Dollar Coin Luck – Random Writing from Life

I lay in the dark, my blanket drawn over me until it nearly engulfed me. It was past 3:30 in the morning and I had less than three hours to sleep before getting up for school. A Sunday night that seemed like dejavu to me. A vicious cycle of staying up incredibly late at his place and causing my sleeping cycle to shift drastically. At least he didn’t always have to get up early to go to work.

My body was curled into the fetal position so tight I could feel my leg muscles already getting cramped. I wasn’t cold though. Just lonely.

My warm breath was filling up the hollow space my drawn blanket had created, the sharp metallic smell of a coin drifting up my nose. In the dark, my hands were fiddling with a dollar coin. The cool two sides now warm from my own hands.

A 1980 silver dollar coin with Susan B. Anthony’s face on it. Her stern face etched forever into place. He had given it to me in his bathroom as I was doing the final touches on my makeup. Insisting I have it, he plopped it into my hand and said it’ll bring good luck – despite merely getting it as change from the subway ticket machines. But I forgot it there on his bathroom counter, only to remember with a mental slap to the forehead after leaving his place.

I had set an alarm the next time I was over. And when it rang, “dollar coin” popped up on the screen.

“So I won’t forget to take it this time,” I had said almost proudly. But fortune didn’t take too kindly of me, as it slipped my mind again. By the door, I wheeled around to go get that silver coin from the bathroom where I had left it last time, but he was already striding toward me with an outstretched hand.

I thanked him graciously, as though he had given me a gift of wonders, and he called me silly in return for nearly forgetting again. I gripped the coin in my hand as I laughed, tucking it safe and sound in my pocket.

Fast forward a few days and I’m standing on his porch, ready to leave for home again. Snow was falling gracefully but heavily, leaving a heavy burden on my mind as I thought about my journey home. He told me to enjoy the weather – jokingly – and I sighed in return. But never fear. I turned to face him and pulled my hand out of my coat pocket. Putting my hand outstretched in front of him, i opened my fist to show the dollar coin. I still have it with me, I said in a proud manner once again. He looked down at the coin and a smile stretched across his face. And suddenly the trip home didn’t seem so bad anymore.

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Surviving vs. Thriving

I’m ashamed to look and see how long it has been since I last wrote a post on here. I do have quite a few posts to write about so I will probably spread them out over the week. For my first post…

Recently, my dad’s friend from Chicago (let’s call him Reader) came to visit with his daughter who is two years younger than me. He is a very intellectual guy who has loved to learn since he was a child back in India. He’d pick up any and every book just to expand his knowledge – and boy, did he really expand my mind when he came and stayed for a few days.

One night we were all chilling by the kitchen counter and he gave me a speech about how I should choose to go into my future and nothing has ever struck me as much as what he said that night.

As many people say or have heard from others, you should follow your interests and do what you enjoy. That was the message Reader gave me essentially but worded this way:

You need to find something you’re obsessed with. Something that interests you so much, and something you are so passionate about, that you will wake up in the mornings and chances are that THAT is what you will think about. It should be that way. Anyone can do any job in the future, humans are capable of adapting to their environments.

But if you choose something you obsess over, you will excel no matter where you go. You will be promoted sooner than later, you will get a higher salary raise if that’s what you care about, and people from other fields will come to consult you because you are one of the best in your field. But most importantly, you will have fun.

You can be really talented in one field, but if you don’t obsess over it or have fun with it, then in the end you will be surviving, like everyone else, when really you should be thriving and making a difference in the world – regardless of the field you are passionate about.

“Don’t just survive. That’s what we immigrant parents all over the world have done and are doing right now for you kids. All these immigrant parents have left the comfort of their home countries and are merely surviving right now. Don’t be like us, that’s not why we brought you here. Be better than us, make a difference.”

His speech hit me hard. I’ve always heard people say follow your interests, but it what how Reader put it that made me rethink my entire future. I had plans to go through the English field and become an editor of some sorts, because I enjoy going through the editing process and also that is one of my skills. But.. I don’t obsess over it. I don’t wake up in the mornings wondering what literature I’m going to read next (as much as I’m trying to read more nowadays) nor do I pick up and read any of the books on writing/grammar that I have received as gifts from family.

The one thing I obsess over is paleontology. I love it with all my heart and have since I was a little kid. Paleontology is the subject where I willingly go and WANT to buy books on and read on the train. Every time I go to a bookstore, I always search for a paleontology section. Currently I am reading a book on the Tyrannosaur family that I found at a thrift book store and I am learning so much.

Reader’s speech didn’t just affect me though, it seems like my mom was also enlightened by it. To my surprise, my mom, who had once strongly suggested neurology as a career path, is now encouraging me to follow paleontology. First, I should finish my English degree and get a masters, but afterward – go get that paleontology degree and maybe become a professor.

To be honest, I have yet to look at schools that have good paleontology courses and am still feeling slightly lost despite knowing what I want to do. But I have a good feeling about it.

Nature vs. Environment

I’m supposed to be writing an essay on a sonnet, but honestly there’s only so much Shakespeare your brain can handle before everything starts to not make sense. As I’m having this break, I thought I’d take the time to write an overdue post.

I label myself as an introvert, and my mom often tells me that I have to change from an introvert to have a more successful life (that’s another point for another day), but I also hear from some people that you are who you are and you can’t change your nature. I wonder, though, just how much of your personality is naturally who you are, and what parts of your personality is affected by your environment.

By nature, I would say I’m a “docile” and passive person. That, in turn, has been the base characteristic that shapes all my other characteristics. For example, I’ve never gone out a lot when growing up because as the only child, my parents are quite overprotective of me and worried about me when I happen to be off by myself late at night or such (In gentle words, I had relatively strict parents).

Now, people say that strict parents often end up raising kids who are more rebellious or want to go out more as an adult to make up for their lack of childhood. But I think that depends on your base nature. As I’ve always been a passive person, I grew up just accepting what my parents wanted and, thus, grew up to be someone who identifies more as an introvert – someone who would rather be by themselves, someone who gets tired very easily when out and about, and etc. If someone, by nature, was not passive but rather maybe more outspoken or lively, then I think there’s more of a chance that that person would grow up to identify more as an extrovert, set aside a rebel or anything of the likes.

I think it’s cool just how much of your natural personality and how much of your environment can take part in shaping who you are as a person and continue to grow as a person. Like, how much of yourself do you think is natural and environmentally affected? 50/50? 40/60? 70/30? It’s pretty intriguing to wonder and I’m sure we all can figure that out if we take the time to trace back through our lives and analyze it. I mean, for all I know my passiveness isn’t even a personality trait I naturally have.

What do you guys think?

Compassion Under Fear

This past Sunday, my family went to visit another family for a barbecue they were hosting. I had never truly met them formally before, and to my horror they had a five year old boy. Now let me tell you, as a 21 year old girl, I do not particularly like kids. At all. I much prefer animals. It may be because I grew up as a single child with cousins much older than I and instead watched a shit ton of documentaries on wildlife, but I am awkward around kids. Or at least, with toddlers and below. Not to mention I hate loud noises and some toddlers tend to be loud and/or make loud noises like throwing toys.

Anyway, their five year old son, let’s call him P., was super into me. He kept looking at me and doing things to get my attention. I eventually went inside with him because he wanted to play with me. And from there I was held hostage by a five year old boy for 5 hours. As an introvert who gets tired from socializing quickly and also someone who is not at all fond of kids, I was dying fast and furious.

That night when my family and I got home, my parents were teasing me about it because they know I am incredibly awkward around kids and babies. I kind of snorted and said that I disliked kids, which lead to my dad saying how that meant I’m not compassionate. I think that was just my dad’s slightly inebriated side talking, but it got me thinking.

I think you can still have compassion even if you don’t like something. Heck, I hate spiders. I fear them and every time I see one I will freak out. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have compassion for them. Whenever I see a spider in my vicinity, no matter how much I freak out, I won’t kill it. I’ll have someone else take care of it and throw it outside.

Of course, it’s a no brainer that if you don’t like something (or even hate it), you aren’t at all interested in them. For example, I won’t go out of my way to donate to a charity that saves some endangered spider species because I’m not interested in them in the slightest to begin with. But when it comes down to specific moment between me and a spider, yeah I will have compassion and avoid making any rash decisions that might mean death.

Same with kids. I might even go to the extent to say I almost hate kids, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stand by idly if I see a kid getting hurt or such. I do feel sympathy for kids who suffer through bad times, be it an abusive home or losing a family in war, and I wouldn’t wish harm to anything no matter how much I dislike them. And I think everyone can relate to that. You may not go out of your way to save or do something nice for something/someone you hate, but you might just have a separate container of compassion in yourself that has nothing to do with your fear or disliked thing.

Of course, everyone’s fear or hatred of something may very well exceed the point where his/her “emergency compassion” may not exist for that specific thing/person, but I think it’s there in everyone to begin with.

What do you guys think?

Taking Away Illnesses

So as everyone knows, I’m epileptic. For those unfamiliar, it’s a brain disorder where I will get seizures. However, my medication prevent seizures from occurring.

Now, for the past year, I’ve stopped taking my medications and I’ve been alright! No seizures whatsoever, I don’t even get symptoms of oncoming seizures either. I informed my neurologist at my last appointment earlier this year, and he didn’t understand why I stopped. He said I should continue (I still have not continued my medications haha).

I’m currently in the living room, doing my own thing while partly eavesdropping on what my mom was saying to my uncle over the phone. They were on the topic of dogs, particularly my dog and my cousin’s dog. She talked about how our dog actually gets seizures from time to time as well, which he has. So far, he’s had two or three seizures I believe. I never really thought much of it except that we need to get him to the fucking vet’s ASAP, but my parents never found the time.

Then…

She mentioned how there are always folk tales of pets taking away illnesses of their owners. And she said that since I stopped taking my meds and not having seizures whatsoever, our dog has begun getting them.

And then as a side story mentioned my cousin’s dog, who is a very aggressive dog. And since he became a very unfriendly old dog, my cousin (the one who brought him home as a puppy) had lost his nasty short temper and random outbursts.

I don’t know if I believe that, but it definitely is a weird coincidence. Not to mention, it makes me feel slightly sad. That if that is true, my dog has to suffer through random seizures.

Hm, whatever it is, I thought it was interesting to share.