Rosy Hued Days | Journal

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Pink Matter by Frank Ocean is stuck in my head.

It’s midnight. Even though I tire around 11, putt-putt on home around then, I still wage a tiny war against sleep, oft dragging it out past midnight.

I wrote in a notebook today for the first time in a long time. A brief, messy, scrawled journal entry. I am happy. I haven’t properly written in months. My old journal is somewhere, but I haven’t written in it. When I recall it, it holds a different type of energy. Tired, overwhelmed. Nearing the end. I wish I’d taken more photos with my friends, but I remember how exhausted I’d been at the time; there were just so many events…

This’ll probably all sound choppy. It’s late. Not writing makes me write choppy. The less I write, the harder it is to write.

Time flies. For a few weeks I lamented the number of hours in a day, not because there weren’t enough, but because there were too many. Now, it’s the other way around. I’m so happy, I wish for more hours in a day. I wish to stretch this happiness out, taut like putty. To max out on a happiness so simple that I marvel at its simplicity.

I feel as though I’m still getting where I’m going, so it’s not a sense of destination arrived when I write that life feels kind of perfect right now. I mean, it sounds facetious, or superficial, because there’s always something bothersome, right? But I’m at a place where everything feels as though it fell perfectly into place. There’s the happiness of being by the people I care about; there’s the happiness of doing something I enjoy and being well-compensated for it; there’s the happiness of pursuing something I’ve always loved.

Everything’s just woven together so seamlessly I can’t tell if…it’s just a rosy-hued haze? It’s just a satisfying combination of purpose, love, rest, and work.

It feels good to write. Sometimes I smile at people and my face will feel frozen. Or words will get caught in my throat. Or they won’t be there at all. In a lot of ways, writing’s just easier. Right now, it is more difficult than usual, but that’s only because I haven’t done it in a while.


Other miscellaneous life things, in no particular order:

– I have yet to finish Detroit: Become Human, because the series is too good. Other video games just pale in comparison.

– My arms and legs are sore from the workout my boyfriend and I did. I usually don’t like working out with people, but I liked working out with him. We did some cardio together; he worked on arms while I worked on abs; we did abs together. I nabbed some free coffee in between. Later, we got Chipotle, went to Target (hello, new nail polish and eyeliner), went to work, ran more errands, and went home. Lots of went’s. Things we usually do alone are a million times more fun when the other person is tagging along.

– I might carry my DSLR around more often. Looking at photos on WordPress inspires me to take more photos. I have a photo diary account on Instagram, where I’ve been tossing up mundane images. Sometimes I’ll post a photo of the sky. Or of shadows. Or of a person lying sideways, scrolling through their phone at an art museum. Instagram is inundated in so much fakery; where does a small photo diary fit? I don’t have the energy to be excessively fake, posting too-curated images. I just want a place to publicly vomit images, quickly and simply.

– Journaling is so pleasant. I could try journaling on here more often. Or I could simply journal whenever I felt like it. It’s been two years since I started this blog and I’m still not entirely sure what ‘category’ it falls under. A journal? Art blog? Photo blog? Creative outlet, I s’pose.

– Daily Art’s become a frenetic game of catch-up. I put too much pressure on myself to make the perfect piece, then forget or push it aside. I have to stick to it! Stick to the project. 365 projects usually get tough around the latter half.

I think a lot of it’s just a matter of working my creative muscle, continuing to take photographs, write and make art. I will admit, though, that lately I’ve been distracted by life in the best way possible, so I’ve spent much less time than usual staring at a screen. Being creative, though, is like recharging. For me, coolpeppermint is that space to express and create.


On another note, if you are reading this, thank you! Thank you for taking the time to peer at my very-small corner of the Internet. The WordPress community sets it apart from every other blogging platform I’ve ever tried, as a place for people to express and connect in a way that’s both personal and interconnected.

This is just my wordy way of expressing appreciation for your visiting my blog, commenting, contacting, etc.

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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.

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.

Booksy Books

I’ve been feeling antsy, and gulping down books in an effort to squash summery mugginess. In the past two days I’ve breezed through five books–the latter five on my list of seventy books read so far. Three books have stood out.

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Published in 1959, its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.

One: Things Fall Apart, a book we’d been assigned to read in high school–one that hadn’t held my attention long enough for me to finish it. By section three, when the white man and his horse had arrived at the African village to convert everyone once over into Christians, I could understand why we had been assigned it. It mirrored Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but with a far more sympathetic and grounded portrayal of the fictitious African society.

By section three, all I could hear in my head was: White Man’s Burden. White Man’s Burden. White Man’s Burden. I kept naively wishing that the African society in Things Fall Apart could remain as it’d been described…before the Christian converts came riding along with their horses, religion, and forceful government. But that would be to rewrite fiction! ….and to rewrite history.

Soviet Daughter provides a window into the life of a rebellious, independent woman coming of age in the USSR, and the impact of her story and her spirit on her American great-granddaughter.

The second: Soviet Daughter, a comic about the author’s great grandmother who’d grown up impoverished amid World War II. The great grandmother had been fiercely independent, the eldest of seven children, a typist, a nurse, and a survivor of the purges. The author occasionally interspersed sections with her own story identifying with her great grandmother, who, like her, was open-minded, political, and embraced the arts.

The book echoed of MAUS, a book about the author’s father’s experiences in the Holocaust. It was a comic that catapulted itself into the ranks of visual literature. I’m guessing MAUS inspired a whole slew of historical biographical comics, such as the one on the atomic bomb in Japan, and then this girl’s great grandmother’s experiences in the USSR. Oh! The sociopolitical fumes of World War II linger….

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The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century.

Which brings me to the third book: On Tyranny. It not-so-subtly hinted at the pre-fascist-like tendencies that American politics has recently devolved into. It offered twenty tidbits of wisdom detailing how certain American norms have become vaguely reminiscent of those in Nazi Germany and East European Communist regimes during WWII. Its lessons were sound: investigate, beware the one-party state, be wary of the tendency to comply–as a citizen, as a professional. Why? Because institutions have risen and fallen and lied and slain and led people astray in a similar fashion.

Yet the irony lies in the fact that Americans who might benefit from reading this book, in heeding to the lessons of history, likely wouldn’t read it to begin with. I doubt that the masses–specifically, the subset of the population that tosses around the word “fake news” while consistently turning a blind eye to political lies–would ever pick up this book. Those who would pick up this book–people who enjoy reading about politics, thinking about politics–perhaps might be already aware of these 20 lessons, and might be politically active. Those who need to hear these 20 lessons most wouldn’t even begin to listen….

Those are my 2 meta-cents as I read through it. But I may be wrong. Of the three books, I’d most highly encourage others to read the third book, On Tyranny.

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.

Heart

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SO you take it upon yourself to judge the content of someone’s heart without ever having the chance to rip open a chest to peer inside. Instead you look at the way their arms flail or their facial expression, the way they extend a hand or recoil in fear. On a bench or through a friend of a friend, you decide on which adjectives you’ll use to describe this heart.

You decide that:

the heart is open, the heart is cold, the heart is kind, the heart is distant, the heart is hardened, the heart is shut-off, the heart is readable, the heart is murky, the heart is big. The heart is stony. The heart is a million things except for what it simply is: a heart.

It never occurs to you that: maybe we’re all just wasting our time trying to superimpose these value judgments on an organ. But that doesn’t stop us.

Insomniac’s Rmble

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The insomniac has a song. It’s not a song, it’s a warble. It does math problems at 1:29 in the morning and curses at small bladders. It tallies up why the studies show that we lose two friends for every romantic relationship you gain and why it doesn’t matter. I kept things from you anyways. 

It ruminates over slander, and how it can’t be slander if it’s true.

The insomniac has a cry. A cry about blacklisted tags. About puffs of light brown, one, two, minus three. On existentialist concerns, but mostly practical ones. On critical tirades, on bi-monthly tantrums. And nightmarish things. This is why you don’t binge horror on a plane.

The insomniac has a dream. A daydream. An elaborate daydream about coconut cream and custard and condensed milk at the cusp of a cup. It wants to listen. All it wants to do is listen. And it dreams, more, of listening. Of evolving into a massive, massive ear. So tight-lipped, you are.