An island birthed by a volcanic eruption in the ocean is like how my mother pushed me out of the womb. According to my mother, I was born one week late because I was being such a baby when it comes to living. I am so unprepared in life that it took me a long time to learn certain skills. Every time I struggled, I would easily cry from the fear of failure because superiors, including my family would yell at me, judge me, or punish me for not obeying their expectations/rules. If I paint or color outside the line, my crayons or paintbrush will be taken away. As I get older, I suck it up and persevere to every level. No complaints. No excuses.
After 19 years of education, I realized school is systematic as prison, which led to structured routine in adulthood. I had to wake up at between 6 am and 7 am to eat breakfast, go to class at 8 am to learn from textbooks and lectures, have a 15-minute recess break, eat a crappy lunch, go back to class, and go home to do homework on weekdays, except holidays. After graduation, it’s time to work 9-5 or overtime to buy a house, a car, pay bills and do taxes in order to survive. There is less time to follow your dreams. After turning 65, it’s time to retire as health is declining. Either take action or regret it.
I do not want to live this robotic lifestyle till I die. Therefore, I want to form my island. An island that gives me the sovereignty to set my rules, to choose anyone to live in my community, to build a house instead of renting a hut for $1,000 per month, to grow fresh food and access to fresh water without corporate companies poisoning us with chemicals, to pass knowledge to each other and accepting differences, and to genuinely help each other as a career without expecting favors. Whoever attempts to take over my island (Colonialists and corporate business people) are considered prisoners.
This was the last month of my senior year as a fifth year student. I was wrapping up my internship at the SJSU Counseling and Psychological Center as a video intern for my last paycheck and preparing my graduation outfit for a photoshoot and the ceremony. Thank goodness I didn’t have any exams on finals week. I couldn’t wait to get out of school and make my family proud with a Bachelor’s degree as a Dean’s Scholar (the college version of honor roll).
Behind the big smile on my face, I was suffering from anxiety and stress of entering adulthood. The adulthood of driving, paying bills and taxes, taking care of my elderly parents, finding my future lover, voting between an arrogant businessman and the controversial former first lady, and landing a job or internship that I want. So far, no one hired me after I achieved experience in 12-hour student film productions, edited video clips until my eyes dried out, and starved myself for several hours as a film extra. Working in a creative field wasn’t easy to earn an income. It would take more than five or ten years to become a well-known, respected individual. Although being a film major was physically exhausting and mentally challenging, I learned to be compassionate to others who were feeling left out in a team, to be humble of my achievements rather than being a diva, to be more social with unique individuals, to not take failures and criticisms negatively, and to be committed to sacrifice laziness to help my team wrap up filming after midnight. These qualities changed me drastically from a loner to a slayer.
After five years of being in college, I found my identity, but uncertain on how to achieve my life goals. For now, I will continue to improve myself despite setbacks.
On the evening of July 2011, I arrived in San Jose, CA from Honolulu, Hawaii to start my freshman year at San Jose State University. The 50 degree cold weather made my whole body SHIVER ME TIMBERS! It is common for Hawaii residents to easily shiver in a temperature below 75 degrees since they live in summer weather everyday. When you see someone wearing layers of sweaters and a blanket like one giant spam musubi, you, my friend, have met a Hawaii resident or a Jamaican from Cool Runnings. The first time I entered SJSU, I felt like a lost chihuahua standing on the sidewalk in a big city. I had no connections and goals yet. None of my high school friends can afford to live in another state because it was financially and environmentally challenging for them. Most of the Mainland students I have met were highly educated than me since they have parents and siblings with Bachelors or PhDs. My parents had never been to college and earned at least an Associate’s degree. Therefore, I had to rely on Internet and myself for college advice. This was the beginning of my journey in the Bay Area. My mission was to make new friends as an introvert while commuting between East Bay and San Jose in a bipolar climate in the next five years. May 2016.