A Lonesome Night of Writing

My parents are away in India. My dad left at the end of January and my mom left about two weeks ago. I’m home alone with my cousin and my dog, and it’s quite nice. But right now, I feel a bit lonely. That sinking feeling of loneliness is gently nagging at me from inside my chest. Part of me wants to talk to someone, but another part of me also wants to be alone. My cousin went to go sleep half an hour ago and my dog accompanied her shortly after. I’m sitting on the couch and, man, I wish I could hug someone right now. It is almost that time of the month for me though, and I tend to get period blues so I’m not entirely surprised at this feeling. But it still sucks. I suppose for now, I will do a little writing tidbit because why not? This is from earlier in the day when I was over at Gamer’s place.

 

“Am I fun to hang out with?” Without realizing, I had blurted out the question that was on my mind while looking up at him mindlessly from his lap.

“Yes,” he responded without looking down at me.

“Really?”

“No, I hang out with you three times a week just to make you feel better,” he said jokingly as he glanced down at me with a smile. I let out a small laugh.

“Okay, good, that’s how it should be,” I replied also jokingly before we both looked back at his monitor. He was sitting cross legged on the bed while I had my head resting on the pillow in his lap. With his laptop out in front of him, he was trying to program but we both were a little too mildly interested in the 90’s gameplay that was playing on YouTube in front of us on his monitor. It was warm in his room and my legs were tangled in his blanket, my arms holding onto his arm loosely. Nearby, my laptop was off in the corner with my phone and a raspberry flavored Airheads wrapper gently fluttering back and forth from the fan in the room. A 4pm Sunday afternoon – it doesn’t get more lazy than this.

“Do you think you’re not fun to hang out with?” I turned my head back up at him when he asked that after a few seconds of silence. His eyes were still glued to the monitor as I repeated that question to myself silently.

“Well, no. It’s just I don’t do much when I’m here so I was wondering what it could be about me that’s fun.”

“I have fun hanging out with you, but if you’re bored here you should let me know.” He looked down at me and I shook my head. That’s not what I meant.

My mind flashed back to the first night we met. After a round of hot chocolate, I met up with him again after his work was over and we went to his place. It was an awkward, incredibly polite meet up now that I compare our current hangouts to that November night in 2015. Upon leaving his place, I recall that moment where I walked away from his apartment down the sidewalk at 10pm. The brisk chill in the wind washing over my cheeks as I looked down at the pavement with my hands digging deep into my pockets to keep warm. Well, that’s that. I had thought to myself, trudging toward the train station. I was so sure that I was never going to see him again. So sure that it was like the other guys I met before him – a hit and run type of meet up with those empty words of “we should hang out some time again” and “I’ll text you.” I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever tell him about how I think about that night periodically from awe and pleasant surprise.

“I do have fun with you. I was just wondering,” I smiled genuinely. As repetitive as it may seem, I did enjoy doing the same things over and over with him. Though, sometimes I do wonder what it is about our hangouts that seem fun to him. It’s normally him doing his own thing while I look on from the sidelines. What do I do that’s fun for him?

“Well, you stop thinking that, you fluff nugget,” he smiled jokingly again and squeezed my cheeks with his one hand, making me pout.

“Okay,” I said in a very nasally voice, causing some chuckles to spurt out of both of us. “So, when are you free next?”

“Whenever. You pick the day.”

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.

Late Night Story

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long while since I last posted. To be honest, nothing super exciting has been happening. So, since it’s been a while and I still feel the need to post something, here is a little tidbit I wrote. Often times, a moment will suddenly give me the need to write it down in story form. The following piece was written down the day after it happened, and I remember in the moment one sentence stuck out to me for a while: “… no more words were exchanged as we retired for the night.” I changed the sentence once I began editing it, but that’s where the piece stemmed from. That one sentence. And that’s normally how most of my stories begin, from one random sentence that sticks to my mind until I write it down and then expand around it. So, please enjoy! It’s actually quite a bit longer, so I cut it down a bit for this post. Sorry if it seems a bit abrupt or such in some areas :) This takes place a few weeks ago when I spent the night at Gamer’s place.

It was nearing 3am, and my eyes were so strained it didn’t even feel comfortable to close them. I took off the shirt he lent me and placed it next to me against the wall in a crumpled fashion before lying down, enjoying the comfort of my head sinking into the pillow. Returning from the bathroom earlier, I had turned the lights off and now only the blue lights of his dual monitors across the room and his bright laptop nearby illuminated the room in an oddly soothing way. It was clear our introverted selves had enough of mindless chatter for the night and I could tell both of our minds had sunken down to a level where having a conversation did not seem like the most appealing idea.

His room was chillier than usual – at 72 degrees – the perfect temperature for me to wrap the blanket around me and be cozy. I brought the blanket up to my chest and tucked it neatly under my arms before glancing down by my feet. I was unable to completely stretch out my legs because he was lying horizontally, his back to me as he was still on his laptop looking at Pokemon source codes. He seemed wide awake, compared to earlier when he was dozing off while we were on the 5th YouTube episode of Pokemon glitches.

Wanting to stretch out, I scootched over and awkwardly pushed my legs past his arm and ended up in an odd curved position. Perhaps he realized that I was attempting to sleep or that it was getting incredibly late because he got up to come to lie in bed as well, bringing his laptop along.

“Chillin’?” He smiled at me as he moved toward the pillow, his laptop balanced on one hand and his laptop’s light reflecting off of his black rimmed glasses. I smiled and nodded in response. “Chillin’? Like a villain? On penicillin?” Letting out a laugh, I looked at him in a slightly quizzical way.

“What? That’s new,” I giggled as I moved over a bit more to give him room. He set his laptop down on the piano bench and plugged in his earphones – looks like tonight he’s not playing the video out loud. At first glance, it’s amusing to see a piano bench next to his bed, but it was conveniently level with the bed so one could place multiple items on it. He had brought the bench months ago into his room from the piano in the dining room so that there was a flat surface to put our Indian take out on. And it’s been in his room ever since.

As was done every night, he began his nightly YouTube search of a lengthy, commentated gameplay to lull him to sleep. Tonight, he searched up a random gameplay of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth on his favorite YouTube channel, a game that he’s been resorting to for the past couple weeks.

“I said that to you earlier, remember?” he let out a chuckle as well as he placed his glasses next to his laptop and lay down, putting in one earphone to listen to the gameplay. He glanced at me and moved his arm above my head. In response, I swept my hair to my free side and raised my head so that we’d transition into our default sleeping position.

“Oh yeah, that’s right you did.” I then briefly remembered him asking me that earlier in the day when I was lying on his bed reading while he worked on the game he was programming by himself. Resting my head partly on his chest, I snuggled up to him and rested a relaxed fist on his chest while he wrapped his arms around me comfortably. 

That was all we said that night as I closed my eyes and we both retired for the night. The white noise of the fan whirred in the background but was soon forgotten about as I subconsciously matched my breathing with his rising and falling chest. He had a faint but very familiar smell lingering on his skin. I still wasn’t sure if it was from his Jimmy Choo’s Man cologne or his Old Spice body wash even after months of being with him, but whatever it was, I loved it. Nothing has ever soothed me as much as that scent has and, as always, I could practically feel my entire mind relax as I breathed it in. 

A few minutes later, I was nearly dozing off but the sound of his his heartbeat speeding up disrupted that. It thumped loudly, but perhaps that was because my ear was right above his heart. He’s having a panic attack. I uncurled the loose fist that was formed on his chest and lightly traced my long fingernails up and down a small area of his chest without moving my hand.

It wasn’t much and I knew it probably wasn’t going to make a big difference, but I hoped it helped a little bit. Shortly after, his fast and loud heartbeat subsided back to normal and I stopped the light scratches, glad to see it was over. Panic attacks suck, and I still have no idea how he manages to keep a straight face on when he goes through one. Granted, he’s been getting them constantly since he was a child. I turned on my side and relaxed, hoping for my mind to descend into the haziness of sleep soon. He shifted along with me and I felt his arm slip over my bare waist and hold me close. Comforted by his soft, even breathing by my ear, I let out a breath of contentment as the quiet night settled on us peacefully.

Positive Push

As we all (hopefully all by now) know, I love writing. I live for writing. I love writing various things from short stories to poetry to critical essays.

Of course, for school we submit different types of writing and then get our grades and feedback on them. Constructive criticism is great – it helps me improve and know where and what to fix. But one of my favorite English teachers of all time always gave me only positive feedback and no criticism at all – despite not correcting obvious grammatical errors I may have overlooked from time to time. On separate occasions he even suggested I submit the writing pieces (several poetry pieces and an article) to journals or newspapers to see if they’d get accepted.

It’s… nice. It’s nice to get positive feedback. I know some people are probably fueled with motivation to do better if someone tells them a negative thing, like my mom. My mom is one of those people who has the “I’ll show them how good I am!” attitude. But I’m the opposite. I tend to do much better when I receive positive feedback. That’s not to say I don’t like constructive criticism. Constructive criticism most certainly helps me and I don’t dislike it at all, but I definitely love positive feedback better.

For me, my mindset toward constructive criticism is “oh okay, now I know where to improve and what to do next time,” whereas my mindset toward positive feedback is “oh yay! I did well. Now I’m more confident in my writing and feel like I can do anything!” That’s the type of feedback that pushes me to do well and better (no, the positiveness doesn’t get to my head nor do I become arrogant haha).

My English teacher did that, and I’ve never felt so confident about my writing over the year (I had him for two semesters). I’m very grateful to him and I actually still have all the papers/works that he gave back. I like to read them over from time to time if I need an extra push on a certain day.

It’s great :) What fuels you guys?