right now | journal

  • Feeling peaceful in life, feeling mellow.
  • In the midst of the holidays, I melt in lights and tear-strewn repeats.
  • Spent a bit of time in California, basked in the wildly good weather. Looming palm trees and winding roads. Garlic butter pasta by Santa Monica pier.
  • A Christmas Eve decked with hot pot and sweet sauce and elaborate light decor.
  • There was heavy traffic today by the mall, impossibly heavy, but a light shone on a (godly) empty spot. Frigid outsides warm insides.
  • I drew at the Apple store, drew and chatted with strangers, drew and added the Apple tech.
  • (Phone promptly died afterwards. The irony)
  • Boyfriend and I watched Mean Girls tonight after grabbing thai for dinner.
  • Earlier today, I went ice skating at another mall, and taught her how to push-glide. Push glide, push glide. We looked for checkered skirts.
  • This morning I made creamy hot Thai tea, which I’d been craving. The bags I got were relatively weak, so I just brew them two at a time.
  • Tomorrow I’ll make Vietnamese iced coffee.
  • Right now, at midnight, I sip marshmallow root tea and nibble on Japanese green tea mochi.
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B&W Film

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Film is so beautiful and nostalgic.

I picked up a small love for film about four year ago. I’d been sitting in Econ lecture, scrolling through artists and photographers when I stumbled upon a photographer.

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A year after gathering a small appreciation (obsession) for film, I took a black and white film class.We took pictures in black and white and processed them in the darkroom, shot with borrowed Canon cameras.

I photographed strangers, artwork, puppies, toys, store fronts….so on and so forth. It was then that I realized: there is so much whimsicalness in the world. So much strangeness and beauty! The panda head human: a stranger. The toy train: more strangers. I began to shift my perception, seeing my surroundings in blacks and whites, hues and gradients, shadows and bright spots.

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In the dark room, we removed the film from the tube in a room devoid of light. With washes and chemicals and timers, we processed the small rolls of copper-colored film until they were ready to hang and dry.

Then we brought the dried film into the darkroom, where we each had our own space to magnify the film images, invert them, and light-print onto a piece of light-sensitive paper. Afterwards, we doused the paper film in another long process of chemicals and washes before the sheet was finally ready to dry.

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Processing film by hand was tedious, but fun.

I found an old film camera (a Canon snappy LX) about a year ago while cleaning out the house, and ordered some Superia film in. I’ve been slowly, slowly photographing with it. I have….six rolls of film to shoot.

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When I look at other’s images taken on Canon Snappy’s online, they look like the photographs my parents used to take decades ago, when film was all they had.

You’re Where You’re Supposed To Be

I stumbled upon my old high school achievement records while cleaning the house–it felt odd, strange, holding dusty certificates and letters. So I did get a 34 on the ACT; I thought I’d remembered wrong. And then the 2350 on the SAT–huh, at some point, I’d scored higher on Math than on Reading! Then the AP Scholar with Distinction–which one was that again? Then my essay to my dream school, which I attended, then my first college acceptance to business school, with a full ride I’d turned down. And then my Valedictorian speech, which I’d written the night before, after mustering up all the non-hatred in my body I could to write some relevant stand-up.

Blog, just for context, and to be as blunt as possible, I hated high school. So much. That much stress and resentment is not healthy. For any individual. Had high school been a work place, I’d have quit. Early. But, as a wee minor with few choices, I didn’t. And so I endured that place instead, harboring years and years and years of hatred. It stayed. It lingered. I feel less angry now. In its place is a mellowed realization that hatred must be acknowledged, that it has its place, and like a familiar blemish in a thin history book, should be written about. I neither forgive nor forget.

Nobody ever quite understood it. My resentment was shat on, diminished, looked down upon. How could you hate a place so rosy filled with the best human beings abound? See, that was where our opinions diverged. Despite my having a far opposite opinion, it was never…allowed. Or understood. Get over it. Move on. It wasn’t that bad. It isn’t that bad. How could you say that about a good place? And, if you could possibly believe it, it only exacerbated the hatred. To feel anger is one thing; to face other’s anger because of your own anger is yet another.

At the time, one of my greatest stressors were the relationships in my life. As a girl, well, you know the type: they’d sit in their criss-cross applesauce circles, talk relentless shit, bask in passive aggression and snark. These were my so-called best friends. It was then that I concluded it was better to be alone in life than surrounded by snark. I stopped talking. I kept to myself. I harbored this brewing hatred, letting it expand day by day, each sediment of resentment hardening into stone. It’d occasionally spill out, molten hot lava, fury and resentment. Then the confused looks, always, and maybe mirrored anger, because I should not have felt what I felt.

It wasn’t until my last year of college that I mentioned this fully to my best friend. The best friend who’d always been there for me, held me when I was sad, lifted with me when I was joyous, was there through it all, who was always supportive and understanding and compassionate. Not once had she pissed me off to the high heavens, and not once had she made me cry. Not once had she ever made me feel less than or misunderstood or wrong in how I felt. And–get this–she understood. In all those years, she was the only person who immediately understood. She didn’t diminish my feelings, or try to find some phony bright side. She understood. She mentioned uncannily similar catty high school stories. And it has been experiences like those, fleeting but still moving, that have…well, what have they done? So inexplicably much. Kept me sane.

I can imagine the Valedictorian speech I never wrote and all the things I’d meant to say. Honestly, it’d probably just be filled with a lot of expletives. Even now, really. But honesty is not always valued. And I suppose that is the part of me that is high on social monitoring, that will put on a face based on the crowd. That day of graduation, I stood on stage, I smiled, I cracked jokes. I buried my resentment just one foot deeper, because to experience anything but love for the institution was blasphemy.

Well, I didn’t love it, at least not the last few years, and I should have left while I could. I should have gone to the competitive public school several streets away, the one with high-achievers funneling into the same university. I should have expanded during those years, made better friends, worked just as hard, and felt less anger. I know that everything happens for a reason, that, perhaps, this stony fury made me a better person (somehow?). I have no idea. But I do, as they say, trust the universe.

In the end, it worked out. Academically, I wrung every possible mark I could. I loved my teachers, always did, and I’d learned a great deal from them. I reached all my goals. I ultimately attended my dream school, where I met the best friend I never thought existed. I came to terms with my initial, constant life passion–Psychology–which my best friend first texted me about today, asking for run-downs on theories.

And every post like this, however unsavory or un-poetic or un-artistic, chips away the resentment, bit by bit. Then I remind myself of the here and now. As my best friend so briefly quipped–

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Lights Under My Eyes

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two twenty. AM. 2:21. AM. Two 21. AM.
why am I so restless?
coffee. wheat thins. crumbs. caffeine. caf

–feine. feign. feigning
kindness. questions I have for
insomnia:

are you neurological? genetic? psychological?
physical? are you the thoughts churning through my head rapid-pace
without regard for gravity, space, time?

are you
the 100 grams of caffeine laced in my vanilla-creme 2-sugar-packed
coffee branching through my veins?

are you concern?
are you anticipation?
are you planning? are you planning something? are you so busy planning something

you
can’t
sleep?

the irony of sleeplessness lies in the
heaviness of my lids, of my eyes–I just
thought they’d have been lighter, with everything lit up under my eyes

lit up under my eyes lit up under my
eyes crumbs all over my keyboard
cover lit up under my eyes

Meta | Journal

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Le beau (yes, pronounced ‘la bo,’ and I said la beu for clarification) stumbled upon my blog last night. Well, I had given him a link to one article I thought he’d read–not the entire blog!

For context, this digital blog barely crosses over into my real life, if at all. I don’t mention it to my friends, family, or, until recently, boyfriend, and I certainly don’t share it on social media. It’s just weird. The cross between real life and digital blogspace is like that one episode from Fairly Odd Parents when Timmy Turner leaps into Jimmy Neutron’s world. Timmy goes from being a flat animated cartoon to a well-shadowed 3D character. It’s jarring. The worlds–they’re different, but not entirely.

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When la beau first told me he’d read my blog, I sweated profusely. “Why’re you rolling down the windows? It’s 30 degrees,” he said.

“This conversation is making me warm,” I said.

I’m okay with people, in general, reading these little creative outbursts or blurbs, but it feels strange when I know them. So if I know you in real life, do me a favor, please don’t tell me you read my blog and then proceed to quote some of your favorite posts. Because le beau did this. All day. I’d forgotten I’d even written some of these blurbs. 

“You’re 18 books away from completing your 100 Books Challenge.”

“Math is a house filled with nooks and crannies. I read that on your blog. Remember that post?”

“That poem, bad cliffhangers, I didn’t really understand that one.”

“I saw the one from August 2017, and I was like aw, the quote from Winnie the Pooh.”

“I liked the post where you felt happy with the people in your life.”

“I was looking for cameos. I’d just sort of pop in and out. Also, I was referred to as le beau! Ha-ha. Clever.”

He also mentioned some kind fellow bloggers. Some would extend hugs in murky times and others would simply be there. I think of Monika, TheWayFarer, Shahirah, Kendall, Connie, E.L, Robert V., Zheng Fan….so hello, if you’re reading this! And if not, I’ll figure out how to make proper mentions one day. I send my greetings to the blogaverse.

Le beau also asked a good question about how I’ll sometimes end a post with a different time than the time stamp. The lower date is when the post was written. I’ll often tweak and edit previous posts from times I’d write more (read: random creative bursts or sad bubbles). This ties in with my last journal post about being more prolific when I’m depressed, and writing less when I’m happy. So when I’m happy (the past 2 years), I’ll revisit older posts in notes/docs from sadder, but more prolific, days.

12 hours later from our warm conversation about my blog, I feel a little less weird. Everything feels a little more meta than usual, reflecting on this blog and readers and whatnot.

Let It Snow

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My fingers are pink and numb, my nose tulipy red: I’ve just come back from prancing around in the snow, making snow angels, kicking up powdery light snowdust. Our boots sunk three inches deep. Light mound of snow layered the field, coated every surface, nook and crevice like frosting (Ah, Frosty!)

The snow was too fine for snowmen or snowballs, so we resorted to dragging our boots through the snow, windmilling bodies into snow angels, tossing handfuls of snow. “Snow, please,” I’d say, since I’d forgotten to wear mittens. Then a sprinkle-shower of snow would scatter over our heads.

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