Draken Glass Painting!

The next glass painting is done! This time around, my subject of inspiration was Draken from Tokyo Revengers, which is an anime that premiered a little bit ago and I kind of fell in love with it…! Draken is my favorite character, so naturally I had to dedicate some art to him.

A glass painting of Draken from "Tokyo Revengers" in a black picture frame.

I painted this on World Mental Health Day (10/10/21), and in honor of Depression Education and Awareness Month, I want to share what painting does for me. As I mentioned in my last painting post, I’m going through a rough time, and that rough time got worse in the last week. The short story is on top of everything else going on, I was enduring physical pain with a concerning health issue all last week, and I went to the ER on Friday afternoon and spent nearly eight hours there. Admittedly, I’m quite distraught with life right now, so painting has allowed me to escape the world for a few hours in creating something from nothing. It tames my intense emotions and lets them rest for a good chunk of time. I don’t claim to be a talented artist, but what I appreciate about art is how much it gets you to focus and pay attention to details. Before you know it, as you put Demon Slayer on in the background to rewatch it before the next season comes out, four hours go by! All of this to say that painting, and art, has helped me find a place of solace amidst life’s turbulence, and I am grateful it’s helped me in my struggles.

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“Saudade” Turns Three

Whoops! My brain goes a million miles an hour that it completely slipped my mind that my first published book, Saudade, turns three years old today.

Edit: It occurred to me I cannot math. I thought it was four years, but it’s been three since the book’s official publish date.

Feb. 11, 2018 | Saudade Launch Party #2

WOW. Three. Years. Old. It’s been that long already.

Saudade holds a special place in my heart. In essence, the book is about mental health – riding the scary and unpredictable rollercoaster of anxiety and depression. The truth behind the words was born from years and years of my experiences navigating through a dark place but eventually finding light in the end.

How did Saudade come to fruition?

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Anxieties of Photographing Concerts

**All photos are my own.

Going to concerts is always a ton of fun. Ever since I moved to Austin, TX for college in 2009, concerts have been my way of going out—not the… go out to Sixth Street and get shit-faced drunk and/or get hit on or groped by disgusting creeps. At least once a week I would go out to venues in downtown Austin (and eventually venturing out to Dallas and San Antonio) and see bands and artists I loved—shoutout to my first legit concert at La Zona Rosa to see All Time Low!

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All Time Low at La Zona Rosa, Austin, TX

Fast forward to 2011 when one of my best friends invited me to help film an interview and acoustic session for an online publication in New York, Rock Edition. Soon after that, the editor asked me to join their staff photographer and videographer team, and from that day forward, I have been photographing concerts and festivals for publications. Now… I don’t claim to be the most talented ace photographer—I still consider myself an amateur—but I will say that I have seen and dealt with a lot. This blog post is going to discuss the main anxious thoughts and feelings I get when I go to photograph live shows.

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Accomplishments

My first book being published is right around the corner. My. First. Book. Published. Something that I created with my own two hands is going to be officially bound together and put out there for the world to see. Never in my life did I ever imagine publishing anything this way, let alone my poetry writing.

But you wanna know what’s sad?

As I held the first proof copy of my book, the first thought was, “Wow! I’m actually holding this in my hand right now!” And the instant next thought was,

“Man. This isn’t enough.”

Why that second thought popped into my head is beyond me. I know, I want, I need to feel happy, excited, jovial, to the moon, about this, but an itty bitty voice in my head pokes me and says,

“You’re still not good enough, Siri.”

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Reflecting on the last year…

A year ago I was on a trip with my best friend in Big Bear, CA, the most lovely and beautiful place ever, and I had my first panic attack. Something triggered me during dinner, and for the next hour and a half to two hours, I could not slow down my heart rate despite exercising calming techniques. In the past I would have brushed it off and refuse to see a doctor, but this was one of the few times I listened to my body telling me something. I was actually scared.

Reflecting on this past year, it has been pretty rough, especially after talking with doctors and my therapist, learning about my severe anxiety and panic disorder, and ultimately trying to learn to live with it. I was prescribed with a daily medication for the first part of this year, and it helped. However, it’s a double-edged sword for me because I’m glad that I found something that mellowed me out—and there are days where I wish I still had them—but at the same time, I don’t want to be dependent on them. This debate in my mind toward the medication flip flops daily.

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