start from where i am, spiraling outwards
its 2:39 07.01.2022 and i am sitting cross legged in the center of my square living room, typing. i’m wearing a far-near shirt with lim giong’s “a pure person” lyrics on it, english in the front, mandarin in the back (though its sung in taiwanese) — “kindness / ordinary / happiness / innocent people / every time they see / ordinary and kind people / they feel in their heart / calm happiness.” i’ve been wearing this shirt for the past 6 days nonstop. listening to my first playlist of the year named “miracles belong to me.” maison louis marie no2 le long fond burning next to me.
there are… so many versions of you and so many versions of me. we’ll never meet all of our disparate selves, not each others and not even some of our own. we’re here now, though, in one specific form. me as words and you as the the you in my words, as the amorphous glow in my head as i write, the body in front of a screen.
no matter how many selves you have… i think there’s one self we all have in common — the self that is eventually left alone. at the end of a day, or at the end of a life. the self that can sometimes hear the air, the self that takes a deep breath, the body-sized self, the self that implodes with meaning, the self that experiences death. thats who i think of when i write to someone i don’t know.
i want to write about the moment you sink into your seat to consume something, to indulge in desire and curiosity, the skin of your face soft. i want to write about how those moments are viscous and encouraging, how it’s not possible to waste time. when mitski sings “i’ve been big and small and big and small and big and small again,” i think about that pulsating self within us that’s all sizes at the same time. the intimacy of being inside yourself looking out at a world, knowing what you’re looking at came from someone else inside themselves looking out at a world.
i get this grounding feeling when i consume different genres of content together. intimate living alone vlogs to the sponsored tech review to the goth girl ig to the theory dudes to hot girl twitter to comment-tok to my nephew’s ceaseless toy truck unboxing videos. the variety of life online is real when its real and real when its fake. my fave line in the matrix resurrection is when neo says “‘real’, there’s that word again.”
does anyone else feel like the internet became more intimate after we collectively honed our ability to love and discern nuance from a distant throughout the pandemic? not bc the content changed, but bc we see through each other in a new way. it’s the vulnerability of letting a friend see through you followed by that relief when you realize they don’t like you any less. instead they let you be or even cheer you on. i like the internet lately, because we’re all here.
i’ve been thinking a lot about performance and fame after i stumbled into the world’s largest fandom in 2021. it’s one of the more surprising gifts i’ve given myself — to allow myself to indulge in entertainment and come out of that consumption each day drenched in meaning. it felt like a continuous, repetitive discovery of self love. somehow through appreciating the intensely rounded performance of bts as a whole, i found myself planting my feet on the ground more, yearning to stretch more, dance more, and have longer conversations. i became curious why something that seems so different from me can consistently make me feel at home in my body.
part of it is being comforted by the lack of control a famous person has over their image. when you’re overly known, overly loved, overly hated and have no reliable control of your past and its circulation, all you have left is now.
eyes glossing over the endless stream of bts content, i thought a lot about how quantity transforms into quality. same for intense multi-year daily vloggers and the kardashians — after crossing a certain threshold of sharing yourself, there’s nowhere left to hide. you can’t take back all that being and trying… but every performance turned out to be perfect when you end up where you want. vulnerability and desperation make dreams come true. every artist and writer i admire is at least a little desperate. 2022, it’s my turn to be desperate.
i imagined creating a situation for myself in which there’s nowhere left to hide. to give myself no choice but to perform. i want to be bad at something i love if it meant i got to do it a lot. can quality even exist without quantity? 台上一分鐘，台下十年功。
i had thoughts like these constantly throughout 2021, suddenly i’m no longer someone who deletes old posts. i still review my posts and stories, but not out of a desire to control it, more out of admiration of my own performances, out of a desire for fun, a curiosity about who i am, the same indulgence as when i consume bts. nobody pays attention to you more than you. they either look at you or they don’t, it either means something to them or it doesn’t.
i love something i wrote in january 2021 in the last letter from my tinyletter.
“i yearn for the future now. this lack of nostalgia rushed me into actions and finally loosen my grip on my perfectionism. now it’s just a wrinkled piece of paper, slightly ripped on the edges from being yanked out of my hands. imperfect. i smoothed it out and put it in my box of papers full of cards from friends, collection of museum pamphlets, and worksheets from wholesome workshops. stop gripping onto ideas of yourself, just lose it or share it or store it safely for later.”
discarding the need to control how you seem can lead to a natural performance of you. the more you share, the more vulnerable you are, the more you give up, the more you become. es est percipi. maybe all i’m saying is… practice being intuitive… take care of your gut…
sometimes i choose to stay where i cannot perceive myself. it’s freeing to leave the seeing up to people around you. maybe my responsibility is being myself and seeing you, and yours is being yourself and seeing me. divide and conquer. so what if i write something you already know? then there’s one more person in this world who’s said it. i’ll get better at being me when i practice it in blind faith. hm, blind faith… another term for love.
welcome to my blog, start from where i am
as i read through everything i wrote last year (one of my year end habits), i noticed i keep writing similar thoughts and ideas over and over again in slightly different ways. i wondered how i grew with the repetitions, manifesting what i wrote about in a certain way, then finding the need to write about it again. life is an outward spiral, and we all eventually circle back to a familiar plane (stephen said this is called a poincare map), this time on a wider non-circle. as i write, i spiral outwards, life repeats itself without elaborating, i review the lessons and emotions until it’s mine.
sometimes i cannot easily say what i mean without being interrupted by faint ideas about how i want you to see me… then i remember the first quote i saved in 2021, shared by laurel…
“what I write here is not my teaching, but my study; it is not a lesson for others, but for me. and yet it should not be held against me if I publish what I write. what is useful to me may also by accident be useful to another. moreover, I am not spoiling anything, i am only using what is mine.” — montaigne
thank you so much for reading… please reply with anything you want to ask or share. i want to make this letter biweekly, to practice quantity. i hope that won’t be too much. when it comes to newsletters in my inbox, i follow my intuition and read the ones that feel right for the moment. sometimes ill delete, sometimes ill save something to read a long time after it was sent to find that there was something i needed in it the moment i read it. im feeling so unsure about this letter, squinting hard at it but im so not going to read it again. its 03:23 and its time to… play zelda…
for 2022, im wishing you all… serendipity, style, love (verb), friendship, movement, hair that frames your face well, vulnerability, desperation, health, and so much more… (for more, i spammed are.na’s 2022 out and in channels).
not sure what i wrote about anymore, but maybe you do.
as the self that is eventually left alone,