I’m a broken stone

I think there really is much of the vagabond in me. The homeless stranger, always wandering, even though I’m outwardly at rest. And no matter how far I wander away, there’s always a string tugging at me, reminding me that there’s a home to return to, if ever I need somewhere to rest.

Yeah, these are old shoes that I’ve been walking in
I’m wearing weary like it’s a second skin
I’ve been looking for a place to lay my head

I think in all my foolishness I always equate home to a place that stands irrevocably in one place, or a person that can journey with me, when in truth it is neither one or the other. There are some truths that I must never move away from, and there are some truths that I carry with me wherever I go. There are certain things about this home that can be strayed away from, and certain things about this home that can always be carried, like sea pebbles in a pocket. It is both and neither.

And it is certainly true that I behave as I am homeless when in fact, I do have a home to return to, and someone waiting with open arms. When in fact I have a piece of home in my pocket all the time.

No matter how far I go, I always return. Because in spite of everything I’ve done, I need to be home. Not to mention that home still wants me…

Who can say no to unconditional love, where I am accepted despite my infirmities?

All this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger, I’ve been wandering
All my life You’ve been calling me to home
You know I’ve been needing, I’m a broken stone
So lay me in the house You’re building

You are a shelter for every misfit soul
We are the four walls and You’re the cornerstone
You are, and You’re the solid rock that we are built upon

In many of us, there beats the heart that simply longs for a place to belong. A place where we can be welcomed with open arms. A place where we can shed our weariness and just be… a place that remains ever elusive even though we search.

For that, we would search far and wide.

For home.

And home is not simply where You are. It’s You.

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

hair

Picture taken my brother when I was in Maine this summer. I’m not sure why my hair looks that color. My hair is kind of light-colored even though I’m Chinese and I’ve never dyed or bleached it. It’s not black. In this picture it just looks really, really brown.

Also, excuse the messy braid.

Have a great weekend!

Play it again

I fight so hard to flesh out words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into a constructed whole. To take an idea, slippery inside my mind, and form it, shaping it into something solid and quite tangible in its own way. And then during the edits, rewriting it again, sometimes one more time with feeling. After all, like the song says, I’m saying it in my mind until I know that the words are right.

Hold on!
One more time with feeling
Try it again, breathing’s just a rhythm
Say it in your mind until you know that the words are right
This is why we fight

As the pianist takes a musical idea, a sense, an emotion, a reply, and pushes it forth into the notes of the music. Practicing it again and again… one more time with feeling. Performing it before a crowd of unseen faces…

Play it again… one more time with feeling.

As the songwriter crafts a melody out of scraps of notes. A song to steal the darkness away…

It can be ridiculously hard to come up with feeling, especially where it counts. Or does this absence of emotion occur because where there is evidence of feeling, there is failure of expression? If so, this failure is a sad excuse and proof of our inadequacy.

Then again, it is not always easy to pour your heart out freely. In fact, there are times when it really becomes quite hard. How can you go on when it feels as if there’s no moon in your sky? Those times are when breathing in and out is a sort of rhythm. Try it again, and again and again and again, even though the numbness is pervasive, threatening to steal the light away and the movement from your bones.

Live and survive, even though your scars are twisted. Play on, even though your piano is broken.

After a while, you can do that which is an impossibility — feel again, for there are too many who have yet to regain this.

By the writer and the musician and the poet and the artist’s own battles and eventual victories, we may in turn help others to feel, and come alive again.

This is why I fight.

Inspiration: One More Time With Feeling by Regina Spektor, from album Far

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

om nom nom nom

I swear, if you are male and get me something from this shop, I will love you forever.

Well, maybe not like that. It would take a lot more than a pretty bauble to get there, but I think the thoughtfulness would get you on your way there. Maybe I’ll at least go out with you once.

3D Macaroon Polymer Clay Studs for 10 dollars

OM NOM NOM NOM

I’m not a girly girl, but things like this put me over the edge. In other words, make me squeal like a little girl. DIVINEsweetness crafts cute and fantastically detailed jewelry from polymer clay from her home in Manila, Philippines. She sells earrings, pendants, decor, bracelets, and hair accents, but specializes in rings. Definitely check out her shop on etsy. So cute and creative!

Cherry Cheesecake Frenzy, 20 USD

Her stuff are a little above my price range at the moment, but hopefully soon. I am really good at making up excuses to buy myself presents.

Tea Party Ring in Polymer Clay. I was looking at it and when I reloaded the page, it had been sold out.

Seriously amazing. Seeing this stuff makes me grin from ear to ear. Even better, because I was tediously cleaning out my rabbit tuft fur collection and my Korean man keychain collection, and happened to take a break and see this on etsy.

Plated Cherry Cheesecake Ring in polymer clay, 18 USD

To top it all off, she is one of the members of a group on etsy called “Miniature Food Jewelry.” They are a collection of artisans who specialize in making out of clay what they call “wearable food jewelry.” They have a blog, a Flickr page, and a Facebook page, which I’ve liked. Definitely check all of the above out.

Enjoy!

Pictures from her etsy. Click photos to reach listings. And then click “Add to Cart” and you are all set.

Contemplation 4

(From four weeks ago. Found it in my drafts box and decided to post it. There’s some good memories here.)

It’s really hard to write uplifting, encouraging posts when I’m not happy with the world around me. When nothing is going right. When I’m not doing too well with the tasks I’m supposed to be good at, like music and writing. When my self-esteem isn’t high, and my self-confidence is at a low.

These days, I’ve been so busy with practicing, and trying to get stuff right, and not getting stuff right, and more practicing, and still not getting stuff right. It’s discouraging.

I need to remind myself that I’m very very thankful to be here. Because I am. I am so glad that I’m here. I’m meeting so many dedicated and like-minded people who are also so talented at their instruments (or composing) in addition to being kind. They are inspiring. Not to mention the really brilliant teachers like Bruce Brubaker or Natalya Antonova. I sat in during a lesson with Ms. Antonova, and I love her. Very firm, but clear corrections and she seemed like quite a kind person. (I still think she might have made me cry, anyway.) I honestly love it here. However, I do feel inadequate. As if my skills aren’t enough, and they aren’t. As if I might never reach where I want to reach. That does worry me.

On the other hand…

I think being around so much maturity (whatever, that sounds weird) is making me grow up a little at a time. I’m trying to do better on the honesty front, at least. It’s making me want to work harder, do things better. I’m still held back by my lack of experience and knowledge, though.

For one thing, I’m learning how to carry on intelligent conversations with people.

But let me tell you, sitting down at a piano and improvising something pretty, if imperfect, is an excellent feeling. Right up there with getting the piece I’m actually supposed to be working on right.

Oh, and I had a day maker. An opera student said to me, “I feel so happy whenever I see you. I see you, and then I just feel so happy and good about life. You make me feel so happy.”

Or something to that effect. It did make me happy.

Gotta love those opera students. 😉

(To clarify, she was not my student. We were both students in different programs in the music festival.)

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Testimony

Lost souls in a lonely world, staring out a window at the rain that never stops coming down. “Eyes are the windows to the soul,” they say. Shutters and curtains drawn, you can’t even see the faces through the glass.

Can you see me now? A whisper.

Do the stars know best what it is like to be alone, millions of miles away from each other? The insufficiency of planets and moons, the routine of rotations. Perhaps they feel it most of all…

But the stars sing, even though they have no voice.

Or perhaps we are little stars, pinpoints of light in the dark expanse of sky, drawn to each other by the weight of gravity, guiding each other through and through…

Because even a small candle wards away that much darkness.

And small stars together form an ever-turning galaxy, spinning away the night.

Inspiration: moonage daydream

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

starting on a road less traveled on

Why can’t you stay in your room five minutes in the silence?

I wrote this four weeks ago, as well. I didn’t have internet at the time. Just thought I’d post it anyway.

I’ll admit that sometimes I do have a problem with silence. I’m so used to having music playing all the time even when I’m by myself in the room. I need the internet to browse the web and connect with people and write blog posts and have people read my blog posts and comment on my blog posts and I’ll comment on their’s back, yes, yes. Or so that I can be an attention prostitute.

And now I’m without internet and I feel woefully deprived. As if something’s missing. The boredom is killing me, because without internet, I don’t have anything to do. I already practiced piano today, I forgot to bring a book just in case I didn’t have internet (because I assumed that I would have internet) and I have more than an hour until bedtime and I’m just sitting here with the computer open and music playing (again) and trying to think about stuff to write because I simply have nothing else to do. Plus no one’s here yet, so I can’t socialize, not that I am any good at that, either.

Then this song started playing. It’s a song called Five Minutes, by the Boston-based boy band (Woo! Alliteration skills!) Forget the Girl. I have no idea what they’re up to, but last I heard they were in the process of recording a new CD, which would be slow in coming because band members went to graduate school and got married and important stuff like that.

Anyway, it’s weird the way some songs will speak to you your own thoughts at the right time. Or even give you what amounts to a lecture on the very topic you’re thinking of, or trying to avoid.

This song is a little like the “forgotten song” I’ve talked about in a previous blog, and not just because I forgot about it for months and months. It’s reminding me of things I once knew how to do but forgot how to. Like sitting still and figuring it out.

It’s making me feel as if I’m so close to finally getting things right.

I can’t sit still. I need to be always moving, always running around, always feeling as if I’m useful. I do like being useful, and I do like helping people. At the same time, I realized that sometimes, my serving only serves as an excuse, a distraction. Something to keep myself from thinking too hard. Something to keep myself from postponing decisions to be made, and things to be figured out.

Like figuring out why I can’t stop thinking about past mistakes I’ve made, no matter how stupid they are. At some point, I need to stop worrying that I’ll make the mistake again and let go of it and just live. I can’t change the fact that it’s already happened, and all I can do is learn from it and move on.

Maybe we do worry too much at times about things like acceptance, and the question of whether we’re so messed-up that we’re beyond redemption, not to mention friendship. Whether people will leave our sides once they realize how much is churning below the surface — and because they’re afraid that we’ll draw them into our struggles.

Or because we believe that we’re such screw-ups that we’re afraid that we’ll fail those people as well.

We need to go on and live our lives how we were meant to live it.

Silence is good for me. I don’t have anything to distract me for a while, so I can confront that sense of wrongness that I’ve been feeling for a while. Perhaps I’m only five minutes away from finding the answer.

Maybe we keep on adding to the noise in our lives because we’re so afraid of figuring things out. Or maybe because we’re so afraid of the darkness we will find when we shut the music off.

But then, perhaps we can still become free.

‘Cause you’re five minutes from
Starting on a road less traveled on
Five minutes from
Knowing why you need distraction
You’re five minutes from
Five minutes from real life

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.