Ataraxia.

Love with urgency but not with haste.

Does writing make you sad?

I know it’s a pretty common thing that when you’re sad, you tend to write more, or “better.” I am not a psychologist but I could probably say from my own personal experience that it’s true, and the multitude of authors, poets, etc. who have churned out wonderful pieces of literature suffered from depression or bouts of severe melancholia, even if they didn’t have mental illnesses. It’s easy to write when your heart is breaking, your emotions pour out, and in a sense, you have to pour them out. Otherwise, you would probably suffocate and drown in your own thoughts, doubts and pain.

But what about the other way around? Does writing ever make you sad?

Does introspection makes you blue, or am I just a cynic?

In general, I think that I am a happily happy person doing happy things and being happy and living a happy life. I am not currently suffering from exenuating circumstances that would cause me to be doubled over in sadness but sometimes the more I write and explore the questions inside my head, the sadder I become. Maybe it’s just because of the things that I think about…like the meaning of life, the meaning of love, the meaning and value of anything and everything.

I know it’s silly to say that in the grand scheme of these things, when you zoom out to the “pale blue dot,” our lives are small so that it doesn’t matter what we do. It’s silly because I don’t believe it (because we have to find meaning in our lives so that we don’t just exist pointlessly as invisible dots on the surface of that planet, and the meaning of our lives might be to create meaning for them), but really, when you do zoom out that far, not only in physical distance but also in temporal distance, then what is the value of your life and the things that you place value in? Does it matter that your heart is breaking now, does it even matter that you might think that you might not matter?

I suppose I can look at it from a different perspective, the one I try to have on most days, and live with intention and gratitude that I have the capacity to be a meaningful existence in this world and do something with my life.

Sometimes, it’s just hard. Especially when I start writing. When I start writing and thinking, it goes on like this and I sometimes just get impossibly lonely and sad.

(I think I have been having an existential crisis for most of my life and I am only 22).

A Hopeful Millennial

People call this generation the millennials —a generation born into technology, introduced in a controversial article in TIME (2013) as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, stunted, and apathetic. This generation lives in an age where information is instantly and constantly at our fingertips, literally. One search on Google for “millennials” returns 9,010,000 hits in 0.20 seconds. There is an ocean of information out here. One could argue that there is perhaps too much of it. Because of the available technology and the supplementary services provided to us by various entities, we can have whatever we want immediately, whether it be a piece of information, a pair of shoes, groceries or whatever else. We can even broadcast ourselves in the same way, through the ever expanding networks of social media, like Twitter, Facebook and the like, and many of us do, utilizing the many hashtags at our hands to get more “likes” and “followers.” This generation finds themselves in the midst of a phenomenon of instant gratification, oversaturated with information. A culture of self-centeredness and obsession with short term gains, seeking some sort of control and affirmation within society, and increasingly losing our sense of self and meaning. We seem to find ourselves undermined by our own way of life, caught up in the culture of busy. Many cry the deterioration of culture into apathy and disintegration of community. Is this true? Are we a generation desensitized, have we become too used to the happenings of the world? Is that why we remain stagnant in overcoming global conflicts of human rights, reacting to climate change, or even changing national policies on things like gun control, and still find ourselves struggling with issues such as race and equal gender rights to this day?

…. To read more about what I think, visit my new blog at: thoughtsparking.wordpress.com

See you there!

Incurably Happy

(Incurably Happy)

I have, without regard for reason or logic, a sense of unextinguishable hope. It flutters within me, tickles me, cradles me. Drags me out of bed in the morning and drenches me in sunshine. Makes me laugh when I have no heart to, gives me strength when I am miserable, teases me when I am mad. Holds my hand in the rain or in the dark or in the cold. Fills me with bliss, relentlessly, patiently.

Makes me unafraid, even of my most formidable fears, the ones that put me to shame and leaden my feet. Emboldens me, arouses my greatest passions and renews my faith in a new day, day after day. I want to spend all my sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, darkness and dawn, just like this. With my most favorite voice in the universe, like rumbling waves on the shore, lulling me to sleep at night and luring me awake with the sun.

At any moment, I am unconsciously compelled to smile, at the mere thought of together.
I am hopeful, my heart, full.

I am incurably happy. Ridiculously so.

Terminally Afraid

(Terminally Afraid)

Like a shadow passing over me. Quick, brief, dark. Other times, like a well. Deep, hidden, cold.

Like incessant whisperings beside my ear, like a sinking anchor, tugging at the bottom of my heart.

Afraid that I will only be a mere shadow of what once was. Afraid that I may not even cast a shadow once I’ve passed. I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of being swallowed up, by the dark, by your past, by the world, by my future. I’m afraid of myself, that I will never ever be enough. I am afraid that time will only show me how I crumble into dust.

It makes me laugh, how afraid I am. I wonder if it’s the nervous kind of laughter that makes everyone in the room uncomfortable. Or does it mean I win, or that I’ve given up, or I just have a sense of humor?

(What’s the next step after accepting your fears? It’s supposed to be confrontation, I think, but I really am petrified when it comes to the things I’m afraid of, just like I’m supposed to be.)

Is it fight or flight?

(But I’m no fighter.) But flight just seems cowardly, and I wouldn’t even know in which direction to run when my fears are all inside of me.

I want to embrace my fears and make them my friends. I want to be brave.

A Thank You Letter

One can never live in the past, yet the past is never abandoned. It is embodied in every movement, in the ways we walk, in the ways our fingers reach out and our hands hold, in the ways we look at another.

It is the reason our breaths catch when we gaze across the water into the sun-drenched edge of the sky, it is the reason behind our choice to walk down this street and not the next, it is the reason we refuse to look certain people directly in the eye, it is the reason we hesitate before saying yes to some questions, the reason we are reluctant to trust words and only believe when time has proven all else folly.

It allows us the space to trust our own heart when it tugs and when it warms, to walk away with grace when the wind blows, to burn bridges without being afraid, because now we know. It makes us fall in all the right places, it makes us understand better now than ever, what is most important to us.

We often frustrate ourselves with persistent visions of the present, insisting that this is all there is, pushing aside everything else. We try so hard to stay just here, in the moment, without realizing that everything that has ever happened to us is always happening.

We can forgive the past, we can forget the past, we can drown it, we can let it go, we can no longer live in it, but it lives on within as a part of us nonetheless.

Most importantly, it carries us through the present.
Without my past, I wouldn’t know to be thankful for where I am now, and by gosh, am I ever.

7.25.14 — Faith

“Faith is the willingness to give ourselves over, at times, to things we do not fully understand. Faith is the belief in things lager than ourselves. Faith is the ability to honor stillness at some moments and at others to ride the passion and exuberance that is the artistic impulse, the flight of the imagination, the full engagement with this strange and shimmering world.”

—Alan Lightman

Fountain Pen

Today, I was in the bookstore because I like to hang out in bookstores sometimes (actually pretty often whenever if I am around them), and I found myself in the stationery corner. Pretty soon thereafter, I found myself scratching away at one of those sample papers they keep around the pen section, with a beautiful fountain pen that they had also left out for people like me to try out. I’m sure people were looking at me funny at this point; this girl standing in front of all the pens, standing there for probably five to ten minutes…writing who knows what on those tiny sample papers, page after page, oblivious to the people passing through the aisle or standing nearby, flipping through magazines.

The thing is, now, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what exactly I had written. I just know that I couldn’t stop. It was perhaps the magic of the fountain pen. That slight catch that the tip of the pen has on the surface of the paper, so that with every stroke, you are pulling, stretching it out on the fibers beneath. The act of writing itself becomes so very a part of the expression, more than just the words. The movements themselves come alive, and I am caught in its flow, the words no longer coming from me…it is rather like I am following the pulls of the next stroke, feeling them out like I would with my hands outstretched in the dark.

I felt that I was much closer to the art of writing than when I am using any other form. Maybe it’s my imagination, but there is definitely a certain magic and beauty to the fountain pen. Enough to leave me stranded in its enchantment for a good ten minutes until I felt my dad tug at my shirt that I’d been there long enough and that we needed to leave to actually finish our errand.

I wish I could have stayed there in the dark with my hands outstretched.

(Or if I’d brought my wallet so I could have made that fountain pen mine and we could have spent hours on the floor with my journal, listening and feeling each other out.)

05. All my Love

“What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?”

A year ago seems like aeons ago. Around this time last summer, I was 20 (it seems awfully young now…), and working in Seattle. I had Craigslisted a sublet and by chance shared a house with a really cool guy from Dartmouth whom I would drink beer with late into the night and talk about computer science and predestination and discuss The Selfish Gene with. I was hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest with my new coworkers, I went to the ER for blacking out from an allergic reaction in a restaurant (I thought that perhaps I was dying), I cooked dinner for myself almost every day after working 7-6 (I went grocery shopping at a Trader Joe’s nearby every other day and was even starting to feel like some sort of “adult”), I made new lifelong friends in a city that I’d previously known just 0 people in…I returned to my junior year of school, refreshed, with a newly regained sense of independence, focus, and self.

In just the following 365 days or even less, I have gone through so much, experienced, learned, changed and grown so much. If last summer, I had been asked where I thought I was going to be in a year, I don’t think I would have expected myself to be where I am at right now.
Although I have grown in so many ways, some of them have come as a result of knowing myself better, but not visibly affecting what I am capable of “doing,” so this is kind of a difficult question to answer. I am just as terribly trusting and open as ever, and just as much or more in love with the world as I have ever been. But, I do feel much older now than I did then, and I suppose that comes with some shape or form of “wisdom” that I garnered through the past year.

I suppose this year, I found out that I am much stronger than I’d thought myself to be, and am now definitely better at standing my ground and doing it all of that and more for myself. I am better at being aware of my own needs, not just those of others, and acting accordingly. I understand my self worth better than I ever have and won’t settle for anything less whereas before, I had let the lines blur. I know where I stand, what is important to me, the things that move me, the things that I don’t need. I’d lost myself in selflessness, so much so that it lost its value and meaning. (I would even go as far as to say that I had lost myself and my own meaning within it as well.)

I was only able to reach where I am now because I was terribly broken and lost not so long ago. There were some pivotal moments in the past year which could have taken me in the complete opposite direction. I could have taken them and let myself spiral downward and become jaded, mistrustful, forever existential and cynical. Instead, I allowed them to teach me the things that I needed to learn then:

That there are moments in which you must cede control because things will simply happen that are not within your means or your place to change. That you cannot take life too seriously as I had the tendency to do, (I sometimes misplaced my earnestness with too much seriousness), and you are happier if you can laugh with life. That yes, it’s super cheesy but I love myself, and I want someone that can share that love with me, that can see why I’m in love with the world and fall in love with everything with me, and those are the only people that are worth my time (friend, lover, family, whoever you are).

Today, I can let go better than I ever could. This comes from being able to laugh with the world. From being in love with the world. From trusting the world. From being able to surrender to the world at times. From being happy with who and where I am. I am lighter than I have ever been and it makes every day to me, much deeper and more meaningful than they used to be a year ago. If at the end of each day, I must be prepared to let go of everything, then each day takes on that much more fullness. As a result of all this, I am so much better at embracing the world as it comes to me, and even better at walking into it without hesitation, and loving every single second and piece of it.

Fly me to the moon

I’ve had this song by Frank Sinatra stuck in my head all day today. Particularly the cover done by the 8 year old Angelina Jordan. I’ve been humming it and singing it, dancing and writing to it, watching the rain and wind come in through the window screen. Singing it in the kitchen while I made my omelette for lunch.

Fly me to the moon,
And let me swing among the stars,
Let me see what spring is like,
On Jupiter and Mars…

In other words, hold my hand…
In other words, darling kiss me…

Fill my heart with song, and let me sing forevermore,
You are all I long for, all I worship and adore…

In other words, please be true…
In other words, I love you…

I was humming it while I brushed my teeth. I washed my face and sang it to myself as I braided my hair. I walked outside in the drizzle and watched the rain drop from petal to leaf to earth. Sitting on the patio and looking into the mist, still singing in my head, sometimes still aloud. Sang it into the fan as it rotated past me as I read a book, doing that funny thing with my voice that fans do. I’m fairly certain I was singing it in the bath too, blowing bubbles across the water.

“Fill my heart with song, and let me sing forevermore…”

It’s just been one of those days.

 

People to meet (1): e.e. cummings

Several weeks ago, I was asked who I would want to meet and talk to if I could choose anybody, dead, alive or from the future, (at least I think they included the future as well…) and I couldn’t really pick a single person or even come up with a good answer I was happy with.

It might have had to do with the fact that I was so distracted by the glaring sun and the scorching sand beneath my bare feet that I kept having to hop across, and perhaps also admittedly the special someone that I was walking next to: the asker of the question himself.

Nevertheless, I’ve had some time to sit on the question and I have compiled a kind of list. (It’s a list because I am in no way good at ranking or picking just one thing of anything)

I will be posting these in no particular order.

1. e.e. cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings, the poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. 1894 – 1962)

He is perhaps my favorite poet. It is hard to give a reasoning to why certain poems speak to me more than others. His words, his versing, his style move me in a way no other poet’s can. Maybe they resonate at a very similar frequency to the one which my heart beats. I don’t know, but a day or two just musing with him, listening to him or watching him write would just feel right in all kinds of ways.

I have several of his poems written up on my wall. I want a book of his poems. And everything he wrote.
This is one of my favorite poems by him, as usual, transcendental but beautifully simple:

Maggie And Milly And Molly And May

maggie and millie and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

millie befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

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