Water Lantern Festival: It Happened!

Hi there! The tumultuous wait finally came to an end!  The title pretty much tells you what this blog will be about. I got to indulge and immerse myself in a moment of lanterened lights; lanterened lights that shared quotes, stories, letters, and artistic value.

This festival served as a continuation as one of my dear friends Destine’s birthday present(s). I made my way down to San Jose to pick her up and then proceeded to down South where the festival was taking place. Parking was a hassle and chore to find but we managed to scoop a good spot. We checked in at the park and recieved our date night special package and found a good spot to work on our lanterns. At first, I was skeptical on how to even go about the creative and artistic process let alone justify it entirely; however, I reevaluated on what I believe that I do best to undergo this: writing letters. Since the lantern is supposed to have four sides, I dedicated each side towards four themes in letter format.

IMG_13397386150675574687842_IMG_96811674562359131210453_IMG_9661IMG_1341
The first side was a letter to my future self, the second, a letter to my Hopes & Dreams, the third to my Fears, and the fourth to those in my corner.
Destine and I proceeded to the lake to launch our completed lanterns together during the cover of darkness and then took some time for individual reflections.

fullsizeoutput_11e36349323346127508169_IMG_9744

Once the lantersn floated away everything at that point felt cosmic and dreamlike. It was more than just immersing in a Disney Tangled moment. From here I witnessed value and power in a matter of a couple of hours spent. In all of this, this is where the acceptance of honor settled over shame — healing enfolded over the hurt.  Negative contexts rendered nonexistent. Where vulnerability, validation, reciprocation, most importantly Love triumphed over the place of hate that prospered in the coexistence.
I’ve shared with a few amounts of people that my end-goal in life is to find a small measure of peace, something which few people ever discover, and that last night was just one of the pertinent steps in achieving that eminence.
Either way, I wouldn’t want to experience this kind of encounter any other way, and I am beyond the terms of humbled for this.

Thank you all,

Josh

​Balancing Survival and Happiness

Life is a series of mishaps and fortune: where everything is of equal measure of joy and fear. I didn’t come to this kind of notion of distinct feelings until this is ultimately what I’ve been attempting to assess in actual reality and continuous effort but often I come to roadblocks that prohibit me from doing so. So, let’s analyze and do so with me.

I am a full-time student enrolled in Cal State East Bay in Hayward, CA. Here I am not only a student but working full time as a Resident Assistant and also carrying the weight of another job consisting of crackhead night shifts. Both positions are night jobs, so the limitations of freedom during the day are not so much in my favor due to classes and other priorities.

When trying to juggle seven classes, work two-night jobs, and commit to other priorities and people at the same time can be one of the most taxing hitters in life. From here, I felt very disconnected and disassociated with not only my peers but myself especially. Life and the world itself gave up on me, and I did as well myself. For a short period so to speak. For some blessing in disguise, I’ve had a change of habits to outnumber the bad days. I’ve been making progress in myself to start utilizing the gym by lifting and lifting heavier. Not to mention a sudden and massive change in a diet consisting of meat and vegetable protein and other veggies implemented as well. Water has been a consistent part of my lifestyle as well; both detox and regular. From these sudden changes, I feel better-ish, physically, mentally, and spiritually where I’m not dwelling on past thoughts, the ones that used to plague me every night. I’m sleeping more hours now which is a good thing and feeling more recharged than previous days. I consider these small victories that will hopefully turn into huge ones in the nearby future.

When you try to Balance Survival and Happiness especially on an unstable health set, it becomes another burden that weighs on your shoulders. It’s heavy and comes in multiple waves where disconnect and disassociation become your new friends. Sometimes its little changes that stem from a blessing in disguise that can transition to better habits, but also being in this new mindset still can mask its true identity. Even at the happiest peak can one still face the struggles of vacantness. Balancing becomes exhausting, but I believe that in some way, shape or form, there can be some small measure of peace that you can discover amid the chaos.

Suffering: Why I detest that word

Suffering has always played a significant role in people’s lives. We often look at it in different forms where the complacency of itself defeats the person or builds them up to become and emerge a better version of themselves. It feels like an unescapable funk of rock bottom.

Personally, my own suffering is most likely the reason why I am the way that I am. Now, I  don’t want to get into some whole notion of self-diagnosing myself of various mental illnesses or make up a reason why my suffering triumphs over yours or the next person. No, that’s not my end goal whatsoever. You can look this as a rant for the most part. The title of this blog pretty much sums up the gist of what I’ll be explaining, so, buckle up.

Frequently I cringe at the term ‘suffering’ in a very uncomfortable and sickening way yet it also makes me feel furious at best. But first off what makes the term makes me feel that sort of feeling? Suffering can take any form really − from a family that struggles financially often questioning where their next meal will come from. Young children from third world countries facing the horrors of war thus having to “fight” for survival thinking about whether they will be killed or not. Homelessness with inadequate care. A person that fights the internal demons every day and having to mentally go through that kind of hell. Now then, I’m not saying that one form of suffering is at a higher magnitude and should be praised over the other (suffering should never be glorified in general); these are just instances that are very common yet not recognized and addressed. That kind of uncomfortable notion should be a feeling that should leave us questioning why it is so vaguely raised yet so familiar with each other when we do not think about its level of impact.

images

No one should ever suffer through the everyday buses and ropes that life throws out, period. I do not even wish that kind of torture for the select people that I do not like. It’s a mental, physical, and spiritual plague that feels like it can progress slowly yet so rapidly over time. Though we have the power to change all that and have control over our own lives, take into account that others are not as privileged as us and yet do not have the luxury to do so.

Who do we pinpoint the scapegoat of this hell? Do we blame it on God? Another Diety? The people that brought them to that low point? Social and environmental factors? Life in general?

My hope, for humanity specifically, is that suffering will be eradicated and that we can live through our own measures of peace, big or small. Sounds like it can only be achieved through a simple dream, but sometimes hope is that measure of faith and philosophy that keeps us inspired and driven.

Thank you again,

Josh

Looking Bright Ahead in 2019

 

IMG_9592.JPG

It’s a new year, which means more significant challenges, warm experiences, and lessons that will be. So far my 2019 has been off to a content start, to say the least. I have already made great plans with friends during the first week of the new year along with planned events in the nearby future! So, with that being said, I’m excited to share some of the beautiful experiences that have happened and will happen! (The picture of Cobie the Corgi exemplifies how 2019 has been for me so far.

My choice and flow of words of this post may be disorderly with grammar and not how I originally wanted it to be, but it’s early morning, and I got very little sleep last night lol. So, please bear with me

I flew back into the Bay Area last Thursday night arriving at Oakland International Airport. I was visiting my family back home in Southern California where my other family from across the pond (United Kingdom) visited my family for the first time. There, I met my cousin, cousin in law, and my niece and nephew who do not drift far away from my age. But anyways, I took BART and AC Transit back to my apartment when leaving the airport because no way did I want to spend twenty plus dollars for a hefty priced Lyft ride (haha). The next day I made plans to catch up with my friend Mary where we indulged in vegan food in Berkeley over at The Butcher’s Son. We caught up on gossip where she feeds me all the drama that tends to flow around the Bay Area Hardcore scene along with her issues as well. Later that day, I did errands all over Union City to try and come up with thoughtful gifts to buy for Destine and Aimee’s birthday.

Fast forward to the next week, yesterday Monday evening, I caught up with my other friend Aoife and took her to the Hello Kitty Cafe for the first time over in San Jose. We headed over to Cheesecake Factory first for dinner, and it wasn’t the greatest due to the food being so heavy and greasy which resulted in me feeling ridiculously anxious for the duration of the night (I’m surprised I was even remotely okay to drive back home). So far these are some of the few events that have made the first week of 2019 wonderful

Now, with some of the planned activities ahead, today, I will also be catching up with my long time friend and old coworker from Hot Topic, Kayla. We haven’t seen each other since we went to a Hardcore show in Cupertino and that was back in April last year…

Tomorrow will be on the heavier side: it will be my grandma’s third year of passing on to the next life. I distinctly remember the whole day as if it was yesterday and how it left the biggest hole in my heart. I had asked Destine to come along with me on this tough day, but more-so so that she can meet and spend a few minutes with her. I want my grandma to know how much of an impact Destine has made on me in the last couple of months of the 2018 year. It has been two in half years since I last visited my Grandma and I’m not sure of how the outcome will be but having someone there with me will relieve those unsure feelings.

This Sunday, my friend Alexa from San Diego will be visiting me for a few days. Since it’ll be raining half of her visit, I’m not sure there’s much we can cover for the duration of her stay, Coffee shops are definitely the go-to spots to take her to, but I can only hope for the best of what else is yet to come!

Destine’s birthday is coming up this month on the 27th, and I’m beyond excited to see her turn twenty! I spent a lot of time pondering on what gifts to buy her to show her what I know best of what she likes yet also show her how much I love her. During my visit down in Southern California, I visited San Diego with my twin brother along with my niece and nephew and picked up a few things that I’m excited to give to her including some of the gifts that I ordered online and bought up here in the Bay Area. She tells me to stop buying her gifts, but little does she know that there’s a few more to come (hehehehe).

Now, with this later event, I thought of in spur of the moment, the fact that I’m beyond ecstatic for. This April I will be taking Destine and me to a Water Lantern Festival in San Jose. Initially, I was surfing the internet looking for lantern festivals where people are allowed to launch lanterns up in the sky. Talk about them magical Tangled vibes, right? Unfortunately they didn’t have any of those experiences; however, I came across a link that listed out as a Water Lantern Festival. As doing research, reading the significance of these festivals, lurking on Instagram, watching YouTube videos, I was enthralled of how beautiful it was.. After a handful of minutes of critical thoughts, I decided to go and ask Destine to come and experience this kind of opportunity with me. I ended up buying us tickets, one for her as her early birthday present. Ultimately, my goal for the both of us to experience something new and existent for something that only happens once every year utilizing engaging in peace, hope, exploring happiness and comfort, bringing healing to each other, most importantly be present in our love for each other. When the festival does happen, I will make a post documenting the whole experience.

Now then, what is the whole gist of this post? These are just a few events that have occurred and will occur in the nearby future that I wanted to share with you. Primarily, I’m looking bright ahead of the year in hopes to encounter ‘the now’ through the moments and beautiful events that life feeds me with the company of good friends.

Thanks for reading this and have a blessed New Year!

– Josh

*whips and inserts song “Living My Best Life” by Lil Duval (feat. Snoop Dogg and Ball Greezy) hahaha

 

The Challenges That Be

I should attempt to ease into my posts with something that entails a soft tone instead of going straight for hard reflection. So, with that being said, here’s my attempt.

This post will be my personal reflection within myself as a person and the challenges that trailed along with it.

I’m sitting here at one of my favorite coffee shops in the Bay Area called Cafe 4, located in Castro Valley, typing out the words I can be vocal at best. Words that are not enough to express the disputes of the 2018 year. Though there were many moments where my cups of success triumphed, the other days where I felt bleak, empty, and cold convinced my brain activity in its full capacity that such feelings were to all I ever know. Every night when I would trail off to bed but could not find the comfort in rest is where my demons plagued me. This was also the year where I experienced heartbreak and rejection not once but twice in a matter of short months apart. This was also a trigger factor where I only grew to hate myself each day, persuading myself that my actions were never out of genuine love and care, but just for acceptance and confiding thus buying someone’s approval. Even if my tries were out of love and care, I feel as if they never hold up to their end of the bargain. Overall, I felt never good enough.. Though the people that do love and care about me to say that every effort I go out of my way is more than appreciated, I tell myself otherwise or I let those words of affirmation go from one ear out the other. To sum it all up, I feel worthless.

You know that saying that Master Yoda told young Anakin Skywalker, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Growing up watching the Star Wars movies, I never felt such a quote be remarkably applicable to my current life.

https---blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com-uploads-card-image-241501-tumblr_o6j24z7he81u5mtijo1_1280

I don’t want to be at a constant of endless disconnect with myself and others. I don’t want to continue to see myself only immersing in self-hatred. I don’t want my suffering to be the reason for my demise. I’m sure others can concur with me on that.

So, with all this hate-instilled fuel in my post, is there a silver lining to all this gray, empty feeling, bruised and beaten up mentality that continues to take over my body? For the most part, yes. As shocking as that does sound, there is that small vision of seeing the light in the darkness. That other small part of my brain advises me that that little glimmer of hope that I will not adhere to mental slavery as I already am. That the chains and shackles bound on me will be broken and I can just finally breathe in and out that small measure of peace that I always rave about.

With the ongoing struggle that I continue to wrestle with the idea of that still lies deep down in my core I am beyond grateful for those who understand where I’m coming from with all of this. Specifically, two people that have made the most significant impact this year, Aimee, who I have mentioned countless times from previous posts and continues to support me through all the emotional rifts, and Destine, someone who I am just now introducing into my blogs.

Since this is my first time talking about Destine, I will do so in this post. She came into my life when I needed someone the most. We have grown close ever since opening up to each other even our most vulnerable parts where we have been at our lowest. So far, she is thriving in life and continues to do so with the healing power of her loved ones. Her strength,  kindness, sociableness, a smile is what gives me the drive and inspiration to be at peace with myself.

4738050272_IMG_8209.jpg

Destine, thank you for everything and for listening to my nonsense. You have impacted so much wisdom, knowledge, and kindness that I cannot reach such a caliber. The magnitude of how much love I have for you is immeasurable. Carry on with the same characteristics that I know of you so well, my dear. I will continue to support you with all my being for you are a sunflower in my life. I love you dearly and unconditionally.

My goal for this upcoming 2019 year is to be on the starting point of stability with myself for the first time and make the best out of it. Through there is where I can navigate myself in discovering that small measure of peace. Though the challenges will front itself at me and little triggers will avert my attention to the negatives, I will do my best to take things one day at a time.

These are the challenges that be.

 

 

The Love of Quality Time

If it’s one thing about me, it’s that I LOVE spending quality time with people. This can be a 1 on 1 interaction at our favorite coffee or boba shop, or even a group setting indulging in delicious Korean barbecue and taking shots of soju. Though these are some of my own personal experiences, I favor more of the 1 on 1 aspect because it has more of a personal feel to it.

I remember having a 1 on 1 with my direct supervisor in the Student Housing Department of my college. These 1 on 1’s are not only mandatory but my supervisor makes it best to have it intimate to where it doesn’t feel forced and having to direct every issue dealing with residents about policy violations in Housing or maintenance issues/requests due to the condition of the apartment complex. These 1 on 1’s are the opportunities to be human and voice such concerns about our own lives.

I took this idea but implemented it with the people that I love & care about. Every 1 on 1 spent with a different person has an outcome of new positive emotions that transpire as well as feelings that gravitate towards stronger feelings of love & care. These moments are the time where undivided, uninterrupted attention is dedicated towards this person and this also applies to the other party. When you are giving them that time, you are giving them those moments where you will never get back and showing that they are worth that sacrifice. That’s the beautiful thing about life, is that we allow to let these people in our lives and allow ourselves to dedicate that love for them by means of quality time. Even with a multitude of demands in the 24 hour time frame of each day, we do best to be able to work accordingly around our schedules and are willing to make those sacrifices without ever having to think twice. It’s a refreshing feeling knowing that you and that one person are sharing thus making a recollection that you are able to take down memory lane.

Quality time comes in different forms such as doing an activity that one party enjoys while the other partakes in that interest. Even if having no sense of the given activity, do best to question it, show deep interest, this knows that you’re willing to put in a loving effort of showing them that you love and care about them.

My boss and I share the same philosophy: “people that you love & care about come first.” I stand by this statement to the fullest extent. Ending on a good note, if you are willing to make those huge sacrifices that require effortless planning, money, and more, you are showing that person that they are worth it. That in the end they are worth everything.

The Ugly Truth

Ever since I started to embark on this journey of journaling my experiences and express the darkest of feelings I’ve learned to come across such posts. Those blogs on the topics of love, heartbreak, healing, driven kindness, any kind of human emotion that is essential and that I can resonate with to the fullest. I find comfort in these sort of posts no matter how triggering and painful they get when reading about them.

At best, I know what I am getting myself into and the shocking truth of what I fear and feel so utterly embarrassed and ashamed about, but for what specific reason?

I fear of the actual truth and facing it seems more daunting than actually said. I feel ashamed in that sense that I cannot withstand and accept that kind of realization, that these feelings I have are real and completely normal. I guess that it ties along with that sense of embarrassment in which my pride settles in and a wave of uncertainty floods in.

Some of you may ask what “truth” I’m talking about. For me it’s the simple truth of fear and fearing to face the sure reality with nerve-wracking human emotions. It feels like a plague which treatment cannot suffice. At times, I wish that I can never feel and be numb to these emotions. That way my heart will never have to go through those highs that can instantly turn into such lows.

But to come to think about those flustered feelings, it’s a beautiful struggle.

Life is, in fact, constantly and irrefutably, a beautiful struggle.

We focus on things that we tend to leave our feelings on the back burner. We forget how fragile life can be once something traumatic or heart-wrenching creeps in and settles for a duration of time, and that focus is directed towards whatever emotions we want to feel and subside in.

Though going through such chaos and hell, we eventually find the time to heal. Healing can take days, months, years, maybe even what we consider a lifetime, but always remember to heal at your own pace. Never feel the need of pressure from someone to rid yourself of whatever plague that surfaces. Most importantly, never pressure yourself to heal at a fast rate. Just like college, there’s no rush whether it’s four years or even seven years, take your time. You heal at your own rate. Remember to surround yourself with those that want to be a part of your healing process.

As much of a work in progress I am, this settling feeling shall wither eventually. As the saying goes, “this too shall pass” as much as I want it to, I believe that some small measure of hope, it shall.

And that’s the ugly truth, to wrap it all up.

Thanks for listening to me Ted Talk. HAHA