semi-charmed life is playing and it reminds me of when i was 16 and i felt so free to be unchained from the idea of love from my ex-boyfriend who i had managed to not only date once, but twice. i remember always listening to this at the bus stop because the bus fare was free and i decided i wanted to be environmentally friendly even though it would take an extra 20 minutes. and i remember how sunlight in new mexico reached my shoulders on a summer morning, and how lightened my hair was by the end of summer. i remember the blue sky, so blue, so clear, not a cloud in sight. i think of the bliss. ah, that’s what this song reminds me of, bliss.
the meaning of life is to drink beers while sitting around in your underwear. and when you grow tired of sitting around, which you will, you should dance in your room and sing loudly and off-key if that is needed for you to sing loudly. sometimes i go on long drives contemplating the meaning of life and who i’ve been and who i will be. i spend all my gas money on inner self-discovery no matter how high the price of a gallon is. but the meaning of life is right here, already laid out in front of me. there is nothing more to life than eating straight out of the ice cream tub and rediscovering how to laugh like a child. it is not enough that i learn to laugh like a child. i must be able to laugh at myself too. because life is a little weird and makes less sense the more we think about it. and we get so wrapped up in everything. we try to understand if who we are matches our career, we try to understand the elusive idea of love, we try to understand our childhood issues. my god it just gets all so overwhelming sometimes. we are all trying to make sense of ourselves in this big world but the paradox of trying to figure something out is that we only dig a bigger hole and then we don’t have a ladder to climb back up to the top.
it’s just one stressful thought after another, piling as tall as the stack of papers on a monday morning. take a look around, everything around is so funny. the other day i walked back to my car only to find a huge birdshit on my windshield. and i just laughed. i couldn’t believe it. it was so big i wondered what that bird ate. and then i began to think if there is some subconscious, systematic process to how birds leave their shit. i mean, think about it. what if shit landed on you? oh god, and then i thought about things falling from the sky, namely birdshit, like a snowstorm except every snowflake is birdshit, and i started laughing even more. i’m sure these silicon valley guys in their suits walking by were wondering what was wrong with me. but i just kept staring at that birdshit, thinking that if i blinked enough, the birdshit would shrink, that i was just seeing things. that was my logic. and then i laughed some more. and then i took a picture and sent it to my best friend and she laughed too.
laughter. laughter is the best remedy.
Isn’t it crazy to think everything is just temporary? I am constantly moving from one moment to the next and I can’t even savor the moment before it moves on. I’m so futuristic yet sentimental. How does that work? Everything is always changing so fast, even if we don’t see it, we feel it. We all chase forever. Don’t we? We want to feel it, know it, surf on that wave.
“Where should I move. Chicago or New York? And reasons..”
“New York. Because you can go to the Empire State building and see the whole city, and on a clear day you can see as far as Connecticut.”
Because you need to go to Times Square. You will be in the middle of everything, you will learn what human traffic really means. New York is where everything happens - Wall Street Journal. Enough said.
Because New York connects all of East Coast.
Because New York has so much culture and history. It’s such a great symbol of America, fucking Statue of Liberty man, fucking Ellis Island.
Because everyone who lives in New York grows a backbone. If you haven’t, then you need to stay longer. Let their words bruise you until they don’t. Whereas California is “Why not?”, New York is “Why should I talk to you?”
Because New York (and Boston) are an experience everybody has to witness. Because California is all about relaxation and drinking beers and New York is all about GO GO GO GO MOVE IT MOVE IT COME ON.
Because you have to see the way autumn unfolds on the east coast. The shades of red, orange, and yellow are indescribable.
Because if you thought three cups of coffee are a lot, try five. Think about all the energy stirring in New York. It’s almost too much to think about. Get on their level. Grab a bagel at the local cafe and a coffee at Dunkin Donuts.
Because the norm is intelligent people. There is a reason so many of the best colleges congregate on the East Coast. Go have a conversation with a writer or designer. You will not be disappointed.
Because you will understand class. Everyone in Los Angeles is a waiter. Everyone in New York has a drive for success.
Because you will learn the art of jaywalking that it will become second-nature in no time.
Because you will never feel lonely in a city like New York. There is just too much going on. There is a story on every corner.
Go. Go to New York and find out what you’re made of.
Go to New York and discover your voice.
And then you will leave and never be the same.
I can guarantee you that.
to be or not
that is not
will not be satisfied
the paradox of being,
is when you search to be
found, you wind up
I would still kiss you knowing that the taste of you would poison me. You kiss me lies while I kiss you secrets. It’s fine. You do not break me. I break myself. I will dream of your drowsy eyes and sleepy lips even if you will have already left by morning. I do not sleep at night when I am next to someone like you, but I pretend to be asleep when you slither out the door.
1 tell your brother you miss him.
2. stop canceling on people.
3. learn how to speak directly and simply so that people can actually understand what you’re saying.
4. learn how to better string metaphors so you can describe the way someone’s touch is a feather slowly skating across your skin.
5. when you feel angry, don’t suppress it. anger freezes the insides until your heart is a frostbite. instead, scream.
6. return your overdue library books.
7. instead of staying in and feeling depressed, go outside. get some air.
8. open up word. write at least 20 reasons why you are lovable so that when you feel unlovable, you can refer to this list.
9. if that list doesn’t work, call someone, preferably your best friend.
10. eat everything you bought before it expires.
11. sober up.
12. sing. more.
“Chase the moonlight.”
“And how exactly do you do that?”
“It’s a metaphor.”
i don’t think i’m happy nor sad, extroverted nor introverted, driven nor lazy. i think i’m just one huge blob of emotions and i fluctuate from one to the next. everything changes according to how i feel. the world is brighter when i feel imaginative and connected to my surroundings. the world is grey when i feel grey myself. and i used to hate this very aspect of myself, because there was never any certainty. i always thought it was only imminent until i met face-to-face with insanity. one day i seem to feel on top of the world and the next day there isn’t enough air to breathe. one day i am an endless scroll of apologies, the next full of inspiration. my emotions are an intense game of tennis, and in hand, my whole persona is thrown back and forth. i become so dizzy trying to think about who i am. and then yesterday after that period of elation, i plummeted into a pool of worthlessness. i tracked my thoughts and just stopped them and thought to myself, “this is silly. it’s 4am and you’re tired and you’re a little sick. go to bed and you’ll wake up feeling better.” and well, it didn’t start off like that today. this morning i didn’t wake up feeling worthless, but every thing i saw and every thing i read only made me well up in tears, and i wondered if my life had become one huge pms episode.
i think the best thing sensitive people can do is to love the ebb and flow of their emotions. it’s the only thing we can do so that we don’t rip our skin off and gnaw at our bones. some people identify with their career, others identify with their thoughts, their knowledge. i identify with my emotions. my emotions are who i am. and i need to let go of that image. because if i identify myself with what i feel, then i will only oscillate between all of this madness until i am only madness.
we must love the whole spectrum of emotions in us in order to fully accept ourselves, otherwise we struggle and struggle and throughout that struggle, we inevitably hold onto whatever emotion we’re feeling instead of just letting it go.
maybe that’s the point of everything, to find the balance between holding on and letting go with just the perfect amount.
life wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful if there wasn’t always a story behind absolutely everything. life is rarely as it seems and too much as it seems. that is the beauty of paradoxes
Our culture teaches us so little about the meaning of love. In fact, its ideals are distorted. We live in a world where live is defined as dangerous, and we’re reminded of this every time a relationship of ours goes awry. Society teaches us it’s more important to protect our self-image than it is to form an open and deep relationship with others. Well, that’s just it. How can we form a true relationship with anyone around us when we can’t even connect to ourselves? If I asked you - are you easy to love - would you truthfully and genuinely say yes? Would you say yes at all?
We live in a society where we focus on the flaws, unable to recognize the recognize the beauty of the soul. We’re always seemingly on the defense trying to be the offense. Everything centers around retaliation. Why is that? Why do we feed our ego with lies and justifications? Why do we assign labels to revealings of the soul as weak more often than strong? How different would life be if we were less judgmental of ourselves, and more open?
Why do we view love as a catastrophe instead of a miracle? A gift sent by angels? Perhaps it is because of how love is conceptualized in society - too fanatical, too out-of-reach, too unreal.
So then what happens? We pretend to be in love. We pretend that accumulated time equals to love. We deceive ourselves with the thought that someone who makes us feel secure (or moreover, keep the walls of the ego high) is love.
We are mistaken. We are deluded. We think that the more attractive we are, the more we’re able to win over somebody. We try and fit this idea of “pretty” so that we can be fit for this idea of pseudoromance. I don’t blame this, you see. Romance exists everywhere in media. We live in a world where everything is romanticized but nearly holds zero meaning. For example: dinners where he pays, where he escorts you back home, nights where he asks if you made it home safely. We care more about the idea of love than the person itself. We care more about materialized love than an actual connection. We think we owe it to others to be the best boyfriend or girlfriend we can be, so we dress ourselves up with fancy cologne (seductive, they say) and an expensive attire only to be worn once to see how fast it can be ripped off from your body. We buy our way into love.
fashion is so fucking interesting to me - the twentieth century and how women became so individualistic, wearing styles similar to what men wore. we cut the boundaries between what was socially acceptable between men and women’s attire. people noticed this implicit pattern and decided to say fuck you to this dichotomy of masculinity and femininity and merge the both. they said, “unh unh, this won’t do. it’s time for something new. it’s time to break these boundaries.” and so that’s what they did.
isn’t it crazy that we don’t have to think twice about this nowadays? it’s now the norm. and you know what? we don’t even think of it as a norm. it’s just part of the way we live. we don’t even look twice when a woman is wearing pants, when this used to be such a big deal in the 1920’s because it was only acceptable to wear skirts, to look ladylike, “womanly”. what the fuck does it mean to be a lady nowadays? it fucking means everything.
let these labels spread across so many seas that they get lost in the sea with the litter. because that’s what they are. labels contaminate us.
the corset was an invention with good intentions but it had turned so sour. think about it: the way a woman had to be portrayed as beautiful, and we defined this beauty through a tiny waist. beauty was suffocation. because that’s exactly what it was - being confined within all these damn wires.
everything has come such a long fucking way. the world is so fucking incredible to me. sometimes i forget how much has changed. isn’t that the point of life? to break free of these labels, of these connotations (!) so that every unconventional thing defined as crazy can become the norm? isn’t that the fucking point?
isn’t that how any idea is formed? ideas sprout from unconventionality. unconventionality stems from an original mind. you get the point. i think it’s so mindblowing when an idea that was so farfetched once upon a time becomes reality. we sometimes forget the steps it took for anything, absolutely anything, to be where it is now. tradition is such a beautiful symbol of culture. when we compare then and now, we can see the degree to which the world has shifted. culture, man, culture. and culture is what connects society today, it’s how we connect across all time spans, it’s how history is created.
we look so forward to the future that sometimes we don’t look back and marvel at how we are here today, in this…in this world filled with young creators with big minds and even bigger hearts. history is how we know this world has changed in some way. and that’s the best part of any movement - creation. it’s such a beautiful feeling to know that the world is always changing, that tomorrow will not be the same as today, that we are finding more ways to connect than ever.
i have so much respect for creators because they are the ones who change the world on such a big scale. we always revel in the creation and are so grateful that this treasure now exists, but rarely do we recognize the person, the people, behind it. we don’t recognize their perseverance their sleepless nights. people laugh at creators. but hey, creators laugh at themselves. you sort of need to in that environment. there is so much frustration when an idea cannot be implemented the way you want it to because you do not have the tools at your disposal or it isn’t the right time, so much frustration when people tell you your dream is a scam. and they get through it all. they have such patience. they do, most people do not see what happens behind a closed door, and most people don’t care to know what’s happening behind the scenes. but frustration and patience complement each other. all creators somewhat incorporate the fishermen personality - patient and expectant.
it’s a strange paradox, have you noticed? the biggest creators, the ones who connect it all, are the ones who require the most isolation. creators’ minds fascinate me. a creator’s mind is a bowl of baking mixture being stirred, a constant act of stirring and putting the plate into the oven to see what idea was created this time (ding!). but it’s not always like that. they know exactly when their creativity is leaving. and at that point, they intuitively know they need to cut themselves off from the world in order to get the juices flowing again, in order to create a new world. they isolate themselves so that they can isolate the ideas themselves, and catch them, quickly. and bam. there you fucking go. innovation at its finest.
back to what originally inspired this post: fashion. the way fashion evolves throughout the decades is only one of many examples of what mattered economically and politically at the time, what was revolutionary, what symbolized what. we have fashion with such symbolic features, with a certain emotion and meaning tied to each and every article of clothing. isn’t that fascinating? we have clothes for any occasion - for the day at work, for the night out at bars, for the afternoon barbecue with family and friends, for the heavy workout at the gym, for cozy bedtime. and it just keeps expanding. the fashion industry, forms of expression, art, life itself.
avant garde my friends, avant garde. i think we can definitely cheer to that.
Viewing life through the lenses of an artist is a different experience, a different sort of life. “You read too much into things.” I’ve heard that before, multiple times. Maybe it isn’t that I read too much into things, if at all. Some say I’m blind to the physical world, I think it’s eye-opening. It could be both, or neither. I’m never preoccupied with the truth.
“You’re so complicated,” they argue. “In what way?” I wonder. “You create an elaborate essay out of one simple aspect.” I admit, I am very much complex, but not complicated. My complexity is the bottom of the ocean the scientists have not yet discovered. I do not understand my complexity, but it isn’t the way you describe. My complexity is not complicated. My complexity is beautiful.
Categorize me into your little boxes. Scoff. Roll your eyes. Base my success on the prestige of my job title. Determine my worth by correlating my income with my age. We live in a world where judgment doesn’t hide in corners, oh, it’s not like that at all. It’s on every busy street.
“She’s a dreamer.” they say with a grain of salt.
I am a dreamer.
You see, I never see a palm tree as just an exotic plant imported into America for decorative purposes. That sentence in itself has triggered in me an image of palm trees as ornaments on a Christmas tree.
I gaze from my balcony, and one palm tree with its feather-shaped leaves is a woman from the 1800’s dressed in a crinoline topped with a bonnet. I feel modesty, meekness. The other palm tree across the street is a hot air balloon, suspended. I feel a sense of grounding. Indoor palm trees with their fan-shaped leaves are peacocks - peacocks perched with their wings confidently spread open, ready for love. You see, in this description of palm trees, I’m already very much getting carried away.
To the onlooker it may appear that I am embellishing the world. Maybe this is just how I see it. I don’t scour for beauty. This isn’t out of desperation. Beauty comes knocking on my door. Beauty is that welcoming elementary classmate who asked you if you would like to join her on the swings.
“Get your head out of the clouds,” they joke, but I can sense the cautious seriousness from their tone. Your humor is as satirical as the crinolines.
Maybe artists are slightly mentally imbalanced because we lose ourselves in our surroundings. On the contrary, we become found in a way that cannot be described through literal language. The literal world is bleak - it lacks emotion, I’m just going to throw that out there. You say her purse is full, I say her purse is a Mary Poppins bag. Do you know what a Mary Poppins bag symbolizes? Magic. Her purse is magic. Do you feel that? That enrapturing feeling…
And I don’t care what you have to say. You cannot convince me it is anything but magic.
Sometimes this beauty find its way into a poem. God bless words. The way the mind translates emotions into words to the best of its ability astounds me each and every moment. Words are so powerful. Words are moments frozen in time. Writing, like any form of art, is the way the mind photographs a moment. Everything is poetry, and everything, my god, is art.
I was just on the phone with my mom and I had told her I wanted to be a preschool teacher because it’s almost nearly, if not entirely, impossible to get a job with this psychology degree at this age. I’ve realized that I am most likely competing with other psychology majors in their mid-late 20s who, like me, meet the requirements, but they surpass them. I don’t blame them. With age comes wisdom and experience.
I told her that I only want the best of the best, that I want either a high-paying psychology job or a not-so-high paying job but deeply sparks my interest. But the geographic location I’m looking at is restricted to the Bay Area. She told me this is insane, because I have to start somewhere, precisely, the bottom. And in response I told her I can’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. I will not look for a job elsewhere because there is no other environment such as California, even if I could easily find a psychology-related job in say, Nebraska or Michigan.
And it’s silly. It really is. But I know the right opportunity will come. I just have to be patient. I am not going to sell myself off to a low-paying psychology job that I do not enjoy, because actually, I do not mind starting at the bottom. It just has to interest me. I will not go to work at least 25 hours, if not 40, and spend all of my energy stalking the hands of the clock until I can leave.
A stubborn dreamer? Or is that redundant? I am not concerned with how much prestige my job title holds, and I am not concerned with how much money I have.
Everybody is absolutely right. I do not know what I am doing with my life. But isn’t that phrase symbolic in itself - because it only represents a matter of time before I will? I will find something, everything.
Do you remember when you went back to work for a couple weeks and you were driving from San Francisco while I was driving from Santa Cruz to meet in the middle, in Sunnyvale? We were texting - I told you that you shouldn’t be texting while you’re driving and you joked back at me. I loved the romantic getaway of it all, the way we both were zipping through traffic while texting each other the whole time. And then you had gotten to our meet-up point much earlier than I had anticipated, and this made me anxious because I was preparing your surprise. I had you wait in your car and I was terrified you wouldn’t wait and you would instead come back to my car to see what I was doing. But you told me I could trust you. And I did. And I sat in my car finishing my surprise for you - frantically cutting up slivers of paper. And then I walked up to you at your car and said,
“Here is a book titled Imagine by Jonah Lehrer. It was just published last week, March 19th. Contained within in these pages are 26 surprises, each surprise with an adjective corresponding with each alphabet letter describing what I like about you. You always ask me why I like you, but then I try to list the reasons why, and you decide to reject everything I say. Here is how I can get my words out without you interjecting. The first one is on page 4. You can read through the book and find these little treasures along the way or you can flip through the pages and find them in a minute’s spare.”
You flipped to page 4.
“Affable.” you muster.
“Yes,” I respond.
“Thank you for the book! I really look forward to reading it. I was going to try and find a book for the flight to Taiwan but now I have one!”
Bryan, you do not ever, ever, have to thank me.
Thank you. For everything. Thank you for everything. It was only the middle of February when I had said, “You’ve changed my life. Forever.” Forever has been a wonderful place. Will you come join me?