Geduld

This past week of learning German and French and jazz piano and whatever else pops into my head on a whim has been healthy for me! I am constantly excited to fill my head with new words and new ways of saying things.

Richtig oder falsch — ich mache dir keine Sorgen!

I think we sometimes forget how long it took us to learn the things that we do know. When we learn to ride a bicycle, we fall and scrape our knees before we achieve perfect balance on just two wheels. We squinted and struggled to orient our fingers and minds to our computer keyboards before we became proficient in the art of the QWERTY. As adults, we have mastered many things. We have learned to be more efficient and resourceful. Therefore, we habitually expect information and knowledge to come quickly and readily, especially in today’s world. A simple Google search will help me translate any word I don’t know. However, doing something with that word and adopting its meaning into my vocabulary takes far more practice and dedication than a Google search can offer.

I’m filling my head with things and learning every day. I am a student of the world, and each day is a lesson. All the while, I’m learning to be more patient (especially with myself) as I move forward.

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Le festin: Life is a feast! Build up an appetite for it!

My latest joie d’vivre is to settle down at the end of a long day with a glass of wine and perhaps some cheese and fruit. I am far from a connosieur of any sort. I know that some wines are red and others are white (some considered pink and some orange), and I do retain some knowledge of how they are made from a trip my family and I took to Napa Valley two summers ago. But my elation stems from picking out the most aesthetically pleasing bottles and labels, to tell you the truth. This pinot grigio is my latest pick.

Because Felipe and I have been sampling wines lately, I’ve begun a collection of corks. If you think about it, bottles of wine call for celebration, revelry, and good tidings. My corks will be dated with a fine-tip sharpie to later on remind me when and why we opened the bottle. Perhaps in the future during a stint of cleaning, I’ll come across the box of corks I’ve collected and recall these good times. At least, that’s the point. I’m a sucker for sentiment. Can’t you tell? Sentimental value is what makes something priceless.

“Les rêves des amoureux sont comme le bon vin
Ils donnent de la joie ou bien du chagrin
Affaibli par la faim je suis malheureux
Volant en chemin tout ce que je peux
Car rien n’est gratuit dans la vie.”

(“Dreams are to lovers as wine is to friends
Carried through lifetimes, (and) spilled now and then
I am driven by hunger, so saddened to be
Thieving in darkness; I know you’re not pleased
But nothing worth eating is free.”)

– Camille

Let this be but an apéritif to build mon appétit for life!

P.S. I studied German for more than two hours today. Making progress with das Perfekt! I still don’t completely understand irregular verbs (Verben stark) and their past participles (Partizipen), but all in due time.

Bildungsroman

My stinky feet found repose on my car dashboard today as I flipped through the first volume of Ms. Anais Nin’s diary.

I have found the secret to my happiness, although it is almost the antithesis of my being a free-spirited artist: regimen. I need regimen in my life! Trust me when I say I love to dream and have my head floating about in the clouds most of the time, but what is dreaming without giving action to those dreams? These past few months have been muddy in my memory, mostly because I’ve been complacent with where things are — my song repertoire, the ongoing tour, and my current rhythm of life. (Yes, they all had to be musical references.) But it’s felt like I’ve been listening to the same song over and over again.

This morning, I woke up and felt a fire beneath my feet. The night before, I wrote down a regimen for myself for this week. One hour devoted to learning German every day. One hour to reading and/or writing each day. Running every other day. Jazz piano lessons every other day. Music for all the rest of it. We’ll see how this pans out over the course of time. If, like flossing, this healthy habit fades away after a few months or so, I’ll have to give myself another kick in the butt.

I’m happiest when I’m learning, changing, and growing. All of these things allow me to do just that.

Anais, I’ve lit myself on fire! And being myself on fire I hope to set other souls ablaze as well.

“Dir nicht vorgegraben du siehst,
Mache dir selber Bahn!”

(“Cut before thee thou canst discern,
Make for thyself a path!”)

–Goethe, “Mut” (Courage)

Anaïs Nin

Anais Nin

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Cuban-French. Daughter of musicians. Artist. Writer. Flamenco dancer. Model. Disciple of psychoanalysis. Eroticist. Dreamer.

Ever since I was little, I have adopted influences. Recently, I added Anais Nin to my collection. Her Wikipedia page alone sold me. What can I say? I have a penchant for thinkers, artists, writers, and female icons. Anais Nin is all of the above. I found myself rushing to the nearest library to check out her published works, her most reputable one being her collection of diaries, spanning from age 11 into her 70s.

As chance would have it, I came across a diary I used to keep circa age 11 to 13 last month. I laughed out loud at most of my prepubescent musings. It was also very strange to see the entries dated before the 2000s came around. Like all other kids my age, I had a habit of making mountains out of molehills – complaining about the sibling rivalry between me and my little brother; my heartbreak at not being able to join my cousins at Disneyland one summer; my apprehension for entering middle school; and candid confessions of my first real crush. I couldn’t help but think of how familiar it all sounded but how foreign it was to the person I am now. At the same time, it was an accurate snapshot of my perception of the world at that point in my life.

They say that most of your childhood memories are false — forged illusions that you had of the past. Your memories are shaped by your perception, not reality. Thus, you can never completely trust what you remember as what actually happened. Hard evidence in the form of photos, videos, journals, or a formal account from another party  might possibly be the only way to validate the past. For me, finding my diary was just that: some hard evidence that I did think a certain way at a certain time.

However, even diaries can be victim of our perceptions of reality. When we recount things in words, we construct the events of our lives in words that we know and choose, in manners that we feel most appropriate. A number of things could be omitted, skewed, or erroneously documented. But — I have no other window into my past self. Pictures and videos may capture moments, but we can only rely on our memories to recall the day-to-day of our past.

I’m not going to pull some cheesy lesson out of finding my old diary like, “This experience has taught me to live more simply and blah, blah, blah.” With my overactive mind, it’s only complicated my train of thought (in case you couldn’t tell by this entry alone). The latest whisper from the universe, so to speak, has told me to write more. It may be too much to speculate that it could be worth something someday to much of the rest of the world, but I can at least rest assured that it will mean something to an older version of me.

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.”

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”

“Life. Fire. Being myself on fire I set others on fire.”

–Anais Nin