Uninspired, but at peace

My Awesome Life, Uncategorized, Writing

I’m on the cusp of a profound transition, arguably the most significant one in modern life: crossing the threshold from 20 to 21.

My grand initiation into the 21 Club is scheduled on Pi Day, which may be more than 50 days away, but I thought I might as well reflect on and immortalize in writing the bizarre and uninspiring person I’ve grown into over the last two decades.

The first 20 years of my life have been a collage of confused decisions, abandoned resolutions, disillusioned attempts down various career paths, and random epiphanies about both myself and the world around me.

My teenage years revolved around an emotional pendulum rooted at equilibrium, refusing to even flirt with either extreme. I’ve been frustrated and lost, hovering in a purgatory of mediocrity and indifference for the better part of the last four years. I’ve been sad but never heartbroken, I’ve been happy but never ecstatic, and I’ve dated but never in love. At times I feel like I’m incapable of feeling anything to the fullest extent, like anything I experience will only be a dimmer version of what others have already felt. I love writing–always will–but I’ve never felt that scorching thirst to sew my dreams into narratives, never been inspired enough to write for hours on end until the sun bled into the horizon and hours bled into days. Can I ever feel as passionate about anything as professional athletes do about winning a damn trophy, or as actors do about, well, acting? Can I ever commit to anything?

My state of mind is the Jamie xx album, “In Color”—not any particular track but snippets of the entire album. In electronic music, we anticipate drops. We dig bangers that take us on pulsating mind trips and emotional roller coaster rides. The spectacular is what expect from life, too, and if we don’t get it, we lash out: “I didn’t deserve this. I just thought there’d be more.” When the going gets tough, we tell ourselves to hang in there, push through the pain and wait for eminent arrival of better days. I think that’s been my attitude for the majority of my adolescent years: You haven’t seen shit. Just wait for the bass to drop.

The bass never drops in “In Color.” It’s just an impressionistic painting of intelligent beat-making and ethereal atmospherics, delicate but brimming with wonder. Some tracks (“Far Nearer,” “Loud Places”) bottle a fountain of youthful emotions–optimism, desire, dread, yearning–into a quiet and exquisite world of gentle, fluttering synth sequences and stirring vocals. “Gosh” builds up to a two-minute climax of lush keyboard soundscapes that douse you with euphoria and hope. On the other side of the spectrum, “Stranger In a Room” envelops you in spellbinding warmth using minimal percussion beats against deep baselines, hinting that life can be okay without staggering achievements or life-changing revelations.

Electronic music is an enormous and expanding world of countless sub-genres that defy categorization. Bangers comprise a recognizable but very small part of that world; extraordinary milestones comprise but a small part of ours. I’ve been so lost and frustrated that my youth–the most exciting years of my life–has so far been defined by a maddening indifference, and that I couldn’t find the motivation to reach my full potential to make my parents proud.

But maybe I’ve been asking too much. The way we package our emotions determines the way we experience them. I’ve never been euphoric about anything, but I’ve been happy about plenty: getting into college, road-tripping with mom, feeding my dog, hanging out with friends. I just need to believe that happiness can give me the same satisfaction as euphoria. I’ve never been obsessed with writing, but I want to write and I’ll continue doing so, inspired or not. What if you don’t need to live life to the fullest to be at peace with it? I’m not in love with life, but I feel lucky to be alive and to live this life.

I doubt much will change about my appearance or attitude 12 months from now. Maybe I’ll be single and jobless at 25; maybe I’ll be profiling Leonardo DiCaprio for Vanity Fair. I can’t see either happening, but I have always been dreadful at predicting the trajectory of my life. And I’m still young. I want to believe that one day I will fall in love with life.

 

Up in the Air

My Awesome Life

I’m on the plane right now, leaving a place that I’ve come to regard as a home like no other. Funny thing is, I’ve probably had this same feeling about every place I’ve lived in so far. Places that hold a special place in your heart not only look spectacular but also produce the kind of memories that evoke neither bitterness nor ecstasy–just a dizzying fondness.

Home is running barefoot all year round, across scorching sand and frozen grass. Home is circling around the same blocks searching for cheap eats at 2am. Home is driving with mom at dusk, dozing off to shitty radio hits and craving cheeseburgers. Home is the bookstore with the greatest flat white in the entire world.

And home is where friends are–real friends who talk to you because they care about your opinions, not because they just want to brag about parties and sex. Home is where you can nap on a cliff and know that someone’s always there to catch you. It’s where a genuine conversation is not some shallow one-way traffic that leaves you feeling like you’ve just wasted hours of your life.

Home has nothing to do with time. You can fall in love with anywhere instantaneously or gradually. It’s never isolated. Maybe I can’t hate New Zealand because the memories there are so pure and the scenery is so beautiful. Maybe I can’t love California because I’m not going back to the same people I met and cared about 2 years ago, or the same family that I moved there with before high school started.

Maybe home is just a mirror of our consciousness. It’s supposed to change with time, with us. We can’t love something with the same intensity forever. I want to go back to New York. The place that I’m in love with at this moment.

Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die today

My Awesome Life

We’re responsive creatures, always yearning for some kind of carnal or spiritual fulfillment. So many of our conversations are dedicated to that one question: What makes us feel alive? For me it’s neither people nor adventures. It’s the shapes and colors that make up a city I love.

When I took a semester off in Cali, all I could think about was how much I missed NYC and how exciting it would be to blog about college life there. But four months after I returned to NYU I’ve only written four posts on my adventures here in the Big Apple. Ostensibly it’s because I just haven’t had the time. In reality it’s because I’ve kind of lost confidence in my writing. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good a writer as I would like to be, and I certainly don’t think I’m good enough to capture the sense of wonder I feel every time I step out onto the streets.

I’ve experienced no shortage of epiphanies walking on the same blocks, seeing the same things in different ways. Paradoxes run riot: tattoo parlors next to corporate banks, museums sandwiched by takeouts, apartments stacked atop liquor stores, and chains of buildings in alternating colors – black, tan, maroon – adorned by staircases twisting like rusty vines. It’s homogeneous yet dynamic, indifferent yet inviting. None of it makes any sense yet it all feels so right.

It’s a convoluted maze with a constellation of neon lights and no exit. Horizontal and vertical lines converge to make intersections that look exactly the same whether you’re in FiDi or Dumbo. You’re lost every time you’re out, but you never feel more at home. Last night I was strolling through Washington Square Park in the nicest weather in a long, long time, and I see the arch–silver silhouette inked against the black sky–illuminating the fountain and everyone around it. It was just so liberating. In that moment I actually felt so blessed to be alive. And I just couldn’t help wondering: Why then? I’ve seen that sight countless times in the past year and a half, and I’ve walked through the park in every weather, every hour. But that moment last night was the only time I’ve felt that kind of relief, the only time that those random bursts of sadness and rage I experience everyday felt so far away.

Despite the incurable bleakness of life and the shittiness of human nature, the world itself is still as sublime a vision as you will ever imagine. That vision alone is worth the effort of waking up every morning with a smile. It’s far more beautiful than life is ugly. It’s far more sincere than people are fake. Loving a place is far more satisfying than hating everything else.

Live with hope and live with love, if only for your surroundings. Find somewhere you love. See as much as you can before it’s too late.

Hi.

My Awesome Life

Hi again. I’m back from the dead. Please believe me when I say I’ve literally had no time to blog. Without torturing you with insanely dull details, let’s just say I got kicked out of my dorm and pulled off 2 straight all nighters. Yeah, um, the building next to my dorm exploded. East Village explosion. You may have read it on the news. My parents certainly haven’t….either that or they just forgot my address. But uh, anyhow, I’ve ran the gauntlet of the most extreme emotional and physical torture and made it out alive. Barely, with a ton of bruises and scares that may never heal, but alive nonetheless. I’ve missed blogging. The whole time I was wandering around NYC at seven in the morning, sweaty and disgusting and homeless, I thought about blogging constantly. Blogging, writing, cussing, crying, anything that let’s me exorcise all the rage and hatred and sexual frustration burning inside my loins (lol). I actually had a nice long howl Saturday afternoon that left me relieved, exhausted, and extremely thirsty (lol).

And I had my second quarter-life existential crisis in two weeks. Who am I?? Am I making the right decisions? It’s so confusing because the various commitments I’ve taken up this semester require me to adopt several personas, all of which feel so foreign to me. And I’m cool with that; after all, you need to take risks and grow as a person. Yet sometimes I just feel like I’m pushing myself to become someone I’m not.

Fake it till you make it. That’s what everyone tells us. Especially us introverts who refuse to comply with the charismatic, articulate, extroverted personality standard that society lauds. The whole time I’m “faking it till I make it,” all I can think of is, “why do I have to fake it to make it??” Why do we live in a society where being introverted and quiet and perceptive is considered a weakness? I can’t remember how many times I’ve been told that if I don’t speak up I’ll never get anywhere. I just think that’s so fucked up, this idea that being a good talker is more valuable than being a good thinker or a good listener.

Since that’s the way society has become, I’m willing to change myself, to improve on my “weaknesses.” But at what point do I start to lose myself? At what point do I begin to see my “weaknesses” as real weaknesses? Knowing that I may really start hating my introverted traits scares the shit out of me. I have to remind myself constantly that it’s okay to be withdrawn, that it’s therapeutic to wander off into my little world and imagine weird, crazy things that’ll never happen, that it’s fine to leave the practical world behind for a little while. I do that because I truly believe that those so called weaknesses are the essence of my being. I do that because I’ve never considered my awkwardness or my inability to speak coherently a real weakness. Maybe that’s why I’m such a slow learner, but that’s also why I’ve never lost myself.

Truth is, I get attached easily but nothing sticks. I don’t have an addictive personality. Cigarette smoke invigorates me. If some guy walks by me with a cig dangling out of his mouth, I’d breathe in real deep and exhale real slow, bathing in that delirious blend of toxins. Sometimes I even get that irresistible urge to snatch it out of someone’s hands and take a drag myself. Goddamn. But if I don’t see it, I don’t think about it. Even when I’m smoking and loving the hell out of it, I know that it’s never gonna be a habit. That’s how it goes what everything I do. I’ll get involved and work hard but I know where my heart is. That’s the mindset I had going into this year, into some of the academic pursuits that I took on.

But I’m starting to think I’m losing my stand.

Moments.

My Awesome Life

If you’re one of those few awesome people who follow my blog regularly, you’d know that I’m obsessed with time. I used to write about it frequently until I realized that my obsession is so ironic because I’m always wasting time.

If I have a two hour gap between classes, I’d spend it stalking people on social media or playing that stupid new iPhone game instead of finishing those seven excruciatingly long pages in Symposium. That means those seven pages are reserved for midnight, after Netflix and dinner with friends and the internship columns and the ten other distractions that I can’t even remember right now. But at midnight I’ll remember that I haven’t showered in two and a half days and, being obsessed with time, I’ll feel obliged to change that. So instead of reading those pages and getting a good seven-hour sleep for the test tomorrow morning, I’ll hop in the shower and start thinking about the dumbest shit like the first time I’ve ever listened to Nirvana or that remarkably beautiful moment each fall when I realize that the leaves are no longer green.

And before I know it it’s 12.40am, but for some reason I don’t start reading until 1.40am. By then I’ll feel so guilty for wasting so much time that I only read 3 pages for 20 mins and hop into bed at 2am. But ofc I don’t sleep till 2.30 because my perpetually nostalgic mind will wander down memory lane to a bunch of obscure memories from 6, 7, 8 years ago that I had long since forgotten.

I haven’t stopped feeling guilty about my inability to conserve time until yesterday morning at 5am, when I went to sleep. I got back from a friend’s friend’s birthday party (because I have no friends of my own) at 3am, slightly tipsy and quite lonely and very, very depressed because all my (very few) friends ever talk about is their significant other halves while I, talented kind and exceptionally beautiful, remain directionless in life and partnerless in love. Anyhow, right after I got back two of my friends wanted to Skype together. I obliged despite my exhaustion because in that frame of mind I would have slept next to the security guard just to be next to someone. And as we Skyped and bitched about people and life and love and school, my drunkenness and loneliness and self-loathing slipped away one by one, so subtly that I didn’t notice anything until happiness, the intoxicating happiness associated with familiarity and company, pretty much made my head explode. Life is better with company. I fucking hate that line because it’s so fucking true.

And that, finally, brings me to my grand epiphany. Maybe wasting time is how we’re supposed to college. Maybe not knowing how to focus on the important shit is the beauty of our 20s. Drinking past midnight. Talking till dawn. Procrastinating on absolutely everything. Sleeping so late every night that morning doesn’t begin until the clock hits double digits. Reminiscing on the not too distant past, speculating on the not too distant future: nostalgia and optimism so closely intertwined that they’re almost interchangeable. It’s toxic, I know. But it’s temporary. We can’t afford to waste time and abuse our bodies so carelessly in our thirties, or forties, or God forbid fifties. Maybe it’s okay to be that reckless, spoilt college kid once in a while.

Home Again

My Awesome Life

Weee I’m back in the hospital. And it’s fucking awful. It’s 2 a.m. right now and I’m pretty sure no one is asleep…maybe with the exception of my 70-year-old roomie. I’ve been in the ER waiting to be assigned a room in the renal ward for the last 12+ hours. Mind you, 12+ hours ago they told me I only had to wait 1-2 more hours. Weeee. Yeah, you know, fuck this shit. Since I got back to New York about 3 weeks ago, I’ve pretty much contracted every sort of basic illness around – cold, fever, diarrhea, nausea, insomnia due to fever, headaches, cold sweat, and apparently very low white blood count, which is ultimately what landed me in here. Weeeeeeee.

The best thing is that I haven’t gotten a break at all. First it’s the stupid cold that hit me a week after I got here and has FINALLY, ALMOST ended. What kind of fucking cold lasts two fucking weeks? Then cometh my little diarrhea episode that lasted an entire fucking week. I know it’s probably tmi, but I think I’ve gone to the bathroom like 10 times a day that whole week. Now for the last three nights, I haven’t been able to sleep that well. Right before I get into bed, I’d be super cold, like shivering cold. Then I’d wake up in the middle of the night burning like bacon. And I wouldn’t be able to sleep. This morning I took my temperature and it measured 102.9. WEEEEEEEEE.

Which brings us to today. Well today was pretty uneventful. I spent the last 14 hours I’ve been here getting poked my needles, watching my blood squirt all over my bed sheets because my nurse was apparently so amazed by the abundance of my youthful blood, getting antibiotics and other liquids passed into my blood, getting my wee tested about five times (they’re still waiting for my poop sample but hells no), watching Friends, and reading Murakami. Ohh btw, this actually made this miserable day slightly better: in Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, there’s a very graphic lesbian scene between a 13-year-old seductress and her 31-year-old piano teacher. Reading that made me so happy.

ANYWAY, I don’t actually see the point of me being here because there is honestly no way I can sleep in this room. AND I HAVEN’T SHOWERED IN TWO DAYS. OH MY GOD. I’m sure wherever I’m supposed to be transferred to has a shower or at least some shower caps and stuff, but oh no no no not in the ER. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ER for people who are admitted for a simple fever. Okay, rant over. Not really, but I’m stopping myself. The reason I’ve been writing so infrequently this month is precisely because I’ve been feeling so bad, and it’s been very frustrating. On the one hand, I want to do well at school since I’m behind for a semester, and for the first time in…ever, I’m actually involved with extracurricular activities – internships, clubs, frat. And for the first time in college, I’m actually BUSY. I mean, I’ve never felt BUSY before, and it feels fucking wonderful because it means I’m actually starting to do something right. But my body won’t let me be busy. As soon as I start to push myself, it starts complaining and whining and writhing in pain, and the next thing I know I’m back home. WEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I guess for the first time since I got my disease, I just wish I could be like a normal kid.

What Dealing With Swollen Gums Taught Me About Life

My Awesome Life

Is that there is nothing more cathartic and life-affirming than pushing through the most excruciating pain to perform the act you love most (not sex okay). Eating a small, ordinary piece of barbecued meat that never previously garnered a second glance from you suddenly took on a spiritual resonance to rival that of a classic sermon. Never before have you been able to look at your soul with such openness and such clarity.

Yeah, that’s bullshit.

All that my ugly bloated gums taught me is that I miss ripping beef tongues and chicken hearts off of skewers instead of nibbling them like a fucking squirrel, and that life is a sadistic bitch for denying me the simple human pleasure of doing so. And that I’m pretty ravenous right now but the only thing within reaching distance of my bed is a box of apples, which conveniently happen to be too painful for my broken mouth to embrace so yeah if I die of starvation tomorrow you all know who the culprit is.

I’m actually considering poking my gums with a pin to deflate it or at least reduce it to a nice little pool of blood because apparently the internet, the INTERNET, is telling me that there is no medication to reduce gum swelling. No, no, no, because apparently, APPARENTLY, brushing your teeth and eating more vegetables are going to solve the problem, even though you’ve been brushing your fucking teeth twice a day (maybe except for the couple of times you’ve passed out because using a toothbrush requires you to be semi-conscious) for the last nineteen years and can actually count on two hands the number of times you’ve voluntarily shoved anything green down your throat since the late 2000s. So yeah, picking up a toothbrush and binging on greens now is definitely going to solve a problem that I’ve only had about four or five times in almost two decades. What the actual FUCK, INTERNET.

Maybe I should just go see a dentist.

College. Part II

My Awesome Life

It’s been a while since I last posted anything. Nothing particularly exciting has happened yet. Honestly, it just feels so natural to be back in school. For the second time. Really, it’s like my second coming, and I’m still that same anti-social pessimistic quiet hermit who’s terrified of everyone. I do realize that I should probably start socializing at some point or I’m never gonna get anywhere in life, but telling me to mingle with other human beings is like telling a pig to fly. So probably not gonna happen. But the big news so far is that I caught an awful fucking cold within a week of arriving in New York. Viruses and flus hit post transplant patients a lot more severely than normal people, so I’ve been coughing and sneezing myself to death the last couple of days. Thankfully it is getting better, though.

God, I’m sorry, this is such a boring post. What the hell, I don’t write for almost a week and all I can say is that I’m still a socially-handicapped misanthrope and that I got hit my a sneezing hit?? I guess I’m just a bit rusty right now. I’m one of those people who need to write regularly to get into a rhythm. My less horrendous works usually appear at the end of a series of posts written within a day of two of each other. After writing so frequently for the last five, six months, not writing for five days feels like not writing for 5 weeks. Then again, January started with a dreadful post too, then it gradually got better, and I think it ended pretty strongly. The only way for me to improve is to write more often. I know I’m only going to get busier as the semester progresses, but I’ll try to blog more just to get back in the groove again, since writing is kinda of my priority in life. I have to remind myself that, because otherwise I’ll be too focused on grades and other seemingly more but significantly less important shit. Idk why that sounds so depressing.

Winter Wonderland

My Awesome Life

The city’s on lockdown right now. Somewhere outside these thin, old walls of my dorm God is throwing a bitch fit in the form of the most ferocious snowstorm in New York’s history. Classes were canceled midway through the day. The subway was shut down. Cars were forbidden to roam the streets after 11 p.m. It’s some serious shit out there.

But I don’t see shit. The only windows in our suite are fenced on the inside by crisscrossing iron bars resembling the door of a bird cage or a fucking prison, presumably to prevent us from jumping out and smoking weed on the awesome balcony. Damn it, NYU. So the outside just looks like a black mess. And inside the heater’s amped up so high that we’re all wearing shorts and t-shirts. Actually that’s just me, but everyone else looks pretty warm too. It’s hard to imagine that the sidewalks and trees and parks are steadily accumulating over 30 inches of snow as I am typing this. I hope the homeless folks have found shelter somewhere for the next 20 or so hours.

My personal feelings about snow are a bit conflicted. Until late afternoon I walked to and from campus five or six times. It was cold. Really fucking cold. Especially when the goddamn wind went ape shit on my face. But once in a while the coldness and the snow would feel really refreshing, really good. One second I’d be grinding my teeth and jamming my nails into my palms and the next second I’d feel rejuvenated. All of a sudden the cold stopped being menacing. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you’re about to be frozen to death and this intoxicating warmness envelops you, making you sleepy and happy and shit, and then when you fall asleep you never wake again. Yeah, if you’re reading this obviously you’re not familiar with that feeling. But it’s weird. I’d dread walking out of the building every time class ends, but then I’d remember those nice little moments in between the truly awful ones and it would immediately feel less daunting. And besides, snow can be quite beautiful.