1. Pale in Comparison

    The first seed of wanting fame was planted into my head about half a year ago when I realised how badly I fucked up my first year of college. It wasn’t academic probation bad, it was even above average…but it was mediocre. There are lots of excuses as to why they were mediocre, and I probably used them, because I so badly wanted my prosaic performance to not be the fault of my inherent inability, but of my circumstances. I drank too much, I was too depressed, I had to worry about other things, etc.

    What does this have to do with desiring fame? Well, my lifetime of almost excellencies, slightly-above-averages, and in-general mediocrity hit me so deeply, and so profoundly, that I felt I needed a fresh way to validate myself as someone of worth. I felt unfulfilled because I found that in almost two decades of living, I had nothing to show and nothing to call mine.

    Happiness resides on an abstract world that crumbles easily unless self-worth and tangible fulfilment make up it’s core. You have to feel somewhat established.  I thought about how easily this core is also destroyed if it is not strong enough. I thought about how at the time, I felt that if I couldn’t be established in my own self, I wanted to be abstractly established in the minds of others….a sort of free pass for my inadequacy to be socially established in more traditional ways. 

    I considered where this feeling of inadequacy stemmed from. As Mark Twain once said, “Comparison is the death of joy,” and constant comparison is exactly the world in which we live in. It endangers any sense of accomplishment and fulfilment that we may feel, and entices us to sometimes act for all the wrong reasons. I believe that my core is stronger than most my age, but only through sheer willpower. I’ve lived my whole life in comparison: racing times that don’t lie, GPA’s, college acceptances, my younger sister’s premature intellect, my best friend’s charm and popularity. Even in cases where the comparative light was shown in my favour, I felt unhappy and unsettled. I didn’t want to be their measuring stick, and I didn’t want them to be mine…..especially if it was someone I cared for. It made me deeply unhappy when I thought about the ways our society would dictate their worth, and consequently mine. Early on, I fought to suppress the toxicity of comparison within myself, and to shun the daily contrasts I would hear and see everyday. Some months, I believe that the inability to do so lead me to try to shut it out with substances and self-induced apathy. 

    It’s a vicious cycle. You are doing well in your own right, but then your feelings of insufficiency kick in, having you making poor life choices that leave you more inadequate than before. 

    I though, maybe if I achieved fame, maybe if I got into a great college, maybe then there would be something behind me, no matter where I found myself, that I could look back at and point to as a sign that I was capable of something. A little bit, maybe. But we are always trying to climb, never satisfied with where we are….it is engraved within us to constantly grow, to evolve, relentlessly. It is the archetype for the human race as a whole, and so it is impossible to ever hope to feel adequate at anything if we only make comparisons. We can only find it within us to express benevolence and kindness towards others, and to do the same for ourselves. It is important that we are not so foolish that we do not set standards, but that we are lenient and holistic in our approach of where we set the bar. 

    In life, you are only in control of two things: your mind-set, and how hard you work. It is a double-edged sword that strikes first with crushing trepidation, and then lifts with unspeakable relief. 

     
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  3. Sushi Symphony

    Food transcends being just food when you experience it in palatable symphonies, a sort of marriage of the senses and soul that when harmonised, make you say, this is straight from that elusive paradigm Plato was always going on about. I felt this today, dining at a small, renown sushi restaurant in Roppongi, Tokyo. The live ingredients, caught that morning, still retained a vibrancy in it’s flesh, lying in an irresistible lambency under white paper lanterns. I was in awe of each aesthetic arrangement, and the astute queue of sushi served to retain each individual piece’s delicacy and harmony with the course as a whole. The carefully paced rhythm conducted by the sushi chef, the elegant song of each fine-tuned ingredient, and the ingenious accompaniment with it’s timely punctuation, composed an unforgettable symphony on par with the London Orchestra. It is a synchronisation of the senses: vision, smell, taste, texture, that align so seamlessly, it caresses the soul, giving for a moment something that perhaps, might have been created by god, or in that perfect world of our good friend, Plato. 

     

  4. "How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?"
    — Plato
     

  5. Scraping

    A cracked open window on the 11th floor
    welcomes no timid west wind in.
    She’s a vagabond to her own open sky
    that’s been taken by scrapers,
    a jagged skyline,
    hanging from earth like unholy fruit,
    crawling with traffic
    and creatures
    who look but can’t see. 
    The outside pushes in, 
    echoes against the walls, where I sit 
    heavy lidded, white-washed, tasting salt. 

     

  6. The Japanese Describing Their First Game at the FIFA World Cup


    "Wabi-Sabi
     is a Japanese concept of finding beauty in things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It celebrates humanness and melancholy, defies perfection and embraces the inevitability of death. In their first game against the Ivorians, Japan were a team beautifully imperfect and incomplete. They mesmerised with their attack, but they wilted like a dying flower at the back.” 

    omg Japan turns everything into an existential haiku 

     
  7. Brandy Alexander - Feist

     
     
  8. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O.

     

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  10. Good times, noodle salad. 

     
     
  11. After the Rain has Fallen, Brunswick, Vermont

     
  12. I love this interpretation of Op. 9 n. 2 by Rachmaninoff. It’s a relatively easy song, but the nuances are extremely delicate….It takes a special soul to get it right, I think. 

     
     

  13. The Island Closest to Heaven

    Solitude washes up bodies on the beach like the tide. They walk into the sea from every continent, fully clothed, and intrepid to the eternal submersion. For what is there to fear? I hope that I’m forgotten, and I hope I’m forgotten quickly. I’ve read tombstones with unfathomable bits of remembrance, names substituted with “Loving Mother,” and gaudy memorialising lights. I’d rather be forgotten completely than remembered falsely. And while you sink, you’ll pass others sinking with you, and you’ll be reminded that this is not something that is unique to only you, no. We all sink, hair tantalised by the waves until we are washed up on a distant shore, far from where we started. And perhaps then, we’ll drink inordinate amounts of a rum we’ve never tasted before and carouse all night over our sincere happiness that we have meant nothing, and are now never in any danger to.

     

  14. Worn

    I wear your name like a sweater.
    I say it again and again
    until it’s threadbare and thin,
    and I wonder
    if it’s warmth
    was fabricated.

     

  15. Secular Hymn

    The droning river            
                    is run-off from snow
    thawing from peaks       
                    that penetrate the sky.
    The leaves dress in silver,
                    dancing for storms,
    while we pray for rain,  
                    we pray for rain.
    Our coterie of four
                    edge cautiously downward
    into the valley
                    where river awaits
    for the heat of our limbs,   
             our harnessed souls
    wrapped in cotton,
                    encased with history.
    Toes dip in the current,                
                    we tremor with shock,
    as something dormant within
                     is splashed wide awake.
    We wade out, within reach,
                    of each other’s cold hands,
    as we wash away,           
                    we’re washed away.
    I cradle a boy’s head,    
                     baptism by submersion,
    as he gently sinks,          
                    his sins carried away
    on a crest of a current   
                    if we were so inclined,
    to believe. He emerges,
                    breaking the surface,
    and when he gasps,       
                    some divine, holy ghost
    fills his icy lungs.              
                    He grasps my fingers
    like half a prayer,            
                    and we plunge again,
    the great revival,             
                    as rain starts to pour.