• loser •

I don’t know about you, but it seems like everyone is obsessed with having a “squad” or “bestie” or something like that. Basically, a group of people you call friends and do absolutely everything with and, no matter what, you’ll stick together and have a great time doing nothing and you can say whatever comes to mind and talk about all your problems.

I don’t have one of those. Of course, I have friends – we’ve known each other since before we can remember. I’m not putting them down or trying to undermine or undervalue their presence in my life. I appreciate them so much. But we have lives. We don’t have time to do everything together. We don’t have the energy or means of accomplishing or achieving the typical “squad goals” or whatever. We don’t want to.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

I fee like society tells us that we need a group of people (or at least one) to call our own or there’s something wrong with us. We’re “loners”, “losers” (BIGBANG, I feel ya) – we’re basically the weirdos of society. We don’t fit in and we don’t belong. And someone told us that was pitiful.

But you know what?

Most aren’t as happy as they want us to believe when they spam your FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds with pictures of them and their buds with #mysquad.

Those of us who don’t have a squad and don’t pretend to – there’s nothing wrong with us. We just have higher standards for meaningful relationships. Or we’re just waiting for the right friendship. Or maybe we’re learning to be okay without someone else.

• Maybe we’re learning to own ourselves before claiming someone else. •

There’s nothing wrong with not having one or a group of people to lean on in hard times. Sure, it makes the hard times a bit harder, but we’ll survive.

“Honestly, I’ve never fit in with the world // I was always alone // It’s been a long time since I’ve forgotten about love // I can’t listen to hopeful love songs anymore // […] // I wanna go back to when I was young.”

• BIGBANG // Loser •

I felt this when I was in public and private school (kindergarten up to fifth grade). It was very difficult for me. I had to get up every morning and tell myself that I had friends. I was overthinking their behavior. I was overthinking the fact that I’d walk behind everyone and no one would tell me even once, “hey, walk with me” or “you go first this time”. Running across the field to grab forgotten lunch boxes even though I was the slowest out of the three of us wasn’t them being mean. I was being kind; I offered anyway. They weren’t taking advantage of that or trying to get rid of me. They weren’t making fun of me when I didn’t shop at Limited Too or watch Spongebob Squarepants like the rest of them. Nah.

In fifth grade, I began home schooling. I felt a sense of freedom and realized that I did not have to fit in with the other kids. They were shallow and I knew that. I just didn’t know how to step back. Now I did. Now, I was comfortable in my own skin.

Fast forward to that time I competed in speech and debate for five years. Everyone was kind and polite, but I didn’t feel accepted until I finished in 6th and then in 4th place in debate at two of the larger qualifying tournaments and made it to semi-finals with my speech three times during my last year. Enter that feeling of insufficiency as myself once again.

Skip to when the most honest friendship I had didn’t work out and I learned that saying forever doesn’t really mean forever. I still remember a birthday letter I received that said, “I’ll always be here for you”.

And that time the most important people to me didn’t show up for my eighth, thirteenth, fifteen, seventeenth, and eighteenth birthdays (Aly, I know you’re laughing at me). Sounds ridiculous, I know. But when you’re eight years old and realize that it’s inconvenient for someone who “loves you” to celebrate your existence, it does something to ya. ::shrugs:: And now you know why I hate birthdays.

None of this is to make you feel bad for the pitiful life I’ve led (because I know people who suffer much worse), but to emphasize that the times in which I have felt the darkest are the times when I have been the most alone.

• You don’t need a squad or bestie to overcome anything. •

Society tells us that, as long as you have one person with whom you can share your heart, you’ll be fine. Screw that. You don’t need a person. You have to learn to be strong enough without validation from other people. Society romanticizes the idea of friendship.

Friendship isn’t stupid selfies and cookies in the middle of the night. Lucky you if you have that. But friendship isn’t easy and it isn’t comprised of giggles or tears over your ex-boyfriend (sorry for undermining the emotional impact of Fifteen, Taylor Swift).

I’ve stopped wasting my time trying to justify other peoples’ actions so I might believe they care in order to feel better about myself; I’ve started trying to see things as they are. Maybe I’m bitter. Maybe I’m no fun. Maybe I’m a realist. Maybe I’m a loser.

But we’ve got the strength to deal with difficulties without a squad and we can persist without needing someone to cheer us on. We don’t depend on the validation of others anymore.

Instead, I’m learning to put my trust in God rather than in people.

I’m not saying having friends is a bad thing or hating on people with squads simply because I don’t have one. The point is this: we’ll be okay even if we’re on our own.

Love always,

Rana || xoxo

 

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• the little things •

  • studying for an economics test when the guy with a deep voice from your math class (but with the personality of a puppy) begins telling you how he couldn’t sleep last night, so he watched Howl’s Moving Castle instead and you find out he is also reading The Lord of the Rings
  • complimenting someone on their outfit and them saying, “I needed that today; thank you”
  • asking someone whether or not you should get chocolate chip cookies or M&M’s and they take the time to seriously help you out
  • going to the drugstore because you need/want new mascara + eyeliner but meeting a person with a lovely personality and giving them eyeliner tips
  • seeing your friend who says, “how did your economics test go? I remembered and prayed for you.”
  • getting to the chapel a bit later than usual when a woman walks in, kneels down, and begins crying. You wait a few minutes before handing her a tissue and holding her hand. She continues to cry and squeezes your hand back. You sit beside her and hold her. She asks for prayers for her son, Steven (Stephen?). You give her your Pieta prayer book (which you didn’t think you had anymore) and dog-ear the prayers which offered you the most comfort in your time of need.
  • she thanks you for being there for her; you think, “no one should have to cry alone”
  • realizing your iPod was in your pocket so you plug it in on the way home and listen to Kim Jae Joong and G-Dragon before feeling happy enough to sing with Taeyang
  • getting home and realizing your computer is being used, so you draw instead
  • once you’re done drawing, you read Not God’s Type

the little things are often ordinary, everyday miracles

pay attention

Love,

Rana || xoxo

• the nomadic heart •

I’ve always (always) had a tough time making decisions. Whether it’s “what’s your favorite color”, “what do you want for breakfast”, or “what will you study in college”, I could rarely give you an answer on the spot.

Even now, I could not tell you definitively what my favorite color is. Breakfast is waffles because my brother’s home from college + that’s kind of what we decided on last night.

It has always been frustrating. Not only for me, but also for my family and anyone asking questions. For so long, it’s just been an annoyance and eternal source of aggravation. I see so many people around me who are either (a) set on what they want to do or (b) don’t know what they want to do, but aren’t under any pressure to find out.

Now, I realize that no one is entirely open about their struggles and there are a lot of people in my shoes, but I haven’t found them yet.

The more I think about this though, the more I realize that this doesn’t have to be a setback. It means that I am meant to do more than work, study, pay bills, and die. We all are. I think that everyone must be born with this sense of instability and fear of commitment because we crave more than the average. Many simply settle for a life and that becomes average but…

• mediocre scares me •

Source: http://www.allkpop.com/meme_view/npp25w/so/. || I feel all of these on a very deep level. Thank you, Bangtan Boys, for existing and daring to be greater.

I have this crazy drive to be the best. Whatever I do, if I’m not succeeding, I feel as if I am doing something wrong. This probably isn’t all good or healthy and it’s probably going to teach me a painful lesson sooner or later, but it drives me to work hard and study hard.

This drive for success in whatever area I am working on, I believe, will open many more doors for me. I want to travel, try new foods, learn from every experience, and live unordinarily. Living like everyone else scares me.

But here’s the thing: whatever happens is what’s meant to happen and I am at peace with that (for the most part). I just keep my head down, do my best, work hard, and I know that it will all work out.

This nomadic heart is not a setback, but a calling to something more than the norm. There is nothing wrong with an inconsistent life as long as the principles and morals stay firm. There is nothing wrong with leading a different life or thinking outside the box.

Dare to be greater + don’t let fear hold you back. Take the time to remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

“Dear young people, do not be afraid of making decisive choices in life. Have faith; the Lord will not abandon you!”

 • Pope Francis •

Love,

Rana || xoxo

P.S.

Waffles with chocolate sauce + caramel sauce is daebak.

• mixtape : study edition •

Because I should be doing school.

Best excuse ever, amirite?

And because I get super distracted if I’m listening to lyrics I want to sing along to, but can’t stand soundtracks, foreign music is ideal. And not just any foreign music; foreign music that makes you excited to be alive; foreign music that makes your soul sing because you can’t; foreign music that doesn’t put you to sleep or make you go, “ugh, foreign noise”.

I know, I know. You’re just dying to learn what kind of foreign music I fill my ears with. You have no clue. Fine; I won’t make you wait.

• korean pop + japanese rock •

Hit you like a truck, didn’t it?

You never expected that from me.

Nah.

Well, I’m just full of surprises.

Now you want to hear it, right? Of course you do.

• BTS •

The Bangtan Boys encourage me when I feel like throwing a text book out the window + screaming, “I’M DOPE. I DON’T NEED TO BE EDJUMICATED.” The only pain I feel as I listen to this comes from the fact that Jungkook (one in the officer getup) is my age. And can dance. And can sing. And doesn’t have to do school. I don’t know if he does or not, but it seems like he has the option not to?

Dope

Do yourself a favor + turn on the captions.

I Need U

If only I could do more than the chicken dance…

• BIGBANG •

Fantastic Baby

Fantastic Baby whispers that I can do the thing. Well, it probably doesn’t. But I think being told, “wow, fantastic baby” a few times isn’t a bad thing.

• FTISLAND •

Pray

They are praying for me. I can do this.

Time To

And it’s time to fight, fight, fight. Time to do it right. Even though I’m down + afraid to go.

• SHINee •

Spoiler

The most amazing entrance + dance, yo.

• VIXX •

Chained Up

Because I can’t get away from all this school work.

Memory

I need memories of times when I had time to write, draw, smile, laugh…

Love Equation

Because math has taught me that I can’t do anything without calculations + watching grown men shove ice cream in another person’s face is kind of funny.

• GOT7 •

Just Right

Because I don’t need a 5.0 GPA to validate my worth.

Okay, kids, that’s what I’ve got. If you want more recommendations, please feel free to ask me. I really love chatting with you + enjoy the Korean culture very much.

Love always,

Rana || xoxo

• shh •

Howdy!

Forgive my radio silence! School has been kicking my butt and I haven’t really known what to post about which is what I wanted to talk about today.

• an open letter to my friends •

This has been a long time in coming partially because I did not know if I was ready to be this open. I’m also concerned that this will come off as me being a drama queen or something. I deny a lot of things because other people have it worse, but I think it’s important to realize that, just because someone has it worse, doesn’t mean that what hurts me means any less.

But let’s get to it.

I’m a very private person. I will tell you what’s up, but not what’s in my head. I will be very open with you, but not tell you a thing. And I don’t know if you notice that, but it hurts me and I’m sorry for not letting you in.

The thing is, I don’t know how.

I don’t know what to talk about. I don’t know how to have an easy conversation. I don’t know how to talk without thinking, “will I regret saying this?” so I don’t say much. I don’t know how to talk about the things I love without the fear of boring you. I can’t talk about what I love without choking up because only I understand it and even the wrong look from someone when I speak will silence me.

My family is constantly on me to stop mumbling + speak up. I wonder if this is because the words I don’t say ought to be louder and the things I do say mean nothing to me. I’ve grown quiet about the things I love. I’ve forgotten how to be open. I’ve forgotten how to accept other people. I’ve forgotten to put the things that matter to me first; instead, I listen to the people that say “school is the most important thing in your life right now”, “focus on school”, “the grades you get now are what will help you most in college”, “get that scholarship”, “study something that makes you money”, “you should be studying instead of writing”.

I’ve noticed that I don’t look people in the eye so much anymore either. Why? Maybe it’s because they will notice all the thoughts I don’t say. Who knows?

And, to my friends, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make you feel like you’re not… accepted around me. I don’t mean to make you feel like the things that matter to you don’t matter to me. Okay, so they might not matter to me, but you matter to me. And that’s what matters most.

I’m sorry for holding you at arm’s length. And to those I want to be friends with, but won’t speak to, I’m sorry for not having the courage to reach out.

I genuinely love you all and, while I might limit what I say + do, I do not limit my love for you.

Eternal love,

Rana || xoxo

• she’s ugly •

|| “She’s ugly.” ||

|| “Is she pretty or is she just wearing a lot of makeup?” ||

|| “Geez, she’s fat.” ||

I hear these negative remarks frequently. I’ve heard them all my life. I noticed my little sister repeating these harsh statements + that ticked me off because, cynic and critic though I am, I like to consider myself a just + fair one (just ask me, right?).

Maybe cynic and critic aren’t the right terms here. Realistic sounds more accurate in this context, no?

I have a few thoughts and if I don’t put them in a list, I’ll ramble. Typical, right?

  • Criticizing someone for the way they look is so shallow. Have we really nothing better to do than point out the flaws in others? Why do we do it, anyway? Does it make us feel better about ourselves, somehow? How low are we that we need to put others down to feel good about ourselves?
  • Being the most beautiful person in a room isn’t a competition. We shouldn’t feel inferior because a prettier person exists.
  • Beautiful is such a fluid and relative term anyway. By whose standards are we judging others and why do we do it?
  • These statements teach us, and others, to be judgmental and cruel. It’s not just a statement. It’s a worldview. If we look at someone and judge them by their appearance, we miss out. And, believe me, we’re missing more than they are.
  • We’re giving in to the lies of pop culture + that’s what the government wants + we can’t let them win. Now I insert something about aliens and government conspiracy theories here, right?
  • No one is ugly from the outside. It’s a misconception sold to us by the media and we buy it subconsciously. You can’t look at someone and say, “they’re ugly.” You don’t know that.
  • Ugly is a choice. We choose ugly whenever we judge someone by their appearance and that makes us uglier in that moment than they will ever be. Don’t choose ugly. You’re better than that.

Okay, I think I’m done.

I wanted to speak on this only because it’s a mentality that I feel should be recognized; we often judge subconsciously. I do too. I’m not perfect. All too often do I look at someone and go, “I don’t want to be friends with them. Look at their eyebrows. Ugh.” And that’s wrong of me.

Style is a preference. We can judge that. Faces + body types are individual and unique. We should love that.

Over + out.

Rana || xoxo

• happy tag •

The lovely Maddie over at God’s Little Pencil tagged me in the Tag of Happiness (I now have the Happy song stuck in my head)! With school starting on Monday, six college courses, and the question “what have I done” running through my head, I decided this was the perfect time to not think of a post topic. Thanks a mil. to Maddie for doing that for me! Bless you!

I also think it’s perfect timing so that we can get to know each other now that I can respond to you (the ban has been lifted and took my childhood with it)! So let’s get to it:

Songs That Make Me Happy (okay, so I cheated + listed artists instead; sue me):

  • Basically anything on my Spotify playlist, creatively entitled Amasian Jam.
  • Vixx
  • BTS
  • B.A.P.
  • EXO
  • BIGBANG
  • Ailee
  • Eve Ai
  • One OK Rock
  • The GazettE
  • Alice Nine

Books That Make Me Happy:

  • Pride & Prejudice // Jane Austen
  • Love & Freindship // Jane Austen <– No, that is not my typo.
  • The Silmarillion // J.R.R. Tolkien, a.k.a. The Master
  • The Children of Hurin // J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Anything by Tolkien, really.
  • Anything by Mirriam Neal.
  • An Easy Ways to Become a Saint // Paul O’Sullivan O.P.
  • 33 Days to Morning Glory // Michael E. Gaitley <– which reminds me: I need to do my reading for today…
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court // Mark Twain
  • Huckleberry Finn // Mark Twain
  • Phantom of the Opera // Gaston Leroux
  • The Bible // God
  • Alice in Wonderland + Through the Looking Glass // Lewis Carroll

Films That Make Me Happy:

  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • The Hobbit Trilogy
  • The Hunger Games Series (it’s sobering + is rather hopeful)
  • Little Boy
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • James Bond: Skyfall
  • Labyrinth // starring the late David Bowie, may his soul rest in peace
  • My Neighbor Totoro

Food That Makes Me Happy:

  • All.
  • Just not that weird spiky fruit whose insides taste + look like snot that I tried over a decade ago.
  • Not that.
  • Or eggplant.

Words That Make Me Happy:

  • Cripple
  • Obfuscate
  • Rhubarb
  • Cat/Kitty
  • Avocado

Scents That Make Me Happy:

  • Vanilla
  • Coconut
  • Christmas
  • Ocean
  • Lebanese kitchens
  • Brownies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • BLT
  • Cinnamon
  • Winter
  • Roses
  • Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck perfume
  • Katy Perry’s Killer Queen perfume
  • Tea
  • Old books

Random Things That Make Me Happy:

  • Slicing avocados
  • Praying/Adoration
  • J-Rock + K-Pop
  • Warm + fuzzy socks // but only in winter//and not even all the time
  • Boots
  • Winter/Autumn clothes
  • Free time//at least, I think I’d like it if I knew what it was…
  • Writing
  • Books
  • Sheets fresh out of the dryer
  • Newly made beds
  • Baking
  • Grandma’s house
  • Two or three of my little cousins

Shows That Make Me Happy:

  • Kill Me, Heal Me
  • The Middle
  • LOST
  • M*A*S*H
  • I Love Lucy
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show

• Rules •

||Take the banner and put it in your post.||
||List as many things as you want in each category.||
||Come up with more categories if you wish.||

The Tagged

//Rachael//

//Liz//

//Joi//

//Mirriam//

//Annie//

//Bri//

So what about you? Answer some or all of the questions. I’m interested in getting to know you!

Love,

Rana || xoxo

• no rain, no flowers •

It’s my birthday.

I’ve been breathing for 18 years.

In the eyes of the law, I am now an adult and will be held accountable for my actions; because up until today, all my bad choices could have only been marked down to immaturity. Obviously. So if anyone needs a crime committed before I’m an adult, let me know yesterday.

But law and life are two different things.

• Education •

I’m expected to have a plan for the next 40 – 50 years of my life. And there’s been a lot of pressure because I don’t.

I’m often jealous of my friends. They don’t have the pressure like I do. Their parents don’t pressure them to go to college; they’re chill; they’re open to other options. If the kid wants to take a year off, that’s totally fine. But I’m expected to have it all planned out with a college picked and scholarships lined up while staying on top of school and, oh, I should get a job too.• no rain, no flowers •

It’s stressful + it’s painful mostly because I’ve always been expected and told to go to college all my life; make lots of money, support myself… but I don’t think that’s what I’m called to do. Not right now. All these things are fine, but it’s so shallow and not satisfying to me. I don’t mean I don’t want to go to college, so I say “I’m not called to do it” as an easy way out. I like school; I want to go to college. But I just don’t think it’s what I’m supposed to do.

• Friendship •

I’ve been learning lately that I’m looking for love in the wrong places. I want the things I don’t/can’t have. I want a friendship like that. I want to be so individualized like that. I want to stand out like that. But if I am like that, then I am not who I was created to be which is not that. It’s this. Maybe I’m not supposed to have those things at all or maybe I’m not supposed to have them until I’ve learned that I can’t be truly happy as I am if I’m only half myself without that.

I wasn’t created for partiality. I was created to be whole + when you’re supposed to be full, it’s lonely to be only halfway there.

• no rain, no flowers •

All this context to say that I believe that my life will ultimately be a garden. Trial results in rewards if we handle it the right way. I have faith and I have hope that this struggle now will be useful to me later. I give it to God, the One who loves me more than I can love back, the One who doesn’t pressure, doesn’t confuse, doesn’t go on vacation, doesn’t get too busy, doesn’t leave empty.

As an 18-year-old, I strive to grow in that love, not love to be loved, not even hope for love/friendship. I strive to let go of the things that don’t matter to me + to be okay with disappointing others if it’s what I’m supposed to do. I strive to learn, grow, and make my soul a garden.

I wasn’t created to follow the path laid out for me by those who do not know God’s plan; neither were you. Let’s be okay with that. Let’s be okay with letting others down because, ultimately, we weren’t created to please them, were we?

I strive to love God more than anything else; I pray for the strength + grace to allow no human ties to separate me from Him. I pray for the grace to rid my heart of fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

– 1 John 4:18 –

Peace + blessings,

Rana || xoxo

P.S.

I can now reply to comments! Comment away, friends! I look forward to meeting you all. ^_^

• ignorance + innocence •

Hello, darlings!

I tried to write a new year’s post, but it just wasn’t coming. Which is fine. I don’t mind going with the flow (typically). But something that’s been on my mind lately is the following and I think I’d like to talk about that instead.

Innocence has a bad rep.

But I think that’s because people confuse innocence, ignorance, and abstinence.

  • Innocence is, essentially, a lack of guilt; it’s purity.
  • Ignorance is willfully and actively avoiding to educate yourself.
  • Abstinence is being aware of something and knowing it exists without engaging in it.

The innocent are the children. They’re pure and good.

The ignorant are obnoxious. They flaunt their opinions without being first educated.

Those that abstain are mocked for their maturity which is misunderstood for innocence by those that are ignorant.

I’m not innocent. I’m aware of what’s going on and what people do but I don’t engage in it. Which results in my getting a lot of, “oh, you’re so precious”, “you’re so innocent“, and “you’re such a good kid (because I obviously don’t know how to be a bad kid – too innocent and all that, you know)” with the occasional bit of snickering thrown in at the end.

I’m a good kid because I choose to not make poor decisions and I think about the long-term before making big ones. I’m all about living to the fullest and learning as much as possible – but not at the expense of my future.

We are misunderstood for not being followers. And we ought to be okay with that. We should be proud of that. Because it means we think for ourselves + aren’t afraid to stick to our guns.

If we don’t know what we stand for, we will fall for anything.

I don’t remember who said that, but it’s entirely relevant.

I hope you had an incredible Christmas + that your new year is full of new adventures, blessings, and joy.

Love,

Rana || xoxo

• appreciate + need •

Hey, you!

Christmas is a week away (what). Cue the shopping hysteria + “great” deals. You can find me at my kitchen table within the walls of my house and avoiding the chaos.

The other day (night?), I spent the night on a boat (a boat). It was a blast! Boats are just really neat okay. They’re created to maximize and utilize every space which is the bomb diggity. I’m all about keeping it neat, clean, and efficient.

Anyway, while we were there, my friends and I played a game called Therapy. We basically got every question right simply because we’ve known each other for longer than we can remember. But one came up that I didn’t think too much of at the time, but, after mulling it over, realized it was more than just a question to help get to know your friends.

My friends had to guess how materialistic I thought I was. They guessed somewhere around a 6 (on a rating scale of 1 – 10).

But after a bit of discussion, we realized that, more than needing the things I had, I appreciated the things I own. I have to earn my money, save 45% of it, and give 10% to church. So it takes me a long time to get the amount of money I need for whatever I want to spend it on; and it also makes me think really hard about what it is I’m buying before I even take out my wallet. As a result, I appreciate the things I have more than most and I take care of the things I have.

My friends and I, at first thought, misunderstood the question + my attitude toward things.

This can be applied to the Christmas season, to gift-giving, to gift-getting.

So much of my dislike for the Christmas season comes from people confusing feeling entitled and being blessed to have the things they already own. It’s a stressful time because people feel that, without a gift, Christmas is left meaningless + considered a failed holiday.

But, really, this is a huge holiday. Do we want to drag it down to such a low degree that we make it nothing without stuff, stress, and drama? What does that say about us? How shallow are we?

• appreciate + need •

Christmas is a time for reflection; it’s not a time for freaking out because you can’t get your mom some more stuff. That’s not love. Prove your love through your actions like Christ did; like He does. And don’t limit it to once a year; that only makes it a chore.

Merry Christmas.

Rana || xoxo