Self-Compassion, Not Love

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In the end, I think it’s less about self-love than it is about self-compassion. “Love”‘s tricky. Sometime we confuse love for admiration, infatuation for love, acceptance for love, love for friendship, love for a whole host of things.

But self-compassion is being kind, or compassionate, to yourself when you’ve messed up or you’re suffering. It’s not about how you think you’re the shit all the time, which ‘self-love’ might imply. I think of it from a third party perspective. This third party’s a compassionate figure, like–like Buddha or Jesus or, if that’s not your cup of tea, your kind forgiving grandmother.

When you make a mistake, these figures don’t shit on you for it. They don’t say that you’re stupid so that’s why you failed the test or you’re actually fundamentally terrible so that’s why things ended. They say things like oh, it’s okay, it was just this one test, or you’re still altogether a lovable person despite what you’re going through. Except, instead of a separate third party telling you this, it’s you telling yourself this.

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Books

People are disappointing. People are fallible. People are real and complex and strange. We stumble in all the ways The Four Agreements says that we do.

I read the book years ago and tried recommending it to those who needed it most. To those who took things personally endlessly, who spread vitriolic poison for the sake of it, who wallowed in their own disappointments. They thought the book was too preach-y. I think it was was too on-the-nose.

Time and time again, I find that there are two sources of comfort: books and animals. Books, because they are worlds, and because they are predictable, even when they are not. And animals, because animals have fewer pretenses than people. But mostly books.

So I have stocked up on books because they bring a quiet, but palpable, happiness, and are not fallible in the mind-numbing way that we, and others, are.

To Love and To Be Loved

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I’ve slipped back into life as it’s been: seeing friends, talking to my boyfriend, spending time con la familia. I hear about relationships fragmenting and forming. It’s strange how relationships, by default, are in flux. I imagine that friends in the mid-to-outer circle are changing–not so much for closer relationships. But I guess that’s an illusion.

Life is too short to not spend it with the people you love, I murmured. Did you just read an Instagram caption? my boyfriend asked. I huffed. I said that it was a midnight musing–not an Instagram caption. But it’s true. To me, at least. From reading children’s books to books about death and illness and meaning and regret, I gather that this abstraction–love!–that poets wax on about and singers warble on about and writers scribble on about is what matters most. It isn’t money or material items or career or achievements or resumé markers or positions or charm. It’s the simple, deceptively simple! equation of existence: to love and to be loved.

May 2018 | Daily Art

 

may 1st

The road not taken, Robert Frost.

5.1.18| Daily Art


may 2nd

 

Violet wash.

5.2.18| Daily Art


may 5th

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

5.3.18| Daily Art


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Doodling designs for you, coolpeppermint: blog, creative outlet, little corner of the Internet.

5.4.18| Daily Art


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Playing with colors, art therapy.

5.5.18 & 5.6.18| Daily Art


Something In The Water

Marble art can be a messy ordeal. Stains, stains, stains. On the windowpane, glass, wood tables. The difficulty of controlling where and how the ink flows. The result, however, is usually worth it–beautiful, organic swirls! 🙂

Here’s a set of marble art pieces I made last week for my Daily Art posts.

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5.7.18 | Daily Art

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5.8.18 & 5.9.18| Daily Art

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5.10.18| Daily Art

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5.11.18| Daily Art

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5.12.18| Daily Art

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5.13.18| Daily Art


Hiatus


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Lately I’ve been missing China, with all its scenery and street views and smoggy skies. I went to Shanghai two years ago and visited a massive temple garden. It’d been raining that day, and a headache had thundered on the whole day, but the sights were beautiful.

Also…I’m back to the daily daily art entries and an eventual mass grouping of pieces (as I did with my January, FebruaryMarch and April entries) The past week, I slipped a bit–mostly due to graduation and whatnot. In the hopes of staying afloat for my project, I’ve decided to revert back to daily posts.

5.21.18 & 5.22.18| Daily Art


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Dandelions! So whimsical. I never understood why dandelions were categorized as weeds; I’d always found them as beautiful as, if not more so than, flowers.

5.23.18 | Daily Art


 

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Through space they’ll carry your letters, your musings strapped to their backs and their wings.

Musings: I shredded a stack of photos from 2010, one of the happiest years of my life–I hadn’t known it then. I flipped the images over so I wouldn’t see the images I was shredding. I already had duplicates, I reasoned, and these were just repeat photos of the ones I was keeping. Better to not see them, though, because while I try very hard not to be sentimental, I still am.

Looking ahead gives my heart a little start.

Things I’ve been deeply nostalgic about lately:

– The time we went to Six Flags. We rode every roller coaster thrice. I’d never gone on the rickety wooden ride because it’d always seemed dangerous and then it was but after one ride we got on again–thrice. And we did this for all the other roller coasters as well.

Then there were the calming loop-de-loops, where the city watched us topple over backwards, and the dark mountain ride hurled us from one side to another. “Jesus, take me down!” said the bearded ginger man on camera as we reached the peak of the ride. Hands in the air–reflected glint of a beard–and down we went.

– Our road trip. The exhilaration of sneaking into a riverfront restaurant crammed with the color of sunset. The way the city sloped down ahead of us as we climbed up up up the mountain, legs sore.Canoeing through the river. Dips through winding roads and sloping hills, through village towns and murmuring cemeteries.

– Exploring the city on a whim. Slow walks into pie shops and cafe-bars and grilled cheese restaurants. Walks by the MH bridge littered with flowers and families. Please skate on the flower beds, read a sign.

5.24.18 | Daily Art


In high school geography I painted a Manchester blackened by fumes. In the midst of the industrial revolution, evolution had wielded itself supreme, culling out all the pale butterflies. Only the peppered moths, which blended in with the soot, survived.

5.25.18 | Daily Art


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Galaxies: as perplexing as they are mesmerizing. In physics, I loved astronomy most–a study of the skies, of constellations, of singing! imploding warping! screaming hovering! spinning planets.

5.26.18 | Daily Art


 

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Fluttering by

5.27.18 | Daily Art


painting galaxy fashion dress

A dress made of constellations!

5.29.18| Daily Art


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Roses.

5.30.18| Daily Art


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5.31.18 & 6.1.18| Daily Art

A Crime of Beauty

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Crumbling concrete walls. Dilapidated trains. Bleak subway entrances. Clouds of vaguely formed color snake their way across the surface. Street art. It’s become an integrated chunk of most cities. In every city I’ve visited–Chicago! NYC! Austin! Philly! LA!–I’ve been on the look-out. From creeping ghost-monsters to blasé kitties giving viewers the bird to colorful blocks of illegible tags, the pieces have covered a whole range of wild, beautiful subjects.

It wasn’t until this past summer that I got a wee taste of making street art. My boyfriend and I went to Graffiti Park, mere white spray can in tow, and sprayed a massive (mediocre) face on the wall. It was lopsided; I tried again. It was still lopsided, puffy and dripping. I realized that, as effortless street art appears, it’s harder than it looks.

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Over the summer, I checked out a book on the history of graffiti, which massively broadened my understanding of the art. In the US, its roots stemmed from the 20’s, and sprouted up in New York and Philly. By the 60’s and 70’s, it has its resurgence. Artists would claim fame through uniquely tagged names. They’d graffiti up subways, freeway sides, walls and trains with nicknames and distinctive styles.

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Every single [train] car was tagged by massive, puffy graffiti, not yet appreciated as the important art movement and political statement it would become. It was a crime of beauty.

– The Skin Above My Knee, Marcia Butler

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Since then, it’s evolved from being a mark of underground illegal edginess to a form of twenty first century semi-exalted art.

Nowadays, street art occupies a funny place in society; few things parallel it. It’s respected, it’s looked down upon. It’s art; it’s trash. It’s revered; it looked down upon. It’s subversive. It’s not. It flouts authority; it’s sanctioned by authority. It ignores its surroundings; it flirts with its surroundings. It composes its surroundings.

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It thumbs its nose at–speaks to–argues with–its surroundings. Unlike traditional art, street art isn’t confined to cold empty eerie rooms, shrunken beneath towering white space. Instead, it yawns over piers and stone blocks and garage wall, to the delight of phone cameras and tourists and passerby’s.

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Split

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Reading people. Like gleaning thin-slices. Like data points, which intuition pieces together to form a coherent, if oddly specific, understanding. A few looks, then a silent bombardment of insight.

The feisty girl in engineering with the short brown hair? She’s done hard drugs. Comes up to me, strikes up a conversation, throws in her experience with shrooms. Didn’t like them. The brunette Barbie-looking girl in class who’s only ever sounded politically neutral? Jewish, wealthy, aspires to be a Fox anchor. Canvassed for the Trump campaign, wrote about it. Interned at Fox last summer. The Caucasian man in the baggy jeans and blue hat? Patient and kind and real enough to straddle the racial line, but not without having to face shit for it.

It’s like that one quote by Roald Dahl:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

It’s the same idea. That people’s thoughts, and experiences, are woven into the way they are, the way they present themselves, the way they act. That it’s all, quite literally, etched on their faces. You can sense it, from the way people talk, the way they walk, the way they wear their hair.

It sounds an awful lot like just judging people, but it goes beyond that. The thing is, peopleus, me, you–aren’t as opaque as we imagine. People are complex, which is to say that plots–good ones, at least–are oft filled with loopholes and conflicts and unexpected twists. But there’s always an overarching plot, a “what’s-this-about?” book summary in the Goodreads section.

When it comes to certain details about ourselves, or even lived experiences–we often broadcast much more than we’d like to admit.

4.4.18 | Daily Art

Purplish Abyss

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What I am trying not to face: a lurking purplish abyss.

It sits in my chest. It rises at the prospect of change. Of goodbye’s, packed bags, new cities, separation, winters, fluorescent lights. Of time passing by too slowly. I see myself trudging through snow, finding pockets of peace, but also succumbing to the abyss. I don’t want to, clearly, and most of the time, I don’t, but it’s growing louder.

This, now I know, is the cost of attachment, of love, of care, of connection, of all the soft squishy-icky-gooey things of cotton-candy existence. Indifference renders you apathetic. But things akin to the four-lettered-word, they’ll leave you with every variation of human emotion.

(That, I guess, is the price we pay.)