New Year, New Semester

It’s the start of a new semester in Ohio. I’m taking a more manageable load this semester, so that I can really focus on my most intense photo class and still have time to breathe. Here are some other changes I’ve implemented to help myself have a fresh start:

-I moved rooms in my co-op.

-I rented a locker in the gym.

-I don’t have any classes that start before 10:30am.

-We are painting a giant zen tangle art therapy mural on the living room ceiling.

-Oh, and I finally took a self portrait today. I haven’t taken one in a while.


Alternate Path. Self Portrait. #withoutdisguise


Everything is Fixable

This week, I finally began taking antidepressants. I’d been thinking of starting them for the last 6 months, but it took a while to get an appointment with the psychiatrist.

I also kept going back and forth on committing to starting. I would have a few weeks where I felt fine-ish and think, maybe I’m getting better? But then I’d dip again or have a panic attack and think, nope I was wrong.

I waffled back and forth like this for  several weeks after returning to the states, before I finally committed to making that first psychiatrist appointment. And then when I finally made a decision, it took another month before my doctor had an opening.

They say that it usually takes several weeks for antidepressants to kick in and up to a few months to figure out the right dose and find the medication that works for you. Some people claim they start working from day one. I’m convinced I’m one of those people.

The first few days after starting I felt somewhat lighter. I caught myself smiling more throughout the day and during conversations. I found myself saying hello to my roommates and classmates just a tad perkier than usual.

But I know depression doesn’t go away completely with one pill. And I still have days where I sleep most of the day, or am unmotivated to do work, or have bouts of crying for seemingly mundane reasons.

On the first day I got my prescription, I had an anxiety attack in class, noticeable enough that my professor checked on me after class to ask if I was ok. The first thing she said to me was, “Everything is fixable.”

I had a chat with her in her office and revealed that I’d been struggling with depression. And she was very supportive. She said not to worry about classes and deadlines. I can always finish assignments later, even if it has to be after the semester is over.

It’s good to know that I won’t fail. That’s one less thing to worry about.

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It’s been a while since I posted on here. Since I last wrote, I moved out of my apartment in Korea, mailed 9 boxes to the states by boat, moved back to America, and then moved across the country to start grad school.  Now, I’m already 5 weeks into my first semester!

Grad school is exciting. I’m meeting awesome people, I have classes with awesome faculty, and I’m being challenged regularly.

But I still don’t feel settled. I keep having to remind myself that I didn’t just move states, I moved countries. On top of that, I’ve implemented several life style changes recently.

I’m still getting used to everything and it’s simply going to take me awhile until I feel like I’ve fully transitioned my life to being here.

I’m still in the process of purchasing possessions like a car, auto insurance, new camera equipment, furniture, bedding, and SPICES. I don’t think I’ll feel fully at home until my pantry is complete. Looking forward to that day. One bottle of tumeric at a time. #intransition

First Gig

That potential gig I mentioned is actually happening. Performing next week at a bar in Itaewon called Link. Super stoked!

I have a whole 15-20 minute set to myself. I have 5 songs picked out to play, all but one of which I’ve written in Korea. So it will be a good send off for myself. And it will be good to burn some karma, and leave it here before I go.

The Countdown Begins

Ack! I’m leaving Korea this month.

It’s officially July, and I feel like there’s so many things to do before I leave. Sell stuff, give away stuff, pack, mail stuff to Ohio, meet up with friends to say goodbye.

I had a serious flu for most of June, so that and my depression kinda set me back on leaving prep. But now my flu is mostly gone and I’m ready to start the packing frenzy.

I bought my first box from the post office last week, and went back the next day to buy two more. And I posted a couple things on craigslist to sell. Baby steps.

Selling stuff is always the most annoying thing, because people always want free or cheap things, so I never get to sell things for as high as I’d like. But hopefully I’ll be able to pawn off most of the big items for a decent price.

Excited to be leaving Korea and returning to the states. It’s been a long 4 years, and I’m ready to move on.

The Next Level

I’ve finally reached the next level as a musician. I’ve been invited to perform a gig.

It’s now been about 5 years since I started writing music and performing open mics. Over the course of the last 5 years, I’ve performed at open mics in about 8 different cities, 1 national park,  and 1 foreign country. Seoul is the biggest city I’ve performed in, and while I’ve been here I’ve played at 3 different venues.

Last weekend, I performed at a monthly open mic in Itaewon. Afterwards one of the other performers came up and complimented my first song. He said the chorus really touched him. I appreciated the affirmation, because it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve written so far. Have a listen here.

He recently opened up a bar in Itaewon and said he’s planning to have some music nights, and invited me to perform. I told him thanks, but I’m leaving next month. He said, he’s planning to have one in July and to email him to get in touch. As I left the bar, the bartender also complimented me and invited me to come back and book a show sometime.  2 invitations to have a gig in one night!

I’ve never had  a gig before, and partly it was because I never felt ready to. Writing music has always been a hobby and a therapeutic outlet for my emotions, so I’ve never felt the need to put myself out there beyond open mics. However, I feel like I’ve reached the point where I feel proud of enough of my songs that I would feel confident to play a whole set. So we’ll see. Maybe I’ll have my first gig before I leave this country.

Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s nice to know that I’ve reached the next level and I  actually feel confident enough about my own talent to feel like I deserve to be here.

Quitting the Year of Quitting

Well it’s been a good run. I’ve learned a lot. But now it’s time to end the Year Of Quitting and Unplanning Project. I might write more about what I’ve learned later. But right now I don’t feel like it.

Part of the point was to get rid of some of the things that don’t serve me to make space for the things that do and discern which things I really want to keep in my life. I’ve minimized my activities to the point where it’s time to start adding things back in. So that’s what I’m focusing on for now and for the rest of the year as I transition to a new phase of my life.