A Collection: My Words, My Facade, My Soul, My Song, and My Poem
“I’m almost never serious, and I’m always too serious. Too deep, too shallow. Too sensitive, too cold hearted. I’m like a collection of paradoxes.”
– Ferdinand de Saussure
A paradox. My mind is a paradox full of chaotic, trembling thoughts that plead to be arranged. Take, for instance, quizzes that are suppose to “Predict Your Personality”, every question comes with boxes of specific answers that I can not for the life of me choose. What can I do if I can’t fit into a specific category, a neat and organized box? My mind craves the neat and organized space within those words but what if I equally prefer both “Coffee Crisp Chocolate Bars” and “Ketchup Chips” – for I am both sweet and salty? What can I do if I want to be defined by one phrase but at the same time, not to be defined by a single word? How can I settle my buzzing mind – a colony of working bees under the rule of no queen – when I can’t find one central theme that I can call “me”. Each thought contradicting another, if I can’t find peace within my mind, how can I find peace in this world?
Welcome to my mind.
“There is a fundamental reason why we look at the sky with wonder and longing – for the same reason that we stand, hour after hour, gazing at the distant swell of the open ocean. There is something like an ancient wisdom, encoded and tucked away in our DNA, that knows its point of origin as surely as a salmon knows its creek. Intellectually, we may not want to return there, but the genes known, and long for their origins – their home in the salty depths. But if the seas are our immediate source, the penultimate source is certainly the heavens. The spectacular truth is – and this is something that your DNA has known all along – the very atoms of your body – the atoms, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and on and on – were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.”
– Jerry Waxman, professor of astronomy
My parents always tell me to follow my heart but to also listen to my mind, if these two things are in complete accordance and dependent on each other, it should be that my heart is also chaotic and messy. However, this hasn’t proven to be true. Unlike my mind, my heart is not messy, it is not a place of unhinged puzzles, in fact, my heart is quite the opposite. I like to think of my heart as a clam place, a place of rest and of hope – it is a place where my emotions can fuel themselves. Tying this portion back to my Facade and Soul, I had said that my soul is defined as “a force that provides our spirit with the wisdom to realize our deep interconnectedness to the world, a human essence.” If my soul is fueled by my memories which are made of my emotions, and in which my emotions rest in my heart, then it provides a wisdom “to realize my deep interconnectedness to the world”, this is what the quote above is primarily about. Although my emotions are messy, my heart is their home and there is always a sense of peace in a home; a maze of order.
Welcome to my heart.
“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
– Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
F r e e d o m. Freedom is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of imagination. As I’ve grown older and experienced some of life’s more vigorous surprises, I have slowly let go of my creativity and wonder at the world for the expense of the normal and regular. But what would I know about a hard life right? It’s been drilled into my head that adults and figures older than me should only have the “privilege” of experiencing a hard life, that I am too young to know anything – too young, but also too old. These are the dreams that self-doubt feeds on, these are the nightmares that strip away my freedom, my creativity. This quote is not only simple and meaningful but it is also from the Harry Potter series. By the summer of grade 9, I had finally read the series for the first time and even then, I was considered to be “too old” to read the series. Even if it is intended for a younger audience, I think the series taught a lot of lessons simply on the human condition that one can only grasp if they are older. In the end, I think that numbers are not relevant, for everyone’s minds develops at different stages so there truly isn’t a way you can be “too old” to read a book. In accordance to this thought, there also shouldn’t come a day when we are labeled as immature for wanting to indulge in our own imagination. The minds imagination is our fuel when our emotions (the heart) and thoughts (the mind) run low.
Welcome to my imagination.
My Facade & Soul
I’ve always been a very artistic person because it’s another form in which I can express myself. Sometimes when my words fail me, I can turn to art and there’s this fluidity that flows. I sort of turned this into a bit of a art project and I have combined my Facade and Soul together; there was a transparency when I had been trying to show what I looked like and I had realized that I think of myself more as a nonphysical thing – when I look in the mirror I don’t see my features but more so these emotions that make me as a person. In connection, my memories are made up of my emotions and I see my emotions in colour, this is what is flowing out of this cracked sculpture. The candle in the middle is a physical representation of my soul because I think of my spirit as a dark room in which my soul is the candle that lights it up. The definition of the soul is: our soul is a force that provides our spirit with the wisdom to realize our deep interconnectedness to the world, a human essence. I do know that my physical features is what makes me more recognizable because this is how many others would define me, however this is not what I personally see, and this leads me to my second section.
The song Minority by Green Day is what I stand for, like mentioned above, I see myself as a gallery of memories and moments, but the song is how I believe am perceived by others. It had taken me awhile to realize that there is no shame in who I am ethnically, which is Chinese and a minority in Canada. I had never listened to a Green Day song until this project and although I don’t enjoy the tune – I’m much more into R&B – I do love the lyrics and that is why I chose this song.
A Little Back Story
I’d like to skim the surface about my struggles growing up Chinese in a Western society. Being in a minority and for most of my life, going to schools that weren’t culturally diverse, had a big affect on me as a child. One incident that has stuck with me was a day in grade 2 when I had brought my rice, pork belly, and pickled veggies to school. I open it up and this food smelt delicious to me because this is what I grew up with, and then everyone at the lunch table comes over and hovers over me and is like,
“what is that smell?”
Now, I’m all excited because I thought they must’ve wanted to know what smelt so good. But the moment I told everyone that it was pork belly, they all started plugging their nose and ran away. I don’t know if it’s because they didn’t know that bacon is also pork belly but they called me disgusting anyways. After that experience, my heart just sunk, I was so embarrassed but I didn’t know what to be embarrassed about because I was so proud to be eating my cultural food, and this experience had affected every single lunch after that for the next 7 years. Ever since then, I’d only want to bring sandwiches and this really confused my mom because she knew that I loved rice. In addition, that experience had just made me ashamed to be Chinese, and I had tried to blend in with society and the “norm” as much as I can. Then in grade 9, I had this big realization sort of out of nowhere, that I had to stop being ashamed because this is who I am, there’s no way to change the ethnicity that I am born into but there is a way to change my mind frame about it. But even so, I still can’t bring rice to school, not because I’m ashamed but it’s more about the fact that sandwiches have been such a routine that I can’t even imagine having rice at school.
(Annotations on hand out)
In the last two sections, I have introduced my soul and appearance as two separate things but in my poem, I have connected a physical feature and the complexity of my soul together; I have intertwined them because for many years I have struggled with how others perceive me vs how I see myself and in this poem I can finally come to peace with that.
I am not as simple as you deem me to be
What can define me as a person
If I am an entire mosaic
Composed of memories and moments?
Take my eyes-
Stereotypical and dark brown,
Have you ever
Seen the beautiful sun beams shine on them?
Melting into golden rays
Circling the galaxy,
Have you ever
Seen them turn into a sunset
That can warm a soul?
My eyes are honey glazed copper
And pollen glistering on wild flowers
They are eyes full of crevasses,
And of content.
Art work source by the amazing Alexandra Levasseur, http://alexandralevasseur.com/index.php?/art-2016/