realizations & transformative moments
These past couple of months have been fruitful for realizations. They were simple—most likely things my subconscious has always known but never accepted. Here’s a list for reminding myself of the truths that matter.
One. For a long time, I thought the issues I struggle with most were common to everyone. I thought I failed to overcome them in my early age, that I needed to “catch up” to how others had adapted. I thought social anxiety was something that came with the territory of being an introvert. I assumed others who liked to be alone did so out of necessity rather than mere preference, an escape from the overwhelming pressure of crowds. I thought it was normal to have moments where alarm steals your ability to breathe and think. At some level, I knew that things were wrong, but I had normalized my experience of being different. Being overwhelmed with the feeling of judgment by new people, prospective partners, attractive strangers, and respected mentors was an everyday experience. I suspect that's where my naturally anxious personality comes from. I'm most afraid, most tensed, most uncomfortable approaching the people that I'm drawn to. I realize now that this isn’t common. I’m trying to view the tension as my body telling me that I care. Dispelling the notion that I need to catch up, I have the space to be at peace with this behavior, to make space for myself, to let go of the pressure to “normalize” myself.
Two. At the same time, some part of me has always resented and been ashamed of these struggles. They kept me from opening up about my troubles. It was easier to pretend I was perfectly fine, to shroud my insecurities behind an enigmatic, nonchalant exterior. As a kid, I obsessed over ninjas and powerful mystics in cloaks and all-powerful geniuses who never had to try to get what they wanted. I’m uncomfortable with how accommodating I am, how I put complete strangers above my own happiness and desires, how I suppress my natural curiosities and imaginations and honest opinions for some notion of propriety or external sense of rightness. I wear my shame with a seething pride. It's my excuse for my struggles, a badge of pain and hardship. I don't have to take any real risk because I have this out. I realize now that I take so much for granted. How I chase my natural curiosities—my self-investigative essays and experimental weaving of code towards some digital beauty. I talked to C recently, and she recounted how her brain is empty whenever she has idle moments, that she wanted to want to do more passionate things in her free time. I naturally fall into spending my time on truly passionate and fulfilling endeavors. My discipline with being "proper" means I'm exceptionally capable of designing and enacting rituals to try out a new craft. My clinical-level observation skills make me capable of gifting the sensation of comfort. Accepting your “weaknesses” and shames and considering them in the light of what they empower you to do is grounding. It’s a gratitude exercise to ground you in who you are rather than some “Other” you’re trying to emulate.
Three. The most transformative moments in life come from risks that don't seem worth it. They’re ones that seem either too innocuous to matter or too high stakes to be worth the cost. I have a pretty poor memory, but the things that do stick with me are all the little moments where I’ve felt a spontaneous urge and passed it over. Whether it’s engaging with a street performer, complimenting a stranger on their outfit, pressing a friend on a point of conflict, dancing in the street, expressing words of love, or allowing my eyes to wander and linger on authentic sparks of curiosity, some notion of “value” gets in the way of my natural interest. In these moments, I need a reminder of the magical, unbelievable good that has come out of when I have managed to make the leap. An exchange of typewriter poems after a 4-hour conversation with a stranger in a park. A sustained bond with the owners of the cutest Vietnamese cafe in East Village (Le Phin btw, they have great drinks). A genuine smile from a friend. A relationship strengthened by the steel of honesty. The exchange of knowing glances. The jubilance of the air twirling alongside your limbs. Those split-second moments where you’re cradling the universe in your soft, calloused hands, and a tiny jolt scales your fingertips as miracles are exchanged.
I presented my tiny internets project, an exploration into internet intimacy and how we create spaces on the web for ourselves, at a presentation, more to come on this! in the meantime, enjoy this great photo Katherine took
I launched the Twitter Pack officially, read the thread to learn more about how to take control of your Twitter data and do fun automations
i’m back in SF now after 7 weeks in NYC and a lot of life decisions are converging as my lease ends this month. have thoughts on sf vs. nyc / independent research / figuring out your life? lmk
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