Response to Olivia’s Post

Hey Olivia, I found a lot of comfort in reading your post. Throughout our biology lectures, I always admired how passionate you were to gain as much knowledge as you can to prepare yourself for scientific research. I had the impression that you had this specific goal engrained in your mind ever since you were a tiny little zygote haha. Along with you, I have met countless other people who already know what they want from life and this was really intimidating for me. I was never sure of what career path I wanted to pursue and I’m still unsure. My family and friends constantly ask me what I want to be and I can’t ever give a definite answer. My lack of certainty drags me down and holds me back from enjoying my youth. After reading your post, I felt reassured that it’s okay for me to be uncertain. Even though you had your entire life planned ahead of you at twelve, giving SRMP a chance helped you discover something you found even more intriguing. Instead of worrying about having one solid plan, I realized I should be open to exploring different fields and taking on new opportunities. Maybe I’ll stumble upon something I love doing as much as you love doing research!


Response to Geevanesam’s Post

I really liked the main idea you had about your “Real”, and it resonated with my own perspective on this subject. I also believe that the journey towards perfection is the best “real” you can have at the moment, and you should strive to make the best of it. Your quote sums up your situation very well: The way I get closer to The Real is by searching and finding. Searching and finding new roads to love. Searching and finding new approaches to love. Searching and finding new [all] people to love.” and at the same time, you can place anything else instead of “love” and the point would still hold true for anyone seeking life advice. Your past was not the easiest, and I respect the fact that you had accepted your past experiences as a means to become stronger and better rather than a mental burden on your confidence. There are no absolutes and you will always be judged by someone, so it is best if all of us just accept these things and just work towards being the best people we can be and make living for everyone a bit easier.


Great post…


I appreciate the NF reference! (Had been listening to NF – “Let You Down” recently).

Response to Pruthvi’s Post

“What is the real? How can you define what the real is? Is there even a real definition of this real? The answer is yes and no. Somewhere in between.”


I enjoyed reading Pruthvi’s post because he asked questions I thought about while writing my own post, but didn’t end up putting into words. How do you define the real? When reading Pruthvi’s post I was reminded of my favorite philosopher and theologian, Paul Tillich. Tillich uses the term “ultimate reality” to describe the real and he calls the search for the real “ultimate concern.” Tillich’s idea is that even though each person’s ultimate concern might be different, often times we all reach the same ultimate reality. As Pruthvi discussed in his post, often times even though other people’s thoughts and opinions might seem radically different than your own, once you take time to see things from their perspective, it often becomes clear that ultimately your ideas aren’t that far apart.


Response to Tasmim

Tasmim, I completely understand the frustrations that come from being a perfectionist. I’ve loved arts and crafts my whole life, but I have had many times where I completely tossed a project that I worked incredibly hard on just because I made a mistake. Most people would work around the mistake or just ignore it entirely, but I was never that type of person. I always tried to make the image of the project I had in my head come to life in my work, and if I could not do that then it was not good enough. This was a constant problem I had when I was a kid until one of my teachers taught me how to incorporate my mistakes into my projects. Just as you learned to incorporate your mistakes in your henna designs, I learned that a mistake should not make my work worth any less. An example of this can be seen in the book we created together! When I was splattering the purple paint a big glob of it landed where I painted the sky, and instead of freaking out about it I cut a little piece of paper into a cloud and glued it on top. And even with my mistake, we still created a great looking book ;).

Response to Xhesika

Hey Xhesika, I am writing a response to your post because I am really encouraged by it. Without looking at your post I have written mine on how I am conflicted between two identities: Korean or American. But as you have mentioned maybe both of those identities build up to who I am. And maybe I do not have to discard one of them to have the other. Also, I really liked how you ended your post, “People change, but one thing remains true and that is that every phase, every attitude, every laugh, and even every bad hair cut has been the real you.” This really spoke to me saying that not one memory or experience that I have is put to waste.

*** I really hope that I spelled your name correctly haha.

Double Consciousness

Ive always existed in categories after immigrating to America. You know W.E.B DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk? He coined the term double consciousness. It is the sense that we are always looking at ourselves through the eyes of others. He states that black people have consciousness of how others see them and how they see themselves. Ive most definitely sensed this and I sense it all the time. I always think about whether someone is looking at me as a stereotype. The heartbreak when I discover they do. Are they going to look at me, see something I do, and then assign that to every one of my race or ethnicity as a stereotype? I think people of color experience this. I am conscious of how people view me, as a person of color, and how I view myself. But, it’s more than that, I can see myself through their eyes; like it’s racialized. Also, I never thought this is the person I would become today. There are many times I have scrapped a plan that I thought was completely right at the time. This happens with school projects where I have a plan larger-than-life, grandiose but I dont have the resources to execute it.

l o v e

I’m a Christian. Shocker, I know.

All my life I was told to blindly follow rules. Do this, do that, don’t do this, do NOT do that, and I did as I was told. Can I be real with y’all? (You can’t answer, so I guess that leaves me no choice). Not only did I do as I was told, I judged everyone who did not do as was told. I hated them with a passion. I believed that they didn’t deserve God’s love, that they were going to hell, that they were evil. This isn’t a therapy session, though (totally not making a reference to my favorite artist of all time, NF).

There was a point in my life when I lost everything. My friends. My family. My voice. Myself. All I could do was write. At the age of 12 I wrote this line in one of my depressing journals:

If pain is an ocean, then I must be a reservoir. 

Emo, I know (IT’S NOT A PHASE MOM). It was at my lowest point I had a revelation I was pushed even lower. Imagine being at rock bottom and losing everything and trying to find hope by reading The Bible and reading this as soon as you open it:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.                      (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 MSG)

All this time I thought I was right, and I hated anyone who didn’t agree with me. My Real, in reality, was just as bad as the Real of someone from the KKK or any other terrorist group. When there was no one to love me? I realized what my Real is. It is to love. Many people tell me I’m one of the kindest people they’ve ever met, but honestly, I still have so much more to go. The Real will always be out of reach, because to completely reach The Real is to reach perfection, just as Passing Strange ends with ambiguity and the Youth not reaching The Real, which depicts life as it is. The way I get closer to The Real is by searching and finding. Searching and finding new roads to love. Searching and finding new approaches to love. Searching and finding new [all] people to love.

I’m a Christian. Shocker, I know.


My Passing Strange

To be honest, I have been staring at these questions for a very long time now and I still have no idea what to write, but it’s due in 30 minutes so I’m giving it my best shot. One of the earliest times I remember existing between categories rather than inside them was in elementary school. In Second Grade we had an assignment to talk about our family, but I was living with my grandparents instead of either of my actual parents (I don’t know why I just was). Up until that time I thought it was a completely normal thing, but other students made me as if my parents had abandoned me and didn’t even want me around being that my sisters were still living with my mom and I wasn’t. On a less serious note I was the only one in that class whose favorite pizza was mushroom, so I was in a category all to myself then too. Another case of category mishaps is in Sixth Grade when I started living on and off with my dad upstate in Woodbury. Just to let you know, I absolutely hated the children of Woodbury. My dad became known as the motorcycle guy that threw a lot of parties, so whenever we threw a party all the neighborhood children would just stand outside my house watching us like little vouchers or like they were in The Children of the Corn,  playing ding-dong-ditch and messing with our guests motorcycles. In my opinion, they were just jealous cause none of them or their parents were invented, but that’s just me. I was also the only person there that liked the city, I can not express how much I despise suburban living. I couldn’t do anything but stare outside my window. There wasn’t even a bus to take to me to the mall, actually I had no friends up there anyway so that doesn’t matter. Other than that, I think the fact that I live in New York CIty is what is guiding my steps towards the Real. I’ve never had a real passion for anything. There are things that I like to do, but the only thing I love is trying new things. Living in the city gives me the opportunity to do just that. With this seminar alone I’ve been to museums I’ve never even heard of, seen very cool looking rocks, went to my first dance show, and visited a very interesting bookstore to say the least (Printed Matter). Then if I ever get tired of it all JFK is a 30 minute drive from my apartment.


All my life, I thought I was Korean, not American and not even Korean-American. But everything changed after I visited Korea over the last summer. After living in America for 8 years, I planned to visit Korea after graduating high school thinking that I will be returning to home at last. But when I arrived everything was different. First, I did not have a physical house that I was able to call home. Secondly, all the “homes” (my relatives’ house, friends’ house, and rooms that I rented through airbnb) that I have been to did not give me the comfort that I was expecting for 8 years of my as an immigrant plus 13 hours that I spend on the air plane. I would be lying if I said that I did not have fun during my visit in Korea, but ironically I got homesick as I was dwelling in the place where I thought was my home for my entire life. As I got on the plane to return to America, the only thought that came into my head was going under my soft blanket and taking a nice nap. This trip proved to me that my home was now Oakland Gardens, NY. However, this trip was not enough to prove to me that I was American. I still struggle to figure out my own identity. I know that I am not fully Korean anymore. But this does not mean that I am American. My passport still proudly proclaims that I am proud and royal citizen of Republic of Korea, but I am confusedly and maybe even shamefully going through the process of becoming “proud and royal” citizen of United States.

I believe that everyone is wired to worship something in their life. In case of the Youth, he was worshipping art with the purpose of finding security, identity, and the Real self. In the midst of my identity crisis (Korean or American), I was, and still am, wired to worship the reputation and recognition that I can get from other people to find my security, identity, and the Real me. But from the advice from others and experience of my own I know that the reputation and recognition will only bring me temporary security, identity, and the sense of Real me. Knowing what I am wired to worship will only provide me delusional real self, I realized that I wanted to worship something that will provide me a permanent, if not eternal, security, identity, and sense of Real me. And for me, only one who was, and is, able to or even have power to fulfill my deepest dissatisfaction was, and is, God. I still have a long way to go because as I have mentioned earlier, I am wired to worship my reputation and recognition. But now, I have chosen to wire myself to God. And “Thus far the Lord has helped” me to find the Real self.

1 Samuel 7:12 (NIV)

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”

Passing Strange

Having been born in New York City, I feel like I was born into the center of American culture, the melting pot of the world, the place where innovation in art and fashion, science and technology and so much more happens. The place where people all over the world can only dream of one day going to. The place full of millions of people and languages from all over the world. However despite all this diversity, it was not always easy finding my own people and my own culture. I never truly felt a part of American society. This feeling is more palpable now with the current political climate and how the majority of this country views Mexicans and immigrants. Thankfully, I could rely on my Mexican side. This meant learning Spanish as my first language, eating different foods, listening to different music and watching different entertainment than what my peers would watch. This also meant having a big, and I mean really big, family, whom I wouldn’t always see, but when I did it was always pure love and care for one another. However, I don’t consider myself fully Mexican because I never grew up there or have even been there. I never faced hardships where I would have to leave school in order to work in fields and assist with the animals or have to help make bread to support the family. I never faced the hardships my parents or aunts and uncles faced in their small town. I never had to leave my hometown and family and everyone else I ever knew and loved just because my family didn’t have enough money to stay there. Despite all this, I have always been grateful for having been raised with love and support from my family, for family is the most important aspect of Mexican culture and while I may not be fully Mexican or fully American, I am glad that that value has stuck with me.

Similar to the Youth, I have always been in love with the arts, whether its theater or dance or visual arts and music. But the one aspect I am most drawn to has always been music. Since kindergarten, where I had my first experience learning the basics of piano, I have always been drawn to music. In middle schooI was drawn the orchestra and I became first chi viola for those years. In high school, however there was no music progra and so I looked elsewhere. It was in freshman year that I began to take piano classes all the way up until my senior year. In high school I met other people that had interests in the arts. I participated in talent shows and won one and even went to perform at another friend’s gig at his program outside of school. It was a fun experience, but it wasn’t until after my music classes ended around May of this year that I felt lost and didn’t know where to go. I no longer had a teacher or conductor to guide me. Every time I was able to perform or improve my skill I felt like I was a part of something greater, like I was destined to do something with this knowledge I have, but just as it reached its peak, something happened and it had to end. As of now I am still lost, but hopefully that will change soon as college begins to fully unfold and I begin to learn how to explore on my own without the need for a guide.