In Retrospect

 

Reading journal entries from last year, and my, oh my, how things have changed. Thirteen months ago, I lamented joblessness, the friendzone, ghosts of friends past, nihilism and more. Topics of this blog would crop up regularly–what I was doing, what was up with the name, was it even worth posting on? I’d feel bouts of intense doubt over having started yet another blog (I forget that my photo blog was still up at the time)

15: WHEN LIFE is grey and routine you find a way through the parking lots. skip skip skip- to imagination land
18: when everything crowds out your senses/makes you stumble and cry, you miss the parking lots. skip skip skip: this time to nowhere.

Needless to say, things have changed. This summer, I’m working at a place I like with co-workers I like while doing tasks I like (as a writer!) My relationships haven’t changed drastically, save for some here or there (understatement). Nihilism is no longer something that hangs over my head like a blinding white cloud on a maddeningly slow summer day. And this blog has somehow transformed itself into a pulsating creative outlet on a bustling writing community that I’m happy to have joined.

I also feel differently this year than I did last year–less angsty, less nihilistic, less rambly and sleepy and sad. You know the kind of tiredness that washes over you when you’ve been on the road for too long and the sun’s beating down on your neck? when time hovers wiggly in the air, making heat waves of exhaustion? That was last summer.

This summer feels more like morning coffees, co-worker chit-chat, snuggles post errand-running, city explorations. It feels like every summer redoing itself to get things right, just right, this time. It’s summer 2015 balancing out work-and-life, summer 2014 knotting relationships together, summer 2016 erasing its own sense of meaninglessness. 

Night Out

The streets were bright and packed, a hive of buzzed affluent energy. Sidewalks were filled with girls tottering around in heels and guys in button-downs. Like college, essentially, except older and larger and less fratty (but maybe not).

Went out last weekend for the first time in a while. Despite the wait and warmth and fuzzy bar-hopping, the vibes were good. We laughed and danced and sang at the top of our lungs, drinks in hand (when they weren’t up in the air). The DJ played Humble by Kendrick Lamar; Mr. Brightside by The Killers, a party favorite; obscure rap songs with beats I tried to find while swaying in the sea of dancing bodies.

Comin’ out of my cage, and I’ve been doin’ just fine

Gotta gotta be down because I want it all

– Mr. Brightside, The Killers

The party ended somewhat abruptly around 2. Birthday girl best friend had partied her way ad nauseam–literally. By then, we’d all found our groove and realized, perhaps simultaneously, that hey, this is fun, we should do this again and with each other. As Mars wrote in her caption:

Things got wild. Things got cute. Let’s do it again.

Wandering the City

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After making a bucket list of things to do in the city, I finally went out and crossed a few off the list.

We meandered around the design district, searching for the museum of contemporary art. After circling around a few times, we realized it’d been in front of us the entire time. The space wasn’t what I’d anticipated; it was open, garage-like, with three moving art exhibits. I’m not usually the biggest fan of contemporary art–sometimes it strikes me as something devoid of skill–but these pieces weren’t like that. They were meaningful and thoughtful. The artists were talented. We drifted from one exhibit to the next, oohing and aahing at the pieces, from massive rug-like designs made of plastic fingers to portraits painted on metal.

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Afterwards, we headed over to a grilled cheese restaurant, where we ate bruschetta, downed two beers, and ordered a savory bacon-and-grilled-cheese sandwich. The sandwiches were, as I always say, nom-tastic.

I like to imagine that this particular neighborhood is where the hipsters come to roost. Vintage shops litter the streets. Walls are decked out in murals. Quirky sculptures greet visitors in repurposed homes. It’s eclectic, artsy, old but welcoming. We peered into a few shops here and there, visited a coffeeshop-meets-bookstore-meets-bar. Then we dived into a pie shop for apple streusel and ice cream. (Our pie slice was massive).

art mural

Once we devoured the pie, we wandered around and found a wooden swing by some murals. They were occupied by three girls who posed and puckered for pictures for what felt like forever. In the meantime, we looked at murals. My favorite featured a mandrill meditating-floating above a pink sprinkled donut. I pretended to meditate atop a greyish block in front of the mandrill. After what felt like forever, the girls posing on the swing finally paused to move and look at their photos. I leaped onto the swings. We swung together.

It was hot. It was humid. But after leaving the arts district, we drove to visit the bridge, a city landmark, and walked across. I’d never driven on it, only seen it from afar, but today we got up close and personal. We walked on the hill, towards the bridge, onto the walkway, where we could see downtown.

“That’s where we spent the majority of our relationship.” He pointed out to a cluster of buildings.


As we drove home, the sun set. We talked about ridiculous things, as per usual. And for a moment it felt a little like the summers during which we’d always drive downtown.

Summer & Life Updates

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The past few weeks have been a blur of Venezuelan, Thai and Japanese cuisine; mango peach boba smoothies; running errands. Drove around the city, past the haunted hotel and chic urban neighborhood, around uptown (funk you up) and back downtown. Sauntered through malls, munched on teriyaka, people-watched, raced through arcardes. Talked about heavy topics in a pseudo Target living room for two hours. I named my boyfriend’s GoPro Susan as we drove around and pretended to narrate to an imaginary Youtube audience.

Last night he drove back to drop off my sweater and I gave him a huge piece of watermelon in thanks. Then we sat outside as he munched on watermelon and talked about ridiculous things and how you can see the stars with night vision goggles–the Big Dipper and Little Dipper (“I know my dips–“). It’s nice to sit under the stars and just talk.

Work’s been fun as well. I’ve been feeling chatty and I’ve always really liked the people. We went out for lunch two Friday’s ago. And two days ago I organized a little Boomerang video shoot for the office. My co-worker and I found props for the others to don, and then we all danced to the first day of summer.

In general, life’s been pretty gouda. Hope everyone’s been doing okay! Been catching up on my favorite blogs.

Pause, Rewind

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“I wish I could pause time and moments like this without having to think about what’s next.”

Pause. The sun set. We were quiet. It felt like the moment when my friends and I were in Central Park, New York. We’d found a pond with ducks and turtles facing a castle in in the distance. So we sat on the rocks, quiet and contemplative, swimming in our own thoughts.

A blanket of peace descended upon us; I asked them what they were thinking. My friend said moments like this were rare. And maybe we wanted to achieve material success in life so we could buy intangible moments like this. Maybe we strived to make money, lots of it, so maybe we could buy peace, calm and happiness.

But wait–no–that didn’t sound right.

Behind The Lens

My ears are ringing. A girl’s crying in the bathroom. A boy in my class dances fluid-languid by another boy in my class who’s across a girl in my class who is tall and wears crop tops. I scan the disco-ball lit dance floor for what’s ‘in’: short tight mini-skirts that hike up your belly paired with black x-ed tops that your dyed hair can flow over. I wish my hair were long again so I could hide behind it.

Behind the lens and under disco lights, being a photographer lets me observe. Observe, record, document. It’s how I both connect and disconnect, like being a third party in my own reality. It can be interesting, toeing this social middle-ground. Here, I’m simultaneously a participant and an observer. I am a passive agent, an active recorder. An authority, a prop: the photographer.

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SOFT and blurred and strange like urban carbon decay. i remember

  • that year I skipped the haunted house to instead count lonely days
  • and periods of my life measured by eyeliner type (from chalky to waxy to dark and smudgy)
  • on bad nights I’d tally them up on a sticky note by the light switch that stood by a doodle of a pink cat with an arched back with a perplexed face that asked: why so sad?
  • that my project looked happier than i felt and photos belied my true sentiments and only what i wrote was honest
  • and the things i painted were honest, too, like the black poster-size painting of what loneliness felt like even though I was surrounded by scathing, laughing, faces, faceless faces I’d forget as soon as I turned away
  • it felt like it’d be forever before I ever returned, that the walls were white and it’d be the last night (but not for long)
  • I wished to move forward. I wished to leave. I asked: am I unhappy in the present because I live in the future, or do I live in the future because I am unhappy in the present?
  • both. the present was shitty in the most pleasant way possible, and looking forward was escapism.

in retrospect, i had something (many things) to look forward to, and it’s here and it’s now. god, i know it’s cliche, but if only i could pause life right now, keep things just as they are….life, stay still. you are good, better than good, fingers-crossed things won’t change.