journal: friday, 5/26 14:39

may 26th, 2017 14:39

hello! happy friday!

this morning, i woke up at 9:30, knowing i had nothing to do with the day except get lunch with someone at 12:30 and hop on a bus at 4:45. 

i lied in bed for 3 hours, uploaded old pictures into an album on Facebook from last quarter.

i lied around in my underwear in my comfortable pigsty of a room and quietly existed.

for the past week, i’ve been waking up with anxiety, and i feel like i’ve written this in every journal entry for the past month, but it’s true. however, i feel good, because it doesn’t impact my entire day when i wake up with it. as of late, anxiety has been just a hurdle to climb over until i step out of my dorm and take a breath of fresh air. it hasn’t always been like this, and i’m so lucky that is now. but today, it felt like static around my head. it felt akin to loneliness. 

at around 11:30, i was painfully close to cancelling my lunch because i was anxious and gross and sleepy. i didn’t want to stretch myself that far, but i pulled my head out of my butt, and thought “the dining hall is literally 2 minutes away from your room, the person i am meeting is a lovely human being- just put on some pants and go, damn it.” 

so i did!

and it was lovely.

afterwards, i was going to just lie around some more- maybe take a nap. but then i forced myself to go on a walk to starbucks instead. i had three hours to kill anyway.

on this walk, i ran into 3 friends, saw 2 dogs, saw 4 couples holding hands, passed by a group of middle schoolers laughing, and saw the delight of a child staring at a fountain. the air is cold, no wind though, so it’s not unbearable. i ordered a latte, sat down, and started reading. 

then my roommate just happened to show up! she sat down across from me and we talked for half an hour about literally anything. like how much we’ve grown, end of the year thoughts, regrets, etc.— though we live together, we haven’t really sat down and gotten coffee together, so this was really refreshing and sweet. she left to go work on her physics problem set; i stayed to write this, feeling unbelievably hopeful and excited about life. two more friends have approached me and said hi.

the point of all this is to basically reinforce the point that i feel happiest and the most fulfilled when i am with people. not just with people, but when i am out and connecting with humanity in just the right way. of course, phoebe coming to sit next to me was brilliant and refreshing, but even just pushing myself to be in a space where something serendipitous like that can come and find me, or where the air is alive and filled with the lives of other people– that’s when i feel my best.

of course, i’m comfortable in my own solitude, this is well established. but being alone, in a room full of people, and not feeling lonely is something that i have experienced a lot more this year than ever.  

i think this comes from a deep understanding i’ve cultivated that while life is hugely collaborative, and that is what makes it most beautiful and vibrant, it is, at the end of the day, my own personal, individual journey.

this is not to say i never feel lonely anymore, but loneliness is no longer my default. i feel like that’s because i know that i am pursuing a life led by very strong core values that allow me to be okay. 

okay okay so

3 things that help me sleep at night and help me wake up every morning

  1. love and loving
  2. connectedness, closeness, emotional intimacy, trust
  3. knowing that my life is mine, and mine alone

2 things that sort of dictate my perspective on life

  1. this life is mine, my own individual path, blazed specifically for/by me- it will work out and unfold in whatever way it will, and i have faith in myself to live it well and be in love with it.
  2. but everything that makes it lovely and vibrant and exciting come alive in the relationships you make, and the people that cross this path with you and walk alongside you for a little bit and help you figure out which direction you’re going, or even shed light on dark bits. hence, ~life’s collaborative nature~

i don’t know, i just got really really excited once i got up and got to starbucks. just about everything. that life is happening and everyone else’s lives are happening, and that it went from a stagnant grey morning-for-one to an afternoon filled with hope and clarity. i just wanted to explore what exactly was clarified.

in addition, (bullet points because my mind is racing)

  • i am such a Romantic. not a romantic, this has nothing to do with romance, but i just. i have such a deep, unfathomable love for everything- it stresses me out a little bit. i can feel my heartbeat faster whenever i get in one of those moods. my cheeks get all flushed and I’m pretty sure my eyes dilate, but i quite simply feel so hopeful! and excited! and grateful! have you ever seen a dog? have you ever thought about how far you’ve come since a year ago? have you ever appreciated the art your friends create? have you ever witnessed passion? have you ever seen stars? have you ever thought about how absolutely massive our potential is? have you ever seen a beach? have you ever thought about the fact that you have, like, 70 more years to fill your life with love, to meet and connect with people, to discover things about yourself, to immerse yourself in new places? oh my god
  • sometimes i wonder why i get so excited about things? how “the sky being blue” is something that can quite literally make my day and how i can get so riled up and feel genuinely elated by one small thing that i stumble upon in a day. i still have no idea.
  • it wasn’t always like this and it still isn’t  always like this. but the days that are like this are louder than others.

thought i’d share. i don’t know if it made sense or if i got anywhere, but here you go. ❤

also, it’s sunday and i’m sitting at the same table that i sat in on friday at starbucks and they started playing one of my favourite songs! (dear to me by electric guest) serendipity comes if you let it find you! wooo time to go watch a sunset!



happy 2yrs!

22:44 may 16th, 2017 (tuesday)

i knew something special was today that i was missing; it’s the two-year anniversary of this blog ❤

hmmm, what to say other than

thank you.

here’s a journal entry from yesterday (monday) before i went to bed:

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awow 7: to 26 and beyond

A Week of Writing: Day 7 (woo! we did it!)

21:47 April 1, 2017

Last day of A Week of Writing!

I’ve done nothing a lot in the past 24 hours. I ran errands with my brother and I picked up some makeup at Target. We then went to Barnes and Noble to get some work done and ended up just rolling around on the storytime stage in the kids section talking about how much he loves his girlfriend and laughing at pretty much anything and everything. Then we went to Mel’s Diner to get hot chocolate in lieu of ice cream because I thought it was cold out. But then we got inside the diner and started getting hot while we were drinking our hot chocolates and then started regretting the fact that we order hot chocolate and fries to go with it, for some godforsaken reason. And then we realised we should have gotten milkshakes and curly fries. But rather ended up with regular fries and hot chocolate. So everything was wrong. But we were crying of laughter about all of it anyway.

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awow 6: the one in which i put my resumé together

**A previous draft of this post accidentally published and got sent out to all email subscribers. Sorry ’bout all that,, xx

This is very late, but hey! Woo! This is mainly all about how I did something as seemingly simple as building a resumé and applying for a job, but in reality, it was a huge accomplishment and milestone reached on my part. Go me.

A Week of Writing: Day 6

16:32 march 31

i’m j chillin in a chair at a salon waiting for the bleach to seep into my hair and destroy its very being!


I am so excited!

I’ve had a great day!

So much to tell you!

Yesterday, I managed to successfully navigate the highway towards SFO and successfully pick up my brother and his girlfriend from the airport! I then drove through four hours of traffic to get home back to Brentwood! Then I spent the night taking care of some work, sorting things out before getting back to school. I scheduled breakfast with Meredith in the morning then turned in.

To be honest, at around 11:30pm last night, I started feeling really overwhelmed. I had an application due today at 5pm, I felt small and uninspired and trapped– all familiar feelings, but I was still frustrated nonetheless. In the process, I stumbled upon Olivia Gatwood and her poetry, felt fired up enough to write, but realised that it was 1am and I deserved to rest.

“Sometimes you just need sleep and a sunrise.” -me, this morning, at 00:51

So, I slept. I didn’t try to conquer the world all night. I didn’t launch myself into a 5-hour crisis and try to fix my head all at once. I took a deep breath, realised that I was overwhelmed and tired from the day. I went to sleep.

Then today! Was wonderful!

I got breakfast with Meredith and caught wind of all the ~hot goss~ Brentwood and Heritage High School has to offer. I met her new boyfriend, then went home and got cracking on revising my resumé (aka kinda build it from scratch) and revising my application for this research fellowship for the summer.

Growing up with an older brother, I’ve oftentimes just not had to figure things out on my own. It’s cool and all, but I also resent that concept a bit, since I feel like I haven’t learned how to do anything myself, which caters to that concept of feeling like “I’m not grown up” or “feeling like a child.” I’ll write more about this another time. So, I basically told my brother, from this point forward, that if I ask him a question regarding “how to do something,” he should outright tell me to google it like he did when he was growing up and doing x, y, or z. So, today, that’s what I did! I built my resumé, took peeks at his, but mostly pulled things from my old resumé, my college apps, and my LinkedIn (lol) and sort of tried to piece it together myself.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking:

“Wow, Izzy, nice. You did the thing that you’re supposed to do.”

BUT HEY. I did that. Not only that, but I did it ~on my own~. This is a milestone! Something worth celebrating! I spent 2 hours working on a piece of paper on my own that will sell my soul to potential employers, and it looks good and I am proud of it. I also applied to my first job/internship with it. So, I am pretty freaking stoked. After two whole academic quarters of feeling like I’m falling behind my peers and feeling like I’m not doing enough blahbalhabalhablablah, I pulled myself together and thrust myself into it, despite the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding it (“it” being pretty much everything having to do with jobs and employment). Through this process, I also got a chance to reacquaint myself with how absolutely incredible and involved high-school me was. Coming to Stanford gave me all of this unwarranted (well, warranted, but unnecessary) insecurity. The reality is: I got here. I got to this school. These four years are all about how much I grow and how much can get out of this university. I just need to get out of my own way.

Then I got my hair cut and coloured and I feel fabulous.

Concluding Thoughts:

  1. Just because something you accomplished is “normal”, does not mean that something is not worth celebrating. Going outside, driving through a very complicated airport, doing something yourself for once, applying for a job, speaking in class; if it’s out of your norm, then you’re allowed to celebrate it. Don’t downplay it because you feel like that’s where you should already be. Be proud that you got there, then keep it pushing.
  2. Perspective!!! Contextualise your feelings! I told Chloe, “Wow, good thing I didn’t interview for colleges, I would have tanked,” but then I realised that I, honestly, probably would have done really well in an interview in high school. I didn’t have all of this anxiety and insecurity regarding my professional and academic work! There was no need to! I didn’t realise people my age were actually curing cancer! Come on, brain! Pull yourself together! You are smart and capable and trying your very best. You are and always have been killin’ it. And high-school me knew that. Learn a thing or two from her.
  3. Being anxious is okay, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t let it get in the way of what you want to do or what you feel like you should do. Don’t let it consume you. Don’t let anything get in the way. You’re you and this thing is just a part of you, something you experience. You can work through it. It takes time. Be patient with yourself.
  4. I’ve managed to get myself through the first two-thirds of my freshman year with minimal casualties and a LOT of personal growth. Spring Quarter will not know what hit her. Way more writing, way more sunshine, way more music. Let’s go.



awow 4: small steps

A Week of Writing: Day 4

02:15 Wednesday, March 29th

I am back on campus! To get some work done and pack some clothes before heading home for a little bit! I tried to record one of my old songs to put on YouTube, but I tanked as soon as I got all set up and started trying to record because my voice got all wonky since it was midnight and I am a tired gal.

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awow 3: make it count

A Week Of Writing: Day 3

01:44 Monday, March 28

I’m noticing that it’s actually really hard to write everyday when you’re costantly on the go. I’m happy that I’m finding time for it, but I wish I could sort of sit down and give it the attention I would usually give it- but I guess that’s the beauty of all this, how different it is from the usual, I mean.

Chloe just fell asleep (I think) and given that I stayed up until 5am last night I’m having trouble going to bed, but that’s all fine with me. Today, I went on a 6-mile hike somewhere at Point Reyes where everything basically looked like an English countryside. Then, Chloe picked me up at Mill Valley and we went to her house in Tiburon where we ate dinner and watched a movie and FaceTimed our friends Praveen and Brenna all night.

My favorite part about all of this is the idea that I sort of just get to float around and see my friends’ homes and see the Bay Area in a way that is pretty much inaccessible as a tourist. Everyone’s experiences growing up is so dramatically different, yet we all ended up in the same place. Plus, Chloe and I discovered that we both use the same shampoo and conditioner, both catastrophize things in our heads, and both have stuffed animal rabbits that we grew up with.

Another fun thing is that I’ve noticed is that our dorm rooms 100% reflect our rooms back at home. Between me, Chloe, Praveen, and Brenna- we all have gotten “tours” of each others’ rooms- and our dorm rooms are basically little samples of what we grew up in.


Though it has been only for a brief period of time, I feel like wandering (as well as the prospect of wandering) has given me this new, sprouting sense of agency. It’s kinda stupid, but I feel a little bit more comfortable talking to adults, especially my friends’ parents. I also like being able to map out where I’ll be and when and how I plan on getting there. Also, simply taking in where I am as a newly developed slice of the world is exciting- it feels like I’m coloring in sections of a map.

Brief Thoughts:

  • Revisiting old work and old art you’ve created (in my case, old songs I’ve written) gives you a whole new appreciation for them once you’ve separated yourself from the work that went into it.
  • Nothing beats a warm shower in an actual house.
  • I’ll never be able to stress how important valuing the moment that you’re presently in is. Like, the more I think about it, the more concrete in my head it is that the only thing that exists is Now, so what are you going to do with it? It’s not even always a rejection of present responsibility or future plans, but rather, a way to frame your perspective on life in a way that puts you in control. You live Life rather than letting Life happen to you. It’s about the choices you make and how much you commit to them. If you study for an hour, you study for an hour. If you want to take a break, you intentionally take a break. Be intentional. Be where you are. Be present for the life you’re living!! Ah! Yes! Agency! Pilot your own life! Woohoo
  • Mornings are important and healing! As is sleep!
  • Surround yourself with people who: 1) excite you, invigorate you, and fill you with this sense of wonder about the world– 2) see you, like, completely see you, and make you feel like you don’t need to build walls and you don’t need to build an image and you can simply be– 3) make you feel warm and welcome– 4) support you. Your peers have more of an impact than you think. I know we shouldn’t worry about what other people think of us, but, in this case, it’s all about the energy they give you. Living/Being-a-person is 100% a collaborative effort, and the beauty lies in the interactions and relationships you experience and build with other people living/being-a-person. Value it. Make it count.

Okay. I’ve been sitting in this bathroom for 20 minutes. Time to go to bed. Goodnight 🙂



snapchat: @izzyangus for fun times

awow 2: be where your feet are

A Week of Writing: Day 2

04:43 march 27, 2017


Here I am, lying in bed at 4 in the morning at Quinn’s gradparents’ house (that they’ve been renting for 11 years from a lady) in Bolinas.

An hour ago, we went to the balcony to stargaze and as soon as I looked up at the sky, tears started streaming down my face and as I said, “I’ve never seen this many stars before,” I just started sobbing.
Spring Break has only lasted for 4 days, and I feel so inconsequentially content with how everything has unfolded so far! On Friday, after editing my video for hours on end, at around 1am, I picked up A.J. to go to Denny’s and we talked about anything and everything. On Saturday, I wrote a blog post, got lunch in Menlo Park, took a nap, went to dinner at the Melt, played all of my old songs on guitar, then grabbed snacks at Safeway with 3 friends and went to Half Moon Bay at around 11:30pm.

Today, Chloe and I headed to SF to get some cragels (croissant bagels), then we went to Mill Valley to visit the theatre she grew up doing shows in, then Quinn picked me up where we did ~cool~ things around Bolinas. Kayaking was cancelled, due to weather, but I was 200% not even a little bit mad because we got to venture out to see tide pools, we went to a fun bookshop and used wares shop, and we watched a movie by a fire, and then proceeded to just talk about whatever until 3 then I got to sob over the sight of stars for an hour and a half.

He asked me what is something that has been on my mind the most this Spring Break (the past 3 days) and I realized it could be broken down into 3 main things:

  1. Trusting my past self in that she made the right decisions. AKA, not wishing I was in LA or on a roadtrip or Hawaii or somewhere anywhere other than where I was.
  2. Having faith in and keeping in mind future me’s ability to look back on absolutely anything and appreciating whatever experience it gave me.
  3. Being where my feet are, and being present, and wanting to be where I currently am. Which is basically the first point.

(I’m also so sleepy, so I apologize if at anypoint this gets incoherent) (also i’m munching on potato chips rn and i hope he can’t hear my chewing from the other room)

Anyway, I think I’m just gonna do a brain dump in a few hours when I wake up- because I know I’m going to wake up earlier than I should, and I am drifting in and out of consciousness right now. Good night!

11:18 march 27th

okay, i’m back, the light is pouring into the room. i can see the ocean out my window and it is sparkling.

i think the most valuable lesson i’ve learned throughout my time in college is this idea of “wanting to be where i am” and “wanting to do what i am doing.” all throughout highschool and even throughout fall quarter, i had this chronic itching to just go. i wanted to do anything and everything i could to simply leave, go as far away as possible, and just start over in some new way. i used to “jokingly” ask my mom if i could go to a boarding school or if i could transfer schools for my senior year. even the concept of just being anywhere other than wherever i was was so essential and, quite honestly, it made me feel very trapped.

of course, it’s easy to “be where your feet are” when you’re out travelling and your feet are trudging through mud during an overcast sunset leading down to the beach or your feet are out walking the streets of a city you’ve never seen before. but when your feet are covered in wool socks, unused, camped in the 3rd floor of the library for the fourth hour- or when your feet are climbing up to your bunk bed in the midst of a seemingly impossible week. it’s a lot harder.

but this all goes back to my new year’s resolution of “loving myself, loving others, loving where i am, loving the process”- it all chocks up to pouring yourself into whatever life Is (with a capital I) because that is all it can be in that moment, so you might as well make the most of it. if you spend all of your time wanting to be somewhere else/wanting to be older/”wanting to get to college already,” everything moves by you in the blink of an eye- and it’s gone.

it’s crazy that i’m sitting here, staring at the ocean, surrounded by the greenest california i have ever seen in my life, without a single thought of homework or school passing through whatsoever.

it’s also so silly that i started crying while looking at the stars; i’ll probably snap in half the day i see the Milky Way.

it’s also absolutely outrageous how the person i was one year ago is so outrageously different from the person i am now. my happiness and contentment runs so much deeper than simply being happy. i am more okay with uncertainty than i was back then. my positivity does not feel feigned nor forced.

i don’t know, i’m just in a very good place right now, and that might just be all this exposure to the sun and the sea right now.
my stomach is filled with eggs and avocado and toast and i just had a thought about the ~concept of pursuing happiness~ that i wanted to dive into, however i am 10 minutes away from going on a hike then meet up with chloe in Tiburon.

have a good day! see you soon,


awow 1: winter wrap up

A Week of Writing: Day 1

welcome to SPRING BREAK 2017 aka AWOW (pronounced ay-wow) (a week of writing) where i will be roaming around the bay area and writing every day for a week! it is unclear as to what today has in store for me, but tomorrow (edit: today) i am off to ~Bolinas~ for some bioluminescent nighttime kayaking

Saturday 10:57 March 25, 2017


the sun’s out! it’s spring break! children are laughing and playing outside! well, they’re screaming, but i don’t really mind since i haven’t seen a legitimate child in about 3 months.

how are we today? tell me some news! any news. or a fun joke. or your favourite song. honestly, write anything you want here:

well, this quarter went well, i think. i made my quarter video which you can watch here:


Despite the sunny nature of this video, I want to make it crystal clear that this quarter was undeniably really rough. It is so incredibly easy to only talk about every sunny day/party/every degree point above 70°F. It’s very easy to look back and only choose to see those things because those are the only days I was willing to film and document. But, 2 posts ago let’s remember that I was straight up sobbing at my desk, hand-writing something, anything, in an attempt to pick myself back up. This quarter, I also got a 101-degree fever that was entirely stress-induced, broke down multiple times, dealt with anxiety almost every time I had to go into a discussion class, faced numerous rejections, felt trapped, felt inadequate, etc.. Life! Here! Is! Not! Perfect! But that’s just it! Life is not perfect!

The beauty is that everyone else here is going through it, too. Obviously, the bad times hurt. Obviously, it does not at all feel beautiful when you’re sitting there, wishing that everything would just stop. But winter quarter, if anything, has broken down so many walls between me and my peers. We’re all just trying to make it.

Luckily, due to all of the ~emotional turmoil~ I’ve faced this quarter, I feel like I have made ~major~ strides in being a person! I’m getting closer to becoming a self-actualizing human being! How great is that? I have realised my core values, I found a way to mediate between the two discordant voices in my head. I visited home and seeing my old theatre and the people in it reinvigorated me in a whole new way. I have grown a lot more accepting of, in a word, everything.

And, on top of all of that- this quarter, I got to sing with Alan Cumming on his 52nd birthday, I went on a ski trip, I built deeper friendships with the people I love dearly, I submitted writing to an essay contest, I joined an intramural team and played for 3 minutes because I prefer playing “team mom” more than I do actual basketball, I lied on a sunny field in the middle of winter, I took a spontaneous trip to the city, I took a formal painting class for the first time, I wrote multiple essays about chance the rapper, I pet a  real life corgi, I’ve gained more confidence (towards the tail-end of the quarter, but still), I’ve met some incredible people, I’ve felt peace!

See? Silver linings! Rain and rainbows and all that!

This school- this time in my life- might be hard/emotionally taxing/difficult, but that does not mean that it is anything less than beautiful.

Anyway, to wrap up: I am feeling good. This quarter was a lot. It hurt a lot in many different ways, but I, of course, am endlessly thankful for it.


winter quarter was hard

spring quarter, though i am expecting it to be absolutely incredible, will also be hard in its own way.

but who cares? life is hard.

anxiety, depersonalization, fear of making the wrong decision, insecurities, wrong place at the wrong time, catastrophic thinking, et cetera– sure, all of that sucks. sure, life is a lot more complicated than we ever grow up thinking it would be.

it’s complicated, it’s nuanced, it’s hectic, it’s a lot

but as long as i  keep my faith in “future me” to possess the capacity to love wherever i am and wherever i  came from, i  will continue to find Life’s convoluted nature inspiring and exciting

there’s hope, love, and a lesson learned everywhere you turn.

roll with it!



~~also, i know, i could have just made the title “wow” but ay-wow is more fun to say~~~