modmyth

Coming Out: Confessionals

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WORKOUT, SUSPENSION TRAINER + PLAYGROUND EDITION: These workouts I've been doing with the suspension trainer are pretty upper body heavy, which is not a bad thing at all. Like a lot of women, my upper body strength tends to lag behind my lower body/ core strength. Also, it's been nice to get some sunlight while it's been possible for the last couple weeks. I have been doing these workouts at the schoolyard across from my house; I'm surprised I haven't gotten too many weird looks.

*Jumping box squats:  So I found myself a seesaw to jump onto; it was the highest platform I could find, which is a centre of a seesaw like the one below here:

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...except where the seats are, there are sides to it that look kind of like this.

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A couple days ago, I smashed my right index finger doing box squats.. and after cursing dramatically, my first thought was: that's my writing/ drawing hand; I need that! (I hope it still works and doesn't swell up too much.) In retrospect, I find it funny that I injured myself on something that was so aggressively designed for childhood safety. This is what I get for abusively misusing something that was NOT designed for me, haha. :D

*Inverted row: This one is pretty fun. Although the more you put your body parallel to the ground like that, the more exhausting it is, so I can't do too many.

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*Seated Pullup: I might as well train this, while I'm at it.

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*Pistol Squat: (potato quality, but some of the images I found have really questionable form. You might as well have the form that you would need to have if you were doing the pistol squat without holding onto the straps.) IMO this is probably the best lower body suspension trainer exercise, and probably a good prep for a full ATG pistol squat. But I dunno, I'm no exercise/rocket scientist or anything.

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*"Lunge": they called this one a lunge, but it feels more like a Bulgarian split-squat with a lot more stabilization required.

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*Elevated hip thrust (w/ the industrial-strength loop band) Find a random ledge to do it on, get grass and shit in my hair.

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*L-hang + hanging crunches (from metal rings): both of these exercises are great for the lower abs, and pretty fun/ challenging. I also just hang from the grips for longer periods of time just to gain endurance in that whole chain from the lats/back, shoulders to the forearms/ grip. I've never been strong in that area. As a kid, I was absolutely terrible at the monkey bars and hated the way it hurt my hands.

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*Pushups: the stabilization for this first one is pretty rough; the second one is much easier. Also, just hanging out in the plank position like in the second image below (b).

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*Pike: This one is fun, and a lot more entertaining than planking for long periods of time which feels like watching paint dry (but a lot more painfully).
 

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Power pull: I just learned what this one was called; it hits the obliques quite nicely!

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EXTRA STUFF:  There are a few other moves that I have been trying on on the suspension trainer like chest flyes, tricep extensions, bicep curls, hamstring curls, crunches; I have been wondering if they're a bit superfluous because they're not challenging enough. Mostly, I am moving towards focusing on the above, which are moreso compound/ functional strength training moves.

Also, I have been mindful to not overtrain. I still feel a bit of the impulse to train habitually and compulsively,

OFFTOPIC: This... was not what I was looking for originally. The fuck is this even?!

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***I don't do and have no intention to do crossfit; I just found these while I was looking for something else.

Edited by modmyth

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POTTY MOUTH/ 1 AM DIRTY JOKE: Modmyth and J: one our hobbies involves running off our mouths, saying maybe clever, maybe stupid, probably questionable shit to each other. You know when you say something but you haven't yet had the chance to think about it yet, so you're not sure if it's going to come out more stupid or funny, but it's definitely going to be extremely blunt? Like that.  Also, like this:

modmyth: Someone needs to clean this goddamned fridge, it's like playing 3d Tetris in here. You know, where you're trying to fit the final piece in? But it's just not staying in. 

J keeps laughing at me because I keep throwing shit into the fridge, and it keeps falling out of one of the side shelves, and I keep swearing at the fridge.

modmyth: Hey, so you know that long piece in Tetris, when you're about to hit a four liner? Yea, I definitely could use your long piece.

His completely out-of-context, unprompted sexual innuendos have definitely rubbed off on me over the years.

For reference, in case you've never been bored out of your mind or feeling extremely competitive with an AI, or because you're too young to have played this masterpiece of early computing:

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"Is it in yet?"

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He sometimes jokes that he doesn't know if he is to blame for my potty mouth because I swore way less when I met him in my teens and I was raised very 'proper', or if he simply unleashed what was naturally there. Nope, it's just my naturally sparkling personality, I guess!

His love of laughing at things that are overly literal to the point of being fairly stupid has also rubbed off on me.

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Edited by modmyth
Shit that falls out of my brain// what's with the poster on the telephone pole above, haha.

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PETS + PSA: Currently, I am petless. I've spent the last 6-7+ years not knowing if I was going to move or to be living a more transitory lifestyle. Anyway, it's been my dream is to get a giant, fluffy majestic cat like this, like one of these breeds below:

Siberian:

Maine Coon:

Norweigan Forest Cat:

Or a giant rabbit (flemmie):

 

Generally, it seems like the larger a breed is, the more chill and friendly they are.

A PSA Announcement: please, please consider keeping your cat indoors. I love cats; I'm the neighbourhood weirdo that goes around petting strange felines (it is highly statistically likely that I have toxoplasmosis, haha). However, they do basically function as an invasive species when allowed to roam and breed ferally and are the leading cause of biodiversity loss amongst wild birds here in North America (at least as a direct cause, as opposed to say, habit destruction).

Dramatic title, but worth the quick read: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/09/essay-to-save-birds-should-we-kill-off-cats/

(>insert note about how we're also an invasive species<)


 

Edited by modmyth

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ON "GENIUS" AND "UNIVERSAL INTELLIGENCE":

So I had written post previously about this label, and how growing up with it has impacted me over the years. Somehow it fails to really get to the heart of it fully, but it's prismatic. You can see one side or one perspective clearly.

My issues are not really with my own talent, skills, and aptitudes, but what it represents to people and how it makes people react. Generally, I want people to understand and to empathize, and universally so, not just with my condition. It was a very alienating experience that unavoidably put me at war with myself, that alienated me from other people and myself; I felt like these aspects of me were not welcome. That I was not welcome.

Ultimately, this deprived me of one of my greatest joys: the world is an open field, and there are these experiences, these fields of knowledge and of creation that both feel intimately familiar and reoccurring, and yet are new in different ways. This is a result of the time period we are in, and the current state of culture and human development. I instinctively seek out what I have missed, even as a very young child, over and over and over again. Being a child and being open means that you are so intimately married to the marrow of reality of action and experiencing, that you are completely immersed it what you do. In fact, you are so close that inevitably you have no idea what it means not be, (even if as a child you experience dissociation, I am talking about on an absolute scale for ones whole life, early childhood tends to be the most legible experience of "oneness" for people.) There is a closeness and merging when it comes to learning. An exploration. Where you keep asking questions, before you've realized what it means socially to have asked them, and that maybe you shouldn't be asking those questions. Creation and learning come very instinctively (or it doesn't). There's something absolute about it.

There is a certain immediacy and connection to reality and directness of experience that we tend to lose as we grow older, and become more disconnected and segregated, internally in terms of relating to different aspects of ourselves, to others. This distinction and segregation between all that is “inside” and outside”. There is this tendency to think of these qualities as childlike and that we will inevitably lose them, but perhaps we should stop seeing this loss of openness and “innocence” as optional altogether; we should aggressively preserve these qualities in both ourselves and in children.

So we are all missing the point here when it comes to measuring intelligence, it's not that there shouldn't be measurement systems at all, but that they should have their proper place and intelligent usage, and it shouldn't get out of hand.

Here we have a fundamental flaw and a common human tendency: we create a system, and then, getting used to it as a sort of shorthand measurement for defining experience, we let it define everything else as the primary source of measurement. We let it become the ground under which everything sits, and so, it is seen as inextractable. It's a good trait to come into a frame of thinking/ processing of being willing to let it go from the outset, or to remind yourself that all systems and all ideologies, no matter how seemingly complete and sophisticated it is (according to any metric) inevitably has a shelf life. Keep track of getting lost in your own labrinyth from the outset by simply setting the intention to do so!

Anyways, everyone can relate to the desire for the following, I think. (And this ties in nicely to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's ideas about “flow”). There is the desire for meaningful experience that is a junction between these two aspects: 1) It is sufficiently challenging and stimulating 2) However, it is approached in a state of openness and curiosity. This creates immersiveness, and so all of the following is experienced: purpose, “fun”, meaning, pleasure, the fulfillment of your curiosity/ desire (which does not necessarily exclude emotions such as frustration at times).

So back again to this idea of genius, which I have said, as it stands currently, it's mostly a modernist invention (circa about the 1800s, where there was the rise of quantitative metrics for measuring intelligence, the rise of this sort of thinking period). When we call someone a genius, we tend to use it in one of the following ways: 1) vaguely or used sloppily, so people aren't even talking about the same shit. Or it's used by people who arguably have low standards for what genius is, compared to how it was used in the past. 2) If directed towards yourself, it can be nonfunctionally self-aggrandizing (aka. useless), except for the people who never really needed the label to function in the first place, at least to get started. (e.g. for example, Salvador Dali called and thought of himself as a genius, but he was prodigiously talented at painting at a very young age, before there would have been any chance to have a sense of a solidified worldly identity (or ethics, or working praxis). So, by the time where he was old enough to call himself a genius and understand what that means in a cultural and social context, it might have helped him continue working, learning, and pushing himself. However "the means of production" was established in very early childhood, far before that identity of “genius” was solidified. Alternatively, he may or may not have been called that growing up, or he may have just arbitrarily given himself that label too for his own purposes based on his own experienced. Honestly, I am not sure about his history here.)

3) A label that you give to someone that you admire who fits certain parameters (a certain combination of raw intelligence or perception, who also makes original and sometimes prolific output.) This is what makes it a social label. It's not intrinsically bad per say; I just think it's lost most of its relevance.

AGE MATTERS: One thing that I noticed as a teenager, in that awkward junction between childhood and adulthood, is that as a child, you simply need to be very good at learning, or prodigious at least one thing. As an adult, you need to produce. There's a big difference there in terms of how it's perceived, even if the core psychoemotional processes and qualities, aka. “the means of production” end up remaining the same from childhood to adulthood. If you're an adult who was a child “with serious potential” and you fail to produce at a certain standard, then what does that make you? A failed genius? A burnout? Not a genius at all? From a personal perspective, there is nothing great about having been a former a child prodigy// “really smart kid” (IDAF what you want to call it) if you can't measure up in a comparable way as an adult, aka. It's a pretty common experience to feel like a waste of space when you feel like you've failed to live up to your potential, even if on some level, you really don't want to anyway. Maybe you were pushed too hard growing up, maybe you just lost interest naturally; there are many possible reasons why life didn't continue following the same trajectory.

Anyway, most of this isn't worth getting more twisted up about than is absolutely necessary for a few reasons. However, I propose that we seriously reevaluate our models and approach towards intelligence (aka. universal intelligence) drastically. To be honest, it's not that complicated getting our priorities straightened out here. Please consider the following:

1) ABSOLUTE: There are those of us, when considered as souls, have been reincarnating to Earth for a number of lifetimes, and have tended to learn many skills of a certain nature. Some of these aptitudes we identify closely with as a deep and intrinsic interest; we hold close to our hearts, and spend so much time and energy focusing on from lifetime to lifetime, over and over again. This stays with us a sort of base character disposition, in our interests and what we are drawn to naturally, and in our overall openness towards it. Think of this as a sort of absolute, sum total of all our direct knowledge, consciousness, and experience a soul or subjective perspective.

2) RELATIVE: Consider that our souls chose a certain trajectory in life, and this may involve a continuation or development of certain talents or skills (or maybe not, if you wish to change paths and experience something different.) So say you chose a continuation route: say for example, in a past life, you were a very skilled and prolific painter. Now in this life, you reincarnate and manifest prodigious talents at painting at the ages of 6-8 years old, and with little instruction or direct guidance, you paint and draw far beyond the scope of others your age. You can have the same ABSOLUTE soul experience, but manifest these aptitudes at a later age, or not at all. Say for example, that same child who was an artist in their last life wished to become a scientist in this one, but doesn't have any previous aptitudes and experiences with science. It would make sense that they would have to start from relative scratch and not spend too much time or energy painting or doing other things they had previously developed aptitudes for, particularly if they're not prodigious with learning in general (many “geniuses” are not, really, especially if they're just very very skilled in one domain), and also if developing this aptitude must be a lifelong cultivation or love affair. As a child or teenager, they might not experience the affinity or pull toward art at all, or it might be a passing phase or interest that they lose interest in, in favour of exploring something else.

This is a pretty common phenomenon, from my observation. As souls, we get reincarnated into bodies because we want to do completely new things, or do newish variations of old things, to build on what's there. The reasons are pretty varied.

As a result, I am an advocate of this idea that many people likely have hidden talents and skills that are not manifested for whatever reason, and this isn't because I want to patronize people (aka. “special snowflake syndrome”, everyone is good at something, you just haven't discovered your thing yet! What are you gonna do if that legitimately isn't true? Or what if your special talent is being really good at cleaning, like you'd make an excellent maid or you're good at something which isn't that venerated socially?)

Anyway, I have never really seen evidence that believing that you're a genius at the level of identity has actually managed to produce a “proper” genius, because it's not really much of a metric to create by; it does function primarily as a social label. I have this theory that it used to be more practical in cultivating genius (even if it did not produce it, exactly), but fails to do so in our current era; we do not have the right culture or collective understanding of it, and we cannot get it back now. The worms are all out of the can. Anyway, if you want to synthesize genius as an adult and you don't have previous experience or identity to fall back on (like, you didn't particularly have the functioning in childhood), you need to focus on the SKILLS/ aptitudes related to it. Whatever the core components are, and in the most, universal, general sense. More on this later.

Also, we shouldn't have such a superficial, surface-level approach towards intelligence, where we either fetishize, denigrate or completely ignore the appearance of intelligence as it shows up prolifically and/or at a young age. Consider that intelligence or prolific aptitude always shows up for a REASON. Ask yourself, what might this reason be, even if there's no way for you to know the answer. There are many, many possible reasons. And yes, sometimes that's simply to have the experience of being a prodigy, which then one wants nothing to do with as an adult or can't make anything of anyway. Asking questions like this is the basis of developing a sort of universal understanding and empathy. Anyway, no prodigious child or youth actually needs this; there is NO healthy end result for this kind of treatment.

We also should not have such a myopic view of universal intelligence. Yes, all of these metrics suck and fail in the cultivation of it, particularly when it comes to those who are assigned to the high end of the bell curve when it comes to classical intelligence/ creativity/ etc.

Universal intelligence flows freely. It is everpresent. It is available to everyone in a state of openness. It is imbued in ourselves, our intentions, and our actions through conscious focus. We can imbue it into other people and beings. With imagination, we can create infinitely. Whoever or whatever you are, it's important to understand that universal intelligence exists as such, freely and in absolute immediacy. It is what you call god or divine grace, and it is free to everyone. At least technically, we are actually all free to become our highest embodiment of whatever potential despite whatever limitations we have in the short term. So then it comes a question of desire first and foremost: what do you wish to embody? And then after that, there is the question of access to universal intelligence and what to do with it, as well as the cultivation of necessary skill to achieve a certain means. We need to get our priorities in the right order here.

Inevitably, when things are in order, this creates flow (meaning, purpose, exploration, hyperpresentness, pleasure). Isn't this what people are after when it comes to have a meaningful life or life's work? It's not just what we create as "externals" (which doesn't exist intrinsically anyway): the technology, the art, the knowledge, the experiences, but what we embody in the present, perpetually. In a sense, a person who is a designated genius functions in this same way, as everyone else. (But they may possibly be having a much more intense and finesse experience of it.)

I was going to say that we all should be doing something better with our time rather than playing the Intelligence Olympics with each other, but actually, if you're gonna play the Olympics, at least make some better metrics, ok? Make a metric that is more worthy of universal intelligence. Or more importantly, don't get too distracted by the small stuff: the rulers/ systems of measurement, the games we play with identity that lead nowhere, and the running around in circles. Have some fun playing your games, but you can't stay there too long. It's not sustainable for growth, and to experience purpose and happiness (as in, satisfaction). Mostly none of this stuff isn't going to last long anyway.

Edited by modmyth
Much needing of editing.// Ever the pragmatist.

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PROJECT AMNESIA: In Ancient Greek mythology, there was a river in the underworld where if you drank from it, you would experience complete memory loss or oblivion (the river Lethe). A certain sort of memory loss and erasing emotional imprints is necessary in order to start over; if not a complete loss. Likewise, in the Orphic tradition (an ancient Greek mystery school), there is a river of absolute memory (Mnemosyne). They believed that if you drank from it, you would be freed from the cycle of reincarnation, and by extension, Earthly suffering. Memory or no memory is overrated. I can recall, but the attachments to them feel so entirely insubstantial, more and more now. Apparently this is how it should be. I myself feel a bit eerie and unnatural as if I've done something yet again that you would never naturally do if you had lived a relatively normal, upwards-facing life. My whole life feels like an inversion (like I felt tired and weighted when  I was younger, which made me feel older, but I feel lighter and lighter as time passes).

When it comes to my previous life as it was, you were the one thing that was the hardest to let go of, but also the most recent factor as well. It really doesn't help that I was looking around for you when I was trapped in the gods-know-where last summer, as experiences and meaning held in high consciousness and in an intense energy state have a way of burning their way into your energy bodies, so even if you leave that space, it can echo for a very long time. Maybe your whole life. Maybe for lifetimes, as experience at that level it is many times more powerful than death.

Anyway, I've succeeded remarkably well at this project. The past life memories. The hope and the sense of loss. That ill feeling before this all started that this was just a terrible idea for my well being, a terrible gamble. The visions or hopes for the future that I wouldn't have talked too much to you about back then because it's not my business to do so. (My business has always been very simple. 1) focus on all that there is presently, which can either be relatively expansive or myopic. 2) to put one foot in front of the other). Your face. The photos. Watching you move away feeling and knowing that there's nothing I can do about it. I started this, and now I have to see it through.

Perhaps there are a few remnants of blame lingering in pockets, here and there. Never say never.

These last few years were a paltry sustaining of myself on what was left of hope and time. Starvation, and trying my best to feed myself emotional. The games. The unanswered questions shot out in the void. The games with my imagination. The fears. The anxieties and concerns about the future, and also the opposite: feeling like I don't give a fuck. Let's see what happens After. Obviously it doesn't make sense to blame you for all of that.

But even the shape and feeling and weight of your soul out of time. I can barely hold onto that now either. I let you burn through me... and what happened, happened.

It's not that I've forgotten you exactly, or my former life. My eyes have already been opened from a certain spell that was binding them, I can't close them and unsee what I've seen. But it's my will that I not be able to hold onto your memories, my memories of you, these images; and maybe one way of functioning inevitably impacts the others. As a mode of conscious functioning, it seems I've finally succeeded in stopping myself from doing that. Maybe I can't hold onto much of anything right now anymore in that sense anymore; it seems to be that is what inevitably happens. We'll see.

All these things I wanted but never got, as I was: a lasting sense of safety (trauma always catches up with you). A sense of home or belonging (there was always this feeling that deep down, no matter what I did; I could not help but be anything but a drifter). A real tribe or community, the people who get you. The people who will stay at your side (but not in way that smothers out your light). Work worth doing and meaning worth creating, that didn't leave me nauseous and feeling this compulsion to walk away from it after. And then all these things I wanted which were not for me specifically. For this world to be better. I need this world to be better, but I had buried the original origin and feeling because I obscured that time.

I remembered and integrated it, and then I erased it. I let it consume me, and then I erased it. In that order. Sure would have been nice to speed it up. I know there's not much point in worrying myself with my life's work or not. But to open, open, open, and let it flow through me. It comes and goes as I am here.

And here I am.

Three years ago, I admit, I thought you were the one who was supposed to be at my side. I could not escape the feeling that I was waiting for someone in particular, and I believed you were it, truly. You walked through everything that you did to find me, didn't you? Deep inside, you wanted to find me? I was looking for someone to believe in, and I have lived in an extraordinary cautious life in some ways, being calculating got me here. You were not the only one looking for me. 

So let's do a thought experiment: Say I am a specific someone, whether I have consciously cared to be or not. Almost all my life, this has been obscured from me, and I am and been very well prepared to die a nobody. It makes little difference to me either way, but I strongly preferred to not have left unfinished business. I have duly noted the ways in which I have been 1) expected to fix the world's problems or to do my part one way or another, because yes, that is my will/ divine will. 2) Some other people and their love/ hate relationship with me; I have taken very little of this personally. I have simply observed, taken them in, and released the binds when possible. The last three years has opened up my eyes. I'm not an idiot; I can tell when I'm being talked to directly in tone and in spirit, and when you're talking to me as a person/ avatar/ w/e. Most of these calls I would not answer in a personal way. I cannot be what you expect me to be, and whatever you remember me as being. Probably I would let you down in one way or another. Anyway, there is just work, and then there is more work. I have worked very very hard to understand why people have come to hate me, and why I have been loved too (I have tended to look at this from a cynical perspective, as in = what do you want from me and can I provide it? I myself, my own life as I have lived it, almost doesn't factor into this equation at all).

So you did what you did, and chose what you chose, and this doesn't satisfy you exactly for its own sake, does it? (If it does, then I may feel relief at this point, for you not holding onto me, and for only with 90%+ psychic echoes.) Despite the massive amount of collateral damage you did and apparently how much of it went completely unnoticed, like dying in plain sight. The worst possible fate. I may have avoided going into great detail about my life as it was (you know, quarantining the issue), but how could you not have noticed how insanely fragile I was? Even if I had tried to open up more at a time that was too early, probably my conscious mind would have gone into complete lockdown. It was beyond my means to have conscious control of that.

Anyway, now I have actually given up on it (or am finally almost at that point, and I'm not saying that from a perspective of wishful thinking); I feel a sense of peace and resolve, but when one is always connected to the ether, there is no such thing as closeness or distance after a certain point of openness; I still feel it. At times I find it aggravating. So if I have also caused you pain over time; can we call it even now? And say that we have nullified each other entirely?

What else could you possibly want from me that would make sense now? Where is the ability to relate personally or naturally in any of this even if I was so inclined (I am not, clearly)?

So we don't always have control over how we feel at a given moment, but please. As long as conscious priorities are in order, I expect things will work themselves out completely soon enough. It's not just about you. It's not just about me. Consider the work I have to do, if nothing else. For mostly my whole life, I have never had the luxury to dwell excessively on personal feelings when there is work to be done, and apparently business is back to normal around here.

Edited by modmyth

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PROJECT AMNESIA, ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES// things I learned// A More Positive Spin:

1)  GATHERING DATA: There was a chance to study the limits of the human psyche and communication in psychic space (both voluntary and not), as in what happens normally unconsciously and automatically (these normally unconscious aspects can be made conscious). Say I have walked through many psyches and many experiences, and have seen, felt, witnessed, and made a sort of images/ maps/ reference points of where we are collective and individuals. I need that; there was never any mystery. There have been experiments and studies in amnesia and memory, but mostly it's just to see where we stand currently. There's not much challenge in any of it.

2) MULTIPERSPECTIVE: I can hold perspectives like the perspective above (ones that are relatively “cynical”), and also hold perspectives like the ones here. There is no intrinsic conflict, really. Unless there is a very very strong emotional pull or anchor point, I'm picking and choosing.

3) I mean, it was interesting cleaving my own consciousness in half or splitting it into many pieces and experiencing it in a rather classically schizo way, studying it, putting back together, studying it some more, putting it back together. I don't care about the bailout; I left when there was nothing else to look at. Creating massive psychoemotional universes of sorts (like exponentially magnified versions of what I had experienced) and then messing around with it, and experimenting and experiencing the temporal lack of control aspect. As I had mentioned in an earlier post somewhere in here, probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nice little vacay in HELL. Maybe a week or so ago, I became aware that I still have the choice to cleave or split my own consciousness into two or many many more parts and experience myself as such again (as a world/ universe filled with beings or people that legitimately have little to no contact with psychic reality as it stood then because no one noticed me knock myself the fuck out, apparently). Yea, I've had enough. Immediately after this, I wondered exactly what purpose this ability was supposed to serve directly, beyond being a study of psyche opened up suddenly and violently to the universal flow. I doubt I'm going to be talking to myself in that way again. But pretty much nothing I have gotten by accident.

4) I suppose I appreciate that I can have full-on episodes, still be generally aware (just moderately less sharp), and people will not notice and react to me normally. Like I can manage to inhabit that reality and then inhabit other realities fully.

5) The chance to study image and meaning directly, to experiment with it, and observe it. Using my own nuked psyche as a sort of testing grounds. I am like that. I have the skill of being able to focus on what I think matters under extreme duress. Me knocking myself out isn't enough to stop my own curiosity.

6) A reminder of the limits of romantic love and expectation as it is commonly understood; what is the honest and current existing spirit and intention of it? When cast from a less cynical perspective and voice: is simply, be all of the love and understanding that you can be from moment to moment, because you can. Not because you have to or because you're supposed to, but because this moment matters. There are a million ways to give. Give to yourself properly too, in a spirit of warmth and generosity, whatever you have to give... that's equally valid as giving to others. In the end, it all levels and sorts itself out.

7) Mostly I feel like I have seen the limits of temporal love, period. It is what it is, truly. Now may it be imbued with consciousness so that it sees itself (love has the experience of seeing itself as it opens up); and may we be free of all of this now, once and finally. All of us. Every single human on this planet.

8) And from the above sentiment, a sense of understanding and compassion for who and what I was. I have had the opportunity to be the love and understanding that I craved, specifically in those last moments, and in revisiting certain periods in my life. To see and feel myself. Others did their best, judge it as I may. Now let it rest.

9) Learning how to fix something really fucking hard to fix (things got screwed up by desire to find or reconcile feelings with said person above, which resulted in me looping back into certain issues/ attachments post October). This is dictated by both overall energy levels and applying the conscious mind intensely and persistently (unless you knock the pins out of normal conscious functioning, and then start over that way in a possibly haphazard way).

10) Having a complete meltdown can be a completely enlightening, frightening, decimating, interesting experience. It may be either fascinating and liberating or terrifying and nauseating (why not both all at once?) The attractive qualities about it don't exclude the unpleasant qualities. I have the ability to handle extremely difficult experiences with a lot of grace, even while in the middle of them. WAtching myself complain isn't that bad either when I give myself the space to do it.

11) TRANSITION PERIODS: I am fortunate to have a compassionate and understanding attitude towards myself, this process of breakdowns, and towards breakdowns in general (so, in others). My way of looking at it is that I don't see it as intrinsically bad (or good). Generally, I don't practice institutional stigmatization of myself in this way on a very deep level; it's all superficial stuff. I am wary of being stigmatized socially. And so, I am not on the side of institutionalizing mental illness for a number of reasons, it is intrinsically broken and a dead-end... more on this later. At best, a useful guidepost and loose measurement of types for the purpose of cultivating self-awareness and understanding, but not a law to tyrannize yourself and others with by any means (an awareness of a history of mental health institutions and attitudes is very useful here; precisely this is what happened for most of human history, if you fall on the "wrong side"). Probably the best part about a breakdown is that if you pause and take a deep breath for moment, you can see a clear sky. Grats, you're open, you have the clearest view of things you might ever have in such a state under “normalish” circumstances: now if you can convince your brain to relax enough, or disable it for a little bit so that it stops running around in circles (alternatively, you can let the mind exhaust itself completely and run its course). Now you have truly real reality, real openness. Look, feel, touch something truly even if you feel completely exhausted and decimated.

12) I'm grateful that I'm not afraid of myself, this concept of either mental illness or wellness, and that I'm not afraid of my own shadow (in a big picture way) in this way at all. Because most other people very much are. So like, all of these people are defined by their own fear and sense of limitations and selfhood. It's meaningless to me if you have no understanding of what shit is, and why it's there, and you're not truly open to feeling and observing raw reality and experience as it is, and then judging and making sense of it from there, and also have no empathy for human suffering and experience. Take these models out of here, or at least have the decency to scrutinize them to their very core if you're going to use it to rule and judge the meaning and quality of people's lives with such an iron fist. Anyway, by design, they can only take us so far until they take us around and around in a circle of psychoemotional decay. Limited usage tools, people.

13) There is always a kernel of this that can become the whole universe in the most despairing and painful of experiences.


 

….There is always more and more. (I have also been asking myself now, what game do I want to play. What parameters do I want to set?)

Edited by modmyth
My most common reaction to getting the shit smacked out of me this summer was to laugh. Maybe 95% laughter, 5% tears. Even while terrified.

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PAST LIFE MEMENTO// FURRY ASS COAT: So trawling through these vintage fashion images from the past reminds me of remnants of my own past life memories. I wrote about it a bit here a while ago. I died young. So I have a memory of making an entrance in my former life to a social gathering, and a snapshot of my general emotional and psychological state at the time. (I hate this town/ I don't belong here, but it's more like a gut-level feeling of repulsion, and a feeling of perpetual outsiderness rather than a specific thought. Like, ugh. These people, this place. Also, I don't think adults like me very much.) I think I was about 17. And for some reason, this outfit stood out especially. This would have been the very early 80s, or possibly the late 70s.

I remember wearing a brown jacket of like this. Giant, furry, and pretty short (close to the waist or above it).

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But the fibres were longer, kind of like this:

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Also, I was wearing a black a white striped dress that I remember being above the knee, and tight around the legs and hips. I'm not sure what to call it. I was going to call it a bodycon dress, but the thing with bodycon dresses is that they don't leave anything about your shape to the imagination. It was tight, but not quite that tight.

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Why do I not remember what footwear I was wearing? Did I not think it was important? I'm going to take a stab and say I was wearing boots, probably brown.

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I remember my hair being straight, blonde, and shoulder-length, give or take 2-3 inches in most of my memories.

Anyways, the point or central focus of the outfit was clearly the jacket. A lot of my past life memories are incredibly detailed and specific like that. Including the fact that apparently I wasn't thinking about my footwear as much, haha.

Edited by modmyth
First thought upon recalling this memory about 3 years ago is that I never would have worn such a jacket in this life, but back then I thought it was the shit. Not that I thought it was ugly. It's just too flamboyant for this era I guess, haha.

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ASSORTED FOODS/ SWEETS POST, Chinese Edition: So this post is really all over the place.

GOJI BERRIES: Aka. wolfberry. Goji berries are very healthy (a staple of Chinese medicine and is often used in traditional soups because it's supposed to be good for your eyes, liver, etc. It's pretty expensive though...) Here you can only get them dried, and these days I think you can get them in the non-Chinese packaging, but when I was growing up, it was not the case. I don't remember seeing it available in conventional health food stores and grocers because it was not a trendy health food yet. Here in North America, it still might be significantly cheaper to get it from an Asian grocer. Also, if you see dried berries in a package and you're not sure what it is but it looks like below, it's pretty much always goji berries.

Top-Goji-Berry-Seed-250g-Wolfberry-Organ

GOJI BERRY LEMONADE:
½-1 cup dried berries soaked for at least 30 mins-1hour (you can sub this for any other sort of fresh or frozen berries and it works well, but make sure you add at least 1-2 cups.)
3 lemons juiced
stevia extract/ or another sweetener to taste
Blend, serve.

It has a really nice red-orange colour like this:

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Fresh, goji berries look like this. We can't get them here fresh in North America. They're always dried.

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Another Chinese berry, the hawthorn: I've never seen or had these fresh.

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You can also get these dried, but I don't ever remember my mom making herbal soups with this or anything. I guess I could ask her.

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Specifically, though, this is what I remember from childhood that was made from hawthorn berries. It's crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, tart and sweet, like some kind of fruit wafer. You can get them in an Asian grocer and also in TCM shops. I believe hawthorn is used as a sort of digestive. They taste really good, but damn, they have a lot of sugar. :(

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WHITE RABBIT CANDY: Speaking of childhood nostalgia, I loved these: they're usually given out around Chinese New Year, but you can buy them year around. It's a chewy, but somewhat hard milk-based candy with a rice paper wrapping that melts in your mouth.  I used to save and collect these wrappers as a kid, because I was obsessed with rabbits. :D

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It looks like now they have different flavours, but they just had this one flavor available when I was younger.

Speaking of Chinese New Year candies, you can often see these boxes for purchase right before Chinese New Year, which people give as gifts to other families, and often there are many of the following: chocolate coins, candied lotus root and seeds, candied coconut, ginger, winter melon, etc.

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I never cared much for ginger candy, although my mom was often trying to get me to eat this because I got an upset stomach, nausea, and vomited very easily as a child, and ginger is almost always what they put in antinauseants such as Gravol (which I did not learn about until I was an adult).

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Anyway, there is often also something that is like crispy/ chewy peanut or sesame brittle available around Chinese New Year as well.

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Plus other candies like the White Rabbit pictured above, and the Lucky Candy which is a creamy, strawberry flavoured hard candy. I remember these being pretty good. 

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Also, last but not least, Chinese cotton candy (aka. Dragon's Beard) also reminds me of childhood. Not that I was allowed to eat this very much. Traditional flavours were usually crushed peanuts with sugar, or sometimes black sesame (in Chinese and Cantaonese cuisine, I have only ever seen black sesame used for sweets, and the white sesame is used for sweets sometimes, but also in savory dishes. I honestly have no idea why that is.)

Sometimes I would see these being made on the streets in Hong Kong, and being sold roadside:

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It's pulled over and over again to get this string like consistency.

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Edited by modmyth

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SCENES OF CHILDHOOD, A VISUAL DIARY AND TOUR (HONG KONG 1): For reference, I spent at least 2 months a year here every year during the summer, while I was growing up until I was about 16 or so.

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MONG KOK// AKA. THE HUMAN ZOO: This is the most populated place on Earth per square km. You walk on and on (albeit rather slowly because of the sheer density of the human zoo), and it looks like this. Expect to be violently run over and jabbed in the ribs by a 4"8, 85-year-old Chinese lady  carrying 10 shopping bags, who has places to go and shit to do. This is Hong Kong. It's every person for themselves.

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If you look from side to side, it often looks like this:

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One of the favourite pastimes of Hong Kongers being is mai ye (buying shit). At times, the city has just felt like one giant mall attached together by streets.

TSIM SHA TSUI: promenade/ harbourside

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The Hong Kong Museum of History is nostalgic even though I only ever went in here a couple of times.

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These old ferries and the station from the 50s/60s is also one of the most nostalgic places for me here. I totally remember riding these ferries when I was very young.

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My grandparents have lived in a couple of different areas around Kowloon Bay for as long as I could remember. And no, I have absolutely no memory of the walled city in Kowloon before it was torn down in the early/mid-nineties (like my parents would have taken me there).

This very expensive, and highly overrated restaurant in terms of food quality (according to my mom). It is iconic though. You go for the experience of being in a restaurant that is also a giant floating barge. 

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OCEAN PARK (on Hong Kong Island): before there was Hong Kong Disneyland, there was only Ocean Park. Yea, this is a bit nostalgic, specifically the aquarium. Like my mom would have had the patience to take me and my brother around a theme park all day, unless she was with my godfather then they would just be talking the whole time.

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Hong Kong Aquarium at Ocean Park is specifically what I remember really well, especially looking up this walkway:

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HONG KONG PARK (on Hong Kong Island):

A nostalgic fountain, specifically standing under it and getting misted on. 

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A fountain that terrified me, because giant, aggressive streams of water scared me a lot. I refused to get too close to that thing. Also, that doesn't shoot nearly as high as I remember it, haha.

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An aviary inside the park:

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LANTAU ISLAND: According to my mom, Lantau island remained unused and unsettled upon for a very long time because even though it is very large (and Hong Kong is seriously lacking for space), the island is very hilly. For visual reference, they're more like small mountains. Anyway, she told me that they had spent years and years levelling parts of land so that you could actually build anything on it.

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(Tian Tan Buddha Statue on Lantau Island. Pretty much all of the attractions at Lantau I've never seen, except from overhead on the plane...)

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It is also the location of Hong Kong Disneyland. (My godfather has repeatedly asked me why I never went, even though it open after I turned 16 or so, and it's not really my cup of tea...)

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The airport (on Lantau Island): When this was first built and brand new, it felt like a visitor's attraction. It was just so HUGE compared to what came before. It was minboggling to me that there existed so much space so closed to Hong Kong.

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For reference, in the 90s and earlier, they were flying full-sized planes over Kowloon. This airport was so tiny by comparison. As I mentioned earlier, my grandparents lived in Kowloon. It was so goddamned loud.

The 90s in a nutshell. Note how many vehicles on the road are taxis (the red).

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The old airport (Kai Tak Airport): I don't understand how such a large city managed with such a small airport for so long. Anyway, it was absolutely impossible to expand it, as you can see from below. It's called there's no goddamend space in Kowloon. Every square foot of space is taken up or being used for something or other.

Boeing_747-467,_Cathay_Pacific_Airways_J

 

 

 

Edited by modmyth

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SCENES OF CHILDHOOD, A VISUAL DIARY AND TOUR (HONG KONG 2):

THE NEW TERRITORIES: I had some relatives that lived in the New Territories (or "relatives", since my mom often refused to tell me if the people we were visiting were actually related to us by blood sometimes). Everyone is "aunty" or "uncle" if they're close family friends and I was forced to call them such.  There are some historic sites that have been around since at least the 50 and 60s which I do not remember terribly well. But I do remember these old fashioned trams which were technically hooked up to the MTR train system.

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Once you leave the core metropolitan area (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island), there is way more space everywhere. Also, I functioned like a hardcore asthmatic for at least 2 months of the year every year (very strongly anti-nostalgic) and was expected to just deal with it. When I left the metropolitan core, miraculously I could breathe better. Also, if you get claustrophobic around a ton of people (not uncommon at all as an empath and a sensitive) and in very closed and cluttered urban spaces with all of the skyscrapers with no spare square foot of ground space being occupied or cluttered in some way, it was a relief to get out.

Note: I was told by pretty much anyone who visited HK within the last 15 years that the city has seriously cleaned up their pollution act, both with the smog and with the pollution in the bay. Kudos to them.

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Also, at least at the time and at the places I visited, the apartments are much shorter and less packed together. Those rather unattractive looking buildings are more than likely public housing. About half of all housing in Hong Kong is public housing, apparently. None of the lower-income residents would be able to afford to live in the city otherwise, and then who is going to operate anything, serve food, work in small shops, etc.?

Anyway, the farther you get out, the more it looks like this:

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It's a relief to see and be around actual trees and breathe air which has been filtered... by trees.

(Probably I will add more here.)
 

Edited by modmyth

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HONG KONG 3, KOWLOON WALLED CITY:

So, this is what the famous Kowloon Walled City looked like before it was torn down in the mid-90s finally. It was basically a massive, largely self-sufficient ghetto, ungoverned, owned by Hong Kong gangs (and consequently rampant with crime). This is the stuff of dystopian visuals and cyberpunk films and games. I am aware that there are at least a few video games which use the walled city directly as inspiration for the setting, but I don't remember what they were called at the moment.

Formerly the most crowded place on Earth. Apparently it housed about 50,000 residents at its peak...

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I remember seeing some photos of the interior, I believe these were taken in by this photographer Greg Girard, and that generally, it was extremely difficult (not to mention risky) for outsiders to get inside it. Absolutely fascinating, even though it looks like a dystopian hellhole.

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BBQ meat factory:

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Rubber Plunger FActort:

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Noodle factory:

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Metal grate to protect the temple below from trash:

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A cafe:

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An apartment interior:

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tv aerials, you can see the original airport in the background:

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For reference and to look at the text, click on the link under the image if you are interested.

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https://www.scmp.com/sites/default/files/2013/03/16/scm_news_1.1.nws_backart1_1_0.jpg

It's worth noting that there were spaces outside of the Kowloon Walled City that looked similar, although not nearly so bad. Anyway, they replaced the walled city with this park:

asi-es-en-la-actualidad___rJ1OOOsVM_720x

 

 

Edited by modmyth

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SCENES OF CHILDHOOD, A VISUAL DIARY AND TOUR (HONG KONG 4):

So this is how you actually get around Hong Kong in conjunction with taking buses. Sometimes people taxi, but expect to pay a large portion of the taxi fare on being in stuff in traffic while the meter is running. Also, the taxi driver might be pretty rude by our standards. They also have places to go and shit to do, so you better not waste any of their time while they're not getting paid. (Big city attitude, I guess.)

The ubiquitous red taxi:

urban-taxi-hong-kong-airport-welcome-pic

Pretty much all the buses in HK were double-decker buses.

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Back when I last went to Hk about 15, years ago, they were still using these unairconditioned buses. Apparently these designs are from the 80s. Perhaps they've finally phased all them out now.

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The MTR line. My grandparents used to live around Kowloon Bay/ Ngau Tau Kok , which is on the green line. The blue line takes you into the New Territories.

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I think the light rail system which goes into the new territories has been upgraded since when I was a kid. Likewise, when I was a child, only the red, green, and blue lines existed on the main MTR line. Then, when I last went, they had developed the line to Lantau Island, which goes to the airport. My brother used to be obsessed with watching the trains and the MTR line in general, so my grandfather (gong gong) would indulge him when he was very young by spending the riding around the MTR lines, over and over. He was really patient like that.

GETTING LOST IN HK AS A KID: Once I went with my gong gong to a mall that was moderately far away, and even then my Cantonese was a bit dicey. As a kid sometimes I was allowed to roam for a little bit as long as I met him or my mom back at a certain time (like an hour or so).  So one time, I was about 8 or 9, and my gong gong hadn't returned at the time that he said he was supposed to be back at, at the time I thought we agreed upon. I think I waited maybe half an hour to an hour and then got really antsy, and figured that he probably was not going to show up, so I should probably go back to my grandparents' apartment and try to find either him or my mom. Honestly, I have no memory at all of why my grandmother was not there, but she wasn't and I didn't have a key. I was so proud of myself for knowing how to get back home on the MTR and then a 10-minute bus ride, plus a short walk back. I felt so independent, like yea, I can take care of myself in an emergency! Stay calm, etc. Anyway, I hung around the apartment for about 10 minutes, and then decided that it was a waste of time, and at this point, I was really starting to get nervous. So I walked myself back to the bus station where I had gotten off near my house, maybe 5-10 minutes away, talked to a police officer (they're quite ubiquitous there), then I just waited there with them. I don't remember too well what happened after this point, but I think it was fairly obvious with our limited shared language skills that I was missing an adult who was supposed to be watching me. I may have started crying. My mom and my gong gong ended up there after about an hour or two, and they were really not happy for me for not staying put indefinitely in the place where I was supposed to meet him. This is one of the very few times I have seen either of them look actually frightened. Anyway, I told my mom that the mall was really busy and also I wasn't sure if I was even in the right place because he didn't show up, so I figured that it made more sense to go home.... apparently, I did not do the right thing. No one had ever told me what I was supposed to do if I had gotten myself lost though!

HONG KONG ISLAND:

My mom has some friends whose husbands did really well in business in Hong Kong, so they had an ACTUAL HOUSE on Hong Kong island. I remember as a child being shocked that... houses exist in the HK metropolitan area. And on Hong Kong island, no less. That area was the first area that was developed in the metropolitan area, and then Kowloon was after that. Most of the most expensive and classiest areas, the nicest locations to visit for tourists and the nicest hotels, the historic sites, etc. are on HK island.

I guess this is technically a townhouse?  Anyways, they cost out the wazoo, anywhere from the high 10s of millions US to hundreds of millions. I'm not sure the exact price range of these particular houses below.

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Otherwise, the reality of Hong Kong public housing looks like this, in many places. If you're not used to it, looking at it makes your brain hurt. You could look up until your neck feels like it's about to break, and then you really you can't actually see the top properly from where you're standing on the ground. Everything is just so close together. When I used to go there, the heat would get trapped between the highrise, and the activity of the city and vehicle would make the ground feel like 40C.

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Or, like these photographs:

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This for example, by comparison, isn't that tall for Hong Kong!

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The really old apartments, unsurprisingly, tend to be shorter like the ones in the front of this picture below. (I'm going to guess these might be from the 70s?)

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This is what portions of Kowloon actually looked like. It's dirty. Kowloon is pretty variable in my experience.

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Looking up some more:

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The financial district:

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Hey, you can definitely see the buildings on the far right below in the picture above.

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Central at night:

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Walking around Hong Kong mostly feels like this though. Yea, it's especially interesting at night, if you're into urban landscapes.

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TSIM SHA TSUI:

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Edited by modmyth

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SCENES OF CHILDHOOD, A VISUAL DIARY AND TOUR (SHENZHEN): I often spent at least 2 weeks in a city 30 minutes north of Hong Kong. For a portion of my childhood, Hong Kong was still technically a British colony (until 1997). (Despite this, most local residents could not speak, read, or write English in any significant way, especially if they were older. However, it was legally required to make most signs in both English and Chinese.) Crossing the border was a bit of an ordeal and required a visa, according to memory.

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Mostly at night, I preferred to stay in the house. I often looked forward to going to Shenzhen because finally there would be a little bit of extra privacy and space to read, or maybe write in my diary or something. In Hong Kong, most people live in tiny apartments unless they live on the outskirts because space is at such a premium. Tiny as in, you're up everyone else's ass all the time; privacy is nonexistant. Also, my breathing issues and my coughing and sneezing would ease up significantly for those couple of weeks.

Oh yea! There was a really good bookstore in Shenzhen. I don't remember what it was called though, but it had a decent selection of English language books at good prices. So I would go there to accumulate books. I would be told not to "buy too much, because I would have to carry that back myself". (Oh well, that's what wheels on luggage bags are for.) Probably at least 1/5th or 1/4th of my luggage bag was filled with books when I went there, and then I would come back with more books, and deliberately leave empty space for the books I would inevitably buy. I remember the last time couple of times I went there I was able to find some English language philosophy and history books (11-16). I finished reading Rousseau and some other stuff.

Warring States period history (and yes, I ended up reading the whole thing. God, this guy is so meticulous when it comes to details...)

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Before the era of the kindle and the ereader, every summer was like:

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At night, the window would just be left open; we didn't use airconditioning there. So when I looked out the window at night it looked something like this (and yes, I distinctly remember that building which shoots out that green laser), and I would be reading, writing, and falling asleep to the sounds of the city. A sort of sound that was somehow both monotone but cyclic, as if played on a loop over and over. 

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Compared to Hong Kong especially, walking through downtown Shenzhen is a reasonably spacious experience. It's not a bad looking city.

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Memories of walking down a wide street next to the Shangri-La.

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We spent too much time here (Luohu Commercial City) to the point it was mind-numbing; a lot of Hong Kongers go here for a day trip. Mostly it's a good place to buy cheap clothes and accessories (including name-brand knockoffs) and also to get a good price on tailoring. Most of our tailoring we had gotten done here. Probably it sells other things, but I don't remember much else.

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These types of malls often specialized in one specific theme, so if you wanted something else, you would go elsewhere. I think there were a few other markets that we went to that sold specific stuff: raw material to make Chinese Opera costumes for my mom, DVDs and media, etc. If you go to a Chinatown (which is by definition, outside of China), you will probably see the same phenomenon: entire streets or rows of shops devoted to selling one thing; competition is literally next door. According to my mom, this is both convenient for buyers and forces sellers to become more competitive (most often this is by making goods cheaper).

Shenzhen is also famous for the market (huaqiangbei), which is the biggest electronics market in the world. I have never been.

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Shenzhen was the first place we consumed a lot of bubble tea, before you could commonly buy it here in Metro Vancouver (now it's EVERYWHERE), especially by where I live currently. For those of you that are not aware, it's Taiwan's gift to the world of beverages. The classic is just milk tea with tapioca peals cooked with a brown sugar syrup, until it's soft but chewy.

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Edited by modmyth

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Wow, didn't realise that HK public housing was so run-down and cramped.

Used to live in an old (sixties) public housing unit in Singapore, which was considered pretty old by Singaporean standards, but it was actually really nice compared to what people in HK are used to. The newer units are positively palatial in comparison. I'm only realising now how much better the standard of housing is in Sing compared to HK. So much more space and plenty of greenery and public amenities. It really is like a giant botanical gardens, all over the city. Really miss the lush tropical vegetation, though not the heat and humidity. 

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SCENES OF CHILDHOOD, A VISUAL DIARY AND TOUR (PENG CHAU):

Peng-Chau-Hong-Kong_galleryX.jpg

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For reference, it's usually not marked and often doesn't show up on maps of the greater HK area:

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Before my mom moved to Hong Kong in her early teens to stay with her relatives and study in Hong Kong proper, she lived on a tiny island called Peng Chau. Quite literally, you can walk from one end of the island to the other in about 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes tops. It's a small world. To get there, you take a tiny little ferry which only leaves twice a day (if my memory is correct), so you better not miss it unless you want to get stuck on the island (unless you yourself own a boat).

Wing_Yip_10_Peng_Chau_to_Discovery_Bay_0

Peng_Chau_Ferry_Pier.jpg

For my mom growing up: there was the one school, one temple, one trail around the island, a few shops and stalls; it's that small. Apparently it hasn't changed that much. When I visited there in my early/mid teens, I could see why. It feels like time has mostly stood still for the last 40-60 years, save for a few details. It also feels like absolutely nothing ever happens there and no one ever stresses about anything. It's very relaxing/ boring: take your pick.

Back in the day, it was one of the outlying fishing villages, and there was not much to do on this island but fish or work in a fishing-related industry, or be one of the few people running a small shop here.

My mom always described her childhood here as very happy and idyllic, even though everyone was dirt poor (I mean, like third world poor, but this was back in the 50s/60s) and barely had enough to eat. Kids were hungry all the time, so they would go clamming and picking wild guava trees during certain times of the year, and it was definitely not just for fun, although apparently it was fun. Extra money always went towards buying food. There was no concept of class disparity; you're poor along with everyone else. I guess there was little concept of poverty, period. She also told me that the people she talked to around her age all have had a similar experience of growing up with rural/ semi-rural poverty in the greater HK area.

View_north_down_Wing_On_Street,_Peng_Cha

Near the waterside/ ferry:

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The trail around the island (or at least, parts of it):

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A school which is mostly abandoned, to my knowledge, almost no children live here. You can practically feel the ghosts of the children who used to attend. Supposedly everyone younger moved to Hong proper by the time the 80s rolled around in order to get an education and/or job, so now it's almost all elderly or middleaged people. I found this somewhat depressing to look at.

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A temple, which is so small it just feels like a shrine:

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Another "temple":

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Lung Mo Temple (That's probably every single temple on the island...)

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Houses:

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Some of the housing hasn't changed much since then, and is on the decrepit side...

HK-Peng%20Chau-China%20House1.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by modmyth

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@Dumuzzi I'm curious what it looked like, where you used lived. And also, just about Singapore in general, I don't know too much about the place, other than just generally, they have their shit together by Asian standards.

I definitely don't miss the heat or humidity either. Walking off the plane feels like being smothered in a giant blanket, although once you leave the metro area proper, it's a lot more tolerable.

I was actually going to do another post about public housing, including what it looks like inside. It's unfathomably small by most standards of living, and very small even for the limited amount of space available in a pricey, metropolitan core.

Edited by modmyth

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SCENES OF CHILDHOOD, A VISUAL DIARY AND TOUR (LIFE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST):

My parents lived very very close to a park that I used to go to as a child (although I wouldn't tell them I was going there; I just assumed that they wouldn't let me go because there was a lot of stuff they would not let me do). I would take my bike and make sure I came back within the hour, and just say that I went to the corner store to buy snacks or something. Mostly I would go hang out in the woods by myself, explore all of the trails, etc. I also used the same strategy to visit my friends who lived close by growing up, as my parent seemed to universally dislike or distrust all of them, and also their parents. This kept me very isolated when I was not at school, unless I "snuck out" in that way, which I did a decent amount. I never thought to ask my parents if any of my friends could have come over because they were so uninviting, and my house was generally an uninviting atmosphere at this time period.

My friends were afraid of my mom based on my descriptions of her, but that never stopped them from randomly showing up at my house and ringing on my doorbell. They were surprised when she was nice; and I was like, yea, of course she's nice; she's always nice to guests, at least to their face.

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A SAFE SPACE/ A PRIVATE WORLD: By the time I was 10, I had figured out most of the most secret, private locations. A few streams run through this park, and salmon also spawn here. In terms of forest though, it's not very dense or large at all. It's very sporadic, especially for the area. It's very much an urban park with a few trails. In my mind, this was the safest space, and nothing bad could happen to me here.

RS3580_RS2987_Sunnyside-Acres-Park-Trail

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RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!: Anyway, I had these recurring dreams that happened from close the start of my conscious memory (5 and after) until I was about 12 or 13, and then they stopped entirely. I kept dreaming that I was running away from my house. There was always some kind of massively sinister presence in my house or some kind of disaster that I needed to escape, like a few times I dreamt that my whole house got flooded up to the first story, so I had to swim my way out, which was terrifying because I was a terrible swimmer and also terribly concerned with drowning (and just generally was athletically challenged). Sometimes, it was just a quiet, sinister presence, like a looming spiritual illness, an alien presence or monster of some sort. In a few of my dreams, I was convinced that I was definitely being hunted down by said beings.

What made it the most terrifying for me was that "it" never showed its face, so I never knew exactly what I was facing. How was I supposed to prepare for it or react to it correctly if I didn't know what I was facing? Also, the facelessness of it terrified me intrinsically. It could have been Everything or nothing at all, just my imagination, but in my dreams I was convinced that it was definitely Something and also a direct threat to my life. In my dreams though, I never had the time to dwell on my feelings though; I just had to react instantly; fight or flight. Definitely flight.

Always, I was running and running for my life in these dreams, using whatever I had for brains and my questionable running ability, and I never stopped running or looked behind until I reached the forest above, until I was deep in the heart of it. Then, I was finally safe. In dreamland, the forest often extended back for miles and miles, and sometimes would lead into completely different invented lands, urban landscapes, sometimes fantastical places with gardens and modern palaces, places that reminded me of my time in Asia. Urban ruins and magical places in nature.

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Once, after running through the forest, I ended up in a place that had a hallway with a tall ceiling, wooden accents, ambient lighting, and textured walls with horizontal lines that were terracotta colored. It looked as if it should have been part of a museum for East Asian art. There were many doors that lead to different rooms which seemed to represent different dimensions. The last door opened up to a long pier that was floating in the clouds. I felt elated.

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Just generally, for my whole childhood, I was very risk-averse physically: I was concerned about drowning, about walking down too steep of a trail and breaking my legs. I wouldn't jump off too high of a platform for the same reason. I also used to worry when crossing the Fraser River either by skytrain or car, and then I would have very vivid visualizations about me dying along with everyone in it, like the bridge crumbling and the whole skytrain falling into the river, and then wondering how long it would take before the cars filled up with water, if it would be possible to open the doors or if we'd all be trapped inside, and also about how screwed I would be if I had to swim my way out. Car crashes, getting buried alive, you name it. I probably thought about it.

Or imagining all of the things that could go wrong in the middle of a flight, and also spending a decent amount of time reading through these airline safety manuals even though it was pretty much the same info that I already knew...:

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As a child, I was extremely prone to having full-blown existential crises and terrors (J and I both have that in common as children), and sometimes I would think of doomsday apocalyptic scenarios; for which I would hoard and stash away packaged foods, which my mom would then find irritating and remove over and over. I kept doing it though, and eventually I figured out how to hide it the few places she never bothered to check, like behind the drawers of my dresser and my bed, which I would have to remove and then put back first. Close to when I first started dating J, I told him this intending it to be a sort of funny anecdotal story about my childhood. Like haha, I was weird kid and had so many tics. And also, how exactly is 5 cans of Chef Boyardee (tinned pasta in a suspiciously bright neon orange sauce) supposed to save me from the apocalypse? He didn't find it funny; apparently this sort of hoarding was pretty common in cases where there was abuse or neglect, or when children have a deep distrust or sense of unsafety around their family/ in their homes in general.

For reference, here is the aforementioned bridge, and to the bottom left is the quayside in New Westminister (I had spent quite a bit of time the last 3-5 years there this summer. Lonely times...)

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Later when I was older, I would go here (Green Timbers Urban Park), and completely forget being in the world at all too. And its problems. All of my problems. If you stood in the right spots (there were a few), the sounds of urban living would be completely walled off by the surrounding forest. Then I would feel a sensation of deep relief emotionally and physically. Here, I would sometimes reconnect to the distant past by standing there, opening myself up psychoemotionally/ psychically. Mostly it would just come to me spontaneously; the full-blown hallucinations and visions of prehistoric past overlayed onto "real" physical reality, with all these giant creatures, plants, and biomes that no longer exist.

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LYNN CANYON: In North VAncouver, we have the wilds proper:

lynn-canyon-river.jpg

LYNN CANYON// TWIN FALLS:

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Capilano Suspension Bridge: I went there with an ex.

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BLACK TUSK/ GARIBALDI:

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STAWAMUS CHIEF (Squamish)

Squamish-The-Chief-3-of-1.jpg

We have many beautiful parks in this region, municipal and provincial. There's also Banff at the BC/ Alberta border which is more well-known internationally, along with Whistler, etc.

01-banff-national-park-canada.jpg

 

Edited by modmyth

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@modmyth Have you been to dear lake?

My family just moved here and the trails and water are pretty awesome. The downside is how busy it gets though lol. Sometimes I just want to walk in peace alone, but I never really get a chance.

What part of Vancouver did you grow up in?

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@Raptorsin7  Yea, I have a handful of times, mainly with friends who used to go to SFU. It's been some years though. Apparently you can rent kayaks at the lake there, but I hadn't gotten around to it.

And I grew up in Surrey, aka. the most ghetto part of Metro Vancouver. The neighborhood I grew up in wasn't that bad; it's not much different from Burnaby and portions of East Vancouver, but I did transfer to a ghetto school for a couple years because I went to French Immersion, and then less ghetto highschools afterward.

You?

Edited by modmyth

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@modmyth Haha that's cool you grew up in surrey, you must be used to Indian people everywhere. 

I grew up in burnaby, like right near the boarder of east van and burnaby near playland.

Growing up did it feel ghetto, or is it just part of the rap of living in surrey? Im Indian but growing up in burnaby there werent tio mant indian kids around so I actually have somewhat of a cultural divide from Indian kids who grew up in Surrey

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