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[The following is excerpted from a group text I’m engaged in with my new friends in NYC. I met them after I started working at Accenture.]

Alice: I’m interested to find out or at least try to find out where this whole “men are better than women” thing started. I’m pretty sure we will never find out exactly when and where it all started but I would love to look into what triggered men into thinking we are these irrational, thin-skinned, whiny child-bearers.

Jinyu: I don’t think it’s their fault that they think this way. Our thoughts and beliefs* come from the environment we live in. The female stereotype/expectation had been around for a long time and it takes time and effort to change it. Not all men nowadays think this way. I want to say that generally men with higher education tend to be more open-minded on*(?) gender roles,* but of course that’s not always the case. But I think education definitely helps.

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  • After the hottest summer, it’s certainly a chilly autumn. I cannot get myself to come out from under the covers in the morning because it’s so cold. I know it’s really cold because the toilet seat is always cold now. Also, I’m sniffling incessantly
  • Family: My dad’s fine. He had an oral extraction done today (not his first and not his last), and it wasn’t covered by his insurance and I think it was ~$1000, but he’s not complaining. What a trooper. He’s the best, not only for what he does (wake up before anyone else to check the weather and wake the rest of us up; never fail to pick any of the rest of us up from the Stop+Shop near the bus stop), what he says (the guidance and example he gives to the NHP kiddos; by reading his Bible and Bible books with devotion all the time but especially early in the morning and with the dream/goal in mind of going to be a missionary in China, short-term asap but long-term as soon as he can retire safely knowing Chris and I will be fine with our futures; the career/life he gives me when I want to give up–and my mom, and Chris, now that I think about it), but obviously for who he is. I think Lewis kinda thinks my regard for my family and especially my dad is really heavy/weighty–and he probably notices it more clearly than I do because he can hear the words that come out of my mouth.
    My mommy’s tired, but enthusiastic enough to always tell me encouraging things with a smile and promise to study with me if I need her and does Chris’ physics problems for fun but also just to stay in the living room with us to keep us company as we do HW. She’s running for Stuy 9th grade parent rep, which is interesting because she hasn’t been super involved in the PTA (beyond donating) since I was in elementary school and she participated in the Chinese PTA. My mommy loves me and Chris so much. And I actually can’t say with much confidence that anyone loves me equally as they love someone else comparable to me (which is all sorts of horrible for me) , but I actually believe that my Mommy loves us equally and that makes me heart gush and swell.
    Chris is surviving Stuy. The kid’s commute…sigh. It’s all sorts of complicated because he has to coordinate with my dad afterschool. He has friends; more friends than I do, really, and goes to Seekers and some other extracurrics. But, man, the amount of back and forth and going from place to place is such a waste of time (in econ terms, high transaction cost? maybe actually opportunity cost if i think about it some more). on saturdays he has chinese and computer and something else back to back. This man is obedient, considerate, also funny. Thank God for him.
  • Other people: I just haven’t been talking normally. I think it’s normal to be able to laugh when someone tells a joke, respond when someone expects a response, and just generally be a social human being and engage in social interactions when they arise. I haven’t been able to express myself because “I don’t know how” but as I bury things deeper they really get covered and unrecognizable and I end up not knowing what’s wrong anymore. But anyway I have weird trust issues. Didn’t talk to Lewis even when he reached his hands back and clapped them together again and again to reach out to encapsulate some part of me. I’m stupid. I didn’t make any eye contact and couldn’t coherently answer Jeff’s question about “who helped me become Christian” even though he was listening and even expressedly wanted to hear my answer. I said some horribly garbled thing about once upon a time Jesus made my heart hurt. and then, when i tried again and was closer to target, once upon a time my parents met each other. what i really wanted to say was once upon a time someone told me “Jesus loves you” and I believed them. and once again. and once again. but as of 10/9/12, i can still count on my fingers the number of times I believe it when I hear it. I invited Jeff and Michelle to watch the Rumble with me and then cancelled on them and just offered them my email and pw so I could go home early with Lewis out of habit. I did nothing at home and felt horrible.
  • I talk to Karen, my bible study buddy, and I love her a lot. I love the time we spend together and I love that we read four verses and talk solely about just the Gospel for 2-3 hour blocks at a time. She’s a great friend. Even though I only meet with her once a week, I trust her so much that I don’t feel that neediness that I yearn from so many other people to be there for me at other times. It’s because I know and I trust that on Thursday afternoons, that time is for us and she feels the same way. She’s never distracted and she always listens. She’s not perfect or the smartest or the kindest or the funniest or anything, but she’s smart and kind and funny and so she’s perfect to me. So’s Homy. I’m sad she’s leaving. I’m also just kinda like blaaaah, why do these people have to be older than me?, which is such a silly question. But maybe it has to do with those trust issues. I trust them.
  • Yet I didn’t choose to go to body worship practice on saturday? so then i have no right to get jealous later. and i’m not–victoria and jane and the jesses and annie and vanessa texted and called me and taught me everything on sunday. and ginny bought me bao on sunday ^^ but gee. if i think i want to hang out with them, then when the opportunity arises, i have to do it, duh. this decision dissonance is something i’ve thought about and talked about before in regards to growing up. but i haven’t exercised it AT ALL. it’s so gross. because in my head and heart i want to be closer friends to them so badly. but my will is missing. i don’t think this is a textbook case of the needy friend from the four loves, btw, because i don’t believe i want friends for the sake of having friends. but it’s only one step removed which makes it pretty much as bad–i want to be friends with them because i perceive them as such great friends/friendly people/nice people to me. so, yea, i want to be friends with them for who they are, but maybe still for selfish reasons
  • selfishness: i can tie everything i do to selfishness now beyond generalizations. not just the email I sent Jeff and how i behaved at fellowship and how i walked home after fellowship and basically fibbed to julie to do so and how i keep crying for help (and literally tearing, too) and [just everything i do], but also my specific thoughts and my limited specific plans. feeling more wicked than i ever dared believed, but only as loved as i ever dared hoped for.
  • lots of things relate back to the Bible and Jesus for me these days. school, classes, lessons. every sermon i listen to when i run makes total sense and i can even apply and extend some things. i just can’t accept and believe them readily.
  • i’m so scared of Jesus. letting him love me is like letting a super buff good looking guy love me. or something like that. analogy in the works until I meet Him face to face. but since there’s always that circular reasoning of “He’ll deny me unless i really love Him,” this claim is easier to make in my heart and harder to make on paper without sounding flimsily feminine.
  • money woes: real estate tax hike, metrocard fare hike, time warner added fee, i take the express bus to sleep in later and avoid the morning 7 train which reminds me of last semester, i’m considering a new laptop that i can actually bring to school to do work and dorming and/or studying abroad. this all equates to more money going out while very little money comes in. i needed to stop fbc chinese school even though the teacher and the kiddos and the principal liked me a lot and they really grounded me every saturday morning–as you know, little kids can do that for you. spent money on a wedding gift for homy. and i’m committed to most of the costs of the care packages.
  • This weekend: we’re making the care packages, but michelle yeow decided she doesn’t want to help pack them anymore so that’s disheartening but completely understandable (and anyway, she’s been totally supportive and provided great guidance). but it means we have no car to go buy the stuff. so need to lift that and its costs up. also i wont even be at hope center friday cuz im helping with homy’s decorations. so i need to figure out how to get stuff where they need to be. wedding on saturday. im also doing ppt but that’s neither a blessing nor a curse but just a matter of fact that affects, but only indirectly, my happiness, which may be more dependent on my courage to be “myself”. body worship right after. then care packages.
  • midterms soon. 5 in 2 days. “no time to study”
  • stine is full of excuses.
  • dropped the Mad Love course (i liked the plato readings a lot but i really really didnt like the lectures because all the professor did was summarize, and his quirks started to bug me when i kept attending >< i have quotes and observations in my notes ><“) i’m going to try to take a bible literature course again next semester–again, because im hoping it’s like the ind study i did with dr mozes
  • thank God for metamucil.
  • so i guess the winding down whines would be: how is it that my family can’t afford the monetary cost and time to have enough/real food and why doesn’t our house have sufficient heat.
  • my brother needs pants to sleep in so he doesnt have to sleep in jeans.
  • i need more than $10.63 in my bank account so i can actually withdraw funds.
  • but ending on a happy note, cornea, mary, serena are all women who have recently saved me.
  • PTL for salvation, even lesser salvation.
  • being in a position to be saved is the more optimistic position than being in a position where you have to choose whether to die. #referring to that korean girl

My family and I went to watch The Karate Kid today.

Before going to the movie theatre, though, I talked to Paul.
He gave me this “quote to contemplate”:
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
I have a feeling it’ll end up being my half-page quote or something.
I want to risk it on Monday and just talk to him alone one last time.

Anyway, the movie

First off, I was super impressed because it was produced by Will Smith and his wife–so it was basically a family effort. Especially because my mom’s been reading college books, the collaboration reminded me of how there are parents out there who actually work with their kids. They’re not super super protective–I’m sure Jaden had to get hurt at least a little in the process of filming all those beating-up-scenes. But at least they could be there to watch and make sure he’s safe. They saw an opportunity to let Jaden experience China, experience acting, experience stuff most people never get to experience–in a real life way. Not by sending him to a prep school or camp, or taking him on a vacation, but by putting him out there. I laud Will Smith for keeping that integrity and being a great dad.

The movie was great. I liked that it was really in China, with real Chinese in it. Even the credits in the end showed the names in Chinese–which probably means it’s being shown in China too. I don’t know if I like or dislike how they portrayed China–the scenic mountains and monks and temples and tourist sites like The Forbidden City were dichotomous to the modern cell phones and the way the girl knew how to dance promiscuously to Pokerface. The kung fu was on par with Jackie Chan’s usually stuff–only more impressive because they were kids. The plot was real enough, and went at a good pace. The crying scenes weren’t tacky–I was impressed Jaden could cry already. (Also, that he has a six pack.)  Of course, it also has that moral in the middle and at the end about never giving up. I really liked it.

When we left the movie theater, I kept raving about how amazing Jaden must be. My dad got annoyed at me and ended up yelling at me–saying I was naive and stuff. Semi-defensively (but, compared to how I used to be, I wasn’t talking back at all. I was pretty polite) I just said that he still must have went through a lot and learned a lot from the experience. My dad still said something about me being dumb–made me speechless and on the verge of tears. We went to Burger King because my brother was hungry–and because I was silent and had that sad face on, I guess I annoyed my dad and he made us go home. My mom apologized to me on the car, but I told her to apologize to my brother since he’s the one who didn’t get to eat.

This isn’t the first time. My dad can always make me feel like crying. All he has to do is use this certain tone of voice and whatever he says hurts so much. This afternoon I was asking him..I guess about morals? (I had no Chinese school, and since you were at Chinese school and I ended up not going to Brooklyn and being a stalker. Instead, I looked at fb prom pictures, which is still pretty stalker) So because I saw a picture of DNgai drinking alcohol straight from the bottle, I was kinda annoyed and asked why underage drinking is bad.

Background: It’s weird that most non-Christians think that the Bible says it’s bad to drink. And then at church during Bible Study yesterday, we talked about how the Bible doesn’t say that–and in fact in moderation, it’s fine. Yet, I’m still ridiculously prudent. (In fact, it hurt when you told Jeff that you only go to CYF when there’s no Bible Study). It’s actually going to ruin me. I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m bad at being human (socializing) because I really am. It’s the reason I didn’t go to Semi. It’s the reason I quit debate. It’s the reason I’m not getting into college.

So yea. When I asked my dad, he said the same thing about how it’s not bad. And I guess I was expecting him to take a prudish stance, since he’s a parent and all. But not only didn’t he, he also started saying that I have perverted reasoning (not perverted like dirty jokes…perverted like skewed) and I’m dumb and God gave everyone a brain so we could think, if you don’t have one you’re retarded–but even retarded people have their morals too. And yea, I wanted to cry.

I’m so deficient as a person. I honestly can’t tell if I’m doing the right thing. Like, when I’m procrastinating, I know I’m doing the wrong thing. but when I turned myself into a nerd, was that a bad thing?

And I guess it was predestined and I’m genetically/fatally wired to be like this–but it’s so freakin’ sad.

(Oh. I bet I’m also just jealous that Diana Li x Daniel Ngai)

Also, can you figure out how to make this thing private?

It’s 9:20–I just got off the phone from a 20 min. conversation with Sisi. I’m really glad that she has a phone now<3

My story: Apparently while I was miraculously running to the library to get my book in time, Mommy found a World Journal article about this girl who got into MIT and won the local Brain Bee:

It gave her the idea to tell me to join it. At first I thought it was like the quiz bowl, and I was skeptic but somewhat excited? Then she kept bugging me to search it, and I told her I have no time and she should just search it to tell me when it is, what it is, etc. It annoyed me that she wouldn’t do the research and plan stuff so I could just prepare and participate. I mean, American parents–those dedicated parents who sign their kids up for stuff– 1)know what their kids would be good at or into and 2) would sign up for it, drive them to and fro, and take care of all those details. My mom is trying to care about my college app, but thinks she’s doing me such an extra favor when she doesn’t really do much at all (everything she does ends up being a waste of time). It’s not my fault she’s inefficient >.<

Anyway, when I saw that it was 1) a neuroscience thing and 2) during the second week of August–I said no because 1)I’m not into bio, let alone neuroscience and 2) it’s during YUGO.

One thing led to another and we just kept bickering. As always, no one heard the other side. I heard that she kept saying it’s for high schoolers, and you don’t need to be into neuroscience…but she absolutely was not listening to my explanations that it’s NOT REALISTIC. Any guidance counselor would tell her it’s not wise to just randomly do something senior year for the resume building. Especially not something I would fail at, since how you do in contests does matter. She said YUGO is not as important as this IBB thing, but I’ve been doing it for years and it’s actually something I’m committed to and related to something I’m interested in. HAS SHE NOT HEARD ABOUT “SHOWING YOUR PASSION”? On all fronts–for the college app, for my well-being–she was losing but just couldn’t see.

I hate that Daddy took her side even though he knows she was being just as argumentative and unlistening as me, if not more. He told me to be a “proper teenager” and I told him I didn’t know what that meant. Even googled it. Still, what did he mean? “Proper” in what context? Does he want me to get a tattoo and drink and do drugs like Cara but get into Princeton? Or be the goody-two-shoes and not care about this contest stuff? UGH

Then, I found that article–when I was searching for when the local bee is, just to entertain the idea of maybe doing the IBB. But it was over in March. Not only does the article confirm that, it confirms that I could not be that girl.


What made me cry is that Daddy had to go and tell me not to fundraise for YUGO. So why the freak would I go to NHP tomorrow when I could go to Hope Center and film the skit and be happier? How the freak can I make church thingees a bigger project to show colleges that I do care and I can do stuff. I hate when people dash my dreams last minute. It’s as bad as Transperfect and other companies lying to me about no internship spots. It’s as bad as Mr. Wang not telling me I was fired.

If there’s a lesson to be learned here, if I wasn’t actually right about everything I said, WHY CAN’T THEY FREAKIN’ TEACH ME THE LESSON?

So I started crying, went to Chris’ room–and he just stared at me. My own brother can’t even hug his crying sister. I must be pathetic.

I guess I just thank God I have a sister in Sisi. She called at a perfect time.

And apparently she has her own parent/college woes too.
Her SAT scores, her potential major and college list…
It doesn’t help that her mom is bipolar and doesn’t support her wanting to be a teacher.