30 Before 30: End of year update; 9 months to go

It’s weird looking at this list and wishing I could change parts of it; there are things that I thought I would want to do, but don’t seem as important anymore. Also, just now realizing that I can change it! I actually have another version of this list on my phone that is slightly different. I think the point is that I’m working towards accomplishing things–even though some of those things change, and some of those things are pretty ridiculous. But anyway! I realize I have only crossed out 6 things, but I have plans in motion to check off another 9 things on the list! I also did some things I never actually thought I would do, like go to England, and see Big Bang–twice! So I’m pretty happy with how it’s all going so far.

1. Learn Korean
2. Go to England Done!
3. Meet Patrick Stewart
4. Get in shape enough to join a masters synchro team
5. Get my masters in something
6. Have Scarlett learn my name as soon as possible
7. Make a video that’s longer than 7 minutes
8. See Big Bang Done! and Done!
9. Finish writing a story
10. Do the splits
11. Get more tattoos Done! and Done!
12. Dye my hair a fun colour Done!
13. Paint a series of paintings
14. Publish an article with a publication I respect Done!
15. Start a magazine/make a clothing line (even if only for myself)
16. Have a real world art show
17. Record a song about my cats
18. Go to New Orleans
19. Do 60 lengths in 60 minutes
20. Frame all art
21. Do the Lakeshore trail
22. Go to three MLB ballparks I’ve never been to before
23. Take a photo at every subway station
24. Learn to french braid properly
25. Build a coffee table
26. Go to a Lions game (I didn’t go to a Lions game this season, but that’s because the weekend we had planned to go, we went to the World Series instead. Acceptable substitute? I think so.)
27. Memorize a poem
28. Create an awesome choreographed dance routine and perform it with people I like
29. Volunteer
30. Cosplay as a Star Trek character at a convention of some kind

Evolution

During hot Australian afternoons, kangaroos move into whatever shade they can find and lick their wrists to stay cool. The evaporating saliva cools the blood vessels near the surface of their skin.

[If your skin had become my earth, your mouth my ocean, your body creating the shade I moved in, we could have spent time there, in the afternoon heat, your tongue wetting my wrists, keeping me cool despite the fires you were setting between my thighs. Instead, your fingers inside me were just a forced necessity, a formality born of the way our natures had adapted to the shit environment we'd created between us over the years.

Inhospitable. Our bodies going on without us, somehow unaware of the barrenness of intentions, the hollowness of our movements. Reminding me of post-apocalyptic literature: picturing your eyes as the cause of both a destructive and a desolate future; the equal opportunists of the right sort of sincerity, left to your own devices. If we were it, all that was left, what could we save? The distance is too great between the fiction of saving you and the reality of not needing to. Our land was a desert lacking all the words I wanted you to say to me. But still containing your wife, most of the time.

I always assumed you were naturally warm--not a person to care for electric blankets, hot tea, fireplaces, updated furnaces, friction, reactions, chemical or unpredictable--keeping us around for comfort, not out of need. Maybe you were warm, but in temperature, not in kind. And baby, wasn't the warmth of my mouth the place you were best familiar with anyway? Is that a warmth we can count as heat? Hot enough to warrant slick forearms and evaporated spit? You have always been too cool to keep me to yourself.

Your hands on my hips, my fondness for complicated goodbyes, your looks across the table, my inability to make it up to you, your questions on what I thought of your work, my preoccupation with someone new, our willingness to leave one another alone and unsafe.

And we stopped saying, "I love you." So what? This wasn't love; even marsupials know you hold the ones you love inside you.]

Real Talk: Am I Living Radically

the untitled mag screenshotI recently wrote an article for The Untitled Mag about living radically. I love The Untitled Mag so I felt very honoured that they chose to publish it (and make very graceful edits). I particularly like the author photo they chose for me! You can read it here.

A lot of what I wrote about was true but what I’m feeling lately is that living radically is hard. It’s hard to say Fuck You to anyone if I want to work and love and live in places where other people exist. It’s hard to be true when I’m expected to lie so often. It’s hard to try to be a better person when I don’t know what for.

It’s impossible to take pictures with your eyes closed. I just reached for my camera because I can feel that tightening in the back of my throat which means I’m about to cry and I just realized I don’t even know where it is.

Real talk: late night sadness

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When it’s late, and you don’t want anyone to see your sadness, don’t take a picture of it.

But if it’s late, and you want to share your sadness, take a picture of it. And then post it online.

And try to write a post about sadness but get too sad to even bother to start it. Start to cry instead. Wonder what justifies sadness. Feel completely unjustified. Absently wish you had a label to justify your being. Immediately feel ashamed for having wished that. Feel ashamed, silenced, unjustified in your being. Regret these feelings as they tend to be cyclical. Think about writing a poem to express your sadness. Remember you can’t remember how to make words work. Start to cry again. This should make poetry easier; instead, it makes you feel pathetic. Complain inwardly that it’s a bit early for SAD, don’t you think? Vow to not be sad anymore. Feel defeated before you even finish the thought. Get angry for letting yourself feel this way. Internalize a disgust for your lack of ambition and surplus of mediocrity. Feel like an idiot for using the phrase, “surplus of mediocrity.” Reminder of idiocy reminds you of your lack of ideas, which leads to your lack of motivation, which inevitably ends in inaction. Want to create a calm and a quiet that will lead to who you are. Cry. Again. Hate the restraints of English grammar. Hate people with bad sidewalk etiquette. Hate how no one in this city smiles. Hate this post. Pre-emptively hate unsolicited advice. Hate everything. Feel rage isn’t justified and that you don’t do it well anyway: give up on it. Wonder why infinite choice has rendered you useless. Stare off into an empty distance as you think on all the choices you’ve been privileged to make until you almost fall asleep.

Come back to yourself with a longing crawling over your entire body. Feel the need to have someone reach out. And touch you. Need someone to touch you. To share in this sadness.

Cry yourself to sleep. Be fine in the morning.

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Take a picture, it lasts longer: Do I still want to take pictures?

I know. I haven’t posted anything for awhile. (Side note: sometimes I just wish that we lived in a higher-context culture so that English grammar wasn’t so confusing.) I’ve sort of been busy? But more just feeling a bit, meh. I have these goals in my life and I’m finding them extremely frustrating at the moment because there’s all these steps required and they are all pre-requisites to the next and it’s making me crazy that I can’t have the end result right now. And I’m feeling frustrated that I’m always so torn about what exactly those next steps should be.

And all of that bullshit is affecting my photography. I haven’t taken many pictures recently and the ones I have, there’s always that little something wrong with them that makes them not what I want them to be. Ends up with me not liking any of them.

I liked the light in this room, that’s why I took the pictures. But when I looked at them after, it just never looked right. And the pictures don’t look right in black and white either, but at least there’s more contrast here. More starkness. But the light was so beautiful! ARGH. I’ll post a colour one too. But I think it looks boring.

This one is actually my favourite of these images I took. It’s got something there, you know? Something you can’t see but you can feel. I like it.

This one is too dark on the left and that would be okay, not everything needs to be balanced, but it makes the top half of me too dark, and I would like skin tones to be balanced. Also it looks like my mouth is open in a weird way which I’m not into.

This one’s okay. I guess. But nothing spectacular. It looked okay in colour too, but my face is stupid. It matches the colour version better but, I don’t know. I like drama in photos, or at least a thickness, a heaviness.

Now there’s a dumb face. But awesome hair. But I didn’t apply the lipstick correctly so it looks dumb.

I almost really like this one, except the depth of field is SO shallow that my face isn’t in focus. And of course the shitty lipstick application.

And here’s an unedited photo of my face that I would probably really like if I had no lipstick or eyeliner or eyebrow pencil on. Make up is really not one of my strengths. It’s always just a mess.

And now I’ve started going back through my photo folders and realizing that I’ve taken a lot of pictures that I’ve been unhappy with. Here! Look at some more!

I took these pictures awhile ago. I didn’t like them at all when I took them, but I sort of like this one now. It’s weird.

I sort of like this one too. It’s like stopping something mid-sentence. The lighting in both of these is hard to salvage though.

Anyway. I am intending to take more picture at some point. I don’t know. It just hasn’t felt right. But I wish it would; I wish I could need it again the way I once did. I think it’s a lot of things piled up that make me feel like I don’t: the debacle at work with people seeing my pictures (though that simultaneously makes me want to post things twice as “inappropriate” and three times as SEXUAL), my current disconnect between me and my body, my focus on work and trying desperately to get a full-time job, being in a city that I really don’t want to be in anymore, seeing other people take photos similar to ones I used to take and feeling like they’re doing just fine representing women who choose to take naked self-portraits and put them on the internet, feeling blahzeh about the whole thing.

I definitely know that I want to still take pictures though. Mostly because I want to repair that bodily disconnect and let myself speak again. Show people how I feel, (over)share with strangers on the internet. I like that shit. I want more of that shit. I have to stop talking about this shit and start doing this shit.

Yep. I’ve been writing this post over three days and haven’t read back over it so I’m sure it’s amazing. I haven’t been sleeping lately. And some other things: 1. Why is there not a UNIQLO in Toronto? 2. Why have BIG BANG tickets not yet gone on sale? It’s really stressing me out.

<3

Work It: What’s in my bag

I have to admit, I don’t have the most interesting things in my bag, but for some reason I’ve always wanted to do this. If anything the most interesting thing about this is my bag itself: a Harrods cat shopping bag that my aunt brought back from England for me and it is just about my most favourite thing I own. Look at all those cats!

Clockwise from top left: headphones, Virgin Mary coin purse, house keys with cat weapon, iPhone charger, knife with glass smasher and seat belt cutter (just in case), prescription sunglasses that don’t fit my face, pens, Advil, iPhone, USB drive, wallet, deodorant, 45 SPF sunscreen.

These are all the things I carry around in my bag at all times. And then there’s usually a book (currently No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod) and a notebook or two, but not always. Sometimes a sweater, because I don’t like being cold. Not very exciting, I suppose. BUT THERE IT IS.

Whew. We just got that much closer, you and I.