The Execution of All Things

It was an hour past midnight, New Year’s Eve at a friend’s party. I was grilling a guy about his “startup” idea knowing that he about to move to Seattle, WA. I was jealous. Another app? Riveting. Another guy leaving Milwaukee? That’s great. I always end up asking the same question, “How did you know what you want to do?” A field research staple, collecting data points as though all these answers were going to help me answer that question myself.

In absolute NYE drunk phase, I remember staring at a moving mouth and the sound of his voice and chatter, once fading, were starting to get louder and louder. “What do you want to do? What are you passionate about?” He was staring straight at my blank face. Trying to force out an answer, I took a deep breath and exhaled, “I see all these horrible things in the world, and I realize it was just a guy who chose to do something about it. Well, I have ideas too, and I want to be able to do something with them!”

Simple as that. I finally answered that age-old question, 25 years later.

That’s the long story no one asked for. And that’s why I’m learning how about web development and how to code. It’s more than just the buzzword for me.

I started in healthcare, shuffling between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare facilities, churning out financial reports and dashboard analyses without a lick of intellectual ground and aesthete. I became absolutely immersed in the automaticity and acceptability of my performance. It was great.

But I remained distracted. Certain themes do persist in my habits outside of work, which is where all the play takes part. I always loved to read about the design of everyday things, but I always found it really hard to relate the topics with other people. 80/20 rule? That’s cool. To me, it was mind blowing. There are rules that every single thing in this world obeys and it made the world so beautiful. Similar to the fundamentals of my science background, there were so many elements begging to be broken down into pieces and putting it back together to see something new. (This is the part in my writing where I realize Science is Design!)

Moving to the presidential election, and well, all the shit that has been happening in the world. I was in inspired by the few who were able to be the voice of reason. To be able to be so consumed by the world around them and turn it into their work. What was it that was different about them? They were all designers. Visionaries. The movers and shakers. The ones that make the world a better place.

I simply wanted to take part in changing the world, at least, increase my understanding of how the world works and how or why certain people feel the certain way. The next step to take was learning what tools I needed. It was only necessary and inevitable that I learned how to code. Code is the medium of the digital age. No, the digital age is no longer the future, it’s the present. It’s going to be (and it has been) a big change on the tools I already use.

My journey towards web development, and design and everything that I am not, has only begun but I’ve never felt more motivated and optimistic. The resources and the community of web design may be unlimited and generous, but it’s going to take time, as I learn how to learn and unlearn. It’s been a rough start, it feels like I’m doing some black magic. It’s the web! It holds so much opportunity. A platform to communicate, and of course, to finally execute my ideas.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

cvr9780743235273_9780743235273_hrHabits:

  1. “In order to be creative you have to know how to be creative.” Ask yourself “what’s your blank canvas?”
  2. Create a habit-forming environment and subtract any distractions
  3. “Build up your tolerance for solitude.”
  4. “Work with the best.”
  5. “Build a bridge to the next day.”
  6. “Never have a favorite Weapon.”
  7. “Reading is your first line of defense against an empty head.”
  8. Always remember why you started
  9. Don’t stay in denial. Let yourself fail and learn from it.

Continue reading “The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp”

Keeping Things Simple

Keeping it simple requires a lot of active discipline and mindfulness. I’m starting to learn the power of maintaining my daily routine and good habits in order to stay grounded, doggedly avoid distractions and conserve my energy. 

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a native Portlander. He believed in the singularity of things, an idea akin to minimalism and only being able to experience one thing at a time. “You can have as many pairs of shoes you like, but you’re only going to wear one at a time.” The same goes to the clothes I wear, the bike I ride, books I read and conversations I have. We really only need one, or none. And we really don’t need a lot. However, we are so inclined to buy more stuff that we think we need. We think the excess will make us feel more secure, seeking fulfillment in material things in order to compensate for our deficiencies. 

I’m continually in the process of eliminating the clutter, from the things I own to the habits I have. My personal rehabilitation. We start learning the principles of simplicity and minimalism out of pure necessity in order to fight life’s materialistic entropy and pursue a more enriching life. It’s reassuring to hear words of Adrienne Rich and guiding Cheryl Strayed down the trails of the PCT, “The more you know the less you need.”

A New Computer

I got myself a new computer over the holiday weekend. I couldn’t handle being limited by my tools, hindering the rate of learning that I allotted myself. As well, I didn’t want to fill my work computer with a lot of unrelated programs that would cause a lot of suspicion towards my ongoing development.

So, what does this mean?

It’s the first time I got a computer without sacrificing any specs. Before this, I had a 11.4” monitor with 2GB of storage and an AMD processor. Naturally, I didn’t get anything done other than watch Michelle Obama videos online.

I gave myself lots of discipline. With my time, purpose and practice.

Learning will take a lot of small steps. I am still learning how to learn and deciding along the way which methods work for me. I’ve always been stuck in the beginnings of things, reading way too many Chapter Ones and introductions. Let’s hope I got the fundamentals down.

Getting a new computer means dedicating myself towards CREATING. And learning by Creating. My sister said that being able to create and be creative in my work is the only way to prove what I learned.

Curriculum Rules:

  • Eliminate the ‘noise’
  • At least 30 mins everyday
  • One language at a time
  • Follow my curriculum
  • Create and starting building. Stop reading.

The Purpose of a Public Space

Lately, my boyfriend and I have been going on a lot of walks in various pockets and neighborhoods in Milwaukee. More so, we were able to participate in a two-day even called “Doors Open” which allowed citizens to explore buildings that are often closed off from the public. One of the places we’ve visited and is the most popular site was the 41st floor of the US Bank Building. This is the highest building in Milwaukee and arguably offers the best 360 view of Milwaukee. On top of that, it was a clear summer day to enjoy the view of Lake Michigan and everything Milwaukee had to offer.

But after all these urban explorations, one thing that striked me from living in the most segregated city in America is the lack of public spaces in the community. Cities often invest in public spaces as a way to counter the worsening social and economic segregation. More so now, greater initiatives are placed on recognizing that Americans are living in increasingly segregated neighborhoods. A 2014 report from the city observatory shows that the economic segregation is on the rise: The number of high poverty neighborhoods in core urban areas has tripled, and their population doubled between 1970 and 2010. At the same time, Americans spend less time together in social settings, trust each other less and interact less frequently with people whose social and economic experiences differ from their own.

Rather than focusing on building new housing developments over historical cream city buildings, or replacing sports stadiums, completely renovating neighborhoods, we must focus and rethink our efforts on creating inclusive spaces to the diverse community in Milwaukee. The new commercial spaces are just going to make the segregation worse. There is no neutral ground where people can share experiences with people who are different from themselves, where a common purpose is nurtured. By honoring the rich culture we have, fostering artist spaces, growing community gardens and investing in our homegrown talent as well as connecting neighborhoods, we can slowly begin to bridge the longstanding economic, racial and social divisions and create new opportunities together, as one city. I can’t keep envisioning what could be in a public spaces when I have seen it work in other cities, nor can I keep comparing Milwaukee to other cities knowing full well that it has the capability to be the cornerstone of civic engagement.
(Source: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/reimagining-civic-commons-program-social-economic-segregation)

Kierkegaard called anxiety “the dizziness of freedom”

Kierkegaard called anxiety “the dizziness of freedom”

Anxiety is a heavy-hearted prison of the psyche, which includes the trap of people-pleasing, toxic allure to conformity and sense of outsiderdom. It is cyclical in nature. Patters are able to be extracted from the four habits that often trigger the wave of anxiety.

  1. Accumulating too much fatigue.
  2. Repressing your emotions.
  3. Setting goals too high
  4. Collecting Responsibilities.

But by defining them, in words and pictures, there is some solidarity found in knowing we are not alone as we may feel. Illustrating truths and emotions are much more easier to digest, especially it’s often uncontainable and overcoming nature.

“I’ve spent so many years repressing my feelings that I’ve lost touch with my emotions.”

Seeing anxiety be defined and contained outside my brain is a way to help me deal and meditate the blur and accumulation that I have inside me. It’s becoming a plug that has failed to stir the thoughts, feelings and emotions inside me. I become frustrated of myself and blame my actions to have caused it. It feels as though there are cinderblocks on my legs and I feel to run upon the starting trigger. Everyone’s running their race, in my head, and I am sitting still, in the starting line.

Talking about it helps. I hope. I started a relationship with my therapist and we began to dissect things starting from the beginning, with my family, with how I thought I became, to what I perceive myself to be. She asked me if anyone actually described me as “lazy” and I found myself stumped in a way that it was just me after all. Just me versus the world, trying to silence the voices.
(Source: Brain Pickings, Catherine Lepage’s “Thins Slices of Anxiety: Observations and Advice to Ease a Worried Mind”)