Volition

The pool was mine. I jumped in with no coaxing, and little reservation. My only fear was that I would be so out of shape, forgetting my stroke, gasping for air after only swimming one length of the pool. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to react. In March I had suffered an incapacitating back injury. Numbness circulating in my lower back shot down my right leg. I went stir crazy siting in one position waiting for my body to heal, causing an immense shock to my system. The one thing I knew confidently was sturdy now crumbled. I was broken.

I had always been active, an athlete. For twelve years swimming was not just an activity; it defined me. The label of an athlete was something I wore in my form, in the way I carried myself. But, I grew to resent it. The early mornings, long practices, the icy waters, and over-hyped competition, but it was the one thing that I knew I did well. I am the type of person who strives on routine. Once your stroke is down, very little changes. It was comfort.

Caged by my own body. I was forced to stop all strenuous activity, swimming, and going to the gym. Harboring a grudge, watching those engage in the daily activities we take for granted; as they only caused paranoia in that I would somehow re-injure it.

I made a full recovery a couple months back, but am still cautious. I was advised to start yoga by those around me, to strengthen my muscles. The physical activity bandaged the void, but I was done sitting on the sidelines.

Swimming, my mind was blissfully blank; pure ecstasy, gliding so effortlessly, my hands placed themselves one in front of the other. When we walk, our feet know they need to go in front of each other. It is implicit. When I swim my body becomes an empty vessel, going through the uncomplicated motions. When you find your rhythm your thoughts drift to nothing, like finding the stride in my walk. Even though I was out of the pool, the strict positions drilled into me were manifesting. Naturally, they had always been there. When I walk, I favor to the right side of the street. When you swim, you enter the water on the right turning, finishing on the left side of the lane. I walk with one foot placing directly in front of the other, creating a straight line; never straying. When I swim, my hands place themselves in the exact same spot, creating a streamline.

Our bodies in motion leave tiny traces, marked, bones knowing precisely what to do next.

I should have never worried, my body can take care of itself

We Shut It Down

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New York Festival of Lights – DUMBO Neighborhood

An hour into my friends and I witnessing the last night of the first annual New York Festival of Lights the cops shut it down.

Sadly I was in no position to take a decent photo, while New York City is seen as sardines in a can I never quite understood this metaphor until last night. So what is the Festival of Lights? Why is it so popular? And why did the night end like it did?

When many mention the Festival of Lights they are usually referring to Diwali, which for those who don’t know is a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of autumn, or other religious festivals of light such as Tazungdaing Festival (Buddhism) and Hanukkah (Judaism)

What the New York Festival of Lights is what Berlin was doing 10 year prior, and most recently Prague. It is a celebration of merging art with technology. For 10 days, in October, the city of Berlin illuminates into a gigantic performance piece. The light installations transform the city allowing people, art, architecture to interact. I take notice of the critical aspect of this, a city that has seen political destruction can turn its dark history into a beautifully mastered celebration of how far the city has come. Berlin is one of those interesting cities that I feel people may overlook or not deem interesting when in actuality is becoming a center for artists around the world to come together and collaborate. Germany has this stigma of being stuffy and cold, but some of the greatest minds have hailed from Germany of which America has benefited; Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, and even the inventor of Levi jeans Levi Strauss. Soon others are going to catch on and Berlin is going to creatively explode!

I wonder why it took so long for New York City, the capital of everything, to showcase artists in the same way. The main installation was held under the Manhattan Bridge where DJ’s and Fine Artists collaborate to merge lasers, that would bounce off the inside of the tunnel as well moving imagery cast on the outer, bricks, with music. Turning the once ever popular 1970s laser dome shows into something sublime.

What was rather disappointing is that one couldn’t enjoy the mirroring for science and art due to the mass of people. Then when everyone has phones, it makes it even harder to see. For the brief show that I did see, which paired black and white imagery moving into color and opera music, was nothing but spectacular. Breathtaking actually. However, it was short-lived as we were told to evacuate due to public safety.

On end I am upset that in terms of planning this wasn’t taken into consideration. At the same time for its first year I don’t think the coordinators expected this type of turn out, which as an artist makes me extremely proud. Being shut down because the show was too good can only look favorable on the artists, DJs, and NYFOL organization. I am curious as to how things will differ as they have promised they will be back next year!

For more information and article reviews click below.

You can also go on instagram with the hashtags #nyfol #festivaloflights to see pictures and videos from other spectators.

Forbes

Huffington Post

Wall Street Journal

 

Happy (Almost) All Hallows Eve

*Warning the picture below may be offensive to some

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What isn’t there to love about Halloween?! Dressing up in hilariously ironic costumes, eating tons of candy and feeling no shame, pumpkin cookies, roasted pumpkin seeds, carving pumpkins, bingeing on Disney Original Halloween movies, you watched as a kid, like Halloweentown or even better Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge.

For kids, Halloween is the beginning of a 3 month sugar high as Thanksgiving and Christmas roll in. As an adult Halloween turns into yet another holiday to drink and dress in skimpy outfits. Halloween has turned, as most holidays do in America, a marketing campaign for consumerism. We forget that in actuality Halloween has a dark history going back hundreds of years rooted in religious and pagan practices/beliefs. The History Channel decided to reveal the “Real Story Behind Halloween” to trace back how it all started and why some traditions stuck. And it’s so cool!

Size Matters…According to Society

Buzzfeed is one place you can count on for a laugh, but they also use this platform to mix humor with current social/cultural issues. The pressure placed on women’s bodies by society is no laughing matter. The over-stimulation of media informs young girls that they have to look at certain way, when that standard of beauty is digitally enhanced.

However, media is not the only culprit…

In my psychology of gender and sex roles class we learned that socialization (learning norms, customs, and ideologies to participate within his or her own society) of gender roles/expression is done through 4 socializing agents.

1. Parents: The most important source since your parents are the key to early childhood development

2. Teachers: Who become role models

3. Peers: They provide and encourage gender role norms

4. Media: Which presents gender-ed imagery

The same can be applied to how women view their bodies. A mother’s relationship with food or her body directly affects how their daughters view their bodies. Unconsciously, her insecurities are being passed onto others. Language is also very important phrases like “should you be eating that” “you already had one” or “maybe you shouldn’t wear that” are triggers for potential body issue or worse an eating disorder. Friends can also be toxic. I cannot remember the times my friends in High School would call themselves fat but then turn around if I did and say “oh my god you’re not fat.” It was clear that these girls weighed about 30 pounds less than I did. Luckily, for me this phase passed in college. I became more aware of our body hang ups and change what language I used to describe myself and others. Unfortunately for others their body issues are deep rooted and may never heal, which is incredibly sad since we only have one life and to spend it miserable is a heinous crime.

“Pageantry of Vanity”

I feel like a common theme in my academic papers in college and on this blog is the current and on-going debate about our reliance on technology,and how it affects our personal relationships. Prince Ea, is an American rapper, music video director, and rights activist in St.Louis Missouri. He absolutely nails the problem within our society on the head.

I am guilty of having my phone attached to me. Constantly responding to emails, texting, Instagram, and my weakness Snapchat. Our phones are our constant companion, but what purpose does it serve when we are looking at what in going on in the internet sphere rather than looking up and seeing all the quirky, beautiful, interesting things happening right in front of us. I hate walking into a coffee shop or subway, and seeing every single person either on their phone or computer. Even worse when I see babysitters at the park staring on their phone rather than living in the magical world kids create. Small talk seems obsolete these day.

Unfortunately, we are in the generation of media over-stimulation where self-worth is measure by how many likes or followers we have. What happened to gaining self-worth through the sports we played, or projects we created? I was born in 1992, so I was lucky enough to avoid cable, Facebook, and other social media sites until late high school early college. The generations after us are not that luckily. BUT something that we forget is that WE have the CHOICE not to engage or at least not engage as much, to not be controlled.

So I have taken on my own personal challenge. Currently I am in New Jersey visiting a friend from back home, and my challenge is to not use my phone/computer for updating social media sites. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and limited texting from the time I got off the train to the time I get back on the train. So far it has been working out well. Since this is quick trip it will be only 24 hours. I want to enjoy the time I have with my friend since we cannot get together very often. Rather than constantly checking my phone I chose take in what I experience on this trip, not capture it.

I’ll let you know how it goes..

Do you think we are too reliant on technology? Would you take the challenge to unplug?

The Next Step…

As my last semester of college comes to a close in the next few months I am bombarded by the proverbial questions of curiosity by friends, family, and co-workers of, “What do you want to do?” “What kind of jobs are applying to?”  “Are you going to stay in the city?” “What are you going to do if you don’t find a job?” All these questions are something we are all guilty of asking an upcoming graduate. We are all curious about what others are up to, so these questions while at times are annoying to hear are natural. However, the answer that I want to give them only receives quizzical looks as it doesn’t give a concrete material plan.

I want to be happy

There is no concrete plan at this point due to the fact that companies won’t really be looking, until Late October/ Early November, to fill positions for the New Year, and my plan is job first then apartment. I have some time, but my point is that there is so much pressure and emphasis on recent college graduates to find the “perfect job” and start paying off those loans. Think about it you’ve been in school for around 18 years of your life, that fact alone sends shock waves to the system. Although college is where you figure out who you are and what your interests are, so many other things consume your time at college that when graduation comes you are left clueless.

Which brings me to the trailer above you. I find myself spending hours watching recently added movie trailers on Hulu and came across this gem, Hector and the Search for Happiness. Novel turned film, it serves as an inspiration for me as I enter the next stage of my life. Will I be traveling all over the word in pursuit of happiness. No, but I know the basis of what makes me happy and after I graduate I want to keeping building on that foundation. It will be stressful, yes, but it’s worth it.

New Blog!

“If you do what you love, the way will always open.” – Humans of New York

Hi All!

My new blog Rough Guide to Life http://roughguidetolife.wordpress.com/ is finally up and even has quite a few posts on it. I would love to get your feedback, and like I said I won’t be neglecting this blog. This blog and you all are very important for me.

Thank you for being patient! Now that I have my personal blog down pat, I can update this blog more often.

Is this for real?!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liza-de-guia/smokable-herbal-tea_b_1311131.html

Living in Brooklyn you learn to live with some kooky things, but this just takes the cake. We can no longer just enjoy a nice, pipping hot cup of tea anymore, now we have to smoke it.

What can arguably be the most new agey, hipster trend ever, is actually pretty cool. Don’t get me wrong its crazy, but those seeking a more natural vice, this product is for you. Liz Neves, the founder of Raganella’s Botanical Solutions, doesn’t just sell smokable tea. She creates tons of natural drinkable teas and rubbing oils. Her most popular blend enacts lucid dreaming.

So whether you think she seems a little out there or not, her product is selling like hotcakes so she must be doing something right!

If you do find yourself curious about the effects of smoking tea check out this article here: http://www.smokingeffectson.com/effects-of-smoking-tea-good-or-bad/

http://www.smokingeffectson.com/smoking-tea-bad/

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Unlikely Pairing

9/11 is a time for reflection. To remember lives lost, but also the survivors. Yesterday, I went to an amazing lecture on Garry Winogrand, who was a famous NYC street photographer. His photographs of American Life spans from the 1950s to his death in 1984. Winogrand currently has an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I was lucky enough to hear Leo Rubinstein, friend of Winogrand and curator of the show, speak about Garry who he was and what his vision of America was.

It would seem unlikely that 9/11 and a man who passed long before 9/11 have anything in common. However, what chokes me up about Winogrand’s photographs and the remembrance of 9/11 is that they both emulate a nostalgia of a New York that once was. More importantly, of an America that once was. Winogrand documented a critical change in America from the Cuba Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, Counterculture, and ‘White Flight,’ to name a few. He himself was fearful of a nuclear war, and I can’t imagine how he would have coped with the 9/11 tragedy. At the same time, I wish he was still alive as I would be curious to see how he would go about photographing this change. Winogrand was never one to tell you what his photographs were suppose to mean. A lot of the time he said they had no meaning, that simply his job was to document. To document the everyday people on the street to political conferences. He just wanted to document the change, the pain, and happiness happening in America.

America changed on that morning in 2001, and can never go back. Even though I was young, I knew whatever was going to happen next it would never be the same.

So while this is a time of reflection, it is also a time of celebration. So I ask you to take the time and check out some of Winogrand’s photographs, (even if on Google Image) and if you are in NYC the exhibition will be open until the 21st of this month.

For more info on the show click here: http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/press-room/exhibitions/2014/garry-winogrand

Neglect

Hi All!

I am so sorry, I know I haven’t posted in about a month. It has been a crazy summer, but bear with me! I am currently taking a blogging course this semester at Pratt Institute,  and have been working on a new blog “Rough Guide to Life-Finding Bliss in the Daily Grind.” (Link to come) It will be a more personal blog exploring spirituality. HOWEVER, I will never leave this blog. I will still be posting once my new blog has launched.

I hope you will continue to follow my blog and check out my new one to tell me what you think!

See you soon!