Project 365 | A Look Back

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Four years ago, I started the photography Project 365. The idea was simple, if difficult to commit to: take one photo every single day for 365 days. Sharing the project online would hold me accountable, I figured, and it worked. I photographed, stored, post processed and posted all 365.

That was 2013. Fast forward four years, bluish glow illuminating from my screen. I’m on a flight next to, presumably, a Statistics teacher, who is raving on about his students. Low whir of plane engine–here goes, nostalgia lane, and I scroll through the album.

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Photos depicted the expected. Essays, tests, new friends, old friends. People I quit talking to. People I started talking to. The dance, the trips, the endless summer drives. Relief, happiness, irritation, impatience, excitement, all rolled into one visual lump.

It felt strange looking back. Had me and xyz really been that close? Realization that things–images– aren’t always what they seem. My diary entries were angstier. Then a light wash of guilt that, over time, I’d lost touch with certain friends. But, well, people come and go, and they’re supposed to.

Still. It felt odd seeing our goofy faces, old friends, heaps of inside jokes. Regardless, this Project 365 brings me a sort of happiness in it of itself. Cue: flickers of nostalgia, fade to black.

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Only Time

feb 4

Impish impatience. Scuttles around eyeing the hands of time—move faster. Sludge, drudge, space that warps—move faster. Built-in distractions, like tea, pasta, zombie—move faster. I egg on time, lament time, tickle time,  ignore time—time, you tease, move faster.

2.4.18| Daily Art

La Vie Este Belle| Photo Diary

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When I was five I’d collect little bugs outside for recess, then, much to my parents’ dismay, make a home for them in the deep-sewn pockets of my green plaid jumper. I thought they were cute. The fear of insects is taught, not ingrained. In some countries, insects are food; people’ll fry bugs on a stick and sell them in the streets.

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Bugs on a stick. Two days before New Years my friend and I ventured into the closest-to-hipster part of town, where my boyfriend and I watched a comedy show over quesadillas and orangey drinks. We found a little shop harkening back to the 60’s, where they sold pop sodas in glass bottles of every flavor imaginable–coffee pop! mayo soda! blueberry pie pop!–as well as ant candies. There was even an open flap on the top and I ran my fingers over the pink sugary glaze, lumpy dead ants like roadbumps in the street.

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We skirted around the city, from a cafe to the contemporary museum to the design district to the art museum, where a stolid quiet leftover Frida sat staring out at the viewer. My friend swiped tirelessly across the orange wall. Left swipe, right right, left swipe, left swipe. Relentless Tindering!

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On another note, do you ever wonder if so-or-so–say, the quiet girl in middle school gym class whom you never spoke to and suspected didn’t like you but was generally indifferent towards and had never had a boyfriend–ever got a boyfriend?

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Confessions of a Self-Declared Hermit

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If pajamas could scold, I think they’d be scolding me right now.

I’ve been shuffling around in my PJs for the past 24 hours. I mean, I’ve been really trying to leave my place more often, but god, it’s just so warm. And cozy. And fluffy. And all these public spaces are so crowded and loud and stuffy and chatty, with basic girls in front of me gabbing on about how Mary Beth should have prioritized Gwenyth for  brunch, but didn’t. Some shit like that.

But I did venture out for about a day or two, wandering into bookstores, cafes, an event. I went to the event for an article I was writing.

Here are some confessions of a self-declared hermit: people can be scary. And irritating. Really irritating. See, when I’m in a people-loving mood, every social interaction’s an opportunity. It’s great. But when I’m feeling hermit-y, unfamiliar faces are terrifying, smiling at strangers feels like a chore, and I sometimes can’t even recognize my own voice. It sounds distant and chirpy and strange.

And strangers can seem so…strange. Or annoying, like the person smacking loudly besides you in the coffeeshop. Or aggravating, like the girl with the raspy dry voice (please, I beg of you, drink water) in the corner of the room, rudely checking her hot pink phone when other people are presenting.

All of this just emphasizes how much I really do like my best friend, who, honestly, might be the only person (aside from a select few) I can spend 89 consecutive hours around. Without becoming massively annoyed. Because I spent 89 consecutive hours around her the past weekend, and we got along–really well–and it just felt like such a relief to be around her family, whom I like and (am pretty sure) like me.

Whereas with strangers, it’s like, this weird quiet split-second dance of figuring out whether you like them, how much you like them, whether they like you, if it even matters, should you smile harder? talk louder? avoid eye contact? spread the cheer? grab the food? make them feel special? or just stop scrutinizing in general? I mean, it’s natural to like, or dislike, some people more than others, simply based on first impressions. But constantly forming and making first impressions is an exhausting endeavor.

It’s just–obviously–so much easier to be around people you like, who like you, who you and be yourself around, who can be themselves around you, etc. But since 99% of people don’t fall under that camp, though, most interactions requires effort, weight, energy.

That, I guess, is really my point. When I have a lot of energy to make that effort to go out and meet people and spend time with them, it’s seamless. It’s fun, it’s necessary, it’s energizing. But when I feel like a hermit, and all my energy’s just drained by people, I find the sphere of “social activities” to be tiring. And vaguely terrifying. So really, when I feel intensely introverted (and it’s a pendulum) socializing is either painful or alarming.

See, it feels good to get this off my chest, even though this a complete non-issue. The people closest to me are more hermit-y than I am, so when I do talk about this, it’s just regular conversation. I am usually the aggressive social butterfly. But every butterfly once had a warm, fluffy, PJ-filled cocoon. And I am currently marinating in said cocoon, drawing and reading and watching Bob’s Burgers.

1.27.18 | Daily Art

A Week of Hermitdom

My micron pens are in and I’ve been waiting on them for days (thanks, Amazon! But, no, really, thanks) except I haven’t picked them up yet. So note to self: pick up pens tomorrow.

Currently I’m half-convinced that my spirit animal’s a cross-breed of a hermit and turtle.

I wrote about this earlier, but I spent the first three weeks of January bumbling around, meeting new people and seeing old friends, etc. Being social in the busy bee talkative-as-ever way. I had no qualms calling up complete strangers I’d added only five minutes prior on FB (which I momentarily activated just for this phone call, where I hunted down strangers) for an interview.

And I didn’t mind step-dancing around and laughing and joking with strangers.

Or going to friends’ houses or making new friends at birthday dinners or chatting up on politics with more strangers at debates.

Or, in other words, doing extraverted and chatty and exhaustive things.

I mean, the exhausting part only just caught up to me about a week ago. It only took a few weeks for the familiar intense urge to hide-out to come over me. The past week, I’ve retreated into my cozy introverty den, a warm shell carved out for occasions just like this. A space to recharge, recharge, recharge.

And, quite frankly, it’s been a lovely little respite.

think I’m ready to venture back out into the world. I’ll be hanging with the best this weekend, and we’re going to a few events in the next two days, so there’s that. Stepping out into the world of, well, people again.

Life Updates | Jan. 23rd

Hey, WordPress, hi. Life’s been happening. I’m pretty sure the people I know in real life don’t read this, which is kind of a relief. But it’s still the Internet, and I’m still on social media.

Anyways. It’s been a while since I’ve done a live life update, maybe a few weeks. A day without writing still feels like an eternity, and my fingers get all itchy. I’m all pent-up. So here I am, taking the typish breath I’ve been holding because I’ve been so damn busy.

Where do I even begin? I’m not sure where I left off. Two weeks ago, I think. Right.

In the time since, I’ve rejoined the newspaper as a photographer, reporter and illustrator. I’ve done photo and news before–the illustration part is new. I was in the office the other day when a friend, who follows me on Instagram, made a kind note about my Daily Art project. Then I ended up talking to an editor, then another, and now I’m an illustrator for the newspaper!

Which is honestly really cool, and I’m inwardly quite happy about it–the delight of seeing your work in the newspaper never really wears off. I remember the sheer joy of seeing my photos of Zadie Smith plastered across the front page. It was my first photo assignment. I didn’t know who Zadie Smith was at the time, but her elegant deep British wisdom rolled off the stage like butter, and I knew she was important somehow. She was, she is. And there she was, my photo of her, on the front page.

Funny note: a fellow WordPress friend, whom I met here a few years ago, is an assignments editor–my assignment editor.

My Daily Art thing–oh, I don’t know if I mentioned on here before, but I tentatively expanded it onto Instagram. Talk about accountability. And the sociability of social media. I was mostly afraid I’d bother people by posting once a day–once a day! that’s just spam–but it seems like most people, I hope, don’t mind. In the past few days, acquaintances have been bringing up my art, more so than they ever have. In a kind way. They’ve been saying things like I really like your daily art posts or are you an art major? or, well, just really nice things. So it’s nice to know that I’m not harassing people with my regular daily posts. I hope.

On the mellower end, I’ve been hanging out with friends–went to an art museum, grabbed lunch with the best, ate birthday filet mignon at a fancy fine dancing restaurant. Met new people and made new friends at banquet.

I… think I’m going to be involved with the Contemporary Art museum, but I’m not sure if I’m biting off more than I can chew. They’re looking for somebody who can do a bit of field research for them, meet artists, view the installation process. It seems like an interesting opportunity, to get involved with the art museum, but at the same time–do I have the time? I might not.

I’m also hoping to get back into freelance photography during these last few months, pick back up the side hustle.

A lot of…stuff, if you will. Hopefully not of the overwhelming variety.