It was, like most things tend to be in hindsight—and yet very rarely during—a beautiful, ripe, hard, and hopeful time.
I have been glued to the weather app, desperately looking for smaller numbers that I can revel in because frankly, I was still sweating outside, shivering cold in the air conditioned indoors, and unable to find pleasure in the supposedly-changing weather. For a while, everything had been feeling, suffocatingly, the same.
A language, of course, is not only its words. It is how those words work together. It is what syntax can communicate, and it is the meaning that is delivered when it all comes together.
I think everyone yearns to have a fleeting conversation with someone they don’t know. In an instant, you can puncture the fabric of disillusionment. There’s power in that.
Knowing something is ecological—it depends on the company we keep, the articles we read, whether we pay attention to our surroundings while walking in a city or if we tune them out. What I know, and what you know, are necessarily different.
Make summer plans. Open your notes app or take a pad of sticky notes. On any surface, write the words you want to bring into your world for this summer. Action words like ‘Play’ work just as well as abstract nouns like ’Theory.’ Define your summer with ideas in phrases, sentences, or even photos. Then go live it.
Getting dressed is a basic human pleasure, and even I can confess that style is the most charming when it is expressed. But the reliance on appearance as a fundamental, nay, lasting expression of who someone is, is disaffecting. My leggings simply don’t deliver. Did they change the way I was to be perceived? Maybe. It would be socially naive to suggest they wouldn’t. But what matters is if I can come to terms with that.
Abundance is not a bad thing, until it is multiplied into a material state of overabundance. It becomes hard to distinguish the former when we adapt to seeing the latter as a constant norm, as when the lack of extra plated food becomes abnormal… it becomes not enough.
But I’m also a regular realist who, at the end of the day, knows that it’s just normal to be living a human life in tune with a two-steps-forward-one-step-back choreography. I’m not interested in the purely ultra-human, or in the achievement of optimal results. I’m interested in the complicated and interpersonal everyday that it takes trying to get there.
I have an XXL plain black cotton t-shirt that I’ve been meaning to get rid of, but in the past month alone, I’ve worn, washed, and ironed it at least four times. Usually, that’s a sign for me to keep something because a) it works and b) I use it regularly. The shirt is five sizes too big, has two pin–prick sized holes, and has faded into a non-fashionable washed black. It’s a Fruit of the Loom generic cotton tee that I got from a Goodwill for a design project many years ago and bought for a single US dollar that I paid for in quarters.
I didn’t have a clear understanding of how the world worked, but I had an inkling, as a creative person, that I was in a larger web of making stuff for temporary consumption before it all succumbed to the test of time and ended up in a pile of cultural trends, contributing to the endless cycle of creating, consuming, and then eventually, forgetting.
Reading the poems I wrote, I feel all sorts of things towards my undergrad self: sympathetic, understanding, even a right amount of cringe. But mainly, as someone who works in the creative industry now, I feel like I’ve lost something.