It's Okay Not To Be Okay

What It Means To Be Your Most Authentic Self

Authenticity is not synonymous to perfection.

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Ever since 2017, I vowed to be the best version of myself I could be.

I clearly had no idea what that meant.

When I thought of people living their best life, I thought of various social media influencers who seemed to have perfect lives. They looked like they were always happy and had absolutely no problems.

They were the people I looked up to for authenticity, but I've had to learn numerous lessons about what it means to be the best version of yourself.

I would take on project after project, I never said "no" when offered an opportunity (even when I knew I couldn't handle it) and most importantly, I would try my hardest to be the happiest person in the world even when I felt like I was dying.

I wanted to make everyone else happy. I wanted people to be proud of me because I didn't know how to be proud of myself.

I was being the real me, but I wasn't being the best version of myself.

I thought if I took a break, turned down an opportunity or had a bad day (as we all do), then I wasn't being my most authentic self. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone around me that I was Superwoman and I could do it all.

I crashed last summer after going through the absolute worst time in my life.

I had taken on too much responsibility and I couldn't do anything anymore without burning out soon after.

I took five classes, worked two jobs, continuing to write for Odyssey and I tried to maintain friendships and relationships.

I tried to be happy through it all, but I was miserable 24/7.

I thought I had let everyone down, but the only person I let down was myself. Everyone else was proud of me.

This fake persona I thought I had to put on lasted until a few months ago when I broke down crying in front of my best friend. I was terrified of how she would respond, but she hugged me as tight as she could and reassured me that it was okay to be human.

For the first time in forever, I realized the difference between being happy and being authentic.

Authenticity is honest. It includes the days where you are tired, cranky, unmotivated, lazy, or even just "off."

Authenticity is about being human.

Don't be afraid to be human. I wish I hadn't been.

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11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don't Exist In English

Untranslatable words from Japan, the polite and nature-loving country.
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Once, when I asked my friend from a small tribe in Burma how they would say “breakfast” there, she told me that they didn’t have a word for it because they only ate twice a day--lunch and dinner. I happen to have a lot of friends who speak English as their second language and that made me realize that a language has a lot to do with its culture’s uniqueness. Because of that, there are some untranslatable words.

In Japanese culture, people have a lot of appreciation towards nature and it is very important to be polite towards others. That politeness and the nature appreciation reflected on to its language and created some beautiful words that are not translatable to English.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things Everyone Who Leaves Japan Misses



いただきます Itadakimasu

"Itadakimasu" means “I will have this.” It is used before eating any food to express appreciation and respect for life, nature, the person who prepared the food, the person who served the food, and everything else that is related to eating.



おつかれさま Otsukaresama

"Otsukaresama" means “you’re tired.” It is used to let someone know that you recognize his/her hard work and that you are thankful for it.



木漏れ日 Komorebi

"Komorebi" refers to the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.



木枯らし Kogarashi

"Kogarashi" is the cold wind that lets us know of the arrival of winter.



物の哀れ Mononoaware

"Monoaware" is "the pathos of things." It is the awareness of the impermanence of all things and the gentle sadness and wistfulness at their passing.



森林浴 Shinrinyoku

“Shinrinyoku” ("forest bathing") is to go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful for a relaxation.



幽玄 Yuugen

"Yuugen" is an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses that are too mysterious and deep for words.



しょうがない Shoganai

The literal meaning of "Shoganai" is “it cannot be helped.” However, it is not discouraging or despairing. It means to accept that something was out of your control. It encourages people to realize that it wasn’t their fault and to move on with no regret.



金継ぎ/金繕い kintsuki/kintsukuroi

"Kintsukuroi" is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver joining the pieces and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

わびさび Wabi-sabi

"Wabi-sabi" refers to a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and peacefully accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay.



擬音語 All the onomatopoeia

English has onomatopoeia, but Japanese has far more. For example, we have “om-nom-nom” for eating and they have “paku-paku” for eating normally, “baku-baku” for eating wildly, “gatsu-gatsu” for eating fast, “mogu-mogu” for chewing a lot, etc. Doesn’t it make your head spin? The onomatopoeia for that kind of dizziness is “kurukuru” by the way. The image above is showing some of those onomatopoeia. As you can see, Japanese onomatopoeia is usually a repetitive sound. Although it might be a very difficult concept to understand, it adds a melody and an emotional meaning to a word. Japanese sounds poetic because of the onomatopoeia.

Cover Image Credit: Wookmark.com

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

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The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.

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