Friday, June 25, 2010

The In-Between 1

There's this song I like, and one of the verses goes like this:

"as for those things
that act as markers in your life
but in between
you can't remember"
Another song I like, it goes like this:

"all of my regret will wash away somehow
but I cannot forget the way I feel right now"

Those lyrics sum up pretty well my reasons for the new segment I've started on my blog, "The In-Between." I tend to blog when things come to mind, but I'm making a point of blogging at least once a week from now. Rather than throw bullshit out there just to meet that quota, I figured I would blog about the mundane happenings in between the "enlightening" events in my life. It'll help to document my life for future reference for better introspection and just reminiscing. These posts may not be that fun to read if you don't particularly care about what's happening in my life, but I'm doing it to keep me in the blogging mood, because talking to an imaginary audience of my peers keeps me sane, ironically enough. So here goes:

My first week of summer class comes to a close. It's Thursday evening/Friday morning, but I don't have lecture on Fridays (fuck yeah!), so I figure at least for this summer I'll be making these posts anytime between Thursday and Friday night. It's been a good week, since David is finally up here in Berkeley. The week before, I was in this odd limbo, since I didn't really have my room set-up and the apartment felt incomplete without all 6 of us in it.

Hrm I just realized I haven't done a terrific job of keeping all of my friends in the loop, so if you are in the loop, in these blog posts I might be saying things you already know of. So I'm living in a 3-bedroom apartment with David Anderson (who shares a room with me), Andy Cheng, Alex Lee (otherwise known as Xavier from Ecuador), Yuxi Tian, and Jeff Young. I'm taking Chem 3A and N3AL, which means I'm doing organic chemistry lecture and lab, though for the lab, instead of a lab lecture that the professor teaches, there are online lectures.

Living in an apartment has been an interesting experience so far. Living in a dorm, we never had to worry about cleaning, rent, food, etc., so there's an added stress to it, but at the same time it's fun dealing with these things. I feel like I'm in my own place now, rather than just borrowing someone's room for a year. And it sure helps to not have to eat Foothill food or sit in Foothill furniture or climb Foothill stairs every day -_-.

I'm also single right now, which is new. Haven't been for over one and a half years. I don't want to talk too much about the break up, but Maria and I are still the best of friends, and we have the utmost respect for each other. And that's what I've always wanted in life, anyway, so things are swell. It's been hard, for various reasons, but I'm getting by alright. More on all this later, though, because David and I are getting quite sleepy and this post is fairly long. I look forward to writing again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Trusting is an incredibly difficult thing to do. You all know this, and I understand people don't really need some teenager on his laptop to tell you that. But here are my thoughts on the subject.

Okay so what we all know: trusting other people is a high-risk-high-reward process. We put ourselves in the hands of other people, intentionally making ourselves vulnerable and susceptible to judgement and betrayal. The reward is that we feel safe with the people we trust, and this sense of security allows us to expand our circle of comfort and do more than we could have before. The not-so cut and dry part about trust is, how do we decide on when to trust?

This similar dilemma comes up all the time. My favorite of which is how God is supposed to decide who goes to heaven and hell. Oddly enough, I can sum this up with a line from this really deep, amazing film called "The Curse of the Black Pearl," I don't know if you've heard of it:

"One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness."
"Though it seems enough to condemn him."

How many trustworthy acts do we need to perform to be trusted, and how many acts of betrayal can be tolerated before shaking peoples' confidence in us? There has to be a certain quota of acts to meet, and a non-betrayal success rate that a trustworthy person has to exceed. Unfortunately, like many things in life, trust is something that's more or less impossible to quantify. Shucks.

I guess such a benchmark can't exist because there's no surefire way to tell if someone is trustworthy. Even if a person has never betrayed you, and has stayed loyal to you through numerous events in which they could have betrayed you, there is still that possibility that they could betray you in the future.

Logically, the safest thing to do is to not trust others at all. Biologically speaking, if there's one person who will always look out for my well-being, it'll be me. But haven't we all promised ourselves that we'd act, feel, or be a certain way, and then let ourselves down? In a way, we betray ourselves at times, so does that mean that we can't trust anyone? It can't be that we can't trust people, but rather only phenomena, like trusting that a ball will fall to the floor if I drop it and nothing is in the way. But even that's in doubt... and that's a whole other topic for a whole other blog post -_-.

None of this inquiry actually answers how to start trusting someone. To trust someone else is a big deal. For me, it means having humility and believing in someone else, even more than I believe in myself to act in good-will. It also involves courage, because it takes big balls to admit the very real possibility that you will be harmed, and to say "meh, fuck it." And even though it's easy to say these things, they're much harder to do.

Recently I had a realization that the difficult, and really quite bizarre, part of trusting others is that it takes getting others to trust you first. It's much easier to trust someone who already admits to trusting you, because not only do you know that they think highly enough of you to do so, their vulnerability has put you in a advantageous and safe position. When I realized this fact, I frowned and thought, "...what?" If trusting relies on one party to be trusting first, how does anyone get around to trusting? This was all very confusing, and I laughed at this very chicken-and-egg scenario.

The conclusion I reached, and by conclusion I mean something I just threw together in order to make sense of things for my sanity's sake, is that trusting isn't necessarily your history with those people. I think it's more about conveying to the people around you that you're willing to be vulnerable and trust them, and that's the only way they'll truly trust you. If we're all guarded, there's no way we'll ever break past each others' defenses. If we all stand around with our shields up, looking at each other through the corners of our eyes, expecting the others to stab us when we put those shields down, we'll never put our guard down and will always be afraid of each other. It just takes one courageous act, one person to make themselves vulnerable and to show that it's okay to do so for others to follow.

So at the end of the day, it's not about being able to trust other people, but rather wanting to trust those people. If you want to be able to trust people, you have to be willing to put yourself out in the open. Of course it's not so stupidly simple: there will be some who won't believe that we do trust and will thus not reciprocate, some who abuse our trust, and some who are just plain crazy. I didn't say the be-courageous approach was guaranteed or even safe. It's like fishing, but instead of casting with grubs, you're putting your hand out covered in powerbait into the water. However, I find making myself vulnerable, even to people who could take advantage of such vulnerability, is worth it. The way I see it, people can only connect on a significant level with a very small percentage of the population, because people are birthed from such vastly different circumstances and environments. The less politically-correct version of that statement, and how I really feel about people, is that most people suck. They're boring, stupid, obnoxious, and self-absorbed. If you want to actually trust a person, they're most likely not going to be of that variety (If you're reading this and you are of that variety, please leave. If you're reading this and you're all of a sudden questioning your intelligence and "coolness," trust me, I probably like you :]). Seeing as how there are so few people out there to enjoy, I think it worth it to chance getting a little hurt in order to gain relationships that will sustain us for life. Pain and betrayal is easy to get over compared to a lifetime of loneliness and solitude. Living alone is suicide by tiny increments.

From being alive these long 19 years, I think I've noticed a trend in life that I approve of: if you want to be happy, if you want to be close to people, and if you want to be loved, you have to be willing to put in the sweat and tears for it. We'll work hard, harder than we think we need to in order to maintain our relationships, and we'll hurt and cry more than we think it's worth it to have relationships, but we pick ourselves up and know it's worth it. We just have to trust that our friends and loved ones will believe the same thing.


I realize I left out of this post one of the most important things I wanted to talk about, which is my inspiration for the post. I guess the post ended up being more philosophical than about my life, but I definitely want to make a shout-out to my inspirers. I feel that in my life right now, I have two people I can call my best friends. You know who you are. I was wondering why I trusted these two people so much, and I have to admit I wondered why (in a philosophical manner, not that I really questioned trusting, I love you guys!) I should keep doing so, and that's what got me thinking up this whole thing in the first place. I don't really have reasons or events to point to, and I don't know who shot first with their truth-gun, but I just know I trust them and they trust me, and that's all that matters. How we got here, I'm not entirely sure, but it took a lot of courage and work, and I'm so proud of having these two people in my life. I love you guys, and I'm sorry if I've made you worry. I trust you guys completely, even more than I trust myself to be a good person.