hello world. i've been meaning to write for a very very very long time but have felt very very very unable to. at this point in time (january 12, 11:09pm), i have fourteen unfinished posts in my drafts,
:- ) sigh.
it kills me that this is what it's come to; a frustration of inability. thoughts need to be spoken and spread and emotions that tumble within me need to be let out and it's strange because in the end they all seem to be moribund; ineligible for the real world, and so they terminate within me. i'm not sure how to make it stop, so here's a collection of excerpts from letters I've written during this period of time. i feel like if i publish something, the rest will come by itself.
I've been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be. It's funny because I was reading through a diary entry I made a year ago, and in many ways my life seems to keep repeating myself. It's ironic and laughable but it makes my heart ache and my head feel heavy. I'm reading One Hundred Years of Solitude for my English class right now and there's this one passage that seems to capture it all pretty well:
" "What day is today?" Aureliano told him that it was Tuesday. "I was thinking the same thing," José Arcadio Buendía said, "but suddenly I realized that it's still Monday, like yesterday. Look at the sky, look at the walls, look at the begonias. Today is Monday too. [...] On the next day, Wednesday, José Arcadio Buendía went back to the workshop. "This is a disaster," he said. "Look at the air, listen to the buzzing of the sun, the same as yesterday and the day before. Today is Monday too." "
like everything is moving forward yet repeating itself. Like today is Monday, too. It's so ironic.
I dreamt about H last night. It was a weird and confusing dream and it seemed so real yet surreal that I had trouble detangling what was reality and what wasn't in the haze of waking up. My relationship with H somehow always felt... unfinished, and in many ways still does. It pains me because that boy destroyed me from within, yet I've always looked up to him with awe and admiration; almost like haunted by a thought, or a feeling; something that doesn't exist -- a memory that maybe never even was there to begin with. I can't separate right and wrong anymore -- it seems arbitrary anyway. What I do know, however, is that he somehow managed to rub salt into an open wound within me, made it grow exponentially along with a perpetuating insecurity and a feeling of never being good enough. And soon enough that homemade little void became comfortable enough for me to make it become defining -- something I ended up hating (naturally). And so all this time I've found myself chasing meaningless highs to fill up that void within me; a constant craving of confirmation from soulless strangers and finding comfort in the validation from unfamiliar arms. It's a superficial comfort and that's what pains me the most, because that's exactly what H used to tell me: "You're so superficial."
And it's ironic because I keep telling myself that I've changed a lot. And I have. It's only now that I'm actually starting to feel it; like I'm almost disconnected from who I used to be: emotional and fragile and tears on my pink pillowcase (that has started to fade). Now face stern, emotions disconnected, determined, untouched. I haven't cried in a very long time. I don't know how I feel about that change within me. Maybe I desire to again feel everything all at once because maybe that's better than feeling this; not happiness but not sadness, caught in a limbo, a homemade void, but not one of darkness and anger. nothingness, perhaps. It feels strange and unproductive. So once again I turn to meaningless highs, spending weekends in the bed of strangers of Boston's back streets back bay questioning what the hell I'm doing. I thought I came here to escape that, exactly.
A couple of weeks ago I went on a date with a hipster boy called Max who had dreams of bridging the gap between Israel and Palestine by translating poetry. He made noise rap ("inspired by Death Grips" but absolutely horrendous) and wore worn-out Dr. Martens that looked awkward and big on his feet. As we got on the T together he asked me what I thought about being Chinese, brought up in Sweden, and now living in the States. "Don't you feel like you're losing your sense of self?" he asked me, and then added: "It's a shame society is becoming so cosmopolitan because culture is diminishing. I have no sense of belonging anymore. No one does. That's why there are so many negative forces in this world." It made me sad because there was no doubt that he was partly right, but if he was -- then what would have been the point of my two-year education at UWC? What would've been the point of having that tight-knit diverse community if to not give a sense of belonging -- because isn't that exactly what I got from that? Or at least the sense of belonging I felt at UWC was more than anywhere else I've ever been. But maybe because at UWC we all came from different backgrounds but shared... the culture of UWC, I guess. I don't really know. I tried to explain it to him but my thoughts wouldn't leave my mouth and so I was left dumbfounded. He was an English major at Harvard, after all, interning at the Boston Review. If anyone knows how to formulate their thoughts in an eloquent (and slightly patronizing) way, it’s probably a guy like him (or H). As we walked past a homeless man on the side of the road he turned to me and said: “Isn’t it just fucked up that you can walk past him and feel absolutely nothing?”. I didn’t know what to say.
and then I turn 20. It comes to be my saddest day since moving here, weirdly enough. I felt overwhelmed by melancholy for the first time in a very long time; a similar feeling to the sort of gloom I usually feel on New Year's Eve. I can't really pinpoint that feeling yet-- locate its origin-- but it's a strange feeling to have on what should otherwise be two very happy days. I think this time, turning 20 just made me feel very out of place. H once told me that I exhibit "regressive behavior" and that's also something that has followed me ever since. "It's funny you say that, because I've always felt like people treat me like I'm a lot younger than I actually am", I told him back then. "I think because I've always looked really young, and because I've always been someone's something -- a little sister, a daughter, a role that someone is expecting out of me -- that I've come to somehow have a hard time taking up a lot of space." He tells me: "Yeah, but you're no one's anything here, and age is arbitrary in an institution like this". and he's right. and so I turn 20, but I'm still a freshman. It feels weird and it's something I'm constantly trying to justify for myself - for what reason? I don't know. It just seems embarrassing that I know less than people younger than me, somehow. That I'm 20 but am still a freshman. That my 17-year old friend is getting better grades than me. That I still don't have my driver's license. Things like that. But in reality, I guess I've just had a different experience. As a birthday present for myself, I buy a ticket to see one of my favorite artists, King Krule, who's playing in Boston in two weeks. My friends give me a scooter. It's so funny because I'm 20 and I'm getting a scooter with a packaging that says "The road to fun!" along with a little kid on it. I love it, though, and so now I scoot around everywhere on campus. It's great.
For fall break (which just finished), I went to New York to see my brother. It sucked because he was working all the time, and so we only had the evenings to spend together. And so one night we stand on one of the balconies of his apartment complex in the middle of Manhattan and watch the life of the city drift by, constantly in motion. Glimmering lights and the honking of the cars and it's 11 pm but the night has just started. I have such a hate-love relationship with the city. It seems to reach an almost-peacefulness at the 30th floor, the October breeze strangely warm on my bare skin. My eyes blur out of focus, like everything is beautiful although just too overwhelming, and so I turn my gaze to the ground; the taxi cabs, the people. The city works in strange ways: like everything is exactly where it's supposed to be. Like from the 30th floor everything seems to work in perfect harmony -- in contrast to the distress I feel walking across Times Square to get back home, the tourists iPads in hand and the wrinkle between my brows growing increasingly big out of annoyance. Too impatient. Always too impatient. But from 30 floors above it all seems to have vanished; everything just fits in with the flow of the city. Like everything has its own place. Like everyone seems to be exactly where they need to be at that point in time at that point of their life. In December my brother is having a baby boy and before they go to bed, he and my sister-in-law sit on the couch reading parenting books out loud to each other. It's cute and I'm so excited for them.
Yeah, life is well and pretty beautiful despite all its strange twists and turns. I am still really enjoying Wellesley. I spend a lot of time alone and the solitude is something I've come to really appreciate after having spent two years at a boarding school. It's nice being able to manage my time exactly how I want to, and it's nice being able to withdraw and be left unbothered and to myself. I am still having a hard time finding my voice in class (everyone in here is crazy smart and I'm still learning to recognize that I wasn't an admissions mistake - that I, too, am capable of being like them), but I do really enjoy the academic rigor that this place has to offer.
On a completely opposite note, I also wanted to thank you for what you wrote about art, and for calling me an artist. I think most people are, yet have never validated myself as one. It's definitely something I downplay and spend too little time on. It makes me both happy and sad that you feel like you got to know me best through my work because, in the end, I think that's what's been the 'truest' form of me. My art show in the castle was essentially an exposé of all my insecurities. It was a putting all the things I've always been so terribly afraid of (failure, not being good enough, mental illness, making mistakes) on the front line, and having to act like I wasn't nervous about it at all. This summer I spent a lot of time writing long rambly blog posts that I published on the cyberweb for the world to see. There's just something so powerful about exposing yourself to the world, I think. About being openly vulnerable. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the fact that everyone is an actor of this world to the extent that I am, to myself. Does that make sense? That every human being is the center of the universe (for themselves) and therefore all humans end up becoming too self-absorbed because life cannot be experienced outside the borders of the self. Like everything is shared, but nothing is shared, really. Like 'no man is an island' but everyone is, because we don't know any other way. It freaked me out, but it also made me realize that everyone's just an awkward lump of meat, filled with fears and vulnerability, just like myself. I wonder how you convey that same feeling through everyday life. How do I exhibit that 'truest' form of myself, always? That thought also made me realize that there is nothing in this world that consoles me more than the art of writing. It is something I wish to pursue yet something I'm still trying to figure out how to validate for myself.
and so I am trying to live a life without excuses; one of honesty and without fear (guess what! I took off my iPhone case and then cracked my screen three days later. I just laughed). It's hard because in many small ways I can see myself being more okay with failure, yet in the bigger picture I still don't know if I'm being true to myself. It annoys me when my friend says she failed a quiz and then justifies it by saying "but I feel like it's ok because I was like half-asleep when I took it". It annoys me when go to parties and they say they're from a different school than Wellesley, justifying it by: "Oh, I love Wellesley but I just don't want to deal with other people's comments". Small things like that. I don't see the point. I failed the quiz because I didn't care enough to study for it. I prioritized other things, like climbing, and that's something that I have to be either OK with or change if I'm not. I take pride in going to Wellesley - who the hell gives a shit about what other people think? Especially boys. If they're judgy, they can go fuck themselves and we deserve better than them anyway. (Oh, I have such a funny story about this super cocky Harvard guy I met at a party! He asked me for my Facebook when he was sitting next to me, saying he wanted it because he was "interested" in me. Of course no fucker in this world is called Anneli and goes to school around here and so he finds me and sees a climbing picture, to which he says: "Oh, I'm a climber too!", to continue with: "Yeah, I went climbing a couple of times and I'm pretty strong so I was pretty good at it", like I'd be impressed with that. and so I start laughing because I think it's a joke. "I'm pretty strong so I was pretty good?" I chuckle. "Yeah???" he replies. I just laugh. He gets really flustered. "You've got attitude, girl. Who do you think you are?". Apparently, after we leave, he continues trash talking me to his friend for a solid fifteen minutes. Wow. Harvard boys. Yes!). I think I'm turning into more of an Angry Asian Femme than a Sad one. Wellesley is making me super feminist and as much as you probably think that's bullshit, I'm just gonna say that it's put me in a place in which I feel more in control of my body and my sexuality than ever. I've spent too much of my life letting teenage boys treat me like shit and I'm happy I can feel different about things now.
OK. End of thought dump. I hope you're well. Send Eve my regards.
love and gratitude,
I’ve been trying to find time to write this for what seems like eternity now. life here is hectic (but in a good way, mostly). I find my days filled with knowledge I can’t wait to absorb and process, readings that I clutter with notes, hours projecting in the climbing gym, candles burning on my desk and leaves casting shadows on my wooden dormitory floor. life here is different — still trying to find a balance between healthy solitude and utter loneliness; in many ways still hoping i will find my people, but in many ways also reluctant to search. I find an old habit of reticence coming to the surface, an unwillingness to engage, fully. most of all it’s almost scary how comfortable silence has become.
I find comfort in music (rostam’s first/new album dropped today, and you should definitely give it a listen) and I keep myself occupied with work. I eat most of my meals alone, accompanied a book and my headphones, and it feels strangely okay. I also find pleasure in company, of course, but it can never compare to the strong feeling of community that UWC carried. the relationships just aren’t even close to being the same - and I wonder if maybe it’s best that way. I find amiability in most people here. it’s really not that. maybe i’ve already gotten too comfortable. I don’t really know.
I’m still struggling to find my voice in classes; something I did struggle with at uwc too. I raise my hand to start trembling out of nervosity just from getting the opportunity to speak and so I lose words among tangled thoughts they become intertwined and I stumble across them and it’s like one big word vomit full of ideas but none of them formulated well enough to actually make sense. and so I get even more nervous, feeling my cheeks turn hot and turn red and I stutter and... people are so intelligent here and it’s intimidating. I’m still struggling with the thought of myself being one of them.
other than that, campus is green and beautiful and i really like it here. I feel more comfortable than I thought I would this early on in the year, and that in itself makes me both happy and proud of myself.
I miss you a TON.
what a weird couple of days that have passed since I last wrote you (a mere six days ago). it feels as if life has been completely left up to fate; like someone is just throwing a dice determining what is going to happen next. super confusing. maybe I could describe it better by saying that if I were to be a village, there has been a storm coming in (unexpectedly) every single day, trying to ruffle every single nook and cranny of me; rumbling every household and every living thing to get some kind of response. rustling leaves and fallen heroes. and here I am, trying to resist, to persist, to stand strong.
or maybe I could describe it better by saying that if I were to be a citizen of that village, the wind would be blowing through my hair so violently that it’d get all over my face, covering my eyes and vision, and I’d be holding onto a tree branch in order to not get blown away. but little do I know the tree branch is so thin it’s going to break if I don’t let go and find another branch when the winds calm down but then again it's blurring my vision and the calms are so unexpected that I wouldn’t know when to let go anyway. and so soon the branch will break and the wind will carry me away as I view the world underneath me, cracking and cackling and gasping to stay alive. and the tears in my eyes won’t just be from the harsh wind drying them out. i'll cry for my city and i'll cry for myself. but it’ll be too late. (or will it?)
sorry, now it happened again. yet another one of life’s unexpected and disgustingly unfortunate turns. this one is more silly though (don’t laugh at me). I'm currently writing at the kitchen table. it's a beautiful day so I left the back door open. and now I just had to run away because there was a butterfly that made its way into our kitchen and kept flapping its wings at the window because it couldn’t find its way out again. and so I had to actually run away into a different room where I remained paranoid and scared until the flapping stopped and now I’m really just hoping it’s not gonna creep up on me but that it found its way out. help. haha. wow. that really stopped my writing flow. sorry.
i miss you
l is wearing a maroon t-shirt, blue jeans, and his green adidas sneakers. last time i saw him he was matching the military green of his sneakers with the sleeves of a baseball shirt; and underneath it he wore a military green vest. I remember because I wanted to ask him if green was his favorite color, because his burton backpack was green as well. it went well with his beige baseball hat. today he’s wearing a black one. when I first encounter him he’s talking to a friend. I don’t know whether or not to interrupt and so I stand awkwardly until he signals he’s seen me and hints for me to come over. I give him a hug and shake his friend’s hand. he’s called Fabian and apparently he’s been wanting to try out climbing. or at least that’s what l tells me. ”we keep saying we should go, but it just never happens”, he says. they both look old; a lot older than me. like grown-ups. I look like a 16 year old in comparison, although in reality there’s only a year separating us. they end their conversation with ”we’ll have to grab a beer some time”. I remember because at the time I’m hit by some kind of hopelessness because that’s such a standard thing to say. ”we’ll have to grab a coffee some time” or ”let’s grab a beer some day”, and it’s all so loose and then it never happens because in the end you’re just trying to shut down small talk so that you can go do whatever you intended to do in the first place. or maybe that’s just me. and then l buys me a cappuccino and gets a cortado for himself. we’re at the corner of a coffee shop at Möllan, watching the world go by.
I like Malmö a lot. it’s a different pulse than the slow, steady one that you find in Lund. no traces of the boringness of academia and the posh elderly people living in professorstaden. Malmö is a melting pot; a meeting place; its diversity showcasing itself in all kinds of smells and flavors and people circulating Möllan. it’s nice. I never realized before how whitewashed and sheltered the place I grew up in was until now; the Spyken kids and their PC-ness, talking about acceptance and how open-minded they are, yet I know that if I were to bring in many of the people I met and encountered at UWC, they’d immediately shut down and shut out. no doubt about it. it becomes interesting because everything that seems to encounter us in our modern day society are confirmations of what we already believe. post-modernism. there are several truths (and therefore, no truth), and so everything that circulates around us are repetitions of what we already believe (and repetition is the only way through which we learn). it makes me wonder then how I should re-invent myself because there is no doubt I’m just as narrow-minded as those Spyken-kids, stuck in this invented reality of my own made-up open-mindedness yet so condescending to anyone who thinks differently (because if there are several truths then the one I believe in must be the truth, too).
I try bringing that idea up to l too, but I’m lost for words. it’s been a long time since I discussed these things in swedish — something I also notice when I’m trying to discuss the Google incident with my father. the words so clumsily leave my mouth and often times find their way in repetitions and saying things that I said just five minutes ago, trying to formulate and straighten out my thoughts for myself. it’s annoying and it makes me feel stupid. maybe that’s why I liked being with e — speaking in english felt comfortable. it was a continuous conversation I was used to having, that I knew how to express, and maybe that’s why I felt like we clicked so well. I don’t know. in any case my entire trying to bring it up with l ends in lots of distractions and not wanting to finish my train of thought because there seems to be no point: I don’t even understand myself what I’m trying to say. nothing formulates itself eloquently and I can’t get it to, and so I give up. sigh.
I miss e. with him it all came so naturally. I wonder why that is. maybe the concept of vibes isn’t so easy living and meme like anymore, but something that actually exists; an intangible presence and non-concrete thing, yet a more powerful force than most other things. sigh. self-validation's such a strange thing.
i am 20 now. yet another year. “i just don’t understand why people make such a big deal out of birthdays” i tell jackiel. i’m old now. it sucks. i wish it wasn’t my birthday.
i re-read andrew’s email over and over again and it hurts me a deep sort of pain that can’t be pinned down but is sensed in my entire body. reading what he has to tell me puts me to tears. if there is any one being i could attribute my entire being to, it would be andrew. andrew and doug. nobody else has ever had as big of an influence than they have had.
i think a lot about what andrew has to say. about art, and our place in this world, and about honesty and staying true to myself.
to be completely honest, the reason i chose to go to wellesley keeps hitting me in the face, over and over again. it’s been more than a month since i got here, now, and so little has changed. painfully little. it pains me.
i don’t even know what to say.
I read through a diary entry from a year ago. it’s about h. h, who I dreamt about last night; h, who never leaves my thoughts. like he’s inhibited his own little space in the back of my mind, resting peacefully until he pushes his way to the front. it hurts. it really does. I don’t know why he keeps coming back to me and I hate it so much. haunted by a thought, a feeling, something that doesn’t exist; a memory that maybe never was there to begin with.
in the end of the journal entry it says: “i sometimes wonder why I always feel the need to be better. I think he’s why. and i hate it so fucking much.” and it breaks my heart. like someone is stomping on it like it’s shattered on the ground splashed on the pavement no one’s watching but it’s there it’s beating red flesh exposed underneath the afternoon light the sun shining through the leaves changing color in the crisp october air.
how are things an exact repeat of last year? how can I not let this boy go? why is everything the same the same the same like my life is a for loop that doesn’t have a return and so it keeps going an INFINITE loop as we learned in cs today. it breaks my heart because i feel so weak
and maybe I am
despite how I ten minutes ago wrote “I feel more in touch with myself now than ever” IS THIS THE SELF THAT I AM? my eyes water
college is strange. it’s really now that I’m starting to reflect upon the past months that have been, and it’s only now that everything is slowly sinking in; or maybe washing over me. it’s kind of overwhelming. I’m not really sure how to feel.
it’s strange because I came here and adjusted so quickly and felt so at home that I never second-guessed my being here. when I Skype my mother she tells me: “You look so much happier now. You have no idea how happy your dad is that you’re finally smiling”. and it breaks my heart because I tell myself I am,
and now I tell myself that maybe I’m not. not sad but not happy. apathy, rather. ? maybe? i can’t tell. void…ness. like always. comfortable, familiar; like always. in english class the other day my professor joked and said “you know that void in your heart that you’re trying to fill? it might never fill. just… trust me on that one.” he laughed so I laughed too, but it stuck with me, something nudging my cold december heart, itching underneath. is this what life will always be like? why do I keep attributing apathy to happiness? because it’s better than sadness? but is it really? maybe once again I desire to feel everything all at once. I just want to feel something.
over the past months I’ve come to realize that my priorities have shifted a lot too. academically I’ve never performed worse than now; correlating of course to me caring less than ever before. and this is me. someone who used to be so disappointed when not receiving 7s, stressing out over every single paper and cramming so hard for exams. maybe it’s the shadow grading that first semester has to offer, or maybe I’ve just changed. I don’t know, but I can’t recognize myself anymore, and it's making me terribly confused. there are so many other things that I would rather focus on right now. so many other things I’d like to explore and pursue; like rock climbing, or creative writing, or creating art. things that I tell myself to make time for, over and over again, but that never seem just important enough. except for climbing. I’ve been climbing a lot. therapeutic, in its own sense.
I’ve also thought a lot about being 20, and about growing up — or maybe the lack of it. in the car to the climbing gym one day, I ask Michael about things that you can only really ask real adults. real adults that have their shit together: that have a job and a family and a dog and that worry about things that are realer than trying to figure out what major I want to do, or if I should go to class or not. or something like that. I want to be a real adult too. I ask Michael about growing older, and growing more mature, and what that really is. what is it to be more mature? what is it to grow up? because looking at myself it feels like little has changed over the past couple of years of my being alive. reading through old journals this summer made me realize that many of the thoughts and emotions I wrote about then, I still write about now. it feels like I’m stuck somehow. stagnated, maybe. is this who I am? is this who I will always be? I think a lot about what andrew used to tell me: “when you grow older you'll realize that you're the exact same person as you were ten years ago. you're the person you're always going to be, right now. down the road you'll just have a little more experience”, and the thought of that continues to shift from being the most scary to the most comforting thought ever. if I am who I will be right now that means I can also alter my future self, right? because if we only learn by repetition and I’m constantly perpetuating my being, a slight change in attitudes and repeating them means I can alter and have power over who I become in the future. right? Michael says: “when I think of myself I think of myself at the age of 16”. he’s 38. “I don’t know why, but somehow that’s just how I see myself. maybe it’s because even though I think about different things now, I still hold true to many of the values that I did then”. he laughs at the thought of feeling 16. I laugh too. but in reality, the thought of it stings (a little bit). taking control of myself seems harder than I want it to be.
a couple of days ago, I met up with aleksander; an old friend I hadn't seen for almost two years. seeing him again feels like two years ago could have been yesterday. everything comes back to me in an instant; things I haven't thought about since we last spoke, two years ago. things like his voice, or the way he walks, or the way he always ruffles his own hair, the patterns on his knitted sweaters, his crooked teeth... things like that. seeing him feels distant, yet so familiar. we talk over coffee at one of my favorite cafés in Lund. he asks: "do you think you've changed?" to which I reply: "haha, yes! I think I've changed a lot." and I tell him about things I thought a lot about this summer – about you, and Andrew, and UWC, and how my values and priorities have shifted. "don't you think I have?" I ask. he replies: "I don't know... now I can't remember exactly how you were two years ago, but this feels strangely familiar to me. like little has changed." maybe he's right. I don't know. I've always compared returning home to hitting the play button on a videotape. it feels as if everything is the exact same way as I left it. it's been like that ever since I moved out. it's so easy to fall back into old habits, and picking up friendships never feels like... picking them up. instead, it simply feels like I never really left, home, or wherever else I'm returning to. at the same time, the view I have of myself now is very different from how I imagine myself viewing... myself, a year ago. in other words: I feel very distant from who I used to be. or at least I think. I guess it's hard to tell. but seeing aleksander and being reminded of his crooked teeth and the way he ruffles his hair, made me feel like the relationships we have are always put on pause, no matter how much the people in them change themselves. much has happened over two years, but my relationship to him in many ways feels... the same. it's a weird thought that I can't really wrap my mind around and fully understand, but it's kind of comforting to know. that no matter how much I change, an older version of me can always emerge through my relationships with other people. like I can inhabit all of these different me's within the one person that is... me. that nothing is ever lost, kind of. only gained.
[...] i miss you a lot!
lots of love,
to you (on not being able to write)
as soon as i try to write, i’m lost for words. it’s been like this for four months now. writing, deleting, writing, deleting. as if nothing is good enough. as if the words aren’t finding their way to my fingertips, somehow, typing away at the keyboard in front of me.
writing has never been an act of thinking for me. it’s been a free-flowing serenade; a mindless symphony; a careless act, almost. one of caressing consolation rather than careful consideration. four years ago i discussed the exact same thing with leo, but in relation to the visual arts. “i wish the visual arts came to me the way writing does”, i told him, “being an act not from the mind but from the heart, rather. not over-thinking, maybe not even thinking, just doing. doing, and letting it be.” lately, i haven’t been able to do that, at all.
i’m not sure what happened or what got sucked out of me, especially since i wrote so much this summer – almost every day by my desk as sunlight hit my wooden floor, dust becoming apparent in the strips of sun shining across my room. i tapped away, eagerly, on my keyboard. i wrote letters, i wrote prose, i wrote poetry. on bus rides i’d ponder my emotions, thoughts, aspirations, and i’d diligently write them down in my phone notes. and then? i don’t know.
writing became something to be shoved away; something that was “i’ll do that later”. it became something i told myself i could do at night, right before going to bed, “because it doesn’t require that much effort”. my other work i ideally worked on during the mornings; psets for example, and long sociology readings. i’d happily overstay my table in the dining hall with either. but that much time was never carved out for the act of writing, and writing alone. writing without goal or aspiration; writing for writing’s sake. for the consolation it gives me. the comfort. the happiness. almost like essential for my survival. well-being. thinking. breathing.
anneli the breathmaker,
anneli the textmaker turned into anneli the testtaker,
where was anneli the heart acher?
i miss the act of writing.
i miss the act of creating.
lately i’ve been thinking a lot about getting a little wind-up bird tattooed on my chest. that, or a little sputnik. to remind myself that i need to wind myself up. that i can’t be dictated by others. in the wind-up bird there is a saying that goes: “Did the wind-up bird forget to wind your spring?”. i can only wind my own spring, be my own inspiration, follow my own aspirations. i need to keep writing, but to keep writing i need to start writing. i need to wind myself up. and who else has inspired and motivated me to write other than murakami? my hero.
i often re-read work that i’ve written before. some of it i really like. some of it i hate. most of it is so incoherent that i can’t judge it objectively at all. i really wish i could write something longer; somehow really have the urge to. i just don’t know what i would write about, what i could write about. what would be capturing enough. maybe if i start writing it’ll just come to me: but what do i start writing about, then? i don’t know.
everything i write seems pointless and without meaning. too unstructured, too little guidance. but isn’t that what i love about writing? isn’t that what i cherish so much? the act of letting it be free-flowing, of letting it come out of my fingertips before hitting my mind, like the art of writing seeps through my blood and hits my muscle memory before i have time to even process the words that i’m writing. like doing before thinking; for once in my life. maybe that’s why i enjoy it so much. it’s literally typing whatever comes into my mind, without restriction, without limitation, just doing, just letting it be.
right now it’s 23:04 and i’ve been listening to james blake’s ‘vincent’ over and over again. james blake and his soft piano and wailing voice. bearded man, portrait drawn two years ago. i’m in my bed, second-hand bed, 120 x 200. on the day we bought it august and I slept in it together, non-crammed in my room for the first time in a long time.
we had dinner at calle’s the other day. not only me and august, of course, it was a whole gang from katte: allan, ran, hedvig, pontus, andrás, lander, johan, calle, louise, and us. before allan drove us there, hedvig and i met outside of katte. she asked me “so how are things between you and august now?”. it caught me completely off-guard. “uhm… they’re… fine! i hope?” i reply, smiling. august breaking up with me was probably the hardest break-up i’ve experienced. i remember it so clearly. i didn’t want to get out of bed for weeks afterwards. such mixed emotions. come to think of it now though, i hold no hard feelings for him. it’s weird to think that we were even together at one point. to think that three years ago, he was my entire world. to think that i know the exact number of birthmarks he has – 116 – and the frequency of which my fingers have ruffled his gel-put blonde hair and traced his jawline. how wrinkles form around his eyes when he smiles, and how much i hate-loved that goofy smile he used to make; boyish but cute (but in a childish way). how he would bury his head where my shoulder turns to neck and how i would curl up in his pale birthmarked-stained arms. it’s weird to think of august in that way. to think of him as an old lover. it feels so far away. yet, talking to him brings back part of that. i miss him, in a way. i really do. i am grateful for what we had; in many ways a very healthy relationship, and i’m sorry things ended the way they did. at the same time, that was the only way things could end at the time. if they wouldn’t have ended in that way, so many things would have been different. i wouldn’t be as strong as i am today. i feel pretty confident saying that.
in other news i just finished murakami's “novelist as a profession” / “författare till yrket”. decently inspiring read, but not so much a how-to guide but more an itching to get back to writing again. i think i also just have a really hard time with the swedish translations of his work – makes me want to get into translating because they’re so unenigmatic in comparison to the works translated by rubin and birnbaum. translating is hard, though – something i’ve come to realize shifiting in and out of english and swedish: both of which i've come to struggle with; both of which feel out of my full control. it’s something i sense especially when i’m home and get thrown back into speaking swedish again, trying to simultaneously write in english. much of both languages become lost within me. i direct translate, my vocabulary is increasingly limiting, i take on things other people say too easily. and at this moment in time i’m thinking in swedish, which is just making this entry really awkwardly written and very confusing. sigh.
man, i really can’t seem to focus on anything right now. i think it’s because i don’t know what to focus on. i have no idea what to write about so i’m just jotting down everything that comes to mind. i feel restless. like i’m headed somewhere with no end goal in mind. no sense of direction.
it's 1:41am right now and this blog post is so incoherent and rambly but I'll publish it anyway. kudos if you read this far. I guess it turned out pretty long. I'll write a proper blog post soon. lots of thoughts bubbling within me, just waiting to get expressed. in that way, writing is a lot like thinking.
what else is new?
i'm reading happy city by charles montgomery right now. good read. i'm applying to writing workshops yet still can't find inspiration to write. my ankle still isn't healed. been solely listening to jazz for the past four days. mostly thelonius monk. also bill evans trio. monica zetterlund. still can't really distinguish between different jazz artists. downfall of technology. jazz just reminds me of dominic anyway. will be back in BOS 27th. not sure if excited or not. just skyped simen and miss montezuma alot. got an email from andrew this morning after having scheduled "email andrew" for today in my google cal like two weeks ago. weird how things like that work out sometimes.
i think that's it.
i'll write soon. promise.
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