“If a liar says something 1000 times, it becomes the truth.”
Not sure if my dad got that from a fortune cookie or some Chinese proverb, but today it spoke to me a bit differently when I first heard it a few years ago. I recently went to watch Silencing Stigma: Speaking Out that a ton of awesome organizations came together to present at the JST Events Center to bring awareness to Mental Health and Disability in Asian American communities. I typically don’t go to events like these on my own, but because I joined MHDA (Mental Health and Disability Alliance) this semester, I wanted to come out and support. My reasons before for not doing so in the past (without the relation to the organization) rested on the premise that I didn’t feel that I belonged in the community here. I don’t know why I did not like the idea of hanging out with other Asian Americans. I guess I just preferred to find non-Asian American friends in my circle like I did in high school (had a great variety of people around me of different ethnic cultures). I’m pretty happy the Writing Center is a place of such diversity so it feels more like my high school-esque group.
But, I digress. After attending the event, I really felt the emotion and could relate to many of the stories told, or at least sympathize. Circa Pintig, the group of actors and actresses that performed (+2 UIC students!), shared their mission and vision at the end, saying that no one is able to share your story except yourself. I thought that was very compelling and speaks greatly to why I even bother to take hours writing these blog posts. I swear, I scrapped 2-3 drafts before writing this one because I wasn’t satisfied with the topics. They were too cliche or overwritten in my opinion. Picking something unique and going with it, making it as personal as possible, is a task that I struggle to do when I write. However, the results are fantastic. I think I alluded to this in a previous post where I talked about “quality writing.”
The performance was very beautiful. I hope that I may also assist others in sharing their stories in the future. Sometimes the greatest stories are those that have not been shared, partly because of the fear of shame and embarrassment, or sadness. I remember not being able to talk to many people about my issues in high school that forced me to bottle up everything inside. I think after accepting a certain amount of psychological oppression with negative thoughts, I became them.
The “proverb” I mentioned earlier relates to this. If you keep telling yourself phrases like “I suck. I’m useless. I’m an idiot. Why do I even live? Why does no one like me?”, well, it consumes you and you become unmotivated to do anything (and everyone around you DO notice, so they still continue to stay away from you or get mad at you for feeling that way — its contagious). I catch myself saying these phrases many times a day, and it’s very unhealthy. Most of the time I say it very lightly, and shake it off by trying to insinuate happier phrases like “I CAN DO THIS. STOP SAYING STUPID THINGS, MILIE. I KNOW I CAN DO THIS. JUST SUCK IT UP AND DO IT.” This post-talk after negativity fuels my drive, and I attribute this post-talk to how I deal with my stress each day.
I had a fellow pre-med club member ask me how I appeared stressed, but did not actually feel stressed. I told him I was boggled too. I stated that perhaps it was because I maintained a level that is right below my threshold of an actual crying-stressful-break-out-session. I was insanely stressed out sophomore year (I took like a million classes and organic chemistry was the bane of my existence) to the point that I really wanted to give up. I just wanted to throw everything around and scream as loud as I could. Yell like a baboon. But, I never think about doing those or post-that moment. I just don’t think it’s worth my emotional energy. I mean, being sad is not useful at all. Suffering is not useful. Pain is useful because it tells you something is wrong, but choosing to not do something about that pain is completely stupid and useless, and it’s a choice that many people and even I have chosen during our lives. I also just think about how I have it really good. I actually am in college and millions of people around the world would give anything to be in my shoes. I think about how I have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, toes, feet, legs, etc. I’m so thankful to have those things, and I’m sure many of us take that for granted. Appreciating these things, when I look at the school work I have to accomplish and all kinds of requests by clubs or demands from other aspects of my life, I just kind of take it all and I don’t fight with these demands. I think stressing about it and being annoyed just inhibits my learning and my ability to work. And work…work is probably one of the most important things to me. I learn a lot when I work. When I study, I learn a lot too…but I have to study it many times for it to really stick with me.
So, if you take anything away from this, I just hope that whatever struggle you are struggling with–it’s a real struggle…but also know that you have managed your struggle well and if not, there are many resources to assist you on campus. I think sharing your struggle is really important, but only if you can grow from it. I have struggles, but I don’t worry about them as much as I used to. There’s always someone else out there a lot worse than me, and I hope that I can help as many people as I can who are in that situation.