Finding Inspiration

Inspiration has to do with pretty much anything we do. If it is writing, drawing, dancing, cooking, playing an instrument etc. But sometimes it is hard to get inspired and we feel stuck. We sit at our desks starting a sketch or a choreography for a dance over and over again and we just get frustrated because nothing seems right. I get this feeling a lot.

After school I spend a good amount of time sitting in front of my laptop, looking through photos I have taken on my travels around the world. For me, photography is something to escape to and to relax. Going through pictures is almost like you are reliving these moments. I always think it is so overwhelming how much meaning a picture can have. I pretty much only take pictures of animals and it has grown to be my biggest passion. When I look at my pictures, and I get to look an animal straight into the eyes through a picture I have taken, it almost feels like as if I had some sort of connection to it. For a moment everything is quiet and it is just me and the animal.

Photography has its many amazing sides. You get to travel the world, see the most amazing spectacles that nature has to offer, but there is also a side to it which sometimes brings you down. I follow hundreds of other photographers on social media, and sometimes I scroll through certain accounts just thinking: wow. I wish I could capture pictures like this.

I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others and being very harsh to myself when it comes to the pictures I take. I try to find inspiration through others but in the end it just makes me feel like my pictures aren’t good enough. I have spent hours and hours trying to find a style, that when people see my photos, they know that they are from me. Every time I post something I think it is just not good enough, my pictures all look the same and they all just look flat. I get frustrated and I can’t find any inspiration or whatsoever. But this is part of the progress. Nothing is ever perfect. But there are moments, when I see a picture that I like, and it just makes me so incredibly happy and proud. And these are the moments that keep me going.

People text me telling me that my pictures inspire them. That they enjoy my work. And these are the moments that make everything so worth it. I love what I do and I am so incredibly thankful for all the amazing moments I have got to experience thanks to photography. I love sharing my work with other people, bringing people closer to our wildlife and nature, showing off the beauty and diversity our planet has to offer.

Photo taken by the author.

the wind gives me faith.

they keep saying that as time passes, it gets harder. but for me, it had become easier, simpler, more tangible.  

I sat in my backyard yesterday at two o’clock in the afternoon while the wind was still and the sky was baby blue. 

I sunk my feet into the damp grass, satisfying to my callused feet.

a chai tea in hand; I slowly, with a green straw, stirred my drink with the ice that acted like it was one figure. 

content. 

but then the wind came, unexpected, abrupt. 

It stirred the scorched leaves from the early summer sun and had rested in the dirt.

the pink peppercorns and the pine needles fell from the trees. 

on the outside, it looked like the wind disturbed the plants, the grass, and bright orange marigolds that sit in the corner of the garden. 

but I stared longer at each aspect of my backyard, the wind melded everything together. 

the trees swayed together and the tall strands of grass danced with it. 

harmony.

It was hard for me to cope with a life that seemed stagnant at the time,

still like the wind that was not present when I sipped my chai tea. 

but I find joy in the little things like the birds chirping as I rise from my bed in the morning or the luck that I have after winning my fifth cribbage game. 

of course, I still wear a backpack of burdens that I impose on myself but that’s what it means to be human. 

serenity. 

photo credit: designlovefest.com

a diary from isolation

White pillowy clouds and pink petals on the warm brick as the sun beats down is her back drop,
As she rattles on about the corrupt world filled with 
a dark persistence.

/ / / 

Its been seventeen days, four-hundred and eight hours in this house and its been miserable.

The anger, the loneliness, and the disconnect are empty feelings that course through my veins on a loop as I try to navigate life.

I miss them. I miss their laughter and smiles. I miss their clothes. I miss their smell.

My tears burned my cheeks at 11pm. It was the first time I cried. It was the first time I felt completely unsafe and scared.

My body aches for human contact.

photo credit: pinterest.com

/ / /

As a daughter, I go through moments of my life where I don’t see eye to eye with my mother. And I thinks that’s true for most mother-daughter relationships.

The passive comments, the snarky looks, the aggressive sighs; They never fail me when I’m in the middle of a petty argument with her.

I find myself picking on her, never giving her a break, and trying to erase her imperfections like the comfort she finds in rubbing my ears or clenching her jaw when she is stressed.

But earlier today, I found myself rubbing my own ears and snuggling into her neck when I felt alone. I find myself having her mannerisms and saying the things that when she says them, it irritates me. We come from the same branch at the end of the day.

Her and I, 
We come from the same branch at the end of the day. 

/ / /

I was staring at my wall today, full of photos from the past four years. 
The color from Utah, 
The smiles from my girls who know me best,
To the heat of a concert and 
The breeze from the beach. 
I felt warm inside looking at the 
Blue and Orange hues
Only to realize the cold reality. 

the sound of rain

in the foggy distance lies sheets coming loose from their moorings

stationed in a cloud

a battalion awaits above me

frogs in my ears

when i loosed the volley 

not gunshots did i hear

but rampant ringing and footsteps piercing through the air

and then through the violent undertow a message did come here

fast among the waking brittle now

in deft shoes i kept going

but as my heart begins to give out

i can’t help but slowing

and shaking i go down

doing nothing less than knowing 

that through the foolhardy sludge the river will keep flowing

so to the honor that will stay unsung

to the violent skies and the rains shall they come

with the silent fleeting screams a river will run dry

a scene from a 2000s christmas

photo credit: floridamemory.com

The beach houses that my mother would find always seemed so big to my four-year-old perspective. 

With a staircase that I remember to be spiraling and

a brown and cream-colored chess board in the middle of a large living room

which was later to be covered in wrapping paper is what this house seemed like to me at the time. 

My mother was always frantically scurrying around the house to make sure everything was perfect for my grandmother, 

meanwhile, she didn’t mind the imperfections but simply didn’t have the power to say anything. 

The uncles were catching up as the oldest was in Chicago and the youngest was living his life in Australia.

My brother, was playing with his GameBoy, 

eyes locked to the screen. 

My grandfather was looking at the beams and the ceilings to find some reason why the house wasn’t architecturally perfect in his eyes.

And then there was me, either in the corner or on the couch next to my grandmother, where I would play with my Polly Pockets being relatively quiet.

/ / /

I do not remember a lot at the houses except for the people and the feelings surrounding the time.

The presents and all the other material items around me did not matter,  especially because I knew the reality of the grandmother’s illness and how she had limited time here on earth with me. 

I do remember the smell of the house, 

a mixture of palm trees, 

salty ocean mist, and

the sand that has been carried many miles, 

just for me to feel that unforgettable warmth between my toes. 

I also reminisce about her during the holiday season. She wore fuzzy socks. I still have a worn out, baby pink pair of her socks stuffed in the back of my drawers. 

From cuddling on the couch, with the chaos of my family 

to being on the beach, with the rolling waves and the roaring wind, 

her amenity still remains within me. 

I Want to Believe

dear world, dear life, dear faith,

tell me your secrets,

fill me in on your knowledge,

and cast me away with your limitless being.

dear god,

whoever or whatever you may be,

listen to my problems, answer my prayers, make right all the wrong,

and give me hope.

oh please

give me hope that you can fix the evil in this dark world we live in.

oh god…

I want to belive in you,

I envy and pity those who do,

because, how great would it be to live

and believe that someone in the sky will make everything okay,

to believe that you are protected by one overarching being,

to blame your stupid mistakes on the ideology that

“everything happens for a reason, it’s god’s will,”

to not fear death because heaven awaits the good…

How great, how easy, how amazing would that be,

but how naive do you have to be to believe.

dear self, dear time, dear life

i’m afraid

my being is all in my hands.

Photo via Pinterest 

a diary from the valley part 1

the various moments i experienced in the valley:

  1. A seven hour car ride where i skipped about 80% of my music library.
  2. The smell of fresh pine everywhere I went.
  3. The smell of smoke embedded in my hair for the entirety of the trip.
  4. Freedom.
  5. Shock when looking at the sheer face of El Capitan.
  6. Pain as I slowly walked up the seven million switch backs to the top of Vernal Falls.
  7. Astonishment as I looked down at the waterfall.
  8. A freezing cold lake.
  9. Burning thighs, calves, and feet.
  10. Being really cold.
  11. Feeling incredibly lucky as I am able to be in a place that is so treasured.
  12. Eating too many PB and J sandwiches.
  13. The strong urge to see a little bear.
  14. Moments where I did not feel anything, no stress, jealousy, anxiety. And it felt really good.
  15. Seeing the valley in a new light. Literally and Figuratively.
  16. The mist blowing against my face as I looked at the waterfall above me.
  17. A seven hour car ride back where I realized that I really enjoy a good podcast.
photo credit: pinterest.com

living in deep mountain

The meaning of life is to try everything that you have not tried yet.

Maybe this is the reason why I am here right now.

I grew up in a big, big city that has numerous tall, tall buildings with lots and lots of people.

Somehow, I decided to come here, the Ojai Valley, a year ago. And I got into a school where there are no buildings that have a second floor with less than two hundred people in total.

photo credit: kcet.org

After living here for days, I am starting to feel that I am part of nature. What a weird thought this is, and I have never had such an idea before. 

Especially on the camping trip, we just slept in sleeping bags, and considered the sky as the quilt with the ground as the bed. 

And with fewer people, there are fewer distractions. I have plenty of quiet time to sit outside in nature, to be deep or lost or sunk in reverie.

Also, I have had the chance to watch the sunset since we have some free time after dinner. This is a really incredible experience to enjoy the sight of clouds and sky change their color and shapes slowly and fast. 

The Smell of Rain

Every inhalation of Petrichor,

Every breath I take sitting and watching the teardrop water fall to the ground.

I am calm, grounded, grey.

I can’t describe the smell of rain in scents, only in feelings;

calm: an encompassing blanket wrapped around my shoulders and a companion sitting by my side. We are together, we are in love, we are safe, or at least we think we are in the moment.

brave: walking alone on an empty road. Only thoughts to accompany me. I am strong, I am powerful, I am one with the nature that surrounds me. Fuck the world, society, my responsibilities; I will walk until my legs give out. And when I collapse, my time has come. Like a wild rabbit in the jaws of a wolf.

sad: the sky is crying, so am I. But the sky’s tears feed the earth, maybe mine will too.

solitude: lonely, but lonely is not always bad. Today it’s peaceful, but yesterday it was harrowing . But today it’s peaceful

The smell of rain

One second it drizzles, the next it pours.

Ever changing.

Thunder follows lighting.

A bolt hits a tree, a fire starts

It is only natural.

Some days the rain makes me feel gloomy, somedays it makes me feel safe.

Today I feel thankful.

Thankful for the sun, thankful for the rain, thankful for the world, thankful to feel something.

Thankful for the memories.

The scent of Soaftsoap Milk and Golden Honey reminds me of kindergarten. The scent of petrichor reminds me of a time when things were different.

I can’t go back to kindergarten, but I’m starting to believe that I can go back to being happy.

Here I sit, watching the rain, breathing in the scent;

I feel gloomy like the sky, but I am grounded like the earth. my emotions are ever-changing just like the rain.

I am one day closer to jubilation.

I am breathing in the Petrichor

Image via Pinterest.com

Far from Home

“You need to fulfill your camping requirement,” the tall, built, bearded teacher who wears a Hawaiian shirt tells me. In order to graduate OVS, students must go to 2 campings a year. “You are going to Mount Pinos.” I don’t want to go.

Mount Pinos is located in the Los Padres National Forest. Its summit is 8,847 feet high, which is the peak of Ventura. I’ve been assigned to this Mount Pinos camping trip for 3 years. Relatively speaking, it’s an easy trip. Unlike the many backpacking trips that make you walk for 50 some miles. Once I went to Topa Topa backpacking trip last year and got bitten by a tick and had to dig a hole for bathroom. 

Mount Pinos still looks the same: the tortuous path, the fast-moving clouds, the pine trees… Good old Mount Pinos, here we go again. It gets bitterly cold when it’s dark, so we’d start a fire. Starting a fire is easy, but keeping it going is difficult. Taking one from warmth, from civilization, from your weekend… it just seems like masochism. I don’t get it. Do people actually go camping because they like to be tortured? 

Mount Pinos doesn’t have as much pine cones as it did in the previous trips. We only found 1 and a half pine cones this time. In the past, we’d burn all the pine cones we found and it would smell amazing. Maybe it’s because of the newcomers—there are way more campers than before. They would smoke stuff and play loud music. But Mount Pinos is still the same even without the pine cones. It still gives me the feeling of being far from home.

Photo credit: 100peaks.com