The other day, a friend said I was arrogant. I believe most people who have some sort of critique about them thrown their way would respond negatively, but I like it. Everyone’s opinion is valid and warranted, and I rather have someone tell me the truth now than never. Naturally, I messaged everyone I talk to daily and with the exception of one, I’m more stubborn than I know. However, she’s right actually. I can come off as arrogant at times, but I’ve gotten better at it.
My ego at one time was very inflated, but I was failing and suddenly I wasn’t anymore. It felt good knowing I was passing classes and in the upper 10% of students with high marks. Did I stay humble? Not the least bit. My vendetta for this community college grew. I once took a written history final at PCC that had a five page minimum requirement. With one quick look at the writing prompt, I knew instantly this was a piece of cake. Truthfully, it wasn’t. I spent the previous two weeks going over lecture notes from morning til night multiple times trying to figure out what might the professor might ask. By some stroke of luck or hunch, I guessed right. Another requirement was that we stayed at least one hour, so I did. Once the clock was up, I got got up, hurried over to my professor’s desk, and slammed the paper down.
“Danny, done already?”
“I was done half an hour ago.”
This felt great, but for a different reason. I organized and lead a study session about two days prior with any classmates who wanted help from me. We all sat around in a giant circle and went over topics and questions. I’m certain this helped others pass the class and I had a hand in that. As my best friend would say, “the feels man”.
After this, I would lead study sessions for just about every class with groups of friends or classmates. The idea was to throw ideas around and start discussions. I wasn’t doing well, but now that I was, if I could help, I most certainly would. I had to figure out on my own how to study, memorize large blocks of text, and get my shit together. College was stressful — enough to have my hair fall out. I wouldn’t want anyone facing the same situation to have to go through what I went to. This keeps me grounded or what some would say, humble.
Ego does get the better of me at times, but I’m not one to take anything less than 100%. My rule has always been, if you put in 100% and still not succeed, you have nothing to be sorry about. Try again. I don’t believe most things don’t work out the first time.
Perhaps this is a product of Chinese culture, but my entire family, with the exception of a few aunts, uncles, and my grandma absolutely cannot say anything nice about me. I think anyone in my position when gets belittled enough has to build up a wall against the constant barrage of criticism. It’s not that I’m a problem, it’s that I’m surrounded by bitter and cold people. I didn’t come to this conclusion. My close knit group of friends did. They are and will always will be my real family, and because of that, I’d do anything within my power for them. My life would not be so enjoyable without them.
On the topic of materialism, I believe everyone lives in excess and buys more than they really need. I’m always the butt of my sister’s jokes when it comes to the amount of money I’ve spent over the years and she’s right in all sense. Tens of thousands are gone, but I feel a little bad I wasn’t more aware of my spending habits. After graduation, I sold off my possessions and now I’m merely left a few boxes of clothes, a car, and a few electronic devices. If I had a full sized car, it would all fit in the back seat, sans the trunk. Now, my thoughts on money is it’s important to have, hard to earn, and it’s what you do with it that matters. This year alone, I spent and given away several thousand to friends and family. I’ll most likely never have this repaid to me, but that was never my goal from the beginning.
I have a bit more to work on in this realm, but at least I can list out the number of things I’ve bought year after year. In the end, it’s all just “stuff” that’s replaceable. My desire to be less materialistic has gotten to any extreme more recently — I believe to the point I’m just not very thankful. About two years ago, I dropped my MacBook from about 6 feet up and completely shattered the screen. I wasn’t sad or angry for the clumsiness. I went out and bought a new one the day after. My attitude here most likely rubs people the wrong way, but at least there’s a reason. In its most condensed form, my thoughts on material possessions is: fuck it. It can be replaced.
In the end, what do I have going for me? I’m thankful for having friends who care about me. I go out of my way for everyone I care about because it keeps me humble. I don’t believe in excess, but have a hard time realizing how fortunate I have it. I do a lot of self-introspective and soul searching, but there’s plenty I need to work on. I’m hopeful I have it where it counts in life and my purpose here on Earth is one of personal fulfillment, to better the lives of my friends, and help make a difference somehow. I believe in being truthful to everyone even it doesn’t paint me in the best light. I’m that sense, everyone knows all off me and the real me. I’m certain it’s the reason everyone is so willing to confide in me and share their personal struggles. I won’t stop being me, but at I’m willing to change if it means I become a better person.
The most challenging endeavor I face daily is battling against my former and current self. It’s a source of contention and inner conflict, but I know I’ve changed a great deal over the years. Knowing that means it’s not a losing battle and there’s a finish line I’m waiting to cross.