Swinging Away, This Childhood

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written November 2008

I went over to my friend’s house this Friday. At the park, I walked over to two kids that looked about eight and six at the park, asked what they were doing, and invited them to a game of tag.

It ended up in a swinging contest. I was the judge.

I called the picture Swinging Away, This Childhood, because I know being a kid isn’t going to last, and you’re just swinging in the air, all free and happy with the wind messing up your hair. And then, before you know it, you have to get off and your childhood’s gone.

Maybe it’s not like that. But maybe it is. I’m not the one to speak. After all, I’m still swinging.

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On The Train to Santa Monica

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On the train to Santa Monica, I was suddenly overwhelmed with sonder, “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—

an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”

31 Days of Journaling

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May 28th, 2019 | Day 1

I’m craving a good chai tea latte. The one I’m sipping is mediocre. It’s masala chai. I dumped cayenne instead of cinnamon, so with every sip, my throat’s on fire.

I’ve worked with 40 kids this past year. I just want to help them reach their goals. At times, I feel like I’m paying my dues, paying it forward. Other times, I wonder if this is something that I’d really like to do. But I know that, in this current world, I probably wouldn’t. Also, my throat gets tired easily from talking. I get irritated when I talk too much. And I’m an intense germaphobe. I’m paranoid about illness droplets.

Lately, I’ve just been… in motion. Going through the motions. Not in a bad way–in a good way, really. I feel occupied, and I’m doing something I enjoy, and I’m moving forwards. Nothing spectacular, nothing wild, but there is a part of me itching to go somewhere beautiful. Maybe hill-y, mountainous. I still have not picked up my camera since…2016. I think it’s been 3 years since I’ve carried around my DSLR. It’s just been a bad year for photos. I barely even take personal images, which is startling. In the short history of me, I’ve racked up at least 50,000 images in 10 years.

The other day, I spent 4.5 hours wandering through the mall with DS, which was fun and relaxing. We babbled on about silly things and found the black overalls she was searching for. As for me, I got a few clip-on earrings and a nice blue dress. I’ve been wearing casual-but-maybe-semi-professional dresses lately, because admittedly I hate pants. We were both wild and weird together. I also saw one of my students, but she didn’t see me. We had talked about alpacas and bunnies the day before.

I’m happy to hear that you’re not stressed or angry after hanging out with her, le beau said. Ah. That’s right. I used to spend time with friends and leave feeling exhausted, drained and angry. That was tiring.

edd4af17-1c60-4f4c-a838-77766f6d890dMay 29th, 2019 | Day 2

Le beau and I dawdled around today, doing nothing in particular. Time just passed. He picked me up in the loaner truck, a wine red truck, smooth and sophisticated. The cool older brother who wore J. Crew, I said.

Could you turn down that AC? It’s just so cold and powerful.

What a spacious middle–let me just put my camera and takeout there. I might even go out and get it myself.

“Oh, stop it. What’s the first thing you’d do to that truck?”

Nothing. That’s how good it was.

Riverdale played on the TV while I watched videos of bobcat moms hissing at their kittens. “Get down from there!” the mom bobcat screeched. I turned up the volume and watched it a few more times.

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May 30th, 2019 | Day 3

Flowing dresses, open rooms, and a cluster of inquisitive hipsters. Where should we put this table–how should we open the doors? One of the women is friendly. She smiles and leans in close when she talks to us. She reminds me of one of my students. Another is snippier, curtly tells us they have the room reserved at 5. We were already moving, my boyfriend later laughs.

We scooch our way to the other side. The barista, I realize with some dismay, is a co-worker with whom things later fell apart. Cordiality turned into contempt. It wasn’t deep, but it was aggravating at the time.

Later, we go to pick up his truck. On the way back, we head into a Corner Bakery, where I accidentally order 4 in the Choose Two option.

The caesar salad, roasted tomato soup, and chicken pesto sandwich hit the spot. It makes me think of when I’d pop into restaurants post-class to get tomato soup and salad; I’d sit outside on the metal chairs and peer at the golfball birds.

I walk to a clothing then crossed to the street to GameStop. Warmed by the setting sun, I watch the cars pass as I jaywalk through the street. On the way out of the grocery store, I peer at two puppies sitting the car. “You can go closer,” the owner says from behind me. They were named after peanut butter jars.

June 1st, 2019 | Day 4

The pieces of the day are slowly falling together. I woke up. I rolled out of bed. I stared at craters during traffic. The sun coaxed me northwards, while the panic of rain imbued my dreams.

Blue wipes. Grease. Mint gum topples to the seat of my car, shit-shit-shit. A book on temp work, on McKinsey, on work. Gardettos and Chex Mix at Sam’s: don’t get ’em! Burgers at Five Guys. Video games at home. Hamster videos on Youtube. When life moves on a day-to-day basis, it falls into wordless tedium.

My cream pink nails are peeling. Right now, I’m surfing through images of disposable film on Flickr. I flip between the 50mm digital tab and the 35mm film tab. There’s no denying that I love the grainy old-school beauty of film–it’s just rarer and thus more precious, so I have to be thrifty about it.

We played Overcooked on PS4 today. I kept dropping the sliced tomatoes after falling into the cartoon lava. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Then I re-materialized as the cartoon chef.

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June 2nd, 2019 | Day 5

It’s all gloom and doom outside. I woke up with a June-esque sense of meaninglessness. I wonder how much of life is running around in circles on a hamster wheel, cycling through the same ol’ feelings. Film. Stretch of roads. Blue skies. Meaninglessness. Summer always feels this way; I’ve learned not to ascribe too much significance to it. If this were all a track field, we’re simply pit-pattering our feet over the same gravel until it eventually runs down.

I ended up driving over 80 miles today.

Work first. We then walked around the boba square today, then headed home, grabbed Boston Market, and watched a new Netflix show.

Afterwards, I went outside and chatted with the neighborhood bunny. He used to live in the backyard. I’d visit him and coo frequently at him until he became accustomed to my presence. He’d do small flops when I saw him, small flops of happiness. The other bunnies run when they see humans, but he hopped up to me today, about three feet away. I almost flinched as he peered up at me, but then I relaxed. He skipped away to munch on more grass.

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June 3rd, 2019 | Day 6

I worked, worked out,  did laundry, went grocery shopping, and meal prepped for five meals.

Lately, I’ve been skirting past storms. We heard a crack of rolling thunder.

“What was that? Thunder?”

I said that maybe it was a dumpster truck. I later realized it’d rained heavily while I was indoors.


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June 5th | Day 7

I’m perpetually looking for a place to dump my photos. There were the many photo blogs on tumblr, then the many accounts on Flickr, then on DeviantArt, then on Instagram. I went back to Flickr–not 100% sure why, but I’ve been on there looking at group lens images. FB is too small; IG confuses me. Flickr is a new temporary space! A photo dump! So there’s that.

Went through my email and cleaned out my drive. It’s an email from almost ten years ago–I felt a bit of surprise and cringe as I scrolled through it all. Essays, presentations, photos, links…god, there was so much. It was all so much work. So much stuff to know. Speeches. Study guides. Massive psychology studies and data sets and papers. History details. In the end, I’m not sure how much I really retained or really had to understand….I wonder: are any of us any better for knowing too much?

Seeing old photos from 2014 made me feel strange. I used to email myself pictures to access them on my laptop; I didn’t realize what a treasure trove of memories they’d hold. I’d forged my close relationships with my best friend and boyfriend at that time, spending hours on the phone, on chat, just together. We’d become close at that time, during that patch of vulnerability. It’s been five years. Everybody else seems to be on the other side of a social Saran Wrap, where we see each other clearly, quietly knowing there’s just something there in between. And no matter how close we get, we’ll never be close.


 

June 5th, 2019 | Day 8

Right now, I’m jamming out to songs of the 1900’s and 2000’s, vaguely alarmed, but not entirely, that every song is familiar. I know the lyrics to them all without second thought, like muscle memory. Each song carries a tune I once crooned at some ripe age of whatever. As of now, I’m whisper-screaming to My Chemical Romance’s Teenagers, which I’d belt in the hallways with my wonderfully emo friends.

Singing to these songs makes me realize how happy and musical of a childhood I’d had. I’d spend hours listening to music, singing with friends, turning on the radio, curating online playlists. I remember the fury of being disconnected from the Internet at 10: how would I listen to music?! Ah–the addiction, the withdrawal. As I roam through this playlist, I see that each song’s burned to some memory, some fragment of youth.

Me and You. Summertime calls to friends, whose numbers I’d find in the school phonebook. We used to talk endlessly about our crushes, cracking jokes about hair and obsessions. Bye Bye Bye. We used to have small music chips to plug in small square music players–this was during the age of Walkmans. I was four, and carried it around with me everywhere, black plastic earbuds jammed into my ear. Bleeding Love. When love really did, I realized, cause a form of metaphysical bleeding.


June 6th, 2019 | Day 9

I’ve developed a slightly obsessive photo-fixation, where I’m going through hundreds of photos to upload onto Flickr. I’ve decided to dump several hundred of my most ‘photography’-esque images on Flickr. I might also add them onto here, but it’d have to be formatted differently.

Facetimed with my best friend last night, right as I turned on Wedding Dress. We chatted and cackled for about an hour or two, until I had to head home.

I’m looking forward to this weekend, a weekend of rest. I’m dying to get drinks during all-day happy hour this Sunday.


June 7th, 2019 | Day 10

It’s 11:43 PM. Today was a relatively long day, but relaxing. I spent most of the day splurging on relaxation–I read, painted, edited photos, and ordered a pizza at Pizza Hut, only to realize that I was driving to Domino’s and meant to order from them. So I ended up waiting twenty minutes for another medium order. Once it was ready, I devoured half the pizza, all four slices, in about fifteen minutes.

Later in the evening, we went to a late-night car shop. I felt a bit antsy. The car shop faced the coin laudromat. It took about two hours total. Near the end, I hopped out to wander around.


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June 8th, 2019 | Day 11

Well, today was certainly a long one. I don’t really feel like listing it all out, since there’d be so much. When I look back, it feels as though it spanned two days instead of one…I did bring my camera around today, so I grabbed some shots with that. I’ll post them later. The ones in black and white are oddly beautiful, the values, instead of color, conveying beauty.

This evening, I watched an episode of Black Mirror. Season 5 rolled out. Bandersnatch was okay–the format was much more interesting than the episode itself. The last one I watched, the one with Miley Cyrus, was interesting but disappointing. It didn’t explore anything particularly deeply and ended on a irreverent note. It was worse than a Season 1 episode, which were thought-provoking. The best episodes, which make Black Mirror Black Mirror, leave watchers with a tingle down their spine. These ones didn’t.

I remember watching Black Mirror with my roommates. We’d all crawled onto the couch under a big blanket, watching White Christmas and baking cookies. God, that was fun. And so long ago…3 years ago.


June 9th 2019 | Day 12

It’s Sunday. I enjoyed this past weekend. It was my first weekend off in months.

I’ve been eating out a lot lately. I ate Korean today, Mexican last night, Japanese yesterday, Domino’s the day before…no bueno. So I did a big meal prep today with garlic ginger chicken, chicken fried rice, and lasagna. I also have salad material available. Let’s see if I can go this week without eating out at all. While I enjoy the switch in taste palate, I just don’t like eating out that much. It’s expensive, and the food might taste good, but you never know if there’s bacteria or a hair. As an avid germaphobe, these are the thoughts running through my mind.

Earlier today, I met up with M and we got Korean. I wasn’t feeling the best initially, but the beef soup made me feel better. Afterwards, we went grocery shopping. I haven’t seen her in months…I don’t remember the last time I saw her, actually. It was a mellow hangout. The rain began to plunk down on us as we rushed out the store. The droplets were fat and angry and flew horizontally. On the drive to my car, we passed by multiple tree carcasses on the road.

Meal prep, car fixing, tire photoshoot, tea and phone scrolling. I still want to get drinks. Preferably a painkiller drink, with pineapple juice and rum.


June 11th, 2019 | Day 13

On the Stairmaster, I play Aggrestuko. It’s a Netflix cartoon featuring a cute cartoon cat who does accounting, hates her boss, and does rage screamo with her purse karaoke mic. She’s stuck in corporate fudge, unable to leave and unhappy with life.

It helps pass the time. At first, I’d pant and heave at 5 minutes of stair climbing. Now, I peer up and 20 minutes have passed. I’ve been working lightly on arms as well. My legs are already pretty strong–my core is so-so–my arms have always been weak. But when I started working on my upper body, I noticed myself becoming visibly muscly, so I stopped.

One of my new co-workers “trained” with me today. Sat in, basically. She’s a special education teacher. She would also offer lots of praise here and there. She seemed nice. I’m the youngest of all my co-workers.

I drove around this afternoon. I need an effective mosquito zapper before I venture out to clean any junk outside. The mosquitos are relentless. First, I have them zapped; then, I’ll clean out anything that can hold standing water. I’ll toss out everything that isn’t needed. And I’ll buy a new vacuum cleaner. Cleaning is satisfying to me. I didn’t realize how much of my mood was tied to my surroundings. I feel agitated when there’s clutter or trash, calm where there’s space.

Tomorrow is…Tuesday. I think I like these journal entries, but I’m not entirely sure. I notice myself forgetting the day, letting them pass. Maybe I’ll list out three good things about every day. But maybe not. My brain is tired.

Oh! So I made a new Flickr several days ago, and my photo made it onto their Explore page? Like, an editor decided to pick it and plunk it onto their public, curated feed? It was the most unexciting image of pavement, but I suppose it struck a chord with somebody. I’d also been featured on WordPress Explore once, having written a post about writing. I always said I’d never write about writing. And then I did, and it spiraled outwards.

I want buttery pasta.


June 12th, 2019 | Day 14th

The day crept along. Eating out several days ago resulted in food poisoning. In the end, it worked out with my scheduling…

Hard to believe that my master’s program starts so soon. Psychology was ranked the top science job! Allllright. I’m only nervous about transportation. School itself–I’ll be fine with that.

Le beau asked if I missed undergraduate school. Ah! the sparkling Ivy League dream school, which turned out to be briefer…and rainier. I ended up being there for a mere 3.5 years. In retrospect, I miss parts of it–the professors, classes, friends, and movement. I don’t miss parts of it–the city din (I then realized how sensitive I am to noise) and…the cold. Oh, and eating out most days. And being away from the people I love.

Speaking of which, why is love never factored into modern ideas of success? It’s the funniest thing. Young people have their pants all pulled up to yay (?) high, marching towards success. Fame. Money. Skinniness. And Instagram likes. But then we die, and those things mean very little. After all, how far past life can we bring our money and likes? Despite the importance of love–familial, platonic, romantic– in survival and existence, it’s given very little credit. The singers do it, movies do it. But do we collectively chase love the way we do fame?


June 13th, 2019 | Day 15

It’s beautiful outside. I sat by six bunnies grazing on grass. They were terrified at the sound of a specific bird. They darted into the bushes, lied with the eyes flat against their ears, hid under trees…

The squirrels, of course, didn’t give a damn. I was just happy to have been around so many bunnies today. Apparently they establish a pecking order, where one bunny is the dominant queen who demands grooming. If the owner doesn’t groom, the queen bunny rebels.

It’s lovely outside, and my heart swelled around those rabbits.

These posts are neither dreamy nor glittery. I feel neither dreamy nor glittery. This is life as life is, as life as life can be.


June 14th, 2019 | Day 16

I used toner today for the first time in years. People apparently rave about witch hazel, which I’d see in my mother’s medicine cabinet while I was growing up. At the last minute, I grabbed a small $4 bottle from the shelf. Let’s see if it really works skin magic…

On another note, last night, we ate out at Olive Garden. The soup was delicious; I filled myself up on breadsticks preemptively. I listened to her stories with glee. The night before, we were working, working, working until 8–then, we held our birthday celebration at a Chinese restaurant. Mm!

And today we circled around my future graduate school and wandered around campus. It was eye opening and rather helpful.


June 16th, 2019 | Day 18

Last night, I only remembered to write a journal entry as I was dozing off to sleep.

To all the dads out there: happy Father’s Day!

The cool muggy weather is refreshing, but I’m wary of rain weather.

Yesterday was unremarkable. I helped screw in some screws, and that was my contribution of the day. I tried an old limerita and it was okay, bordering on awful.

Today is Sunday, meal prep day. I made cold sesame noodles and Korean chicken for the week.

Work tomorrow. Looking forward to it–I mean that.


June 17th, 2019 | Day 19

Oh. How these summer days echo of summer 2015. There was a distinct emotion surrounding that summer: bleary days dragging on with the clarity of timelessness. And in the worst way, too…

It’s very faint. Still reminiscent, though. I don’t feel like divulging any deeper.

This afternoon was weirdly exhausting. I just felt tired. And then I was on the couch, plain tired, for an hour or two. Then I brightened up for dinner. I didn’t eat anything, just the coconut pandan, a creamy cold filipino dessert.

Curled up this evening under a blue plaid blanket. Then a soft grey one.

Quiet stillness. Ziip. Zip. Zap. Every few seconds. It’s the new Flowtron mosquito zapper I installed yesterday. I quickly took it down before the rain, then re-installed this morning in a slight rage. It flashed on, zapped suddenly in the sun. It’d been relatively quiet until I returned home at night.

Mosquito and moth carcasses line the lamp. To be honest, I feel a bit guilty–I didn’t mean to hurt the other insects…but the mosquitos can go.


June 18th, 2019 | Day 20

Today we sat under the flickering light as the sun set and chatted about things, life, family. He said don’t try and teach me Science! Or Chemistry! in the parking lot and I launched into a small lesson I once gave to a student.

“So if something’s, like, hot, are the molecules moving around it inside fast or slow?”

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Imagine a room filled with sweaty little men that are running around really fast. The room is like the container, and the men are like the molecules. So when the room, or container, is hot, the molecule men are running around fast.”

I also enjoy drawing comparisons between Stewie and geometric foci. The tiny lesson begins with, “do you know Family Guy? Stewie? The football head? Well, yeah. Stewie’s head is shaped like an ellipse. And the foci are where his eyes are because he focuses with them.”


June 19th, 2019 | Day 21

Sometimes people in politics forget that others are mired in religion. And those mired in religion mistakenly overreach slippery big hands into politics. All this silly hypocrisy to top it off.

Solipsism is safer, to be sure.

Summer has a tendency to melt the days. The mugginess was extraordinary today. The heat clung in the air, pink with potential of tornado kisses. What is this, a Steinbeck novel?


June 20th, 2019 | Day 22

“三十年河東,三十年河西”

For when the prejudiced pigeonhole of politics becomes mind numbing.


June 21st, 2019 | Day 23

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At today’s meetup–and I’m starting to love meetups–I met a handful of new people, including two Chinese people! They asked if I was from Taiwan, that my Chinese was good, and it honestly made my day. My Chinese is relatively flatter–my tongue doesn’t roll, and my tones don’t lilt as much. Apparently, this is how people from Taiwan speak. Looking back, I was surrounded by Taiwanese people when I was younger, so maybe that’s why… Regardless, it’s always immensely flattering whenever people say I speak well :,)

Aside from that, it was just so fun meeting and talking with people. We chatted about random things, from melee smash (super smash bros, competitive) to drawing styles to food and projects and god knows what. A few hours flew by. We had our sketchbooks out, but only a few of us were drawing. I mindlessly painted a few things here and there, but nothing much. We tried on the gender swap Snapchat filter, and my alter man ego was attractive. The table chuckled. “You’re a hot guy!” Beard, stubble and everything. Looked like a star. Alas, for I was born female.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten more used to talking to people I don’t know too well, largely because I do it for work (though it’s much easier to take on a teaching role, where it’s like presentation and interaction). I used to not be much of a group person either, since my group of friends had once been cliquey and catty. But I’m slowly shedding those views of groups being bad or rudely exclusive.


June 22nd, 2019 | Day 24

Well. The dragon hit the nail on the stewing head, but maybe a bit too hard. Was that it? I think so….

Tomorrow will be Sunday. It’s almost July. That’s time for you.

In the meantime, I’ll find ways to look forward, as opposed to inwards.


June 23rd, 2019 | Day 25

I left the mall with two sweaters, each for $4, from H&M. It isn’t fall, but sweaters are my favorite, and they were just so heavily discounted.

I know my boyfriend likes my clothes when he asks to have them or, better yet, tries to take them.

-glimpses over at me-

“I like that shirt.”

-looks again-

“I want it.”

A few days later…

“Guess which shirt I’m wearing?”

“Mine?”

“No. It’s mine now.”


June 24th, 2019 | Day 26

The air was cool today, cool enough for biking, walking, and wandering down the artsy district during rush hour. We munched through grilled cheese sandwiches, sipped past fruity guava-watermelon cocktails, savored buttermilk pie and ice cream, then stumbled upon an open live music bar, where three guys improvised old school jazz. Piano, drums, bass. I felt simultaneously young and old and nothing in between. It was as if we’d stepped foot into some image of the 20’s, and I was a grandmother reminiscing the simplicity of youth. Sometimes I feel nostalgia for things I’ve never experienced.

Earlier today, a boy walked up to me. Are you so and so? he asked. Yes, I said, laughed and narrowed my eyes. How’d you know? Oh, we were in a club together five years ago. Ah, right, I chuckled. Do you remember my name? I laughed–I’m sorry, I don’t. I’m so and so, he said. Then yes, I do remember you! You look a bit different now. Your hair, maybe? I said. Ah. He showed me his ID. Yes, your hair is different, I decided. How is your art? He asked. My art? Oh, haha, how did you know? I follow you on Instagram. I like your posts!

Such is the age of social media. He was a friendly fella. I do remember him, but vaguely–he’d been much quieter back then. I was very chatty. He seemed to keep more to himself. I volunteered in an effort to meet people and make friends, and I volunteered my way into small organization recognition. When I look back at school or activities, like art and volunteering, I realize that so much of it was motivated by my seeing friends. Teachers were like prison wardens, and we just kept each other sane.

After dinner, boyfriend said, “I want pie.” I said, “no, no pie.” He said, “but I want pie.” I said, “frame it like this: oh, I planned out a nice dessert for us, and I’m keeping it a special secret. It’s a really great restaurant, and I can’t wait to take you.’ That way, you get your pie, and it sounds like a fun date.”

So he played along, and so did I. The place was packed with pie-lovers. The pie we ate on the patio was mouth-crumblingly delicious. Melt-in-your-mouth-delicious. Have you ever had buttermilk hazelnut chocolate pie with two big scoops of vanilla bean ice cream? No? Well, it’s heavenly.


June 25th, 2019 | Day 27

Work. Wandering. A warm and sunny day.

Later in the evening, I went to the gym. 45 minutes of cardio.

I’ve been working on digitizing my sketchbook, photographing artworks from my many sketchbooks.

I’ll probably feature them here in some way. Maybe I’ll roll them out randomly, individually–maybe I’ll give them space as their own sketchbooks.

I’m surprised to have kept up this 30 days of journaling for the past 26 days.


June 26th, 2019 | Day 28

Ginger tea is my favorite tea. It’s versatile, delicious, and apparently good for digestion. I’ll make a cup tomorrow morning. And the morning after. And the morning after that.

I don’t really know what else to blog about. What would I write about in my journal? Probably something inane and silly and meaningless.

I’m still waiting for this phase to pass. It always does. It’s seasonal. It’s the heat–I know it’s the heat. And the sense of time: it’s because the sun takes forever to set. That’s why I feel this way.


June 27th, 2019 | Day 29

It’s nearly midnight–11:55. My eyes are heavy. I vacillated between feeling foul and content today. I’d be in a foul mood for a while, then contentedly lose myself in something in my mind, then revert back to the foulness. Foul, like a weird aftertaste, but a mood.

I wrote a whole long stream of consciousness in my diary, then felt better. Also, I love air conditioning. I love feeling absurdly cold indoors on a hot summer day.


June 29th, 2019 | Day 31

Today, we went to get dinner at a Venezuelan restaurant and watched Annabelle Comes Home. I’ve been watching The Conjuring 2 on my own, and although Annabelle Comes Home pales a bit in comparison, it had enough jump scares to keep me entertained. A classic haunted house, ripe with more jumps than plot. I didn’t mind.

Admittedly, what keeps me up at night isn’t the grotesque image of gore, but rather a deep sense of psychological unease. Basically Hereditary, that god awful horror movie so damn good I’d never watch it again. In the past few years, I’ve clutched onto any decent horrors I possibly can, possibly to the point of numbness.

  • The second Annabelle was good, the one with the farm girls and bloody doll;
  • The Conjuring was alright, but not particularly memorable–the man’s broken hand was the scariest part;
  • It was mostly funny, filled with kids and a clown with a throat infection;
  • Silence of the Lambs was just smart and delightful and god, “Hello, Clarice” sticks with me;
  • Hereditary haunts me to this day–the most terrifying scene was never even shown;
  • Babadook wasn’t scary, just slow and sad and filled with grief;
  • Quiet Place was triumphant and emotional, and the aliens were pure fascination (also pulled straight out of…what’s that one show? With the kids and aliens? Netflix?);
  • Get Out was relevant social commentary–and funny! That’s Peele;
  • Us was bad and really beat the story out of itself–tried too hard there, Peele;
  • The Shining was good and mental, really damn mental (the little girls in pigtails and Redrum weren’t as scary as I thought they’d be);
  • Haunting of Hill House, which I’ll count, was sad and scary and beautiful;
  • Kingdom, filled with well-dressed Korean zombies, was the best damn zombie series I’ve seen in years.

Dread, above all, is what gets me going. I love smart and terrifying shit, buried nuggets of cleverness. Little quotes you might miss, details you’d overlook, shadowy images planted meticulously! When dread overflows, I beg for horrifying imagery to relieve the dread.

It’s the strangest thing, the indescribable rush and pull towards calculated fear. It’s gotten to the point where I’m wary of becoming desensitized to horror. After riding at least twenty roller coasters, the next ten weren’t as scary. But that’s just physical–a good story and building dread can linger for long enough.

Summer Putty

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Lately, time’s been this weird amorphous blob. Putty melting and shifting. Sidewalk glob. The sun doesn’t set until eight each night. I’m tricked into thinking I have more time than I do. Then, before I know it, it’s dark and eleven.

So I’ve been toying with the putty of time, driving down winding roads with the windows down and radio up. I love when time takes on this kind of quality. She’s whizzing by, but in this languid mellow way, telling you not to worry about days passing by…

June 2018

Art Display

My art exhibit is up! And it’s the first public display I’ve ever done.

I remember my first “collection” display. It was a school one. We spent saturday and sunday mornings framing our pieces. At the show, on some school night, students and parents filed in, casual dress. I remember how I had staggered my pieces and how I ended up dissatisfied but how it was too late to change it. My works were okay, but the display didn’t look as good as I had hoped. I think a few people commented, but mostly people oohed and aahed at students on the other side of the room.

I didn’t really like the old ‘contemporary’ stuff I used to do. There were lots of bloody noses and whited out eyes, strange doodles and abstractions. I’d float around in photographic pieces. I embraced mental illnesses in my personal project. I loved psychology so much that I was blind to the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I’d look up various ailments, then attempt to embody them. That was in my larger work, the paintings and photographs.

I think the experimental part of my sketchbooks, angry and loud and messy, was still better than my more recent doodles. My art has gone downhill in the past few years. It’s mostly because I haven’t practiced art as much. Even so, I think I’ve been able to find steady footing in a more traditional, fine art style. I didn’t do landscape paintings much when I was younger; now I do. My portraits weren’t very hyperrealistic then; now, more are.

These works are more mainstream, probably frowned upon by contemporary art purveyors. But I’ll say it now and I’ll say it loud: contemporary art sucks. Yes, artist, you can paint large purple squares. We all can. This child can. This child is! But your artist’s name alone commands millions, so let’s just waste space, literal gallery space, on big yellow triangles. If you can’t tell, I am disgruntled at our current culture’s embracing of bad art. I don’t know how there is such a large disconnect between common-sensical taste and the scribble-loving highbrow gatekeepers of art culture.

I just saw the netflix film velvet buzzsaw. It got bad reviews from critics, probably because it was a huge satire on the critic industry. The laughed-at tropes were spot on. Spoiler alert! I mean, from the tormented emotional mentally unstable artist to the critic’s overly-big-words to the trash-as-art scene, it was too apt. A comedy and horror all rolled into one. Less fear and more suppressed giggles.

But ah, yes, back to the art. The real art, the real exhibit. This morning. A handful of people chatted with me about the art, their own lives and experiences. Do you teach? No. Are you selling? Er, yes. Is this your job? No. And then a woman and I sat down and talked about art and writing, and she showed me her photos.

I kind of miss having conversations with strangers in regards to random art-related things. I miss it a lot, actually. I’ve struck up so many conversations with strangers while holding a sketchbook or camera alone. It’s interesting how those tools of expression will spark up a comment, a friendly smile, a fullblown conversation. I’ve made friends by simply bringing sketchbooks to coffeeshops. There’s so much to learn from other people. I mean, it’s odd, but maybe not, that we don’t normally go around talking to random strangers. I enjoy it–maybe I will start to draw more in real life. Maybe I will meet people, and maybe I will not.

In the past 10 hours, somebody has left a voicemail. Another has left a comment on my wordpress saying the blog ads looked unprofessional. Well, sir, I’m a mere hobbyist who made the site two weeks before the display. My site isn’t really to sell–it’s just an online display. Ah, ads aside–it just makes me happy that my art is no longer sputtering dust in the closet (!!!)

2018

Yesterday I sat quietly, contemplating the year, hard, when boyfriend asked what was wrong. Oh, nothing, just thinking of what I’d done in 2018…

The whole thing flew by, a quick blur of monthly chunks. Early winter was a time of its own; I remember posts I’d written then, sleepovers I’d had and conversations I’d written. The wildly crowded club, the quiet best friend’s home, the football win and celebratory wings. I took lots of pictures and drew a lot for the newspaper, holed up in my warm room.

And then I graduated from my dream school! I’d dreamt of going there since I was 14, this summery bright Ivy League, though I’d visited on a rare bright spring day when everyone had their couches out. Turns out it was much colder there. Despite the weather, graduating in the cold and rain was still a bit of a dreamless dream.

Spring brings summer brings warmth brings life. Fiddling flowers on the walk to starbucks. Switching into pink tank tops and white flip flops. In lecture I felt my heart swell. I had an life epiphany of what I’d like to do for the rest of it–my life, I mean. And the whole turning around to face my deepest passion, psychology, that whole spiel. And now it’s a small engine propelling me forwards.

In 2018 spent a good amount of time with people I love–friends and family. We stayed up talking, on the verge of tears, hearts bursting. Back home, welcome home, like things had never changed. Shared meals, watched shows, skipped through the rain. Roadtrips, Netflix cuddles, six flags rides, sing song bonding. I look back, and am grateful for these relationships.

Blazing mid summer, spinning fall. I taught, which I’ve always loved to do, and watched some students wildly succeed. It makes me happy to be around good people, and to help people do well, and to have all-around healthy relationships. I also did a bit of relationship pruning here and there, but nothing dramatic. I remember learning in psychology that older people are often happier, particularly within their social circles. With age, they learn to simply avoid people who cause them grief.

Weirdly warm winter. Despite my aversion to traveling, I skipped to six cities. California was the most recent, but alas, I am still too lazy to write about it. And today is the New Year, but the day itself was special to me. Last night I partook in their steak dinner tradition and clinked cups at midnight, eyes weary. Today, we went to see beautiful lights and decor and a freezing ice sculpture show. At home, we wrapped dumplings to r&b and sicko mode, my very-abc way of welcoming 2019.

So 2018 was a year of academic finishes, life epiphanies, moments spent with people I love. It was a year I began pursue my deepest passion, a year to do things I’ve always enjoyed (teach!). I look forward to 2019, and hope it has good things in store.

right now | journal

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  • 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.