#74 - I'm back!
10 things I consumed this summer
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THANK YOU, LOVE YOU.
It has been a minute since I have written. Two months to be exact. What started out as a short summer break to focus on a performance turned into a full-on block. The best way I can explain it is that my brain switched to another channel that needed me to do more than think (more spreadsheets, fewer articles), and every time I tried to switch back, the remote control was like nahhh b.
Of course, taking time away from your practice is never simple. In that liminal space and out of flow, I questioned everything.
What is the point of this?
What am I trying to say?
Do I have anything left to say?
How do I grow this?
Should I focus on one topic? What topic, ahhh!!!
Is this the best use of my time? Can I afford to write?
Are we consuming too much?
Should I quit the Internet?
Am I even a good writer?
The questions mostly led to nowhere, and also stirred up a major vulnerability hangover that tempted me into deleting everything I have ever written on the Internet - wondering if what I had written still represented how I had changed through the process of writing. Ultimately, the time apart from flow turned into anxiety, anxiety turned into procrastination, procrastination turned into resistance and that is how two weeks turned into two months.
What brings me back here today is the whisper between all the questioning that said, ‘just write.’ If an image of Rafiki comes to mind as the voice of the whisper, then I will say, you are not far off from accurate. The whisper was also my friend J who came by to pick up a headlamp and asked me why I had not been writing; M who politely inquired while we were making dinner; V who sent me a handwritten postcard to tell me they appreciate my writing and N who occasionally would read old editions and float a comment to the top of my email box; P for adding me to their recommended newsletters; and T for asking me to write about upcoming their art show. I see you for seeing me and we don’t do these things alone.
No grand plans for how to grow my audience, focus on a specific topic and financially sustain my writing emerged, and yet the message was clear, just write. Sometimes the voice had a bit of an eye-roll to it, like why are you making this so complicated…but most of the time it was gentle and firm. Although, I really do need a cooler logo.
So I am back for another season of processing, making sense, and reimagining my big/small existence with you. I thought about starting with a listicle to ease back into the practice of writing. I barely write emails anymore so I wasn’t sure if I could still form sentences.
And then the queen died, and I was like…can I possibly write about the ‘10 things I consumed this summer?’ (s/o to Haley Nahman for this format), and the answer is hell yeah I can! The queen would have most certainly moved forward with her own agenda 🙃
Here we go.
1/ I finally watched Everything Everywhere All At Once and while there is so much to say, perhaps what makes it so exquisite is that the Daniels were able to visually and narratively translate how strange and devastatingly beautiful it is to be the creation of extremes - everything and nothing, meaningful and meaningless, infinite and temporary, light and dark. Using humour to express spiritual truths is perhaps the highest form of wisdom. I also loved how in this Salon interview, Kwan and Scheinert talk about how an ADHD diagnosis informed their creative process. And, while at a cottage I had the most intense deja-vu of my life (I almost puked), but realized I obviously was just time jumping across parallel universes. I couldn’t be happier that we can now casually talk about our parallel lives in public.
Like Samsara, I think I will ache for that film for a long while. But also the fash-un in that film — next level!
2/ For my performance, Higher Hair, that I presented at Summerworks this past August - I sourced our outfits from this slow-fashion Indian brand, Aroka, and I am completely obsessed and want everything. They also coached me over Whatsapp for three weeks that the outfits would indeed arrive on time, so 10/10 recommend! I’m also beyond obsessed with everything Amit Aggarwal makes but ain’t nobody got $ for that.
3/ Speaking of my performance (I didn’t really do much else this summer) I consumed a lot of music as research for the audio track we produced, which turned into this playlist that I would describe as soothing, cavernous and celestial. I especially love Wildlands, Kerala, Mogoya, Saya and Chaap Tilak will make me cry until the end of time. Beginning to learn the tiniest bits about music composition and using music as a guide into and through an experience was one of my favourite parts of the creative process. Shout out to Jeremy Glenn for being such an incredible collaborator.
4/ One last hair plug - I watched SO many documentaries on the cultural and political histories and realities of hair across races, cultures, religions and countries, to develop a short film of archival footage that participants watched before the performance as a landing pad (shout out to my boo Ciaran Breen for producing it!). In short, hair is powerful simply because of how much oppressive and uplifting narrative has been projected on it. On the one hand, it is biological material meant to protect our brains, and on the other, it has been made into a symbol of divinity, commitment, humility, duty, identity, beauty, control, supremacy, connection and so much more. A few of my favourites were this PBS doc on histories of Black hair, this BBC doc on the history of the turban, this footage of a Buddhist hair shaving ceremony and this doc about Islam and the veil.
5/ I bought this iridescent eyeliner by Danessa Myricks Beauty and I am so happy to be living inside the poorly lit but enrapturing scenes of Euphoria for a hot second. I also got some scalp care from Briogeo and I will say it is pricier than the Shoppers Drug Mart counterpart options, but nothing has made my hair feel lighter, and you only use it once every few weeks, so it lasts for a while.
6/ I read Fariha Roisin’s book, Who is Wellness For? earlier in the summer. My writing block was met with a reading block. While most of the wellness commentary and analysis was not net new for me, the processing and sense-making of her own familial and intergenerational trauma helped me understand myself more clearly than anything I have ever read. To turn your internal pain and chaos into sentences for others to make sense of their own is a currency of love and service that far outweighs how much she will ever make on the book. For this, I am grateful. It also inspired me to revisit some Ayurvedic recipes on the ever-long journey of health and nutrition that supports aliveness. It’s going to be a khichdi kind of fall.
7/ In August at a cottage for my friend, S, 40th birthday, we finally played the tortilla slap challenge and I will say that it went really well! And then it went really poorly. Hot tip: do not take it seriously, i.e. this is not a competition of strength, someone could bust an eardrum! Depending on the competitive spirit of your friends and family I say 7/10, try for some memorable times.
8/ I made a mocktail and covered the rim with my friend, A’s, cocktail sugar, inspired by her time in Oaxaca, Mexico. As someone with no bartending skills, it was delicious and easy. Like an aunty, I can’t provide measurements but you will figure it out. Sober wins!
Some orange juice
Some squeezed lemon
Some mint (muddled if you know how)
Some grenadine (add last on top)
1-2 pieces of sliced jalapeno
9/ My friend M sent me at least 300 memes in the last two months. I was going to try to choose my favourite one, but then she made a gif of me trying to learn a Bollywood dance. If you have not heard the word, PAKOW from a bollywood film, say it out loud a few times, and see how it feels. You might find an unexpected word to express the very real vibration of PAKOW.
10/ This is kind of embarrassing but I bought this overpriced box with a locked timer on it to put my phone in. I really resisted buying it because I thought I could make it but then I gave up and you know what — it’s new to my life, but I think it works. My awareness of dopamine seeking has been really present for me since I started learning more about ADHD. This podcast by Dr. Huberman is really good (also I LOVE him). The pandemic really distorted and deregulated by dopamine-seeking habits and I’m pretty sad about it because it feels partly out of control and is wreaking pure havoc on my joy and capacity. Is this plastic box the way to do that? We shall see.
That’s it! Thanks for sticking around and looking forward to chatting but not really chatting over the next weeks and months (until next summer probably).