Can I NOT Decide, Please?

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.

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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.

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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”

So, reviewing.

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.

 

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Be Nice to Your(self) Art

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.

-Ericka Bastías.

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… 

Goodbye, it was good though.

tumblr_nhfhajdu2o1rkao3fo1_400As 2016 is finishing we have to manage to say goodbye to one part of us. One whole year of experiences, challenges, memories, opportunities, people. As any other cycle it must have its end or it might turn into something harmful to us . So let’s embrace these last days and get ready to whisper goodbye as the fireworks light up the night sky of the first day of 2017.

The task that comes together with beginning a new year is not easy, somehow we have to look through all what has happenned on these 12 months and decide what to keep and what to let go. Of course, we fill up our “luggage” with everything we can but as in any trip there is a maximum weight, so no… You cannot take everything.

So, what are we supposed to take?

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Haters Gonna… Do Nothing

I know it’s been a while, I do not actually have an excuse though. So let’s skip that part and just tell you that I am doing really really REAAALLY GOOD… So good it is actually scary since I’ve been sold the idea (from tragic poems mostly) that after a great happiness comes great sorrow, but let’s hope not and just enjoy every tiny second of happiness.

For the moments I am in Bogotá, Colombia spending my first week of vacation and as part of my mini South America tour. Next destination? Chile. For those who don’t know, I am half Chilean, but I have not ever been to Chile before so this trip is really special.

I’ve been living all my life with lots of shades of the Chilean culture, my mom (even though I believe that by the end she loved Honduras more) couldn’t let go of Chile. We ate Chilean food on some Sundays, empanadas could not miss on September, she would sing Violeta Parra at the top of her lungs and read Isabel Allende (though I do not remember she liked books much, but she did read Isabel Allende for the sake that she was also Chilean), she hanged out a lot with other Chilean… we ate bread more than tortilla, all our house decorations where from Chile, there was a whole revolution when they removed the Chilean channel from our television cable, etc etc. (I guess you get the idea) So now, I am going to the place where all this originated, part of my roots and most of all: I have a small family, back in Honduras but I also have a not so small family in Chile, the type you call for every Christmas and birthday… and now is the time to meet them for the first time.

So, basically I will be going back to my roots… or something like that (it sounds so dramatic)

Until now, Colombia has been quite something. I really like it and it is my first stop after 10 months of being in Taiwan so… it has been quite a change and: I LOVE IT. I will be writing about this trip and other things related to traveling sometime soon. (including a guide of how to stop being afraid of being broke and just run away, save a bit, get some tickets, and have the time of your life)

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Something I hate/love about traveling are the long layovers, this trip’s are waaay better than last year’s though, still I have had some time to get inside my mind, think of weird things, and try to make them sound interesting and philosophical and wise in this blog (yeah, I notice that double and no, I am not taking it away since that’s how I said it in my mind)… So, let’s try and with this I call started my summer which will  be (hopefully) full of painting, blogging, eating, running, watching kids’ shows with my niece, enjoying my family and bestest friends, and all of the same time missing my Taiwan life (other thing I want to write about… this weird limbo of being back home but missing the other home a bit).

(ufff… what a long intro, sorry guys I’ve been missing you too, my fellow readers!)


You know what my favorite type of people are? The ones I can go for hours and hours talking about everything and nothing, ignoring the clock, what society dictates we should think, etc. No wonder, why my boyfriend “complains” of me not letting him sleep (even though a conversation needs a two side participation, just saying) and no wonder why with my best friends we can send inbox that are half meter long, great Skype talks that last longer than expected, go for “quick” lunch dates that last over three hours, or be lying down next to each other knowing we have to sleep and all of a sudden: oh! 4am. And with lots of these people we have commented about something I will summarize in a sentence: We live in a society of chairs, tags, and background noise.

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What do I mean with this? Well, we live in a world of persons who sit down, tag other ones trying to enclose a whole human being in a single word, and their whole collaboration and comments are nothing but critics which won’t help others grow up but actually want to do the contrary, therefore… nothing but background noise.

Let’s start by the first part… a society of people who sit down. Now, there’s tons of things going around our world, from social problems to big opportunities that would change your life in a split of a second, from hungry people in your local park, to trips to travel. And in here I am talking about BIG things, since you do not actually have to be a social activist, a travel junky, or move to the other side of the world to start a new life. Sometimes it is all about helping the mother with the baby carriage go down the stairs, wash the dishes without being asked, clean your room, start that paper today rather than 10 hours before the deadline, and so on. It is all about having the initiative for something better, something that by the end benefits you more than others because giving, starting, moving, makes you grow. But nowadays we have this tiny voice inside our mind who tells us “Why bother? It is not my problem. Someone else will do it. It won’t make a difference” and that is when we fall into the pile of the majority and sit down staring our lives go by and not moving a finger.

And you know what happens with the tumblr_matnz77rkx1r6ubhwo1_500people that do not do anything with their own lives? They become bore and that’s when they find other’s lives way too interesting… enough to go inside and just try to mess up around or comment about it. So, it is normal that once you start doing something different other people will talk about it, not necessarily nicely but do not even dare to let them stop you… actually, it just means you are doing something good, something different, DOING SOMETHING.

Secondly, and this one I might actually go further in other blog post, TAGS. This I can also explain using the box imagery, we normally try to close up someone’s personality in a single word or description… which is like trying to put an elephant inside a cereal box. As humans, we are so vast that the insides of our heads are a universe itself, and also we are in constant change (for good or for bad)…

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Still, we seem surprised when someone does not act according to their tag, when we see “the geek” out having a beer, when the girl we call among our friends “the nun” goes to a party and looks stunning with makeup and a dress, when “the brains” of the class fails a test or the contrary, when “the not so smart” kid of the class gets a good grade and our first conclusion is that he/she cheated. But why is that? Why we try to enclose a universe in something so small? Why do we do this to ourselves as well?


To ourselves? How?
Well, it might be from something small as to the music we listen to… maybe we belong to the “metal group” and all of a sudden this song of Jason Mraz just cliques-funny-girls-lunch-mean-favim-com-237089_largeseems to stick into our heads and we start singing it on the shower and we feel it is not right. Or the first time we fail a test after being a straight A+ student and we think our life is over and all of a sudden you do not consider yourself smart anymore.

Tags are too small to define a person… today we can be smiling and throwing flowers at people, tomorrow we might not feel like it, maybe I like to read classics and watch TED talks by the dozen, but at the same time I will laugh at stupid jokes and have a beer at a bar while dancing nonsensically with my friends. Maybe you have a “bitch resting face” but love kids and are the sweetest aunt/baby sitter/mom/child kidnapper (okay, maybe not the last one). We do not have to fit in a word, in a group, close ourselves inside an imaginary barrier. You be you, an whoever does not understand it… well, they can go mind other business.

Last, background noise… this istumblr_n4v8ps8uxy1qj4315o1_500 something I’ve noticed since some years ago. This type of people who when they open their mouths what comes out is not productive at all… people who talk about other people, or people who like to critic but not to make others become better but the contrary. Small talk is something I can stand and even enjoy for a while, it is even my “usual talk” with some people but when small talk transforms into words full of bad intentions… well, to stop from punching people I just tend to space out and let them be what they really are: background noise.

And do not take me wrong, I am no Miss Only-Good-Intention-Deep-Talk-Full-Of-Meaning… pfff, I am human too and I have fallen into these talks more than once or twice. When I realize though, I feel a bit ashamed since wasting words and time into something with no purpose or cause it is sort of pitiful… and I guess you have also, since we are all humans and well, we do mess up things a bit from time to time… but at least we realize. don’t we?

The thing is, that there is people that for them this is the usual talk. They live to criticize other people, they feed from negativity and they believe that bringing others down or making them feel less worthy will improve their own value. And the only thing I can tell you is that once you cross path with this type of persons: RUN AWAY. And if you cannot (sometimes they are impossible to escape) well, zoom out, think about your grocery shopping list, nod, smile, and move on. Do not let their comments sink into your soul, do not let their words cross your heart, do not let them feed from your beautiful soul.

But… what happens if youfeel the giphymajority are like this? Are you the one who steps over what is normal and do not belong? Yes. Are you wrong then? No. Are you the only one? Of course not… and that is the beautiful thing of meeting people with similar ideas, people who inspire you, motive you, and wake up respect and admiration from you. Because then, you realize that you might be weird, that you need to space out and play an Elvis Presley song in your head while someone is talking making background noise more often than what you would like… but meeting these other persons just makes it all worth it. So, appreciate these amazing human beings, embrace your nature of growing, thinking, making a difference… and continue being you, because you do you beautifully.


1_gifI tend to write positive things, but I do know not everything in this world is roses and positivity, so the purpose of this post is to let you (beautiful human beings) understand that sometimes it is not you the problem. Sometimes you cannot solve the problem… because sometimes the problem might be the person standing next to you who just… does not tick the right way for you. And there is nothing wrong in not liking someone, taking distance, or just blocking them from Facebook, moving to other country and changing your name to escape from them (kidding, do not do that… or do that if the country is pretty… and invite me to come over)

Maybe in Other Universe

Dajia Haaaao. And with that I mean hello.

It’s been some crazy weeks, which I will try to summarize in the following: Duathlon. Salsa classes. Advancing a small personal project which I will tell you about in… February or as soon as it’s finished. Midterm tests. Lots of desserts. New winterbreak plan (in Taiwan). Coldplay has a new album coming out next week and I am totally freaking out about it. I went to Nathalie’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner in family (without Nathalie, since she is in Germany). I am listening to Adele’s new album so I am feeling nostalgic about (almost) every past relationship (with relationships mostly meaning: almost relationships, platonic crushes, the clone of Robert Pattison who I saw at The Purple Turtle Pub in London and I won’t ever see again, and all that’s in between). My half marathon is in less than three weeks and I am soooo not ready. My niece is getting cuter every second and I can’t wait till I am with her again. The man who sells pineapple popsicles outside my university campus is gone for the winter, so I am mourning… etc, etc, etc.

In conclusion, I am pretty okay. Yep.

Other thing I wanted to mention in today’s blog was how happy I am because of one of my readers/friends (who I met last Friday) instead of saying hi to me, he said “I love reading you!!”. If you are reading this: THANK YOU (again). Seriously, I am so glad there are people who actually like reading all my rambling.

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So, now… what are we talking about today.


Here I am today, wondering what was wrong. Me? You? Time? Conditions? Our past? Our plans for the future? Our religion? Our point of views about political issues? All of the above? None of the above? I actually don’t know and probably I will go to the grave with that question pretty much unanswered. Some days, when the fact that it didn’t work out and it won’t ever work out kills me a little bit deep inside, I rest my head (and my soul) in the theory that maybe in other universe, in a parallel universe, there’s me and you, being me and you, we. Happy. Unbreakable. Together.

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