Rat Race.

pexels-photo-429595.jpeg

Frustration hovers,
I’ve been carrying a Pandora’s box of worries throughout the day;
I’m drowning even as I’m running to the car rushing off to the next obligation on my list of things to do.
Stop.
It’s just a faint whisper of a voice that commands me,
but I allow myself to pause and abide at this moment.
Listen.
I hear the wind brushing the cascade of leaves above,
I hear the fluttering flags, pulsating in the throb of each gust.
Feel.
The texture of fibers, the crinkle, and crackle of the papers I am grasping.
It smells like April,
a sky pregnant with rain,
weekends reserved for musty bookshelves and warm snuggles.
I let myself cease at this moment that seems as if it could stretch into infinity.
But despite my best efforts, time trickles on,
The present will soon become the past,
the future holds out its hand expectantly.
So I sigh, expelling the foggy tension that had been stifling,
feel the steam levitating from my lungs, and track on.

Advertisements

Mirror Moments

Today, when you sat next to me,
I noticed you had tiny hairs on your chin and it made me smile.
You are a girl who isn’t looking for attention to be this close to her;
I imagine that you look into the mirror every morning with blessings on your mind and none of the complaints.

That night, I stared at myself in the mirror,
in my jean jacket and dress,
with my hair brushed back;
I almost looked like the kind of girl who would be brave enough to kiss you,
and you would kiss me back.

Shakespearean Anti-Love Sonnet

It is hardest to admit to ourselves,

That we are not always looking for love,

More than someone to fill up empty shelves,

An angel to rescue you from above,

You want someone who can say the right words.

But happiness should not be a person.

People may stay for awhile but like birds

Leave with seasons, your pain only worsens.

But who can blame you for loving wrongly,

When they make the sun rise and fall for you.

Hide your affections in secret calmly.

When the storm passes, the wind never blew.

You could stand there and nobody would know,

All the passions held in your heart that flow.

#Tips: How to stop your screen addiction.

Think about this. Our thoughts are a commodity. Commercials flood our televisions and phone screens, companies vying for our attention. Advertisers have even found ways to shorten their commercials to 3 seconds before a youtube video! Then you have popular media culture, where social media apps like Facebook and Instagram have infinitive scrolling where you can drown yourself in other people’s lives. What we have in my generation is a group of young people segregated from time and space while they are locked into their phones and obsessed with materialism.

So what do we do?

When I realized I was spending more time in the virtual world than the actual, I made a series of steps.

  • Turning off unnecessary notifications.

Turn off your Facebook and Instagram notifications. Those applications are tailor designed to draw you in by alerting you every time someone likes your picture. When this happens, you are flushed with a hit of dopamine and it gives you the urge to constantly interact more with the app. In reality, you only need to check the app a few times a day for important updates, and turning off notifications can help your self-control.

  • Change your phone to grayscale.

I only did this just last night after watching a Facebook video by Vox. Ok, yes I realize the irony… but I swear I got off my phone after this video. Anyways, Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist says a simple cure for phone addiction is to turn your phone to grayscale. The idea is to get rid of the flashing colors that attract your eyes to certain applications. Red is used to stimulate hunger and desire, which is why fast food chains and your notification bubbles are all red! Without the color, your mind is not so easily ensnared by your phone content. The truth is, everything in grayscale looks awful, which of course is wonderful!

  • Organizing your phone.

Okay, the second idea that Tristan Harris suggests which is organizing your apps so you only see the necessary ones first. What I have done is taken my social media apps, my games, and put them on the second page of my phone. When you do this, it makes it a teensy bit harder for you to decide to click on those addicting apps. The time it takes for you to swipe over to those apps gives your mind time to remind yourself to focus.

  • Deleting distracting apps.

This is the last resort choice for those like me who don’t have self-control. Eventually, I found myself still unable to resist using Instagram for unhealthy amounts of time despite turning off notifications. I despised how much time I was wasting on the app so I made the final choice to delete the app. Eventually, it comes down to what you are willing to do to change your habits.

Why is this so important?

I’ve personally noticed that social media has made me careless with the physical time I spend with my friends and family. Social media creates a false sense of social participation when you like someone’s photo or status update, and it can make you feel closer to someone than you actually are. And social media ruins quality time with your friends, who can’t admit to checking social media while hanging out?

I can personally testify that making these changes to my phone have reaped dramatic benefits over the past few days. Without the distractions on my phone, I’m getting to sleep on time and then finding more creative power in myself. Proper sleep has also helped me make better conscious decisions and stay emotionally stable.

So what are you waiting for? Take back control of your life by stopping your screen addiction. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and are encouraged to make changes on your phone!

The Tides Flow So Swiftly

You didn’t notice it before, but the tides flow so swiftly.
Almost 18 years have gone by without fanfare,
So take the time to be grateful for the small things.
Take out your headphones, put away all the distractions.
Just be. Look at the tide swirling around you
And as you stand there thinking about then, this, and there,
You can hear it moving ever so faintly.
The raindrops pattering the sidewalk,
A gasp of surprise when the Sunday school kids have grown,
The cars whooshing by, carrying people and their worries away.
They say we are fish out of water but look at you.
Swimming with fins, scales, gills, and all,
Even if it was only for a moment.

On loving her.

I keep my love for you in my backseat jean pockets,
A good luck charm for those rainy days that have no golden lining.
On the nights I can’t sleep,
Thinking of you puts my mind at ease knowing tomorrow is another day where you will be.
It is good the sun rises and falls, it means I am still alive to be with you.
Loving you is seeing the good in everything and nothing all at once,
Feeling the world through your hands, seeing with your eyes,
And realizing with the bitter crush of disappointment that you are not here.
Love like this should be kept secret,
Because once the cat’s out of the closet there’s no going back.
I’m a tender gardener whose large loving hands can’t seem to fit her gloves,
So I’m learning to plant the seeds wisely one by one.
Otherwise, I find myself in a garden full of thorns.

#TIPS: How enjoy reading more.

Hi! I had an epiphany before bed that I could provide some insight on my experiences as a reader. I hope these tips can help all you busy readers struggling to fit in a good book with your busy schedule. And I hope this can equally apply to nonreaders attempting to find their inner bookworm.

  1. Don’t stress out about it!

pexels-photo-313690.jpeg

Reading is first and foremost meant to be enjoyable. Don’t read books you don’t like, that will make you hate reading. This is why I have so much beef with the Accelerated Reader system employed in the elementary school. They test your reading level and expect you to adhere to those boundaries. In short, everybody resented this system and I think it explains why many of my peers find reading tiresome. I DIGRESS. But seriously! Find a book that you enjoy and a niche within a genre you love. Snacking on thrillers and comics is nothing to be ashamed of! Any type of reading is good for you and your brain. Reading is proven to improve short-term memory skills and concentration. 😀

2. Bring a book with you EVERYWHERE!!

pexels-photo-683833.jpeg

If you are crazy busy like me trying to juggle a myriad of extracurriculars with school, then you need to manage your reading time efficiently. So bring a book or two with you everywhere! You might find yourself waiting in line for lunch where you can squeeze in a few pages or in class going over homework questions you answered correctly where you can read in class. In short, READ EVERYWHERE

3. Switch between genres

 

pexels-photo-775998.jpeg

When I finish a book like The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (fantastic book by the way) I find myself mentally exhausted and craving for a more light-hearted read. So I periodically shift between serious literature and genres that involve more mystery and adventure. I have found this works best for me because I eventually tire out just reading one type of literature.

4. Audiobooks!

pexels-photo-374703.jpeg

I personally prefer reading over listening, but this is a great option if you are looking for a way to hear a story while you are doing other chores around the house.

5. E-books!

pexels-photo-844734.jpeg

I own my own kindle and I love how I can carry over a dozen book in a small tablet. It makes it easier for readers like me who sometimes like to switch between books when one gets boring. Another great thing is that Amazon has made all the classics free on Kindle so I read all the original Sherlock Holmes. 🙂

6. Reading before bed!

pexels-photo-301694.jpeg

This is great because it helps you take your mind off your busy day and relax to fall asleep. It also pushes away the temptation to reach for my phone and look at social media. Screen time before bed can mess up your circadian rhythms! A funny thing is that reading in bed used to be scandalous when books could fall on candles and cause a fire. HEHE.

7. Binge reading

 

 

pexels-photo-582430.jpeg

Find a Saturday you are free and binge read a book you have been dying to get into. Sometimes this is best at a Starbucks coffee store where they have nice ambient noises and peaceful jazz music which can help you immerse into the narrative. Even better is if you have a gold card and you can keep refilling your tea while you stay there and read. Just thinking about this makes me happy sigh. ❤

 

 

A Hollow Hallow (a villanelle in iambic pentameter)

On Sundays, people kneel in pews hollow.
Each prays silently carrying the weight
of their sins, hoping to be made hallow.

I left the tracks I was meant to follow.
If anyone asks, it was all their hate,
all their words that made religion hollow.

Nobody knows for certain; I wallow
That grey space twixt hell and heaven- my fate.
I face the choice to be damned or hallow.

Dangerous desire is a shadow
that will taunt a father’s righteous irate.
This fear has made a daughter’s love hollow

I find myself drowning in the shallow
of my thoughts; I usurped the Godly fate
Of a future marriage to be hallow.

There is no hope to escape the gallow;
I know the judgment of God and men wait
for me. Seeking love in law is hollow.

Denying the truth brings only sorrow,
Yet I can’t stop the tantalizing bait
of safety in the intimate hollow.
My selfish desire makes all hallow.


Oh gosh this villanelle took two days to write in 4-6 hrs. I finished the rhyme scheme when I discovered that the rhythm was wayyy off. So I rewrote each line with 10 syllables. WHAT A CHORE. But it was worth it. I’m practicing my structured poems to become a better creative writer. I took inspiration from the disjointed lines of Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art. It’s also a villanelle, but it doesn’t strictly follow 10 syllables, she sometimes has 11. #rebel🤯 I love her poem because the subject fits the style of the poem which is the goal of structured poetry. Unfortunately, I’m not at Bishop level 2000, and I’m stuck at level 1 where my structure is forced. My goal is to get better. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this poem and please do comment what you think I am alluding to. 

Oranges (a sketch)

She was sitting on a bustling bus, trying not to think of the time slipping through her fingers, trying to focus on the people and places that flew past her eyes. As they turned a corner on the freeway she spotted some oranges that had fallen by the wayside of the traffic. She wondered if a man, rushing home, had left behind his precious cargo after working two jobs and selling from a fruit stand at a traffic light to feed his hungry family.

The more likely, and less romantic explanation was that these oranges had fallen carelessly out of a truck carrying produce to the market from a collection of ubiquitous farms. These few had broken the industrial food chain and perhaps would end in a beggar’s mouth or a squirrel’s instead of the shiny clean consumers’ plate.

The bus relentlessly drove on carrying the girl away, and nobody would see their consumption save the silent trees and the gaping sky. But no matter. All would return themselves to the earth, where they came from, and would rise again.


 After I wrote a rough draft of this sketch, I did not think it would amount to anything. However, after listening to Joe Frank’s work this morning on Radiolab’s tribute to him, it encouraged me to edit and share this piece. If you want to listen to Joe’s radio work I recommend listening to the first story on Dreamers, published by UnFictional. I don’t want to reveal too much but his storytelling has a magical way of drawing you in. A warning, the next story on this podcast episode is sexually explicit.

 

To my family and friends

When you learn to love a girl who lives in others’ shoes,
You will come to realize that all parts of her will always care too much and hope too strongly.
Please remind her not to forget to love herself,
every soul is like a potted plant and hers she often forgets to water.
Sometimes she will spread herself thinly
almost disappearing and she will need someone to bring her back together.
Please remind her that mistakes make her more human because this girl is always trying to be everyone’s wonder woman when there are times no one can bear life’s struggle alone.
-10/2/17