Curiosity Awakens the Kat

Portland, Oregon June 1st


The Pioneer Courthouse was brimming with people sitting down eating lunch, sipping on coffee, or chatting about the glorious weather.

I was looking out in the distance. Just past the Starbucks, I noticed a petite figure waving her hand full of energy.

For some hilarious reason we inadvertently both dressed up in mostly black to contrast the colorful and vivid afternoon.

She politely took off her glasses and quickly glanced at me for the usual first impressions.

We started walking towards the millions of food trucks that Portland has to offer and stopped at one of her favorites, a Mediterranean truck. We both order our gyros and speak about her ride down.

We ended up deciding to seat on a metallic table that had the wind blowing from many different directions trying to wake us up.

After grabbing me another diet cola and getting herself some weird form of mineral water the chat goes into anime. The magic of Nodame Cantabile, an anime with classical music and solid plot progression, was discussed.
Over the course of many years the two main characters slowly developed their relationship through their own genius by playing classical music. The ridiculous amount of character development made that anime stand above the rest.

Art has a certain way of bringing people together to share their stories.

We continued to walk around Portland and she told me about how she is a homebody that stays home the majority of the time.

She is a queasy child, queasy of people, queasy of life.

She spoke to me about her fears. She spoke to me about her best memories. She would lead me to one of those memories.


In a vulnerable state as the sun is setting upon the sky, she brought me to a favorite fountain of hers that she would always go to during her childhood. It was her place to have tranquility.

It was incredibly peaceful.

The fountain had a particular structure around it where you could only really see its beauty from one point of view. The only way to get there was to walk around the back side to see the beautiful frontal view of the gushing water.

I sat there for ten minutes to really appreciate her gesture to show me her personal spot. The sun reflected at an angle where the gushing fountain held a monolithic shadow that shaded me to help me reflect.

It felt like her spirit because underneath the protective shell, she had such a quiet, welcoming demeanor.

She continually wished that I lived in Portland to be able to get to know me more and introduce me to her circle of friends.

I wished the same too.


The train is slowly inched its way towards the station we stood upon. We embraced and said our goodbyes.

Unlike the anime series, time wasn’t on our side. We did our best within four hours to keep the ticking clock at bay and experience a life where we were both around the same city.

We gave each other a chance to awaken the other.

I hope the fleeting interaction gave her an endless vitality to live life with energy.

Directness (Or Finding Magical Connection)

Back in March 2012, I flirted with many girls to systematically desensitize my fear of talking and flirting with strangers I’m attracted to.

I reflected upon what I needed to improve.

The problem in those interactions was that I had a mental block. I didn’t allow myself to directly offer whatever I wanted. I would use context and converse with people extremely well but I would never state my intentions.

I never directly told them what I wanted, whether it was to be friends with them or date them. I never told them how long I’d stay around in the conversation and was unsure where I wanted to bring the successful interactions. This left a degree of ambiguity in the interactions.

Have you ever had that feeling of ambiguity in a certain situation? You feel as if the person is present with you and the conversation is going well but there is this nagging feeling that they are hiding something from you.

I knew that learning directness was the next step in my progress to become a risk-taker and somebody who could go into the uncharted lands outside of the comfort zone.

The first direct attempt

April 2nd 2012 3:00PM

I’ve been walking around nervously for half an hour trying to be brave enough to chat with a girl in a way that directly states my intention.

All of a sudden in front of me, a beautiful girl walked to her bike undoing her bike lock. I initially walked by her because I was too afraid.

Fear does not ever take a rest.

I took a deep breath and turned around and spoke up.

I said nervously, “Hi, you’re easily the prettiest girl I’ve seen all day. I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes.”

Mind you, I was incredibly nervous at this point, I could barely burt it out.

The girl blushed uncontrollably and smiled at me, “Wow thank you. I’m Claire, what’s your name?”

“I’m Matt”

“Anyways Matt, I have to get going and I have a boyfriend but thank you for making my day.”

I smiled back and went on my way.

Throughout that day, I had a few other attempts that were miserable, terrible, and downright awkward piles of hilarity.

I had a blonde girl look at me like I was a waste of existence through my nervousness and told me “Look I’m going to class, I have a boyfriend from LA, please go.” Another girl looked at me like I was messing around with her and she couldn’t believe what I was saying.

I also had a polite conversation with another girl for a few minutes before she told me, “I’m sorry. I don’t hand out my phone number to strangers outside of my dorm.”

It shocked me but some people need that systematic way to meet people, that’s fine for those who need it. We’re incompatible.

No problem.


The magical direct attempt

This would lead me to one of the most successful interactions I’ve ever had with a person to this date. This person made me learn a lot about myself and what I had to offer the world. She changed my idea of what it meant to approach the people that move you.

April 5th 2012 4:31PM

At this point I was feeling a little discouraged. I didn’t mind the rejection but I felt as though I wasn’t delivering my directness correctly.

I was walking towards the bus station to go back to my apartment when suddenly a stunning girl registered in the corner of my eye.

This was different. This was definitely different. I truly felt there was a magical vibe when she walked by for that split second. The feeling of wonderment and awe shook my soul into action. I had to talk to her and at least give myself a chance. I briskly walked towards the cafeteria to locate her. Luckily, she stopped at the cookie section in order to order a cookie.

I made eye contact with her and it was incredibly powerful. I could feel her welcoming gaze. I said to her absolutely confidently, “I saw you walk by and I found you way too interesting, so I had to come chat for a minute.” She smiled so wide and laughed with joy for many seconds. She couldn’t believe what just happened but I could sense her spirit woke up from the dreaded routine that washer day.

I asked her what she was listening to and she told me Flying Lotus. She took off one of her earphones and made me listen to it for a whole minute. She told me right off the bat she was allergic to peanuts so she obviously couldn’t get a cookie with that. I laughed and told her, “So you told me something right away that I could use against you?” We both laughed quite hard for a while.

That’s when I knew I finally found somebody I could really click with.

She ended up buying a snickerdoodle and halving it with me.

We walked toward her class that was about to start at 5PM while chatting about metaphysical ideas about the world like being able to give clean water to the rest of the world or being able to share mircochange into the world to make a difference. We both smiled, laughed, and had a magical connection.

After about five more minutes she had to get to class, so she put her number in my phone and told me we’d hang soon.

We did but we’ll get to that soon.

All this happened because I took the time and had the courage to say “I found you interesting.”

Why does directness work?

It forces the other person to polarize as a reaction. It increases their chance to be direct back towards you. There is no ambiguity because everything is truthful and upfront.

While it increases the chance for people to say no for any number of reasons, some in my control [like how I deliver myself and present myself], and others out of my control [boyfriend, not into my look, race, too short, bad mood], it enhances the intensity of interactions that are successful.

It makes them more magical.


If you liked this post, you should let me know via Twitter here or E-mail. You should also consider subscribing to my feed and newsletter on the sidebar. Thank you for reading.

7 Courageous Posts That Motivate Me (And Will Motivate You Too)

Whenever I need courage to continue on my journey, I look to these posts to keep me going in the right direction. These posts help me immensely and I know that they can provide help to you as well.

1. The Million Dollar Question by Sebastian Marshall. This post stands out as my favorite post of all-time. Sebastian writes a beautiful, honest piece about how he feels different from the people in Japan’s suburbs. He feels that slight sense of isolation because his ambition is incredibly more vast than most. He wants to make a difference in the world and because of that, he won’t have the luxury of living a comfortable life. Very few people will understand him because he wants to change the world with millions of dollars and relentless production in his career. I can relate because I’m doing something that not many people will understand.

2. Loud. Arrogant. Rebellious. Asian. by Jason Shen. As a fellow Asian-American, there are social stereotypes that we have to face. Jason Shen wrote an amazing piece of wanting to break that racial stereotype. I want to break it as well so I feel similarly to what Jason writes here. It’s a reminder that I need to make that noise, be assertive, and be absolutely confident in my ability to take chances.

3. Random Acts of Courage by Niall Doherty. Niall has been a huge supporter of consistently going out of your social comfort zone. His random acts of courage experiment is to show the steps to find your social courage. Some of his challenges are hilarious, others are strange, and all of them challenge the notion of going out of your comfort zone. I have personally done some of these challenges and I enjoy how he presents the outcomes of these challenges. Almost always, nothing bad happens. It’s another reminder to keep taking risks.

4. The Microchange I Want to be in the World by Mark Robertson. Mark writes about being unable to make a huge difference in the world. Rather than be sad about that, he advocates an alternative strategy to living a life with purpose. Create the microchange you want to see in the world. Make small changes to yourself to better your attitude. Make a difference to the few people around you. Make a huge difference to one other person. Do something random that impacts your local group and community positively. Be that microchange.

5. Have You Accepted Passion as Your Personal Savior? by Chase Night. This post really changed my attitude towards my blogging changes in the past couple of years. I used to be passionate about wanting to do all sorts of magical things on a particular bucket list relating to social activity. Then I realized it was starting to hinder my development in other facets of my life. Allowing my passion to be fluid enough to change at a moment’s notice while keeping a particular theme underneath it all helped me. I felt scared that I had to ride out my be epic by 30 idea. However, I changed it to wanting to meet interesting people, which is more manageable to me currently.

6. Friends are More than Contacts by Raam Dev. It’s a fantastic article about how he keeps sight of his close, intimate friendships while balancing the ability to create new ones. While I didn’t delete my personal Facebook like he did, he shared a great discussion as to keeping quality in your personal relationships rather than adding more numbers to your Facebook count. The balance to allowing new interactions while maintaining closeness with close friends is extremely important.

7. First Impressions by Ken Bernock. First impressions are extremely important. However, this post reminds me to stay open about people even after their initial impression. Sometimes people have a bad day. People are not perfect and they will mess up. Giving them some flexibility is a valuable skill to learn because it allows people to get a better understanding of one another. While first impressions are a huge factor, allowing yourself some flexibility in your judgments can provide a better measurement of others and yourself.

These seven posts have helped me clarify my personal journey. Whenever things got tough, I looked to these posts to help me get an alternative, more positive outlook in life. Even if one of these posts helps you, then I’ve done my job. Enjoy.


If you found value from this post, please consider subscribing.