lifetoast

Category: thoughts

shining stars

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I like pastels.

I drink Starbucks.

I wear leggings as pants.

I’m as basic as it gets.

It’s funny: the phrase of “being basic.” This generation has such a need to prove themselves as full of sarcastic wit, so unique and hip.  Let me tell you something: YOU ARE SPECIAL. YOU ARE UNIQUE. It’s what you need to hear, I know. Sometimes in this world, you feel like the tiniest star in the galaxy.

Yet a dirty thing happens where we feel the need to be SHINING STARS. To say to the world: I. AM. SPECIAL. Somehow that message of confidence and strength in a critical world gets distorted into a desire to be the best. Where the only one that can shine is one person. Every person becomes a competitor. Judgment and harsh criticism seems to be the way to win.

But it is so powerful to be part of something, to find someone whose interests align with your own. That current of camaraderie sparks between two souls a kinship that we need in this world. It doesn’t dim your bright, shining soul to be similar to another person; it fosters it, nourishes it. Even if it’s just a love for Nike shorts or pumpkin spice lattes. So when you do share interests and habits with another person, celebrate it! And what intrigues me might not intrigue another. I don’t understand Trekkies but still! Let’s rejoice in it! A community gathering together for a shared love? It is beautiful.

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Wearing my J. Crew plaid shirt, Ralph Lauren puffy vest, Zara leggings, Ugg boots, Gap infinity scarf and Ray Bans while picking apples. Being basic and loving it. There is a hot apple cider somewhere in that wagon. At Linvilla Orchards.

i know my worth

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Of course, the break up concern turns quickly into a man hunt. “I know a guy that would be perfect for you!” “You have viable eggs!”

Yes, people are getting engaged and married and having babies. I’m happy for them. That was once my path! Yes, it seems bizarre to be diverted off that road. But why do I have to be so quick to get back on it?

I am in no rush to be committed to another person. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. And I want to say that I THINK IT’S OKAY TO BE SINGLE. It is not scary to be alone unless I’m in a dark alley in North Philly.

But solitude bothers people. Seeing a person eating lunch by him or herself raises eyebrows. How sad! people whisper, averting their eyes quickly as if the sight alone will curse them.

HEY. Let’s be okay with ourselves. You don’t always need a person. You are enough.

We are flawed as humans. Our drive to do more, see more, be more is admirable. But the quirks are what makes you endearing and so uniquely you. Dedicate some time to yourself. You don’t need to go out every weekend, to validate yourself with the presence of others.

I don’t need a man. I also don’t need to be buttered up with compliments. I know my worth. All of us should know our worth and not compromise.

Just because the last relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean I can’t make one work. But that doesn’t mean I have to have one RIGHT NOW. I would rather a really good latte right now. A back massage. But not another person as much as I could possibly love them.

 

Picture from the Pink Lady row at Linvilla Orchards, 137 W Knowlton Rd, Media, PA

 

 

saccharine mushiness

This post is late in coming. But I needed time to digest what has happened.

When I learned of the Boston bombing last week, I cried. For the runners, for the cheering supporters, for the unlucky passerby and mostly because of a gut-wrenching fear of the unknown.

Yet my sorrow seemed unwarranted. I was told that these occurrences should open American eyes to the tragedies abroad. I don’t disagree with the bigger picture yet lives were lost. Lives are lost everyday, they countered.

All you can do is keep living. Be grateful. Keep living.

Those were the words that gave me solace. That comforted me. And when I proclaimed just that I was met with.. silence. It was a disappointing moment.

Doubt crept in. Was I wrong in what I said? No, I realized, we have all just grown to deflect. Sarcasm and disdain towards optimism is our answer to life’s difficulties.

But I embrace the saccharine mushiness. I like inspirational quotes, happy endings in movies and tight hugs. I am in daily awe of the blessings of home and family and friends that I have. My heart bursts at the beauty in pictures and words that people can offer.

I am a child. Age accounts for nothing. I have spent a disproportionate amount of my life in thoughts and I have come to the realization that life is best lived simply. Childlike. Simple and childlike. These are condescending characteristics to give a grown woman, yet those are the very words my grandmother had use to describe me as a babe: sah. Amy would tease me-still does- about how I was sah sah and not very bright. But I like this idea of being sah if it means viewing life with less complications. I want to embrace life like a child does: with wide eyes and open arms, fearless.

Trying to Pray

This time, I have left my body behind me, crying
In its dark thorns.
Still,
There are good things in this world.
It is dusk.
It is the good darkness
Of women’s hands that touch loaves.
The spirit of a tree begins to move.
I touch leaves.
I close my eyes and think of water.
—-James Arlington Wright

life in all its rawness

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I was in Chicago, having fled Texas after an epic rough patch with Mat, and I remember sitting on a bar stool, staring into the too-bright light of the laptop on my sister’s marble kitchen island at two in the morning, mesmerized by food blogs. I don’t remember what led me to those sites but I was so taken by the writing, the photography and, mainly, overwhelming sense of peace reading those posts gave me.

So I meandered over to WordPress and created my own blog.

***

Before the rise of the Internet, I chronicled my daily life in journals and crafted short stories on an echoing typewriter in the public library. With a journalist for a father, becoming a writer seemed a very real career path. Yet somewhere between high school and college I decided to opt for “practicality” and become a doctor.

Still, I continued to write. I found that placing my thoughts into words helped me make sense of the world and allowed me to let go of whatever I had been ruminating.

When I created my first blog, I wrote about what inspired me to write again: food. After a time, I decided to venture more seriously into the food-blogging community, scrapping my first blog and entering with a second. I pushed my blog into the public eye and became involved in blogging communities; my piece of virtual space was monetized and even reviewed products.

Then I went to a blogging conference.

I was surrounded by people with the same curiosity and passion that I had. I could spot a perfectly flaky croissant and unsheath my enormous dSLR camera and be understood. Better yet, others with me were also busy taking out their cameras. It was thrilling.

Yet the conference also showed me how unhappy many of us were. We saw certain blogs being sought after. Idolized. We heard about bloggers that paid off mortgages with money from their sites. Who received book deals and TV shows. We wanted to know how to become like those blogs. We stopped caring about our voice.

I come to you now hesitantly. This post has been months in the making. I have started and stopped this post multiple times. It was easier before when I blogged more commercially. I would churn out posts, stringing words that made sentences but held no worth. At least to me.

See, I want to write about the violinist that plays the most haunting melodies on Walnut Street. How I can’t comprehend the incessant need for aloofness in people these days. I want to pick up a camera to photograph more than a well-arranged meal. I want to capture genuine laughs and crinkling eyes. I want to talk to you about my life.

But my life is not picturesque. I’m in dental school, surviving off of loans. I wear ceil blue scrubs five out of seven days. A dinner of reheated rice and preserved cucumbers is not rare. While friends are jetting off for weeklong trips to Europe or going on shopping sprees, I’m saving so that I can pay bills and visit home.

Let me clarify: I am not unhappy. Oh, I have ruts but I am beyond wild to have the opportunity to be in dental school and live in another city, grateful to my wondrous support system of family, friends and boyfriend, and delighted by my newfound dental school family.

However, at some point, blogs became less about connecting with others and more about promoting an aspirational lifestyle. Pushing products. We lost focus on writing and dwelled more on demonstrating how much more put together our lives were.

I was unlucky enough to be all too aware of the audience before me. There were achingly long times in which I felt unsettled because I wanted to write but stopped out of fear. Fear of the criticism and quick judgments that comes from unveiling your life to others. But I wanted to grab a heart-piece and thrust it towards you. To say to you I KNOW. I want to show you my life in all its rawness and to have one of these posts resonate with you..that is all I want.

So, at times, the blog will be morose because I will be morose. I will ache for my faraway family. I will furrow my brows over the years of schooling ahead. I will also talk about my unironic love for Taylor Swift. My sadness for the end of Gossip Girl. And share products. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes.” (Walt Whitman)

I will be inconsistent because there’s a world out there I want to live in and report back to you.

oh, idle time

Readers, I like to believe I’m an adult. I worry over fixed versus variable interest rates for loans.  There’s a studio that has my name, and only my name, on it. But these are material aspects. My mind is firmly rooted in a simpler world. I shy away from news; my primary source for breaking headlines is Mat. This makes me naïve about matters of the world but it works for me. News makes me doubt our ability to care for one another. From child sex abuse cover-ups to bullying the elderly to the recent Colorado shooting, I am thrown by the perversity that taints our society. Mat and I have discussed this ad nauseam: the desire to inflict pain upon others, the rationalizations one makes that allows him to crush others and rise from their ashes. How can we protect ourselves? Our children? Our lives feel naked, exposed to chance. We do not know how to reason these moments. They deflate our optimism and harden our hearts until we become increasingly desensitized but, senseless as it may seem at times, we can only turn the tide by being good to others ourselves. Value our family and friends but also share that kinship with others.

There’s no easy way to segue from such earnest discourse to the minutiae of my everyday life but to say that I hold each moment with the people I love, no matter how trivial, dearer. Let’s forge ahead.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASarah and I met up with intentions to make a fruit tart today but opted instead to trek to Ikea for Swedish meatballs and too-sweet cinnamon buns. To justify the drive, I picked up a white trimmed terrarium house and a ceramic pot for a boxwood I’ve had my eye on. Heading home, sleep began to press insistently on us but Sarah had a class to attend and I wandered off to hang out with Jin who had just gotten off work.

Jin has returned from Taiwan, a vision with her newly honey-colored hair. We scoured for makeup at a pharmacy store- Jin’s favorite activity- before traipsing off for iced drinks and gossip. Neither one of us were particularly hungry and opted instead for manicures and pedicures in Big Apple Red. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Feels fitting since I’ll be moving to the East coast soon.

the witching hour

Hello out there.

Time has tiptoed into tomorrow as I write to you. After hours of Korean dramas, Mom has finally drifted into slumber. The dogs too have flung themselves onto the bed, overtaking more than half of my miniscule mattress, and every few moments Chibi will sigh heavily as if contemplating the most burdensome thing. (Dogs are such curious creatures!)

This is my favorite part of the day, this witching hour. Save the low hum of my laptop, the silence has frozen time for me. It’s a beautiful thing: an island untouched by change.

Today I endeavored to stretch the witching hour into the day. From morning to night, I lounged in my pajamas, letting time trickle through my fingers, but I felt an increasing anxiety as a loud ticking countdown reverberated in my head. Doing nothing is much too luxurious. The days must be carefully planned with errands and work and social calls. Despite the growing to-do lists, I am rooted. Because to do things is to admit that change is near. No, it is happening. And so I shuttle between a breakneck pace and stagnancy, which is yet another reason to cherish these wee morning hours: here I can collect my thoughts.

I cannot block the flow of time no matter how deeply I wedge myself into the ground. When the light sneaks through my curtained windows, my surroundings are illuminated. I am on no island and change is inevitable.

Ah, dear reader, these are twilight thoughts. So melancholy, no? I will write to you in the morn with a-hopefully-less addled mind.