Desde el año pasado he estado trabajando en un gran defecto mío: soy una acumuladora. Ropa, zapatos, libros, materiales de pintura, lápices, cuadernos vacíos y cajas de cosas que no tienen palabra para ser clasificadas más que: basura. Poco a poco he estado reduciendo mis pertenencias y he dicho unos cuantos adiós con mucha duda pero todos, incluyendo estos, llegan al alivio de sentirme un poco más ligera sin tener que sacrificar el postre. Con o sin estas cosas, el día de mañana aún seré feliz, aún tendré mis manos para dibujar, aún tendré a los seres que amo y me aman y aún seré Ericka. Nada de que preocuparse… sí algo realmente necesario se va entre todo eso que estoy botando podré encontrarlo en alguna tienda, en Amazon o la dark web.
Encontré esta entrada entre los borradores de mi blog. Ahí restan muchísimas ideas a medio escribir o algunas que hasta terminé pero no consideré necesario publicarlas. Podríamos decir que en mis borradores restan 53 cartas sin enviar. Bueno, 52 ahora que publico esta.
Esta entrada fue escrita el 3 de enero del 2016 y pulida hoy, 4 de septiembre del 2017. No recuerdo bien que me habrá llevado a escribir esto pero me sacó unas cuantas sonrisas al encontrar ciertas similitudes y recuerdos un tanto empolvados.
Deja que tu mente se llene de los momentos que una vez parecieron eternos. Húndete en las risas, los secretos, las promesas y las palabras que ahora no están mas que grabadas en tu mente. Revive los besos y quédate sin respiración, toma sus manos entre las tuyas y sostenlas hasta que se conviertan en polvo, camina a su lado en aquella tarde de agosto. Recuerda bien cada segundo, empapate en los recuerdos hasta que tus lágrimas se confundan en ellos.
Personal note: I wrote this entry listening to Blood Bank – Bon Iver on repeat, if you feel like listening you’re welcomed to.
Have you ever stared at your ceiling blankly while thinking about all the possible turns and outcomes of life? The “what if’s” climbing inside your brain and a big question mark written on your forehead. If there’s something I’ve learned from reading poetry is that there’s nothing I’ve felt or lived that someone else hasn’t felt or survived before. So at least right now, while I’m blankly staring at my ceiling with Bon Iver playing on the background I don’t feel so hopeless or alone.
Okay, it sounds pretty deppressing now that I read that first paragraph once more, so let me calm you down and tell you it’s not that bad. There’s just a hole in my brain where the decision-taking expert neurons are supposed to be… they probably flew off to Hawaii when they knew such a big pre-graduation crisis was coming. Those b…ad neurons.
After always being used to knowing what I wanted, right now I shrug away the big questions such as: What are you doing after you graduate? Will you do a masters? Where will you go next? Are you going to stay in Computer Science? Have you thought of doing something totally new? Are you moving back home? etc etc… Sometimes I even smile and jokingly say “I have no idea”, the jokes on me though… cause I really have no idea.
The only thing I’m pretty much clear about is that I’m done with expectations, my own and others’. My university graduation is not only getting my bachelors degree but also the end to the need of thinking that I’m breathing to prove myself smart enough, cool enough, strong enough, mature enough. Because now I know that I’m not smart enough, cool enough, strong enough, mature enough… I’m well beyond that: I’m just right for whatever purpose I’m standing in this planet for… and so are you. So let’s collect all those expectations, tiny “unoffensive” comments that stuck in the back of our brains feeding our insecurities, and that voice whispering all the ‘buts’ to our greatness and let’s throw them away.
I feel like many times we have this constant fear of disappointing others and disappointing our most severe judge: ourselves. So we go on walking each step carefully, taking each decision so seriously, looking over our shoulders for approval because… What if we are wrong? What if we fail? What if at the end we’re not taking the best path? Well I’ll tell you what: you have a tomorrow and a day after that to change that, and if we actually don’t have tomorrow: problems won’t follow us to what comes after “the end”.
All this mess is more than I speaking to you encouraging to live bravely and to not choose right or wrong, the easy way or the tough way, whatever everyone is doing or go against the current… This is me, telling myself to stop being so afraid.
How bad can it be? To just pick that that makes your heart beat faster, that adventure you dream of, that which you can’t take off your head of, yeah… that exact idea/thing/person/place/whatever that makes everyone else think you might be a bit too crazy but you still think about at night when there’s nothing left but you and your thoughts. Because at the end, if we’re wrong at least there won’t be anyone else to blame but “that foolish us from the past”… and that foolish us from the past will thank us back for giving him/her the chance of choosing at least for once… and then maybe say sorry for being so foolish and messing our lives up a bit.
Now, the second issue here is to know what we really really want (I wanna, I wanna, I wanna), which takes us back to the beginning of this mess. Because now that we have decided that we will say goodbye to outside factors, it may happen that we don’t really know… but I’ll tell you a little secret: We always know. Yes, we always know what we want, because we can be a whole mess but if there’s someone that knows how to walk through that mess and get to the center of it all, it is ourselves. So let’s stop looking for the big answer in our ceiling, in that David Bowie thunder shaped cloud, in the lyric of the song we have on repeat for already three days, in the random video that popped up on our Facebook timeline or in others. It might take days or weeks (hopefully not years) before we get that answer out but let’s hope that by then we’re still brave enough to take it.
To close up this tiny mess of an entry, let me quote one of my favorite TV shows, just because when I saw this episode I felt it was talking directly to me and still now from time to time I look back to this quote and keep it as a mini mantra:
“Maybe it’s dumb to look for signs from the universe. Maybe the universe has better things to do. Maybe we don’t need the universe to tell us what we really want. Maybe we already know that, deep down.” -Ted Mosby talking to Robin, How I Met Your Mother Episode: “Something Old”
Step 1: Freak out. Overthink everything. Miss the time when your biggest choice was if you wanted or not queso in your baleada (or cheese in your sandwich for those who don’t understand the baleada culture).
Step 2: Say “go to hell” to all those thoughts. Decide that you will do whatever you really really want.
Step 3: Freak out again because you don’t know what you really really want. Cry in fetal position, if needed.
Step 4: Drink a tea/coffee/beer/six tequila shots/apple juice and realize that all answers will come to you, from inside you… not from any other crazy destiny coded message.
What is the next step though? Sorry… but I haven’t reached it yet. I’m somewhere stucked between step 3 and 4, but I promise that as soon as I get to it I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, I’ll keep on sitting in the coffee shop close to my place writing my mind out and drinking as many Hazelnut Lattes and Passionfruit Green Teas it takes until the big answer comes.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope that if you’re in your pre-graduation crisis, pre-anything crisis or post-anything crisis you feel a bit more understood.
Also, thanks to the coolest Physics teacher ever for keeping up with my mess already for more than a month and reading through this entry as I wrote it… and thanks to all those who have also suffered my suffering when I become insufferable. Thanks to you all I keep thinking this is a pretty time and world to live in.
- I promise to not be so harsh on you. I know sometimes I go blind to your efforts and how much you’re trying day to day. You deserve some good love at the end of the day and not a reproval look across the mirror.
- I promise to love you how you are, love handles, insecurities, dark circles under the eyes, frizzy hair on winter and spontaneous tears every time you watch movies in airplanes included. You’re great just like that and I couldn’t be happier to share my whole life with someone else rather than you.
- I promise to let you choose more often. To stop pushing society’s point of view, the pressure to make money or the fear of failure on every step of the way.
- I promise to let you follow your heart and together find/be with that who deserves our craziness. We’re happy enough both together but I’ve noticed you like holding hands, cuddling and breakfasts in couple on weekend mornings… So let’s share that with the right person.
- I promise to stop judging you for your bad days, weeks or months. You can’t always be all smiles and that is okay.
- I promise to let you stay in more often. No need to go out to that dinner if you don’t feel like it or to clubbing on a Saturday night. Some time with a book and a cup of tea is much needed every once in a while.
- I promise to stop making you remember the past. You’ve made such a good job moving on, sorry for sometimes just bringing it all up and making you a ball of tears and nostalgia.
- I promise to try to push you out of your pride/ego a bit more often. Come on, send that message, give that call, make that person cookies or just go out for a coffee… Let’s not lose great company to great pride, giving the first step says nothing but good things of you.
- I promise to let you sing your lungs out to Adele or T. Swift on a blue Tuesday night without judging you. No questions asked, no reasons needed. Just let it all out.
- I promise to do more stupid decisions… That you might regret later. Living is not only about the home runs but also about the striked and fouls, we might learn something at the end or just wake up with a huge moral hangover.
- I promise to let you wander around without destination. Travel, discover, make friends that will last for a day but that will give you dope life advice. Fly away and leave, go to a new place, repeat. Be free.
- I promise to take care of your heart. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that and still I know how you hand it out to those that look in the need of some love. How many times did it end up broken or messed up? And how many rejected? I know you regret none but it’s time to start living a bit less recklessly.
- I promise to fill your life with verses, music and colors. Feed your mind and soul, give you tunes to dance at random moments when you think no one’s dancing and enough material to turn over a grey day to a parade.
- I promise to go to the gym a bit more often, not so much about appearance but to keep you healthy and pumped up for whatever challenge pops up into your brain next.
- I also promise to eat healthier…. But also never forget to treat yourself every once or twice in a while.
I guess you figured out to whom this love vows are, and I feel it’s so important to sometimes remember to be nice to yourself. Throughout many ups anf downs I’ve found out we can be our own worst enemy and it’s so terrible to have someone dragging you down all day, every day. No, no, no…
Probably I could think of more but I’m on s bus on my way to the south and I’m getting a bit dizy from staring at the screen… Shame on me making myself dizzy.
16. I promise to be more conscious about my car sickness in long rides.
Have a beautiful weekend and treat yo’self. I for sure will!!!
“Slow down you crazy child”, I listen to this song in 13 Going on 30 while tearing up because Matt will marry and Jenna couldn’t do anything about it. After the movie is over it doesn’t only leave me the strong believe that at 30 I will be flirting and thriving and a happy ending that adds up to my hopeless romanticism but also an obsession with a new song.
It seems written directly for me; mentioning my anxiousness and fear for the future “If you’re so smart tell me why are you still so afraid”, and also pointing out my tendency of wanting to do everything today, now: “You’ve got so much to do and only so many hours in a day“. Of course, it also gives me a solution to everything, the answer to the big question:
“When will you realize Vienna waits for you?”
That’s all it took for me to become fixated that someday, somehow I had to visit that city in Europe, a continent that seem like a platonic love back then at 12.
I would love to say that my love for Vienna was ignited by it’s history, it’s music and artists… but no. I learned about all those months and years later and even though they were great points I must be honest with all of you. Vienna was stuck in my head long before I became a fan of Gustav Klimt’s mastering of the gold foil.
And well, Vienna waited for me and contrary to what’s expected of a love based on ideas, pictures and others’ opinions when the encounter became reality there was no disappointment but the affirmation that dream cities do exist and Vienna is one of them.
Pack all you have learned (no, not those college lectures), pack the falls and the healings, the ups and the downs. Wrap carefully those bonds that grew not with the years but by coffees, shared books and conversations till sunrise. Don’t forget the person you’ve built during these years and tie to it the good wishes of those who love you and want nothing but the best for you.
Don’t put in your carry-on those kisses that had no end and left you breathless and thirsty, they could try to take a them away saying you can’t bring with you dangerous weapons. Fill your bottle with energy and desires to begin again. Leave the photo albums behind, they’re extra weight, better take all the memories and a bit more of space for new ones.
Hey! Wait! Don’t even dare to leave without the keys to your future, your power and right of deciding what to do next, and all those dreams you’ve had since you were 10. Is there’s still more space in your luggage? There better be, because we’re still missing your mom’s recipes to cure a brokenheart and the smell of your favorite coffee shop.
Take all the hugs and smiles in case of nostalgia. Bring your home inside you so you don’t get cold. Remember you always have somewhere to go back but pretend you forgot the address because right now is time to just move forward. Make sure you have your global visa because there’s no frontier or wall to keep you away from your goals. Just keep your eyes forward and your heart strong.
You might be heading on your own right now but you’re never alone. The stars look upon you and the wind blows your sails. Where are you going? That’s right: NO IDEA. But wherever you end, that’s the right place to grow roots or maybe just charge up your batteries before the next flight. Don’t be afraid to do something wrong, because there’s no one that has lived your life before so whatever you do it’s the best someone will ever do.
Run! This is the last call!
Fight 103, Destination: New Beginnings
As you may notice I’m not writing much lately and here between us I must confess I’m not painting much either. Partly is due to that I’m a bit busy and heavily tired in the nights due to Dragon Boat training (my inspiration comes late at night and lately by 11:30pm I’m already sleeping). I believed these two were the only reasons but after having some time to think and analyze what was going on I got to another conclusion.
Some months ago I had the opportunity to participate in my first exhibition here in Taiwan. I have to say it was an honor and a great opportunity to meet two great artists but it also changed me for bad (and now for good)… Let me explain myself better:
The month before this event I spent several sleepless nights preparing some paintings to show in the exhibition. I didn’t have much done that I could consider “exhibition worth it” (first mistake right here) so there was lots of work to do. I love to do small scale drawings and paintings, as a matter of fact most of my works are the size of a notebook page… well most of my works are in one of the thousand sketchbooks I love to collect. The thing is that when I thought of something “exhibition worth it” I thought of BIG canvas and fancy acrylics, not all those sketchbook pages filled with colors of any source (including coffee stains, pens I asked from anyone sitting close enough to me during lectures, pencils I randomly found in my bookbag , etc)
So… sleepless nights, acrylics, canvas, blah blah… after all these the big day came and I was so nervous. Somehow I felt I, as an artist, was not worth it for any of this. I looked at the paintings hanging there and thought of a better shade of purple for the petals of the tulip, wanted to grab a marker and finish the details of one of the leaves in a better way, and regretted adding ink to the face of the girl… People came and congratulated me about such great works and while I was smiling, deep inside me I just wanted to run away and go back to my room and read a nice book and drink a cup of tea.
How could I feel in such way in such a big day? How could I be so ungrateful?
To top all of this I received two comments from one person (someone I’m pretty sure has never even touched a paintbrush or combined two shades of oranges to reach THE color for the sunset) that just sunk me more into all this aggravating battle inside my head. Till today I’m not sure if it was the remarks on their own or the tone that human being used to make such remarks but ohh how they hurt…
“You need to change your signature. Ericka Bastias is too long… think of Picasso for example… he’s just Picasso. There are just few exceptions like Pinto Rodezno here who can make it work” So… now even my “artistic name” was wrong. Thanks. First of all, is not even my artistic name, it’s just my name. I decided to sign every single piece of work: letters, poems, paintings with Ericka Bastias as a way of honoring my mother who was my first motivation to start painting. Second, I keep the Ericka because it has been the name I have heard all my life and in that way it can be clear that behind all that you see there’s a girl, woman, female. After signing more than 200 works with my name here comes a stranger telling me how not “artsy and professional” it is and how I’m of course not an exception that can make it work.
This comment just made me feel uncomfortable, it didn’t really affect me because I have pretty clear reasons for my signature and I love them and it. But the next one did kill my soul a bit, not because it was a direct critic to my art but because it just pinpointed something I was lacking and something I’m probably still “lacking”…
“So… I just want to make sure because someone asked me and I didn’t know what to answer. What is your style? I just see so many things put up together… and I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like you have your own style.”
Yeah, the person was actually right. If you saw my four works you saw pretty different things: small works, big works, pencil, acrylic, ink, flowers, faces and anatomy… there was even one CIRCULAR canva in all that space of squared pieces.
I stare back blankly with no answer at all… and then just say “Well… I guess I’m still looking for it”
After those two days I kept on thinking to myself “So what it’s your style?” “What do you like painting?” “WHO ARE YOU?” and I couldn’t really answer that. I went through all my sketchbooks and saw dark drawings with sad stories, colorful flowers and animals, love and loneliness, sharp details and crazy scribbles, drawings that took me minutes and others days…. such a mess.
I felt lost and disappointed because at this point I thought I knew what I was going on about. What is my art? What am I trying to say to the world?
After thinking and thinking I convinced myself that: EUREKA! I have found it! I found my style and now I’m going to start a collection with it and some day show it… It was going quite well. I was using the ink I so much love and still implementing bright colors in the background, I was drawing women and some flowers too… Yes, this was it, this is me…
Soon enough I was getting bored of having to follow this collection. I HAD to do at least eight of them and I HAD to do them in ink and I HAD to think of a color for their background and I HAD to look through thousands of women faces to get right some features. They were looking good but what was I saying through them? Was I sad? Was I happy? Had my heart just been broken? Or was I feeling empty? Because this was sure looking empty to me..
And there I went again sitting with all my sketchbooks piled in front of me and I started browsing them again… I did found the same mess I found months ago but I also found something else: I found the time I failed my first quiz ever in my first week of university (with an 18 of 100 by the way, go big or go home they say), I found the time I stayed up until 4am because I wanted to do something nice before going to sleep one typical Tuesday night, I found my broken heart and myself completely in love, I also found one of the many times I recalled my mother because of a small thing and had no other way of getting it out than through art, and when I get bored in lectures and just run far far away without leaving my chair…
I found myself in all these different faces with all these different feelings just trying to let it out and scream to the world “THIS IS WHO I AM” without being taken to the police because of disrupting public areas with my screams. I wanted to share a piece of me with everyone without needing to get a piece back.
And that’s exactly who I am… a woman (I’m 21 now so I’m not consider a girl anymore in any country, damn it) who’s trying to just express herself without talking but still saying a lot. Someone who takes a notebook with her and closes herself up when surrounded by all this meaningless and empty noise. Someone who indeed is a mess and can’t define herself inside a “artistic style”.
Art is something I do for myself. Art is the time I close up all my walls and at the same time let it all out to share with others. Art is all this tiny moments I want to remember forever. Art is all these persons, places and memories that have built me up and changed me. Art is… art is something way beyond what you can see in front of your eyes but what you get to feel through it and for it.
So… if being an artist is about big canvas, having a proper signature and having a defined style… let me keep being a not-artist with all her sketches, her counless incomplete notebooks and way too many feelings to fit hanging in a fancy saloon.
PS: To celebrate my own art freedom I bought myself two new black pens and two sketchbooks…
PPS: Even though this post might seem like the person who made those remarks is THE enemy… I must tell you that my biggest enemy was no one else but myself. These past months I must accept I was quite harsh on myself and this is something I know happens to a lot of us. So remember: be your best friend, you have to live with yourself… forever.
PPPS: Now it’s all about drinking tea and waiting for inspiration to take me back in its loving arms…