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.

 

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Worlds Apart

Musings/Rants, Writing

My titles have gotten progressively dumber over time. I apologize for that. If I ever write a book I’ll probably have to improve on that. Oh well, don’t judge a book by its cover, amiright?

Anyway, I briefly mentioned in my last post my discomfort with showing my blog to people I know, and I’d just like to explain that a bit more. It has nothing to do with the possible backlash or indifference. I’m used to both of that, especially from friends. If indifference is what I will receive then I’d be more than willing to share this blog on Facebook. A reaction is what I’m nervous about.

Imagine wearing a skanky dress to a club in, say, Ecuador or somewhere far and exotic. It’s miles removed from all the judgmental assholes back home. You feel free and loose for the first time in years. You flirt with everyone and drink everything that smells like it can fuck you over. You’re happier than perhaps you’ve ever been. And you just don’t give a shit because you know no one’s gonna treat you any differently after tonight.

What an awful analogy, but that’s exactly how I feel with about blogging. It’s like wearing a thong in a club and knowing that no matter how many lap dances I give my life in the real world is still going to be the same. You know, holding a secret identity with no strings attached.

Why do I care so much? Don’t I trust my friends or family? Honestly, I’m not sure. Some of them, some of the time, absolutely. But once I show them my blog – all these darkest, truest thoughts I’ve ever had – I’m not gonna be same. I’m not going to write without reservations. I’m going to be haunted by dumbass questions that I just don’t want to care about. What will they think if I say this? Will they be okay if I say I’ve never agreed with them on this thing? What if she thinks I’m attacking her? These are bullshit problems I have to deal with in real life. And the blogosphere is a much simpler, quieter, happier world. It’s a place where I can just write in peace and discover the person I want to be.

I don’t want to censor myself for other people’s sake. That’s not what good writers do. They may be sensitive to public response but they know it’s less valuable than being true to their visions. I’m not there yet. Maybe when I get there I’ll be able to fuse these two worlds and reveal my most private thoughts to the people I consider most important to me.

Freshly Pressed??

Writing

So I logged onto WordPress yesterday afternoon to check on my new post and almost got a heart attack. My stats exploded. My notification feed was bombarded by dozens of likes, comments, follows all directed at my Dream post.

I freaked out. My stats have been pretty consistent – a couple of follows every couple of days, a handful of comments on more interesting posts, a few pity likes on the boring ones. Spikes have happened numerous times before, but never this drastically. I thought a friend must have found out about my blog and shared it with everyone on Facebook. But that doesn’t make sense because all the traffic was directed at one post, and I don’t have that many virtual friends, and even fewer actual friends who would care enough to check out my blog. Besides, I’m still real paranoid about showing my blog to people I know. The social sphere and the blogosphere are two entities that I’d like to keep separate. Anyhow, I browsed the WordPress homepage and stumbled on the Freshly Pressed feed and right there, smack in the middle of the top row, is my post with its long ass title. Then it all clicked, and I was at a loss for words.

Being featured for a days and a half has already doubled my following. It’s brought me more traffic in 24 hours than I’ve gotten in the last 2, 3 months. And the support has been overwhelming. I haven’t had the time to reply to all the comments, but I’ve read every single one. It’s an honor to know that my writing has touched many of you in different ways. I connect with you guys precisely because we know nothing about each other in the real world. We’re strangers but we’re all passionate about human stories. I hope a snippet of my life has left an impression on you, just as your blog posts leave impressions on me all the time.

Thank you WordPress team for sharing a piece of heart, and thank you everyone for all the love. I’ll keep writing and keep believing, so stay tuned.

Why I Started Writing

Writing

I have to wake up in four hours, which is probably why I’ve decided to write this behemoth of a post. Maybe I should rename my blog to “Chronicles of a Chronic Insomniac.” Anyway, I haven’t written a really personal post in…a week, so I’m gonna jam one down your throats to help you get to know me better, because 120 posts later there are obviously still so, so many things you don’t know about Yours Truly.

Writing started as an escape from a reality I hated. It was right after I moved to New Zealand. I was nine years old and spoke no English. I understood a little bit of it, but I hated my accent so much that I never spoke. And I mean quite literally never spoke a word for almost the entire year (I had my fellow Chinese classmate translate everything for me). The thing that hurt me most, however, was my hairdo. I had this weird ass mullet thing that didn’t quite reach my shoulders, and the moronic shitheads in my year all thought I was a fucking boy. Like, I’d go to the little girl’s room and they’d say, “Wait, that’s the girl’s room. You can’t go in there!!!” Honestly, I was not this mad until I looked at my old school photos a couple of months ago. I was fucking adorable, okay? An adorable fucking tomboy. Oh my god I wanna do some awful, awful things to those twats. Moving on. I was such an unconfident kid. Everything around me freaked me out. One time this girl laughed at me after I fell off my chair. Okay, whoever dumb enough to fall off a freaking chair probably deserves a lot worse than that, but it just got me so bad, you know? Questions bombarded me all day. Did she tell anyone? Are they all laughing at me right now? Is that why that guy is staring at me like that?

Insecurity followed me like a plague. The paranoia climaxed (lol) during speech week. I hid behind a bookshelf. Okay I’m gonna stop here because I’m starting to sound like a bully victim and I’ve never been one. Not compared to the really bad cases, anyway. But anyhow, I’ve hated public speaking and socializing ever since. To this day. So I turned to writing. Diaries entries. Notebooks. Dozens and dozens of them. I don’t know where they are anymore but I do remember I never sounded bitter or upset. I sounded indifferent, mechanically recording down every detail of my miserable, though at times joyful, early years. Somehow those emotionless entries were incredibly therapeutic. The more I wrote about my nerves the easier they became to handle, and slowly I began to talk and open up. The more I wrote about the kids around me the less foreign and less intimidating they seemed, and slowly I began to make friends. I think that’s when I discovered the magic of writing: not only does it offer an escape from the complications of reality, it also offers you solutions to those problems.

The rest is pretty much history. I’d fall hopelessly in love with writing, even though I wouldn’t become particularly good at it until my early teens (which, in light of my twentieth birthday yesterday, seems like a century ago). I’d fall in love with essay writing, journalistic writing, erotica writing, fiction writing, and now blogging. I’ve crossed the whole spectrum, from the bizarre to the embarrassing and occasionally the sublime. I haven’t written a diary entry in a decade, but I won’t ever forget that’s how I got into this messy, beautiful, glorious love affair. And I won’t forget that I writing began as a necessity, not a hobby, and certainly not an obsession. I suppose you can say it’s almost an accident that I became a writer at all. But then again, very often the best things in life do begin as accidents.

How to Fail at Free Writing

Writing

Okay, the title really doesn’t explain this post at all, but whatever. To be honest, this post is kind of an experiment, so forgive me if it makes no sense at all. Basically, I’m testing out this “stream of consciousness” thing we’ve all read about in high school English classes. So I’m gonna try to write whatever the hell I’m thinking right now without clicking the delete button once. Almost impossible. I’m actually very tempted to erase this entire thing right now, but alas, I’ll try to continue.

When I started blogging, I told myself that this is an opportunity to write about things that matter to me in a conversational/free-flowing way that I couldn’t in college papers and resumes and other shit. But I just don’t think that’s possible anymore. As in like, I’ve forgotten how to write without premeditation, without contemplating how the person reading my writing would think about it. In short, I’ve come to regard writing as a act to entertain my audience rather than release my inner turmoil or whatever. Well, sometimes it works both ways, but it’s been years since I’ve been able to write something solely for myself. And that’s back when I kept a diary, when I was about seven years old. When high school rolled around, my attitude toward writing changed drastically, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. My writing became more sophisticated and disciplined, more coherent and reflective. But it’s just never been as reckless and natural as it once was, no matter how hard I tried to escape the mold of academic essays. Even as I’m blogging now, and I keep telling myself that no one’s gonna give me negative feedback/constructive criticism on whatever the fuck I’m writing, it’s still hard to believe that I have no audience, that I’m writing solely for myself. And sometimes it’s hard to be 100% honest with yourself when you’re so focused on what the audience would say; like, you might think that you’re writing what you believe in, but in reality you’re probably influenced by what your reader believes.

I don’t know if any of that made any sense, as I said before that I’m not going to organize my thoughts or revise anything. Basically what I’m trying to say is that years of writing academic essays have made me into this paranoid machine that can’t write anything without worrying about how it would be perceived by other people. And maybe that’s a good thing, as it prevents me from putting out poorly-worded bullshit like this crap right here. But I don’t know, sometimes it’s nice to just rant like there’s no one listening or judging you. And maybe blogging like this every once in a while will get me into the habit of writing freely again.