life is good
life is good

life is good

what I’ve been up to these days

image

Every time I ‘re-visit’ a city, I’m brought back to when I was last there. The last time I was in NYC was the summer of 2022. I was 19 and hated college. I did everything I could to leave this place that I now call home because I felt like I was only alive during the summer, but I had also never felt more alone that summer while in my tiny apartment overlooking Hudson Yards. I’d often look out my window, people-watching folks go in and out of Penn Station, speculating about where they’d be going. It was a summer of rediscovery, one of love and heartbreak, and prompted a long road of healing down the road because of many bad decisions. I’m not saying I make much better decisions nowadays. My friends (especially bdo, Jho, T, and B) like to say I make the most questionable decisions out of everyone they know. I cope with this by telling them that the universe just wants me to re-learn the lessons that I haven’t sunk in the past 3 times. China this past fall, for example, was a series of not well-thought-out decisions that led me to go back to my birthplace, isolated from all of my friends, and have some of the most miserable months of my entire life trapped in Shanghai with a bunch of white people who believed they could be Chinese because apparently to them ‘being Chinese is a mindset.’ My friends often ask me about this time in my life, and I don’t talk about it much better it was a fever dream.

In Shanghai, I was the prettiest I’ve ever been on the outside but I’ve never felt uglier on the inside.

When I finally open up, I tell people that Shanghai lacks the soul that I feel when I walk the streets of other cities. Influencers line up on every corner of the street snapping pictures for Xiao Hong Shu. The good thing about this is that they give me the confidence to be more shameless in public. It also didn’t help that the college I was studying abroad at was a fashion school, and I saw firsthand there that beauty is effort, and makeup and stylish clothes were the way to ‘make it’ in the world. I express myself more openly now thanks to these unreachable Chinese beauty standards, with Shanghai being the reason why I finally started playing with and wearing makeup, so I guess I can’t hate that part of my life too much which is why I don’t dwell on the past.

These days on campus, I linger in my favorite places of the past less often.

I’m in the science and engineering complex every day because half of my classes are CS, but I don’t go because I hate my CS classes. The PhD students don’t keep their bad opinions to themselves. But I make up all the missed material because my friends tutor me, so I watch them code on one of the ten keyboards they have. I walk home late at night (or Uber lol), contemplating many of my life decisions like how I ended up going from fun East Asian studies and sociology classes to picking up a CS minor this semester, all because one hackathon rejected me while accepting my teammates who can code, and going to or hosting hackathons every week to build cool stuff with my friends while they let me crash in their living room's spare futon. I think about boys a lot because of a TikTok that said, ‘If you haven’t had a long-term relationship by 22, you’ll be single until 40.’ Thus, I go on dates where I have to begrudgingly split the bill. I listen to this one guy speak about trains for hours, not because I care about the MBTA system, but because one day I hope I can take the train’s place in his heart even though that will probably never happen. I camp out at the Eliot Dhall less because my room is comfy, and people don’t come up to me and confront me about scheduling dinners or not responding to them. But I miss the big sun lamps that make me less seasonally depressed, so I sit in front of the windows to bask in the sunlight. These days, my TikTok tarot cards tell me to shut up, but I haven’t listened. The friends I know from freshman year tell me I have a horrible track record of ‘best friends,’ but I disagree, even though I have a laundry list of ex-best friends I avoid eye contact with when I run into them on campus. I miss all the friends I still have in my life, so I post on my Instagram close friends every day so they know what I’m up to. I text them whenever I think of them and tell them how much I love them because I’m not sure when’s the next time I'll go off to some random country and not see them for eight months. I tell them to ‘say it back’ because I don’t know when I’ll hear from them next. I decided to just ask for what I want in life because the sprinkles sprinkles lady on TikTok said so and if you never ask, you’re never going to get what you want.

These days, time moves quicker than it used to, maybe because I no longer have the energy to lament the past. Life is good, that’s all I think about these days.

Love, Jacky <3

image
image
image

Subscribe to my substack below if you want updates to my writing!

I haven’t posted here in a while because I didn’t feel like I had anything of note to say, but I’ll drop in here & there to share pieces of my life. 2024 has been everything I could’ve asked for so far. It feels like the collection and turning point of everything I’ve worked toward and asked for the past four years. I haven’t felt more alive in a long time. Time to listen to my tarot cards and just shut up and live my life a little more (:

sneak peek if you’ve made it this far: I’m working on piece on a virtual k-pop idol group (PLAVE) instead of writing my thesis lol