when I am happy I stop looking at myself from a distance
As I’ve always done with beautiful people, I’ve long only noticed Harry Styles from afar. I never fully allow myself to love things that I feel are too bright and too clean for me, and if One Direction was the pack of popular boys in school, then Harry had prettiest face of them all. He’s the handsome boy you’ve never talked to because you run in different crowds, but who everyone says is very nice, even though he’s never seemed to experience that awkward phase that you thought was a necessary evil, a journey you must undergo to become a better adult. You don’t pine for him; he will always be too far from where you are for you to reach him. You don’t really have anything in common with him, anyway.
Listening to this album has made me think of Harry Styles’s schoolboy persona a bit differently—but not too differently. It’s like looking up to find him right beside you at the bus stop. He’s started to dress a little differently this year—a little shaggier, maybe—and as you observe this, he turns and asks if you know the Beatles. You respond, “Uh, yeah?” He explains that he’s recently gotten really into them. You miraculously get to talking while you wait for the bus, only to find that this beautiful, distant boy from school sometimes says stupid things like, “You’re cool, no one else knows who the Beatles are,” or is awkward and nervous sometimes, like you. You realize he’s been raised by the same media and culture as you, so he’s been deifying a beautiful girl from school the same way you’ve deified him, but none of that lessens his charm. You simply begin to project a more down-to-earth and relatable ideal of a boy onto him, and perhaps he is beginning to form his idea of you in his mind, as well.
- Mitski, “Mitski Reviews Harry Styles’ New Album“
I have asked for three days of space, and in the aftermath of the request — an unfussy affair, a quick text and only a few minutes of heart pounding, conceived of and solidified during my evening shower, Nujabes echoing on the tile — a strange combination of blithe, anxious, dreading, and then nothing at all.
Here’s what he said: I’m not jazzed about it.
Here’s what I responded: You’re the best.
And I suppose really I mean that. But I’ve been thinking a lot about something a poet I saw said, that they were a needy person, and that they would keep being needy and would surround themself with equally needy people, and they would all be needy together.
I think I have denied myself that neediness for a while now. I think I was raised and convinced through whatever cool-girl portrayals I saw that being needy was uniformly negative, and that there was some invisible inverse relationship between neediness and quality of person. I think I’m tired of that. I think I’ve been craving neediness — receiving, giving, the works — and I know, I know, that I need neediness, and I shall have neediness, and I shall be needy. I want the cool gals and the cool guys to leave, be scared away by my whirlwind of neediness, until I have no one but the real ones left as the dust settles.
That’s not true, of course. I want people, I want quantity. Really, I am terrified. I am terrified of pruning, because I have also been pruning quite recently, and of course: what if there is no one left? There is almost no one left. I am scared of being alone. I am scared of being alone.
For three days, I will be alone. I will read, and think about everything but the one thing, and I will live, perhaps hollowly, better hollowly than anxiously, better nothing than that. For three days. It will be good for me.
it occurs to me: I’ve always thought I didn’t yet know who I was. but could it be that I’m truly, non-normatively nobody at all? a human so fully empty so as not to truly exist?
At a presentation for Taiwan-Chinese relations, and I can’t help but feel conflicted.
It is naive. It portrays the entire conflict as a facade as a problem of ‘lack of understanding’ and ‘differences of human needs’, fixable with ‘human connection’. They likened the problem to an ‘onion’, in which economic power, independence, and national identity was the superficial facade and ‘self expression’ was the core.
I was angry at their naiveté, but I was also angry at my cynicism. I have no solutions — how can I fault them for trying? What ideology am I trapped in?
I believe this was jotted thoughts for a poem idea
snow taking up ad space
or is it just blowing back (futilely), wind on the front of a bird’s wings
there is a special kind of cautious shame in those who bike upwards on a one way street
and some lack even this: they pedal lazily, bike turning side to side
it is a new york sort of reckless meandering
IT IS A SPECIAL KIND OF PRIVILEGE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
“You’re going to be a dentist, just like your mom.”
It was so innocent; such a normal thing: like father, like son. Like mother, like daughter.
I can’t say the exact moment it happened, but one day I realized that all the old tired aphorisms in the world held such insurmountable truth in them that I couldn’t believe I’d heard them all before. They were like air, like the sky: always there, so much so that they ceased to exist in my head. So given that I had never once stopped and considered them.
I grew up in a white beach town, and for the entire time I lived there, I thought that was the only way to grow up. This was the norm. This was the self. It was the default. It’s not a conscious thought, or a phrased ever uttered. It just…was. And it was only after I left that I realized it had existed at all.
When I came here, I became cognizant of the other. I became cognizant that I *was* the other. I became cognizant that we were all the other.
I guess that’s what I mean. My mom was a dentist, and my dad was an engineer. To be an artist — to be creative — that was the other.
I remember when I came to college and saw everyone doing all these amazing things: making movies, music, writing policy, publishing articles and emailing Janet Yellen. It was all so foreign, this stuff that I’d heard about growing up. This world in which important people were two points of connection away, not a million. This world in which so many options were open, and kids — my peers — had the freedom to be *what they wanted* and have their passions be heard; their causes they championed with far-reaching consequences across the *world*.
For the first time, I was interacting with the world.
I remember feeling alone.
I remember feeling out of place. I remember conversations with the kids of CEOs and Ivy League academia, their words twisting around my small town head, their casual indifference far, far more painful than any outright insult.
WRITE THE THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE THINGS YOU KNOW.