LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: 28.

My 18-year-old self wouldn’t believe the 28-year-old me when I say that this body that we shared is celebrating it’s 28th birthday. The 18-year-old me would look at the 28-year-old me and not believe me when I say I finished college in 2016 and grad school in 2018. A lot of things happened within the last decade that my younger self couldn’t even imagine doing or going through in their 20’s.

Hi, my name is Liz and today is my 28th birthday!

It’s crazy to think that in two years, I’ll be 30. Like, the 90’s babies are officially going into their 30’s and I can’t believe that our 20’s are ending! But, as I think back to the last 8 years of my twenties, I’ve learned so much about myself and my life! Of course, I have a ton of other things to learn in life, but for the most part, I’ve been through a lot during my twenties!

In my early twenties, I was still a college student. My life and most of my identity were tied around being a student. I was an English major, applying to a film grad school, and finally making some friends within my college through my acting classes my senior year of college. I will always deem some of my best years being in my early twenties; 22 to be exact! 22 was not only the end of my undergraduate studies, but it was the start of truly the rest of my life outside of those 4 years of college. I also started graduate school and met my professor/mentor/now friend, Ro (Professor Carlo), and found a different passion for writing and writing studies through her class.

My mid-twenties taught me a lot about life, in all honesty. The further I got into grad school, the more my mental health began to decline due to the stress grad school carried. For once, it felt like I couldn’t take care of myself because I was swamped with schoolwork. Because of that, I sought out therapy and was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and major depression; both on the chronic level. After graduating from grad school, it was even harder to adjust to life as a regular adult and not a student anymore.

Adjusting to medication and getting used to therapy took a toll on the relationships I kept with people. It was hard for most people to understand that I, the person who was once outspoken and bubbly and had plenty of friends, was now the total opposite. It was rough because I was trying to find my identity outside of the relationships I kept with my loved ones, but also trying to be more assertive and to have people accept that things were changing as I became more aware of my anxiety and depression. It took years to finally not allow my mental health to define me as a person, and in some incidents it still does. But during my mid-twenties, I always had this awareness of my behavior and my mental health really became a clutch for the things that I couldn’t do right.

My life started later into my twenties. I was now by myself after going through an intense break-up, and I was on a mission to discover who I was as just me, myself, and I. I started my first job at my old college’s bookstore and made a ton of new friends through that job. In a weird way, I needed to close some chapters in order to start some new ones during this time. There were so many fun things I got to do! I had holiday parties at work, I went out with my coworkers for a happy hour after work, i took up pen-palling, I went to my first ever Kpop concert, and I took my first ever solo trip on a plane! I also co-wrote a journal article with my mentor and got published in an academic journal! And of course, I challenged a fear of mine and entered a community full of people who were also interested in Kpop and collecting like me! I learned a lot during these years in my life, especially even after having surgery back in July 2021.

Entering these last two years of my 20’s, I hope that I am able to continue on this journey in a smooth and healthy manner. I hope that I enter my 30’s in 2024 excited to see what the new milestone is going to be like! They do say that your thirties are where it’s at! But back to 28; I hope that this year is full of adventures and memories, to show my 18-year-old self that things do get better, and that life goes on and you grow up and mature and the things that affected you when you were younger aren’t severe when you’re older. I hope that my 18-year-old self can completely rest and just be a place in the past that this body once was. I hope my 28-year-old self can learn to lay 18 to rest for good.

Happy Birthday to me. 🎂

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, Self-Reflection

27 Things That Happened/I Learned While Being 27.

Things That Happened:

  1. I rang in the new year with my online friends watching Kpop videos.
  2. Victon made their comeback with their first full-length album!
  3. I started to write more creative writing stories on the blog.
  4. I got some new tattoos and piercings.
  5. I got cleared for bariatrics surgery!
  6. I started to write penpal letters & opened my penpal IG account.
  7. I rekindled an old friendship with a long-time friend.
  8. I went to the beach with my sibling for the first time since the pandemic started.
  9. I had gastric bypass surgery back in July.
  10. Friendships were tested throughout its many phases.
  11. I got a second job at my old college in Academic Affairs.
  12. I finally got published in The Journal of Basic Writing.
  13. In total, I’ve lost 69 pounds since having surgery.

Things I’ve Learned:

  1. Your online friends are very much your friends as your IRL ones.
  2. Comeback season is hectic, but so much fun to experience with those who are just as excited as you are!
  3. Write what makes you happy, not what you think everytone wants to read.
  4. Things will always inspire me, and documenting them on my body is the way I want to remember them.
  5. With consistency and drive, you will accomplish what you want.
  6. New hobbies can be much more than just a pasttime!
  7. Forgiveness comes in more forms than just one.
  8. Have fun, no matter what.
  9. Your life can change at any time of your life.
  10. You have to respect yourself if you exepct others to respect you.
  11. Always challenge yourself, and it’s okay to ask for help along the way!
  12. A path towards your desired field is always a step forward.
  13. Time is seriously a crazy concept!
  14. I can do anything that I want in life!
Black Sheep in Society., LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!

A Sheep Out of His Suit: A Scene.

With mirrors you will be able to make your room look bigger

Micah looks in the mirror in his suit. He straightens out his tie and takes in a deep breath. A knock his heard on the door, to which he turns around and sees his mother, Jennifer, standing at the doorway.

Micah: Hey, Ma.

Jennifer: Are you ready for your night out with Kalia?

Micah: You mean Kalia and her parents? No.

Jennifer walks into the room and helps Micah with his hair.

Jennifer: You’re going to be fine, baby. Her parents are going to love you.

Micah: Her mom is chill, but her dad just seems… scary. Like he wants to rip my throat out of my mouth type of scary.

Jennifer: That just comes with all dads. Your father would do the same thing if Reagan and Dylan bring around guys they like.

Micah: Yeah, but dad’s not a big time Swedish movie actor that looks like he works out at every minute of the day.

Jennifer finally finishes pulling Micah’s hair back away from his face.

Jennifer: No, but your dad is still pretty crazy when it comes to the girls.

Micah chuckles to himself, and turns around to face his mother.

Micah: I’m just afraid that I’m too different for Kalia’s lifestyle. Like, the way the media puts it, it’s like I’m dating the princess of Sweden or something…

Jennifer: As long as you stay true to yourself, you’re going to be fine.

Micah: Mom, that advice only works in movies.

Jennifer faces her son before he walks out of the room.

Jennifer: The only thing that matters is that you treat their daughter with respect and that you treat her right, which you do.

Micah: We’ll see.

He walks out of the room, leaving his mother standing there.

Micah opens the door for a woman with long blonde hair and a red dress on. He waits for her to fully walk through before walking through himself. The door closes behind her, and they both begin walking down the long hallway.

Kalia: You look quite dashing tonight, babe.

Micah: And you continue to be the most beautiful girl in the room.

Kalia giggles and slips her hand into Micah’s. She looks at Micah’s face and then stops in her place.

Kalia: Babe, your piercing.

Micah: What about it?

Kalia: I told you that this was a formal event; no piercings like that are allowed.

Micah: It’s just a septum ring, Kal.

Kalia: My parents are going to say something about it; I am just warning you before they do.

Micah annoyingly flips up his septum ring to make it invisible in his nose. The couple continue to walk along the hallway.

Micah: So, your dad; does he know about us dating?

Kalia: Well, my mom definitely didn’t leave that little detail out…

Micah loosens his collar a bit, nervous.

Micah: I wish I was able to meet him in a less intimidating place, not at this gala thing.

Kalia stops in her tracks and looks at Micah.

Kalia: Babe, you’re going to be fine. He’s going to like you.

They both continue to walk down the hallway until they reach closed double doors. Micah opens them and the couple enters the ballroom where the gala is being hosted. People on all status levels are dressed in tuxedos and ball-gowns; the room is surrounded by celebrities from all around the country. Micah looks around the ballroom and immediately swallows hard.

The couple walks through the ballroom and begins to mingle with the other people. Micah stays silent and looks around, feeling uncomfortable in his place. He looks at a tall man in a tuxedo across the room; he’s buff, fit, and kept together. When Kalia leaves the other people she’s talking with, she looks at Micah and the direction he is looking at.

Kalia: Who are you looking at?

Micah: Who’s that guy surrounded by all those girls?

Kalia playfully slaps Micah and laughs.

Kalia: That’s Prescott Jones. He’s the sole heir to the multimillionaire company, “Joneson”.

Micah: *widens eyes* You’re serious?

Kalia nods her head and immediately goes to talk to another person. Micah stands in the middle of the ballroom, not really knowing what to do. He takes out his phone to kill some time and walks towards the balcony. He bumps into someone and immediately looks up.

Micah: Oh my god, I’m so sorry, ma’am-

He looks at the person he bumped into and immediately recognizes them.

Micah: Rosie?

Rosie: Micah?

Kalia: *from across the room* Micah?

Micah looks towards Kalia and back at Rosie, who isn’t standing there anymore. Micah just walks back towards Kalia.

Kalia: You’re okay, babe?

Micah: Yeah, yeah… I’m okay.

Kalia smiles and grabs Micah’s hand, pulling him towards a table. Once they reach that table, Micah looks at the table full of well-dressed adults. Micah immediately panics.

Kalia: Hi, daddy; hi Marcielle.

Micah looks at the man that is Micah’s dad, Joel, with slick-back blonde hair and clean-shaved face. Accompany him is a red-haired woman with a emerald green dress.

Kalia: Daddy, this is Micah, my boyfriend.

Micah puts his hand out; nervous.

Micah: It’s nice to meet you, sir.

Joel: Likewise, young man.

Marcielle: Micah is Milo’s son, Holder.

Both the guy’s eyes widen in shock.

Joel: Kamalani?

Micah: *nervous* Y-yes.

Joel: What a small world. We used to know your dad when we were younger.

Marcielle: Tell him we said hi.

Micah nods his head; he pulls out a seat for Kalia, and sits next to her.

Joel: So, what do you do for a living, Kamalani?

Micah: I, uhm, I’m in college, sir.

Kalia: Micah is a sophomore, daddy.

Joel: Ah, I see. What are you studying?

Micah: I’m studying music…

Joel blinks in response, not expecting for that answer to come out.

Joel: I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Marcielle: *stern* Holder.

Micah awkwardly picks up his glass and drinks.

Kalia: Micah is looking to do some producing when he graduates.

Micah: Uhm, yeah. Hopefully.

Joel: One can only hopes in this world. *to Micah* Your hair looks like you play music.

Kalia: Daddy…

Micah takes another sip of his drink and places the glass down.

Micah: Thank you! My family and I just have really good hair genes!

Joel and Marcielle look at each other, confused. Kalia laughs to break the silence.

Kalia: Of course! Heh, so, uhm, daddy – I have a couple of auditions this upcoming week!

Joel: That’s great sweetheart, I knew you would eventually get into acting, just like your dad!

After a few more drinks, Micah gains some confidence in the conversation.

Micah: Kalia was a banging drummer though in high-school! She would’ve been one of the hottest members of a rock band!

Micah laughs obnoxiously and Kalia tries to quiet him down.

Kalia: *whispers* Babe, you’re embarrassing me.

Micah: I’m just making small convo with your pops, Kal!

Kalia: I think you had enough to drink…

Micah takes his drink from Kalia, who is trying to help stop him drink anymore.

Kalia: *annoyed* Micah!

Micah: Whatever.

He gets up from his seat and excuses himself.

Micah: If you excuse me, I am going to smoke a cigarette, would you like to join me, Joel?

Joel: *annoyed* Please, call me Mr. Holder. And no, I don’t smoke.

Micah: You look like one of those actors that just smoke. Maybe it’s your hair.

Kalia: Micah!

Micah leaves the table and heads towards the balcony. He takes out a cigarette and lights it up. He takes in the brisk air. He looks toward the ballroom and squints to see the people inside. His eyebrows scrunch together when he sees Rosie sitting at the table with Prescott Jones. He’s surprised when he sees her sitting with someone as rich and high-profiled like Prescott.

Moments later, he is faced with his girlfriend, who is visibly upset.

Kalia: How the hell did you get yourself so drunk, you would embarrass me like that in front of my father?

Micah: What? I just had the sparkling apple cider crap you fancy folks drink up.

Kalia: That was champagne, you asshole! How could you act that way in front of my father? You made me look like a fool!

Micah: Well sorry that my presence and my actual personality doesn’t sit well with your rich and famous dad!

Mich puts the cigarette out and starts to walk inside the ballroom. Kalia grabs Micah’s arm to stop him.

Kalia: You are not entering that ballroom while we are upset with each other; the press will leak a story and I don’t want to have to deal with that publicity tomorrow.

Micah: Is that all you care about?! Seriously Kalia, why the fuck are you even dating me if you want to change every little thing about me?

Micah yanks his arm out of Kalia’s grip and walks inside. He walks towards the entrance to leave the gala; Rosie watches Micah leave the venue from her table.

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, The "Something" Series

Something’s in Retrograde: Their Monologues.

Nothing had changed about her. Her hair was still a fire red. Curly and messy. It was shorter, but still styled in the Grace Ashmore way. I reached down for her hand. I wasn’t sure if she would take it; I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t. I’m literally her ex that she probably thought she would never see ever again. Yet here we are.

I almost dropped her when she grabbed onto my hand to help her get up. I pulled her up as she got balanced on her feet. She’s wearing heels. She’s wearing heels. I gave her the remaining papers that I picked up from the floor. She looked at me, not saying anything. I waited for her to leave; it’s what she was probably going to do anyway. But she didn’t. She just stood there, speechless.

“Can we get another order of what Grace was having?” I said to the guy behind the counter. He nodded and began to make another drink for her. I took out my wallet and took the money out for the drink. She could’ve left at any given time since I helped her up from the ground. But she stayed.

“Do you want to sit?” I asked her. She still hasn’t said anything, and it’s nearly killing me. I haven’t heard her voice in almost a year and never thought I’d be even in the same room as her, let alone get the opportunity to sit with her at the cafe, where we met almost two years ago.

She still didn’t say anything, she just sat at the table, our table. The guy calls out Grace’s concoction of a drink, in which I walked up to the counter to pick it up.

“You’re Jamie?” the guy whispers to me. I looked at him perplexed.

“I am,” I answered. The guy nods his head and gets some tissues and a lid for the drink.

“Hopefully this is the last I see of Grace like this,” he said in a more serious tone than before. I take the drink and tissues and take it to Grace. Did she talk about me?

I sat at the table across from Grace and handed her the drink. She took it, still not saying a word, and began to sip on it. I looked at her while she drank. Am I really sitting across from her?

“How have you been?” I finally asked. She looked at me, in deep thought. I wanted nothing more to hear her voice. I also couldn’t help but ask, and a part of me wish I didn’t.

“How’s little bean?” I asked, smiling. Grace began to gather her things to walk out of the cafe. “Wait, Grace!” I called out for her, but she didn’t turn around. It felt inappropriate to go after her. She’s not yours anymore.

The guy behind the counter must’ve seen her walk out the door, because it wasn’t long after until he came walking to where I was sitting. Aigoo, am I getting kicked out? God knows what this man knows about me. I looked at him as he sat in the seat Grace was sitting at before.

“She’s been running out of here for as long as I’ve known her,” the guy said.

“Does she run often?” I stupidly asked. Of course she did. She always runs.

“Only when she’s running late to work, never after a hangover,” he stated. I leaned back on the seat, trying to put it all together. Was I just wasting my time?

“She would talk about you a lot when she comes in here drunk,” he randomly said out loud. I looked at him, waiting for him to continue his thought. He looked at me and takes in a deep breath, followed by a sigh. He gets up and takes the drink from the table.

“What would she say?” I asked out of the blue. Here I am, in this goddamn cafe, asking a complete stranger about the woman I couldn’t stop thinking about since going back to Korea last year. He turned around and just stares at me.

“Maybe you should ask her, sonny,” he answered. Before I began to plead for some answers, I vote against it; Grace is not yours anymore.

I get up from the table and walk past the guy and out of the cafe. The air hits my chest harder than usual. I need to talk to her. I had an idea, although it would be slightly invasive, I know I needed to do it. I couldn’t stay in New York without knowing about Grace.

I followed a woman to a door in a long hallway. Not much of this place has changed, just the people who occupy these offices. The woman knocks on a door that is labeled, Arissa Johnson, Esq.

“Ms. Johnson? You have a visitor,” the woman says as she opens the door. Once Ari sees me, her face instantly changes.

“Bitch, it’s too early to go for lunch yet,” Ari says, straightening out the papers on her desk. I remember when I would constantly do the same every morning, in hopes that they stayed together as the day go. Maybe it’s some lawyer shit that they all do. I look at the woman, whose eyes widen at the change in Ari’s voice. I guess Ari noticed and began to clear her throat.

“Thank you, Kim,” Ari said without any tone in her voice. The door closes behind me, and Ari doesn’t wait to start off the conversation.

“You’re never here this early unless Bernie calls and says you’re drunk,” Ari said, clearly surprised at my presence. I took in a deep breath, not knowing how the hell I was going to word this next part.

I sit down at the chair across from her desk. Ari doesn’t notice that I haven’t said much until she stops what she’s doing. She looks at me when she does.

“You good?” Ari finally asks me. I shift in my seat, trying to make myself comfortable before I say what I need to say. Ari grows more concerned the longer I take to answer.

“Grace?” Ari questions.

“I saw Jamie today at the cafe,” I finally blurted out.

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, Topic Tuesdays: Music

Let’s Talk About Some Problematic Things About Kpop.

Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

As many of you all know, I’m a huge kpop fan. I discovered kpop back in 2018 at a local laundromat where they were playing Twice’s “Knock Knock” on their television set and was instantly hooked to the catchy song. Soon afterward, I went down the rabbit hole that is kpop; different boy and girl groups, watching survival TV shows to debut new groups, and the most expensive part of it all: collecting.

I officially got into the kpop community during the pandemic in 2020. During this time, collecting wasn’t as intense as it has been for the last year. The community definitely was a lot smaller when I first joined it, and since then it has expanded to be this phenomenon that can be intimidating at first glance.

While kpop has become internationally known and wildly popular, many of us enter the community not really knowing that in any community, there are just things that are problematic as you dig deeper into the subject. I specifically want to talk about two things that have been on my mind as I’m writing this; to say the least, I think many kpop fans can agree that some of these things are problems that we just condone because there’s nothing else we could do, unfortunately.

The Curse of Pre-Order Benefits:

In the kpop world, a pre-order benefit (POB) is typically a photocard that you get when you order albums during its pre-order period. A pre-order period typically runs until the album release date, or on the date that is provided on certain sites. Before the pandemic, POBs weren’t a big deal; in fact, many people didn’t collect them! It was just a nice thing people got when they ordered their albums in their pre-order period. When I first got into collecting Victon, I didn’t even know what a pre-order benefit was! I bought my first POB on eBay when I realized it was a card I didn’t have, and when Victon announced their Mayday comeback during the summer of 2020, I bought my albums under the one website that was had a POB with the album. Since then, it’s nearly tripled. For their full-length album comeback, there were way too many to even sit here and count! If I had to guesstimate how many photocards were for that last comeback, I have to tell you that it’s pages. Tons of money went into getting these photocards, and even then I still don’t have all of them! The thing about collecting is that many collectors want to have completed collections of their favorite members. Again, another toxic mentality to have within the community; collectors think that the more you have in your collection, the better “stan” you are. Also, it feels better to have everything than to have missing slots in your collection, which again is crazy to think, but it’s a mentality that many of us have in collecting and somewhat tolerate in the community. The thing is when a group makes a comeback and pre-order details come out, sometimes it becomes more stressful than fun to collect, and a lot of people who were once in the community aren’t in the community anymore because of the stress collecting can be and has become.

The fact of the matter is, pre-order benefits became a big deal during the pandemic because entertainment agencies weren’t making their money through concerts and offline fansign events. Collecting became this huge thing during the pandemic, and companies hopped on that bandwagon and made it a battle of all battles to collect them all. So, in order for consumers to buy through specific sites, they include their own special pre-order benefit, which in all reality look the same like they are no different whatsoever. I hope that in the future, POBs doesn’t happen as often once the pandemic is mainly in control, but knowing that these sites and companies have already seen success in doing things like having lucky draws or POBs, I highly doubt they will just stop doing so. It’s just the new norm of collecting and as collectors, we just condemn it.

Line Distribution in Songs:

A little backstory on what inspired this part of the post: so back in August, a new survival show aired called Girls Planet 999, which if you’ve been a fan of the now-damned Produce series, you would know this was just another way for Mnet to make idol survival shows again without bringing back the Produce series. The network definitely had to be careful that there weren’t any scandals happening behind closed doors (i.e companies bribing their trainees to the debut lineup) so when the final lineup was announced back in October, it wasn’t that surprising that certain members were in the final lineup. For a show that had 33 Korean, Japanese, and Chinese trainees, only 2 Japanese members made it to the lineup, as well as 1 Chinese member. But, when 50% of the votes came from Korea, it was suspected that most of the final lineup would consist of Korean members, of which 6 of the 9 members are. Anyway, after the uproar in the community wondering how Huening Bahiyyih (TXT Huening Kai’s younger sister) got to be in the final lineup for Kep1er (which speaks for itself: she has a huge international fanbase), people anticipated their debut album release, which was finally released on January 3rd. While their title track is the most catchy song of 2022 thus far (and probably will be because, well, go listen to it), many people are upset about the line distribution of the title track and the rest of the album as well. Specifically speaking about their title track, one of the non-positioned yet members got a huge fraction of the lines while others literally had as little as 7 seconds of lines in the song.

Unfair line distributions have always been a problem within the community. If the member isn’t the center, main vocal, or main rapper, you most likely won’t hear much from other members. It’s common for the main roles of a group to have the most lines in songs, but for larger groups (I would say 9 members and more), line distributions can get a little tricky and borderline unfair. Line distributions (unfair ones) have been in the community for generations on end, but with kpop being a more internationally known genre (and Korean companies creating new groups and advertising them as a “global group”), fans all over the world demand for more even distributed lines in songs. It definitely pushes the agenda of companies when things like that happen: while some fans will argue that certain member’s voices just “fit” certain concepts more than others, but when there is a major distinction between a member and their lines and the other members, there’s typically a “favorite” that the company has. Again, this is an issue we as listeners can’t control; it’s a company-level thing and we as listeners don’t typically have a say. But, it influences our liking to certain members and even our dislike of the members with the heavy screentime and/or most lines in the songs. It definitely makes it a competition against the members in the community when in all reality, the members just want their fans to support them as a group because they all deem each member a major important part of the group.

But yeah, I just wanted to discuss some of these issues now that we entered a new year, and kpop already made January its “unofficial comeback season”. I wonder if there are kpop listeners and collectors who feel the same way!

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, The Teenage Tell-Tale.

The Teenage Project Presentation: A Scene.

Classroom Management for an Effective Learning Environment - TeachHUB

A classroom of students sits at their desks, watching their fellow classmates present their exit projects in their English class. After one group finishes their presentation, the class applauds and the students take their seats. The teacher stands up from her desk to address the class.

Teacher: That was lovely, Brianna and Ava. Are there any volunteers wanting to present their project next?

No one raises their hand, they just look around the room at each other.

In one corner, Milo and Sophie sit next to each other but are not facing nor talking to each other. Sophie has her arms crossed on top of her desk, while Milo doodles in his notebook.

Teacher: Well if no one wants to volunteer; Laurie and Brooke, you’re up.

The two girls get up from their seats. Laurie rolls her eyes as she walks towards the front of the classroom. Sophie watches her and Milo notices.

Milo: *to Sophie* Don’t stare for too long, she’s gonna think you’re jealous of her and Simon getting back together.

Sophie: You know, you’ve been a real jerk these days. How about you don’t talk to me and I don’t talk to you.

Milo: Whatever, Sophie.

Sophie completely turns her body to face Milo; she’s now annoyed and fed up.

Sophie: I don’t remember ever doing anything to make you this mad, mate. The last time I checked, I had nothing to do with the whole fight between you and Simon, so you should just drop whatever is making you so mad at me.

Milo: And I don’t remember ever doing anything to you to make me out to be the bad guy, yet here we are; Milo Kamalani: certified bad guy in friendship!

Sophie: Well, a good friend would talk and understand that things aren’t what they always seem.

Milo: You kissing the boy that literally left you for your best friend makes it loud and clear that you don’t care about how others treat you.

Sophie: Again, how is that your concern?! You weren’t there when it happened, and it’s not like we were anything but friends; so tell me, what is the true reason you’re mad at me?

Milo: I told you a million times; I am sick and tired of you letting people walk all over you! Like you don’t have friends that actually give a fuck about you!

Sophie: If you did, you wouldn’t have ultimately thought that I wanted to kiss Simon in the first place. You would’ve came to me before believing anyone else had to say, especially Laurie.

Milo: Whatever, Sophie; do whatever you want.

Sophie: I just don’t understand you sometimes…

Milo: Yeah, me neither.

Laurie sees the two bickering at the back of the room and ultimately stops during her presentation.

Laurie: Miss! Can you tell those two lovebirds in the back to stop talking over us?

The class giggles and the teacher quiet down the class.

Teacher: Milo, Sophie; can you please stop being disruptive during the presentations.

Milo: *to Laurie* You’re always talking over someone else, so what makes you so special?

Sophie: Milo.

Teacher: That’s enough! Laurie and Brooke, thank you for your presentation, but it’s clear that Milo and Sophie are eager to be the next presenters of their project.

The two teen’s eyes widen, they look at each other and back towards the teacher. The teacher folds her arms and looks at the two teens.

Teacher: We don’t have all day, you two. Come up and present.

The two slowly get up from their seats and walk to the front. Mollie watches Milo walk towards the front, as well as the rest of the class. Milo and Sophie turn around to face the class once they get to the front of the classroom.

Milo: *awkwardly* Uhm, hi. I’m Milo Kamalani…

Sophie: Sophie Lee…

Milo: And this is our Teenage Tell-Tale Project.

An awkward silence fills the room for a moment. Milo clears his throat and begins to present his part of the project.

Milo: I lived in the neighborhood all of my life, and even though I am still young, I’ve been to places around that meant a lot to me, and went to new places that meant a lot to Sophie.

Milo looks at Sophie, who then starts to talk.

Sophie: My story is the complete opposite of Milo’s. I’ve lived in the neighborhood just a little over a year now after living in the UK for most of my life. Being half British and half Korean, I never really felt like I belonged in any specific place; I didn’t fully look Korean to other Koreans in Korea, but I also didn’t look fully British to other British people. So to come to America, where everyone looks different and is proud of their culture and heritage, I found myself feeling like I belonged in New York.

Milo’s face softens as Sophie talks.

Sophie: Within the year I was here, I discovered places I never thought I’d find comfort in these days, and I was quite shocked to hear that Milo didn’t know some of the places I picked for our project.

Sophie looks at Milo, smiling. Milo begins to speak.

Milo: One place, in particular, was the park on the other side of the bridge. I live near the water and never really explored the other areas of the neighborhood, but Sophie showed me this park that had a stage in it, and she called it one of her favorite places to go and practice her violin.

Sophie: Coming to America, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue playing my violin because the kids at my old school would tease the other kids who had instruments to carry and band practice. So, someone told me to not be so afraid of the people around me and just do what I like doing. So, I played violin on the stage and a couple of people stopped and stayed to listen; they even clapped for me! I guess visiting the stage again for this project is what made me decide to not listen to other people, and go do what I wanted to do. That’s why I auditioned for Waverly High.

Milo: I really liked her place because I am also a musician, and her for to pick the stage as her comfort spot, I could really relate to it.

Sophie smiles and takes a deep breath in.

Sophie: Milo showed me a place not all people will be able to visit in their spare time, but it was a place that I found to be possibly the best place in the neighborhood because of how personal it was to Milo.

She looks at Milo, hesitant to continue. Milo nods his head. Sophie turns her head forward to proceed with the presentation.

Sophie: Milo’s comfort spot is the treehouse in front of his grandparent’s front yard.

Mollie cocks her eyebrow up, slightly confused.

Sophie: The treehouse is full of music sheets, notebooks, and blankets that cover the ground the floor. While a treehouse is just a treehouse, Milo’s had a backstory to it that gave me a clear understanding of family, and how important it was to remember where you came from.

Milo: The treehouse was built by my grandparents, but it was originally used for my mother, who passed away when she was around my age. My dad wanted my grandparents to keep the treehouse and give it to me when I got older. It was like a little piece of my mom that I could remember her by since I was too young to remember anything about her. So like Sophie, my comfort spot is used to practice my music.

Before Sophie can say anything else, Milo continues to speak.

Milo: This project made me realize that no matter how different people maybe, people can ultimately share so much in common; music especially. Sophie was just a person that lived in other countries for most of her life, and I lived in Brooklyn for most of my life, and we may have other things that we like, we can ultimately connect through our love for music.

Milo looks at Sophie, who decides to finish the project.

Sophie: I’ve learned that no matter how far the people you love maybe, like my family back in the UK and Korea, you can always carry them around with you on your new adventures, in hopes that one day, you get the chance to show them some of your favorite places as well.

Milo: Thank you.

Both Sophie and Milo bow in front of the class, and the class applauds for the two of them. They look at each other and smile.

In the back of the room, Simon watches, not pleased or amused at the presentation.

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: The Halfway Mark.

New year, new me! Well, not really. More like a “new year, new ways to better me!”

I remember looking at all the paperwork in my doctor’s office planning out the next couple of months after surgery. They counted them as days. They told me what I should be doing and eating at certain points of the healing journey. They tell you what you should be doing at different points of the journey to help keep the weight off and adapt to now healthier lifestyles. It’s crazy to even think back to those times, not realizing that one day, I’d be where I’m currently at.

Hi, my name is Liz and I will be making 6 months in a week and a half!

Six months. Where did the time go? It really does seem like it was just the summertime, and I was being pushed out in a wheelchair to the entrance of the hospital where my sibling picked me up. It feels like it was just my first day back at work after surgery and my coworkers asked me a million and one questions about the process; of course, out of concern and curiosity. It was just the first time I visibly saw changes in my body through the clothing I was wearing! Now here we are, celebrating a milestone that seemed like would never come.

In the time I am writing this, it is very much still 2021, and the total amount of weight I’ve lost since surgery is 69 pounds! To think that my ultimate goal is just 30 more pounds; it’s a little scary, to say the least. Things fit differently, my body is looking different, and I feel different. But like I documented here on the blog, getting here wasn’t an easy transition.

Six months really is just the beginning of this lifelong journey. It’s still very much a learning process and I’m not the “perfect example” of what someone on a post-surgery journey is like. Nevertheless, these last couple of months have taught me so much about my body, my mentality, and the strength it took to even make it to this point.

This journey is possibly one of the most important stories I am currently telling. I say that because this was something I really didn’t think would ever happen in my life. I’ve told myself that this was something I should consider doing and was always afraid to take that step forward and go for it. The drive to want to change my life and just experience it in a way where my weight wasn’t going to hold me back.

Like I mentioned in the previous Overexposed posts, I write about this journey because there’s not a lot of people telling the truth of the process. They don’t tell you the day-by-day process of WLS and the hardships one truly goes through during the process. I honestly didn’t realize people were reading until my coworker told me that they read the series and felt unworthy of reading it because it was like “reading in on someone’s diary”. The truth of the matter is, it is. This is how I document my process for myself. I write for the blog, to come back in a year to see where my mind was during the beginning of this process. I want to be able to look back and see just how far I’ve come in this journey, and other readers who stumble upon this blog while doing so are more than welcome to read along and learn this very important thing about me and my life.

I’m not one to have new year’s resolutions, but this year I want to set some things to do things differently with this process. For starters, I want to start working out more at home. We have a treadmill in our apartment and it doesn’t hurt to go on it for half an hour to burn some calories. I also want to go on more walks when the weather gets warmer to do more exercise! I also want to stay away from sugar as much as possible to not gain a tolerance for it (I have to admit, my sweet tooth has been making its return and I don’t want it to). I definitely want to eat better and make better food choices to help the process continue smoothly. Most importantly, I want to just go through this next half of the first year not too anxious about the process and stressed about the number on the scale. The journey is unique to everyone, and this just so happens to be mine.

Here’s to 6 months, and cheers to the next 6 months!

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, Throwback Thursdays

Where was I in 2012?

Ten years ago, I was 18-years-old and a senior in high school. It was the year 2012, also deemed as one of my worst years to date.

Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

Every year, I always reflect back on who I was and where I was a decade ago. Ten years ago, it was 2012, which in case you haven’t been here since the beginning, you would know that 2012 was an interesting year for me. Although it has been ten years, I finally feel like I am now in a place where it doesn’t affect me in the way it does, so writing this doesn’t leave me in any weird state of mind or in a bad place. But anyway! Let’s talk about the Liz that was in 2012!

I was a teenager that lived in beanies and scarves throughout my senior year. I also wasn’t a major makeup wearer, but this was the year that I got into liquid eyeliner! I mean, it wasn’t really great at it, but it did the job for a teenager that really didn’t care about appearance that much. I very much still wore a lot of older-looking clothes, meaning I wore outfits that would date me much older than an eighteen-year-old. My hair was constantly straightened, or at least a part of it was straightened, like my damn bangs. I was also the girl with two nose piercings; to come and think of it, I don’t know how the hell I rocked two nostril piercings and it didn’t bother me. Like, if I had them to this day, I would’ve been surprised, but I actually don’t! I upgraded to a septum ring! ;D

I was a vocal major in high school and was a member of the Performing Choir since my sophomore year. This particular school year, we were able to go to a lot of interesting places! For example, a part of our choir was invited to go to the 125th Birthday Celebration of the Statue of Liberty and performed for the major and some celebrities! We were also featured on “Good Morning America” earlier that morning! It was surreal; I had to meet up with my vocal teacher and my other choir members at like 4:30 in the morning to make it to Ellis Island by 7:30ish. It was definitely a fun and cool experience to be on National television. We also performed “Carmina Burana” with other high-school choirs at Carnegie Hall! It was my second time performing on the stage of Carnegie Hall, but this time was definitely so much fun and I got to meet so many new people who participated in the show! My family got to see me perform, and the rehearsals were so much much to attend! Plus, hearing a live orchestra perform with us was ethereal. For me, my time in Performing Choir was what kept me together during my senior year of high school. It was my escape when life was getting complicated for me and things were getting dark for me; dangerously dark.

Senior year of high school was the year that tested my mental abilities, in all honesty. Prior to this year, life wasn’t as chaotic or hard, to say the least, but senior year taught me a lot about life and make me realize that I wasn’t this innocent, perfect girl I wanted to be. I made mistakes, I made selfish decisions, I did things that weren’t in my character that everyone portrayed me as. To be quite honest, I wanted attention. I felt under-appreciated and invisible, and all I wanted was for people to see me and like me more than just another person in the school.

I got myself involved in a situation that at the time I didn’t want to see as bad and stupid. I started to experiment with girls to the point of falling in love with one that was already taken. Again, it was the attention I liked. It was feeling something that I didn’t feel before, and it was the thrill. I felt like I was living two lives. It was starting to interfere with the relationships I had in my life, and instead of getting myself out of it, I was falling deeper into the rabbit hole of self-destruction. It may be dramatic to say, but it really felt like every decision I made to try to get out of it, it was just another thing that made things worse. If you want to read more about this time, I wrote a lot about it in this post, as well as this post.

One of the ways I gained attention from others was that I went completely blonde for the first time ever. I wanted to not be me anymore; I wanted to be someone else in the midst of everything that was happening in my life. To some degree, it actually wokred. I was getting the attention from people that I wanted; people began to think of me as attractive. It was the attention I thought I wanted when in reality, it began to really tarnish the image I wanted to keep. Instead, I was just this homewrecking, easy chick that allowed anyone to walk all over her. If it was in school or in my after-school activities, I really couldn’t escape the sadness and depression I was going through.

2012 was the year that started my poor mental health. I was in this state of mind that I was severely depressed, I was making impulsive decisions, and I eventually became suicidal. I would walk in the streets, sometimes just standing in the middle of the street wondering how would it feel if I allowed a car hit me. Sometimes, I would cry on my bathroom floor at night, cutting my arms, wanting to gain back control of my own life. It got to the point where I had to go spend the day at the guidance counselor’s office because I was depressed and my arms were cut up. It was definitely the lowest point of my life.

I graduated high school that year and thought life was going to be okay once I got out of school. I still dealt with a lot of anxiety and depression, which seeped into my first semster as a college student. I was failing half of my classes miserably, and I wanted to do nothing but drop out of college. I really didn’t think I was going to live past 18; that’s how bad things got. The year ended and then 2013 came, which also was a tough year to go through, but we’ll wait until 2023 to talk about that!

In a nutshell, 2012 left a lot of emotional scars and trauma that I had to talk about years later in order to conquer most of it. A lot of my social anxiety stems from the events that happened during those years, and it took tons of therapy sessions to work out some of the darkest thoughts I had during that time. It’s crazy all of that happened 10 years ago. It’s crazy that I graduated high school ten years ago and started college ten years ago. Like, where did all the time go? Maybe it went from all the healing, the challenges, and growing up I had done within the last decade.

Here’s to 2022, the better year ending in 2!

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Overexposed: 27.

Twenty-Seven.

I thought I wasn’t going to make it past 18 at one point. I thought that one night at 18, I would take my own life for not wanting to be here, to not seeing a future in this body, and for never wondering what life would be like in years to come. I thought that I wouldn’t be here long enough to experience all of the amazing things I’ve experienced in my 20’s.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I am a newly 27-year-old woman. Happy Birthday to me.

At 20, I remember being a sophomore in college being completely obsessed with the show The Killing and having an immense interest in dramatic television writing. I had long ombre hair, I was with my ex, and I was finally feeling confident enough with myself to the point where I was embracing myself in different aspects; sexuality, emotionally, physically, mentally. I was in a really good place at 20.

At 21, things started to get bad again. I was now dealing with issues in my life that I didn’t know how to solve; i.e new arising family issues that came out of the blue. Personally, I felt like I was still in a good place; I was getting good grades, my passions were still aligned up for me, and my relationship was doing okay. But things behind close doors was tough, and I lost a lot of myself along the way due to the fact that I wasted a lot of my own energy trying to change and control the situation.

At 22, I started to make changes for myself for the better. I was graduating college and I wanted to make the most out of that year. I would write in a journal to document everyday of that year, I made friends in one of my classes, spent the summer hanging out with my newfound friends, and I started grad school. It was am amazing year and I felt my best at 22, despite having moments when I felt like I had no sense of direction or idea where I was going.

At 23, I felt the pressure of life get to me. I started to allow my grad school studies get the best of me and lost the ability to take care of myself properly. I wasn’t taking the time out of my school schedule to unwind and take a break from being “Liz: the student”. No one in my family understood how isolating it was to be in grad school surrounded by nothing but my studies.

24, things were weird. I graduated grad-school but I was also at a place in my life when I didn’t feel like I was completely living my own life. I first started to attend therapy and got diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder & the journey to recovery was difficult that year. Anxiety attacks, breakups, really hard discussions to have with my therapist and psychiatrist. The list goes on and on.

At 25, I found myself needed to change. I knew within my soul that I needed to change the old habits in my life and the things that I felt like weren’t serving me anymore. I new chapters of my life were closing, and whether or not I was ready to do so, I had to do it. My relationship ended, I started a new job, and I started to do some rediscovering of myself and figure out how to take care of me before I involved anyone else in my life.

At 26, I continued to see what life was like for me; for Liz. She went to her first kpop concert, she went on her first solo plane ride to Florida, she made some cool new friends at her workplace and online in the kpop community, and she’s just doing the best that she can regardless of what’s going on around her.

Decorative clipart header, Decorative header Transparent FREE for download  on WebStockReview 2021

At 27, I am hoping to keep on finding myself and getting to know myself in different situations. I am hoping that I will stop letting my fears get the best of me and allow myself to do new and exciting things. I am hoping to keep working on the things that I haven’t embraced or accepted. I am hoping that I am able still make progress, even if it’s not linear. I am hoping that 27 treats me well, and keeps me on this path of just doing what’s best for me and the life that I am living.

Hello, 27. Welcome to the life of Liz.

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26 Things That Happened/I Learned While Being 26.

Things That Happened:

  1. I discovered “The Chemistry” by Victon on my way to work on my 26th birthday.
  2. I went to my first kpop concert to see ITZY back in January.
  3. I went out to a happy hour with my coworkers one day after work.
  4. I went to visit Tori in Florida as my first official plane trip.
  5. Lots of Quarantine thinking…
  6. I started to collect Kpop albums and photocards during the summer.
  7. I opened up a kpop trading/selling account & collection account on Instagram.
  8. I met my best friend through the kpop community over the summer.
  9. I wrote, revised, and submitted my journal article this year.
  10. I decided to try dating out and downloaded an online dating app.
  11. I went on my first date with a man for the first time.
  12. I celebrated a Friendsmas through video chat as we opened gifts.
  13. I am ending the year almost completed the Bariatrics Program.

Things I’ve Learned:

  1. Despite it being the first birthday I spent by myself, sometimes music discoveries will literally change your life.
  2. Even if you’re by yourself doing things, do things because you absolutely can.
  3. Hanging outside with your coworkers outside of work is literally normal despite people telling me otherwise.
  4. Never be afraid to try new things no matter scary they are; you never know how much you’ll enjoy yourself.
  5. Even when society stops, the world keeps on going.
  6. If something makes you happy, do it without any shame…
  7. … because you might just find a community that you belong in!
  8. I am able to have and hold meaningful friendships in my life.
  9. Productivity is sometimes the best way to stay focused and out of your own mind.
  10. There’s nothing to lose, so why not try it to say that you tried it?
  11. New things and experiences are scary, but they make good practice and good stories to tell.
  12. Even for the most socially anxious person, being around friends during a holiday season is the happiest feeling in the world.
  13. I am capable of changing my life.