Entry #007 Are you Sure You're Fit for Level 5? (2024)

For if you ever felt like you shouldn’t do something more challenging because they said you wouldn’t be good enough, or ready enough for it. Do it anyway.

I think I was in First Grade. Or Second, it’s a little blurry to me. It was the annual book fair. Ahh, those vivid memories about the book fair. It was always a momentous occasion. Where you begged your mom for an astounding $50 because you just needed as much crap as possible. On this occasion, I was on my own, my mom hadn’t come with me. I was looking through all the shelves lined up with books through all levels. I remember loving the feel of a new clean book. The idea that no one except me has touched a book and read it front to back appealed to me. Anyways, this one book caught my eye. It was the first of a cupcake series, at least that’s what I remember. It was a level 5 book, 5th grade level. But I didn’t care. It was the book care, and I would be paying for it. It would belong to me. Plus, I was a great reader. I was poor in mostly all subjects, except reading. That’s the one thing that was mine.

Entry #007 Are you Sure You're Fit for Level 5? (1)

So I didn’t worry. I grabbed the book, and started to make my way to the trinkets table. By this point, I had been obsessed with Junie B Jones. I had gone through maybe 80% of the whole series. They were thin, easy to read, and I could get through a book a day. But now, I was interested in this book. Yes, it’s much thicker than what I would normally read, was a whopping level 5, and was a different series. Perfect. I didn’t see anything else that caught my eye, and made my way to the register.

As soon as I turn around, I see my teacher and some random PTA mom approach me. I smile. The teacher spoke first. “Hi sweetie, but I think that book is not for your level. Maybe you’re better off choosing a smaller one.” I smile again and happily explain, “Oh no, it’s okay! I can read this, I like this one I have.” If I remember correctly, this was the last book that was available. Then speaks the bitch PTA mom: “Oh honey, no you can’t read something like that. This is for higher level reading. Pick something thinner, you can’t read thick books” PTA mother then removed the book from my hands, and leaves. I watch her, as she walks over to her daughter, who was in my class, and gives the book to her. I can’t hear what she says, but I made eye contact with the daughter. She was everything I wasn’t. Red-blooded American, blonde, pretty, blue eyes, and with my level 5 book in her hands. The teacher left me, and I was left empty. I winded up grabbing some random small book, and I ran out of there. I never grabbed a “thick” book until about a decade later.

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I didn’t realize how much this really affected me until years later, looking back. The first time I recalled the memory and actually reflected on it, I cried. Tears actually fell down. I have memories of re-reading the same Junie B Jones books, and various smaller novels. But nothing that seemed too long or too big. I remember my sister asking why I didn’t read more. Why I wouldn’t grab anything intellectually challenging, or books more extensive than Junie B. Jones. Even in Fifth Grade, when I was level 5. I think I only read one book that was the first of a series, and it wasn’t even that big. The point is, I never dared to pick something that seemed “thick”, or “challenging”. We couldn’t afford the extra tutoring out of school or the weekly soccer practice, we never had the time, either. So all I had from school, was reading. And I had hated it. I stopped reading. I didn’t like it anymore, now that it was “hard” for me. The one thing that was mine, wasn’t mine anymore. Because I couldn’t possibly read something that is thicker, right?

Now let’s skip to today. Now, when I am obsessed with reading, writing, and have a damn newsletter to myself. Let me say this: I had to go through a lot of self-building up to get to that point. I’m not saying that I am at my peak that I will ever be, but this is the first time in my life where I am doing something for myself simply because I loved it, even though I didn’t think I would be good enough for it.

I’m going to drop some lore for you so that you have more context: when I was 13 I dropped out of Public School. I had no plan, and I was adrift for about a year and a half before I figured out what I would do for my education. My parents are busy people, and I understand that. But they are not really the kind that help you on your homework, if you understand. During my period of having left the only enviornment that I ever knew, I started remembering and reminiscing on certain memories that would randomly throw me down and make me wallow in self-pity. That experience with that teacher and PTA mom made me insecure on my ability, and what I could achieve with it. A teacher is supposed to help and guide their student into success. But what she did, was f*ck me over. Or in another sense, she put me down and didn’t believe in me. The funniest thing is, I don’t even remember her name, but her actions live forever in my memories. And I won’t speak for that PTA mom, may God bless her. I’m sorry for my pettiness, I’m just trying to forget about it.

Anyway, why am I sharing this? Why mention this small memory. We all have memories like this. They may appear small and unimportant, until we realize later on how much a certain moment really affected us. I mentioned my insecurities with reading big books, well I eventually overcame that. I read a really thick book, I think it was Fourth Wing. Yeah, I know. A generally popular book. But I loved it, and I read it front to back. One of my proudest moments.

In my small minescule experience that I’ve had with people, I’ve learned many things. If you don’t come from a certain backround, or don’t blend into your enviorment, they will not really want you to succeed. Yeah, most of the time people don’t care about you. And that’s fine too. It’s hard for me to give a f*ck about most people too. But there are assholes in the world, I don’t need to tell you that. And there are special assholes who not only expect nothing from you, but also don’t want you to succeed. There are these invisible lines that people draw. If you stay behind that line, it’s what’s to be expected, and you’re out of sight. But succeed that line, and you’ve thrown the whole system in shambles. Our public school system, for example. There are castes, there are privilages that not everyone enters into. This isn’t me shaming the entire group of people who have had these advantages. But this is me saying that it’s also 5x harder and more shocking for a person who didn’t grow up with them to overcome those obstacles and fly by the lines of expectations that people have for them.

Everyone fails at what they are suppposed to be. You can’t place a human being into a box of expectations and demand that they be just that. Humans can’t be placed inside a box. And growth is a demanding job. It removes your comfort, and places you in a state of nomansland. You don’t know what to do, you’ve never been there before. And you’re bound to fall, because it’s your first time being there. But once you handle the terrain for a while, your body adjusts. Just then, you get removed from nomansland, and are thrown into Purgatory. Why? Because it got harder. You improved, so your challenges get more difficult, the roads are much more slippery, and you’re running on an 1/8 of your gas tank. This is hard. That’s why most people stop growing at 30, or 40, or maybe even 50. Because not everyone can take the repeated blows to the head when it comes to trying to be a better person than you are. And then there are the people who prefer that you stay in the shell that you’re in. Yes, stay tucked in there. You don’t have what it takes to change. Let yourself get tighter and tighter in that shell, until you grow mold in the corners, and eventually you run out of room.

And yet, despite all of that, you still choose the hard path? That takes balls. Yeah, I didn’t pick up a thick book for a long time, because I let that memory control my ability. And one day, I threw all my anxieties and fears out the window, and opened a big book. And I just did it. And what happened as a result? I grew as a person. Was it easy? No. I admit, it made me a little iffy wanting to read a 400 page book, despite me having been used to reading more books in the past two years (medium sized books). And now, I can add a big book to my reading list, without feeling that subconscious anxiety that was there.

I let that teacher and that damn PTA mother dictate my choices over books for a long time. I could have asked for the book back, I could have gotten a different book that was also thick, but instead I ran. And then one day, I simply chose not to let them. I took them out of my decision-making. They placed me in this box, and I had to chew myself out of it. But hey, I f*cking did it. You can kiss my ass 🙂

To summarize, some people will want to hold you down instead of seeing you fly. And other times, they may not even care about you. But that’s okay. The important thing is whether or not you choose to listen to them. And yeah, improving isn’t easy. But neither is witnessing yourself rot and rust to the point where you don’t recognize who you are. Yeah, you will fail at many things in the process, and make so many mistakes you forget how many. But you’ll come out a better person. The prophet never was a prophet in his own home. He had to leave, and go far.

Entry #007 Are you Sure You're Fit for Level 5? (3)

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RFT: Recent Favorite Things 🧡

  1. White Board. Last semester I bought myself a big white board, I’d heard that using it as a study technique is very helpful brings your thoughts to life. I’m a visual learner, I like having the whole panorama on display so it really has been a game changer for me. Right now, I use it on my upcoming projects for the coming weeks, and it definitely helps.

  2. Undereye Brightener. Since I was a wee child, my undereyes have always been big and dark and noticable. Recently I’ve been looking into more products, and started using the TULA brightening eye balm. It feels like a little refresher for your eyebags. It’s pretty nice, makes me feel like I’m in a kdrama when I use it.

  3. Ice Rolling. I have an ice roller that I finally started putting into actual use. If it doesn’t de-puff my undereyes and face, it will do one thing; wake me up. Best to use in the morning. Warning: the first couple uses will make you regret it but it’s worth it.

  4. Microfiber wipes. When it comes to my tech products, I have this sick obsession with wanting all my surfaces to be clean and sleek. I recently ordered some glasses cleaner like wipes just for my screens. A quick spray of some solution, a white down and your products will be looking brand new. It’s like a small luxury to me.

  5. Bookshelves. I’ve updated my personal library by adding another skinny bookshelf. I love books, and I love bookshelves. The ones I use from IKEA are simply just marvelous, and do the job just great.

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Songs of the Week: 🎶

  1. Music is Better - Rüfüs du Sol. This one recently came out. I love their other songs, Innerbloom, Underwater… it stimulates something in my brain when I’m doing work or a task.

  2. Icarus - Bastille. Imagine you’re in the world of greek mythology, are about to lose everything, even your lover. That’s what the youtube playlist I listened to was talking about, when they put this song.

  3. Stop Crying Your Heart Out - Oasis. If I’m in the mood, this song sometimes makes me cry. It tugs at my heartstrings, while having a great melody.

  4. rookie of the year - Young Miko. A bit of a change of pace. Think of an upbeat lofi playlist, this song would be on it. Beat is pretty good.

  5. Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls. Again, another heartstrings song. I was feeling pretty melancholy this week. I don’t need to tell you how good this song is.

Quote of the Week:

“Staying Quiet doesn’t mean I have nothing to say, it means I don’t think you’re ready to hear my thoughts”

- Ernest Hemingway

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Entry #007 Are you Sure You're Fit for Level 5? (2024)

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