Friday, January 10, 2014

notes to self, 1.10.14

Right, so... you're here. Physically, at least. And you're far from being alone, yet you feel so lonely. Here comes a waterfall of self-pity, shame, and hopelessness.

You know that you have to quiet your mind. You know it, you know it... you know of some things you can do--healthy activities--that are capable of calming you down completely. Yet those are the last things you feel like doing right now.

She loves you, right? And you love her. But that doesn't stop you from feeling alone, dejected, unwanted, and unworthy of all that is righteous. She loves you. So what? She's fast asleep on the other side of this monstrous ocean, and even if she were right here with you, she couldn't help you even if she tried. Only you can pull yourself out of this. The question is, do you want to do that?

You can't decide whether you're being too hard on yourself or not hard enough. Are your worries warranted, or should you be worrying more? Look at you. You're driving yourself insane. This is a vicious cycle that you've dealt with for quite a while now, yet you're still not used to it. You haven't learned yet that you need to move with the negativity rather than struggling against it. Struggle is no use. You'll always come back to these lows no matter what you do. There are bumps, ups and downs--that's the nature of being. It's no use trying to sustain whatever highs you experience. They're just as impermanent as the lows. Flow with it, baby... write yourself through it... allow your body and your mind to relax to the fullest extent possible.

You are who you are. You're so man things, yet you're changing every moment along with the rest of the universe. It's useless to cling to anything at all. Your thoughts harken back to high school. Sure, you've changed a lot since then. So much time and so many events separate you from the person you were four years ago. You're even a completely different person than the one you were six months month ago...a week ago....five minutes ago. Haven't you felt your mood shift drastically since you began writing this? Your thoughts aren't as panicked and maniacal as they were before. I guess I was wrong about do seem like you want to feel better. Hats off to you, good human. Don't worry. Keep doing what you're doing, as long as it's good for you in that moment. Keep flowing. Trust yourself. You really needn't worry...

This room is small. Too small sometimes. It makes you feel like a caged animal to be holed up in here for hours on end...artificial human contact whatsoever...representations of life on your computer really are a social being. It energizes you to have positive, fulfilling interactions with others. Let's try to make more room for that...oh, yes, you're already doing exactly that! Look at what you did today, and what you have planned for the weekend...well, good for you, old chap. Do carry on...

Bold actions are the cure for worry, at least in your case. Act like the mama duck does as she crosses the street--she doesn't wait for her ducklings to follow; they do so of their own accord. She is wise, and she knows this, so she doesn't look back once.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

define your habits, define your life

the sentiment “i don’t know what i’m thinking until i write,” or one of its many variations, has been attributed to many authors. i find that it’s true for me as well.

lately, i've haven't been putting much effort into consciously assessing my thoughts. instead of observing my mental activity, i often allow it to infiltrate the actions i take and to lead me off track. i let my thoughts control me. as someone snoozes in the next room, here i am, thinking. thinking so much.

i’ve been trying not to think so much, or at the very least, to recognize when i’m thinking too much and to stop myself. thought is extremely powerful. fortunately, for the most part, you control it. so you have the power to stop your thought process at any time and direct it elsewhere--somewhere useful. i believe that this is a vital skill. more vital, perhaps, than any other skill you can acquire. and it's an ability that is cultivated over time.

someone told me the other day, “if you can’t control yourself, you can’t control others.” this struck me as both a powerful and confusing thing to say. why would i want to control others? also, i feel that it’s so much harder to control yourself than it is to control anyone else. exercising restraint is probably the most difficult thing for a living, feeling, thinking human being to do. compared to living a highly disciplined life, getting somebody else to do something is usually a piece of cake.

how difficult is it to discipline yourself to do something, a specific practice, for a certain amount of time each day? for me, this is extremely difficult. i often lack the self-discipline that is necessary to choose one or two skills to work on, and to work on them consistently.
on monday i turn 21. i want to start working even harder for what i want this year.

this time ten years ago i was about to turn 11. i remember, during my 11th birthday party, telling my mom, with complete seriousness, that i was an adult, and that i should be treated like one.

that was a whole decade ago. in a decade from now, i’ll be on the brink of my 31st birthday. if i want to “get anywhere” in my life--if i want to live the life of my dreams, rather--i have to get started now. i am convinced that the most ingrained habits i have now are going to define the path that i will walk for the rest of my days. i want to cultivate only good habits. i want to become enmeshed in healthy and helpful routines.

school is still in session. it’s still something i have to deal with. but no matter. i can use the discipline skills i need in order to complete my schoolwork efficiently and on time while working two jobs to inform the ways in which i carry out my other routines. routines that will get me where i want to go and be.

but first, i guess i must define where i want to be. what are my long-term goals? the question that is constantly gnawing at me. the question i have yet to answer.

travel and writing--those are the keywords for me right now. travel and writing. writing in any form, really--it doesn’t have to be journalism, necessarily. and the practice doesn’t have to be writing either, although it’s something that i am naturally good at. communication, perhaps, is a more suitable word. communication of ideas and principles, in whatever medium possible--visual art, film, writing, etc. that combined with traveling. that's how i would like to earn a living and spend my days.

i want to define some good habits that i’d like to engrain in my everyday life, starting now… habits that i want to begin and maintain.

  1. daily meditation routine
  2. write at least 1,500 words every day (outside of schoolwork)
  3. mostly healthy diet--an abundance of fruits and veggies
  4. instead of saying, “i’ll do it later,” ask myself, “what can i do now?”
  5. a committed avoidance of unkind words and negative talk

i know i can do it. and if i do this, i can accomplish most anything else.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

polish train

we whizzed by
countrysides dotted with
red-roofed tiny houses
in which women stirred pots
and kneaded dough
in the slowly fading summer afternoon
of three-o-clock.
fields spanned further than i could trace
with my eyes.
i had never seen such colors
as those that i witnessed
giving life to the grass
and the flowers
sprouting from the soil.
at the crossroads
people stopped
on their bikes,
in their little cars
and watched the train
with indifferent eyes
as we passed
clanking, rattling, no seats.
as i stood
at the open windows of that old train,
i found that
i could feel
impossibly alive.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I tune in. I'm in.

Time is the thin shell surrounding the yolky egg of eternity.
(Can you tell that I'm reading Tom Robbins at the moment?)

I listen to the slight scraping sound my shoes make as I lift them off the ground to climb the next stair.

I watch as the shadow of my pen jots and bobs its way across the page.

What's different about this? You know that you feel differently, but you can't quite put your finger on the things that have changed.

On the one hand, you want to be as precise and exacting as you could be.
On the other hand, you want to get rid of all those ideas that you hold––have held––for quite a while. You want to reject the very systems which have built in your mind the sturdy foundations of those thoughts.

Whatever you do in life.... they told you that you can do anything. But don't do that.

You used to sing your way through the blues.

What happened?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


 was helplessly curious when I was younger, as most children are.

I bothered my parents with incessant questions, mostly about little things that don’t have simple answers—why do dogs bark instead of meow? How hard is it to become an astronaut? What is rice?

My mother would often respond with an exasperated “I don’t know.” Upon further questioning, her tone would become harsh, threatening. “I don’t know,” she’d say, “and it doesn’t matter. Go play.”

My father told me that he was the smartest man in the world. I believed everything he said, including that claim, so his tactic was to provide me with made-up answers.

For Christmas one year, I received the Big Book of Questions and Answers. While I enjoyed it thoroughly—devoured it, even, especially the section on human anatomy—I now realize that it was a tongue-in-cheek attempt at suppressing my curiosity.

Curiosity is something we lose as we grow up. Most of us have this tendency to stop searching, exploring, probing, and asking questions--things that come so naturally to us when we're young.

I long to tap into this aspect of the child-mind once again.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cosmic Indifference

Today, I enjoyed quality time with myself for the first time in a while.

The past week I was living my life for other people, putting their interests and desires above my own. For what reason, I know not. No more of that.

Today I resolved to start living for myself again, and the things I did today, I think, served as healthy little steps in the right direction.

I went to Bluestockings, a small, independent book store in the Bowery centered around queer studies, activism, and general rebellion. I browsed their selection and made note of writers I want to read--Alice Walker and Amber L. Hollibaugh among them. I sat and read a book I purchased from a thrift store earlier, Ways of Reading, deconstructing the writing process and ideas of Gloria E. AnzaldĂșa while enjoying the store's tasty one-dollar coffee. I fell in love with the place. I'm going back tomorrow for a reading.

After a good while, I left and allowed myself to wander aimlessly, allowing only my stomach to guide me to a suitable restaurant.

Though I should be trying to save money, I cast all inhibitions aside and treated myself to a rather expensive dish of something, the name of which I cannot pronounce nor remember. It contained tomatoes and chiles and two eggs and green stuff that was in a lot of the dishes in Poland (not the green stuff that I hate, the other green stuff) and probably lots of other ingredients, and it was served with a pita. I enjoyed my meal while reading the free copy of Girls Like Us Magazine that I'd picked up from Bluestockings.

After finishing up, I stepped back out into the street, enjoying the feeling of the warm air on my skin (for once, it didn't rain). I took pictures on my phone of things that made me smile. I marveled at the fact that the city remains alive and bustling even on a Sunday night.

I thought of a woman who lived in the area--the woman who, on Thursday night, gave me a squished piece of Lindt chocolate and kissed my eyebrows and tied me up and made me weep, and then made me a breakfast of eggs and espresso in the morning.

As I waited to cross Kenmare Street, I looked at a tall, lit-up building in the distance and then I down at my bag and my feet. I assessed my situation. In my younger days, I would never have pictured myself ending up where I was in that moment. Never, ever could I have pictured it. I felt proud of the person I have become--not 100 percent proud, but much prouder than I've felt lately. I felt happy. Elated, even. I have ended up somewhere within the realm of where I wanted to be at this age.

There is no need for me to be restless and to want to move on. I am here, I am already here--exactly where I need to be.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Yesterday I took pictures of interesting sights on the city streets. I visited MOMA because it's free on Friday nights. I met up with Olivia, who I hadn't seen in ages.

Bloody Primates on 57 Street

A group was doing a demonstration on Air France's transportation of animals to laboratories where they become test subjects.

Annnnd then this dog tried to carry away one of the stuffed animals they were using. Haha.

Vibrance on St. Mark's


Two women protesting MOMA's lack of support for female artists -- "MOMA opens, but not to women artists"