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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Where am I? On an Tropical Island

Why, out of everywhere in the world, was I born here? I used to resent it, being someone who has always been into arts and more that isn't at its peak here. But it's not so bad. Actually, quite good in some aspects. So, for as long as I'm around, I'll enjoy it however I can. And as long as I can connect to the internet and there are ways to transfer and import stuff, I'm not completely cut off and handicapped. Phew! (Just lagging behind until I'm not...)

It even makes me wonder if people whose income isn't tied to their location have considered moving here (or somewhere similar) to save on real estate and more that is less costly. But adjusting to different cultures and such can be challenging and maybe even scary. And if you're used to large and dense cities full of luxury, you might find this place severely lacking. However, if your dream is to live in a beautiful home by the sea, undisturbed, check out Casa de Campo in La Romana and other residential zones in SamanĂ¡. Or just a decent space in a pleasant neighborhood in Santo Domingo could be within your means and improve your quality of life.

In any case, for the time being, this is where I am; on a tropical island in the Caribbean, called the Dominican Republic. I've wanted to tour it and share more about it, so I will be doing that over time. And although my art isn't limited to this area or even particularly inspired by it, I can't deny its influence on me, who I am, and what I do. Plus, going out, looking around, and taking in my surroundings are part of what keeps me sane.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Much to Look Forward to This New Cycle

I get caught up in distress, disappointment, despair, and more. But the truth is that there is still much to look forward to.

I'll be at last unpacking, setting up, and readying everything I've got to make various types of content. Continuing to see what does and doesn't work for and with me as I continue to build up and onto what I aspire to have completed by the end of this cycle. With the support of those around me that are genuinely rooting for me. And I'll also get to hang out and collaborate with some of them! I may be unfortunate in many ways, but so fortunate to have them in my life. There are also movies and series coming out or already released that I've yet to see and comment on. Portraying interesting stuff in interesting ways. While tech is rapidly advancing and providing tools and resources to have greater access and ease in producing stuff! And these are only a few of the things that keep me going...

Let's not stay down for long. Whatever comes!

New Cycle, New Me (Kinda)

I've been intending to have a photo session for selfies, complete with a backdrop and a wardrobe to match my branding for the year, and it's something I wanted to do first thing before posting other pictures. But... I ended up trying out the black & white grainy filter and got a few shots I liked.

For spring, to start all over again, I cut my hair (DRAMATIC!). It is still a mess (I didn't even brush it for these shots) but got rid of much of the damage and promised myself to take better care of it this year (though not obsessively so because I'm too lazy for that and it's just hair). Yet, do you know what's a good indicator of when my health is dropping? When my hair starts thinning, turning white, and falling out increasingly faster. I've got all the needless stressors to blame for that and myself for allowing them in my life. 

If all you bring me is stress and no proportionate compensation for it, BYE! I'm indifferent to any excuses, complaints, and accusations at this point when that is the case. Seriously, makes absolutely no sense to put up with that - especially when you know that more exists that isn't like that.

I find it sort of amusing that even though I'm relatively careless (or have been) when it comes to physical appearance, I make a big deal out of this. I had a moment of facing myself when, last year, I could relate to a fictional character but shied back when she threw a fit for losing her beautiful hair. That could not be me! I'm not that superficial! Welp. That pretty much is me regardless. Partly because of what it implies. The last time I had to cut my hair due to being stressed to death, I had grown it long and voluminous while living contently away from all that harmed me. So when it begins happening again, it's uh-oh or heck-no for me.

On to the new cycle, I'm on a higher level of self-care. Tolerating less, and tending to myself more.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Aries' Basics

Transit Date: Late March.
Initiating Spring.

Element: Fire.
Quality: Cardinal.

Symbolized by: The Ram.
Typically Associated with: Self, vitality, impulsivity. 

At Best: Entrepreneurial and opportunistic.
At Worst: Reckless and foolish.

For context and more of relevance, please read about The Zodiac.

The Zodiac

You've heard of astrology, of the zodiac and zodiac signs, right? Who could believe in such nonsense? Well, whether you believe in it or not, there are a few undeniable facts in regards to it:

- It has an intriguing and fascinating system that is complex and intricate, composed of various symbols and meanings to interpret hollistically.
- It gets you to look into people's traits and behaviors, your own and others' (whether they match or not), and to ponder about how they possibly came to be.
- It frequently comes up both in fiction and in reality, vaguely or precisely, inaccurate or accurate, off base or spot on.
- Some bits may be relatable and resonate, which can be insightful and lead to greater awareness and comprehension or simply be something to (harmlessly) identify with.
- It can be and is used in art to represent abstract and concrete concepts, notions, ideas, and more.

So, if this appeals to you, might as well be informed on what it is all about. Avoiding the pitfalls of assuming or pretending that taking a glance at the signs automatically grants you the knowledge of everything someone or something holds and becoming insufferable as a result.

Because I do enjoy exploring this topic, I am dedicating a section to it that I will periodically fill (adding more and more to it over time). I'll start with the basics, pointing out a few things each month, and continue on to more advanced, meticulous, and/or elaborate content with each cycle.

However, if astrology intensely interests you, I recommend reading more about it from various other sources while I bring in my input and additions at my pace.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Start-Up (2020)

I closed a cycle with this show. I first finished it in around 3 days, but I missed parts of it and didn't hear it in its original language. So, I was looking forward to rewatching it. This time in a more paced manner, one episode each Sunday. Last Sunday was the last one. This Sunday, I'll honor it to let it go...

What first drew me to it, besides looking for something other than the usual while browsing Netflix to occupy myself with, was the topic of entrepreneuring. But I was utterly hooked since the first episode, which showed more of the enthusiasm for it. And hey, it revolved around AI! 

Like other K-Dramas, it was sad. However, it didn't seem like it would be depressing forever. K-Dramas are a whole genre by themselves at this point. You can usually expect them to be humbling and endearing, taking you through the ups and downs and many of the sides of the characters involved as the story unfolds. They may have you crying and laughing while marveling at the beauty of different scenarios. As well as rooting for and shipping characters.

Enjoying drama may seem like a form of masochism. But there is more than meets the eye. It can be a catalyst to accessing, processing, and releasing emotions. And if there aren't many pent up to begin with, they can be an exercise in empathy. Oftentimes, people tend to minimize and dismiss or suppress emotions, both in themselves and in others, and it may take being "dramatic" to finally give them the attention that they deserve.

On Start-Up, plenty happpened. A tale about following your dreams and daring to dream big regardless of your current circumstances. No matter how insane it seems!

  SPOILER ALERT!   Keep reading at your own risk. There are spoilers ahead... 

Finding your own Style

Copying others is easy. Finding your own style? Not so much.

Normally, there are three primary ways in which you can go about your style: By what is or would be welcomed and applauded, by what suits and flatters your features, and by what you personally appreciate. Sometimes, these three overlap. And if that's the case, consider yourself fortunate. But much of the time, we lean toward one or two at most, sacrificing what is left. And this doesn't refer solely to fashion, but to anything you do that can be called artistic or an art.

Nevertheless, they all take some amount of experimentation, of seeing what fits and what doesn't, what can be adopted and what must be discarded, what you are ultimately satisfied with.

But how to get there? For what would be welcomed and applauded, you must tune into the tastes and preferences of others (which are subjective). For what would suit and flatter your features, you must tune into principles of strategy and composition (through objective considerations). For what you would personally appreciate, you must tune into your own tastes and preferences (which, again, is subjective).

Do not be afraid to get it wrong, though. Much trial and error is bound to happen. And the process can be long and arduous before finally settling into a particular style. Some people stumble upon it quicker or have it easier due to having fewer options to weigh. And some don't exactly find it but choose one that's close enough and make it their own. While some remain versatile and switch between one and more styles.

None of these is truly reprehensible. But if you're set on finding exactly what is meant for you and no less, it can be quite the inner and outer journey.  You will be thoroughly learning about others, about capabilities and potential, and about yourself.

Furthermore, experimenting with different styles can in itself be a rewarding process and even take a lifetime if you let it. Maybe you're not as concerned with finding your own style as you are with trying as many as you possibly can. If that's the case, you are an experimental artist. And yet, something of you may persist throughout all of the styles you go through, as your peculiar mark.

As an experimental artist, reaching and maintaining an audience can be trickier but not impossible. If you can leverage the innate need for what is new and different as opposed to what is familiar and take others along with you as you change, you will still please a crowd.

In any case, even if you do have a set style, it may not be 100% fixed and instead morph and evolve to some extent as time goes by. So that it won't stagnate and instead remain fresh. Responding to and incorporating elements of various periods. Or simply gradually improving upon itself. 

Points on Vulnerability

 #1  Vulnerability is often encouraged, as avoiding it completely can keep us from much that is worthwhile, but it is not something to always freely show everyone. Beware of those seeking to exploit you rather than care for you and protect you.

 #2  Vulnerability can be mistaken with openness, as though both are the same, but they are not. You can be open without being vulnerable. This happens when when what you hold inside cannot be used against you or doing so yields no harm to you. Usually, when you've accepted yourself wholly and can effectively defend and justify yourself.

 #3  To be vulnerable, you must be willing to accept the risk of being harmed for the chance of being healed and/or healing others. Choosing to be vulnerable can take much bravery or much desire to be hurt. Or simply impulsivity without thought for the consequences.

 #4  Being vulnerable with others can build trust and foster connection, depending on how it goes and the quality of those involved. When it reveals real parts of you that are normally hidden, access to those is a privilege.

 #5  Baring your mind, pouring your heart, and sharing your soul may make you feel exposed and uncomfortable, as it uncovers vulnerabilities, but it is an important exercise for personal discovery and growth that can be safely done privately or in the presence of a trustworthy one or few. Whether it will be taken to a wider public or not, regardless of dangers, is up to you.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Teamwork Rules & Guidelines

Being in a team and doing team work can get confusing and complicated. It can turn into utter chaos. Things don't get done or may even get ruined. And what could and would have been comradery, turns into rivalry or worse. This will largely depend on the maturity and disposition of the members, but having a set of rules and guidelines to adhere to or consider may help those willing to put in the effort.

Be helpful or stay out of the way.
Acting as though you are involved and participating isn't necessarily contributing. If members are working on something, alone or with others, don't come in just to cost them extra time and energy (maybe even resources). If you don't know how to contribute but wish to, ask for instructions and follow them. Alternatively, give space if your offer is refused.

If a task at hand is delicate and/or risky, proceed with caution or hang back.
Not everything that looks easy is. Not everything others can do you can do as well. And there is no shame in that. Leave these things to those qualified to handle them. Assist under their direction if they find that beneficial or step back if they don’t.

Get to the point and speak clearly when merited.
Doing so goes a long way. Conversations, discussions, debates, or even riddles may be welcome and appreciated, but you must pay attention to when that is or isn’t the case. When people are busy, tired, rushing, or, for whatever reason, not that into you and what you have to say, do them the favor of being short and direct with your message. Let expanding on it be optional or neatly summarize and highlight key points for them.

Reflect further before becoming resentful and hostile over what looks unfair to you.
People tend to reduce and twist the meaning of fairness. To be truly fair, innumerable factors must be taken into account. Just because there are unequal treatments and expectations among the members at a given point, it doesn't make it unfair. Some people are at a disadvantage and are therefore provided with accommodations, some already did their share and can take it easy, some have impediments to be as present and active as others but do their job anyway so it is okay, some are still clueless (but learning and applying) so they are allowed more mistakes, some have more taxing roles than others thus are kept from inconveniences, etc. Running the opposite, some have repeatedly performed poorly for no good reason and have fallen from grace or similar.

Have your trust issues in check.
If the whole team or particular team members have consistently shown you that they are trustworthy (by being competent, responsible, discrete, and more) and you still doubt them, you are the problem. They are under no obligation to continue proving to you that they can be reliable. Incessantly doubting them and submitting them to scrutiny and examination might bring out sides of them, out of exasperation, that would have never come out otherwise - to then confirm your bias thanks to your self-fulfilling prophecy.

Leave shallow comparisons and competitions out.
Even if that’s how you are and how you roll, it is not conducive to good group cohesion. Especially if various members do not care for vanity or are even repulsed by it. If this sounds like too much of a sacrifice to you, being a team player might not be for you. Or at least not as a member of a diverse team of people who aim to build each other up rather than tear each other down.

Avoid excessive or inappropriate flirting (and lustful behavior).
It may seem innocent and harmless to flirt with others, but it rarely is. It can be majorly distracting and delaying. It might also be disrespectful to the other person and/or their partner. Even in cases where it is indulged, the work setting is not the place - it can make one, the two, or others uncomfortable when it goes on for long or beyond tame public displays of affection. Take that elsewhere. If you are a naturally flirty person that simply and normally operates like that, make that fact obvious so that it is understood in that tone alone.

When you have gravely upset one or more members of the team, time out yourself.
If you were in the wrong, recognize your faults and shortcomings, offer a genuine apology, make suitable amends, and let it run its course. Do not force yourself onto them. Chances are they will be irritated by pretty much anything you do, no matter how benign, until they have fully recovered and come to terms with what occurred. Even if you fear losing connection, it is best to put some distance to not make it any worse. Make it evident, if it is the case, without pressure, that you are not ending things and are only giving room.

Work is a duty, socializing is not.
It may be ideal for you to have a friendly and inviting environment where everybody gets along and is happy to spend time with each other outside of work and working together. However, some people prefer to keep socialization to a minimum for personal reasons while committed to being a good team member in other aspects. Do not demand more of them than that. It may be an act of sself-preservationor of optimization. Not everybody is boundlessly social (and nobody is required to be fond of you).

Pass leadership to the rightful leader.
Being in a leadership position can be enviable, for it is interpreted as a status symbol and the privileges of it may seem enormous. But strip the perks and compensations for it and what you have is more work - even if that work isn’t immediately evident. The leader is someone capable of moving things forward in a constructive direction, carrying the weight of making fruitful decisions. This can depend on what the challenge is rather than on a single set of fixed qualities. So who is a leader in one area may not be a leader in another. Be humble and flexible enough to let leadership switch around as necessary.

Be considerate and respond to requests.
It is not about being blindly obedient nor about bending to others’ wishes whenever and however. It is about being cooperative as a teammate. Not many enjoy giving ultimatums, raising their voice, making threats, and kicking people out. If the request is reasonable and justified, don’t let it get to that point by being self-centered. If you cannot or will not tend to a request, be transparent about it in a timely fashion so that it can move to another person.

Give credit where credit is due unless sources prefer to be anonymous or consent to not receiving credit.
Not only is it unprofessional to take credit for others’ work, it is also embarrassing. It denotes an inability to own up to and accept what you brought to the table, no more and no less, and the desperate attempt to make yourself look bigger than you really are. Furthermore, most people can tell when something is a collaboration or a derivative, so you’re making yourself look bad by failing to share credit or even trying to cover it up. If the work you’re being praised for or benefit from is heavily reliant on others’ efforts, at one point or another, you must arrange with them whether or not they should be brought up, how, and when.

If these rules and guidelines apply to the type of team you’re in, keep them in mind or at hand to revisit them and abide by them.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Who are You, Really?

This can be a complicated question to ask yourself. And have a complicated answer. Yet, it can also be made simple.

As real humans, we are multidimensional and multifaceted. We are our own universe. Full of intricacies that may or may not smoothly fit together. We hold innumerable conjunctions and contradictions. And it is as though much of life is spent figuring out what we’re all about. Plus, it may be difficult to choose who to be and who to become.

You can define yourself based on external factors, on internal factors, or both. Personally, I would recommend taking both into account in order to gain more complete self awareness. At least some of the time. But while these factors pinpoint your characteristics, which, combined, make the totality of you, what makes you YOU?

You may be familiar with the notion of Nature & Nurture (or Nature vs. Nurture). It basically explains how we come to be. And in that same vein, who we are. However, I’d also add Choice. And while it can be argued that “choice” is merely an illusion and we are all no more than the product of our circumstances, I’d still consider it important to highlight. Because there’s still a difference between surrendering to let life form you entirely and exerting some amount of will for things to be more one way or the other.

Nature is how you’re born. You have no control over this. It is in your ancestry, your genetics, and the gestation process. Everything before the moment you are officially born, which might also include prior soul contracts and other divine events for all we know. But ultimately, it is what you come with. Your starting point. Who you are by default.

Nurture is what you’re then exposed to and consume. Sustenance, education, challenges, and more that promote or deter your development. But also conditioning that, through reward and punishment, mold or even contort you into a shape. Nurture refers to everything that goes on from the moment you step out and into the world. Your parents and your peers, as well as your environment, play significant roles in making you who you are.

As for Choice, this happens when you become conscious and determined enough to follow a path. You pay attention to what you personally like and don’t like. What is and isn’t worthwhile to you. Possibly to what seems or doesn’t seem fair, too. And you begin to take steps and make turns in the direction that will lead you to where you aspire to be, to whom you wish to become. Quite incredibly, this may even take place subconsciously - as if you programmed yourself and forgot about the lines of code. And you might find yourself motivated or demotivated by certain things depending on how closer or farther they will take you from where you decided to be. Your body signaling you when your mind has forgotten. Working against or in favor of where you're taking it.

Therefore, to answer the question of who are you, really, you can take a holistic look at those three aspects of your life and zoom in for the details. How much of a fight between them has it been and what is winning? It will tell you about yourself.

Points on Authenticity

 #1  Some people are more inclined to authenticity than others. More dependent on it, even. While being adaptable and a “social chameleon” may work well for some, to the degree where it’s as though that’s who they are and they are not forcing or missing anything, it can be unbearable to others who experience more of a need to express themselves whether it is or it is not in accordance with their surroundings. They may try to fit in and pass as what is expected, but this usually doesn’t last long for it puts a significant strain on them.

 #2  Authenticity does not guarantee popularity. In fact, it may be quite polarizing (making you strongly liked and strongly disliked). What authenticity guarantees is merely the chance to resonate and connect with others on a real and raw level. Who you are as your authentic self may attract or repel others, as your true traits, values, and principles become evident to either welcome or reject. Yet, this doesn’t mean that they must all be static and forever set in stone. If you’re still healing and growing, they will change. Which may cause you to lose and/or gain people. 

 #3  Being authentic can be difficult when you are concerned about how acceptable your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are. Whether they are justified or even have a right to exist. If you deviate from the norm or were conditioned to believe that it is only okay to live within a very constrained parameter, you would naturally be reluctant to act outside of that if you fear the consequences or are not equipped to handle them, whatever they may be.

 #4  Not every time and place merits authenticity. It is important to be yourself, honest and sincere, but sometimes something bigger than that is at stake. Maybe you are in a complex situation that can pose a serious threat to your wellbeing, the wellbeing of others, or of something else that also matters greatly. Sometimes you must leave or change the situation before you can be more open.

 #5  When you’re authentic, you allow yourself to grow. Inauthenticity blocks the flow inside and outside of you that promotes genuine growth as a person. You may go through life refining your disguise and assuming that that’s equivalent to growth, but it is not. Who you are and who you were born to become remain trapped in arrested development.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Birthdays Celebration

All year round, celebrate Birthdays!

Your own, your friend's, your acquaintances'. 
Everyone in your good graces.
Sometimes a note will do.
But you might want to add an extra gesture.
After all, what would life have been like if a person hadn't been born?

Spring Season

In March, get ready to welcome the arrival of Spring!

Spring is the first season in the cycle. Considered the season of rebirth. 
It is when most plants and flowers come to life, revealing themselves as they are, 
showing how similar or diverse they are, yet holding qualities that make them all wonderful. 
Fostered and nourished by optimal conditions for them to thrive and flourish, 
they reach peak health.

During this season, we are reminded to be ourselves and celebrate new beginnings.

Why Do The Seasons Matter?

If you are artistic, chances are that you are sensitive. And if you are sensitive, chances are that the seasons can significantly influence your energy and your mood. And consequently, your thoughts and feelings. Even if you are so imaginative that you seem to be completely disconnected and independent from what is going on around you, you are at least a bit affected, in one way or another.

Art does not come out of nowhere. What we call artistic inspiration is often a mix of stimuli leading us to seek an outlet for it. And that stimuli might very well be the weather and temperature, along with what state nature within range is currently in. How it looks, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches us. As well as what it may represent to us.

Depending on where you live, you’ll experience the changing of the seasons to a lower or a higher degree. However, you can still amplify what they transmit by tuning into other places via media or appreciating artworks that have captured them in greater intensity and splendor. In my case, I don’t have the hottest summers nor the coldest winters, but I can still catch a few subtle differences between the seasons.

Maybe you have a favorite season or a season in which you are the most inspired to make art. But you can, regardless, harness and transmute to art what they all bring - so that you’re making art during and for all year round.