Advice to Future Juniors

Junior year is hard. You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again, and soon, you’ll be saying it yourself. I just came out of it alive, as a student at Westlake High. Here are my two cents on junior year survival.


1. Treat your time like money. 

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Bra Fitting

Early November


I got a bra fitting for the first time last Sunday.

Hey, I’m 16 years old and I’ve always kinda joked that my chest is too small to need a bra anyway. I’ve more than survived on ‘training’ bras and bralettes. I guess that looking at enough girls at Westlake High School, models on Instagram, fashion sites; breasts that look good have a roundness that you can really only get with padding. Besides, everyone has real bras; no, everyone has bras, and I’m the only teenager in her right mind that has never hooked one before.

My mom is very supportive of my transitioning (from Asian to white). Continue reading

A Semester in Review

I’m going to start off by saying that this was hands-down, no-doubt the worst and hardest semester of my life. But I’m going to continue by saying that much of that has had to do with my selfish attitude, more than anything.

It seemed like everything I earnestly tried, I failed. Even the things I’d taken for granted that I’d obtain (Latin Club elections). So many things going wrong, that nearly every week there was a new crisis (I must sound so pathetic and self-absorbed right now; sorry). Each crisis would prompt a full-on crying session in Latin (1st period) or APUSH (8th), and if the latter, it’d usually continue into the car with Marika who has had to comfort and calm me too many times this semester. Continue reading


I’ve been struggling with how to be thankful. I think back to my elementary-school days, when all of us small children would flail out Sharpie-scrawled lists of “Things I’m Thankful For.” Common denominators among the class: food; my bed; my house; my friends.

I remember it was a kind of self-shock, consciously remembering the little things I take for granted. Count your blessings. Usually, that command implied a directive to compare ourselves with the less fortunate. Weigh yourself and your situation with those around you. There’s always someone worse off than you. At least you have food to eat, so why are you worrying about your grades? You should be thankful for what you have. The classic “There Are Starving Children in Africa” argument—finish your food. Continue reading

Today at Mission: Possible!…

A homeless man—fifty years old, friendly—I had interviewed on Sunday passed me this note.

Isabella (Bella) — Hi…

🙂 Hoping that my letter will surely find you in the best of spirits…

I deeply enjoyed the bit of time we shared together. I’m really looking forward to spending more precious moments with u. I didn’t make breakfast @ Mission Possible Monday. I spent it @ The Angel House. I refreshed with a cool shower and coffee and glazed-doughnut. mmm—good! I thought about U alot!!! Mostly our fascinating conversation. I am, convinced beyond a shadow- of a doubt incessantly, and physically attracted to U… I want to let you know. Consider me your Hero!

Next time we meet I want to look you in your beautiful eyes and give you a hug, a big–tight hug.

Most of all… I want to conversate with you, you have alot that I want to learn from you. And hope that a truly great relationship can aspire between us, you and me.

I would love to call you – Bella – like Bella in *Twilight*— and I want to keep it like I’m the only one who calls you Bella.

I can’t wait to see you!!!

&really miss you!


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Initial Thoughts

You did the best you could.

I should have started in May, worked on it for a few
hours a day until October. Then, maybe I’d have had a chance.

But, given the situation—SAT prep, taking the SAT on October 1st—you
went in to Taylor and Crocker, asked for help, did all you could do.
You worked your butt off, and you can really only look forward from here.

What I should have done is move my SAT to November in the first place.
Could have avoided the whole accidental-cheating
thing, saved myself a few nights of crying.

Hey, you got a freaking —-. That’s incredible. You should be so proud of yourself. Continue reading

The Drive to Succeed

[Excerpt from a recent school assignment on success.]


Especially as a junior, as I’ve started to think about college admissions and the extent to which they should dictate my life, I’ve struggled a lot in the past few years about what success really means. Since my elementary school years, I held this firm conviction in my heart that I will be a real world-changer and my name will be bolded in the history textbooks of the next centuries. It was a belief that seemed obvious to me. How I would get there was a question I never deeply considered. I assumed that, because I’d been told I had a quick intellect and a natural talent for things, the opportunity to bend history would present itself naturally to me and I’d take it easily, succeed, and revel in my success for the rest of my life. I was going to be greater than King Tut and George Washington and Bill Gates. Soon… it would happen someday. Duh. Continue reading