A Halloween Story

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween is my favorite holiday - and not just because it occurs a week after my birthday! To celebrate, I donned this lovely interpretation of "a wolf in sheep's clothing" (hat courtesy of my lovely friend Nina and shirt courtesy of my lovely roommate Liberty), baked pumpkin bread, watched The Others and drudged up this Halloween story I wrote sometime in my early high school days. And yes, going through all that old material was truly spooky.

You can also see some of my costumes past and other great costumes from SakuraCon!

My Birthday Wishes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Few holidays find me giving myself as much protracted self-love as birthdays. I get to gather all my friends around me to appreciate my very existence on this earth - what could be more awesome?

Birthdays can also be a time of self-reflection and regeneration. A time to look back on all the growing you've done and celebrate the moments that have formed you, for good or for ill, over however many years of life have passed by. I myself did a retrospective of life lessons by 19 last year for just this purpose.

This year, however, at the (ripe old) age of 20, I want to offer an outward glance to the people who have shaped me along this life journey. I want to wish them all the happiness and love that the world has to offer through two birthday wishes that I myself want to take on in the coming year. Here it goes:

1. Love and forgive yourself every day in a small action. There are so many days that go by uncelebrated, and yet so many ways to celebrate the very fact that you got to experience another 24 hours of our beautiful planet. I suggest meditation, giving yourself time for a creative pursuit, and/or eating something flavorful.

2. Dream outrageously. Do incrementally. Get rid of the destination mentality that says you have to get somewhere in order to be someone. Work on the most outrageous dreams with the smallest of actions. Every footstep takes you further from where you started.

Thanks to all the people in my life that have made this year and every other a special blend of intense experiences, deep conversation, and beautiful silliness. My love to you all!

The Locked Room & Beating Perfect

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last week, I found myself in a locked room. I had no key to get out, so I knocked - lightly at first, but then more insistently - hoping someone could come to my aid. No reply. I proceeded to become more and more frustrated and sincerely thought about throwing myself against the door, screaming, doing something extreme.

This, my friends, is the locked room of my mind.

For the last few weeks, I've been pacing around in it, measuring the length and width with my steps. I was experiencing the ultimate academic burnout. Emotionally, I was flat-lining and felt guilt over my lack of motivation. Physically, I was trying to rebuild a self-care routine out of sand. I felt trapped by my inability to be Superwoman, instead constantly dwelling on the mighty to-do list that usually governs and stabilizes my life.

But, for all that effort, the door would not budge. I was forced to sit with the uncomfortable tension of not getting everything done and not feeling up to doing even a little bit of it.

At some point, I made a grand realization: no one cared about my work as much as I did. Not to say that no one cared about me and my accomplishments, but no one cared about me finishing everything I'd set out to do just when I set out to do it. I'll expand on this point:

I missed many events, classes, and opportunities to study or socialize throughout the last weeks. And I felt madly, passionately guilty. But, at some point, the tension began to lift. And it was all because I realized that people will forgive you for not being perfect. In fact, no one expects it of you in the first place. We all have our moments of doubt and instability, so it may even be less effective to fight through them than to ride them out.

No one was giving me a harder time than myself. So I made a decision - I could sit in that little room in my mind and kick at the walls, or I could use that space to chill out and let myself come back to center. I'm sure you can guess which one I've gone with.

This week, I am slowly coming back into the world outside, not mustering through, but giving myself some room to feel comfortable again out here. Patience is the key.

Caught My Eye: Fire

Friday, October 7, 2011

Image via DesiStudios

This movie came out in 1996, and I didn't hear about it until college. Clearly, I was deprived of some amazing works of art in my youth.

Fire is a movie about two Indian women who are in arranged marriages within the same family; the marriages are loveless and often they must bend to their husband's will regardless of whether he is being dutiful as well (sounds like a familiar narrative...).

The difference is that in Fire, the two women do get to fall in love - with each other. It's an amazing transition from viewing their acts as something wrong to finding the passion they need in one another.

At Slutwalk NYC: Are We Ever Safe?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Unfortunately, although my experience of SlutWalk last weekend was powerful and gratifying, I can't say that it was perfect. There were some women who chose (as was their right) to be completely topless in the march. One woman in front of me was doing just that, chanting with the rest of us and having a generally good time. Until a man who wasn't part of the march came right up in front of her, basically halting her in the midst of the crowd, and tried to take a picture of her breasts.

The man was heckled out by the woman and people around her, but the incident sent a shiver down my spine. It reaffirmed why we were out there, yes, but it also made me wonder: how do we ever feel safe if we can't even be safe in that setting? And, perhaps even more key, how do we protect/aid each other in feeling safe and restoring safety?

On Location: Slutwalk NYC

Monday, October 3, 2011

This weekend, I attended SlutWalk NYC. Now, despite my misgivings on the idea of reclaiming the word "slut" (see some great articles on this topic such as this one), I felt like the first message of the SlutWalk was an admirable one: no one should be made to feel they called for sexual violation/violence due to their clothes.

The march was an amazing spectacle - tons of people (including 6+ of our fabulous Well Women) marching through the streets near Union Square shouting chants such as "Yes means yes, no means no!" and "Rape is a felony, even for NYPD!" for all to hear. It was great to feel the vibrant energy of the moment; there were people in all sorts of dress, from conservative to casual to sexy, with as many amazing signs as there were hands. And what was amazing to me is that it felt so... right. So uniting to have the crowd actually take an interest in this issue, not just a few isolated folks.

I will be writing more on the march in the coming week, but for now I'll just let the photos speak for themselves (you can also see all bajillion pictures by liking The Cowation on Facebook!):