There’s Something Important I Need to Tell You

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Jump-wings, jump, jump-wings, jump…

In tap dancing lexicon, this move is called wings. I was successful in getting a murky tap sound maybe 70% of the time, and that was only when I spread out my jumps in between the wings.

But I’ll just put it shortly — it took me months to even get to a stage where I could do it 90% of the time and without spreading them out with jumps.

And then today, something clicked.

My warm-up jumps were smooth sailing, and my feet muscles could hold me up better than usual, thanks to the 3+ miles that I hiked the day before yesterday. With a spur of energy, I jumped and then pulled back — the sound was crystal clear. I jumped again — same sound. I still can’t explain how that happened. I didn’t know. But my feet did.

I did it again and again and again, and eventually I didn’t even to insert extra jumps between my wings for a proper liftoff.

Taking a breath for a moment, I wandered off the practice floor and out onto the deck, wondering, Yo. You promised yourself you’d be beyond elated once you got the moves down. Why aren’t you feeling more celebratory?

Yes. That’s the question I ask myself every time I accomplish something difficult.

Take finishing each end of the semester, for instance. Last semester was difficult. And by the time I finally, finally, finally finished, then what? Relief? Not even. Mostly panic attacks and last-minutes worries of having forgot to submit something online. In fact, I recall it was during junior year in high school that I had soul-crushing panic attacks for two weeks straight. I could barely even sleep, and that made everything worse.

Same with languages. At the beginning of each of my languages journeys, I imagined I’d find the exact day I’d master a language, and then when I come to the realization that I’ve learned something, I can celebrate and take a vacation from learning and drink Midori or whatever the hell is left over in our wine drawer at the moment.

Not true.

In reality, by the time I accomplish something, I crave even more perfection in my craft or project. I think it was Stephen King who once said that he never considered his books truly done. He can revise them forever and forever and ….

I feel ya, my dude.

So why don’t we feel satisfied whenever we accomplish something that way we imagine we would at the beginning?

Because accomplishment isn’t a finish line but a process. Accomplishment is an infinite extension of our processes. And accomplishment is also relative. If you’re like me (or Stephen King), you are inclined to hone and perfect your tasks indefinitely. Granted, there is supposed to be a stopping point, but my mindset was never “is it good yet?” but “how can I make it better?”

I will have ingrained so much information in my head that by the time I’m using it, the accomplishment isn’t a big deal any longer.

So if you’re experience this phenomena as well, don’t settle for “accomplishments.” Instead, gage for satisfaction as you learn on a continuum.

Oh, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself once you’ve mastered something big. Next time I need to let someone know how far I’ve made it in tap, one word will let them know.

Wings.

Changeling

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I glided across the sidewalk in chiseled harmony

And a rhapsody above me played

A restless song of strings and scherzoes

Until classtime brought to a halt my private parade.

*

Weather warps are rapid, here in Pleasantville —

A sauna day outside from fair-winter fans

Indeed, to blast me some of its coolness

As false relief trickles through my veins.

*

Teacher can tell me all that fell on naught

That eventually, one day, I’ll come to rue;

But for now I’ll the harvest this season’s limelight

Featuring perfectly, fearfully, made-fully…you.

The Truth About “Artists”

I’ll try to make this quick because I have homework to get to, but first I thought I’d let you know something. Also because it’s coffee hour for me after attending college in the city all day.

“Poetic.” “Aesthete.” “Artistic.” These are the terms others have dubbed me. I get it — I am working for a degree in the humanitarian sector of the workforce. When I’m doing homework, my mind is trying to cobble up a tap dance choreography to an invigorating jig that I can perform in front of an awestruck crowd. I stare at beautiful pictures of models and actors like they’re paintings from the Louvre. I will literally stop in the middle of a walkway to observe the cherry blossoms fall above me, and I stand like that for hours. Any heartbreak takes me months to get over. And if I’m not actually writing poetry, I wax poetic to my exasperated sister on the way home from college on how my crush looked at me the wrong way today or how I’m surrounded by idiot NPCs every day who should really go to Safeway to buy ingredients for a better life, or how I sobbed my way out of my latest existential crisis or how no one likes me, or if they do, they aren’t substantial enough, or…

No, I get it. Labels are superficial, and while I don’t take them seriously, I realize this much about myself. I can’t live life without observing it through aesthetic lenses.

But what I also previously assumed about myself…is totally wrong. I used to think that aestheticism enables me to find beauty in  everything.  That means finding beauty inside of people, not just in obscure models whom I don’t even know personally. I thought being an aesthete would make me a good judge of personality.

Wrong.

I’ve noticed a pattern every time I fall in love, whether on real live people or whether it’s on models. All my objects of affection…they’re all physically beautiful in some way. Otherwise they have a tendency to look a lot like me. Ask my friends — they’ll tell you that the pictures of them stashed on my phone have the same haircut as me, same facial as me, same fashion statement etc.

That’s right — I’m a narcissistic bastard. Mum wasn’t wrong when she said she noticed a high percentage a poets she knew in her life based much of their craft on themselves.

Isn’t it ironic, then, that as much as I bemoan guys for calling me beautiful when they express their interest in me, appearance is the #1 factor for me that piques the most significant amount of interest towards someone?

And look, I’m not saying that appearance shouldn’t be an important factor in choosing your friends or life partner. It is. But when I examine my own judgements of people, I realize that I overestimate the quality of people when they’re beautiful just for being beautiful while I vastly underestimate their inner qualities. Of course, I do my best to find out who people really are inside.

But let’s be real: I have a wayyy higher favorability bias towards beautiful people at first sight than if they weren’t. Don’t even get me started on last year when I had multiple nervous breakdowns because I saw someone absolutely gorgeous on campus when I haven’t even met that person. Really wreaked havoc on my mental health. If that’s not an extreme case of bias, I don’t know what is.

Bottom line? I glorify beauty, but how much is too much? At what point does glorifying appearance became superficial, especially when my object of affection looks a lot like me?

I don’t have the answer to all these questions since I’m still figuring myself out. I just thought I’d let you know that artistry comes with a darker side. Trust me, I know. I’ve been heartbroken many more times than I could count because “aesthetically beautiful” didn’t live up to my standards. It’s common sense to not judge anyone by their looks, but why I still can’t stop lusting after physical appearances, I don’t know.

I’m not saying all aesthetes have such tendencies, or non-aesthetes aren’t going to go gaga over the next sexy lady in their frat circle. But I know who I am, and I can attest this lived experience to you.

As I like to say: want to know whether someone is a narcissist? Ask them if they’re a poet.

 

 

 

 

Evening-goer’s Delight

It’s been a while. I’ve been quite busy with things, some of which I like, but in the process had to sacrifice other things that I also like (like writing/blogging). I stepped away from my history book and outside the door for some fresh air. The twilight weather was…wow. It’s November here in California, which means it’s getting chillier, but on rare occasions, the weather and the atmosphere is like SUMMER again! And I was so overwhelmed that I had to jot down this poem to preserve the perfection. I’m happy to say that in those long busy autumn days, my poetic muse is still alive.

IMG_4482

***

My God! — the time is perfect

The time is NOW

The creamy twilight merges into

A homely conglomeration of serendipity

Earthly needs, they call me to stay

For if not, I’d just fade away

Into the raw serenity.

*

I sing a song of the crickets

The shy evening sky — oh, just ever-so-high!

To the one who flaunts November summers

Your warm breath frames a picture-perfect standstill

I forgot my sorrows

I forgot such things as tomorrows

There’s no WIND — just a looming, sweetly chill.

*

The strands of sun have tucked in, now

The air feels on my fingers — like a tender cheek

Let me lean on you, revel, BREATHE

I just don’t want to think, lest I cave

Cave to your impish cues

Yet your presence shines on in sunset hues

For you’re the one I desperately crave.

***

P.S: You know that picture up above? Yep, that one’s mine. I actually took it on my old ipod. And for an old ipod, I actually liked the way the picture turned out!