Trans-Pecos is the area to the west of the Pecos River in Texas, known as far West Texas. It’s mostly desert. did I know Trans-Pecos was mostly a desert? I guess I might’ve – and now am re-remembering /or learning the first time.
i had this outfit on today, with nowhere to go, and I really thought to myself, I look like someone who’s about to head to Trans-Pecos. There’s a style. Someone who stands to the side of the stage at a Trans-Pecos concert. I’d often enough gone to those and asked myself, who are all these people standing around at this place where they play Toro Y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Tame Impala on speaker while the band sets up? And the chilling answer is, bitch that’s me. She’s her.
It just feels like the “always has been” astronaut meme but worse, like I’m both astronauts. And instead of space it’s fucking Brookyn, New York. The gall to even try being oblivious.
I guess the point is that I’m turning over in my mind what I’m trying to say to myself and others with what I consider “stylish” or… “cool” – odd memory, but in middle school we had these micro-courses early in the morning that ran for half a semester and were focused on niche subjects. I took one on merchandising about advertising, mall-stuff, stuff about being “cool” – a slippery ideal that morphs once it’s “caught” – I guess that’s how the course put it. Once “cool” is known, it’s no longer cool. I guess I’m identifying a little with this old memory in the way finding a definition for my style feels the same as ruining said style.
The fireworks are me admitting I look like a hipster and the animal noises and Jan Sport are me and my sense of self imploding.
Ok so, I had a bit more going on than the people in this photo. That’s not the point. The point’s somewhere between my anxiety over belonging to a vague cluster of aesthetic certainties, a devotion, a need to cling onto ambiguity that substantiates my own un-self-awareness and in the moment kind of living. I don’t want it to make sense. I feel like a stiff ball of dough resisting my own attempts to flatten myself out to a more transparent film.
hell yes this was the album ^^^ so long and so good. i injected those vibes straight into my bloodstream 24/7 during 11th grade. always too loud for my lossy earphones.
music from my phone that I was listening to earlier, before the cry fest:
i re-downloaded the youtube music app which i used a lot freshman year of college. Listened to lots of SALES on there. and Spoon probably. just that one song Inside Out though. Also was listening earlier to Slowdive’s Blue Skied an’ Clear from Pygmalion which is so relaxing. i did the full on earphone while laying on my carpeted bedroom floor for the full effect in high school too.
Before that I was listening to Jessica Lea Mayfield and Seth Avett’s KEXP covers of Elliot Smith songs. Those are amazing. Their vocal tones just blend so beautifully, and it’s a great way to listen to the lyrics with smooth harmonies that really bring you into the layered richness of the songs easily and pleasurably. Still prefer these to the originals – probably b/c I heard Smith’s vocals after these covers. Smith’s voice is so distinctive, scratchy, sparse, vulnerable… so different from Mayfield and Avett’s folk country intonations. makes me appreciate both more by contrast.
I was actually going to listen to Valley Queen’s Tiny Desk afterwards I think – but didn’t get to it! totally worth checking out that Tiny Desk. I had that downloaded on the youtube music app in freshman year too. listened to it to calm me down as I long-boarded across the dorm commons to class
okay before that I was listening from Spotify on my phone in the shower: Just Like My by Homeshake, Negro Swan by Blood Orange, Hunnybee by Unknown Mortal Orchestra… all on the Just Like My radio. I overplayed Hunnybee so much on road trips a couple summers ago when I had my car on Long Island.
After the shower, I got to dance to lots of Little Dragon, they’re my all-time favs. Then I hopped into bed to read Laing’s book and listen to Kelsey Lu’s version of I’m Not In Love from her album Blood. I listened to that entire album next, and then I jumped over to This Time Around by Jessica Pratt – that song is amazing. so simple, so lush. Finally, still on Spotify, I jumped into Different This Time by Cornelia Murr for a second, but it was surprisingly not the vibe. Maybe it was too much going on after listening to This Time Around, but I remember kind of finding and loving these songs on Spotify around the same time…I remember sharing Murr’s song with a shot of the blue skies outside a parking garage when I was either just starting to work or..something. It’s a good song, it has a lot to keep itself in your head and rolling like a sonic vestige leftover from a deep dream.
Oh wait, finally finally, I was listening to How Deep Is Your Love by The Bee Gees.. for sure soothing. Hahah
I also had tabs open for Pinegrove, and listened to a whole EP of a band the lead singer recommended in a Reddit AMA, but I don’t feel like including those links/descriptions here. They’re in a column by themselves.
Other songs running around my mind: Aurora’s cover of Half the World Away at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Concert and versions of Pie Jesus which first came back into my head from a video of the Norwegian comedic duo Ylvis’ performance of the song that I had saved to my favorites playlist on YouTube. I’m obsessed!
I’m still reading random sections of Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas. They have a heading like
and entries that vary from a paragraph to a couple pages. He tells stories of visits and encounters, the characters in his life, and the men he’s slept with. He recounts arduous travels as “odysseys” and makes moments of life into passages of literature.
So far I’ve heard of his enormous capacity to swim long distances, his many sexual encounters across several stages and places throughout his life, and the persecution he faced as a writer and homosexual.
fear is the greatest human emotion, perhaps the only one. even love is a sub-feeling, a by-product of fear. we love out of fear. no matter what fear, it doesn’t matter. fear of loneliness, mostly. fear of death. wanting to last in people’s memories.
I’m trying to be a lot more deliberate in my looks now that I kind of have nowhere to go. For hair.. I’ve had a pretty boring series of haircuts all my life; I’ve never ever dyed my hair, never done anything wild in styling it, and have never had an unusual cut. I cut my own hair now, which is an easy 2-minute buzz of my back and side hair and a 20-minute to an hour long haphazard job with my top and front hair which I hack at using a pair of scissors and a wild amount of self-doubt.
So, I’ve had some haircuts that I preferred. For a long time it was really long hair – so no haircut at all. More recently it’s been short hair.
Here’s me with messy short hair (and overall messy look) which I liked a lot at the time:
I still like the messy short hair – it’s easy, and looks alright sometimes. Having looks look good by chance was my style philosophy for a while. Intentionally stylized looks could be fake, or forced. But they could be beautiful too.
My lazy style meant throwing on all the clothes I loved, messy hair don’t care. Now I guess I’m thinking of paring back, wearing maybe just 3 colors at most lol. To all the clothes I loved before.. I’m still thinking of clothes I love as items that I can still love…just not all on myself 100% of the time.
Hair is still a WIP. I love my black hair, I don’t think I’d ever dye it. I also don’t like gel, so the best I could do is something wild with the buzz. Or I could start wearing wigs.. Khruangbin vibes?
At the moment I’m struggling between wanting to post all about BLM and also finding space for other things that are important to me like art, writing, and creativity.. not that these are mutually exclusive. For my personal accounts, I’ve been inactive after going full-time social media for work. I’ve been promoting BLM anti-racist works on those accounts. I’ve used my personal accounts as an amplifier of those professional accounts, but I’m in need of a vector that communicates more directly about the issues.
About the issues: Since late May, the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDale, and more and more and more have catalyzed a dystopian flash-forward in the world’s consciousness on issues of race, Black Lives Matter, and violence. The tide of politics has risen exponentially, and I’m struggling to stay afloat.
My personal issues with confronting the issues: Honestly, even in the past when BLM exploded with the death of Travyon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman and the shooting of Michael Brown, I largely stood in silent solidarity with my left-leaning peers. Silence is violence. The dialectic has to be shared among everyone in 2020.
And that’s where I trip up. I need to educate myself more beyond my education. I need to read and note and participate. What that looks like: reading, highlighting, sharing, and engaging with works by radical Black authors and organizers. Sharing action items (petitions, email templates, other accounts, and places seeking donations) and continuing to take part in these action items yourself. Checking in with yourself about how you can do better each and every day. Understanding the weaknesses of your past and calibrating for the future.
My issues with the issues is deep. It shows itself in my shallow distaste for the look and feel of organizing, for the lack of aesthetics, for the blunt edges of realities that I’ve happily excluded myself from. Maybe I tackle these with solutions that I’ve seen other use: design for politics*, social media for politics, community building for politics
*politics as protests, resource sharing, collective healing
I need to: build tolerance for the boring but necessary, exercise speaking out as a muscle