If you are aware of a state which you call “is”, or reality, or life, this implies another state called isn’t. Or illusion, or unreality, or nothingness or death. There it is. You can’t know one without the other. And so as to make life poignant, it’s always going to come to an end. That is exactly, don’t you see, what makes it lively. Liveliness is change, it is motion, and motion is going to fall out and be gone.

Everybody should do in their lifetime, sometime, two things. One is to consider death. To observe skulls and skeletons, and to wonder what it will be like to go to sleep and to never wake up, never. That is […] a very gloomy thing for contemplation. But it’s like manure. Just as manure fertilizes the plants and so on, so the contemplation of death, and the acceptance of death is very highly generative of creating lifeYou get wonderful things out of that.

(Quotes by Alan Watts. Song is “Hungry Ghost” by STRFKR.)

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“I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903 in Letters to a Young Poet

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“My type of people” can be very divisive. If you’re celebrating something you have in common with a group of people, you inevitably exclude a lot of people too. And there’s also the idea of not being cool/nerdy/artsy enough. It can very quickly become judgmental. I’m not black enough for black people. I’m not Haitian enough for Haitian people. I’m not Jamaican enough for Jamaican people. And I’m not American enough for Americans! I’ve been out of place in each group, so why would I identify with them, especially when our “bond/connection” is arbitrary? Nobody chooses to be born of a certain race or nationality. So why would we use that to judge one another?

Ancestry is just that: ancient. It affects the genes we have and how we look. But we choose who we are. 

It bothers me that this sometimes guides not only hate but also love – why is interracial dating so rare? In so many TV shows that have one token black character, he/she rarely gets a romantically involved with one of the existing characters, rather another black person comes in to fill that role. Are you missing the subtext? Why did my Korean college roommate only have Korean friends? Koreans were the minority at our school! I personally think the idea of choosing your friends or mates based on their ethnicity is gross, disgusting, pathetic, shallow, close-minded, horrible, and wrong. Just imagine all the awesome people you’re missing out on.

I can’t shut up about this. I’ve written about it before.

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*I may be dating an “aggressively white” person (his words, not mine) at the moment, but I actually wrote this months before we met.

**Though, maybe this is all just a part of how much I love juxtaposition. I love contrast in every weird way you can imagine: visually, my love for black & white patterns; socially, I love breaking stereotypes by working in a male-dominated field and being my own handywoman at home; my philosophical thoughts about crying in public; musically, in high school I loved songs that mixed rock and rap; now I love rap & r&b mixed with electro; the Flaming Lips’ version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon; all these crazy flavor combos in my cakes; and even the contrast between my the two main characters of my favourite book, Leo and Alma, after whom I named the moon and sun, respectively. I thrill in the unexpected! I find the chaos of life to be beautiful and inspiring. I especially delight in cities where people of all types and all backgrounds cross paths unexpectedly (it’s what I truly love about the USA). The way we can find something in common with absolutely everyone. Convergence. Unity. Oneness. Humanity.

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screw beautiful

Here’s a list of things that frustrate me endlessly. Aka, the biggest rant of my life.

  1. Judging without understanding.
    • Don’t just tell me I’m weird. Ask why I’m doing this thing; then decide how weird it is.
  2. Assuming things instead of asking questions and listening.
    • Obviously closely related to #1. But I had to admonish the word “assume” and promote questioning and listening.
  3. Not answering questions clearly and specifically.
    • Almost every time I ask a person “what is the movie about?” they tell me who the actors or directors are.
    • Many times at work I ask a yes-or-no question or ask for instructions, and I get a history lesson or story instead. I ask not because I don’t know the complexity of a situation, but to get clarity on how to address it.
  4. Idolizing people.
    • Idolize is defined as “to worship as a god; broadly: to love or admire to excess”.
    • All people are fallible. All people have weaknesses along with their strengths.
    • This especially applies to the way people treat celebrities, and “fandom”. You can appreciate a person’s work, talents, and contributions without idolizing them.
    • This is hard to describe in specifics, but generally you can call Beyoncé a music genius, but don’t call her a fucking queen!
  5. Failure to ask for what you want. Directly! Repeatedly!
    • If you don’t share your needs/wants/frustrations, you can only blame yourself.

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When young men protested being suddenly called for compulsory military service, the public called them “unmanly,” “cowardly,” and “disgraceful,” To counter this view, Beata Tiskevic-Hasanova and Neringa Rekasiute “began capturing portraits of men suddenly conscripted into the Lithuanian army just a few short months ago. … Beata and Neringa thought this project would be a good way to show how dangerous gender expectations are: a man is expected to be rational, emotionless, and aggressive. But if that is the gender stereotype we accept and allow to rule our masculine-driven world, little will be resolved through the way of conflict. …Every picture is accompanied by the models’ quotes. They are expressing their opinions about what it is to be manly and how it relates to going to the army.”

Pictures from, and words paraphrased from this article at trueactivist.com

 

1 Jaunius

JAUNIUS, 18: A gun in your hands doesn’t define your manliness.

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Conformity is the jailor of freedom and the enemy of growth.

– John F. Kennedy

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Authenticity

Acceptance

Confidence

Self-awareness

Self-love

Openness

Limitation

Judgement

Vulnerability

Shame

Closeness

 

 

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I have a hard time understanding what spirituality is.

In some ways, I feel a cosmic connection to all beings, human and non-human, alive and dead. A lot of people call that idea spiritual, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a basic fact of the universe, that we are connected simply by the fact that we all exist and share this world, this experience together. Maybe the significance that one places upon that is the defining difference. To me, this connection is beautiful. Life is beautiful and rare, vast and deep.

What is spirit? Is spirit a higher power, a creator, a master of the universe? Or is spirit literally just connection. Like, “Get in the spirit” or “spirited fans” — where spirit is everyone joined together in their excitement. Or does spirit in that context just mean excitement, and the connection isn’t important?

Some people use spirit to mean the essence of a person, their “soul,” what defines them as a person.

Here’s an interesting description of “spirit”, captured by Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York:

“I’m studying to be a rabbi. I’m a little worried that I’ll be out of a job because less and less people seem to find religion meaningful. It’s getting to the point where it seems crazy or stupid for someone my age to believe in God. I see God most in my relationships with other people. Victor Hugo said that ‘to love another person is to see the face of God.’ I think our capacity to love is uniquely human and naturally connects us to something higher than ourselves. I even think that loving a baseball team can be a religious experience. I was here in 2012 when Santana pitched his no hitter. Everyone in this stadium was holding their breath at the exact same time. And when the game ended, everyone screamed with the same joy. We all felt so connected at that moment. And I think that was holy. That’s the feeling I want to create in my synagogue.”

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And of course, no post even remotely related to region would be complete without the following:


charming
kindly
incredible
energy
warmth
pain
loss
Love, capital L.

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I don’t like needing things, and that sometimes includes needing people. I like to think of myself a self-sufficient, self-reliant, independent to a fault (as in, so much that it’s a bad quality; I love the phrase “to a fault”). Sometimes I feel really good about this tendency of mine; it makes me feel mature, powerful, and whole – the opposite of “you complete me,” I am complete! But many times it makes me worry. I like spending time with myself (as opposed to spending time alone), but it’s hard to find a balance with that and spending time with others. It gives me time to reflect, to process, to understand my thoughts, desires, emotions, time to get to know myself. I love that when I’m alone I don’t have to pretend anything: I don’t have to act polite, or sit straight, or pretend to be interested in dumb gossip, or put on a happy face. It’s the one time that I can truly be authentic with who I am, and how I am at that moment in time. I’ve been worried lately that I like time alone so much that it’s been unbalanced. And in some ways that’s true.
After reading this article about the perks of alone time, I realized it’s definitely been unbalanced over the last few months. I reflect too much, to the point of over-questioning, self-doubt, and utterly crushing confusion. Sometimes I am way too in touch with my emotions, which is only one aspect of the rich human experience (as I’m trying to remind myself). I am so spoiled with “time to recharge”, and “doing things I prefer” instead of compromising, and “not trying to please others”, that when I am around others, I get frustrated and exhausted easier than I’d like*. This is certainly NOT always true. But it’s truer than I’d like, truer than is healthy. I’ve been worried that I’m an introvert (which isn’t a bad thing, just so un-me in some ways), or that I’m reclusive (which shouldn’t be a bad thing, right?). But maybe I’m just getting picker over who I spend my time with? I’ve noticed lately that time with people pulls me out of the tight corners my overthinking sometimes puts me in. This is especially true of the time I’ve spent with Flora and Divya. In some ways, I feel like I’ve healed so much in the last week and a half that I’ve spent with them. It’s weird, because there were things I wasn’t even thinking about, and unpleasant feelings I wasn’t in touch with until just before meeting up with Flora in France, and it was upsetting, but I feel like I’ve started to work through it more than expected. Thanks friends!
Anyway, recently this fear of  being too self-reliant has gotten more interesting. I’m wondering – why do we need other people to validate ourselves, especially our feelings or opinions? Shouldn’t it be enough that we feel what we feel, and we think what we think? Why are we so desperate to find someone that agrees with us? Why is it sometimes angering that we sit alone in our feelings or thoughts? Isn’t that an extreme response? Being alone in my feelings/opinions feels incredibly isolating, and I don’t like that at all. But why do we feel the need to assert ourselves to others? If it’s in the past, can’t we just make up our mind about something and move on? Which is more insane, needing validation and digging through history in search of it, or suffocating that proclivity?

Basically, why does George Costanza feel the need to hunt this dude down and call him a jerk? Shouldn’t it be enough that he decided he’s a jerk and made a joke with it? Why does he feel the need to tell him? This clip, shows how silly this idea of validation can be.

*Partly it’s because I’m sensitive, and I have high expectations of people – a common irritation is others not being as thoughtful as I expect them to be.