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Public Notes

This is where I keep some of my ideas, thoughts, and scribbles. Feel free to use them as a bouncing off point for your own work (I would be grateful if you could credit or link back here).

Go Your Own Way
October 18, 2021

Thing I learnt today: Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks wrote and recorded Go Your Own Way and Silver Springs about each other in the embers of their dying decade-long relationship. Silver Springs wasn’t put on the album because it was too slow, and the iconic Go Your Own Way was only on the B-side. But they both did have to sing about themselves as members of the same band.

Later, Stevie and Mick Fleetwood, after whom the band was named, hooked up in New Zealand. She broke it off immediately because he was still married and a father to two. A year later, Mick left his wife for Stevie’s best friend.

Retiring Poets
October 09, 2021

There is something powerful about being in a room full of poets, shoulders hunched over as they read their work out loud one by one off a rustic wood stool in front of a brick wall. Sometimes they rush through the words, sometimes they are speak so softly no mic can catch them. More often than not, they are shy to fan the entirety of their splendiferous wings, no matter how many times they've done this before.

The necessity of silence for vulnerability is understood. Boots tread lightly, devoid of iron heels, across the floor, beer bottles sweat from waiting to be popped between readings, jangly jackets are removed with an artistic archery of the arms. Candles flicker gently across a rickety table you are afraid to rock in the middle of a poem about birth. A cup too filled with mezcal is offered to you "on the house, because you'll be reading" and a liquid blessing from the gods is in order.

You put your name down on the list for the open mic before you can back out of it, and once you're up there, you're in the safest place you've ever been naked. A sea of people here for it, here for you. From beyond the open glass, trucks go past, horns pattle, and the babbling of strangers drifts in in many languages from an outside world, unaware of the spell held in place in this room. The thread of your attention remains unbroken, this is what you're here for. Monstera and brick and wood and hearts of polymer creating quiet rupture and rapture, missives of an underworld you are not yet ready to leave.

Ten to thunder
August 5, 2021

We sleep at ten, which is early for you, but you have not slept well in a week. Two hours later, as the clocks break into a new day, the thunder rolls in, and the puppy breaks his way into the closet, tumbling backpacks and paperwork and yoga bands in an effort to escape whatever torments the rain brings. 

Who knows what he is thinking when he hears the thunder? Is it an animal in the background, a smashing of light that's coming for him, the end of the world in a cloud?

Whatever it is, he wanders around the room, searching for shelter, warmth, something to tell him it's going to be ok. Refusing it at the same time too. He whimpers, he scrapes, he scatters a few hard things loud enough to wake us both up. You lift him into a cuddle on the bed, and he takes it for as long as he can before slipping out. Hugs are not his thing, really.

But you are awake, just two hours after you finally went to bed. A week of not sleeping, and then from ten to thunder. 

Sometimes, it is a lumbering beast: Living with social anxiety
June 25, 2021

Here's what it feels like to live with my particular brand of social anxiety.

Sometimes my anxiety is a lumbering beast that wants me to stay in bed so that I don't have to trudge through another day of pallid existence. Sometimes it is an unsolicited hummingbird in my heart that has made a deal with my breath to only travel on Track 1, where no deep breathing or meditation can fix it. Sometimes it is a swirling of the world as I lie alone in bed at night, ribbons in my stomach swimming in great currents against the tide of sleep.

This is what it boils down to: the fear that I am unloved and completely alone in the world. That I was born this way and will die this way - unknown, undiscovered, uncared for. An urge to split a channel down from my sternum to my stomach with a blade till I see blood and discover that oh, my existence never really mattered anyway. A life of hearts drawn on the windshield, and for what, for something peripheral that never made a dent in anyone else's life anywhere.

In my mind, I will always need to make other people comfortable and feel hurt when that is not reciprocated. Why would it be reciprocated? Few people are at the same time as warm and gracious and loving and kind, and also as intelligent, funny and charming as the family I grew up in. I have drifted out of worlds with people like this - or I did not value them enough in the past to know how rare a thing it was. Either way, here I am, forever feeling like I am stuck on an island with no one else on it. Floating Alaska, party of one.

Being left out, being talked about when I am not there, being taken advantage of and then discarded. Not having control over how I present my image and carry it forth. Living only in the minds of people and their unique parochial understandings of me through the singular angles I give them to understand me. I give everyone shards and edges, only I know the entire bubble of the picture - the confidence and charm on the outside, the tact to piece together two fives and make them a twenty in almost any language. Only I know the bubbling lava I learn to live with each day on the inside too, the constant coming up short, the deadweight of the black decaying fungus log of past lives, little flowers sprouting through rotting wood.

Is it worth carrying that log around?

So this is my anxiety. This is the cold oatmeal I stand in, sticky toes, heart pacing, afraid to step into iterations of the same old situations. Colonialism everywhere, jaded and rusted. Shit in a toilet bowl. Being left alone, being left behind, being laughed at from where they think I can't see it. Being anything short of loved to the max, unconditionally. Sitting in calcium water instead of being polished to steel tip. And me avoiding it all for just a while longer.

Avoidance is supposed to be harmful, but the fact that I have control over one tiny damn thing in my life is a balm for the eternal scraping of my soul.

Thoughts on Languishing
May 27, 2021

Languishing is something only people with privilege can afford to do: white people, rich people, people who were born with or have earned their way to a place in their lives where they are ‘comfortable’.

The privileged don’t have a fire under their butts that refuses to ever let them sit down, sink into an armchair, or get too comfortable with whatever they have. They are not incessantly pushed forward in the never-ending pursuit of improving something (their lot, inequality as a whole, problems, wicked or simple).

Those who can call this endless churning forward a result of capitalism are also usually inherently privileged. Able to give up and relinquish to the hinterland to take care of horses in the wild.

Capitalism is colonialist, definitely, but it leaves behind this fire in the bums and bellies, a fire that is imposed, subjected, created to serve, so that those without power will forever try to catch up to those in power and in the process continue to serve them in an endless circle of disenfranchisement.

In a pasture
May 10, 2021

Today, I am floating in the garden of eight senses, using arrows and black mirrors to navigate a world that was intended to be tactile. I am building a garden out of shapes you have made out of ones and ohs, and that I can do this surprises and fascinates me. I lost hope in the Dora-ness of this exploration long ago, but playing in a box of squares with you, I am learning that it was only lying dormant, waiting for a sprinkle of late summer rain to sprout again. 

It makes sense that it is called 'sprout' then, a running bulletin board of notes we have sown and grown together. We are here, getting to know each other and having fun while we do it, smashing ice virtually, turning water into grape juice, you at nighttime in a country I have spent half my life wanting to go to, a country at the edge of the earth so far from my very own where the sun is, as always, rising. My brain was waking up before I got here, and drinking tea in a little circle with you is the best kind of hope to start the week with.

We meet in a pasture where I am sure we will find each other again. You with your colours and toys, me with my numbers and cows. Opening the gate to a garden of dreams set in magnetic sand. 

What I really think when people in tech say they write publicly as a "forcing function"
April 05, 2021

(See title first) Maybe it's worth considering that however advanced your coding skills may be, your self-worth is still determined by capitalism and the opinions of others around you. Maybe that's easy for me to say because the only approval I really care for is my own (intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation), but isn't life a long learning of how to trust our own selves, of figuring out how to listen to and be guided by our own inner voices? Maybe the thing you're trying to build isn't really in the outside world, but closer home instead.

Hipsters make the best coffee
March 29, 2021

Hipsters have a lot of flaws, but I trust their coffee. When it comes to shokuninism around coffee, hipsters have it down, because 1) they both care too much about the small things and 2) have a palate for discerning the smallest differences (or so they say), but also because 3) they're usually shiny rich hippies and thus more likely to experiment with things like plant-based milks and 48-hour brew times (they also have the time and money to experiment with this).

So, in a way, these people with either highly refined palates or with the means and time - or both - can serve as vehicles for the rest of us to experience coffees and coffee preparations (like flat whites, hipsterest of hipster coffees) from plantations across the world, smooth velvety oat milk in our coffees, and in a city like Mexico City, an overall 10/10 coffee experience for a not so high price.

I don't trust hipsters when it comes to their overpriced art, but I do trust their endless searching for 'the best' when it comes to coffee.

Pressure cooker art
March 18, 2021

Creation is different for everybody. What looks like a workflow for one person may flow more organically for another. The firm bind of a structure that helps one person write or create may feel like a noose for another person. 

It’s ok to do things your own way. It’s ok to be in the moment and absorb it, put your camera away, put your publishing mind away. It’s healing to rest, to be, without the pressure to create. 

If the safety of a rope helps you, good for you, but if it wears you out to constantly running towards something in a bid to honour your public fiction of being a creator, let it go. No one needs to be turned on all the time, creating all the time. 

That’s capitalism. Not art.

Bodies and the mind's eye
March 17, 2021

When you think about the body, what are your references? Greek statues, magazine covers, your mother, a Botero painting? Are they men or women, people of colour, people in bodies that don't feel right for them? Are they human, flora, fauna? Do they have a say in how you see their bodies?

Guided meditation and bumper bowling
March 14, 2021

Guided meditation is like bumper bowling - it’s not bowling per se, it's a different sport, though both are fun. Being good at bumper bowling maybe doesn’t help you exactly in the same way with bowling, (or guided meditation with being in the quiet with your breath) but it gets you in the lane.

The space between your thoughts
Feb 22, 2021

You are not your thoughts, you are the space between your thoughts.
(Monk Haemin Sunim, Ten Percent Happier podcast)

When you think of that empty space, do you shrink away? Or do you hold your face up to the light with love, letting a glimpse at the ultimate core of being burn your retinae? One is capitalism, that teaches us to fear the empty spaces and blank pages. The other is meditation, that shows us how to look at things from a place of curiosity and love. Which one do you choose today?

Plotlines, lifetimes
Jan 30, 2021

If we were to wonder about the plot of our lives, what would be our obstacles? How would we overcome them? Would all the ends tie up? In the stories of our lives, each chapter is a series of overlapping plotlines. Where are you now in (each of) yours?

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