Monday, June 25, 2012

Accompanying Work for the 2nd Issue of BK's NBDS

Questions to figure out my Talents- defined as things I like doing and because I like doing them, I get good at them.

What was I doing that made time fly by?

-          Contemplating and organizing my thoughts in a written, typed out format regarding questions about my life that make me think and allow me to understand myself.
-          Reading a book or watching a TV show (NOVA, Ancient Aliens, Through the Wormhole, Planet Earth) that discusses the answers to some of the mysteries of the universe, human psychology
-          Talking with a friend intimately about something important in their life

What am I curious about?

-          Why people do the things they do
-          Why people like what they like
-          Why questions about the mysteries of life
-          Why people live life the way they live it
-          Why some people are successful
-          How to use secretive, elusive, powerful knowledge to change my life

What would I love to do more of?

-          Spend more time talking with friends in deep conversation about life, discussing questions that really make us think and discuss our own life experiences, stories, thoughts, and feelings.
-          Spend more time with friends bantering and joking around along with the deeper conversations as well.
-          Reading about books that discuss the answers to the mysteries of life, the universe, origins of man, controversial topics (national geographic magazines)
-          Pursue adventure-related activities that make me feel excitement
-          Travel and immerse myself in the beauty of nature and feel a sense of awe.

What do I look forward to doing?

-          Traveling and immersing myself into beautiful national parks around the world (nature)
-          Experiencing what sex feels like, dating
-          Learning Wing Tsun
-          Having more fun times and deep conversations with friends

What would I do in my free time as a kid?

-          Watch tv shows that made me laugh. Ex: the Simpsons (clear distinction: no vulgar funny)
-          Watched my favorite kid shows: Arthur, Berenstain Bears, Zoboomafoo
-          Watch discovery channel documentaries that discussed mysteries of life, the universe, dinosaurs, or earth (scenes with beautiful scenery of the earth like doc.: Planet Earth)
-          Play basketball to search for that sense of power and domination over your opponent when you are on a roll and they can’t stop you

What am I interested in?

-          Human psychology
-          Social dynamics in conversations and how to use them to my advantage
-          Human origins
-          Ancient cultures and civilizations
-          Ancient astronaut theories
-          The universe
-          Experiencing nature through wilder methods (adventure)
-          Understanding myself: why I do the things I do, who I am, what I want to do with my life
-          Self-improvement
-          Wisdom and learning arcane and recondite knowledge that can improve my life

What was I doing when I felt happy?

-          Dominating a basketball or football game. Feeling unstoppable and standing apart from the rest of the players.
-          Talking with a friend about something important in their life (sharing life experiences that have great emotional (emotions are energy) value and investment “aka juicy” and discussing about them) in a peaceful, quiet area that relatively close to nature
-          Reading books and understanding the answers to the great mysteries of life
-          Writing down an experience that made me feel strongly in a particular way, expressing the experience exactly the way I saw it and felt about it (my full perspective), and giving that experience justice by understanding myself better after reflecting on the experience.
-          When I learn something that will help me improve an area of my life that I have been struggling in and want to improve at

Discerning My Values:
-          Power (a need to stand out from others)
-          Self-improvement (to make myself better and stand out) and Wisdom to learn from the lessons of others
-          A deep connection with other people rather than high quantity but superficial relationships
-          Understanding myself, people around me, and life in general
-          Peace, quietness, tranquility, and being close to Nature 
-          Excitement and a sense of Adventure
-          True freedom and independence to do what I want and pursue my goals with a minimum of distractions. (being time affluent and financially independent and stable)
-          Organization and Orderliness when it comes to documenting progress of my goals and Reflecting after the goal is accomplished.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Problem Solved?

It is now the next morning. Sunday; June 17, 2012. For some off reason, sleep has allowed me to see this incident more objectively and less emotionally. What do I want to go from here? I would like to repair my relationship with him. I laid in bed this morning, thinking about the potential end of this relationship. It scared me. I’m a person who highly values quality, one on one conversations. Because of my communication style and introverted tendencies, this does not allow me to have a wide variety of actual friends- those who I would feel comfortable reaching out to and talking with. Potentially losing two friends this summer is too large a price to pay. One may get the feeling, it sounds like you want to get back together with your friend because you don’t have many to start with, and not because you are out of victim mode and self-righteousness. It’s true. People get into relationships for selfish reasons. People desire connection, so they look for it in people. If you had more than enough friends for your social needs, would you still be talking and meeting as many people? No, you wouldn’t. This is what I wrote to him this morning:

(My Friend's Name),

Yesterday night, I was definitely feeling self-righteous as I ignored your text. Writing this now after having time to ruminate, I felt like my action of ignoring your text was rude, disrespectful, and a bit hurtful as well. I apologize for my immature action. Prior to yesterday, I used to think we had a fun, bantering friendship. I felt like we joked around more with each other than you did with most of the other guys we’d play football with. I really enjoyed bantering with you as a whole, except for yesterday. The truth from my perspective is that your jokes and indirect insults went too far. I feel like after you noticed I wasn’t saying anything to anybody (not just you), it would have been smart to ignore me as well and walk away. I assume you felt it was fun to keep badgering me even after you could tell I was getting annoyed and angry. Your motivation for doing that was more out of fun than trying to be hurtful. I get that. But it went too far. I think I reacted appropriately by leaving the moment I peered up at your face and saw you smiling because my brother was obviously not happy and could sense my annoyance.

All this aside, I believe you do feel bad about what happened, as I infer from your text. Deep down, I don’t think you intend to hurt people so I don’t think you’re a bad person. I just hope you can understand how I felt yesterday. Tell me how you viewed what happened yesterday. Perhaps I did something that you didn’t like either. I know you may feel like being self-righteous and ignoring me as I did to you, but I hope you still have interest in repairing our relationship.

Michael      ” 

Later today around 6:30, I received a message back from him which solves this misunderstanding we had. Here was his response:

“Damn dude,
 My bad! I seriously didn't intend to be rude/mean in any way possible. You know how I am always joking around. I was treating yesterday's situation just like I always do. I did see your irritation but I honestly thought it was just an act. If i knew you were actually pissed off, I definitely would not have bugged you so much. I am genuinely sorry bro. There is no way i want our friendship to end. I feel like we've had a fuckin AWESOME time over the past few years. I would definitely agree that we have a (no homo) stronger relationship than any other two people in our friend circle. I guarantee I wont bug much haha. Please tell your brother the same. I feel like my time here in the bay would suck without you guys around. Let's agree to leave this instance in the past and carry on as if it never happened. Down to play football/bball/swim soon? it's fine if you need a break though man. I understand.”

I feel it’s safe to say that it won’t be the end of our friendship. In most cases, repairing an old relationship is easier than starting a new one.

Friend to Foe In a Matter of an Hour?

I’m not sure where to begin. Today, Saturday; June 16, 2012, at 5:35 pm, a friend of mine asked me if I would be coming along to swim. I had sat home all day watching interesting science documentaries to pass the time. It was a hot day. Temperatures in the mid 90’s. I wasn’t wearing anything but boxers and sweat was dripping down my face onto my chest. Having been home all day, I replied, “Yea” and that I would be coming. At 6:30 I got to the pool and sat at one of the chairs in the corner under the shade. Only two others friends of my friend were there, Varun and David (not my brother). Looking at the pool and seeing the little kids in there, I stated that playing water polo wasn’t going to work. I asked them if they’d rather play football. They agreed, although Varun rather play basketball at night at the lighted courts we played at a few days ago. Another friend of my friend, Gokul, arrived and we convinced him to play football. We walked out of the gate of the swimming pool and I see my friend coming out his minivan. I joked with him, saying that because he was 15 minutes late, we were going to play football- not that he would have really minded as he played strong safety in high school. I walked back home to change into basketball shorts, grabbed my football, and headed toward Dilworth elementary school where we would be playing at.

I told my brother, David, who was out with my mom and sister, that we would be playing football and we needed him to come to make it six people. He said he would be there in 20 minutes. The five of us gathered on the field. My previous attempt by the poolside to convince my friend, Anup, who had gotten back from UC Davis a day ago to come play had failed. Now Varun decided to call him in an attempt to convince him to come. Varun hangs up and tells me that Anup isn’t going to be coming today because he wants to rest his ankle that he had hurt minorly. I felt like it was an excuse as he played full court basketball the day before and seemed fine. Looked like we were going to have to play football with only 5 people. Should we wait 20 minutes for my brother to arrive? Play basketball instead? Or try to play a 2 on 3 football game? The decision wasn’t clear and no one stepped up to make a decision. Instead, I began to talk to my friend about the fundamentals of throwing a football properly, as I had none. As we discussed, Varun, Gokul, and David walk off towards the playground. I looked at my friend and said, “What are they doing?” We laughed about it and continued discussing about football. About 5 minutes later, the three of them finally walked back towards us on the field and said, “Well, what are we doing? Are we playing or not?” I replied, “I was waiting for you guys!” Gokul responded, “Do we really want to play football with just 5 people?” a bit as a rhetorical question. I thought in my head, “probably not”. All of a sudden, a bit randomly, my friend asks me if I had ever drank alcohol, as I imagine he knows I tend to avoid parties although having been in college for two years now. I responded in a softer and quieter tone, “only one time and it was a bit”. I felt a tad bit nervous and unsure about where this conversation was headed.

He responds, “What about your social life?” Not liking where this was going, I responded, “Well, it depends how you define your social life”. He quickly fires back saying, “Well, if you don’t count weight lifting, or playing basketball or football with guys a year younger than you…” At this point I can’t remember exactly what he said but I remember the feeling of embarrassment and inferiority overwhelming my train of logic and I did not know how to respond. I remember looking to the side or down to avoid carrying on this conversation. My friend continuous, “We should have a barbecue and bring some beer and alcohol, you’ll see, there have been times where Varun, Gokul,…(he lists all the people we play football save for Anup, my brother, and I) come over to my house and get drunk and have a blast!” At this point, he was looking at his friend Gokul and talking about a time when even David (their friend, not my brother), who is a very quiet individual, having fun and being stupid. With my eyes fixed towards to side to avoid eye contact, I immediately began to feel left out, and judged as a guy with no social life. I proceeded to say, “I do have guys I hang out with besides you guys”. He responds in a curious tone of voice, “oh really, like who?”- I don’t think he meant to make it sound like an insult, but I felt like it came across that way a tad bit. Feeling like I had to prove myself, I listed two friends. One of the friends I mentioned, I had met only a few weeks ago but I mentioned out of an attempt to prove myself, and the other, a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen for close to a month now for reasons I’m not too sure of. This friend, was the friend I mentioned previously in my posts that I felt really close to, has sadly begun to drift out of my life for unknown reasons. Perhaps he’s too busy with school. But we didn’t have that problem while I was still in school and not yet out on summer- we met up once almost every week when school was in session. I feel like there has become a lack of interest to hang out with me. I’m almost always the one to text him to get together even during the school year and now that it’s summer for me- he’s still in school at a community college for about a week and a half more- we have rarely texted each other, and even when we did, his text responses would come back hours at a time. I find it truly hard to believe that he has all of a sudden become too busy to hang out on Friday or Saturday nights. Sadly this close friendship I had with him seems to be ending, especially since he is heading to Davis after the summer. In my private moments, I conclude that he is most likely choosing to spend his time with other people. I have texted him saying that, “Tell me when you are free to hang out”, only to get responses hours later saying that this weekend is a no go.

This is why when my friend brought up this subject of whom I actually socialize with outside of playing football with them, I felt like a loser. As much as I know intellectually that I am not, I felt like one. I didn’t have many friends to begin with, now losing a good friend of mine, and having my friend I was playing football with expose me tensed up my body and caused me to become a loss for words. I didn’t want it to seem like the subject of drinking and social popularity bothered me, but deep down, I was embarrassed, felt inferior, and slightly angry that he “exposed” me in front of the rest of his friends.

They finally decided to play basketball and my brother arrives at the basketball courts. I voice my disdain for basketball now as I just muscle my way in and toss up a lay-up. As we begin playing the half-court game at Dilworth’s small basketball courts, I play with little energy and no hustle. On the outside, it may have seemed like I was apathetic because of my dislike for basketball nowadays, but deeper down, I was still thinking about and bothered by the conversation we had on the field. Thoughts would come into my head as we were playing, thoughts like, “This guy is basing off his definition of a social life on how much someone parties”. “This guy gets the impression that I have no friends outside of these guys I play football with”. “This guy thinks he’s better than me just because I don’t go to parties and drink”. “This guy thinks that I have no social life”. “This guy thinks that those who don’t party don’t have fun”. In my mind, these thoughts of my friend believing these things and judging me for them, made me slightly angry at him. It wasn’t over though.
After losing the game in which my brother was trying decently hard in, I went to get a drink from my water bottle. My friend goes around giving high fives and saying “good game”. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem if it was conventional after every game. However, my friend only does it after his team wins the game as a joke and indirect insult to the losing team. My brother and I are the two best players out of all the individuals we play with and against, so losing to them, and having the indirect insult slapped right in front of me, I was hesitant to give him a high five. I reached out my hand slightly, not meeting his hand out all the way, and forced him to come to me if he wanted the high five. At this point, Varun, who is standing about 5 feet away from me, asks, “so rematch or what?” I shrug my shoulders a bit while drinking from my water bottle. Most likely not sure of my slight gesture, Varun asks me again. This time, I look off into space, ignoring the question, and drink my water. I walk back onto the court waiting to catch the ball after being shot and stand there stoically. Prior to the game that we just played, I mentioned that my friend who guards me fouls a lot. I joked with him that I would count the number of fouls he has in this game and expect to see the number in double digits. Now that the game has ended, he comes to me attempting to bother me about losing the game. I continue to say nothing and begin to walk away slowly. He follows me and continues. He now realizes that I’m ignoring him on purpose and says something to the extent of, “look at this guy, he’s giving me the silent treatment”. I walk away from him again, furrow my brow, and look down on the ground to ignore him. He continuous to badger me. “He’s just trying to look determined for the next game!” He walks away from me for a bit, giving me more space away from him.

I’m standing at the top of the three point arc and this guy, about three or four feet away from me at the three throw line. Someone asks, “Well, rematch?” He looks at me as I can see him with my peripheral vision. I pause for a bit longer and finally annoyed by his harassment, I look at him and reply, “Does it matter? This game doesn’t mean anything!” Not a second goes by, and he fires back saying, “oh this guy is mad!” The game ensues. I start out lackadaisical. Anger boils inside me and after rebounding the ball and clearing it beyond the three point line, I attack the hoop with ferocity. I check the ball to him after our team scores and he tosses me a bad pass. I register this as another insult. The ball rolls at my feet. I don’t pick it up and the ball rolls back towards him. I am starting to have less and less tolerance of his disrespect. A few plays later, I pass the ball to my brother who could sense my anger and annoyance. Being the strongest players on the court by a mile, he attacked his defender with his strength, posting his defender, also named David, up. My brother’s emotions got the best of him, as did I, that after missing the second attempt, he slams the ball against the blacktop. This guy replies, “Hey these twins have some sort of telepathical connection. When one is mad so is the other.” At the end of my rope with him, I look up at him, stare at him right in the eyes, amazed that he has the audacity to keep his mouth running. I see his smile, and at this moment I knew it was time to walk away. With the ball in my hand, I turned my back to him, dropped the ball, looked at Varun and said, “You guys play, I’m done.” My brother immediately followed. We got our stuff, said, “Let’s go”, and never looked back.   

Walking back home, I thought to myself, “this guy just doesn’t know when to stop annoying others”. This entire time, starting from the beginning where he inadvertently poked into a sensitive topic for me to the end where his mouth was running on and on with jabs and indirect insults, I had enough of him. Odd thing is, I’ve known him since approximately the end of senior year of high school. I met him at Anup’s birthday and we hit it off rather well. I knew he had an extroverted and a relative smart mouth personality at times; however, he was someone I enjoyed bantering with. I invited him to go to six flags for my birthday in July, the summer post-senior year. After today, I’m not sure what our relationship will be like, or even if we will talk to each other anymore. Right after I got home, I prepared to go do my HIIT run. If this incidence did not happen and I wasn’t fueled by anger, I would not have had the energy to run. While breathing heavily after my run, I thought to myself how useful this strong emotion can be as motivation. I am reminded of the Kobe Bryant Love Me or Hate Me commercial. This is exactly the type of fuel that can really help me achieve my goals of self-improvement ironically.  

About an hour after I stormed off, I received a text: “Yo what happened bro? Is it something I said?” From this text, I conclude he does not even know what upset me. I don’t know if he really doesn’t know what upset me, or if this is his attempt at an apology. Not knowing how to respond or even if I wanted respond, I left his text unanswered- mostly out of self-righteousness. I won’t be playing ball for a long time and I may never play with them again. I’m not sure where to go from here. I’ve heard of the saying, “would you rather be right or be happy?” To be honest, self-righteousness seems like such the right option right now. In the long run, it might not be. If this friendship isn’t repaired soon, it’s likely the end. Is this a grudge that I am holding right now? Depends how you define a grudge. I definitely feel angry at him. I feel justified imagining him suffering in some way in the future, as evil as that sounds. If it were to happen to him in reality, years down the road, I might very well feel justified initially followed by feeling bad for him afterwards.        
Tomorrow, Sunday the 17th, my friend Anup is planning to play ball in the morning with them. He asked if I am coming. I politely declined, saying no thanks. I didn’t tell him the one major reason I declined. Friends can be lost fast for reasons known and unknown. It’s ironic to think that his comment earlier, “We should have a barbecue and drink together…” is one of the last things we may say to each other. An invitation to get together to try alcohol one second, and the potential end, less than an hour later. So ironic. Yes, I know I am in victim mode right now, but only time will tell how long it will last.