A week ago, I started thinking about my life and how I could possibly improve it, in the most feasible ways. I’m not exactly one of the most goal-oriented people, but I do enjoy drafting lists just to somehow come up with a some sort of nudge towards a general direction. Sometimes, I feel like I should take my life more seriously (which is how I come up with these sort of lists in the first place), and other times, I feel like a big fun-sucker with no time for friends or family or even just some alone time with a book or a movie.
A large part of growing up, I think, concerns developing the capacity to discern the most workable balance between the two. Lately, I think I’ve been having too much of the former, but I’m not going to punish myself for having a lot of fun. Time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted, right? (I forget who said that, but I think he may be on to something.)
Instead, this is what I am going to do: I am going to think of the things I want to accomplish, but I’m going to try really hard to make them mine. I’ve been constantly feeling inadequate and unaccomplished, and mostly it’s because all these people around me, people I’ve grown up with and had by me whenever we’d whine about school, are doing so well. But I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to be a part of this competition. I don’t want to get there first. I just want to become somebody who does things that mean something.
I’m tired of shooting for aims that I know won’t make me happy or make a difference in the world that badly needs to change. It’s funny that the common pursuit these days is a name in lights, as opposed to love and everything that’s attached to it. Everyone just wants to be known—sometimes, it doesn’t even matter for what.
It’s hard to piece together, my whole idea, but I think you can kind of see what I mean. These days, I’m kind of okay with the thought that I won’t be someone people know, just as long as I remember to do and pursue the things that are important to me. It’s difficult when your main motivation turns out to be fame in itself. There are so many other worthwhile things to shoot for.
Or That Time Where Petra & I Attempted To Put Together A Mix To Play For People
Okay, so, back in the day, Petra and I used to keep a music blog called Warmest Corner, cleverly named after a Lucksmiths album. We were both sad (although, I don’t remember why anymore), and inspired by the likes of Said the Gramophone, we put one up on the platform we both felt (and still feel) most comfortable writing on: Livejournal.
On May 14, 2007, Warmest Corner was born and we started putting up mixes we made and sharing music and although it’s not really very updated anymore, we still like collecting songs we like and arranging them to tell stories. The thing is: we never really made any mixes together, so when Gabby called us up and asked if we could DJ on a Thursday night, we really didn’t know what we were going to be in for.
It’s funny, but I suddenly realized that we really don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to music… And it was extra traumatizing to try and make an hour-and-a-half long set that sort of held together, despite the inclusion of blatant country music and French electropop. We settled on the theme of a sad bastard with an inner party girl instead. Here’s a tracklist:
And the lovely Petraface uploaded them (in parts!) over here:
PART ONE from Interpol to The Radio Dept.
PART TWO from Robyn to Beirut.
PART THREE from Tegan & Sara to Kelis.
We thought we were the only weirdos who actually danced to this kind of music, so thank you, everybody who came to Future last night. You made us feel a little less alone.
I don’t have photos of half the people that went, but I always find it so crazy when I think about how people meet people these days. I’ve been meeting a lot of new great people, both online and offline, and it’s just always so astounding to me how the world seems so small and so big at the same time.
And it always amazes me even more how, if you look hard enough, you can find the people who you really want to keep.
(All photos were taken by my brother, Luis. Under the cut, there are videos, of course. Of course.) Continue reading Sad Bastard Dance Party…
Petra & I “spun” (I inwardly cringe when I use this word because it makes me feel like such a poser) at Future in X Thursday night—more on this later, thank you everyone who went, sorry I didn’t get to talk or whatever but I am really, really shy even though it doesn’t really seem like it sometimes—and after recuperating from a horrible hangover, I wormed my way into breakfast plans with Cat, Karen, Liana, and Sarie.
Fun Fact: I met Sarie and Liana maybe a week and a half ago. Another fun fact: I get along with them quite swimmingly. (Or so I’d like to think. HEH.)
If you can guess whose footwear is whose correctly, you get a free opportunity to mock us for taking such a cheesefest picture. (I quite like shoe-shots, though, so I guess I’ll add that to my list of guilty pleasures. WHATEVER, I still think they are super cute.)
I left at around noon because my cousin was getting married in the afternoon. (Yay! :) Hee. More on that later, too.) The rest of their day without me does not exist, because there are no pictures and I was not there. The End.
The best part about trying not to be sad is that I always find pockets of happy in places I least expected to. Sometimes, I feel like all that’s left for me to do is to try.
P.S. Marb linked me to a video of Frank O’Hara reading my favorite poem, “Having a Coke With You.” A comment implied that it was used in the Vanessa Hudgens classic, Beastly, so if you are reading this, Karen Ramos, I feel like it’s a sign that we must see this movie immediately.
On missing The National:
For those of you who didn’t know, I was supposed to fly out to Singapore with my brother to watch The National play in Esplanade for the Mosaic Festival. The show was supposed to be on tonight, but due to circumstances concerning the recent tsunami in Japan, the Asian leg of the tour had to be canceled. My brother and I have been dragging around heavy hearts since Saturday afternoon, and we decided not to fly out anymore. (We were just there last month. It seemed redundant and unnecessary.)
The fact that this is the thing that I am most upset about says a lot about how blessed I am. But that I am here blogging about how sad I am instead of singing my throat raw really, really breaks my heart. It’s not a secret that I have been having a rough year, and while it’s been rewarding in a few aspects, it’s mostly shit. Every time some new nightmare presents itself to me, I console myself and say, It’s OK—you’re going to see The National in March, and I honestly feel tons better about my situation.
My brother and I have been watching the livestreams of their shows in the last year, and while those are rousing, experiences, it doesn’t change the fact that we are still separated by screens and pixels. Very few things compare to that feeling of being there, with your lungs on fire, along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of other screaming people whose hearts have been touched and whose lives have been changed by the same things that touched and changed you.
One of my friends from LiveJournal once Tweeted: “Matt Berninger’s voice is a hug around my heavy heart,” and that is precisely why I love it so much. It’s all-at-once elegiac and optimistic, and it cuts through your bones—not violently, but earnestly. It’s funny how a lot of people are turned off by them because of it, but that it exactly one of the reasons why I keep coming back to their music. It’s a brilliant example of only being able to appreciate something when you find yourself looking at it up close.
I didn’t like The National when I first heard them, and now I can’t stop listening.
I am really grieving on the inside. Today, I woke up and went about my day as usual. I walked to the drugstore with my brother—“This should have been a walk to Esplanade!”—ate a little bit of cake, felt guilty for not buying flowers from a starving child even though I probably could have spared some change. I read and understood a bit of the Book of Job.
I tried to think about other things, because I refuse to concede to that nagging little thought in my head that this might have been the only chance that I could have seen them. I choose to be optimistic. I choose to believe that there are going to be a lot more different opportunities, not just for this one letdown, but for other things in the future. I choose to be happy despite this enormous disappointment, because I honestly feel like it’s the better option.
The running trend for my 2011, so far, is being faced with that option to be happy. I think that’s partly why I started Maybe Very Happy. There are so many things to grieve for, but I feel like there is also a lot of space for happiness. I choose to be happy, even though it’s so much easier to be sad. Wallowing in sadness and feeling like the world hates me are things that are easy to do, because there are so many things that can make me believe in that. But I have been realizing that the possibility of happiness is always there. I just need to learn how to see it amidst the rest of the muck.
P.S. This is what we did instead. Hahaha sobrang lugi:
Things have been pretty busy lately! I suppose my TV-saturated tweets would argue otherwise, but I have been considerably productive the past few days. Apart from this as-of-yet secret thing I’m trying to get a hold of, I have been working on a few pet projects with a few friends. It’s kind of being greeted by a funny, familiar feeling of biting off more than I can chew, again, but I’m trying to be more conscious of how I spend my time.
Most days, I start off with this song. It’s sort of become something like a Power Song. Except it doesn’t really speak of encouragement or anything like that. It’s just fun to wildly dance and sing along to. Alone, of course. :) No kidding, give it a shot. Here’s the official video. It’s not inspiring in the dancing sense, but it’s absolutely gorgeous:
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. About that tension between trying to be somebody, and being fine with who I actually am. About wanting so many things but not knowing where to start. About the daily contention of television and productivity in my head. About the choice between building walls and bridges. About taking chances and trying new things and getting rid of those that turn out to be toxic.
And in that jumble of thoughts and apprehensions, I find myself wanting to wind down my days to this:
I’ve been counting down the days to when I’m going to finally, finally see them play in Singapore. And it’s kind of scary that as I get closer to that show, I’m also a bit closer to a potentially new part of my life that is completely unrelated, but perhaps even more life-changing.
Speaking of the future, New Slang‘s theme for the Month of March is Ambition:
I have so many, I don’t know where to begin.
Good vibrations going my way due to new food I’ve been trying and some really good company. Here’s a bunch of photos of recent meetings I’ve had with these girls. They’re some of the best friends that I have and I’ve known them, collectively since high school. (Isa, I’ve known since the second grade, but never really got to know until the fifth.) Altogether, we are: Isa, Barby, Val, Carina, and the missing piece: Den.
It’s funny, but up until recently, I saw these girls maybe five times a year, tops. I’m glad we’re all taking the time to see each other. Partly because we always like trying new food, but also because they’re great people to be around. They understand me, on this very specific level, and they also are very patient with me. In the (near) future, I hope I find the right words to do their stories justice. I always enjoy meeting up with them because I can see that it’s possible for such different people to “get” each other. I can’t thank them enough, for showing me different sorts of kindnesses, and for letting me change into who I am.
Speaking of happy things: I’ve started a new blog on positivity and happiness. It’s called Maybe Very Happy, after a Jack Gilbert poem. So far, it’s pretty empty. But I’ve got high hopes for this one. I hope I see you ’round those parts.
And! For posterity, under the cut: pictures of food and other kind-of-related things.