocate my love and support.

I don't do anything begrudgingly. I still do what I want.

And what I want, now, is to take care of myself and the people around me. 


I will always aim to preserve my free spirit.

Without it, I'd have no words to write, no love to give, and a much less thorough idea of who I am.

But I’m also evolving to be more mindful. More present. More responsible, productive, efficient, and empathetic. Finances, changing a tire, a serious relationship – these aren't things I can master over night, but they are things I can work on. 

And working on them doesn't feel like I'm losing myself.

I actually kinda like it. And I still feel like myself.

Hm.


My sister was definitely right. Being free-spirited does not excuse you from life.

But you also don't have to lose that part of you.

You can be disciplined yet spontaneous,

hard-working yet creative,

pragmatic yet hopeful.


If I could give my early-20's self advice, it'd be this:

Don't be afraid to grow up.

Because even as an adult,

You can still do what you want, kid.

(In fact, check out my meme page where I am more extra than ever. F4F?)