Theo O. threw away his art.

1545587_10151840901075778_903114813_nA couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of being approached by Theo O. I had been in Singapore at the time, and was sitting lonely in a cafe’ on the weekend. I wanted friends, but didn’t feel like I could approach anyone. I was drawing my carrot cake as I was sitting in that cafe’ and looked up at the group of four young university students in front of me, wishing I could be a part of the laughter. I was waiting for the Synagogue on the corner to open. I was excited because I knew I would be able to have the chance to make friends. I would finally meet people.

With these thoughts floating around in my head, I finished the drawing and my eyes scanned the rest of the cafe’. Most people were staring into their cellphones, their studies and laptops. However, there was one person stood out from the group: a guy with dark shades that was scribbling notes into a book. I assumed he was a company worker finishing up extra things after his job. The man lifted his head from his work and faced my direction. He looked at me, and gave me a little hot-shot nod and grin. Automatically I decided that I would be friends with anyone in the shop but him.

I checked the clock on my Itouch. Time for Synagogue! I quickly packed up my art supplies and exited the shop. I walked a couple of minutes down the road to find the building still locked down. Why does it look like it’s closed? I looked though the metal gates and saw a woman in a police uniform and waved at her to come to me. She was a serious yet friendly lady, and I politely asked why everything was still shut up. She informed me that it was very much open, but to my disappointment, guests needed to show their passports to enter for security reasons. I didn’t think of that.

Passport-less, I said thank you to the guard and started walking down the street. I was on the verge of tears when the thought passed through my head: Something good will happen. With that, I quickly regained my composure and wandered back to the cafe’ I was at. I stood outside of the coffee shop for about ten minutes wondering what I should do. Should I walk back home? The family I was staying with dropped me off, and I knew that their house was far. I could wait, but wait and do what?1492637_10151811158320778_1269779749_o

After standing there for a few minutes, I noticed the same hot-shot with the glasses going in and out of the cafe’. What was he doing? I didn’t think too much about it and went back to zoning out. As I was still staring into space, I get a tap on my shoulder and I find Theo O. in front of me introducing himself, asking how my day was going. He looked younger up close and guessed that he was around the same age as me. I was slightly hesitant to make conversation because of preconceived notions, but we got to talking. To my delight, I discovered that he was not doing company work at all, but was sketching. An artist!

We became friends, and I enjoyed meeting him in Singapore. He was my first friend there and I was ecstatic to have another person to talk to. A person that also loved art.

He flipped through his sketchbooks and I got to see his strange drawings and ideas on the paper. He told me that he wouldn’t think about what to draw, but just start and ideas would flow. I asked him how many sketchbooks he had.

Hundreds.

-What do you do with all of them?

After I finish one, I just throw it away.

I was in shock. All of this amazing art, just gone. What was the point? He told me that he could just re-draw everything if he wanted to. He didn’t see it as a waste, but the purpose of art being in the doing and not the keeping the final product.

Uh-huh… but still….

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Though we were only friends for a short time and didn’t keep in touch after Singapore, I appreciated his art and his friendship that day very much. That day changed the course of my trip and of my life. I fell in love with chance and serendipity.

Before we parted ways and left to go back home after Singapore, I was still confused about one thing. It bugged me and I decided to ask him:

-Why did you just come up to a random stranger and introduce yourself? You didn’t know me. 

A little grin formed on his lips he replied,

It just looked like you wanted to talk to me. 🙂

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Can’t keep it in.

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When I have this feeling I feel like I can do anything.
When I have this feeling I want to flip the tables and forget about all of the phone calls. I don’t want to think about the 9 to 5s, the To-do lists, the bucket lists and the shopping lists. At times like these I am just excited and want to create. I don’t want to do anything else at times like these. I want to put all I have in my head, the good and the bad, and have it find its way to blank canvas before me. I want to be sucked into the raw act of art and forget where I am, who I am. I want to digest all of my daily experiences through sketches and through my lowly attempts at making the memories last. I want to show them to people and share them to further domino the effect.

I am just too excited now to keep it all in.

My first and last limerick

DSCF1176My first and last limerick from 2010. I am looking through my old poetry and I smile as I recollect the feelings I had while writing them. What amazes me is that my mindset is still the same. I am still very much the same timid girl today as I was then. I still deal with doubt and feelings of uncertainty.

This was one of the few poems that had a positive feel to it. I enjoyed re-discovering it and hope you will enjoy reading it.

My First Limerick

There once was a girl who thought

A pretty face she surely was not

Always envied the faces around

Then looked in the mirror and found

She always had the beauty she sought

I always make promises

I am coming back to my writing as if I am coming out of a hazy dream. I can say the same for all my yesterdays, but more so for the past two weeks because they were out of the ordinary of my so-called everyday life. I was not working and was on vacation.

It is not a bad thing to let yourself decide to take a break, but when you discover yourself being tired from even the vacation, it is a dreary thing for your body and soul. While beautiful things happened and many laughs were shared on various occasions, I feel a great need in myself to travel and leave behind a life that I have seem to have outgrown. I do not mean that when it relates to people, for all those that I know never stop challenging me in positive ways. I, however, seemed to have stopped challenging myself.

I constantly make promises in what may seem to be honorable endeavors, but instead of falling though, I fall down and always take five steps backwards when not even two were taken.

Coming back home from Tokyo and Nagano, I had spent a total of twenty hours of train travel alone. Along with those twenty hours came with a lot of contemplating. I do not know if the intense thinking will manifest itself and provoke a positive change in my life, but I can only hope that it will.

I can only hope.

Shake the box

On the way home from swimming at a lake, a tired girl had an Itouch rant:

I told my sister on our way home yesterday that I was feeling like I was void of emotion. At my core, I have always been more of a listener and not a talker. With guesswork, I can bet my two cents that the homeschooling background and the fact that we were born and raised in Japan made me more sensitive yet indifferent to issues that required serious thought.

I feel extremely blessed to have been brought up in the way that I was, but at the at the same time, something is off. Something is missing. I don’t know if it is just some pathetic plea for attention, but I am hoping that the void can be filled somehow.

I brushed off negative emotions because I thought they made me weak. It is difficult to listen to myself and easy to dismiss pessimistic feelings. There are times when I force myself to be happy because I believed that that is what would make me feel accepted. My default is happy, but there are times when I do want to be alone. 

Amongst all of the mixed feelings, there is a lot of gratefulness. I am grateful for friends I can be genuine with. I am grateful for hobbies that I feel like I don’t have to stress out doing. I grateful that I have God always watching over me even though I have been neglecting Him so much. I am grateful for the happiness I get just before I take a bite out of something delicious.

It is late, so that is probably why my emotions are on a high now, but it is organic and I am glad for that.

At the end of a blogpost, I usually wrap it up with a simple conclusion and we are all on our way; in real life, there is never a conclusion. We want things packaged up all nice and presented to us in a way that is easy to understand. But it is the question marks in life that are interesting. It is the unanswered questions make us want to shake that box.

Youth be free, Not Fake

 

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Japanese T-Shirts and other products are infamous here for not making a whole lot of sense. What most people likely do is put whatever they want to say in Google Translate and think that’s good enough. Many things get lost in translation and you can end up with many raised eyebrows and cocked heads. I keep my eye out for ones that actually mean something. One of the recent ones that I’ve found is on this bag. Most of the students have no clue what they are wearing, and after I explained this one to the owner, he nodded in agreement.

It summed up what I had been thinking about that exact day. I had been talking with my sister and we discussed the usual worries and slightly irrational fears that comes with being young. The running theme throughout the talk was, “What should I doooooooooooo“?

We are caged in the idea that we have to know what we want to do. We have to have a plan. We have to have the right balance all the time. While I was traveling, however, the spontaneous moments were the times that changed my course for the better and great things happened when I least expected it. It is the social pressure around us that is pushing us to take the more conservative step instead of the leap of faith.

Mistakes go hand-in-hand when you are following your gut so you have to give yourself a little legroom when you make the not-so-right choices. There is no shame in admitting when you are wrong. We love to (and in a way, trained to) show the staged part of ourselves. We love the attention and the likes on our profile pictures, but perhaps the freedom comes when you embrace both the cringe-worthy and positive sides because that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes each of us beautiful and 100+ Facebook like-worthy in our own way.

By the gate of your smile, fortune will come your way.

There is an expression in Japanese that I would like to translate as: By the gate of your smile, fortune will come your way.

笑う門には福来たる。

 

I had it written on my cup at work for the past two years when recently it got wiped off by a student this past week. I didn’t mind of course, but the timing of it was amusing yet depressing. I try to remain positive, but it can be difficult when negative thoughts entertain you when you are alone. However, during an art fair at my school today I found a cellphone strap with the same expression. With happy nostalgic thoughts flooding my memory, I decided to buy it.

No matter what you are going though don’t forget to put on a smile.

I am finding out more and more that learning how to control your thoughts is a good skill to have. If I pity myself, bad thoughts return.
If I have a bad day, I want certain people to help me feel better about myself. It is when you have no other choice but to pick yourself up your esteem grows and you realize what truly deserves your attention. We entertain unnecessary thoughts and let them live rent free in our heads. We lose the precious time that we have by not exerting a bit more effort to focus on what matters.