good things

A Smattering Of Things That Are Good (Part VII)

(Because why on earth not?)

i. Red lipstick. My love affair with this brilliant little creature began a few years ago, & is the sort of situation from which there is no escape. I believe in red lipstick’s power to heal, to boost, to quail, to transform, to glow. These days I am known in the circles I frequent as "the one with the lipstick", & I am always up for sharing brand recommendations. Red lipstick turns every outfit into honey or bramble, refusal & allowance all at once. I consider it a hazard to leave the house without it. (Also, I will not lie, I rather adore how every time I wear a red lipstick, the entire world is decadently aware of who & what I kiss. But maybe that is just me.)

ii. Freckles, moles, scars, stretch marks, tan lines, every other gorgeous piece of poetry marked on a body—a life—well lived. I always go back to the last line of my dear friend Caitlyn Siehl’s gorgeous ode to her stretch marks — I am a world that cannot be explored / in one day. / I am not a place for cowards. Amen, amen, amen.

iii. Furious organising days. Since I am moving out & university-bound soon, I have been spending much time digging old books out of the back of my shelves, trying on shirts that might have fit me in the eighth grade, spreading twelve years’ worth of school paperwork in small piles around me on the floor, highlighting & sticky-noting more than is probably sustainable, finding an honestly troubling number of coins & bills & even cheques scattered in various nooks & crannies across my space. It’s a bright thing, a healing thing. Feels a little like baptism or like resurrection.

iv. Accent walls. My baby sister has, however inadvertently, turned me on to this odd little design quirk—I breathe a secret little laugh when I see one I particularly like, the way it feels like a wink, a smirk of art.

v. Gentle happy flirting with maybe-something-more friends. The inhale at the beginning, the tentative newness of a love that could be, the choosing of outfits & the scrutinising of text messages. For once, the deep not-knowing. It's a first movement & a reprise all in one.

vi. People who are kind to ants. Also: spiders, snakes, mice, & other animals considered conventionally undesirable. I think one way to get to the core of a person very quickly is to watch how they react when a non-adorable animal crosses their path, to see exactly how that reaction differs from the way they treat dogs & cats & butterflies. &, of course, to adjust your relationships accordingly.

vii. Spending the whole day in bed—working, writing, sleeping, reading, dreaming, & all the rest. I do believe, these days, in this sort of etched & soft-lit flux-state, in lingering in patches of shadow & sun, ambered & slow. Like a love letter to oneself, knowing that the world can wait for a day to see you again. The whole thing a stunning contraption of song drifting from the radio, of clean-pressed sheets, stillness & movement & warmth, thinking: maybe this is it, the whole thing, all along. Maybe this was always what we were here to do.

p.s. love these small reminders of the good in the world? support their creation on patreon (& receive small weekly notes & poetry from yours truly as a thank you gift).

just a few more things that are good (part vi)

(Because this series has not had a new instalment in far too long.)

i. Moments of "this will never leave the room" - secrets of the most delightful sort, all fizzy & dizzy & bright.

ii. Black & white films. As part of my year of inhale, I've been watching a great many cinematic classics to keep me company during monsoon days & sticky-blurring nights. I think I must say that the black & white ones are my favourites - I find so much magic in the lines on characters' faces, the pause before a particularly stunning line of dialogue, the movement of hands & eyebrows, minds changing, music flashing, souls bared in shades of spun-wool grey. There is endless colour in these monochromatic creations, if you know the right places to look.

iii. Taking off your makeup after a very long day, washing away every trace of the wonder & horror of the past eight hours, warm water like deliverance, like healing.

iv. Forgiveness, in every shade in which it comes. I am learning to forgive myself even when there is nothing to forgive, & even more so when there is so much it overwhelms me. & I am learning to forgive the ones who hurt me, forgive them wholly & fully & completely, forgive them even when that forgiveness looks a little more like anger or like apathy or like forgetting. If I can't forgive then I become my own collateral damage, & I am worth so much more than that.

v. This quote from Melissa Atkinson Mercer's Knock, forthcoming from Half Mystic Press"Before fire was ever fire, she says, there was just this house, fit together like a cello. Storms grew on the black lake, cracking it like marble. We plucked out the cotton sky. We took the sugar-reeds by their throats. Made flutes of them. The hill in snow ripened to a thick fruit. Mountain lions carried their cubs deep, deep into the cedar. The world was a small, dark shape & we entered it." Do you know that feeling in your chest when you realise you've played a part in creating something both soft & savage, both utterly beautiful & incredibly necessary, something full of all shades of shadow & light? That's this book, singing & true.

vi. The quick-dreaming lift in your stomach when the plane starts to land. I have been doing quite a bit of travelling to mark the beginning of 2018 - to Hong Kong most notably, but also to New Zealand & others upcoming very soon. This part of the plane ride is always my favourite - the way everything is gentle & loud all at once, descending from the heavens, ears popping, becoming again to the sound of wheels hitting the tarmac. If there is any way that light tastes, it must be this: the feeling in your mouth upon realising you're someplace, someone, entirely new.

p.s. love these small reminders of the good in the world? support their creation on patreon (& receive small weekly notes & poetry from yours truly as a thank you gift).

a couple more things that are good (part v)

(Because, judging from the emails I have been receiving from you lovelies lately, I have a feeling we all need the reminder.)

i. Girls' nights. I think perhaps the ritual of them is what delights me so - the sense of kinship formed so effortlessly among a group of people whose souls perfectly intersect with one another for a single night. How soothing it is to paint each other's nails & eat more cookie batter than you actually bake & watch ridiculous cheesy films & speak of things that may, on the surface, seem mundane, but really mean universes to those special few who are in on the secret. How beautiful it is to be in on the secret.

ii. The car ride home after an evening of exhausting happiness - how your eyelids are pleasantly weighed down, limbs ready to be cradled by soft linen, everything enveloped in a rather quiet silvery haze.

iii. Ridiculously long phone calls. You know the ones: they're meant to be a half hour but end up taking five, as if the magic is stretched out like bubblegum or preserved in amber, & you are not quite sure how all of that time soared by so swiftly, slipping through the crannies & across the seas, only that the other person's voice is the whole bright wide sky & you cannot imagine a time when it was not singing, warm & soft, in your chest.

iv. Music. Of course, of course, of course.

v. The writing in not-writing. I've come to believe this part of the process is the most important by far: soaking up the rain, twirling in the grass, chasing shards of sun, wholly existing inside of this miracle called life without any obligation to write it all down. And then, of course, writing it all down anyway, because that is what you were made to do, because there is no other alternative, because writing it all down is part of the wonder of it. And all this light.

vi. Turning the last page of an old favourite book & feeling indescribably, unfathomably whole. That spark of something breathless & shining & familiar & real. It's something like finding, or like remembering, or like coming home.

vii. Unexpected good news. Case in point: I recently learned that I received the Best Actress award at the Singapore International Student Film Festival for my tiny swelling film SUPERNOVAThe news came on a rather horrible day, & I spent the rest of it floating around in a half-here-half-not state of shock & joy. To be quite honest, I never thought I would win any acting awards at all... &, even now, I'm not quite sure how to piece all of this honour into coherent words. Isn't that grain of unbelievability so tender & lovely, the way good news knocks you down out of the blue & swallows you in its unfathomable, dreaming warmth? After all this time & no time at all, I think I'm finally learning how to chase that feeling. I think I'm learning how to hold it close.

p.s. love these small reminders of the good in the world? support their creation on patreon (& receive small weekly notes & poetry from yours truly as a thank you gift).