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Saturday, September 30, 2023

NSYNC's Music of My Heart

I thought I would be doing this next year, once I had everything in order and would at last go all into cherishing the art and the artists that have meant much to me and that I am to honor. But with NSYNC reuniting all of a sudden (and what a shocking and pleasant surprise that was!), I ended up listening to many of their old songs again and felt compelled to bring up this gem before the month ends.

This song came out a bit later, after my carefree days in which I could be their "#1 Fan" were over and I had to put my attention on more pressing matters, but I still loved it so.

I was fortunate to know a love like this during my difficult teenage years and I was so glad that it was so beautifully put into melodic words and interpreted by no other than NSYNC. I was still very young back then and my heart, to tell you the truth, wasn't all that developed yet. But I was shown this kind of love and it became a kind of love that I've given, too, and aspire to be able to continue to give.

Some may say that love songs corrode people's brains, but I don't believe that. Not necessarily, anyway. If anything, I believe that if more people were open to be moved by songs like this one, we'd have a kinder world. And to other type of songs, too, that teach standards and boundaries. But I'm being idealistic.

In any case, though my obsessive phase is now pretty embarrassing (hey, I had my reasons for liking them so much!), I'm not embarrassed to say that I love this boy band. And it makes me so ridiculously happy to see them together again! So much that I can't even fully process it. It feels like a dream. 

I hope they'll keep delighting us with more because these guys are amazing in countless ways. Some of the happiest years of my life were years I indulged in their work. And it's bewildering because I'd been desperately trying to return to that magical epoch!

Also, nobody asked, but in case anyone's wondering: Lance Bass was my NSYNC crush. Until I realized I didn't even know what a crush really was. 😅 Then Chris Kirkpatrick was my favorite because of his goofy humor! 😁 But of course, I adored all of them and would fight anyone to defend them. 

Today, I'm rooting and cheering for all of NSYNC! 💙

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Lyrics Carried Within (1of4)

Before the year ends and the phase of 'Building the Foundations' is over, I wanted to bring a few songs that are particularly significant to me and to this place. Their lyrics speak messages that I believe are key to grasping the meaning of all of this.

I didn't want to just post them, though. I wanted to get into the role and interpret them, too. As I relate to them. This is a task that isn't currently easy for me but will become so as I keep attempting it. As my first attempt, this time, I only managed to install and try the microphone, set the stage, dress up, figure out lighting and framing, and decide on how I would be formatting the captures. Ideally, next time, having less to do, I'll have a performance to show for it as well. Albeit a short snippet of it.

Killing Me Softly (With His Song), performed by the Fugees (Lauryn Hill), was my first choice for this series of four. I've loved this song since I first listened to it when it came out, decades ago, and it hasn't ceased to be special to me. Yet, it wasn't until a few years ago that I truly experienced what it expressed in excruciating pain. What's interesting to me, though, is how it speaks of unaddressed shame and other unresolved issues and how uncomfortable it can be when they're stirred and reflected back - especially in public. And you may hate the messenger for it but, at the end of the day, it is you who has inner work left to do. Because this is what artists do; they bare out their minds, hearts, souls, and sometimes even their bodies before most are ready to. And when you see yourself in it, you might not always like what you see. They've accepted themselves, but have you?

Personally, I'm thankful to those who are gentle in the process but it is also my responsibility to learn to handle even the most crude and harsh truths that they may reveal. And as long as it isn't done maliciously, I'll take it with gratitude!

Monday, September 25, 2023

Street Art

Street Art. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Before too long, I wanted to have this here. I don't promote vandalism (though my stance on it is in the gray, the "it depends" area), but I do love graffiti that's done artfully! This is one of my favorite things about the city and I wanted to preserve it before it gets ruined, painted over, or completely taken down. Just really love those bold colors and shapes.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

No More Putting Off a Dream

I'm doing it at last! Singing! After decades of dreaming of it, but always putting it off for one reason or another, it is still something I wish to do. I don't have the same aspirations as I once did, but I sure would love to resume singing and take it as seriously as I'm meant to.

For context, I was in the school choir since I was 6 years old and all the way until I graduated high school. For a long time, I sang almost every day - if not EVERY day. I had other things going on, of course, but this took up a huge portion of my life. And I'm so grateful it did!

I hadn't even realized how important it was for me to sing until I suddenly stopped doing it and was more of an emotional mess than I would have been otherwise. So I picked it up again, though didn't commit to regular practice. Just singing every now and then when I felt like it. Relieving enough. But I long for more.

All through that, for many years, I looked forward to the day when I could bring myself to get a microphone specifically for it and truly devote myself to it. I did get this one last year, but it's this year that my devotion can be unleashed.

There are many songs that are special to me and that I've been singing for the love of them, I'd be happy to cover those. And if I can fit it in, also take on more songs to challenge myself and/or to hear how I can make them sound (POV, gender, and genre swapping them can be fun!). Eventually, though not in the near future, I may sing my own songs.

For what remains of this year, for the months of September, October, November, and December, I picked out 4 songs. They are mainly for testing and practicing, before I attempt anything grander, but also carry messages that belong here. So we'll see how I include them...

It's an understatement to say that I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by artistic folks who are on the same or similar journeys, too. But I am. Y'all are inspiring beyond words! ✨

Reality Vs. Imagination

Just as logic can be battling emotion, so can reality be battling imagination. Or alternatively, joining forces. Again, there is no one ideal measure and blend of them - that will depend on the art. And you may be naturally or circumstantially inclined toward one end more than the other.

The rules that guide realism are plenty. The rules that guide imagination are not that many.

When you're aiming to bring realism into your art, you must be observant, perceptive, and attentive to detail. Beyond that, you must be meticulous, thorough, and especially sensitive to what is off. When you're aiming to bring imaginativeness into your art, you must push boundaries, roam, distort, convert, complement, adorn, and go on your whims. 

Will your imaginative work of art have any coherence to it? If you want it to. Many can appreciate that though the absence of it can also be valued. That "on-drugs" kind of freedom that unleashes possibilities. Will your realistic work of art have any fanciful touches? If you want it to! That would be delightful though the absence of them can also be impressive. That "where's the lie?" effect when it is so close to reality that it might as well be.

Nevertheless, being somewhere in between can make for great, astounding art, too. The type that could bring reality to imagination and imagination to reality - literally.

Points on Multiple Intelligences (Part 2)

 #1  Kinesthetic Intelligence - Physical attunement and coordination. Dexterity with hands-on activities. Athletic potential.  

 #2  Naturalistic Intelligence - Connection with plants and nature in general. Perceptiveness and understanding of balance and symbiosis. Patience and sensitivity to realistically and properly help organisms grow and thrive. 

 #3  Intrapersonal Intelligence - Deep relationship with the self. Intense interest in self-discovery and self-development. Honoring one's true gifts, preferences, aspirations, and purpose.

 #4  Interpersonal Intelligence - Graceful relationships with others. Responding and meeting others' needs and wants without allowing resentment to form and accumulate. Noticing good and ill-will between people. Mediation, diplomacy, and placating.

 #5  Existential Intelligence - Philosophical pondering and reflection. Seeing beyond and above. Asking difficult questions about life, people, the world, and the universe, and searching for their possible answers. Grasping the meaning of destiny, fate, and more.

Logic Vs. Emotion

You can create art from and through both or either logic and emotion.
It may seem as though they are at odds, forever destined to be apart or in conflict, but that doesn't have to be the case.

However, when it comes to creating art, there is no one ideal. It can be done mostly logically, mostly emotionally, somewhere in between where they are at war, somewhere in between where they're in harmony, or somewhere in between where they're in a love/hate relationship. Finding just the right measure and blend for the kind of art you're making is therefore your task.

Often, great art is associated with emotions. And while it is true that some of the most beautiful art is heavily based on emotions, we cannot deny that some of the most brilliant art is heavily reliant on logic - which may or may not be explicit.

It serves to recognize where your talent lies rather than to lean more one way or the other just because you believe it'll make your art more worthy (given what your peers appreciate or what you heard or read one time). You can still develop in both areas - and that's advisable. However, it would be a waste not to take advantage of what you're innately advantageous at.

Yet, sometimes it is not about talent or what you're most by default. There may be times in your life when you're more capable of using logic than of experiencing emotions and vice-versa. You may call these logical times a dry period. And you may call these emotional times a drowning period. Both may give way to something worth making. And if not, you can take it as a cue for a break.

Points on Multiple Intelligences (Part 1)

 #1  The brain is quite a complex organ and so is intelligence. Intelligence is traditionally associated with the ability to think logically and technically, but there's more to it. You could also count emotional intelligence, which deals with feelings instead of thoughts, and have two general types of intelligence. However, the theory of multiple intelligences categorizes intelligence into 9 types. 

 #2  Mathematical Intelligence - Puts 2 and 2 together. Precise and accurate in its calculations. Takes into account relevant factors for the equation. Able to grasp the formula behind and under matters as well as to apply formulas to matters.

 #3  Linguistic Intelligence - Ease expressing and comprehending through words and sentences, whether spoken or written. Drawn to languages, including coding. Deciphering messages or delivering them through letters and what they can convey.

 #4  Spatial Intelligence - Grasping the dimensions of space as well as the sizes and forms of objects within it. Adeptness at visualizing and moving them for different purposes (functional, aesthetic, strategic, etc.), making the most of it.

 #5  Musical Intelligence - Affinity to sounds and melody. Sensitivity to noise and harmony. Responsiveness to waves and frequencies. Delicacy and/or proficiency at either or both composing and performing musical pieces.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Being New in a Group

It can be overwhelming to be new in a class, a job, a friend group, or such. So many new and different people around and you don't know who's who and what to expect from each. Just remember that you don't have to figure it all out at once and things will ease down and give you room to process at your pace. And eventually, you find who are those you click with best and can establish a good rapport with. Try not to feel left out while there's still a lot of commotion - or setting up and/or settling down is still happening!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Libra's Basics

Transit Date: Late September.
Starting Autumn.

Position: 7th.
Element: Air.
Quality: Cardinal.

Symbolized by: The Scales.
Typically Associated with: Moderation, coordination, composition. 

At Best: Fair and cooperative.
At Worst: Shallow and fence-sitting.

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

@ Newcomers

If you’re a kindred spirit, someone who cares about the mission of “Unbridling & Sustaining Artistic Abilities”, not only for yourself but for other artists and aspiring artists as well, welcome! This place is still in its earliest stages. It will continue to be filled, improved, and enhanced over time. More will become clearer as it goes on, but you can drop questions and I’ll get to them right away or eventually (unless I happen to miss them). Ask again if that seems to be the case. I may tell you to wait for when I will answer it or if it will not be answered at all (when too personal or private). Feel free to make the contributions you'd like to make and to come and go as it suits you. Whether you check in every day or not, and whether you check everywhere I post or not, it is fine. You be well!

@ Cultural Progress Commenters & Activists

Y’all. There’s a huge mess and there will always be problems of some kind or another. Even utopias would become dystopias because of human nature. But let’s at least try to keep things from becoming completely horrid and abominable. Do what you can, where you can, when you can, how you can, and take care of yourself in the process. I’ll be too.

@ Personal Discovery & Growth Promoters

You’ve saved me from being swallowed up. You raised my standards for character so that I can be authentic, purposeful, and capable of confronting all that I must. Because of you, not only am I a better person, but also find myself with better people. I always knew that you were of extreme importance, that you weren’t something I should skip to arrive elsewhere sooner, but I continue to be astonished by just how important you really have been. I stand with you against deceit and rot.

@ Artists & Art Enthusiasts

Art is my life. It is water and oxygen to me. And it is also so much more. “The Earth without Art is just Eh.” I fully relate to that. And I am so thankful for all the artworks that have nourished, restored, inspired, and illuminated me. Those that have met me at my best and those that have met me at my worst, and anywhere in between. I’m doing all of this for my undying love of art. If there is anything I can promise, it is that I will devote myself to it how I’m meant to. Honoring it, protecting it, defending it, and fighting for it. As well as making it.

@ Family & Friends

You know who you are. By ‘family’, I’m referring to those I consider as such. By ‘friends’, I’m referring to those who I can count on - not necessarily for everything, but for what matters. You’re welcome to reach out to me if you ever need me or simply want to share with me. I may seem distant, but believe it that, no matter where I am or how long it’s been, I’ll remember you and will be glad to assist you however I can. I may not be able to do much or do it fast, but I’ll do what I can or let you know if I can’t do anything - yet ask you to come to me again next time in case I then will be able to do more. I genuinely wish the best for you, whatever that is, as you’ve helped me be closer and closer to what is best for me. TYSM. ♥

Sunday, September 17, 2023

AU: Dark Academia Librarian & Bookworm

Getting to be a Dark Academia Librarian & Bookworm was more of an ordeal than I would have ever imagined it'd be, but at least it happened regardless. The long-time wish of being transported there has been fulfilled!

In an alternate universe, there is a school. Art, philosophy, math, and more subjects are taught there. However, it is haunted. Both benign and malign spirits (along with demons that may or may not be on your side) roam around. You may get used to it and manage to exist and coexist with these entities' presence. But you may as well be divinely protected and able to go through the motions unscathed and unbothered. And if harm does get to you, chances are you can soon recover.

Certain items could be of significant help, holding wondrous power. You must learn to recognize them, collect them, and keep them with you. And when necessary, activate them.

 EDIT (10/6/2023):   Changed to include different and more pictures and information.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Favorite Book Store & Coffee Shop


Getting myself in the mood and ready for September, I was able to visit a couple of my favorite places nearby, in the city, and share a bit of my thoughts as I showed them around. 

I'd like to do something like this every month - it does help my spirit. Plus, I get to have footage that may later be priceless to me. But we'll see what happens!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Bookmarks & Feeds

Take the time to bookmark and/or curate feeds with (ideally, credible) sources that speak on the subjects you are studying. You don't have to check every day and keep up with it all, but it helps to have them accessible in some manner and not rely solely on memory for them.

Over time, you might favor some over others, depending on what kind of information you're seeking and how you prefer it delivered, and likely tune into those the most, but still have the rest available in case there's more that has to be covered.

Furthermore, if you're short on time and energy, you can pick 1-3 that tend to summarize and recap or highlight the most important bits and stick to those until the next time you're able to process more.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Friends are my top blessing

I wish I could show off all my closest and dearest friends to everyone because they are, to me, among the greatest people in the world - and that's regardless of where they stand financially or popularity-wise. But a lot of them are low-key or extremely exhausted from years of social media hell. In any case, I'll welcome them with wide-open arms if they ever wish to show up. No matter when.

Where's your table to sit at?

I'm not saying this to seem nice. I 100% want the people I care about to do and have what's best for them.

So if you find that you work best in a certain kind of environment with certain kinds of people. Even if they're stressful or overwhelming or, alternatively, understimulating, or maybe downright toxic to somebody else, then stay there. Maybe the stuff that sabotages another pushes you instead. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

But if you've noticed that being around certain places or individuals is taking a toll on you, leaving you uninspired or worse, I'm 100% with you in that you're allowed to go elsewhere and not look back. They're not going to compensate you for this sacrifice. Or are they? 😐

(And it is especially absurd when they already have tons of other people to give them attention and still expect more. You don't owe those sorts of people your attention.)

Study the subjects you like, listen to the music you love, and immerse in the stories that have meaning to you. Believe me, it will make you a better person than staying where you don't belong.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Setting Priorities

Yes, setting priorities is important. You may have heard it countless times. But are you taking it seriously enough? Do you know what it entails?

Setting priorities can keep you on track, focused, efficient, and productive. Managing yourself, your energy, your time, and your resources. Furthermore, it can make you fair and just. Tending to what is the most deserving or of most importance first. 

And it doesn't end there. It can sink into your subconscious and serve as a guide that signals you, in one form or another, whenever you're straying or missing the mark. You may suddenly be inexplicably reluctant or, alternatively, eager about something. For example. And if you happen to be the kind of person who is mostly guided by your gut, your intuition, or even your feelings, it can be to the degree where symptoms would come up that keep you from doing what runs counter to what you have "programmed" yourself to prioritize. You would have to thoroughly think about it to see where it is all coming from.

In a way, this is why there is some truth to what has come to be known as "attracting" and "manifesting" upon setting intentions. If you set priorities, which could be considered intentions, and they become firmly and deeply ingrained, they could set you on the path toward them and, consequently, your "reality" will be responding and shifting in accordance with that. You could see it in a mystical sense. But it is mainly physics.

So, indeed, setting priorities IS important. Much more than one would initially notice or realize. It will dictate how you behave, whether you are aware of it or not. Therefore, you MUST take the time to figure out and lay out what your priorities are.

It is possible to have them jumbled up and out of line with what is best for you. In fact, that is extremely likely. You should be honestly questioning them and doing your best to rearrange them in a manner that serves your highest self, your life purpose, or just your best interests within a situation. You will get them wrong, over and over again, so you should continue to revise them as you go on. Until they finally fall into place as they are meant to and can be relied upon for a period or for what remains.

You can start simple and small. What should your priorities be for the day? For the week? For a month or more? What should they be for your breaks? And what about for whom you relate with, why, and how? And for your aspirations? So on for other aspects.

Your priorities also speak heavily on your character. What you choose and decide to prioritize, and in what order, ultimately forms the totality of who you are.

Points on Research

 #1  Research can go on forever (or, well, for longer than necessary) if you get caught up in circles and/or continue to pay mind to lies (in the form of excuses, arguments, etc.) out of an attempt to collect as much data or evidence as possible. So, recognizing how much credibility a source actually has can serve you to decide how invested you will be in it.

 #2  The divide between words and actions, often referred to as hypocrisy, can indeed be very telling. Yet, things aren't always so simple. Regardless, pay attention. Is there any practice or is it only theoretical play? Are you or people saying things out of convenience or because they are truly meant? 

 #3  There's a difference between being in an echo chamber and being in alignment with truth seekers. Both can put you at ease and be of comfort. However, in the latter, it is not because you hear what you want to hear even if it is a lie, but because you hear what you want to hear for it is the truth (or the closest to it available) regardless of what that is.

 #4  You always win if you debate to get to the truth rather than to be right. Because if you're right, you shared a truth. And if you're wrong, you discover a truth.

 #5  Certain topics of discussion do merit some level of tact and consideration, if not to be left untouched altogether (temporarily or indefinitely). It takes maturity to discern what they are, where, and when.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Knowledge, Intelligence, and Wisdom

Are you knowledgeable, intelligent, or wise? Or a combination of those? These qualities are at times taken as synonyms, or as practically being the same, but it serves to properly distinguish them.
They are intertwined and feed each other, but they don't necessarily go by the same amount and are in perfect balance. You can be knowledgeable, but not too intelligent. For example. Or wise but, crazy as it sounds, not as knowledgeable. And you can be intelligent without being very knowledgeable or wise. And so on.

Knowledge is data collected. Intelligence is the ability to sort and process data coherently. Wisdom is the result of arranging and connecting data for valuable insight and hindsight. Put simply.

Having all three at high levels would be a great advantage, but we naturally tend to one more than another. And whether we realize it or not, we are constantly exercising it over the rest. Yet, if one or more go too neglected, it is going to detrimentally impact whichever you're exercising no matter how much you exercise it. And you'll suffer for it.

That is how you get people who are addicted to gossip and/or trivialities (knowledge but little to no intelligence and wisdom), people who are devil advocates (intelligence but little to no knowledge and wisdom), and madmen speaking gibberish (wisdom but little to no knowledge and intelligence). There are many factors to consider, but you get the idea.

If you're making art that sends a message, you should have some sort of substance by employing these qualities. Because, else, what are you making really?

Points on Reasoning

 #1  Everyone is prone to having fallacies in their reasoning. However, some aren't even aware that they exist, some only vaguely know of them, some can somewhat sense and recognize them, some actively check for them to avoid them, and some are clear on them and steer clear of them but might still commit them every now and then. And anything across that spectrum. 

 #2  Ridding yourself of fallacies is essential if you're seeking to learn and tell the truth. It is not supposed to make you agreeable, quite the contrary (depending on who you surround yourself with). So only a few would care to invest in it.

 #3  Biases, assumptions, misconceptions, and distortions can usually happen subconsciously before conscious reasoning takes place, becoming, then, faulty premises that lead to fallacies. Therefore, reflecting deeply is fundamental to access truths.

 #4  Many are able to live with incoherent and incongruent views and beliefs without being bothered by the cognitive dissonance that they create. Quite often, though, it does make them especially defensive and quick to take offense. Not because there has been a real violation, but because their fragile system is threatened to collapse.

 #5  As a gift that can feel like a curse but can be a blessing in disguise, some are utterly unable to entertain or adopt lies. It makes them restless. It can be maddening and sickening to them. They'd be drawn to revise or, if suppressing enough, have things come up in their dreams or as involuntary voices in their head. These are the people who do not thrive within systems built on illusions and delusions.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Fault in Our Stars & Paper Towns

Gotta say, besides music, movies have also played a significant role in my life.

I briefly mentioned before that I'd seen these movies, based on John Green's books, and that I'm thankful for them. Not that I could fully relate to everything in them, but they did touch on serious matters I was going through at the time, in some form or another. And it was also comforting that that degree of sensibility to write characters and stories existed in the world.

I didn't have a terminal illness, exactly. But I was suffering from severe depression. Not the "I'm sad today so I'll be lazy and distracted" kind. The "it's been days and I can't even get up from the bed, barely lifting an arm feels like a weight I'm unable to carry". And I didn't know if I would ever recover or what. So I couldn't see a future ahead of me, let alone make any promises to anyone. I don't talk about it much nowadays because that's in the past and it doesn't serve me to dwell on it. So, if anything, I'll just use the experience to tell or figure what others in the same or similar positions could be going through and try to help if I can (or at least not make it worse). It is also part of why it is so infuriating to me when I come across people who judge others based on how far ahead or behind they are in life. Because I'm like, "Dude, it is a MIRACLE I'm even alive today. So, STFU. Besides, we're not playing the same game." Or the equivalent if they're doing it to somebody else.

As for disappearing to a small town. Well, yeah. I did do that too. And it was indeed what allowed me to do a ton of soul-searching and self-discovery.

I haven't read the books, but I was fortunate that I got to watch these movies.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Back to School Celebration

In September, we celebrate coming Back to School!

You may hate it, you may love it, or you may have mixed feelings about it.
Maybe your time in school was the worst or maybe it was the best.
But regardless, you may be passionate about learning!
And sometimes, some structuring and grading can get you further.
Also, who isn't overjoyed by new school supplies? 

Why Do Celebrations Matter?

Have you ever lived for a considerably prolonged period without celebrating anything? Celebrations may seem silly - pointless even - but they play a role. Perhaps they have little to no effect on you, but perhaps they do more than you realize.

Celebrations can give you something to look forward to and to endure for. They can also be gratifying enough to reset you so that you can keep going until another one comes. Furthermore, because there is a wide variety of them, they get to stimulate you in different ways so that you aren't stuck in monotony. And as if that isn't enough already, the act of celebrating itself can shift you into a mindset of cherishing and honoring where and when you are. And for those suffering from a major disconnect, they can be anchoring in a positive way.

The link between artists and celebrations isn't new. Both in craving them and in constituting them. Celebrations are yet another opening for art in many forms to imbue and elevate life.

There may be celebrations that you detest and celebrations that you adore. And that's fine. You're probably free to choose which to participate in and which to avoid, too. You're also probably able to celebrate some in your own style. Not everyone is born to party so it is okay if you can't match others' enthusiasm. Just, please, don't deprive yourself of all of them and let your existence become bleak as a result...

Autumn Season

In September, get ready to welcome the arrival of Autumn!

Autumn is the third season in the cycle. Considered a season of reflection. 
It is when the chilly and foggy atmosphere takes over and death comes over, 
making room for you to reflect deeply on matters of the spirit, 
where you may as well find comfort under a blanket with a warm drink in hand. 
It can get dark, but you can be cozy too.

During this season, we are faced with aspects we ignored or denied that haunt us.