Tagged: this is personal

Writings on the Wall

Dearest ______,

Some people believe pop psych writer Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule. You know, how he supposes that it takes precisely 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become great at any one thing. When I first heard this theory years ago, I had a tiny panic at the thought of not being able to have enough time in my “youth”– approximately 10,000 hours to spare– to master what I truly wanted to be good at. I was halfway down my 20’s and had been agonising: “If I were supposed to be amazing at something, shouldn’t I be amazing at it by now? How is one supposed to be great at something— or at the very least, in the midst of aiming at greatness– when one doesn’t even know what that something is?” On and on these anxious little thoughts do plague an imaginative girl’s head for long stretches of time.

It’s been years since the 10,000 Hour Rule was rightfully debunked. And even longer, since I debunked most of my personal anxieties caused by other baseless assumptions in successful living. These days, I’m more inclined to listen to ballsier people like Amy Poehler who wrote:

I guess the Buddhists would call this idea healthy detachment. Too often we are told to visualize what we want and cut out pictures of it and repeat it like a mantra over and over again. Books and magazines tell us to create vision boards. Late- night commercials remind us that “anything is possible.” Postive affirmations are written on our tea bags. I am introducing a new idea. Try to care less. Practice ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it. 

I will  say it again. Ambivalence is key.

You  have to care about your work but not the result. 

With lesser opinions and more facts (i.e. to-do-lists) written on the wall, the more things actually get done.  And while we definitely need more practice– for work, for talent, for passion, for ambivalence, for kindness, for life, etc– at least all this actual practicing helps to forget the time. Whether it’s been 20 hours or 10,000 hours or 33 years of living, we’re (mostly) still having fun.

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And surely fun is a momentary vestige of success, however momentary that may be?

Love,

Karlita

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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

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Occupied (At Open Sea)

Dearest ______,

I had to fill up some paperwork today. Adult stuff. It felt weird, having to let my pen hover above blank spaces longer than I’d been used to for years. I only say “weird” because a better-fitting adjective escapes me at the moment. Bizarre? Surreal? Unreal?

For the first time in a couple of months, someone’s finally asked me what I actually do. Granted that someone just happened to be a piece of paper. Nonetheless, there was more weight in one word than all the conversations I’ve had to make this past two months: “OCCUPATION” screamed a little louder than before, coming from one inquisitive document. As my hand unwittingly went up and down, the empty lines seemed to demand an answer: are you Casually Employed? Self-Employed? Unemployed? A Quasi-architect? Would-be-florist? Semi-housewife?

Suddenly it hit me, how I’ve always had to justify myself– who I am, at least– by what I do for a living. For many years, I’ve been resolutely, most assuredly, a working Architect. And now with this, the current state of career flux that I find myself in, nothing seems to buoy me. As with being at open sea, the fluidity has been exciting me and challenging me and even threatening the very idea of “ME”. Only today, with pieces of paper expectantly waiting for answers, someone just seemed to suddenly check on me like an impatient sea mate: “Where are we going, Captain? Where are we? Are we there yet?”

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And to that, I finally say:

“I know where we’re going. And I trust what’s out there. We look up the stars not only for direction but their beautiful solace, knowing how this journey will not be short nor always this smooth-sailing.

But we just need to keep on going.”

I tick more than two boxes on the bloody pieces of paper.

Love,

Karlita

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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

too many figs

Dearest ______,

Fickle women like us, we are but distant echoes of Slyvia’s words before she succumbed to a permanent state of dream-less sleep.
Too many figs.
Too many figs.

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“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, …
… I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

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Do we cut down this tree of perennial longing, stop it from bearing fruits of unattainable dreamjuice?
Our fertile minds, they sometimes imagine futures too full of self- expectation.
Too many figs.
Too many figs.

The more we grow them, the more we hunger.

Love,

Karlita

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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

dresser detox

Dearest ______,

In keeping with these clean times of “detox dieting”, “juice cleansing”, etc, I’ve decided to raid my own dresser over the weekend and detoxify it of accumulated things over the years, the dusty cupboard of unused mishmash that it is has been. The result: an oddly light feeling of fulfillment, almost Zen- like actually.

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painting Mr. X’s house

Dearest ______,

Kindness is as universal a truth as suffering. Context, a variable, but never an excuse to overlook that which is constant. That even the smallest act of kindness means two less unhappy people in the world. Or that pain caused by an empty stomach pretty much feels the same way, anywhere you go in the world.

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the how (part 2)

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Photo by Halfray (post- processed by Author)

Dearest ______,

Previously, on the how (part 1).

The moment you decide on throwing a wedding party (however small that may be), things are bound to get a little more complicated than, say, winging it in Vegas with an Elvis impersonator and a dinner- for- two. Here are some helpful points though, which afforded us a relatively complication- free intimate wedding party in Singapore:-

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