A Different Breed of Belonging

A Different Breed of Belonging

This starts out pretty narcissistic and ends very sadly.
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I am very unique. So unique, in fact, that I don't feel as though I belong to any one group.

In all aspects of life, I've always felt like I'm a slightly different breed of person compared to my peers. I've always been the "laid-back professional" guy, or a "too formal at a casual party" person. I'm a little too smart for dumb people but too dumb for smart people. A villian with a warm heart, or a hero with a cold one. It's as though, either by subconscious choice or a natural inclination, I'm incapable of just being a regular, stock character. There always has to be some defining quirk that makes me, me.

This innate desire to stand out, I believe, makes it difficult for me to find a place to fit in. It's a frustrating thing, to almost be part of something, but being just different enough that it doesn't feel right to identify as that thing. All throughout life, I've been told to find a place to fit in and have seen people constantly finding a place to call their own. From the first group of friends you made in kindergarten to the current social life (or lack thereof) you have now, we've all wanted a place to belong. In order to belong, we have to have a degree of similarity with the group we seek to join, and the more similarities we share the strong our bond. It's similar to what we look for in potential partners: we're attracted to what's similar and familiar because it appeals to us. In the dating game, we often try to probe and find out what the other person likes and is passionate about, then attack at that point in order to make us seem acceptable. However, we can't be too similar. Having a partner that's exactly the same as you are gets stale, boring, and frustrating after a while. A team full of similarly minded people will never grow, and a country completely in unison will never challenge itself to grow better.

This intricate dance between sameness and difference is a fragile one, and its not uncommon to see a single difference be the deciding factor in finding your group or being lost in thoughts, all alone. this difference could be anything, from a direct clash of ideals to a varying degree of intensity or ability. It's kind of like a developing violinist. In the early stages, they can play the violin, but aren't good enough to be a violinist.

I enjoy playing games, but I've never considered myself a gamer. My blood is Filipino, but I dont really feel too close with the Filipino community wherever I go. Helping people is something I like to do, be it with some physical task or a more serious life talk, but community service and being a professional counselor have never been my thing. I don't have a strong political preference, I'm a funny guy but not funny enough to be a comedian, a piano player but not enough skill to be pianist, a guy that can do martial arts but not good enough to be a martial artist.

Not enough. Not being enough is something that every single person that has ever existed has felt. So many times do I and many others feel like what we're doing and giving to the world is not enough, yet we're too afraid to call out and tell people that "I need help!" We hold back our desire to ask for assistance because we don't want to accept that, even at our best, we aren't up to par. Reaching out for a crutch is synonymous in our society with failure, or being a failure, and we've been conditioned to avoid this feeling like the plague. Yet avoiding failure is impossible. No matter how much we try, failing something is inevitable. The only way to avoid it is to not try at all, but in that case you've already lost.

Usually I like to end these articles with my take on a solution or philosophical food for thought, but in this scenario i find myself with a lack of comment. I myself have no solution or even a place to start thinking. It's a rather curious sensation, not having words when you usually have a thousand is both humbling and terrifying. So I turn the question to you, my reader: How does one handle or cope with not being enough? How should we react when faced with a goal that seems infinitely far, or being told by our peers that its foolish to pursue that dream? What do we do when we're at the crossroads of "should" and "must"?

Ooh, that's an article for another day.



Cover Image Credit: Quotesgram

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7 Reasons Why Literature Is So Important

"Literature Is One Of The Most Interesting And Significant Expressions Of Humanity." -P. T. Barnum
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Today, there are too many people who believe that literature is simply not important or underestimate its abilities to stand the test of time and give us great knowledge. There is a stigma in society that implies one who is more inclined toward science and math will somehow be more successful in life, and that one who is more passionate toward literature and other art forms will be destined to a life of low-paying jobs and unsatisfying careers. Somewhere along the line, the world has come to think that literature is insignificant. To me, however, literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expanding my knowledge and understanding of the world. Here are just a few reasons why literature is important.

1. Expanding horizons

First and foremost, literature opens our eyes and makes us see more than just what the front door shows. It helps us realize the wide world outside, surrounding us. With this, we begin to learn, ask questions, and build our intuitions and instincts. We expand our minds.

2. Building critical thinking skills

Many of us learn what critical thinking is in our language arts classes. When we read, we learn to look between the lines. We are taught to find symbols, make connections, find themes, learn about characters. Reading expands these skills, and we begin to look at a sentence with a larger sense of detail and depth and realize the importance of hidden meanings so that we may come to a conclusion.

3. A leap into the past

History and literature are entwined with each other. History is not just about power struggles, wars, names, and dates. It is about people who are products of their time, with their own lives. Today the world is nothing like it was in the 15th century; people have changed largely. Without literature, we would not know about our past, our families, the people who came before and walked on the same ground as us.

4. Appreciation for other cultures and beliefs

Reading about history, anthropology, or religious studies provides a method of learning about cultures and beliefs other than our own. It allows you to understand and experience these other systems of living and other worlds. We get a view of the inside looking out, a personal view and insight into the minds and reasoning of someone else. We can learn, understand, and appreciate it.

5. Better writing skills

When you open a book, when your eyes read the words and you take in its contents, do you ask yourself: How did this person imagine and write this? Well, many of those authors, poets, or playwrights used literature to expand their writing.

6. Addressing humanity

All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us address human nature and conditions which affect all people. These may be the need for growth, doubts and fears of success and failure, the need for friends and family, the goodness of compassion and empathy, trust, or the realization of imperfection. We learn that imperfection is not always bad and that normal can be boring. We learn that life must be lived to the fullest. We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity.

Literature is important and necessary. It provides growth, strengthens our minds and gives us the ability to think outside the box.

Cover Image Credit: google.com/images

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I Made Emma Chamberlain's Mediocre Vegan Cookies, And They're Pretty Incredible

Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.

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One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.


In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.


Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.


After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.


Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.


Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?



The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.



The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.



Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

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