vomit of words?

I have had my fair share of lonesome summers, but it never really bothered me till now. In the last year, I have found myself craving the company of my friends more often, perhaps the result of experiencing a bout of intense anxiety and only finding real happiness at the other end of the metaphorical tunnel when sharing my time with people. Since then, I have made a conscious effort to stay in touch with friends, plan time together, only to find myself continually let down by people who can’t reciprocate with the same energy that I invest into the relationship. Over the last two weeks, there have been numerous occasions where I have taken the initiative to organize plans with friends only for each and every one of the plans to be bailed on at the very last minute, often times with the shittiest renderings of an excuse. I can’t help but feel foolish every time the inevitable message comes through on my screen, ending on a pitiful sorry emoji, the insincerity in the words tearing into my mind. I took the time to clear out the day in my schedule, only to have noncommittal people dismiss my efforts without a second thought. I started to think that maybe I’m nothing more than an annoying blister to them. A blister they attempt to satiate with a mindless “maybe next time” and “sorry I couldn’t make it”.

I had somehow become so dependent on external sources for my own happiness. How did I end up here? I can’t help but feel frustrated that I have such a hard time dancing between one end of being a hyper-isolated person, and the polar opposite of wanting company frequently. I can’t seem to reach a healthy medium. I spend a lot of time alone in the library studying, alone in my dorm, alone on transit, and ultimately disappointed by the people around me, bringing the abrasive noise of constant solitude into a rising symphonic blast. That is all this is. The repetitive rhythm of my daily routine is no more than an unforgiving white noise. I long for endless conversation, spontaneity, and romance of every form with the world, but something is always falling short. Even my own writing, the one true escape, has become stale. The former boundless flow of ideas seems to be blocked by a dam of reservations. I can’t tell you how many times I have opened up my word document on my computer, only to stare at the blinking cursor for a few seconds and let my mind wander off to other meaningless distractions like social media. That has been my daily ritual as I grapple with my own words, only to fail miserably at the task of constructing sentences with coherent meaning.

They say misery loves company. Yet I have never felt so alone.

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first year in the books.

I have completed my first year of university and there have been so many words brewing inside me that I am now compelled to dispel onto the page.

Between the exams, rainy weather, long studying hours underscored by constant sleep deprivation, I seemed to have arrived at the other end of the tunnel intact. In retrospect, I am so thankful for all the challenges I had in the last semester of high school that prepared me for the inevitable stress that would arise in my studies. There has been one or two incidents at my school where I have heard about people who unfortunately were not able to cope with the pressures and resorted to more permanent cessations of their problems. It was something I was always wary of, the subconscious and irreversible consumption of my life by school. When you are surrounded everyday by a certain singularity in social culture shaped by competition, anxiety, fear of failure, and the list goes on and on, it is easy to succumb to a defeated and lost mentality. This was why, in spite of the inconvenience at times, I made an effort to make the two hour commute every weekend to go home, see my family, and maintain my part time job. At one point, my mom told me that my first priority should be school and that if work was going to get in the way, I should just quit my job. What she didn’t know was that, my first priority was my own mental and physical wellbeing, and that quite counterintuitively meant attempting to balance facets of my life beyond academics. I did not want to feel so absorbed into something that I would lose sight of the existence of life beyond the edges of campus. It is only when tragedies like the one that occurred during finals week where several police and the ambulance were called to the student residence that most people seem to wake up from their daze. What a shame it is that it takes the sudden loss of life for us to recognize it for its value, and to see how trivial the rest of our issues become. What a shame it is that our only experience of the day is through ephemeral, caffeine induced bursts of attention before we return to incessant noises in our own heads.

Now that I am finally pausing to take a break from school, I wanted to bookend this school year with a meditation on the last 8 months. I won’t lie and tell you I haven’t had my fair share of  pitiful moments, crying on the floor of my dorm, wishing I could do better, then being overcome with the dread of perhaps, god forbid, having peaked in high school. But the defining difference was that after every single one of these occurrences, I would feel as if I didn’t have anything left to lose, it was a sense of resignation. The resignation was not one of apathy necessarily, but rather “I don’t have time to dwell on this any longer”. I let things breathe, and carry less weight. I have learned that sometimes our greatest efforts are not enough, but rather than be discouraged, I can welcome the detour. Take the scenic route, even when it feels less than picturesque. For the longest time, my greatest fear was failure, or rather anything short of perfection. I have had to confront that repeatedly this year and have found that handling every circumstance in good humour helps lighten the load. Moving forward, I know that I must continue to endure whatever post secondary education decides to throw at me, but one thing I know to be true is that as long as I maintain a healthy perspective of it all, I will always end up becoming a more resilient, better person at the end.

the good and the bad make something great

What a year it has been. As anticipated, 2017 has been a year of tremendous change, and therefore growth is inherent.

It has by far been one of the toughest years, unsurprisingly. I dealt with mental health issues regarding my anxiety in school. From that experience birthed a newfound resilience, creative voice, and gratitude. Although I have not been as active in writing on this blog, I have continued to write in my privacy, attempting to string words into poems, one of my newest passions. In a way, this year was my version of a coming of age narrative. The relationships within my life underwent a maturation. I noticed a different feeling at home, the dynamics within my family have changed, and I think it has been for the better. I am no longer as resentful, I have learned to be more forgiving of not only myself, but of others. There is something so liberating about this whole process. I had come to the conclusion that I was my own worse enemy, and that the only way which I could defeat this opponent was to show myself kindness, yield to and accept my imperfections as they are, and focus on progress instead.

This year, I had some of the most memorable nights filled with euphoria and music, which are two entities I consider quite interchangeable in my life. I witnessed live performances from the xx, the 1975, Khalid, Odesza, and Lany, fulfilling promises that I had once made to my younger self. I hope I never forget to keep making little Selina proud in every way possible.

Despite the many challenges, or rather, because of all the challenges of 2017, I have become a better version of myself. I have learned to do things that scare me more often. I have learned to appreciate every moment I share with my friends and family. I have learned that I am okay with the unpredictability of life, and that I should welcome it. I have learned to find balance. I rediscovered my love for reading, running ( a brief summer stint I hope to dive into again when the weather warms up), and photography. I travelled to new places this year, while revisiting some old favorites such as the Oregon coast.

In 2018, I hope to continue following my passions, celebrating the mundane, and spending time with friends and family.

Here’s to the new year.

Favorite albums of 2017

Let’s cut to the chase. Here are my personal top ten favourite albums of 2017. It is in no particular order.

  1. A Moment Apart – Odesza

This was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. I have been a fan of their music for 4 years and I was not disappointed. A moment apart marks a distinct departure from their previous style seen in the first two albums. This third album is cohesive, cinematic, and emotive as usual. The concert experience was out of this world, by far my favorite live show I have ever seen. Their attention to detail is evident in their live shows. From the live drumline, brass section, brand new visuals, to live mixes of older songs in their discography, the performance was a masterpiece from beginning to end, filled with pleasant surprises every step of the way. My personal favorite song from this album is the title track “A Moment Apart” which must be listened to through the seamless transition from the intro song.

2. Melodrama – Lorde

I had slight reservations about this album when Lorde first released the single “Greenlight”, but upon digesting the album as a whole, I saw the bigger picture in the project. It is raw, infectious in energy, and features some great production. It is a good mix of upbeat, catchy songs and stripped down vulnerable pieces. My personal favorites are “Hard Feelings/Loveless”, “Perfect Places”, and “Liability (reprise)”. She is definitely the next live performance I would love to see.

3. About Time – Sabrina Claudio

This is the debut album of an up and coming R&B artist. Her sensual voice, minimally alluring production, and overall suave musical style is what drew me in. It is the perfect album to listen to while studying or diving into a creative flow. Sonically pleasing without being distracting, but a body of work that can be thoroughly enjoyed if one takes the time to pay attention to the sounds. A definite go to album for the many late nights. My picks from the album are “Belong To You”, “Unravel Me”, and “Frozen”.

4. I See You – the xx

I had the opportunity to see the trio perform live earlier this year really enjoyed the more laid back and intimate atmosphere of the show compared to other concerts I had been to. The delivery of this third album from the group reveals a evolution in musical style from their first two albums. Perhaps it is the result of Jamie xx’s personal musical venture between the second and third album that yielded these changes. It is more developed than the minimal sounds of the previous two albums. It feels more confident. It’s not surprising that there a few songs on the album about courage and change. My personal favorites are “Replica”, “Brave for You”, and “I Dare You”.

5. American Teen – Khalid

If you have not heard of Khalid in 2017, you must have not only lived under a rock, but also lived in another galaxy entirely. He has been nominated for several Grammies for his debut album chronicling his coming of age. As someone who just graduated high school this year, this album felt particularly relatable for the stage of my life I’m in. I loved the energy of this album and of course, his soulful voice always helps. My favorites are “8teen”, “Let’s Go”, and “Winter”.

6. Lovers – Anna of the North

This album is one where I can listen to front to back and completely lose track of time. That has always been a sign to me that I love an album. She coats love and heartbreak sentiments in sweet synthpop. Outside of this album, she also boasts some pretty interesting collaborations, including one with Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean. My picks from the album are “Baby”, “Lovers”, and “Fire”.

7. don’t smile at me – Billie Eilish

I remember the utter shock I experienced when finding out that this angelic, nuanced voice belonged to a 15 year old girl. Her lyrics and musical style are very developed for her age. Her electro pop pieces are destined to make you fall in love. My favorite songs off this debut include “bellyache” and “idontwannabeyouanymore”.

8. Chase Atlantic – Chase Atlantic

The saxophone, audible accent, and song themes are reminiscent of the 1975, one of my favorite bands. Chase Atlantic incorporates their own flair, focussing on R&B style production while still balancing some alternative rock elements. They are a group that defies typical genre boundaries, which is something I can always appreciate in an artist. My favorite songs from this album “Consume” and “Keep it Up”.

9. Ultraviolet EP – Dagny

This was an unexpected favorite album of 2017. I had the chance to watch them open for Lany recently and found their entire discography a fun listen. The pop vocals are infectious, playful, and sure to put you in a good mood. The songs compliment each other really well. My favorite is “Fool’s Gold”.

10. Freudian – Daniel Caesar

This was one of the most beloved albums of 2017. It brought something new to the music scene, mixing soft vocals with soulful and laid back production. I would consider Daniel Caesar the male counterpart to Sabrina Claudio in terms of style. This is another great album to play while relaxing on a night in or hitting the books. My personal picks are “We Find Love”, “Take Me Away”, and of course “Get You”.

honourable mentions for artists:

James Vincent Mcmorrow

dvsn

Sza

Sampha

Golden Vessel

 

 

 

 

Oct. 12

Why do I let such little things hurt me?

My words falter, lips stutter

Stunned, stung

Torn between anger and sadness

A dose of sheepishness for good measure

My body collapses into itself

To shrink ever more in this too large world

Why am I so foolish?

To think you’d treat me to empathy

Is unfortunately as futile as expecting

The revolution of the sun upon my axis.

It’s hopeless.

Because by standards deemed within society,

Humans are a reflection of empty credentials

With little humanity to fill bones.

You don’t lose sleep over this 

While it devours my mind with such fervor

I have lost all capacity to rationalize