Life Updates

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My boyfriend pointed out earlier today that I haven’t written much on my blog (“Well, sort of. I posted my art recently.” “No, I meant a journal entry.”) and for a moment I felt emotionally sweaty. Hm, well, why haven’t I? Because the thing is, I have been avidly writing, from midnight rants about psychology studies to utterly mundane journal entries– I just haven’t been publishing them. Think I’ve just been feeling self-conscious lately. So I’ve either distanced myself from the things I’ve written or felt nauseated about them, taken a step back from blogging to do other things instead, life things. But I might go ahead and publish some things I’ve written. Or maybe not.

Anyhow, I am… alive and kicking.

The past three weeks have been interesting. Well, maybe interesting’s too strong a word. Interesting connotes deviation, and I wouldn’t say they’ve been different or strange. They’ve been… pleasant. I spent the entire pre-Thanksgiving weekend at my best friend’s house, where I recorded her in slo-mo bellowing (she’s a really talented singer) to Christmas hits by Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. I painted portraits; we cooked carbonara; the whole family went Thanksgiving dinner shopping. After this brief respite, I took yet another one, of Thanksgiving break, which felt like one big intake of fresh air. I hope you had a restful break! chirp emails. Well, I did have a restful break. Filled with family, food and sleep.

The week and a half since has been both mellow and fun. Lights are up, both in the city and in New York, so I’ve been visiting parks and spaces now glittery lit-up. Twinkling trees, glowing branches and whatnot. Over the weekend I went to New York City, which ended up being one wild adventure stuffed with dessert-y foods and rich pasta and spiked Korean watermelon and, of course, window displays and Christmas lights. Oh, and a missed bus and speed-walks down 50-60 blocks (this time through Times Sq. and Rockefeller Center and Saks 5th Avenue!) to catch the next bus. I’ve just finished going through the 300+ photos I took on the trip, and I’ll elaborate on it soon once I have more time. I’m also trying to use my camera more, too; I’ll start upchucking them onto here.

Time flies is one of those cliches you secretly hope will apply to you. And, well, it did for me. That we have one more week of classes left is appalling, that we’re nearly done is baffling, that it’s 20 days ’til Christmas is absurd, and insert-whatever-other-synonym-you’d-like. I haven’t honestly wrapped my mind around it, and I probably won’t until I have to, until I have to come with the wing-flapping nature of time. It feels like yesterday was September, the day before was August, and the day before that was February. The less you pay attention to time, the quicker it goes; I’ll try my best not to count down the next 15. And blog more while I’m at it.

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Date Night

Anniversary. We’d gone out to a comedy show, watched two groups improv-battle it out over dinner and drinks. I remember the guac–partitioned from the salsa, of course– cheesy enchiladas, peering at his eyes, room erupting with peals of laughter, looking towards the stage to see funny girl #2 in pink toppling backwards. I felt buttery, warm, happy. The show was pretty good–the first group was a little awkward; the second group, phenomenal. Things might be funnier when you’re tipsy, but the second group was funny. A duo of pros oozing comic chemistry on-stage. Hilariousness in their own right.

Don’t Take Shit Personally

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I think it’s absurd the extent to which people can make things that are not about themselves about themselves. And then when they funnel themselves into the victim mentality of taking things extra personally because how could it not be personal? Somebody didn’t say hi–not because they didn’t see you, but because they have a secret vendetta against you. Somebody didn’t not text back–not because they’re busy, but because they hate you and everything you represent. Anything somebody else does isn’t because they made a choice of their own volition, but revolves around you, and how they feel about you, because it’s entirely about you.

Then there’s the defensive myopia characterized by the self-victimized self-absorbed. The last thing you want to tell said victim (of taking things personally) is that not everything’s about them. It’s too meta. Uncomfortably accusatory. Even if you put it gently–hey, hey, this was never about you, but somehow you’ve pretzaled it into being all about you, but it isn’t! It just comes across as brash. You don’t understand me! is a likely response. I know it’s not about me; I never said it was! But it is. Because xyz–is yet another defense.

Even though it’s pretty damn hard to follow, there is a nugget of advice I like to follow: don’t take shit personally. Even when it is, somehow, about you, because this girl actually does hate your guts, it most often never is. People live in their own words,  their own mental constructions housed on foundations of belief, justified or not. They understand their own truths and motivations, are mired in their own flaws and idiosyncrasies. We’re all stars of our own shows. And the shit that I do, or you do, or your cousin does, is reflective of our own personal realities, not you. It is not about you. It’d never been about you.

But somehow, as the egocentric-leaning humans we are, it always ends up being about ourselves, because everyone somehow gives that much of a shit about us. News flash: they don’t. This might be disheartening to realize. This might be liberating to realize. And, for what-I’d-assume-is-the-vast-majority-of-people, this might just be too far-fetched to realize. That’s fine; you’re allowed to take everything as personally as you’d like. But then–and I don’t mean to sound like some lecturing glasses-adorned finger-wagging owl–who suffers in the end? You do.

Life, at least around other humans, gets a lot easier when you stop taking shit personally.

Six Flags

….was insane. In the past four years, I’ve gone to Six Flags thrice. Of all the times I’ve gone, this time was the absolute best, hands down.

As my friend once said, “the faster, the bigger, the scarier, the better”. We rode the 2nd scariest ride three times, the scariest ride twice, a moderately scary ride three times, and basically any other extreme thrill ride that didn’t just spin around. To make things infinitely better, there were no lines. So on each ride, we either rode at the very front–for the view, the incline, the steep regret as we swooped over metal criss-crossed beams-or the back, for the whip (It’s a physics thing: roller coasters feel fastest in the back, mildest in the middle).

My favorite moment was probably when, at the top of a vertical ride, we paused, stopped screeching, looked to the 90 degrees below–right at that moment, the full-bearded man behind us look threw his hands up and bellowed, “take me down, Jesus!”

And down we went.

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The eight and a half hours flew by. Drenched in sweat (and fun!), we rode each thrill ride on my list with time to spare. This time around, unlike the past five times I’ve been at amusement parks, I memorized the map, marked out must-go rides, then made a mental path, so we wouldn’t waste time wandering back and forth. On the walk to rides, we stopped for Giant turkey legs and funnel cake, Six Flags cllllassics.

Ironically, I probably felt the most terror on the seemingly delicate swing ride. Much to my dismay, I had confused it for the miniature version. Instead of being calming, it turned out to be terrifying, hurling us up 400 feet in the air. Toes dangling hundreds of feet in the air, above lakes, coasters, Lego-like cars and buildings, with nothing but chains to connect us to the structure, we bellowed for dear life: “oh god, you said this was supposed to be calming!” Plot twist: it wasn’t.

After the swing ride, we got onto yet another ostensibly calm ride. This time, we faced a terrified five year old gripping onto her youngish dad, with whom we shared regular “oh!’s throughout the ride.

Turn. “Oh–” Shift. “Oh!” Dip, swivel, glide. “Oh?” Another dip. “Oh, haha!” It was delightfully awkward.

To end the night, we trekked across to the other side of the park to where we began: at the scariest ride. I think, though, that after time, you get used to the stomach-drops, steep dips (when I dip, you dip, we dip), barrels of regret and fear coursing through your veins. At any rate, we left the park at closing time feeling exhausted and exhilarated.

A Weekend Celebration

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The past weekend was wonderful–GH, AC’s best friend from home, flew up for her birthday. Upon hearing that she was coming to town, I cleared my calendar and spent whatever time I could hanging out with them. Mostly we ate and talked and relaxed–enjoyed the weather, went downtown and ate at a Mexican restaurant for AC’s birthday dinner. The weekend passed by so quickly it felt like she’d just arrived by the time she left.

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On the first afternoon, after we talked at squirrels, I looked through GH’s sketchbook. Forgot to take pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say she has mad skills. I feel like I learned more from GH over the past two days, in terms of art, than I have in months. Later, on Friday night, the three of us were sleepy and full and watched Black Mirror and drank wine.

On Saturday, we made cookies; they danced to music in the living room while the cookies baked. By the time they were done dancing and talking and I skimming some texts, it was already 5. Dinner reservations were at 6. We headed into the city to show GH the park and the bookstore. I rec’d Quiet by Susan Cain; GH bought that along with some Harry Potter-themed items and another book.

IMG_9351.jpgWe grabbed some more wine and went to dinner, which was really fun. Mostly we were just super wild and boisterous in a tiny Mexican restaurant for, oh, four hours.

It was incredibly fun–here’s to good food and better company. So yay to life. Lifts wine glass: here’s to AC, happy birthday.

Oxymoron

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Things I might be certain of:

We’re swimming in norms no one person decided. Maybe the sky is blue. This may or may not be a dream. I like writing incoherent text posts at one in the morning. I deeply suspect that a part of me secretly enjoys–thrives on–the stress of procrastinating and the last-minute headaches of: oh God, oh God, I have an essay due tomorrow and I’ve no idea what the prompt is; I didn’t pay attention any of the times my professor touched upon the paper so now I have to ask around for the prompt and I really should have done this sooner.

Oh. I did fine on the last paper, the one I wrote the afternoon before. The fictionalized one. I don’t write fiction, I haven’t written fiction, not since it got squashed out of me in HS. But when I was eight I liked writing fiction, fiction about girls with blonde and blue hair (all those Mary Kate and Ashley books getting to my head) I never wrote about aliens or dystopias but I guess I’ve been thinking about that a lot (all this data mining getting to my head) so I wrote a paper about it. My TA said he’d have liked me to elaborate more on the story, which I don’t think was even included… Was there a story? Mostly it was like an excruciatingly drawn-out description. I did this my first semester, too. I came up with some drawn-out fictionalized character reading from a book I hadn’t read and then–then what? I did fine.

This is a cycle. I procrastinate, do fine, grow lax in my ability to churn out last-minute papers, then get headaches the day before. I think it’s part laziness, part perfectionism, part I-just-want-to-do-it-because-I-can. I mean, I don’t know.

I keep wishing it’s Christmas. Yesterday I went downtown. Twice, actually. First to wander around the city, second to celebrate my roommate’s birthday. On the car drive back we passed by bars and clubs and concert-cafes and it was so odd catching glimpses into people’s lives–like the city equivalent of peering into brightly-lit homes in suburbia. To see some of the things/hear some of the sounds/feel some of the vibes these other people are experiencing, it’s like witnessing something that isn’t yours to witness or feeling nostalgic for lives you have not lived. God, it’s so unnerving, so mundane at the same time. I can’t explain it. Something to do with seeing. Living, if just for a moment, vicariously through so many people you might never see again. Maybe it’s like the concept of scopophilia we learned about in my queer politics class, just the sheer pleasure of looking, of seeing. Maybe.

Also, ah. Like the happy drunk who cries oh I love you, you know that, right? Totally. I feel exhausted-quiet-grateful for the people who’ve been in my life for years. Raises glass. No, but really. I think sometimes I have the tendency to drift like driftwood, tumble like tumbleweed, forget incessantly to respond and get back to people. (By sometimes I mean always) People come and go. So do roses, foxes, and Little Princes. But in the past few years, a handful haven’t left. And so Oct 17th 2016 1:14 AM I’m going to be grateful for that. Yes, yes, this is my puddle of gratitude.

Day 16: Small Things

Like Jesus’s face on the painting in the kitchen, like the bird’s beak as he climb up the wires. Like the piece that falls in the stove splintered open and my face is chalky caked with make up and even though my camera’s hanging from my neck I haven’t touched her in eons. Continue reading