Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WHO WILL FIGHT?

I started the day by having a video call with my best friends. It was 7 in the morning for me and they were having dinner together in Singapore. I told them all the anxiety I'd been feeling, everything that's been weighing me down or causing me to feel hollow. My three best friends listened, and they gave me a pep talk. One of them is a doctor, but she didn't get through the first time. She took a long way round to get there, and yet become a rare Malay female doctor in Singapore, she did. You could even say at this moment that that particular setback perhaps, very likely made her stronger and added to her character. I'm reading Michelle Obama's Becoming, and she failed the bar exam her first time. I mean, yeah the bar is supremely difficult, just like becoming a doctor is, but she also failed. My best friend gave me her "TED talk", she said, you don't have to feel good about it, but you have to get up. You have to get up, and go on. Get up, and go on. Get up. Get up. Get up. Also from Becoming is this anecdote, after Michelle Obama was told by her high school counselor that she wasn't Princeton material:
I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people—world leaders, inventors, musicians, astronauts, athletes, professors, entrepreneurs, artists and writers, pioneering doctors and researchers. Some (though not enough) of them are women. Some (though not enough) are black or of color. Some were born poor or have lived lives that to many of us would appear to have been unfairly heaped with adversity, and yet still they seem to operate as if they’ve had every advantage in the world. What I’ve learned is this: All of them have had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium-sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout I told you so at every little misstep or mistake. The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.
I walked into a building today, and I hadn't known it, but the building also housed an office for Hunter College. Lin-Manuel Miranda went to and also taught at Hunter. It reminds me that I want to go to college, eventually. I might take the long way round, but I'll get up. And go. Life is chess, not checkers. Today when I stepped into that building (not for Hunter College, not today), I received my first positive news in perhaps two weeks. I don't know if it's that, or it was letting out my deepest, darkest worries to my best friends, or it was that I dressed myself well with a proper amount of thermal wear, but today has been a most beautiful day. I walked around SoHo on the streets where the sunlight was hitting directly, and there was no wind to bite my face, there was no tightness in my lungs, struggling to breathe without pain from the cold. I felt warm from top to toe, and I walked and basked in the sun. The streets of New York are built beautifully, you cannot deny this. The buildings are well thought out, and they make sense to me. People stop and compliment me on my (Marceline) boots, a thing that happens very regularly here. I love New York, and today I was reminded why. Unlike in Singapore where people keep to themselves and sharing your thoughts is weird, here it's okay to be weird. Here, it's weird if you're not weird. It is a beautiful day, and the sun is shining, and I am in New York. I am in a cafe, eating a spanakopita, a Greek spring roll of sorts. I was first introduced to this with Han, when we were in LA the first time and couchsurfing at Nick's. Nick was probably the first Greek person we'd met. There are so many people in New York, and I am one of these people. I have gotta get up, and go on.