Floating

25 Oct

To be honest, the first thought that came in my mind when I decided to write this was “Ugh. Like clock-work, here comes my biyearly angst ridden blog post.” And still here I sit, at 1:30 a.m. in my dorm room, typing. And since I have yet to write a proper college post, I owe it to my (..3?) faithful readers to update as well as share (cough, complain about) aspects of my life now.

I’m doing well at college. Sure, my grades are a bit rocky right now, but at least I can connect it to my study ethic that still hasn’t quite developed. I want to read more and I’ve watched way more How I Met Your Mother than I’d care to admit in the past few weeks, but I haven’t hit rock bottom or anything. My classes aren’t awful, the food is decent, my dorm room has never felt more homey, and my social groups are diverse and interesting. Even the showers aren’t so horrifying anymore.

My problem, which is the root of this blog post, has more to do with my social woes. Before coming to college, I never really considered myself as shy. I knew that I wasn’t the best at making conversation, but I spent so much time being talkative around familiar people that I convinced myself that I was only a bit quiet until one gets to know me. But now that I’m surrounded by so many new people, I’m realizing more than ever that yes, I am the epitome of shy. Shy doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t know how to speak in front of others, or that they are terrified of others; this was the social norm I had been using to define the word to avoid its application to myself. But the truth is, shy simply means someone who is quite quiet unless spoken directly to, intimidated by larger groups and one to hold their tongue often in front of new people.

I’ve met a lot of people here at school. I’ve made a lot of friends, too. But the problem is that I don’t feel as though I’ve really connected with them. I’m starting to fear that by lacking the ability to hold proper, one-on-one conversations with people has given me a shallow relationship with everyone I’ve befriended so far. This may seem backwards, but because of my social ineptness, I’m more comfortable with a group of 3-6 than with only one other person. With a larger group (of people I know, of course), the tone is always light and joking. It’s always fun and there are more people to fill silent gaps. This definitely means that it takes much longer for everyone in the group to become close to one another, but that’s how I made all of my high school best friends-over a very long amount of time. When I have to be alone with another person, it makes it so much more difficult.

Watching other people develop close relationships so quickly, to tell the truth, has been extremely hard. Social groups have already gotten very connected, and social media makes it so much worse when every facet of new, deeper connections are shown off every day. I’m not a very open, vulnerable person (the thought that a new friend could be reading this right now makes me want to crawl into a hole). I can’t ‘share life stories’ or discover inner secrets a couple weeks into knowing someone; I expose myself a piece at a time, potentially over years. It’s not like I have some huge secrets to reveal or anything, but the idea of seeming weak or needy or even whiny to someone I don’t know that well yet is horrifying. I don’t like to attract attention to myself in general, because I could be judged or embarrassed or ostracized forever (this contributes to the initial shyness thing).

I like having a few, close friends, as opposed to a large group of distant friends. But in a community where it feels like (at least on the surface) every one else is making large groups of close friends, I don’t quite know how to handle that. I hate going to things, even dinners, that I wasn’t invited to. I hate hearing stories about places I wasn’t at, seeing pictures of people I didn’t hang out with, and even conversations I wasn’t made a part of. Intrinsically I feel like I should be trying harder, changing something about how I interact with others, but I also don’t want to try too hard. I don’t want to change my personality in order to achieve something. I guess now I have to find the line between going out of my comfort zone, and not compromising my true self.

Well, this was quite a long and venting rant post. I’m pretty sure a lot of random things got thrown in and it’s chaotic, and a little (a lot) embarrassing if it were to get in the wrong hands. But now I’m curious if anyone else has been in this kind of social standstill. Let me know if you also have trouble connecting with others on a deeper level, and feel free to let me know how you’re doing in general!

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Dyeing Curly Hair (CG Method)

19 Aug

At the beginning of this summer, my friend and I were interested in doing something we’d never done before. And school ending presented the perfect opportunity to bite the bullet and actually do it. I’d been obsessed with the idea of dyeing my hair, and only dyeing the ends was the perfect alternative for protecting my sensitive hair, not to mention placating my strict parents. So if you follow the CG method or have curly hair, or even if you just have sensitive hair, here’s everything I learned and experienced about dyed hair.

1. The Dyeing Process

I wanted to go with a bright, crazy color, since this was probably the one and only time I will ever dye my hair, so I went with purple (or technically, Lusty Lavender). I chose the brand Splat because it was one of the cheapest options; everything came right in the box for about $10, so I didn’t need to purchase bleach, peroxide, or any lighteners separately. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s CG safe. But at that moment, I figured that I was already damaging my hair by bleaching it, so I guess it didn’t really matter if it had any sulfates or silicones. But once my hair was dyed, I was following the full CG method.

Via flickr.com

My friend and I applied the bleach and dye with our hands to about the last 3-4 inches of our hair. We just slapped some on (we didn’t make braids/ponytails), wrapped it in foil, and later rinsed it out in the sink. If I remember correctly, we left the bleach and dye on for about an hour each. As a side note, the dye took FOREVER to rinse out of my hair, so long that I gave up and dried it before the water ran clear. I think after half an hour, that was a reasonable action.

We actually (miserably) missed out on the rest of our plans for that day because we didn’t plan properly, so set aside a LARGE chunk of time to do it, or even a whole day. The whole process took us about 6 hours, albeit this was our first time trying it. Another note is, prepare the space you will be using adequately. We were in the bathroom, and I covered the entire floor with newspaper, and taped over the sink/cabinets with cut plastic bags.

If I had to review this brand of dye, I would say it works reasonably well for beginners. Do not expect the color of your hair to look like the color on the box (I would say this goes for any dye) unless your hair is almost platinum blonde. Our bleached hair was a bit of a strong yellow/orange, and therefore our hair came out almost pink after dyeing. It was purple-ish at first, but it was definitely nothing like the picture.

I guess now comes the obligatory photo spam to show the transformation of my hair! Afterwards I’ll discuss how to take care of dyed curly hair.

hair

Drying my hair after bleaching

hair4

It’s not a Curry hair blog post until I’ve awkwardly edited out faces with smiley faces

hair5

Oh what the heck.
See how in different lighting it goes from purple to pink? These were taken the same day (notice the same shirt)

hair3

These were about 2 and a half weeks later. The color is definitely more faded/pink here

hair2

And here

Notice how the color looks different in each photo, because each had a different lighting? I guess there’s no way to show exactly how it looked, but it definitely ranged in several shades of purple/pink, and near the end, orange/blonde. If you aren’t interested in having pink hair, don’t use Lusty Lavender. No matter how purple it starts out, it will indubitably fade into pink eventually. And now for phase 2!

2. Taking Care of Your Dyed Hair

Let me just say this right off the bat: your hair will get damaged if you bleach/dye it. There is no way to get around that. Curly hair is much more porous and it will not take to this process as well as straight hair. I remember right after we finished, my friend and I felt how smooth her (straight) hair was, and then we felt how rough my (curly) hair felt. Different hair types just won’t react the same, and if you have curly hair I’m sure you know how damage-prone it is. So yes, my hair was very frizzy and damaged at first. The way I adapted to it is perhaps not financially smart (this process requires the dough, yo), but I started nearly doubling the amount of conditioner and product I used. I barely used shampoo and mostly started co-washing, which is using a silicone-free conditioner to rub/cleanse your scalp. I focused conditioner to the ends of my hair until it was goopy and super squishy. After showering I put about 3 different products in my hair, including anti-frizz creme, curl defining creme, and taming serum. Again, everything I used was CG friendly. I also avoided blow-drying and straightening because my hair did not need any more damage.

Some random little side things I learned was that every time my hair got wet, the color would run again. So when I showered I didn’t wait for the water to run clear, and I set aside a shirt that I was okay with staining pink, to dry it with. I also became deathly afraid of rain, in fear that my dye would start to run and stain my clothes/be an embarrassing mess.  Also, I learned to wash my hair less. Instead of my usual 3 times a week, I tried to wash 1-2 times a week. The less washing the better, especially for colors in the red/pink/purple spectrum.

So in summary, I would say these are the overall tips:

-Detangle well

-Be careful when it’s wet

-USE TONS OF PRODUCT. KEEP IT CONDITIONED

-Wash less

Overall, having my hair colored was fun and a cute thing to do over the summer (and by cute, I mean childish cute, because my friends told me I looked even younger than normal…). It was fun to try out a bunch of different hair styles with the pink in it, and it was lasting very nicely after more than a month. About 2 weeks ago though I got a major hair cut, just cause I wanted something new and the up-keep for the dye was a bit exhausting. But I would definitely recommend trying this out, if you’ve always been keen to dye your hair! Best of luck on your curly endeavors. 🙂

How to Always Have Enough Change

19 Aug

Via romanianmum.com

This is probably one of the most irrelevant and unrealistic posts I will ever write, but I figured it’d be fun to know and share with others. The secret to always having enough change for something isn’t in the amount of coins you have; it’s in the type of coins you have. Obviously no one is going to refill their wallet with this exact change combination every time they go shopping, which is why I said it’s unrealistic, but let’s proceed anyways, shall we?

The magic formula for always having exact change is the following:

4 pennies

1 nickel

4 dimes

3 quarters

The concept is simple enough; for each coin, that is the exact number of coins you need before it turns into the next type of tender. For example, if you had any more than 1 nickel, you would just use a dime. Therefore you will never need more than 1 nickel in your wallet, ever, so long as you carry dimes as well. I’m not exactly a rocket scientist for ‘coming up with this’, it’s just an obvious technique I picked up as a cashier. So if you ever find your wallet over-filled with coins and you don’t know which to keep and which to take to the bank, just keep enough to fulfill the magic combination!

And thus concludes the most random blog post I have ever written.

Straight Until Proven Gay

18 Aug

The other day I was sitting on the couch with my mom when she turned to me and said, completely out of the blue, “Is your friend gay?”

I was extremely taken aback but without hesitation I replied, “Yes…”. She followed it up with, “Does he have a boyfriend?”, to which I responded no. She then asked me this:

“Then how does he know he’s gay?”

I smiled a bit (although I don’t think she realized it was a bitter smile) and responded as boldly as I dared. “No one ever says that to straight people.”

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a very long time. The idea struck me right around when I was re-watching season 1 of Glee, when I realized just how problematic one of the things Sue says is. She tries to lecture Kurt on sexuality when he claims that he is gay, and one of the things she says is, “You see, that’s the problem with your generation. You’re obsessed with labels.”

via netflix.com

Screen-cap via netflix.com

The problem I had with her speech was that that line is very true. Many people are obsessed with labels, and it’s not beneficial for all of the different shades of gender and sexuality that exist out there. But the fact that the line was included in her ‘speech’ gave the impression that everything else she was saying is also true. Here’s what I want to know. Does Sue walk around her high school every day and find straight couples making out, and say the same thing to them? Did she ever reprimand Quinn for her boyfriend, because she’s never kissed a girl and therefore can’t be sure she’s not a lesbian?

The core of the advice, don’t be too quick to judge, is lost in the fact that the only person Sue decides to tell this to is the one kid who dares to claim that he’s gay. Sure, 16 years might be too young to decide on sexuality (for some, not all). But you know it’s complete BS when people only decide to share this ‘wealth of knowledge’ with people who have decided on any sexuality that deviates from the norm, which is heterosexuality. Apparently you’re only allowed to “not know what you are” if you want to be anything other than straight.

And the other point she tries to bring up is how someone could know that they’re gay if they’ve never kissed someone of the same sex. Bypassing the obvious (which again is, no one ever says this to straight people) this kind of ideology just doesn’t make sense to me. Sexuality isn’t the same thing as, for example, saying you don’t like a meal before you’ve even tasted it. People have eyes. It’s insulting to tell someone that they can’t know who they’re attracted to until they’ve had some sort of physical, sexual interaction with them.

The bottom line? It’s no one’s place to decide or even make statements on another person’s sexuality or preferences. It’s a personal decision. If you think they’ve ‘chosen wrong’, it’s not your place to comment on it. They will figure it out on their own and experience that journey themselves.

Thoughts Regarding Cory Monteith

15 Jul

This post is going to address the passing of Cory Monteith and my feelings about it; I know the topic is very sensitive still so please read with your own discretion. This blog has always been about venting my own emotions, never just commenting on recent events to get more views, so as a huge fan of Glee this post is likely to be all over the place.

As others have said before over and over again, it just doesn’t feel real. I’ve read about his death and I’ve seen the phrase “rip cory” probably hundreds of times by now, but the lasting implications of what that means is just impossible for me to grasp right now. I’ve gotten used to thinking, oh, he’s dead, but does that mean that from a week from now, he’ll still be dead? A year from now, still dead. Fifty years from now, still forever known as 31 years old, never to have married or had kids or become an even bigger star. The fact that he will forever and always be trapped in this week is inconceivable right now. And as this is my first glimpse of grief, I guess this is just a normal phase. If I think about the finality and truth of the situation, I break down. Just like I did when I found out, while still in a cloud of my dazed shock and disbelief.

And that might be another thing people have trouble with. Why am I so devastated? Well to anyone who may have been teased or met confusion for sobbing over a celebrity, here’s the thing. It’s okay to be upset. Being sad for a week or even month may seem ‘reserved’ for people you actually know, but celebrities and idols are people who are loved and adored. Just because they are a celebrity and you are a fan doesn’t mean that there’s a rift in the universe where you aren’t both just humans. There has been an actual death concerning an actual person. There are losses and we all feel them. We feel for his family, his friends, and his girlfriend. We feel for his work, his passions, his achievements, his sense of lighthearted humor, and his love of life. Gleeks, we are a family and we have lost one of our own. It’s okay to just not be okay right now, because he’s not just an actor.

To any of my irl friends who didn’t know yet, I have been devastated by the news since I heard yesterday afternoon. I’ll probably be depressed for a couple of weeks at the least as the truth of it really sinks in, and yes I’ll feel this way because a celebrity died. He was young and he had a wonderful life full of opportunities to live. But now all I can hope is that where he is now is at least as wonderful as he is.

Discovering the Secrets of the Universe

9 Jun

It has been approximately 30 minutes since I finished reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Santo. Since then, I have teared up, wiggled around in my bed, paced my house in the middle of the night, and felt the urge to write a blog post. I guess you can see how I ended up here in my basement at 1 am.

I guess you could say this book isn’t that remarkable. It’s pretty clear-cut and simple, but there’s a raw kind of beauty to it that makes you know that it isn’t something you can just pass by easily. The dialogue cuts into you as you read, the emotions are laid bare for you to soak up, and it just makes you feel. The message of loving someone wholly, on an emotional level before even considering a physical level, sneaks up on you enough that the ending is surprising but pleasing (The ending may also seem like a bit of a jump, but Ari isn’t that great at sharing his emotions, so maybe he wasn’t telling us about everything going on in that head of his). Ari’s tale of growing up as a teenager is laughingly dramatic at times (he’s perfect at being an angst-filled teen) but also so relatable and perfect at capturing emotions and experiences we’ve all gone through at some point, or will go through eventually.

When I first started reading the book, I texted my friend that this is such a great book to get into the mood for summer. Boy, what an understatement. This book is such a great book to get into the mood for growing up. I have the urge to do more things, to start living properly. The moment I finished, I thought that I wanted to write a review for it. I thought that I wanted to write a review for every book I ever read.

‘So in essence, become more like Thomas?’ I thought to myself. (I have some friends who you know, perhaps like me. They are all very intelligent and wonderful. Thomas obsessively reads, writes reviews, and then catalogs those reviews.)

Actually, what a strange and accurate thought that was.

Write more reviews? Check

Read more? Check

Write more in general? Check

Spend less time online and on television? Check

Workout more? Check

Think more, care more deeply about everything? Check

But even if I copy my friends actions, I wouldn’t be copying their personalities. I wouldn’t lose any part of myself or imitate any part of themselves through certain actions. I would still have my own unique and lovely personality. And I think that’s wonderful.

Okay, it’s still 1 a.m. and the thoughts this book has inspired may have turned a bit weird. Time to go to sleep and not try to find Aristotle and Dante fanfiction. Ante? Daristotle?

Alright, alright. Goodnight.

…Who?

4 Jun

In my school’s yearbook, there’s a superlative for “Most Memorable”. If there were one for “Least Memorable”, I would take the cake for sure.

I knew it had been happening all 4 years of high school, and perhaps all my life, but I really do just drift by wherever I go. I never go out of my way to make an impression, or add an input, or start a conversation, and that has led to me not having deep connections with the majority of people in my life. This especially pertains to people who are not same-aged peers at my school.

At work, I’m quiet. The most someone could describe me as is nice. When I received a customized letter from my teacher, it was filled with generic greeting card statements about how I am a “hard worker” and “quiet but observant”. At my orchestra senior banquet, as I was called onto stage to hear my personalized superlative, I got the “etiquette” award. After 4 years of having an orchestra teacher, the most she could say about me was that I was nice.

I know that it’s okay to not be comfortable reaching out to people to make connections. Going out of my way to establish relationships is not an easy thing for me, and I know it’ll get better over time. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting to see others be praised and lauded by respected adults who couldn’t say one unique thing about me if they tried. It still hurts when I can never be the creative one, the shining star, the one who they know is destined for glory.

I want to make something of myself. I want to be the kind of person who others look at and think, she will do something great with her time on this planet. I don’t want to be the quiet nice girl in the corner who follows the rules and absorbs others like a sponge. I want to be recognized as an individual who has valuable thoughts in her mind, that wants to make a difference. And yes, I already do have a pretty great head on my shoulders. But what use is it if it never leaves my head, to be shared with the world?

I’m going to college this fall. If I continue to be passive to the world around me, and passive to my education, I will never achieve success. Yes, I’ll get a degree, and I’ll get a job eventually. But I don’t want to be just another worker in the world, making the cogs spin smoothly in the factory of our lives. Call me selfish, but for once I just want to be more than a mere piece of the game. I want to be one of the main characters; the action figure everyone fights over to have. (Have I used one too many metaphors yet? No?)

It may be a superficial dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a child, but I sincerely do want to be acknowledged by others. It’s a vain thing indeed, but my self-confidence is raised not only when I do something great, but when others recognize that it was great. I have yet to achieve self-actualization, but you know, that’s okay. At least I can admit to myself and to strangers on the internet that hey, being lauded does feel great, and just because I feel that way doesn’t make me a bad person. It would also help to learn to accept praise from friends, even though I know they say nice things just because they’re pretending to like me they want me to feel better.

So, here’s to trying harder to not be afraid to be heard. To speak confidently, even though I might be wrong at times. To not be embarrassed when I make a fool of myself, because at least I stood up.

Hi there. My name is Shilpa. And don’t you forget it.