The Unknown

With the end of sophomore year and the summer of turning 20, I will be in Washington state pursuing a sustainable farming internship. I leave on the 15th of May and return the end of June, and for the first time in my life, I will be away from home on my birthday as well as conquering one of my biggest fears: travelling solo.

Doesn’t it scare you? Leaving and being on your own for the first time in life? You don’t know how to drive, how to ride a bike, or even how to make your own food. I object. What are people going to say? Where are you going to stay? Who is going to pick you up from the airport when you land? Are they trustworthy? You will always go with anyone, how can we be so sure you will go safely? 

I get it, the people that I have told my fears too have told me one thing in response: you will be ok. But I still cannot seem to grasp the butterflies in my stomach and the cloudiness in my brain when I hear the word solo. It is a word defined by the emotions it represents: freedom, independence, and more often than not, is associated with the feelings of being so tired of a specific place that all you want to do is run from it.

My dad always used to tell me stories of the Himalayas when I was growing up. Hiking amongst the majestic, snow covered peaks with his sandals being broken with each weary step he took. I will be surrounded by forests and a long, snaking river, carving its way through the landscape of my mind, defining it with every crash, bubble, and gurgle of a child. It is where I was meant to be and where I will always be going towards. 

The fear that I have is not singular, no. It is an integrated feeling that has been drilled into my head from when I was very young, that travelling was dangerous. That as a girl, I am often going to be a target. That things would happen. And I did not think I would be confronting that fear so soon in my life. But, while I confront my fear of the unknown, the personality that I have developed over 2 years that dosent give a single shit about it comes out.

A storm rages inside her mind as the boat crashes towards the watery depths of the ocean. Lightning strikes, with the dark, swirling clouds of Maleficent’s castle on a cliff make me start to cry in the airport. The tears rush down, as salty as the ocean as I fly over, as I look down in awe. 5 minutes later, the sun comes out. 

Life is too short to keep living in our fears and not step out the box, and believe me, I don’t plan on sitting down and watching. There is an adventure ahead of me, and boy am I gonna run after it.

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Reflection

So there are not going to be any photographs on this post. This is an all writing post into my retrospection with photography as a focus.

I think asking my parents for a camera on my 18th birthday (the summer before I headed to Clark) was probably the best decision I have ever made. I did my research, and got a quality, entry-level dslr on a discount through amazon.

At that point, I was still very much a traditional artist, working with paper, pencils, pens, paint, etc, only using my camera to document special places that we traveled to. Pretty much that whole first year of having my camera, it just sat there, in my camera bag, only in use when there was an event at Clark that needed to be photographed. I never took it out to photograph everyday life or just people at clark cause I only intended to use it for events and nothing else. However, I soon began to find myself getting tired of traditonal art and with an audience slowly growing for my event photography, I decided to make a shift into photographing everyday stuff, but only the last couple weeks of spring semester into the summer. An important point to add is that the main reason why I was at almost every event at Clark during freshman year was to get a feel for the settings and capablities of my camera and being able to fine tune my skills with the equipment and kit lens that I had.

It was only the beginning of this year where I made a significant effort to push myself out of my comfort zone and photograph people for the first time.

My camera and I merged into becoming one and the same,with me rarely leaving my room without a camera and a full charged battery. I saved up enough money to afford a new all manual prime lens (which I am going to be using for the rest of my life), which I used for all my photography except events (which I use my kit lens for). Where I went my camera went, and constant documentation followed. I documented everyday life, from unusual sights in the library, to shooting my friends being candid, to adventuring to new spots in Worcester for the sake of documentation as well as locations to take my friends to to photograph them. There were some times where I did scare my close friends by going to abandoned spots at night, pureley for the thrill of seeing stars with no light polluting the sky, but those are posts for another day.

I arranged a fall semester project, which evolved from a shadow based project to a conversational one, focused on getting to know individuals who made up the Clark community. I ended up photographing about 30+ individuals, and finding myself through my portrait photography. The pictures that I produced were, I realized after looking through all the photographs, were a direct reflection on how I saw the world — real and magical. I narrowed down my portrait style, basing it on moments that were real and candid and could never be replicated in the future. I ended up getting closer to my friends through this project as well as becoming close friends with the people that I shyly messaged through facebook to be a part of the project.

Photography as an art has turned into my primary focus as an artist, for the main reason that it has changed the way that I observe my everday life. Constantly looking through the viewfinder, has, throughout a year or so, sharpened my vision to noticing details in a photograph that might go unnoticed by someone who is too focused on the technique rather than the purpose or even the feeling of the photograph. It has led me to constantly document, often to the slight annoyance of my friends or people that I just end up meeting, to my family, but nevertheless I still continue to do it. Its taught me that equipment dosent really matter, rather taking the time to focus your shot and capture a real moment is going to matter more to you and your subject than creating an idealized and fabricated photograph through caked on edits and heavy alterations.

Photography is me. Photography is life.

*i had no idea how to end this post so I ended it in the only way I know how

*also important to note that my friends rarely see me without a camera and know that im always down for an impromptu shoot whenever

Insomnia

2 am

The darkness falls outside my window, like a giant knight gliding his blanket of stars over me. As the campus slowly falls asleep with sandman over their eyes, I sit on my bed wide awake, dealing with the consequences of sleeping a full 12 hours back home.

Why is it, when the world is fast asleep, I stay awake, eyes glinting? Why can’t I fall asleep? Is it rollover  I sit on my bed, my eyes facing the brick wall, typing away some random shit that I know will be meaningless in the long run. I think. Thinking about nonsense while smoking the fake cigarette I never wish to have.

Watching the smoke come over my face, shadowing my glasses, she types at a vintage porcelain blue typewriter at her oak desk. Her fingers glide over the circular shaped keys as the ink slowly prints the letters onto the worn out page. The simple satisfaction of it all.

Jay’s in wonderland, they say. High off the drugs she takes to get there, off the worn essays she mechanically writes while sitting naked at her desk. She lives in her own world, apart from the reality she chooses to keep separate. In her world, she lives with the great American connoisseurs of of the beat generation, brilliant in their composition of new works in the arts. She gets high off of the books she reads, sitting in smoke filled cafe’s  watching time pass by with every letter inscribed in dark, black ink. Their essence trapped in the manuscripts she rights.

Simply gorgeous in its composition.

Good Old Days

Just a bit of creative writing

I miss the good old days.

When the sun was shining bright upon my back. The feeling of my wings being melted off by the rays and realizing I was to survive on my own. The thrill of being alone with no one watching. I did what I want when I wanted.

I miss the fresh ocean breeze blowing the sea onto my face, encrusting it with its salty kiss. Drawings on the beach, while Helios pulls the sun back under the horizon and Selene rushing her chariot to bring about the night once more. Gazing on the beach with the stars glittering their million eyes upon my work. Proud, I lay down, with thunder in my ears and peace in my heart. As the sand wraps its arms around me, I fall asleep, ushering an era of calming and beautiful dreams.

I miss the times when the Gods held place in our lives, and you could see them living their lives around you.

Zeus the Casanova, sly talking his way into the heart of every girl on campus, charming them with his eyes and impressive physique, while hooking up with the emotionally scared. Hera finding out and blasting her boyfriend with fire and ice, sunken with contempt and hatred that she didn’t get every ounce of his love. She was too controlling after all. Everyone knew it. Hermes as the college busybody everyone knew, the busybody combating with a major mental depression and 3 jobs while trying to keep with his sunny and carefree attitude. Athena as the lone bookworm in the library that no one dared to mess with due to her sharp tongue. She sat alone, digging into the occasional drawing which such precision that even the most experienced in their craft wouldn’t approach her. They knew who she was and wouldn’t anger her. Dionysus, the party animal, roaming around with his at parties, drowning drink after drink while still maintaining an impressive composure in the face of wreckage. Living the bachelors life, he drives his friends home, not wanting them to get into trouble. After all, he got them into this mess.

They are all around us.

Page 13

So, its been a crazy week. Donald Trump became the president elect of America. The air was charged with animosity and hate towards those who supported him as well as those who supported third party candidates. It was toxic and poisonous.

I took Tuesday a little differently than most people, going outside and dancing and singing in the streets while walking to CC Lowells, an art store about 20 minutes from Clark’s campus. I refused to let the gloom get to me. I went live on FB later that day, around 10ish spitting out my thoughts about the aftermath to a suprising audience of 30 of my friends.

Page 13 was my way of coping with the results of the election. Its a bit of a combination of national geographic pages and a white ink pen that I bought at CC Lowells yesterday.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Parties: Facing Myself

Hey Jay again.

Talking again on Halloween, a night where the most incredible yet scary parties occur. But you won’t be seeing me at any of them. Its not because I’m a hermit, its because parties just require me to face the reality of that which I am not, and sadly never will be.

I consider myself an introvert. I find solace and peace through my art and photography, modes of artistic expression that are very private in nature. I tend to be alone a lot of time, not because i am a sad person, it just gives me space to do me like I would. I like sitting at my window sill and watch the rain fall and just listening to music while drawing. Its what gives me comfort in the times of chaos and confusion that I face almost everyday at college. That’s why a lot of you repeatedly find me in the library; its a place which i am comfortable in and the only place which I feel i can socialize the most without draining my mental juice and where I don’t have to put on a filter to be myself.

Its a huge reason why I feel uncomfortable at parties. Sure, I am a social person. I have an extremely diverse group of people that I relate to and (i think) relate to me. I talk a lot to people who pass by, asking them how their day was. But there is something about a party, an event where people are in a space where loud music plays and people get crazy isn’t something that I relate to. Its generally a crowd that I tend to be more afraid of than stay away from. And then there is me, a mouse among the madness: a group of lions and tigers. You would never see me actively socializing in a party, rather you would catch me just leaning against a wall observing and cohesively analyzing people. I promise you, its more because I find it far more interesting to observe rather than the fact that i am uncomfortable.

When I get back to my room, I feel at home, and as if a huge weight and expectation has been taken off my shoulders. You should see me: I get into shorts and a tshirt and spend the night drawing or just meditating on the weekend. It might seem like a boring night to a lot of you, but it brings me down to such a calm and positivly charged state, a state which I try maintain everyday.

There might some people out there who will label me as being antisocial and scare after reading this post. And to all of you who do, or do not read this post: Its just how I am. Its not something which I will, at anytime apologize for. Its a quality that I have long accepted and embraced, realizing that it has what has gotten me this far. And you can bet that I am only going up from here.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m far from unhappy. Sure, I would love to reach the point sometime during college where I will be mentally ready to go to a party without feeling like a total fish out of water, but I will get there slowly.

For change dosent occur out of the blue.