Swinging Away, This Childhood

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written November 2008

I went over to my friend’s house this Friday. At the park, I walked over to two kids that looked about eight and six at the park, asked what they were doing, and invited them to a game of tag.

It ended up in a swinging contest. I was the judge.

I called the picture Swinging Away, This Childhood, because I know being a kid isn’t going to last, and you’re just swinging in the air, all free and happy with the wind messing up your hair. And then, before you know it, you have to get off and your childhood’s gone.

Maybe it’s not like that. But maybe it is. I’m not the one to speak. After all, I’m still swinging.

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A New Chapter

I start graduate school in I/O Psychology in exactly one week!

For those who aren’t familiar with the field, a brief spiel:

When you think of psychology, you may think of mental health issues or counseling. But we often overlook the psychology and mental states of people who work. If you think about it, most people work–you probably work, your friends probably work, your family probably works. And maybe one of them has run into issues of, say, a bad boss. Or a toxic co-worker. Or lack of motivation. I/O Psychology addresses all of that. It addresses the daily psychology of people like you, me, your neighbor, your best friend’s cousin, of workers.

The field is relatively broad, and it overlaps with HR. Some go into recruitment and hiring. Others go into training and development. Others go into I/O psychology consulting.

I generally don’t feel inclined to explain the whole field to people–this was just something I told a parent about a year ago. Her friend, at the time, was working alongside the I/O department at a consulting field. She seemed very knowledgeable. My boss was also familiar with I/O and asked, with a bit of a twinkle in his eye, why I didn’t choose my alma mater for graduate school. That’s where the renown organizational psychologist resides, isn’t it? I said they didn’t offer the program, ironically.

As far as academics, I know I’ll be fine. At my alma mater, the grueling cold Ivy where people locked themselves up in libraries on weekends, I still overloaded from boredom and shaved a semester off. But the field of I/O Psychology, which I’m pursuing, is less saturated in academia and more so in practical, boots-on-the-ground application. So I’m steering my focus on relationships and practical experience. In my own time, I’ve been learning basic Python, because apparently, it’s incredibly useful to know.

All in all, I’m excited to start the program, to flip open to a new chapter in my life. It really does feel like that (it be like that sometimes). I’m nervous about juggling my schedule, but I know I’ll be fine. And finally, I can pursue the field of Psychology! I’ve spent years of my life poring over psychology books and studies, signing up for mailing lists at 11, memorizing researchers and days and conditions. Now I can pursue it–professionally and academically!

Reverie

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Sometimes I find myself lost in paintings: the best pieces, I think, are transportive. You’re no longer in the pristine museum with white walled divides or the living room with its gaudy frames. You’re on some field instead, climbing over oil globs and brush marks and resting in blended shade. You’re on the rainbow trail dotted with pink painted flora. You’re somewhere else instead, dancing in visual reverie.

Picky

A perk of being picky, I think, is that the food I make tastes good, because otherwise, I won’t eat it. Because otherwise, I feel irritated at having invested time and effort into something I don’t love to eat. Because otherwise, if I don’t love it, and it’s not crispy where it’s supposed to be or tender where it’s supposed to be or salty when it’s supposed to, I feel agitated. I have to learn the food! I have to learn it!

I mull over it. I research temperatures. How do I manipulate it properly? I look up similar experiences. Why did egg whites collapse? Why was the meat rubbery? Then I learn the material. What does one type of meat do under different types of heat? Pressure? Time? How does one vegetable cook so the texture is just right?–and not like those awful watery canned cafeteria greens.

When it comes to food, I’m just so very picky. I’m picky about what I eat, so I’m picky about how I make it, because if I don’t make it right, it’s as frustrating as being two and force fed carrots. I’m also conscious of price–cannot be too high– and health–cannot be unhealthy and bad, but it also cannot taste bad, like those weird veggie shots in smoothies.

It must taste clean, with little salt, little oil, little grease. I always privately thought that delicious food swamped in grease was cheating. Dirty fast food is fine in moderation, and I love indulging every now and then, but if I eat too much, I feel like shit. And healthy should not equate to nasty. Vegetables smoothies make me gag. Healthy foods should taste good, too. Clean protein. Vegetables. Yes to flavor explosions, no to blandness. This is where the spice rack steps up.

There are various rules surrounding the food I make and eat. I generally don’t eat the same foods two times in a row, unless I’m on an obsessive streak. Fruits don’t mix with vegetables. Vegetables are better solid and simple; fruits are preferable in smoothie form. No meats in the morning, only carbohydrates. The more I type this out, the more I realize that my rules are a bit rigid and that I am, as my boyfriend says, particular. Well, I guess I am very particular.

At least my picky particularities contribute to my food-making. Or so I like to think. On another note, it wrong to expect others to be able to cook? To me, it’s a life skill. Like being a caveman and knowing how to make fire. I find enthusiasm towards cooking both admirable and attractive. Food, sustenance–this shit is important! And it should always taste good, too.

New Blog Layout, Hurrah

Why am I looking up psychology studies at 12:30 AM?

It’s hard to believe that graduate school starts soon. I’m nervous and in slight disbelief.

But I have energy and resolve and whatnot. The only thing I’m wary about is…transportation.

My blog has undergone a makeover. It’s small and minimalist now. I’m not even sure if it’s intended for reading. The old layout was just dull and littered with ads. That was driving me nuts.

These image-ridden posts are getting tiring. I’m going to opt for more of these brief, blank text posts.

That’s it for now. My mind draws a blank.

Weekend Trip

This past weekend was a good one.

We roll in after five and a half hours on the road. For the first half, I immerse myself in the bloated dialogue of Altered Carbon, pausing every now and then to contemplate the soothing country road.

Do you want to make a stop? Why not? We take our bathroom break in the crowded & glorified stop. It glitters and shimmers with clamoring families and fake lashes and bustling bodies. The last time we came here, about two summers back, the bathrooms were cleaner.

A few hours in, we find ourselves trapped in miles of stagnant traffic. We drive onto the parallel local road, cruise up a few miles, then stopped again, snail-crawling our way around a closed highway. On a Friday night. Afterwards, it’s dark. I don’t pay attention to the tolls on tolls, just the small screen in front of me.

Eat, sleep, wake. There’s a stork by the lake, a spider on the window. We down some coffee, eat fried rice, drive over to GameStop, then the grocery store, and then back. Video games, dreariness, chattiness, and then the FunPlace, with the slightly overpriced roller skating arena. We glide on the cold cream concrete floor. Except for one. I am terrified watching him hobble his way dangerously on skates. He leans forward, like he’s about to topple over, and every push is a tense one. After two hours, we go home, sweaty and tired.

Another grocery run. Barbecue. DJing and grilling by the lake. Time passes. Around dinner, we pop in for food and the match. It’s a nervous match, and we’re on the edge of our seats the whole time. Good bye. Good night. You are the king, and I am the queen. I am the king.

Next day’s one spent with small people. Dolls. Fashion show. Hide and go seek. I, the dedicated hider, decide to hide for 36 minutes under a box in the garage. I send riddles with hints buried in them. We resort to more and more desperate measures. Fence hopping. Backyard sneaking. But still, the other games go by relatively quickly.

We call it a night, and half play games, while the other half plays music. Eventually, I conk out, tired, until early the next morning, when we leave.

Tiny Catharsis

after I left, I realized that, well, in this life, we may make money, we may be successful, but who the hell cares if we’re not with the people we love? that’s what matters in this life—the people we love. we’ll die like everyone else, maybe leave behind a scrapbook or a few digital albums, maybe end up on Reddit’s oldschoolcool if we’re lucky, but that’s it: we’ll be dust. but if we’re by the people we love, it makes our time existing a lot more bearable.

7/7/19, 9:56 AM

writing in my journal feels like wringing out some soggy towel of thoughts and airing my brain out in the sun.