SA #1: I’m Genuinely Surprised, When Someone Wants to Hang Out With Me


I’m feeling very sad and frustrated with myself, because I feel like I have messed up a good thing I had going for myself – a good friendship.

I met a couple of girls at the internship I worked at, and we were all pretty good friends. All of us were chemical engineers, and when we returned to school, would be in most of the same classes together.

But I messed the relationships up, as I tend to do.

On the first day of class, I didn’t sit with them. I was trying to find other people to sit with, so that I could make more friends and wouldn’t have to be so clingy on my internship friends. I didn’t want to bother them.

Adding to that reason, I also wanted to expand my network in order to find other people I could get homework help with. I didn’t want to just depend on my internship friends, and bug them. I also didn’t want them to see, how much help I would need, because they’re all so smart, and I’m of such average intellect, I didn’t want to slow them down, so I stayed away.

Finally, the last reason, I figured they had other groups of friends at school before we met at the internship, and I didn’t want to just assume that I was going to be part of that circle, so I didn’t sit with them in case they were wanting to save seats for other people they wanted to see more. I didn’t want to be in the way. I would have been very embarrassed if I hadn’t read the signals right and ended up overstepping my boundaries, if they ended up just letting me sit with them out of politeness rather than because they wanted to.

I figured things would be different at school than at the internship. We led different lives at school. We were close in the internship, but I figured that was only because we had each other, and now that at school we were surrounded by more people our age, someone like me was not needed to fill the gaps in the social circle.

But, as I tend to do, I apparently read all these signals wrong.

I noticed that they sat together, and didn’t really seem to know that many people, and clung to each other the first week. They sat together in many classes. That surprised me. I was expecting all of us to go our separate ways, and just politely talk to each other every now and then.

I felt embarrassed. I wanted to say hi since they were sitting so close, but they had now made friends with the other people at their table, and I didn’t want to intervene in their circle/interrupt their conversation. I’m very awkward when it comes to conversation. I only talk to the people that are in my immediate vicinity (that is, my left and right), so I didn’t talk to them, and I guess that must have come off as rude, and like I was avoiding them.

Eventually, they invited me to sit with them, and commented that one of the guys sitting at their table was really dumb, and they preferred me to him. I felt scared by that. I knew I was not that smart, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself and have them see me just like they see that dumb guy. I was uncomfortable the whole time I sat with them, because I couldn’t work out the class question by myself, and I didn’t want to ask them for help and burden them to explain it to me, so I just took the zero.

I realized I couldn’t go on like that; I wasn’t comfortable enough in their group to ask for help, and I would fail if I stayed. So I left and went back to my old table for the next class. And, tends to be the case, they misunderstood that as me dissing them, I think.

They don’t try and talk to me as much anymore. And it’s my fault. From the outside looking in, it really does look like I snubbed them, but it’s all just a huge misunderstanding. I want their friendship and to talk again, but I don’t want them to find out how much help I need to get my engineering coursework done, or how slow I really am.

I know, I know, the solution is: communication. Just let them know what’s up and you’ll clear the air. But young people (like me) are stupid, and I’m just too shy to go up to them and say, “I’m sorry if I made you feel like I have been ignoring you.” Just to avoid feeling awkward, they’ll say, “We weren’t thinking that at all!” and I’ll just feel humiliated for taking that first step.

So, I’m sad, that I’ve lost that relationship, and I don’t think I can mend it, because I’m too proud, shy, and embarrassed to do anything about it. They even said that they wanted to hang out with me a while back, and I was genuinely surprised anyone would want to hang out with me outside of class. I’m a great person so have around, I think, but only for like the 10 to 15 minutes total of chatting time we get before and after class. I don’t think I’m a very fun person outside of that. So I’m always flattered when someone wants to actually get to know me.

It’s too bad I messed up that friendship. It took months to cultivate. This is just one of the many, many instances of me messing up my relationships with other people because of my insecurities, not knowing what I’m worth, and thinking they’re too good for me, and why would they want me as a friend?

I know there is no advice you all can give me. I know what I should do, but as mentioned, I’m too stupidly proud and stubbornly shy to do so. I don’t want to be dismissed, and show my vulnerabilities to them. I will feel like I have lost… somehow. Given in first.

So I’ll continue living my awkward, shy life and keep ranting about all my other social anxiety problems on here haha. Thank you for reading, if you read this far.




I Can’t Do It All, Can’t Make It Work (Life is too Short)


The last time I posted here, I had just begun (August 2015) an internship as a process engineer at a well-established company. I am a chemical engineering student, so I took the year off of school in order to gain work experience.

I finally finished up my internship this past August 2016.

The internship was great: I made a lot of money and met a lot of incredible people. The work itself, however, not so much – which is the worrisome part.

I’m too far into my degree to turn back now; I have exerted too much blood, sweat, and tears working hard through my classes to throw it all away. Especially because, from an outsider’s perspective, I’m on track for a successful life. But you know what they say – success if what you define it to be.

What am I defining as success? I like the approval of others, so in the future I would want them to see that I studied and graduated with a challenging major,  am making lots of money, have a respectable job, lead a healthy nutritional lifestyle, keep up with my fitness, am writing a book, and succeeding in the real estate business (plus add husband /or/ wife, and kids to all of that).

But that’s ridiculous. I can’t do all of that. I can’t properly do everything I want to do and live a stress-free life. It frustrates me that I can’t.

Honestly, I just want to be happy. I don’t really care about making a lot of money (I’m a simple person), but I can’t just think about myself; I have to think about my future family and their needs, about my aging parents and their needs, and about my dreams of writing a book and starting a real estate business and the financial needs that THAT will entail.

The core of my conflict right now is that:

I need my chemical engineering job to be: my money-making mule to fund writing my book and the big plans I have for it, and to fund the purchasing of properties for my real estate business.

I need my writing of the book to be: the hobby that brings me joy, that hopefully will entertain other people of my similar taste frequency, and that hopefully I can also make money out of.

I need my real-estate business to be: the passive-income earner, the business that will allow me to quit my high-paying chemical engineering job and live off of my rental properties, no matter how meager the returns, as long as they are steady.

Bottom line: I don’t want to be or work as a chemical engineer, but I want to do it because I want to earn their crazy high salaries in order to help me achieve my other two goals. And once I achieve those two, I want to retire early, so that I can live the rest of my life doing the things I enjoy.

But I’m a realist, and a very pragmatic person with economic sense. My internship made me realize, that I come home exhausted from work. I barely have time to cook, shower, relax, and then sleep. Only to start it all over again the following day. And that was just with me living alone. Can you imagine the responsibilities once I have a family? Where in that schedule could I even fit the ambitions of founding a real estate business or writing a book? Nowhere. Maybe my weekends. But do I really want to spend my weekends working when I could be relaxing and recovering in order to face yet another grueling week of work?

It makes me sad, that I am starting to see my future, and I can’t fit in everything I want to do. I’m feeling trapped. I’m feeling like I’m slowly working towards wasting my life away. Every day I tell myself – “I’ll work on the book a little today” or “I’ll read up on real estate a little today,” but something always gets in the way. Right now, it’s school. Engineering is a rough major; I must study all the time if I want to pass my classes. And being on scholarship, I can’t risk slipping. Every time I’m not studying, I must be either working on my fitness, relaxing, or sleeping, because I need to recover. I can’t “work” more (i.e. write my book or read up on real estate). I need my rest.

Each and every day, I edge close and closer to graduation, and I let myself just ride the wave of compliance, because I have no time to achieve anything else, and graduation date itself seems like a death sentence. The finish line after which I’ll be forced to join corporate America in order to survive and make ends meet. Sure, I’ll live a comfortable life outside of work, but I fear falling into depression because my work will make me so unhappy. My health will suffer because of my stress levels in such a fast-paced environment and the expectations laid down on young people so that I don’t get laid off/fired when ranking of performance comes around. I probably won’t have time for fitness, and if I do, it will cut into the time I could use to write my book or found my real estate business.

I will probably just settle into that mediocre lifestyle, and live and die as just “the average person.” I just wish I could do one amazing thing.

And it makes me sad, that so much potential, in me, and others who have ever had ambitions to be something else, are tamped down so quickly by reality.

How are you all hanging in there?





TENGO VIDA TODAVÍA! (Update: I’m not dead)

Hello to everyone that so kindly follows this blog!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. That was one of the things I didn’t want happening to this blog – it being abandoned. I believe it’s been 6 months since I last posted something. As I’m sure is the case for everyone else, life got in the way.

So many things have happened since I last posted, and I feel so much more uncertain about my future than I have ever been (I’m truly living my blog tag line, haha, not so sure about the bright, but I definitely can’t see what’s ahead for me at all)!

I think I will also use this blog as a bit of a kathartic release of all my anxieties and uncertainties about my life. I know, I know,… #firstworldproblems. I just don’t want my life to be wasted, and I want to make something out of it while I’m still young.

I’ll discuss in my next blog post “I can’t do it all” all the things that are bogging me down.

Snapshots of the Apocalypse: Chapter 2

This story will now have captioned promotional images for each chapter! I am trying to get better at photoshop, so I promise quality will improve as I learn!

You may read the story at AO3, or read it at

Ch 2 Illustration Finished

“Alicia, get away from the windows!”

Alicia snapped her head to face her brother.

“Sheesh, what, now I can’t even gaze outside without someone flipping themselves a table?” Alicia questioned in displeased incredulity. “Calm down, already, this whole detox process is making you extra paranoid.”

Nick’s nostrils flared and he urgently glanced out the window that his sister still had not stepped away from. “Alicia. Do as I say. Please.”

Alicia glared at her brother and flexed her jaw in silent irritation. “Fine. If it’ll get you to zip it.”

The brunette closed the blinds, then the curtains, and stomped away from her spot by the window.

Nick looked visibly more relaxed, but still very alert. “Thank you.”

“Whatever,” Alicia muttered boorishly, arms crossed, leaning on the wall. “Just so you know, though… only because Dad is gone doesn’t mean you can order me around. Nobody made you man of the house.”

Nick gulped as he looked down, flexing his fists as he feels another chill, from unease or withdrawals, he’s yet to determine, though most likely both. “I’m not posing as anybody here. I’m just trying to protect you.”

“From what?” Alicia swiftly responded.

“From…” Nick begins, but then promptly stops himself. He glances around the living room, rubbing the cloth of the jacket sleeve that is covering his left hand. He sighs in exasperation. “Look, things are just not safe out there right now, okay?”

Alicia purses her lips and smiles sourly. “See? You’re doing it again. You’re dodging the question. Like Travis, like Mom, like everyone I speak to. Except that everyone else doesn’t seem to know anything, while you all… you’re hiding something.”

Nick sighs again, licking his dry lips. He tries to speak but stutters as another shiver runs through his detoxing body. “I-I-I…  can’t tell you anything when even I’m not sure what’s going on.”

“You could share what you do know,” Alicia counters in a no-nonsense tone. “What’s stopping you?”

Nick takes a deep breath through his nose, nostrils flaring once again; he opens his mouth to respond and as soon as the first verbal noise comes out, he’s running to puke into the bucket his mother, Madison, left behind.

Of course, Alicia thinks, defeated, almost humorous, because she can never get straight answers from anybody. It’s almost funny how something always gets in the way—it’s either not the right time, or they’re somehow interrupted, or they just give her the silent treatment whenever she attempts to broach the topic.

She grimaces slightly as she sees her brother practically hurling his intestines out with how loud the squelching noises the metal base of the bucket makes as the contents of his stomach hit the bottom.

She relents in her anger for a moment and strides over to help him, taking off her hairband.

“Why did you grow your hair so long? It’ll only make you miserable while you’re puking all your impurities out,” Alicia nagged, gathering her brother’s hair into a ponytail with her hairband. “I mean, it’s not like you even style it, what’s the point?”

Nick heaves out what sounds like a chuckle. “Aren’t the girls supposed to like the musician-types with the long hair, faraway look, and troubled past?”

“The only instrument you ever played was the recorder in elementary school, the faraway look you get in your eye is when you’re high, and your family is upper middle class so your troubled past only comes from the stupid decision you made to consume drugs,” Alicia mercilessly slayed.

Nick chuckles weakly into the bucket again. “You knock a man when he’s down, Alicia…”

“I just leave no stone unturned,” Alicia replies. “How are you feeling? You feel some acid crawling back up your throat?”

“Kind of. I’m containing it,” Nick admitted as he grimaced at the aftertaste left in his mouth.

Alicia’s face also scrunched up in mild disgust. She was never very good at caring for sick people, particularly those of the vomiting type; it was part of the reason why she avoided going to parties with her friends, knowing they would engage in underage drinking, and that she would be stuck as the designated driver and de-facto nurse for them should they black out, throw up, get migraines, or suffer terrible hangovers.

So, yeah, parties were not her scene.

“I’ll prepare you some chamomile tea,” Alicia tells him as she stands from her crouched position next to her brother. “Go rinse your mouth at the bathroom; if you need to throw up again, the toilet’s right there.”

Nick bobs his head up and down in acknowledgement. “Thanks.”

Alicia cuts her gaze to the bucket. “Just, uh, leave that there. Mom’s been dealing with our spit up since we were babies, I’m sure she knows how to take care of that.”

She helps her brother up and walks him to the bathroom, where she leaves him leaning against the sink before she makes her way to the kitchen to heat up some water for the tea.

It’s insane to think it only took a week for things to crumble so spectacularly, Alicia thinks to herself as she grabs a mug and tea bag from the cupboard. And I’m not stupid, I’m sure this has been going on for a while now. I saw the leaked footage from the news that my friends showed me on their phones. I know it has something to do with people behaving strangely. The only thing I can think of, though, is that there’s some kind of new drug out there that’s turning people almost… inhuman. I don’t know much about the science but it must be inhibiting some kind of cognitive function that allows people to control themselves.

Alicia hears the water boil. She heads over to pour the bubbling water into the tea bag-containing mug. I wonder if that’s why Mom’s so worried about Nick and his drug consumption. I mean, obviously drugs in general are bad, but if there really is some seriously corrupt snuff going around, I would guess Mom’s trying to keep Nick from getting his hands on some, even accidentally.

She hears keys struggling to unlock the front door to the house. She treads lightly but quickly over to the peep hole, and is relieved to see her mom on the other side of the door.

She unlocks the door and her mom hastily makes her way in, shutting the door closed behind her even more hastily.

She looks around the living room, looking alarmed. “Where’s your brother?”

Alicia finishes locking the door and fastening the chain into the secure position. “He’s in the bathroom, probably puking, probably reading comics, but most likely the former.”

Madison stares blankly at her daughter for too many seconds to be considered normal before she shakes her head and eventually nods. “Okay. Good… Good. The, uh, the drugs—his body—needs to clear itself of the contaminants.”

Alicia nods. “You might want to go see him. He’s looking pretty wretched. It’s a tragic sight, to be honest. And you know I’m no good near people throwing up. It’s like a domino effect, I might puke, too, and I’m sure we got enough problems.”

“Yeah, yes,” Madison says distractedly. “Yes, I’ll do that. I… I brought some drugs to help him.”

Alicia quirked an eyebrow. “Drugs are what we are trying to rid his body from, Mom.”

Madison blinks and shakes her head. “I’m sorry, I meant medicine, some pills to help with his withdrawal symptoms. I have a lot on my mind, Alicia, I’m sorry.”

Alicia smiles wryly and her eyes widen in mock shock. “Whoa, I was just kidding, Mom. No need to sound so earnest in your apology. I’m your kid. I get it.”

“Right,” Madison says softly. “Thank you, sweetheart. For taking care of your brother in my absence. I hope I didn’t take too long.”

“Well, you took long enough for him to fill that bucket over ¾ of the way full,” Alicia informed, shrugging in the direction of the bucket. “I would offer to empty it out but… I really don’t want to. Don’t make me do it, Mom.”

“You have done enough for me, sweetheart, I will look after your brother while I’m here,” Madison responds with tenderness, caressing her daughter on the side of her head, twining her fingers in brunette locks so similar to hers.

“While you’re here?” Alicia questioned curiously, folding her arms in front of herself.

Madison nods tentatively. “Travis. I have been trying to get in touch with him but he’s not picking up his phone, and it’s been several hours since we last spoke, and with everything that is happening, I’m concerned for his safety.”

“Speaking of that,” Alicia begins opportunely, “mind telling me what’s going on now? What fresh hell has America released from the Pandora’s box and unto the world?”

Madison is sifting through items in her purse to find some of the medicine she smuggled from the school’s nursing office. She stops and stares at her daughter, her eyes glossy with a layer of internal conflict. “It’s too early to tell, Alicia. Even the authorities are not fully informed on what the situation is out in the streets.”

Alicia huffs. “But you have to at least know something, Mom. You were just out there. And Travis was rambling about taking us to the desert or something right before he left. And Nick is too pitiful to try and pump information from, so he’s been useless. Why can’t someone just straight up tell me what’s happening out there? I’m not blind, Mom. It’s the information age, and I’ve been reading up on stuff with my phone, but the battery’s almost dead and all I’ve learned is that there are riots and uprisings going on downtown. I don’t know what about, though.”

“Alicia, I have to go tend to your brother, now is not the time to have this conversation. But we will, okay?” Madison placated.

Alicia looks unimpressed. “Or so you said the last three times I asked, but it’s never the right time, is it? This what I call Alicia’s family response scenario 1: now is not the right time.”

“I don’t want to give you any misleading information, Alicia, because when people get bits and pieces of information regarding a situation, thoughts stray and they concoct a story in their heads about what could possibly be the bigger picture, and only cause themselves further paranoia. Do you understand? Now, if you would like to hear what is happening despite my inhibitions, then of course, we can speak about it at this moment—“

They hear a crash in the bathroom, then a pained groan.

“Nick!” Madison shouts, scrambling to her son.

Seriously? Alicia think incredulously as she curses the universe for its timing. She hurriedly follows her mom to the bathroom.

Nick is shivering and mildly convulsing on the bathroom floor. Madison immediately lies him outstretched on the floor, loosens his clothing, and lays his head on her lap to cushion and cranial impact during the erratic movements.

“And this is what I call Alicia’s family response scenario 2: something somehow interrupts us,” Alicia narrates as she leans on the side of the bathroom entrance.

“Alicia, your brother is suffering right now, would you please not make light of the situation?” Madison berates.

Alicia exhales a light huff of both anger and shame. “Sorry. But we were finally getting ready to talk about it.”

“Would you go get me the medicine in my purse?” Madison directs.

“Okay,” Alicia says. She grabs the packaged pills, a bottled water from the counter bulk, and returns tohand these to her mother.

She waits for her mother to pop the pill into her son’s mouth. Madison encourages Nick to swallow it down with water, pouring small sips into his mouth until he accumulates enough to swallow.

When Alicia notices that her brother has stopped convulsing is now only suffering the occasional chill, she picks up the topic with her mother. “Now can we please talk about it?”

Madison is seemingly unhearing as she reads the instructions on how many hour intervals the pills should be taken.

“And this is what I call Alicia’s family response scenario 3: the silent treatment,” Alicia says sourly. “This is ridiculous.”

Madison turns to her daughter, looking exhausted. “Alicia, honey, I’m not trying to antagonize you. Would you like the truth? The honest-to-God truth? I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on out there. Have I seen things? Yes. But have I made sense of them yet? No. How can I explain things to you when I don’t understand them myself?”

Alicia kneels down next to her mother, realizing the pleading tone in her voice. “I’m sorry, Mom, I don’t mean to be difficult. I’m serious. I’m just very confused and a little mad that no one is telling me anything. Even if you don’t understand, just telling me what you have seen can help me help you. I know you all seem to be burdening yourselves with this knowledge you have, and I know you’re trying to protect me, but you can’t shelter me from this any more than you can save Nick from going through his withdrawals. The sooner you break this to me, the better for all of us down the line. Do you understand where I’m coming from? I don’t like standing around watching you all shoulder this while I remain quarantined in this bubble of ignorance, you know?”

“Of course I understand, darling,” Madison says softly. “Okay, I will talk to you about what’s going on.”

Alicia smiles at her mom. “Thank you.”

Madison nods. “However, can we push this until tomorrow? I am going to put your brother on the couch and try to get a hold of Travis before it gets any later.”

Alicia’s countenance darkens.

“Is that okay?” Madison questions.

“Sure,” Alicia bites acidly. “Then you can go out and forget we ever had this conversation, and continue to dodge the subject. At this point, I should just go and find out for myself, really. Back to scenario 1, are we?”

“Alicia,” Madison sighs pleadingly. “I promise you, we will talk about it tomorrow—“

“Save the excuses for tomorrow, Mom,” Alicia yells over her shoulder. “My bullshit meter’s met the quota for today.”

“Alicia!” Madison scolds her daughter, but doesn’t pursue it further than shouting her name. She is far too tired to deal with her moody teenager—but, she reasons, moody for a good reason.

She is not so out of touch as to not understand what her daughter is going through. She imagines she would feel the exact same way as her if in her position. It is very frustrating when those individuals in your life that clearly know more than you purposely withhold information from you.

Madison imagines that, much like her daughter, she would have reacted in the same way.

Alicia was indeed her mother’s daughter.

Madison let’s Alicia go stew in her room for the large part of an hour as she cleans up Nick, gets him new clothes, lays him comfortably on the couch, cleans up the bathroom, and empties out the bucket. She makes some quick mac and cheese for Alicia, and clear soup for Nick, to settle his stomach.

After two hours have passed, she goes upstairs to let Alicia know.

“Alicia, honey, I’m leaving now,” she says after she knocks on her daughter’s door. She tries to open it, but finds it locked. “I left some mac and cheese in tupperware for you, and soup for Nick is on the stove. If you could please wake him up in an hour and make sure he drinks some soup and takes his pill, I would really appreciate it.”

There was no response from the other side of the room.

Madison waits.

There is still no response forthcoming.

“Alicia, I want you to know that I understand what you’re going through, and I apologize if I may have acted insensitively to your perspective, but I do promise you that we will speak about this first thing in the morning tomorrow, okay?” Madison says appeasingly.

No response.

Madison nods to herself. “Right. Well, just hang in there for me one more day, okay? I promise, everything will be at least somewhat more clear tomorrow.”

Madison walks away.

She packs some water, a flashlight, her phone, and her house keys to take with her in the valiant effort to find her fiancé amidst all the chaos going down in Los Angeles at this time of night.

She kisses the sleeping Nick on his forehead and heads for the table by the front door to get her car keys.

They are not there.

She glances around, panning her vision from Nick’s sleeping form across the expanse of the room—the couch, the living room table, the TV, the window sills. The key is nowhere to be seen.

Madison’s eyes widen.

She rushes to unlock the door, roughly swings it open, and meets an empty lot where her car is supposed to be parked.

Madison shakes her head and runs fingers through her locks in exasperation and, dare she say, pride.

Like mother like daughter, indeed.

But, pride aside…

It’s that stubbornness that will get her killed, Madison thinks. By me. Alicia, I am your mother, I brought you into this world and, if you cross me, I can take you out.

Madison hurries inside the house to wake Nick up, because now that the car’s gone, the difficulty levels have only increased, and this search party needs more members.

When she finds her, that girl will be grounded into the afterlife, and then some.

I did it!

Sammeh Writes

When I was younger I cared far too much about what people thought of me, it gained me friends but none of which I actually have now so none of it was actually worth it. I had one best friend who knew the real me, and funnily enough she is still my best friend today. Younger me would hide my reading obsession, I would be into everything that everyone else was into and I would act like they would. I drank because it was the cool thing to do, I smoked because everyone else was doing it and my conversations with everyone but my best friend was about popular “cool things” It wasn’t until I was 17 that I started admitting how much I adored books and how much I preferred them over other things. How I would much rather be at home with a book than stood in the…

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Basic Income Tax Lessons – Part 1

As part of my journey to try and become more well-rounded, I thought learning a little about finance would be helpful to me in life.


I got my first job ever just 7 months ago (granted, it is an internship), however I have never worked a day in my life so it was both exciting and nerve-wracking to begin. However, along with my job came earning money, and along with earning money came getting taxed.

I now understand  why people complain about taxes all the time – what I don’t understand are “taxes” themselves. What are they? Why am I forced to pay them? How are they calculated?

In hopes of learning, I watched this video:

This blog post will be a summary of what I learned; I am mainly writing these as “notes” to myself for future reference, when I will inevitably forget how all of this works because my memory is so poor, so while the knowledge is still fresh in my mind, I thought I would jot it down! If this helps anyone understand taxes, though, I will be very glad.

DISCLAIMER: Most of the knowledge written down here is gleaned from the video I watched, so the only thing I own in terms of creative freedom is just the organization of my notes, everything I write content-wise I have learned from the video. I also do not own the featured image on this blog, so please do not sue me, I barely just got my first job ha ha!

So without further ado, here is a quick and clear explanation of how taxes work.

What are taxes and what purpose do they serve?

Tax collection is the government’s way of raising revenue, as well as encouraging social and economic policy.

So, the raising revenue aspect makes sense (the government uses the money collected from taxes to fund its functions and programs), but how exactly does tax collection help stimulate social and economic policy?

Let’s take an example of how it influences social policy: for instance – contributions. You can earn tax deductions (these are good! More on these in a moment) on your income if you make contributions to a non-profit or some other philanthropic organization; so this social policy is encouraging you to be more charitable with tax deductions as an incentive.

Now let’s view an example of how taxes influence economic policy: for instance – workforce development. You can earn tax credits (these are also good! More on these very soon) on your tax payments if your business hires a certain type or class of worker; so this economic policy is encouraging you to assist in the creation of jobs for specific people with certain skills or backgrounds by using tax credits as an incentive.

What is the IRS and who is required to report to it?

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is a federal agency that falls under the United States’ Department of the Treasury. They are the ones in charge of administering and enforcing tax law.

There are five entities that are required to file taxes and that pay directly to the IRS:

  1. Individuals – ordinary folks like you and me file the 1040 tax return and we pay taxes to the IRS (this comes out of our paychecks)
  2. Corporations – companies and businesses file the 1120 tax return and they also pay taxes to the IRS  (the companies each pay taxes as one entity)
  3. Partnerships – partnerships (these are small businesses usually managed by 2-4 members who share the partnership’s management and profits) file the 1065 tax return but they do not pay taxes to the IRS as one entity, like the companies do. Instead, partnerships file an “information return” and the members of the partnership each file their own tax returns individually on their share of the income earned. So the partners each pay their own taxes, but the partnership itself is not a tax-paying entity
  4. Estates – Estates file tax returns
  5. Trusts – Trusts files tax returns

These lessons will focus on the individual and the tax filing process related to such.

How do we know when we have to pay the IRS (Owing) or when the IRS has to pay us (Refund)?

If you have done taxes before, whether you filed them on your own or if you employed local H&R Block or TurboTax services for help with filing your taxes, then you know that the calculations end up with either of two outcomes: you either owe the IRS money or they need to give you a refund.

As we work, we pay the IRS in the form of a withholding. A withholding is a portion of your income that the IRS deducts from your paycheck and takes as tax payment. The IRS has a “pay-as-you-go” type of system rather than waiting until the end of  the year for each individual to pay the amount of taxes that they owe; because of this system, sometimes you pay more than you owe or less than you owe in tax payments to the IRS – hence the reason why sometimes you have to pay the IRS after filing taxes (because it turned out that throughout the year you did not amount to paying the full amount you owe in taxes) or the IRS owes you a refund (on the occasions where throughout the year you ended up overpaying  the amount you owe in taxes).

The Tax Formula: How do you determine your taxable income?

We start off with gross income, which is the pure, unadulterated amount of money that you have earned as income from your job, all before taxes are applied. So basically, the gross income is the amount of money you would have made if taxes didn’t exist and you got to keep all of your hard-earned money.

Now, apply tax deductions to this gross income. And this is the part where people get a bit confused – tax deductions are a good thing. The purpose of tax deductions is to decrease your taxable income, and subsequently decrease the amount you owe as payment to the federal government.

For  example, let’s go with an absurdly simple example (it is unrealistic but it is just here to prove a point). I made $500 in a year as my gross income, then tax deductions are applied and let’s say the calculations turn out such that $200 of my gross income is taxable income while $300 of my gross income is non-taxable income. Basically, my $300 cannot be touched by taxes, so those $300 are for me to keep; meanwhile, the $200 taxable income CAN be affected by taxes; this does not necessarily mean that I am going to pay $200 in taxes to the IRS, but it DOES mean that my $200 are fair game for taxing, and  that a portion of the $200 will be given to the IRS in the form of tax payment.

So, if the purpose of tax deductions is to DECREASE your taxable income, then continuing with our previous example, this would mean that let’s say we re-do some calculations, apply to them tax deductions, and now it turns out that $100  is taxable income while $400 is non-taxable income. Thanks to the tax deduction, your taxable income has now decreased. That’s great news for you!

The IRS allows you to deduct some things from your gross income, or in other words, they allow you to make some “adjustments.” Following these adjustments to the gross income, you end up with your “Adjusted Gross Income,” or AGI.


Next, we get to have two possible types of deduction applied to our Adjusted Gross Income.

One of them is called a “Standard Deduction,” which is given to you by the IRS based on your filing status: single, married, filing jointly, being head of household, etc (each of these statuses entitles you to a certain amount of deduction); the other is called an “Itemized Deduction,” and it consists of charitable, medical, house mortgage, and personal property tax deductions. The “itemized deduction” is also called the “schedule A” deductions, because it requires you to fill out the schedule A form, which people sometimes refer to as “the long form.”

So, you compare these two see which deduction is GREATER (in other words, which of these two turns out to grant you the larger deduction) and then you select the one that is larger.

Once you have made your choice of deduction and subtracted it from the Adjusted Gross  Income, you now also get to subtract your exemptions, which is a deduction that you receive according to the number of dependents you claim on your tax return (exemptions include yourself if you are single, your spouse if you are married, your children if you have kids,etc).

After you have taken into account the standard or itemized deductions and the exemptions and subtracted them from the Adjusted Gross Income, you are left with your Taxable Income, which as was discussed before, is the amount of income that you earned that is taxable to you, meaning that this amount of income is fair game to be taxed and you will most likely pay a portion of whatever that taxable income number turns out to be to the IRS.


So, from the taxable income, we can determine what the tax you have to pay will be. There are two ways to determine what your tax will be:

  1. Look at tax rate schedule
  2. Look at tax table

Now is a good time to quickly review what tax deduction and tax credit are, and what the difference is between the two.

Tax Deduction – reduces the amount of TAXABLE INCOME

Tax Credit – reduces the amount of TAX LIABILITY (Tax liability = The actual tax payment you have to make to the IRS = Tax)

And recall that your TAXABLE INCOME is not your TAX. Your TAX turns out to be a portion of your TAXABLE INCOME.

So, once you have determined your taxable income, you will use it along with either of the two methods (1) and (2) to figure out what your tax (the payment you have to make to the IRS) is. We will go more in depth on how to use these two methods in a subsequent lesson.

Once you have determined an amount for your tax, you need to subtract tax credit from that amount (remember, the tax credit reduces the amount of tax), and then add any additional taxes (there could be many types of additional taxes to pay, but as an example let’s say you take money out of your retirement funds before you  reach retirement age; you will be taxed for having done that). Once you have finished carrying out the arithmetic, you will be left with your Tax Due, which is what you will finally end up paying to the IRS (assuming it turns out that you owe them money).


As an example, let us say that your taxable income was $10,000, and through using either methods 1 or 2, you found what your tax was, and then subtracted tax credit and added additional taxes, and found that your tax due is $5,000.

But recall that as you were working throughout the year, you were paying the IRS by having a certain portion of your paycheck extracted and sent to the IRS, so they have already received some payment from you. The question is: does the amount of money that the IRS received from you throughout the year exceed or fall short of the tax due?

Once you answer that question, it will determine whether the IRS owes you a refund because you overpaid (your withholding ended up summing to more than the $5,000 tax due) or you owe the IRS money to fill in the gap in payment (your withholding did not add up to $5,000 and you need to pay some additional money to make up the amount still needed to reach $5,000).

So, in order to get how much you owe the IRS, you must subtract the amount of your withholding from the tax dues. Another item that must be subtracted from the tax dues is “payments – quarterly estimated,” which are payments made directly to the IRS. This applies mainly to self-employed individuals, who do not have an employer company that automatically extracts money from their paycheck and sends it to the IRS. Since they are self-employed, they must do this themselves, so they do not subtract withholdings from tax dues, they subtract payments – quarterly estimated, meaning that every three months they make payments directly to the IRS to remain in compliance. The rest of us (or those that are employees at a company/business) indirectly pay the IRS every time money gets taken out of our paychecks and sent to the IRS through our employer. So, generally you are either one or the other (withholdings or payment – quarterly estimated).

Some of us, however, even as employees working for a company, can also make direct estimated payments to the IRS if we don’t think that we will have paid enough into the IRS through our company’s automatic tax withholding (because there are penalties for not having enough paid in, so some people take the steps to make direct payments, as well, to ensure they do not get these penalties).


Continuing our example above, let’s say I am an employee and my tax due is $5,000. My company takes care of my withholdings and I make no direct payments to the IRS. Let’s analyze situation in which I get a refund and in which I have to make a payment.


That is all for this lesson on basic income tax. I hope I made my explanations clear enough to those that were interested enough to read. I will post the next one once I am done watching the next video in the playlist. I recommend watching the videos, as well, because the instructor is very good.















Snapshots of the Apocalypse

I have started writing a fanfiction titled “Snapshots of the Apocalypse,” which is a crossover between Fear the Walking Dead and The 100. I have been watching The 100 and Fear the Walking Dead and I fell in love with Elyza Lex, this character that the fandom came up with. The main characters of this epic story will be Elyza Lex, Alicia Clark, Clarke Griffin, and Lexa! Follow them as they journey through the apocalypse, and discover the mysteries that link the world of FearTWD and The 100.

Official Title Illustration

I also posted the story in Archives of our Own at This Link

And I posted it on FanFiction.Net at This Link

And I made a companion fan video Over Here!


“Phew. Well. That was a blast… without there having to actually be one!”

The blonde skipped out of the laundromat with power in one hand, and money in the other.

That was ridiculously easy, she thought as she smoothly sauntered away, opening up the man’s wallet and counting how much cash he had stashed in. Did he even realize he was getting swindled?

Elyza Lex was a young 20-year old in her sophomore year of college, hailing from Australia and hanging around the United States (L.A., specifically) as part of a study abroad program. She studied computer science, was the Australian ambassador to the Women in Stem organization at the American university she was attending, and volunteered at Kids Can Code afterschool programs for elementary schools near the university.

But with all this scholarship money that goes into my education, hardly anything’s left for some fun, Elyza thinks to herself as she now starts to leaf through the credit, debit, and gift cards. A girl’s gotta have a part-time job!

So when Elyza was not out magnanimously pushing the STEM agenda and being an exemplar model to unsuspecting young women and children, she earned her dishonest living through using personal information procured from hacked e-mail accounts, carefully reading finger movements and translating them to passwords or PIN numbers, pick-pocketing squished people at concerts or crowded metros, recording the patterns at slot machines, gambling for pots of gold at the casinos, and being a general salesperson by facilitating access to and generating more traffic to the deep web’s underworld drug trade.

Woot, yeah, STEM for the win, alright! she thought as she quietly chuckled to herself.

Oh, yes, and most recently added to the list: armed robbery.

“Not too bad for my first time,” Elyza mused to herself, eyeing her gun and putting the safety lock back on. “I think it was a mutually pleasant experience for myself and the poor half-wit that decided to do his laundry at this time of night.”

11:30 pm.

To be honest, she almost talked herself out of doing it.

But she had gone through the motions–surfed the deep web, found illegal handguns for sale, met with the dealer to pick up her purchase, practiced her aim and proper technique at shooting ranges, staked out places to rob, and finally plopped herself in location, poised and ready to assault.

I couldn’t just not go through with it after all that time-intensive preparation, Elyza told herself as she neared a dimly lit tunnel and found a magazine and newspaper rack near the mouth of the tunnel. Oh, right, I think I left my other magazine at the laundromat.

She pocketed the wallet, keeping one card out, swiftly picked up a magazine and started to sift through it, looking for items to shop for now that she had won her hard-earned money.

Frankly, she had let fate decide what should happen – if no one walked it, then she would take it as a sign that she should just ditch the gun and go back to her more indirect methods of extortion; if someone did walk in, then she would take it as a sign that it was time to level up her robbery game.

And when the attractive, poshly dressed young man stepped in…

“Well, the fates hath spoken,” Elyza said to herself, looking at the man’s driver’s license on. “So you see, I really had no final say in the matter; hope you don’t take it personally…let’s see uh… Brian!”

She laughed to herself again, and the sounds of her mirth echoed throughout the tunnel.


Elyza stopped.

That one didn’t sound like me, she thought to herself as she strained her ears trying to locate the noise again. Uh, who dares to interrupt me in the middle of my evil laugh? Gosh, I was already beginning to imagine the closing credits with my laughter as background…


She saw a dark silhouette slowly tottering its way towards her.

She narrowed her eyes to try and get a clearer view of the figure.


She blinked, and clasped her arms behind her to conceal the gun.

“Hey, uh…you alright there, mate?” she questioned in confusion.


“No answer, even though I’m right in your face? Shall I say—rude much?” she spat out with some attitude. “Whatever. I’m not dealing with this. You need me to call someone for you?”


“I know you must be smashed out of your mind, my friend, but a more eloquent verbal response would be preferable,” she said with playful sarcasm and a roll of her eyes.


Now that the man has shortened the distance between them, she notices that there’s something odd about him—he doesn’t have the demeanor of your regular, run-of-the-mill drunkard. His head is bent at a strange angle, his arms hang loosely as he walks, his eyes are blank glints, his jaw hangs open, and his clothing is tattered and covered in dark splotches of…

She whizzes the gun forward.

“Freeze,” she says firmly. “Don’t come any closer.”

The man keeps walking towards her.

“I may not carry a mace, cross, whistle, or pepper spray, but I do have a pistol,” Elyza elaborates. “Kinda trumps the other options, don’t ya think?


She starts walking backwards as the man continue to walk, as if not hearing her.

“Listen, so, uh, you’re a quirky one, and I don’t know what your angle is here—rape, assault, prank, come on—but I have every right to shoot you in self-defense,” Elyza explains carefully. “And my aim far from strays.”

Elyza gulps when the man, now less than 15 feet away from her, appears to trudge with more purpose, as if her spiel only encouraged him. And in the dim lighting, the girl finally notices the red tint to the splotches on the man’s battered clothing, and the drool falling from his jaw.

“Mother—shit. What the fuck is wrong with you…!?” Elyza manages to get out right before the man inadvertently launches at her in her moment of shock.

Elyza screams and dodges his attack, but he grabs her leg as he collapses on the ground, tripping the blonde along with him.

“Grrhgg… argh…”

Oh, God, fuck, fuck, fuck, she thinks as she panics. What is it? Rabies? Drugs? What is he on?

She looks at her gun. She’s never really shot a gun outside of the controlled environment of a shooting range. She had always worn earplugs and goggles, as well as gloves and helmets for added protection. The only other time she threatened someone with shooting them was back at the laundromat not even 20 minutes ago, and even then she was semi-bluffing, a part of her hoping the guy would just hand over the money so she wouldn’t have to hurt him.

The man growls at her and start biting her shoes.

“What in hell—!? BUGGER OFF, YOU FREAK!” Elyza shrieks, smacking him with her magazine to no avail.

She kicks him in the face and then crawls away backwards as quickly as she can. “Do you want money, is that it? Ok, fine, here”—she pulls out the wallet and throws it at him, hitting him in the shoulder—“have the stupid dough, it wasn’t even mine to begin with so whatever! Oh, hell, is this what this is? Divine retribution of some sort? Fuck, karma is a bitter bitch!”

The deranged man jumps at her again while she’s still down and she struggles to wrangle him off of her.

She grunts, and screams, and punches, and cries for help—all is moot, though, because it’s probably midnight by now and she was walking by herself in a dimly lit tunnel with no signs of other people therein.

“Fuck, is this how I’m going to die!? Eaten by some stranger? Not even in the good way, SHIT, FUCKING, LET GO!”

She makes a choice.

And she shoots.


His chest, his arm, his legs, his stomach.

Multiple times, so many times and she never even kept count.

He is immobilized.

She hastily gets up, hair in disarray, body shaking, shooting arm trembling, gasping and panting.

She surveys herself and notices she is covered in blood—how much is his or hers, she doesn’t know.

She swallows away the nausea as she stares at the body, then promptly turns to walk away.

Elyza knows she’s not a good person—she’s a liar, cheater, and a thief, but she never thought she would be a murderer. Even when she purchased the gun, she mainly wanted it with her as a reinforcement, an intimidation weapon, just for show. She never truly thought she would have to use it. She would shoot a few rounds, sure, but never at the victim, just around the vicinity, to scare them into giving up their goods.

Her night of glory ended in gore, and she can’t fathom how you can go from success to shit in such short period of time.

“… Ngh…rrguuh…”

The noise was curious.

Elyza is conscious of her heart’s two loud beats: once in relief— he’s alive! —once in fear— he’s… alive?

She gulps, and turns around slowly, finding herself staring into the dull, blank eyes of the man she just killed, who is standing upright and walking towards her again as she remains still in disbelief.

“… What are you? How are you… how is this… This is not real, is it?” she whispers, asking questions that she knows won’t be answered.

She lifts up her gun again, aims, and shoots.

But nothing happens.

The pistol is exhausted of ammo.

She stares at the gun in shock, then back at the man, then at the gun, and finally the ground.

“Is my death inevitable? Is this what I deserve…? Oh, God, I just, I don’t know…” Elyza feels herself frozen still, the shock of what was currently taking place still sinking into her.

She can feel tears rolling down her numb cheeks, and realizes that she really doesn’t want to die right now.

Her resolve steels.

“Fine,” she says with a false smile and a quavering voice. “If I’m going to die right now, I may as well go down trying to take you out. Don’t worry, I’ll try to get us in a cool wrestling pose for when they outline our corpses. That’ll be a pain to draw, I bet.”

She walks around him, hoping she can get past him to run in the opposite direction, but the tunnel is too narrow to make an escape.

Screw it all to hell, I’ll just go for it!

She takes off right past the creature, but it lunges at her, and she engages the attack.

As she fights him on the ground, punching, kicking, screaming, scratching, and beating him to a pulp, with the creature delivering the same in return, she sees bright white lights at the end of the tunnel.

“Ha ha, God, you’re still gonna let me into heaven after all this!?” she laughs maniacally as the white lights draw closer and grow brighter.

She separates herself from the creature and sways herself to a standing position, lifting her arms. “Come and take me, Lord!”

And she is promptly hit by a car.

Well, more like, is flung over it, landing sideways.


Two armed men in military attire descend from the vehicle, scurrying over to where she’s huddled into a ball.

“The target is secured,” one of them says. “The creature was found attacking a civilian at Third Street Tunnel.”

Finally! Took you long enough, authorities, she thought in annoyance as she groaned in pain.

She feels the barrel of a gun at her head.

“Ready to fire at a moment’s notice,” the other replies. “The creature remains still.”

Awww, these dumbasses, she thinks angrily, grunting in pain as she tries to move.

“It’s stirring, we’re taking off the safety locks,” the other one announces.

“Stop… stop it, dun… shoot,” she slurs out, feeling a concussion coming on.

“It’s… speaking?”

“That’s impossible. It said in our briefing that they cannot communicate orally. They only groan and growl,” one of the military men says.

“I was groaning… in pain… Jesus Christ,” she huffs out, trying to stand up.

The two men look at one another in alarm.

“We apologize. That was our mistake… you were attacking the civilian on the ground, you were covered in blood, we thought you were the creature…”

“Then you stood up and charged right at our vehicle,” the other explained. “That appeared to us to be aggressive behavior expected of The Infected.”

“In my defense… I thought I was running towards the pearly gates,” Elyza muttered out, now standing up with some stability.



“So, uh, The Infected?” Elyza slowly drawls out, trying to calm a headache. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I think you’re looking for… him.”


One of the military guys runs, places the barrel of his gun to its head, and shoots.

The creature immediately stills.

“That’s usually all it takes to knock them down for good,” the military guy that stayed beside her explained.

Elyza clucks her tongue and raises an eyebrow as she shakes her head. “20 bullets and none of them struck him in the head. Unbelievable.”

But at the same time, this is my luck we’re talking about, so of fucking course, Elyza thinks, rolling her eyes.

The military man that is returning from killing the creature on the points to Elyza pistol. “Is that your firearm?”

Elyza’s eyes widen.


“Is it registered under your name?”


“Are you certified to have a firearm with you?”

“That’s, uh…”

The three of them stare at one another.




Elyza spins on her heel and hauls ass out of that tunnel.

She’s shot with a tranquilizer.


She’s goes down, paralyzed

The men approach her. “We apologize, Miss…”—they take the wallet and pull out her ID cards— “These are not yours.”

They stare at her, unimpressed.

Elyza stares back at them sheepishly from her position on the ground.

“Well, Miss, it seems you have a lot more to answer to us than just questions about your encounter with The Infected,” the one military man says.

The other military man heads over to the body of the Walker. “Let’s take her to one of the safe zones, drop her in the questioning room. We will leave the infected corpse in the vehicle and then drive it to the command center.”

“10/4,” the military man near Elyza says.

As the military men roll her into the back of the vehicle alongside the infected corpse (because there was no space at the front of the vehicle to accommodate her own limp, paralyzed body), she stares into the lifeless (finally!) eyes of the corpse as she thinks to herself: Just another day in the life of Elyza Lex.

Hello, World! (Greetings from a Shut-In)

Hello, World!


(Scroll below for the TL;DR summation of this post)

Do you guys get it? Because “Hello, World” is, like, the first piece of syntax that beginner programmers are taught to output when learning a new computer language? Like making your low-key, grand entrance into the world and letting others know? Ha ha yes? Ha ha no?

Why am I even expecting some kind of answer right now? I am clearly writing to nobody at the moment, but this will eventually be published on my newly-minted blog so some hapless internet wanderer will read it and cringe at my awful introduction before hastily clicking away and deleting their visit to this blog from their internet history!

I do hope my first two paragraphs don’t cause you to go to such great lengths, though, dear hapless wanderer!

But all that aside, let’s carry on! Nice to meet you! How do you do? You can call me “The Well-Rounded Dabbler,” or just “Dabbler” to save you the jaw flexing exertion.

I am actually not a well-rounded connoisseur by any means, though. I HOPE to be, and that’s part of the reason I have started this blog.

I have been a bit of a shut-in for the past 7 years of my life — I am currently of college-age — and as I finally break out of my shell (my room) and dip my toes into foreign waters (the cement or grass in the outside world), I realize that I have missed out on so much of my youth because I have been so afraid of society.

I have decided that I don’t want to continue to waste away the precious years I have left of however long my life is, and that I want to try and make an effort to reach out to and connect with others, and do something significant with my life.

I think we all dream about doing that one great thing that will have made our lives worth living and that will leave a lasting impact on others’ lives. At the moment, I want to focus on reacquainting myself with society and trying to learn about different topics, ranging from TV shows, politics, current events, sports, and the arts to more academic things like math, science, history, literature, and research.

Currently, my greatest struggle as someone that has spent so long without human interaction is  that I have no idea how to talk to people without coming off as incredibly awkward or just staring at someone for uncomfortably long pauses while trying to think about how to start or maintain a conversation. AND on the off-chance that I DO manage to carry a conversation, most topics that tend to be common knowledge to everyone else, is completely new to me, and I feel so out of touch with what the rest of the world is up to. I don’t know or  I can’t do things that seemingly comes naturally to other people, and it frustrates me.

I would like to take the steps to improve myself, and I felt that starting a blog where I can, in some form, “take notes” on or write about new things I have learned will benefit me greatly. So, I suppose, this is a self-help blog more than anything. If anyone ever finds anything of interest in whatever I have written, I will be very glad!

So thank you very much if you have actually read through this epic piece of dissertation-like essay of an introduction that borders on the length of the “Terms and Agreements” contracts that nobody ever seems to read and just clicks the “I Accept” button on the dialog box for installing new software. Really, thank you.

And for your benefit, I have also added a TOO LONG; DIDN’T READ recap of everything that I just said:



So follow along, whether to laugh at my clumsy attempts to dive back into society or lend me some encouragement as I try to teach myself things I should have learned long ago had I not let my social anxiety take over.

\(^_~)/     PLEASED TO MEET YOU, (hopefully) KIND STRANGER


The Dabbler