Emotions, feelings…

Left awake to the clocks, I think I’ve found you out

I’m not going to lie, I’ve got a couple of drafts half composed but never got around to finishing. As usual, my 2-week break has been fleeting, and in merely a couple days’ time I will be thrown back into the business end of the semester – and I am FREAKING OUT. And once again, I’ve been sidetracked since opening up this new draft and have completely forgotten what I was going to write about.

Okay, here’s something – my friend Takuma and I had a huuuge talk about everything and anything a while ago before he moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane. One of the things that we discussed (and I can’t remember where he had read or seen something about this) was the fact that, us people spend too much time thinking about life, about the past, present and future, rather than doing anything. So technically, based on this logic, me sitting here and typing away about this, is a waste of time, because I’m being far too introspective* and wasting time that could be better spent actually living rather than thinking about living. I see the merits of this view, but I can’t help but do it anyway. Can we really appreciate our lives if we never stop and pause to think how far we’ve come? But isn’t it a little self-destructive (yes, I’m taking the pessimistic route, I could have said hopeful, exciting instead) to then have to face the huge fear of the unknown future that stands before us? Or to contemplate how much work, effort, time and sweats we must invest before we reach our next intended goal/destination? Then again, based on the previous argument, should we maybe stop thinking about where we are going, altogether? And just be on our way?

But hold on, if we just lived on and on without ever thinking where we want our lives to lead us, does this mean we will live a more spontaneous, free-spirited and content life without stressing of “intended destinations” (because we all know things never go to plan, and roads crisscross more than we’d like)? Then again, where will the contentment and feeling of satisfaction, of achievement come from if we hadn’t aimed for anything in the first place? Is the plan to have no plan?

When people ask me what I am going to do for the rest of my life, or career – and trust me, as a music major they ask me quite often – I really am not quite sure what to say. Even to the closest of people, I don’t know how to explain to them that half the plan is to have no plan, just a general direction.

I was going to delve into this more but ended up going to bed after writing the above paragraph, since it was around 5am by then. A lot of things are ever-increasingly confusing me and bugging me, I wish it was all a bit more clear-cut. They say business and pleasure shouldn’t mix – well that’s not going to work for me.

Finally looked through some of the photos I took in Sydney back in June/July – I really love these two. The first is one of Liv in the corridor of the hotel; the latter is of Liv and Mum on a bridge over the motorway at night. I’m surprised I managed to do it at long last, but that photo is EXACTLY how I wanted it to look – with the original shot in the middle and the rest stretching out – kind of relating to what I mentioned in my last post, this is like, two moments in one moment.

Incoming, out clubbin’, not lovin’, slow your body down

I think I’ve run out of farewells for the year. Saying goodbye for 1-2 years to one of my closest friends, Takuma the other night was extremely difficult – he’s gone to study in New Orleans and neither of us can afford a visit within a year, I think. On top of that, 6 days ago I had to send my sister off at the airport, without knowing if the next time I see her is for Christmas this year, or worse (and more likely) to be in a year’s time, during the US summer season, when I will be a year older, and she will be turning 18. Thoughts like that are freaking me out so bad – I’m not going to be a teenager the next time I see my sister! I’ve been having difficulty over the past week living by myself, contemplating the fact that now, the four members of my immediate family are spread over 3 countries. It’s really hitting me: I will NEVER live with my sister again. I know this is all normal and part of growing up, but it just seems kind of whacked out she’s moved across the Pacific Ocean on a massively glamourous 4-year scholarship to play Division 1 College Golf, but I’m the older sibling and I haven’t even moved out of home yet! This whole “end of an era”, aka END OF MY CHILDHOOD thing is seriously messing with my mind. Despite the fact that for years it’s really only been a pseudo-childhood, it was much nicer than the huge push into the deep end of a very cold and icy pool. Sea, even.

Although I’ve only been at university since March (the NZ academic school year is different to the northern hemisphere, school years don’t cross calendrical years), it feels like I’ve been here forever. It’s scary thinking that in 2 months’ time I will have completed 1/3 of my Bachelor degree. Even scarier wondering what comes after, but extremely exciting contemplating all the traveling that I want to do – and all the people that I know scattered all over the world who have offered me “couch” accommodation just adds to the excitement.

In the meantime, this is how I spent Friday night procrastinating from practising for my recital tomorrow night: low light phone snaps by Elvia.

Black Motel caged-back dress. She convinced me to wear the shorter one of my two new dresses, over the mesh Asos one. Powerwalking from her apartment near the Sky Tower, we fended off drooling and drunk men on the streets. I was grateful for the height difference between us that allowed her to wear heels and me to stomp in my Dr Martens. The Bouncing Soles really put a bounce in my step. Winter nights are brutal to exposed backs and uncovered arms, the city air an unfriendly reminder of how inebriated we must be to ignore its scathing existence. Taking pictures whilst we are still straight and lips unsmudged by bottle tops and glass rims. They say a girl is sexiest when confident, but how much confidence is real? Leaning against the bar, girls try and skip the serving order by pouting, eyelash batting, whilst men blanket an act of confidence over a core of frenzied excitement. Classified as a depressant, I find alcohol full of connotations: suppressant, an activator, empowerment, enslavement to the lack of conscience that ensues. And for better or worse we can’t escape ourselves and the things we do or say under the influence. But I often wonder – isn’t it really that we’re under less “influence”?

At her apartment we talked about the differences between Taiwan and New Zealand – the contrast in cultures and perceived “normality”. She grew up there, whilst I grew up here. But both spending our young adult life here with different backgrounds and cultural upbringing gives us a rare view that others don’t have. I question the differences, the ones I know of but don’t live by, as she adjusts to the new set of social “normality”. It’s funny how people can come from the same place and end up so different. Or come from different places and still have so much in common. Sometimes the diversity drives me crazy, how people don’t understand, aren’t curious, don’t know to be curious, but variation is never a bad thing: “Six kinds of blue”.

Even though this last picture caught me by surprise and was a snap in a whim, I love how offguard it caught me, its blurriness being precisely as the moment was. Sometimes there isn’t a still in the moment. Does that make sense?

She asked me about the kinds of music I’m into, and showed me Taiwanese bands she’s into. There is a huge gap to bridge but I can see why that stuff sells. It’s depressingly not difficult to write and perform though, in my opinion. That is, relatively.

Stoplights are swaying and the phone lines are down

My absence has been due to over a week spent in Sydney, Australia – which followed a 5-day/nights’ series of events, which were all blurred into a very long, extended lump in my memory – and I’m not too sure how I feel right now. Until I can conjure up the effort to sort through hundreds of photos and thoughts, I’m not going to write about where I went, etc.

Families are supposed to be the comfort zone. The people who’ve known you your whole life, know all your embarrassing childhood stories, who care for one another the most. At least, that is the family that I was brought up under the illusion of, despite having been disillusioned over a decade ago about its idealistic ways vs reality.

Unfortunately, over the past week in Sydney, my (immediate) family – who usually live in different countries – have been crammed into one single hotel room. It was large, yes – the size of half our house, but a single space nonetheless; and all the things we usually pretend is all okay could no longer be contained. My parents aren’t getting along. They haven’t for a long time. But under the facade of not living under the same roof for majority of the year, everything is “okay”. In the middle are me and my sister. Whilst she still has to put up with the same problems, same fights and outbursts as I do, she doesn’t have the older-child syndrome of taking on all these problems as my own. I don’t want to take sides. I have two sets of opinions and views on these problems, and how I think they should be dealt with: one, being the daughter, I want them to work through things, slowly, fine, but surely, and just at least do something productive or argue productively rather than stupidly about anything, everything and absolutely nothing at all; and two, being from a completely objective point of view – get it all over and done with, if it’s so painful to coexist.

I shouldn’t be saying this.

In the most selfish manner, also, I have so much else on my plate that I am stressing over, but the whole family thing is an overbearing darkness and source of stress, pain, guilt, troubles, internal and external conflicts that I can’t conjure up the strength to deal with anything else. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been sick for a week and a half, and it’s only draining me more, physically.

I know people out there go through much worst than me – in fact I have close friends that have, let alone all the people whom I don’t know. But it feels soo bad I don’t know how people get through it. I guess they develop some coping mechanism to subtract themselves from the equation of their parents’ misery. I can’t seem to. I am so latched onto every bitter/icy/frustrated/angry/defeated/confused/hopeless/unreasonable word that comes out of their mouths, and I catch all the hurt/vengeful/loathing/sad/intolerable look that the other doesn’t.

I can’t sleep. I was already insomniac enough without the jetlag. Skytv’s ceased working sometime over the days that we were away, so there is nothing to brainwash my sleeplessness with either.

My ipod is currently lost somewhere in the pile of luggage in the lounge, next to the couch on which my father is sleeping – so no music to dither away to.

If there was ever such a time I felt I needed sleeping pills the most – I lied. I really need some now.

To take you back when… I know it’s been so long

Tried to have a song-writing, jamming session today but failed miserably. I don’t think that the fact that I was so out of it due to having stayed up well into the morning hours watching the footy helped.

The drawings on Julia’s blog reminded me of a habit I’ve noticed more and more recently – lip biting. I know I’ve always done it, now and then; but lately I’ve been catching myself doing it more often. I’m not sure what it means… I think it happens when I’m thinking, uncertain, weighing things up. Contemplating. Anticipating. Nervous. Why?

I usually have at least one long thread of thought that I ponder on, and debate to myself. Turning it over and over, dwelling on things. But strangely, not today. I feel rather numb and empty and lifeless. Thus probably why so music-less today. As I’d said to him, “I don’t have a single musical cell in me today” :(.

This is the cake I’d decorated for a friend a few weeks ago – eeek at the sloppy edges though!

If my life is mine, what shouldn’t I do? Everybody just wants to fall in love, everybody just wants to play the lead.

During the last week of semester a conversation I had with a classmate went something like this:
R: Don’t get tooo stressed out, it will all be fine. I mean, heck, I love jazz school.
Me: Asides from the obvious, why do you?
R: Well for one, who the heck else can say “I go to jazz school in a castle”?!
And I guess he’s right.

These photos were taken on Friday night in town with Sinead on our walk back to my car. The photos in black and white were unintentionally nice angles that I found when I took a closer, chilled out look at the surroundings that I’ve had for the past semester. It’s funny how everything that I usually bustle past in a rush to and from classes actually appeared really photogenic to me, on a cold, winters night at 1-2am. Perhaps the combination of the cold night air and the lacking elements of people and time restraints was what made these usually mundane corners pop out to me that night. The first 3 photos are taken just a few metres from the Kenneth Myers Centre (the “castle” that jazz school is located in, photographed below). The second 3 photos are just around the corner where I would usually park my car if for some reason I had shorter classes and decided to drive instead of ferrying. The last 7 are all taken around the same block as well. The odd photo is of the view out of my car and through the rearview mirror; and the sky tower was shot off a reflection.

Isn’t it ironic that most people my age I know agree with me wholeheartedly that Auckland (and NZ in general) is such a beautiful place to live, and yet we cannot wait to leave the minute that we can – most likely when we’ve finished completely our degrees. I kept intending to take photos of the amazing view that I am treated to by my daily to and fro ferry rides, but I never remember to take a camera. Maybe next semester.

Being out 3, 4 nights in a row has really taken a toll on my sleeping habits and overall tiredness. And, although I have officially finished Semester 1 at jazz school, my final assessments didn’t go as well as I would’ve hoped. I know I can’t really blame anyone for anything, but one thing that was beyond my control was the failure of the drummer during a very important song that I had arranged, and had high hopes for. There’s only so much that I can do as a bass player when the drummer doesn’t play in double time as per rehearsed. I’m just upset that it is my mark that will suffer, and most especially when it was the first time that I had nailed an entire structure of a solo without getting completely lost of out this world – let alone the fact that it was without music! I have no idea how I managed to memorise ten tunes over the space of a couple of days, but I know my arse will be kicked into gear next semester, and I will start earlier. One more exam for my Computer Science paper on Tuesday, and then I will really really be on holiday. That is, if the lingering work that’s been prescribed in advance for next semester can qualify as a total holiday. It’s once again times like these that I envy those doing other degrees the true joy of having no work to haunt their minds over semester break.

These last photos are just… well, some shenanigans we got up to. I haven’t really looked at the band photos I took that night.

Surprisingly, I have a kind-of backlog of blog entries I never got around to posting. Maybe I will catch up.