letters to lana del rey (47)

Dear Lana,

I’m sitting crisscrossed in my bed again, two empty bottles of sparkling water on the wooden table besides my bed, frantically grasping onto the last remnants of sanity I have before before I drift into radical indifference in sleep again.

I’m listening to melancholic piano music again from a random Spotify playlist I found on my way downstairs today. Is it that time of the year? With brisk candle wisps dissipating after extinguishment, nostrils flaring from the lingering pine nut smell, my bed feels so hard against my injured back, and I can’t find a comfortable position to lay down except possibly on my side with my legs tucked against my pillow.

I was thinking how there are people you wished that were in your life. Since we are largely shaped by the people we interact with, I was wondering how differently life would be if I interacted with some people more during certain points in my life. What goes into the process of selecting who you interact with anyways? It seems so arbitrary, yet so profound. It could be motivated by a mutual sense of loneliness. Those friendships are important, but they don’t seem to last too long. I don’t think they have shaped me too much. I wonder if I would consider them formative at the end of my life.

I encountered a writer the other day that wrote about how they felt friendships were a substitute to the feelings gained in romantic relationships without the volatility and high probability of fallout. A lot of my friends seem to have that sentiment these days. It’s so contemporary — a challenge to Victorian sexuality — stepping foot into the frontier of a new conception to understand our relationships in our lives. It’s one of those things that makes me consider myself old-fashioned. Believing friendships operate as a substitute to romantic relationships requires faith that friendships outlast relationships. I suppose that is true in some cases. Do people approach friendships as if they are going last forever?

I was thinking about how some people still interact with you in your psyche long after they have left your life. You can control your own internal world, including where you source your personality. The aesthetic of others in your life still remains when everything else has left.

Resting my feet against my folded up comforter, I act in defiance against rigid passages of life, lamenting about the forward march of time. Why must life continue to press forwards as I’m trying to maintain whatever little foothold I have over my surroundings? It is a bit eerie, understanding how powerful change can be but also how insignificant it may seem. I was thinking back to our concept of identity through time. Do I feel my current self as being more authentic to the person I want to be compared to my past self? Do I feel like I still have control over my life, or am I diverging further and further from the life that I wanted? A couple months back, I think I really wanted to apply to the Fulbright scholarship. I’m not even considering that anymore. Is this being authentic to myself? My values have changed, or maybe, my values have adapted to the world I have been presented. Knowing the world is more dreary that I originally hoped, my internal world cannot help but be affected by my external world.

I haven’t been reading much lately. Mostly, I don’t really enjoy reading anymore. Besides, I forget what I read anyways, retaining only emotional fragments in my mind, soon to be swept away by the same passage of time that claimed my knowledge of its contents. Forgetfulness is an inevitability. What is the future without the past? I keep on going back to to the Augustinian idea that we only have the present. The past and future are only constructs for us to make sense of the passage of time, so why is so much of my attention devoted to abstracts ideas of past and future when there is so much in the present to be experienced?

I wonder if authenticity and control are on the same spectrum? When you are being authentic with yourself, does that give you more control over your own life? Or is it just the illusion of control, convincing yourself in bad faith that you have more control over your life than you actually do by drawing a false equivalency between will and honesty?

letters to lana del rey (43)

Dear Lana,

I think there are two types of exes; you have your “thank u, next” exes and you have your “I Wish I Never Met You” exes (Ariana Grande and Oh Wonder, respectively). I think most of my exes are “thank u, next” exes. Not sure I could say the same for myself.

I was thinking back to what I did in the last presidential election. I spent it in a dorm of a friend I don’t talk to anymore. I think I was studying for a chemistry exam that was in a couple of days. It must’ve been November — that’s when the election is, right? At the time, it seemed like a lot of time passed between the end of high school and then. If I was being really honest, it seemed like that period in time never ended. From first semester of college to now, it doesn’t seem like much time has passed. If we can contextualize our lives in chapters, it seems like everything has been the same chapter since then.

I was scrolling through Instagram today, and I found myself bewildered by how little I cared about what I saw. Instagram’s algorithm allegedly sorts content you see based off of what some asshole data scientist thinks you want to see, but even within the first couple of posts, I found myself unattached to the content I was consuming. It struck me that I don’t really care what’s going on in the world outside of what I can see and feel and touch.

I was thinking back to my friend describing the action of “submarining” — where you interact with your friends when it is mutually convenient to do so but distance yourself at all other times. That’s a vibe. It’s a vibe I feel quite a it right now. I am a submarine, bloated metal whale, wandering in the sea, far away from others.

Siddhartha Gautama was onto something when he said that suffering is inevitable in life, but I wonder if he said anything about boredom. Life is so boring. Was it this boring in the past? Did people not experience boredom until the 20th century?