Happy Belated Birthday, Little Atmospheres

Assortment of Rainbow Macarons from Granville Island, Canada.Happy Birthday, Little Atmospheres!

In all the hustle and bustle of the week, it seems that I have forgotten something rather important. As of yesterday, my blog has officially turned one year old–my first post was put up one year ago yesterday.

I think this deserves some confetti, doesn’t it?

*throws confetti everywhere in a pretty, sparkly rain*

Had I a picture of some confetti, I’d put it *here*.

So this post comes at an interesting time in my other-world career; I say other-world career because I like to think of my own personal world as split up into different “spheres of influence,” so to speak. There is the world where I create. Where I study. Where I have my friends and family. Would they be better off if they weren’t so separate? Perhaps. But for now, this is how they are. A juggling of worlds, an ever-onward show kept up by a sole performer.

And right now, all these objects are at their height, aligning somewhat. Strange. But a juggler only has two hands, and can’t catch all his wards at the same time.

This blog lies in the realm of the dreamer; the shimmering ball, one that isn’t as carefully handled as the others. Often times it is dropped. Forgotten. Set aside when the others become to much to balance. But it is here that I’ve made my home, and it is without a doubt my favorite world of all, for now.

Even resting here, the blog isn’t exactly a magnum opus. I still have no idea what it’s supposed to be. Heck, I don’t even remember what I’d wanted it to be in the first place. I think it was originally a test of my own ability. Can you keep this up for longer than your other projects? Can you still write at the end of the day? Can you remember to catch the dream-ball, even if the others are already becoming too much to handle?

The answer: I still don’t know.

I know what I wanted–still want– this blog to feel like, but not what it actually is.

I’d hoped that a year in, I’d know what Little Atmospheres was supposed to be. That the blog would find its niche in the world, and that it would fall into place like the final piece of a puzzle.

But… that’s not exactly right. It turns out that this was not the last piece, but the first. And now, I have to figure out everything else around it– and it’s harder than I’d imagined.

And yet, there is something very special about Little Atmospheres that I can’t quite describe. I suppose there’s a reason I haven’t quit on it yet. It is something that I started for myself, one year ago– a promise to remember never to stop, a promise to live from the head to the heart, and a reminder that not everything has to be perfect. Because perfection is not what a world is supposed to be made of.

So no, I don’t have a picture of confetti. I don’t have a cake or even a candle, and I haven’t yet changed the banner that I keep promising I will change. Today isn’t even the correct day, for crying out loud. But that doesn’t matter, not entirely. Not compared to all this blog has become, all that it is. All of its imperfect, here-then-there tidbits and diamonds in the rough and half-kept promises and more.

And while I don’t have any cupcakes (a real tragedy, that), I do have an invisible cup of something sparkly. And so I raise my figurative glass to you, dear audience of mine, however small or large you may be. Thank you, everyone who’s stuck with me this far. It means a lot– especially because I know this blog doesn’t have a lot to give, not compared to all those who know who they are and what they should be.

Happy birthday, Little Atmospheres. Thank you for a fantastic year, and here’s to many more.

-Jackie

P.S. Still no cupcakes (WHERE’S THE HUMANITY?!?!), but I did have a picture of some rainbow macarons from the market in Granville Island in Canada. Didn’t actually eat any, but the photo had a birthday mood about it, so I decided to put it here.

P.P.S. I’ve just been alerted by WordPress that I now have 99 followers. Yay! 9 is my lucky number, so… happy birthday to you, blog!

P.P.P.S. Last one, I promise– I changed the banner today. Does the photo look familiar? *points upwards*

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The Dragon: What I Won’t Be

The other day something pretty shocking happened to me.

I won’t go into the fine details of it, because I feel that it’s just a little too personal to tell just yet. Actually, I wasn’t planning on writing this post at all, but something in me knew that I should– if not for my own sanity, then for the sake of dreamers everywhere.

Dreamers. Yes. That sounds a bit melodramatic, and maybe years from now when I look back at this I’ll think that I was being too carefree with my words, and that I was trying to fight a dragon that didn’t really exist.

But at this very moment, this dragon does exist, and it has made its move, very clearly. Now it’s my turn.

I know I’ve already said I won’t go into the details of this story. But I will give you the general gist of it, otherwise this post might as well be for nothing.

In the span of about one hour, I had all my dreams torn to shreds by a person very close to me. I wasn’t really expecting it, because people close to you aren’t close to you for nothing. But I guess I should’ve seen it coming, and I probably could have articulated some things more properly than I did then. Even still, I don’t think that warranted ripping the heart off my sleeve, the heart that I so foolishly revealed.

They did it by telling me that everything I am is nothing. Not in those exact words, no, but they did it through clawing at my dreams of being an artist. They’d told me I was no good. They’d told me about how many others they’ve seen that were so much better than me, and how I could never hope to compete against them, how I didn’t even know the meaning of design. I would never make it thinking like that. And did I know how many people are unemployed because of stuff like this? Wasn’t I smarter than that?

This person took apart my dream, dissecting it like a lab sample and analyzing why each and every single piece was garbage.

Now, I know that I’m no master, and I know that there are lots of people out there who are better than me, more capable of making amazing websites and designing landscapes and building worlds. I know. I was planning on going to college, entering into a sustainable career, something I was actually sure I could do. I needed enough to give my artist life some legs to stand on, even if my artist life only consists of occasionally doling out a finished idea here or there. I wasn’t delusional, wasn’t going to toss all my coins into one well, wasn’t going to put all my eggs in one basket. I didn’t see why I couldn’t do both for the time being. They say that form follows function, but aren’t there times where form and function are equally important?

If it were anyone else, I wouldn’t have cared. I would’ve brushed it off like it was nothing.

But coming from someone so close to me, that really hit a nerve. Suddenly I began questioning everything about me. Maybe I would never have made it, because I’m no good at all. If this person doesn’t think I’m any good, how would anyone else? This person had hit every single insecurity I had, drove a nail straight into it and hammered the message home.

I cried for a good few hours afterward. And if you knew me you’d know that I don’t cry very easily.

But when the basis of your world comes crashing to a halt, what can you do except cry?

When your life is built around this one, core aspect, when it’s charred possibly beyond repair, when that small crack of doubt in the glass of your mind is split wide open into a fracture with a thousand plus shards, how do you fix it? Can you tape glass back together? Can you turn ashes back into the shape and form of their original substance?

What can you do when you realize that who you are is simply not good enough?

It was just… awful. I can’t stop thinking about it, no matter how hard I try. Every time I see something or do something, I’m reminded of the brand that’s been burned into my skin. How nothing is ever good enough. Where once I admired the beauty in every work I saw, now I can’t help but see how my work will never compare. How the one thing that I relied on in my life to really express who I was is just an inferior shade, and that I am an inferior shade, now left with nothing.

The dragon raised its ugly head and spit its fire right at me, right when I was vulnerable and so out in the open.

But… now it’s my turn now, I suppose. My move.

And instead of running for a sword, I decided to grab a shield.

I want to say something very important to all of you– to anyone reading this, whether you consider yourself an artist or not. If there’s one thing you take away from this whole entire post, let it be this: don’t you ever be this dragon. Don’t you ever cut down someone’s dreams so badly that they have nothing left at all. Be constructive, not destructive. Don’t ever believe that you can’t do something just because someone tells you so.

And never, ever stop dreaming. Dreams don’t necessarily sustain us, but I believe they keep us moving forward, whether it’s in leaps or bounds or the smallest of steps.

As for me, I am fighting this thing. I’m not one to take things sitting down. You don’t want me as your enemy. It’s going to be hard, but I’m not about to give up on my dreams of making my art a reality. I’ll study hard and prove that I can find the intersection where form meets function. I won’t be put down by empty words. And this will be the last time I ever shed a tear over this.

And I’ll keep holding up my shield, because I never want anyone to feel the way I’d felt a few days ago.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep growing. Don’t shrink away.

Keep dreaming.

A Glass Perspective

Glass Lamp

• • •

A Glass Perspective

I will never understand this place where I stand.

Life is a matter of perspective. It is subjective. It bends and twists and breaks, it moves in tandem with us, shifting as we do.

Glasses are often stated as half empty or half full, as either-or but never both. The glass bends the light as it catches, and the light turns and shines like a lighthouse or a firework flare, all depending on how the glass is standing. Where it is standing. Where it is moved.

We live in a hall of mirrors, each mirror distorted and misshapen but utterly reflective. And depending on where we stand we see different versions of ourselves, reflected back in wayward ways. Are we tall? Strong? Do we look curled over, sad, small, weak? Are we who we think we are? Is this mirror me? Or is it this one? Which one shows me who I am?

Do they all?

Maybe none of them are.

We are what we wish other people to see, because people see what we want them to see. And we want them to see us, and we want them to like us.

But these are not always mutual things, seeing and liking. We see the mirrors, but we do not like them. We know that other people can see us reflected in them. If only we’d step aside, look in a different mirror—one that does not make us appear a withered stick or a formless shell. But we do not move.

We choose the ugly, the scarred, the broken. We see this. We know others see this. And we do not like it. So we drive our hands across the glass and tear it down, relishing in every crack, every shard, every shatter.

We cut our hands and destroy our image and we continue until there is nothing left of us, nothing but an empty place where once a shadow of us had stood.

If only we’d moved.

If only we’d stepped aside.

Then we would be able to see what a select few have the advantage of observing, being in a more perfect perspective than ours. They stand in a different light. One that flatters us, though we cannot see its sweeping bow, nor hear its applause; we do not feel its shouts for encore, nor taste the roses it throws at us.

And it is a silly thing, this thing we forget. For this stage-light that embraces others may not fit us, not the way we want it to.

We are seated on the balcony, but we wish that we could perform.

We are ballerinas behind closed theater curtains.

Orchestras in a soft-edged room.

But I do not understand that my place is not here, where I was put, where I have fallen into. It is not here, where the mirrors all turn back on me with sharp angles and twisted jaws and haunted figures. It is not here, where the light does not hit me unless it deals a heavy-handed blow.

No, this is not my place. But it is my only place, the only place I know.

I, but not you.

Sometimes someone else must move us—they must take our hands and lead us, assure us that they will catch us if—when—we fall. And we will fall, in this new territory. We will stumble upon mirrors that do not glare at us. Lights that halo us.

Crowds that see us, and like us.

But we still have to have the courage to move our feet for ourselves. To alter our perspective. We must find ourselves a new place to stand.

And then the world will bend around us.

• • •

The picture up there is a lamp/light fixture-thing I saw in a store in Granville Island in Canada. I didn’t have a tripod with me so it’s a little shaky, but I just thought it was pretty.

About the State of Things…

This is going to be quick, mostly because I think my laptop is finally seeking its revenge on me.

Things have been hectic lately, and my writing’s been meh at best. Yesterday I had a few not-garbage ideas, but those would have to wait.

Simply put, my laptop is dying.

It’s always been somewhat of a hassle to use, since it’s never up for an intense workout and overheats a lot and shuts down at the most inconvenient moments. But now it’s just… dying.

Very lately the shut-downs have been less temperature-related and more– I don’t know, not temperature-related.

Then I got the blue screen of death. A few times.

(I definitely thought that the blue screen of death would be more frightening than this. Don’t get me wrong, I now have a burning hatred for that specific shade of blue, but somehow it just seems… blue. Maybe I’m in denial or something.)

Anyway, I can’t go very long without it freezing or turning blue with scary words, so just know that if I’m gone for a while, I haven’t been kidnapped or killed or anything, although my laptop has.

I’ll try to post again this weekend. In the meantime, I’ll be here, desperately trying to backup all my files and beginning the search for a new laptop. Not that I have the resources to buy one, ha ha…

Back to handwriting things out?

Ink Pens

I recently got a new set of pens. Nothing fancy– although they do look pretty fancy– just a grocery store variety. But I think they are very cool.

New Pen 2

I really really really love opening a new pack of pens. Especially the inky kind. It makes my handwriting look fifty thousand times better than usual.

Opening a new pack of pens has that crisp moment. You know, like when you first open a large bag of fresh, un-crushed potato chips (or marshmallows or whatever you eat). Or when you first cut into a very perfect cake, preferably chocolate. Or maybe when you first pop open a can of soda and it makes a really clear cracking sound. Or when you buy a new journal with smooth, unwrinkled pages (equally as important as the pens). Or when you first write in the journal with the pens while consuming chips/soda/cake/marshmallows.

*Sigh* If only. But at least I have my pens. Hopefully my new pens will help me get some real writing done. Creativity from crisp moments!

Or maybe they’ll just motivate me to not be so lazy and just start doing things. After all, what’s more tempting than this:

New Pen 1