Scramble

feb 3

Five unpublished drafts later, here I am. 1:18 PM. On the cusp of one phase of life, toppling headfirst in the next. Still mentally wrapping my head around the past month, the past week, the past year. Jostling, jostling. The nerve of productivity. The confusion of comfort.

Work training in a few, this time in a different ‘arena’ than the one I’d previously been dabbling in. I think I’ll be juggling my focuses this next year or so. Most likely. I won’t be focusing on this nearly as much. There’s another focus. A broader one. One that’s weirdly intimidating but also weirdly not.

My brain’s a little fried. Sluggish. Maybe it’s the warmth. Or people’s slow walking pace. Or going from one mentality to the next. Or switching goals rapid-fire. I’ve been feeling extraordinarily sensitive to pressure–even in the most minute amounts. Maybe it had something to do with the past week. The past year, on the whole, was laid-back. I’m not so sure about this next one. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’m not going to burst a vessel for anything.

None of this probably makes any sense. I’m struggling to put together coherent thoughts into coherent sentences, but the former is lacking, and now, too, is the latter. (I wonder if I use too many commas.)

I’ve also been falling behind on my daily art project. I’m making compensatory pieces, semi-cheating, but oh well. I don’t know how else to catch up at the moment. I usually post pieces from a week prior, but my entire schedule was overturned the past week. It was all this past week! And suddenly I’m scrambling to put the pieces together.

Contemplating getting back into film photography. It’s a lot less daunting than DSLR digital photography. Maybe I’ll do it to regain a sense of aesthetics, something like that. In the meantime, I’ll finish up my daily art posts, get all caught up, and perhaps go back to posting daily. That seemed to keep me on track. But I’ll decide on that later.

Off to work training. Wish me luck on unscrambling my head.

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Illest

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Chugging away, chugging through this cold.

For five days I spend a good portion of time letting this virus wreak tiny havoc. I contemplate the existential purpose of a virus. It is neither living nor dead. Yet it infects and infiltrates the living; it tries to destroy the organism. It’s senseless. It’s sci-fi! The virus has endured and evolved over centuries, spreading from organism to organism, goading the white blood cells to arm themselves and fight (until they can’t). Where is the virus from, and why–aside from hurting the living–does it exist?

I’ve been recovering from this cold among some smattering of good news. Things are looking up, aren’t they? Finishing one segment of life, skirting towards the next. But things are moving so quickly. Just as I’m stepping from one bubble, I’m quickly entering another similar one, thin tissues in hand. I’d begun to find the city so overwhelming at the tail-end of my stay. But I know that I need a certain amount of stimulation to not feel endlessly bored.

I feel like my brain’s still processing everything–everything that’s passed, everything to come.

Newly Minted Ivy League Grads

Minted, as if we’re coins. As if the past fours years we’ve been scrubbed and shone to symbolic-degree perfection. Crisp round edges, raised metallic designs. We made it. We did it. We crossed the stage in cold and rain, click-clacking our way to the rest of our lives.

And just like that…I’ve just graduated from an Ivy League university.

This was my dream school; seven years ago, I stepped on the campus and fell in love. When you ask people when or how they fell in love, they’ll try to pinpoint an exact moment, a phrase, a time. The truth is, we don’t always know exactly when and how we went about falling in love: it just happened.

And there’s something very, very surreal about realizing that god, not only did I make it here, I’ve made it out as well. I crossed the stage, beaming and shivering. I watched our charismatic president, “with the authority invested in me–“, confer our degrees. I moved the tassel with friends I made first semester freshman year, from the right side to the left.

I know I’ll miss it all–the professors, the classes, the city, the campus, the (hopefully) life-long friends I’ve made. But I’m not ready to be gung-ho full-blown sentimental yet, not ready for it all to sink in. It’s hard to separate them from one another–gratitude, joy, relief, sadness, exhaustion, determination, bittersweetness. In the sink of swirling emotions, I’ve yanked up the plug, to let it all sit until I’m ready to drain and feel everything to its utmost.

Two Paths Diverged | 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

Reflections

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Now you can say you’ve had Vietnamese butter barbecue.

Seafood sizzles on the family-style butter doused griddle. Hot pockets of grease bubble onto my wrist as I turn the onions. My best friend gingerly puts the salmon on its side, browning slowly, as I stab a squid into the griddle. Ssssss.

We sit in silence. I contemplate the comfort of home, a home, of my best friend’s home, where I feel free to be myself and accepted for who I am. Her parents’ eyes still bug out each time they peer over and I’m there, in the backseat, unannounced for the 10th time, spacing out. They gasp. I chirp hello.

Over the cash register we order our three cups of gelati, Italian ice combined with vanilla ice cream. It’s a dessert-y paradise. Sweet, light pineapple ice combined with rich and creamy vanilla bean. The sun sets behind us as we stand by the parlor, eating quietly, plastic spoons scraping against blue paper cups. How do you reconcile a disliking of people with the desire to help them? By cognitively differentiating between patient and stranger. So are you still having a spat? Yes, but it’s not personal.

disposable film 35mm photography

This might be the last best friend sleepover in a while. The fact that I’m done with undergraduate is slowly sinking in–emphasis on slowly. It’s coming in bits and pieces, waves and wrinkles, unraveling, unraveling. All I’ve been able to think about, day and night, is this path forward, the one beyond undergraduate life. I wake up thinking about it, think about it during the day, go to bed thinking about it, sleep while thinking about it. Repeat. I think of how fiercely I admire those in this field, then dream of mentors.

Months ago, the ‘future’ seemed muggy and incoherent. I could barely see past the next five, ten, fifteen years. Now, the ‘future’ has solidified into something uncomfortably rigid, and if I really wanted to, really wanted to, maybe I could look past the next thirty or forty years. Life will life, but the least I can do is plan.

Yesterday, I took my final test; today, I turned in my final essay (which really wasn’t a final essay, just some bullshit revised version of something I’d written months ago). I don’t want to say I coasted the past few years, but I did–I cruised along at one of the nation’s top uni’s, did well academically, interned each summer, managed my relationships, went on trips and vacations, and was, overall, fairly healthy and happy. I walked in, relatively lost and confused, ready to leave and never turn back. I’ll return, this time with dogged determination, goals, a handful of good people in my life, and renewed appreciation for what I’d taken for granted.

So there’s no use in looking back and lamenting what other routes I could have taken. I took the one I did, and it’s led me to where I am now. All I can do is look ahead, and barrel on forwards.

Hyperaware

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Last night I was flipping through old blog entries on a WordPress I’d quietly started and ended in 2015. It was relatively private and small. I’d regurgitate lumps of thoughts and ideas and images whenever I felt it. Like a Tumblr 2.0, but with an even smaller audience. And I’d write about artists, lost love, friendships, changes, work and interning.

In the two years I’ve had this blog, it’s grown a lot, from 0 pairs of eyeballs to upwards of 2,300. Which isn’t a bad thing–it’s good!–but it has, admittedly, has made me more self-conscious. I wonder more about how personal I can be on here, whether I can jot down many of the thoughts careening through my mind, all the heavy and light moments, all the bouts of nostalgia, all the phrases and poems and artists and inconsequential phrases fluttering through.

Even though my post on Writing emphasized this idea of letting yourself go, writing without fear or expectation, it can be easier said than done. But at the end of the day, I just have to go back to the heart of it all: writing for yourself.

Because, ah–I’m not here writing to gain readers, or sell products, or to chummy and address everybody in the audience. I’m not here to “increase engagement” or “drive traffic” or “improve my SEO.” I’m not here to be glib, or salesy, or even properly entertaining, because honestly, not everything I write will be remotely entertaining. Sometimes it’ll be mundane or I’ll drone on or write about nothing at all, and that’s okay, too.

If I remind myself that I’m here to write for myself–because that’s what this blog ought to be, a personal creative bubble–then maybe it’ll be easier to write without feeling hyper-aware of everything else around me.

Lost in my Mind

Scarlet scarfs frayed at the edges. Orange-yellow bulbs of life, warm against the blue black bruises of the cold outside. Home is a phone call away.

The coffeeshop is empty, save for the hawkish worker with the light eyes who started a few years ago. He wasn’t here when I was ten, when this place was new, and I only ever asked for mango smoothies.

And it’d come out artificial-creamy sweet, rich sun yellow against a dollop of white. I’d scoop out the whipped cream with the outer edge of my straw, slurp it into a pathetic heap at the corner I couldn’t reach.

______

Familiar strumming overhead. A lollying tune, an indie low-whine. Drawn out wail of a banjo and musician who sounds like he sports a beard and wears pea-green jackets with camo sleeves,

Lost in my mind, lost in my mind, I’ve been lo-o-o-o-st—

They play this song every time I come in. It’s on the coffeeshop playlist, and it always has ben, unchanging, carved in time, shaping my own musical preferences as I bury my head in words.

______

Insomnia. There’s a softened edge to memory, to memory’s memory of insomnia, to memory’s memory of the insomniac’s late-night thoughts. Other things mattered then, trivial things, mind-numbing replays of the inconsequential, and that was what kept me up.

______

The things that matter now stand in sharp relief against the mindset I’d held then.

Sun streams in through the window. On five hours of sleep, I crawl out of bed.

At this coffeeshop, littered with people working hard and hardly working, I order nothing from the bar. I bring a water in. I peruse through reddit and creepypasta and play psychic word games. When I pass the counter, the barista jokes about throwing out my water container, but I can’t tell if it’s a joke, so I laugh as though it is, and throw the water out.

Overheard, Lost in my Mind plays. And for a moment, I’m enmeshed in the warm cocoon of nostalgia, buried in tunnel vision.