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.

 

Advertisements

Bite-sized Brains

Musings/Rants

Do you ever wondered how often the “9” button on the microwave is pressed?

I was thinking about that because my mom left me some noodles for lunch, but I was too lazy to heat it up so I just ate some cereal instead. The microwave is at once the most-used and most-underused device in the household. We use it almost everyday for almost any type of food – drinks, packaged food, left-overs, popcorn – but at the same, we only ever use half of it. When was the last time you hit any button on the top row? You only hear about one-minute Quiche, two-minute noodlesfive-minute brownies. Let’s be real, if you have to wait seven-minutes for the damn microwave, you might as well just get the pan out and cook something.

For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to have enough time. Everything in our lives somehow revolves around speed. How can I get the most done in the least amount of time? This attitude applies to communication more than anything else. The reason why news and social media have become intertwined is that we young people just can’t be bothered to open up a new tab on The NY Times or The Washington Post and search for serious shit ourselves. But being the narcissistic gossipers we are, of course we’d be on Facebook all the time, so the only way the government or whatever can get us updated on worldly affairs is by posting bite-sized headlines on the FB Home page for us to skim through while we’re stalking other people. It’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

I’m not sure if our short-attention span is a cultural thing or a hereditary thing. All I know is that actively seeking detailed and complicated information is a long and winding process that doesn’t appeal to me. And patience isn’t my strong suit. But despite all that, I believe we still need to put in that effort to learn new things, even if they don’t interest us as much. That nine-minute microwave chocolate cake probably tastes a thousand times better than anything you can get in two-minutes. You just have to be patient enough to see it through.

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.