What if I slip? I watch the suds slide down my ankles and disperse across the brown acrylic that coats the shower. My head hangs and water pools in my tired eyes. Sitting on the floor of the shower is so lame. I think about it all of the time. Instead of slipping, you chose to sit down. I picture myself sitting down in the shower as the blistering streaks of hard and unfiltered water strip away every ounce of faith I’ve ever had in anything. I have an old speaker that sits coated in particles of dust that were once something and are now nothing. Music drips out of that speaker and down the side of the wall off of the shelf. Sextape seeps into my ear canals and swims throughout my brain. It gives me all the more reason to stay on the floor of the shower. It takes away my ability to speak or move. It wraps its resentful hands around my neck and attempts to push me through the floor of the bath and into the dirt that separates me and those who relate all too closely to the particles of dust that muffle the sounds of Chino Moreno.
The world is constantly changing. When I’m older it will be a lot different than it is now. No matter what though, I will always cherish these.
1.) The rain. I already wrote a whole blog post about it but I love the way the sky looks when it’s cloudy. I love the smell outside. The music sounds better and the mountains look better.
2.) Sitting on the beach and looking out at the ocean at night. Watching the boats or lack of. And of course watching the night sky, if I can see it. (Far from light pollution).
3.) What is really special to me, uniquely me, are the numerous points in Southern China where I can see these beautiful vistas every Summer. My special spots in Hunan where the flora is incredible. And there’s this unforgettable temple too- it’s high in the mountains with very few people. It’s enormous- it has a whole lake, completely flat and silver as the sky. Long, winding stairs carve across the entire temple surrounded by fog. So you’re just walking around from breathtaking building to building, it’s incredible. I can’t believe somewhere like that actually exists.
PC me swimming in Wangling
I love love. I love the little things like the post-its I use in stats or how I can recognize moon phases thanks to astronomy. I love how drawers close after one push and it’s silent. I love how big my new water bottle is. I also love the big stuff like how my dad texts me every morning or how my grandparents drive up to Ojai on the weekend to pick me up. I love how the earth smells after it rains or when the sun peaks through the clouds. I love when my earbuds are at the perfect volume- not too loud but not too quiet. I love how my family prays to my grandpa every time we eat together because we know he is watching over us. I love how my friends who are miles away send me photos of their days. I love how my family plays hand and foot for hours and we just laugh and shuffle decks of cards. I love my collection of cards from my loved ones that I’ve hoarded since I was younger. I love my summer memories of driving through Ojai with my favorite person. I love listening to a new song and adding it immediately to a playlist. I love my mom, even though we have our troubles, she is there for me even when she cannot be there physically. I love my sister, she is my best friend and greatest rival. I love cats, and how they are so particular about people. I love the feeling of a nice hot shower after a cold day. there is so much to love. I love dancing in the mirror to 2000s pop music. I love flowers and how beautiful they smell. I love my friends. I love reading and crying about the characters. I love talking about love and all there is to love.
I love stories. I always have. I love people, movies, TV shows, songs, artworks, and especially works of literature that tell good stories.
In my early years, my favorite stories were The Hungry Caterpillar and The 12 Dancing Princesses (the book, not the movie). As a child, my favorite stories were Scooby-Doo and the bridge in “Shake It Off”. In middle school, I fell in love with the stories my English teacher told about his students in the Oakland ghetto and New York Times articles. Now, I find solace in the poetry of Rupi Kaur and the film, When Harry Met Sally (which is, in my opinion, one of the best rom-coms ever made). These are just a few of hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories I have encountered and retained over my 16 years.
What makes a story good, I wonder. I would like to say it’s all about how it is told – the language, imagery, etc – but I actually think that is not always the case. Sometimes, poor acting, an unimpressive screenplay, or a bad melody are of no importance if the storyline itself strongly resonates with me. I don’t mean to say that a mediocre story can’t be told in a way that turns it into something incredible. What I mean is that an incredible story cannot (easily) be turned into something mediocre.
I’ll give you an example. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemmingway, has an incredibly simple premise: a Cuban fisherman in his attempt to catch a giant marlin. And yet, it is so effectively written and constructed that we remember this book as one of the great pieces of literature. On the other side of the spectrum, the Harry Potter movies, in which (let’s be honest) the children actors hardly live up to their roles, have still seen unprecedented success. Why? Because J.K. Rowling’s phenomenal story trumps any criticism.
My creativity is expressed in everything I do––from the blog posts I write for journalism, to the way I dress, and even how I move along a wave when I’m surfing––but ceramics is the place where my creativity is communicated best. It wasn’t always this way, though…
From the time I started in fourth grade, all the way until junior year, I believed that the ceramic pieces I created needed a function. I thought throwing a cup, bowl, or vase made more sense than making a sculptural piece. It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value of a sculpture or a piece of art, rather, I did not believe myself to be an artist, and so, my job was to make utilitarian items. I didn’t know it then, but how I treated my ceramics tied deeply to how I thought about the world. I believed that utility was more important than beauty.
The shift occurred after a new ceramics teacher came to my school––she pushed me to use ceramics to express myself. I began to infuse my pieces with creativity, and, just like that, my life became full of creativity too. I created pieces whose sole purpose was to be viewed: teapots that would never hold tea and bowls that I’d never eat cereal from. I put concepts into my work, and my pieces or collections meant something—they didn’t just fulfill a purpose, they stood as a physical representation of an idea. This allowed me to better understand what a piece will mean rather than what a piece will do. The saturation of creativity in my ceramics changed how I thought about the world. I now understand that there is value in something that is simply beautiful.
We all are artists inside––all we have to do is add a little creativity to the many mundane tasks we complete. Now, even when I write a regular essay, or get ready for the day, I push myself to instill elements of creativity into my presentation.
PC (your mom)
There is something so relieving about crying. Something about breaking down, being able to let all the floodgates open, it is just so satisfying. You no longer have to be an atlas, finally able to put down the weight of the world. Being able to release all the negative energy and take a breath of fresh air. There is something about the beautiful essence of the silent tears rolling down your face, crying in solitude. It’s a time of reflection. A time to look back at what made you cry in the first place and see if it was worth the tears. And sometimes it’s just a cry, with no rhyme or reason.
I love the feeling of being able to listen to music, or the rain and cry. The deep breaths, the salty tears, and closed eyes are something so mundane but yet so beautiful. The streaks on your face show that you’ve worked through something, and the red eyes show that you were able to see through the thing at hand and put it into perspective. The final tremble in your voice and body shows that you are finally at peace. The selfies in your camera roll show that you made light of something that just seemed so detrimental.
The final wipe is a triumph. You made it through the journey. You are ready to go on with your day, you might cry again later, but for now, you are okay. The cry was beautiful, you let down your shield for a little bit, and now you have to put your armor back up and brave the day.
another batch of poems:
it’s time i stop waiting on you
just think how many dandelion wishes
i’ve wasted on you
i thought ‘womanhood’ meant
blood spilling between my thighs,
lipstick the same shade of crimson,
boyfriends and sparkling champagne.
i hurry home before it gets too dark,
i clutch keys between my knuckles.
[remember to use the public restroom in a pair,
just in case, just in case.]
i report accounts daily for unwanted dick pics,
i bite my tongue as a catcaller whistles,
daring the older man across the street
to look me in the eyes.
i find imperfection in every inch of my skin,
i am told it is my stomach is a distraction,
because, “boys will be boys”.
glancing over one shoulder and
eating disorders and
pervy math substitutes,
on my 13th birthday,
my mother bought me pepper spray.
this is womanhood.
At the end of each day, when I get out of the shower and brush my hair in the reflection of my steam-coated mirror, I contemplate quite possibly every decision I’ve ever made. I feel the water trickle down the arch of my spine and across my lower back. I let it drape over my shoulders, forcing together flexibility with stillness. I look at myself and no longer criticize. My head turns to the right side as I study the curvature that makes up my exterior. Every night a light seeps into me, it gives me the ability to feel and describe. I feel everything, every drop of water or word spoken. They mean something to me, my mind feeds off of the ability to experience a sensation. My vertebrae twist and my chest crawls outwards, My feet no longer touch the ground and I levitate upwards, the light carries me. My fingertips fall numb and the air expands. A million particles and breaths fill the vastness of the atmosphere. I am nothing and everything all at once. The light swarms me and slithers across my surface. It intertwines with my fingers and the crooks of my neck. It mangles my hair, stretches my skin. It opens my eyes and locks my jaw. It wrenches my shoulders back and opens my throat. I am not me, not without my light. I can’t control her, she flows within me. Her essence seethes through my bones and brings life to my nerves. Her glow leaks out of my mouth and ears, dripping off the tip of my tongue. The layer that separates the world from my organs melts away and leaves me with only a soul. My body means nothing, the only truth I know is my mind and soul. She festers within me. At the end of each night, I look into her hollowed eyes, and thank my tired light. She lets me feel.
I watched a new movie this week that by any standards is brilliant and moving. And in my opinion, one of the most underrated films.
“Cry, the Beloved Country” is based on a heartwrenching book that deals with really complex topics in such a unique way. I can’t even remotely relate to the characters yet I still suffered with them. This movie deals with issues of segregation and protests against apartheid in such a beautiful and moving way, combined with topics of fear, corruption, death, and forgiveness.
James Earl Jones was incredible. He manages to convey and make you feel so many things through really minimalistic acting. He doesn’t waste himself on meaningless gestures & histrionics, he lets you see the suffering of his soul.
The movie does a great job illustrating the battered country of Africa– where the land itself is described to be the essence of a man– as he navigates through Johannesburg and experiences all its corruption and violence. Many of the political, economic, and societal issues within Southern Africa in the 1950s are brought to light in this film,
This is a movie about black and white. A well-known theme in Hollywood, but I’ve never seen a movie deal with this subject so excellent as this one. The plot is unlike anything I’ve ever read or seen before. Alan Paton, the author of the book it’s based on, is one talented man.
Everyone has that one person who propels you forward, who supports you when times get tough and it seems like you are drowning. To me, that person is Dravin. She has been my life preserve, my oxygen mask. I do not think she knows how much she has changed my life, how much she means to me.
Dravin helped me when no one did. She helped that young 10-year-old who thought life was not worth it and made it her mission to make sure it was. She helped that twelve-year-old girl who almost let the bullies win. She helped that fourteen-year-old who moved away because she knew it was best for herself. She helped that sixteen-year-old try and gather the pieces of a broken relationship. She helped that almost eighteen-year-old with her first breakup and told her that life will go on even if it does not feel like it right now.
From the beginning, she was the most understanding soul. She would give me paint and crayons and tell me to “create masterpieces for me,” so that my mind was at ease. She knew how hard it was for me to express my feelings, so she distracted me. She created this safe space for me. A place where I could speak freely without any judgment. A place where I could have a shoulder to cry on. Even when she was with her family, she would take my calls and help me with my breathing.
Dravin saved me. I owe my life to her, but I know that she would just say that she is doing her job.