Singing loudly and not hating what you love.

First thing in the morning, I’m howling. To the tunes of Cardi B and Sumi Jo, I’m taking my throat for a morning drive. If nothing else it’s going to be the harshest sound that I’m going to hear all day. Everyone who heard the noise was disturbed (they let me know), and I’ve learned not to care, because I discovered that I’ve since started to yield a bigger voice and it’s already having an effect on my life. All of a sudden people stopped asking me to repeat what I’ve just said, which was nice indeed. I don’t know what prompted my desire to start singing, maybe the desire was always there and I was just too good at ignoring it. I was a pro at ignoring myself as it turned out. There was this persistent voice that was telling me that what I liked did not mean shit, until recently I didn’t even have the courage to question, “Why not?” That was just how things were.

Something told me to sing, and it was getting louder. That must be the new voice in my head and I am slowly getting to trust that new voice. It tells me that what I like is not shit, it tells me that even though I failed so many times, at so many things, those experiences are not meaningless, that I am not meaningless. I fight myself and others harder to let that voice speak and get heard. It was hard, taking responsibility for oneself was so unexpectedly hard. You have to get to know who this person is, you have to be OK with the history this person brings, the mistakes this person has made and is making. It’s about compassion, it’s about dignity, it’s about courage. It takes work to really love oneself.

This is the way things are now. Do I wish to arrive here sooner? No, I don’t. For having that thought discredits the journey. I’m neither old, nor I’m young. I marvel at the younger generations who are adding their own voices to the melody and I know they are the best. I’m watching the older generations who sometimes appear to be as lost as a helpless child and I hope we’re all learning their lessons. The time spent agonizing and being confused is all worth it if we don’t give up. As it is, I’m glad that I’m singing badly and I don’t mind that it might get heard from time to time.

Happy Easter.

easter egg

What I hope I’d learned.

What I hope I had learned:
nobody knows what they are doing.
They try to stop you from going anywhere
because they themselves are scared.

Earn your independence at all cost,
it’s the foundation of all else to come.
People will tell you that this is wrong
then do their darnedest to weight you down.

Next comes the journey to be free,
don’t think it’s as easy as it sounds.
Pay attention to how you spend your time.
Staying too comfortable you got it wrong.

Follow your passion is as cliché as they come.
Listen to the heartbeat whatever you’ve been running from.
It does not matter if it’s impossible or nobody will remember.
Sweet is the life that’s obstinately on fire.

Infinite.

It’s not necessary to despair,
there’s infinite possibilities.
No one can try them all,
up to you to make that journey.

When they present you with a choice
know what they don’t have:
your unique perspectives.
So follow your path with all your worth.

Life’s a state of mind.
The enlightened calls for emptiness,
yet still afraid when death comes.
Why is that? Being dust is peaceful enough.

It’s not wrong to cling & indulge.
It’s not right to love with abundance.
It’s nice to know your place
just to have a look at the infinite.

Napping thought – Dec 31st.

What is a normal person? I just realized I’ve never met a normal person in my life. Me being a slightly crazy person I fancy myself to be am constantly surprised by other people. Is the concept of a normal person but a social fantasy? Is being normal really normal? If so, have a Very Normal 2019!

Napping thought – Dec 18.

If any living organisms making up us humans suddenly decide they don’t want to function anymore, or they want to be part of a fish as a matter of will, well, they can’t. They can die relative to the body, according to the nature of their elements but they are not equipped with the faculties (far as we know) to think and to decide if they want a better life somewhere else. The path has been made for them. As humans, arguably the cumulation of the same evolutionary forces, we have that ability and we are conscious of the power of it to some degree. Whether we use it deliberately well enough is another matter. I just think, far as this afternoon Zzz goes, it is the most precious thing indeed.

Black and grey.

I feel despair twirling around me washing me down. It’s a familiar sensation, but the forefront of the storm does not come from me but from the one sitting next to me, seeking help. I thought I’d guided her enough for her to at least not to be afraid of this far-too-alien thing she’s working on, or more precisely for the moment, I’m working on. She’s a graduate student that needs help making an experiment work for her paper. I can see that she’s upset like she’s not used to being so helplessly lost. It’s just English, I remember telling her, mixed with some logic symbols so the machines can understand. I also told her: it’s like talking to a very stupid and yet very intelligent tool. My guess is that does not help one bit. People have anxieties, and this thing that feels nothing just deals in 1s and 0s. I guess it’s nice being so primitive.

The coffee is getting cold. Good thing I drank most of it before she came, the bitter smooth taste still sours my palate, just the way I like it, as it distracts me from my guilt. I move away from both the taste and the background emotional radiation so I can find a solution to this problem in front of the man-made screen with a man-made experiment using a man-made program that speaks a man-made language. That’s my domain for a time and that’s where I learned how to talk.

Easy enough, several misconceptions and curious explorations later, things start to work and the previously downcasted student becomes much more animated with suggestions of workarounds and talks of new visions for her experiment. It’s always uplifting to see that happen. I feel her mood changing from dark grey to white yellow, but I do not dwell on that either. All too familiar with that cycle. But for me, it’s kinda the opposite. When I cannot figure something out, I get pumped, and when I’m finished with it, either from giving up or succeeding, I feel down. There’s not much difference.

How can anyone truly despair when there’s so much left to know? I guess that depends on what you want to know. When there’s no longer any observer, will these 1s and 0s mean anything?

I wonder if we are being too loud in this narrow coffee shop that’s half-filled with students and people lounging about. Another gorgeous day. I feel a bit apologetic, but my companion does not seem to take notice, too wrapped up in her excitement now. Might as well, it’s not my favorite coffee shop anyway.

Meditation.

What you lost
is your biggest treasure.
How that hurts
is a gift you can’t refuse.

When you don’t look away
but humbly accept,
along with the cost,
one breath to the next.

Cast the burden
into the wings you fly with.
You better think
when they tell you it’s worthless.

Give a prayer
to the spirits you now know.
Can you comprehend it
the quietness in your soul?

It’s not supposed to be easy.

I wonder if I’m useful to anybody. My “artistry” is but a drop in the salty ocean that is crashing with misery… No, we are not talking about misery, we are talking about something above and below the ocean. Something more tangible, I think. The spark that happens when a sharpened mind meets the proverbial metal.

The technical recruiters should be giving up on me now, now it’s been 11 months into my startup. Why should that makes me feel bad? Shouldn’t they be jealous? Not indifferent I’m sure… It doesn’t matter to me, it shouldn’t matter to me. I’ve learned they want you to pay the same price they are paying for a lesser good than they are getting. “What’s wrong with you?” They seem to be saying, “You are practically a beggar, out of touch with the real world.” Or was it just my insecurities?

I went to the real world, a coffee shop, to work. You see I get to decide how and where and when I get to work. It’s still something I’m getting used to. Like I can start writing at 1:45am because I feel my emotion’s sway and don’t have to worry about traffic and office politics tomorrow, today. So I indulge myself in a most important way. As I was saying, I went to this quiet and out-of-the-way coffee shop. It was not my intention to go to a quiet one for I like, and sometimes need, the hustle-and-bustle of the more urban coffee shops have to offer to get myself into gear. But this one is close and has good online reviews. It’s better than wondering where I should go anyhow.

They do have good coffee. And I saw a different type of people frequenting this place than the ones I’m used to. Instead of college students working on their assignments or tech workers going there for a change of scenery, there were people you’d normally see in a sleepy town: well-dressed older lady with family and older men with the kind of attitude you’d imagine they’d won the lottery. I felt uneasy in my Cuphead video-game T-shirt and faded jeans, on top of a ripped shoulder-bag and a laptop that has stickers on it. But I enjoyed the coffee.

I feel out of step with the world only in a narrow sense. The journey of finding myself again is a necessary one and it has led me to surprising realizations. I’m crying more often these days because of the pressure and the release. It gets easier to keep fear at bay, though it still has its use, so it has its place. But something else is surprising, or perhaps not surprising: it takes a lot to really do what you really think is worth your time. As a result, suffering has become a familiar visitor ever since it has stopped being just a pain but revealed itself as an opportunity.

Living your life not according to social norms means suffering to a degree. The doubts pierce your heart and every step is a leap of faith. But you know what, I have lived a stable life with the usual things and found it lacking. Doing startup or anything at all requires grits. And using those grits, testing them, tasting the bitterness is its own reward.

The key is to see the colors behind the dark and gray. Just because you are happy does not mean life is going well and vice versa. It does not matter what kinda plate you have been served, there’s always a meaning if you are looking for something, and there’s always something. But if you are holding onto something too much, measuring the life you are living with something that only lives in your fantasies you are missing the point.

Life was never supposed to be easy. Even when we are chasing after an easy life, it’s not the goal we are chasing, it’s the journey. Our ingenuity and our spirit can only truly shine when we are in motion, making contact with all the wrong things in all the wrong places. Can you feel that? When you are only squeezing by, do you feel more alive? We are chasing the wrong things. Leisure and excess, they are what kills, not struggles and hurt. Live for it, accept it into your life, carry on with it, be worthy of it all.

Why stories..

I wish I can write whenever I want to write. As it is, far too often the inspiration comes, then I put my mind up to the task only to find… I have a dud. Whether it’s the wrong thing to start with or most of the times, like right now, the energy is just not there. I can conjure up the sentiment, the spark just barely lit but alas there’s no oxygen to make it a fire. Half-finished pieces are impossible to finish. The feeling just isn’t there anymore. So I start another one. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? I’m only talking about the same ol’ thing. Guess I’m just searching for the right way to say it.

Sentences that are show stoppers, I have some in my mind when I started writing this one, but they seem not appropriate now. Something along the line of “when the flow comes, it just jumps right over the cliff.” It made sense then, probably just something to bait myself into continuing the conversation with myself. Also if it is a waterfall, shouldn’t there be rainbows and pretty mists? Maybe it will work better in a poem? I like poems. They are like waterfalls with pretty rhythms instead of rivers or lakes that are too restrictive.

My mind wanders. It tells me to shut down But I can’t go to sleep yet. I am shutting down, this is part of the procedure. This may not make sense, but “you only succeed when you are no longer afraid of failure”. I guess that’s what I want to say. And I hugged a tree today. I’m not surprised at the aching in my heart anymore as I was doing it, transmitting my feelings over to this gentle giant who is more connected than I can ever be. I touched its branch, I brushed its spring leaves. It whispers about love in the wind. I trust it more than anything I’ve known. It’s my home. To be fair, I don’t normally hug a tree, I don’t need to.

I don’t know how to tell a story. I tried to sketch a telltale story about Rev and Qi. I tried to compile the world this little girl Ming lived in which may or may not have ever existed. But I don’t know how to continue. What’s the next plot? What if I get the characters mixed up? What if I’m no longer welcomed in their skins? What if I become bored by their stories before they ever come to life?

Arg… can’t think anymore. It has become too frequent, this mental grating. I want to do things, I start to do things, only to find out that I won’t be finishing them. No! I will finish this story..

I usually write with headphones on to isolate the noises. Silence helps me think, or not to think. This voice in my head is what writes. It tells me to say hi. Just kidding. But it’s not always there. You have to have certain mental energy level to keep the flow going, otherwise, it just flows right over a cliff… haha. There. And there’s no rainbows and pretty shorelines, only darkness and dampness. Something like exhaustion.

Why so exhausted? I don’t know. I gave the tree my stories and it just stood there and took it. It can do nothing else, so it does not waste any energy to. But we are free agents of this same amount of life, and we get to choose: to spend it wisely or poorly. I’m more like hosing it in every direction like you’d imagine a tree-turned-person would. Like there’s no tomorrow. What’s this? It looks interesting. Can I have more of that? Speeding towards that on the way there. Eat, fresh, pray, repeat. We are all but vampires who are zapping for life wherever we can find it, steal it, bury it. Is this why we are here?

A life is a life, in my opinion, no matter the form. I feel the connection with my chickens when I look them in the eyes. They are evaluating me and finding me lacking but trustworthy and that has to be enough. I wonder if I can communicate with them or human beings as well as I can communicate with a tree. I doubt it. Maybe it’s a trust issue. After all, if the tree finds a way to betray you, you always know where to find it. You know about its simple and powerful ways and they will never change. Chickens die, people change. Whenever I look them in the eyes, I see doubts and needs which are too similar to my own.

I’m a coward. I want to preserve the simplicity by not diving deeply into things I know I will lose, hence the sentence “you only succeed when you are no longer afraid of failure” all the way the heck above, out of place, way back when I didn’t know where to put it, or why the heck it’s there in the first place. Ah! Maybe that’s the secret: maybe it’s not about telling a story, maybe it’s just saying anything, as long as it’s a byway of reaching something real. You don’t have to know what it is yet, you just have to know it’s there. And trust, that there’s always something, like that weird-ass tree, who will do the listening.

Sorry about the choppy beginning, Tree, it gets better. I promise.