Everything Is Never As It Seems

January 13, 2011

My roommate’s friend stayed with us for these past couple of days. She grew up around Philadelphia, lived in San Francisco, and now she’s traveling around the world until she decides what to do next. She’s got a camping backpack and a couple other bags and that’s it.

It used to be a lifestyle I wanted to pursue, partially because my ex-boyfriend was similar: he grew up in DC, and before attending NYU, he lived in San Francisco for a year and traveled a bit. I wanted that hippie, bohemian, nomadic lifestyle. I wanted to travel around the world and meet random people and make art and live a colorful life, like Auntie Mame (which I watched last night).

There are a lot of choices I’ve made that led me away from that dream. I left NYC. I left the Bay Area. I walked away from some amazing job opportunities and comfortable lifestyles, and for what? To follow an Army boy? To have a job completely unrelated to art? To live nowhere near my family?

Oddly enough, it was all for love. I moved to Atlanta with nothing but my savings account. I knew no one, I had no job, no connections, nothing. I just moved here because I’m 22 and in love. It’s certainly not what I dreamed of doing, and it’s not what I thought I wanted to do, but here I am. And life is good when you have love. Except for when it lives 400 miles away.

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Holy Moly Me Oh My

June 25, 2010

I can’t believe my last post was last Friday. It seems like months since I last said anything. The Film Festival came to a close tonight, which was amazing. If you get a chance to watch Presumed Guilty on POV/PBS, do it. The film follows the story of an innocent man in jail in Mexico, and explores the flaws and injustices of the Mexican penal system.

But more importantly, at this moment, I have 6 days and 12 hours until I leave NYC. I was thinking about that today. I went to MoMA to see the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit, and then to Le Pain Quotidien for a pot of coffee and coconut macaroons, and while sitting at the communal table drinking from my bowl of coffee (yes, a bowl), I realized just how short my time here has been. Four years of my life – four significant years – I’ve spent in NYC. Whether or not I’ll come back…who knows.


Home Is Wherever I’m With You

May 28, 2010

Yesterday I realized something that makes me different from the rest of NYC. (Maybe not all of NYC, but a good portion of it.) I realized that New York City is for people who can’t be themselves anywhere else. And that’s simply not the case for me. More often than not, I have to return home to remember who I am. Sometimes I feel NYC confuses me, gives me things I can be but nothing I want to be. Sometimes I lose perspective.

And for me, that’s what home is for. And that’s why I have to leave. I have to go home with no distractions and figure out what I’m supposed to do. I believe that someday I’ll come back to NYC. I’m not done with it, even though it may be done with me. So…that’s my plan.


Bird in a Cage

December 15, 2009

Two things I want to talk about. First, if you’re interested in being an art student, here is my critical piece of advice: stick to your guns and fight for your work. Today we were supposed to have a final showing of our thesis work before the winter break. It was emphasized that the work should be as final as possible. But when we arrived and displayed, the professors (one in particular) seemed to treat it as another crit.

After all the work we’ve put into this project, you expect us to make such drastic changes that you’re suggesting? I realized that this was (unintentionally) a real challenge to our art. Can we defend it? Can we stand by it? Because everyone’s a critic. Everyone has an idea of what direction your work should take, and how it speaks to an audience. In the end, you can’t make everyone happy, and you can’t change your work based on multiple opinions. I wish someone had hammered this into my brain when I started art school. And that’s my two cents.

My second bit is about my desire to leave NYC and be my own woman. I feel this has come into question more often because of my impending graduation. I have loved NYC with all my heart, but it’s time for me to move on. New York has stopped inspiring me. I want to do so many things and go so many places, and I can’t have anything or anyone hold me down. I can’t have someone or something tell me where to go or who to be or what to do. I want to live in Seattle. Maybe I want to try living in Canada, too. I want to work with numerous organizations and film festivals. I want to live in the Bay Area again.

But there are so many people I love here. I have connections here. I have a sweet apartment here. And if I leave, I can never have any of it again. NYC will replace me and forget me like yesterday’s headlines. There are so many people who want what I have, and I can’t decide if I’m willing to let it go.

But I’m tired of feeling like I can’t be who I want to be. If NYC doesn’t like me, it’ll chew me up and tear me apart. There are times here when I feel I can’t be an activist and an educator and a photographer and a baker and anything else I want to be. And it is at those times that I realize again that I can be all of those things, but New York will not let me happy that way. And I know there are people who are all of those things and more here. But NYC wants me to be a New Yorker or get the fuck out, and that’s not who I am. I don’t want to be a New Yorker. I want to be me, and most importantly, I want to be happy.

Decisions, decisions. I have to make dinner now.


Take On All Eight

July 14, 2009

I read this post on the TakePart blog about Iranian films. (I would say the first list is much better than the second list, but I’m responding to the second.) I’ve had this discussion with multiple parties regarding film and cultural relevance. Foreign films that make it into Sundance or Cannes or any major cinema usually address political and social issues from within the country of origin. For example, Persepolis is based on a graphic novel released in the States and eventually became a feature film. While I haven’t seen it – and I’m sure it’s a great film – it isn’t the only thing Iranians have to talk about. I’ve always been hyper-aware of these issues (aka the “guilty liberal” complex), and I feel this is a great space for me to vent my concerns.

Take the film Taste of Cherry. It’s a beautiful film by Abbas Kiarostami about a man who believes his life isn’t worth living, and the people he meets the day before he decides to kill himself. And while this film’s underlying message may be about the oppressive Iranian government, it is, above all, about human connections and our love of life. Yes, you may argue that this is what most films are about (human connections, love, commonalities, pain…), Taste of Cherry seems to be the reverse of the films Goldstein lists: Kiarostami puts these commonalities above political messages.

Another example is The House is Black, which is regarded as one of the greatest Iranian films, if not the greatest influence on Iranian New Wave. Forough Farrokhzad, a well-known Iranian poet, produced a black-and-white short film about a leper colony in Iran. There are two great things about this film: 1) the only narration is her recitation of poems; and 2) all the footage is from less than two weeks in the colony (I don’t remember the exact time frame, but it was definitely filmed in under a month). This film is about the universal issue of leprosy and how we, as an international community, treat lepers. Yes, there are definitely underlying religious and political comments, but the main messages of the film are about the miraculous decay and beauty that is human life.

And if you get the chance, hit up the Iranian Film Festival. It looks like there will be some incredible films playing, and I’m disappointed it won’t be in New York. In fact, you should take every chance you can to watch foreign films that aren’t critically acclaimed by Ebert and Roeper or Sundance. If you really want to know what people have to say from oppressive countries or whatever, look at their comedies and dramas that don’t have clear political messages. Usually they’re the most effective as saying what needs to be said.


Gentle

June 28, 2009

Today was a lovely day. I don’t find myself having relaxing days. Fabulous, adventurous, momentous, debaucherous – yes. But relaxing? Rarely. Even when a group of friends wants to go to Central Park, or simply gather to watch some T.V., it always seems to be an ordeal. But today was simple.

I woke up late, around 3:00. I watched the Brazil vs. USA soccer game (3-2). I received a text message from JesseJack inviting me to a BBQ his mother had. I showered. I took the train to his parents’ house. I ate good food with him, his girlfriend, and another friend. We went to JesseJack’s new apartment and drank some wine. I fell asleep for 20-30 minutes on his bed. We went back to his parents’ place and had gin & tonics with his folks. We went to Wo Hop. We got PMT. I came home.

In the city I’ve realized it’s hard to be simple. I’m sure it’s been said over and over, but everyone is fabulous. And while there’s nothing wrong with being fabulous (trust me, I know), I find it hard to experience relaxation and simplicity. Summer should never be difficult or complicated. It should be easy and natural. As I’m sure most of us know, summer is for children, and maybe we’re just at the transitional stage: we want summer to be ours, but we can’t help but notice the sad adulthood that will take it away soon enough.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to all who made today fantastically simple, easy, and enjoyable.


Won’t You Be Good To Yourself

June 18, 2009

First, some shameless promotion: I saw Remnants of a War tonight. It was amazing. You should go. And Jawad Metni seems to be a pretty down-to-earth guy (he’s only 23!). And a beautiful soundtrack by Kill Henry Sugar. Check it out. Please.

In other news, I am realizing more and more every day that I do not belong in New York City. I think that this feeling is mostly because I’m still hung up on my ex, but I felt this even before that happened. Don’t get me wrong – I love studying here, and I wouldn’t have wanted to go to college anywhere else. But when I’m here, I feel a need to hold on to my anger and frustration. I wake up in the morning and I think about my ex and then I’m upset for the rest of the day. And it just doesn’t end. The days seem to go on forever. I can’t fall asleep. And I just hold onto that anger because I don’t know how to let it go.

Maybe it’s just because California is home, but when I’m there, I can relax. I can let these things go. I can re-learn everything that I believe is important. All of my anger and frustration disappears and I can think clearly again. And eat awesome Mexican food. Soon enough. 🙂