thi.nguyen

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Time

I wish you could see /your history is chaining you/ We could let go and never lose /Nostalgia is killing us. – RAC (Doe Paoro), Nostalgia

Ocean, don’t be afraid. The end of the road is so far ahead it is already behind us. – Ocean Vuong, Someday I’ll love Ocean Vuong

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber. – Kurt Vonnegurt, Slaughterhouse Five

There is no time. Many become one. – Interpreter, Arrival

Time is moving so fast that I can’t seem to keep up. Kids are getting younger and every day I’m at my oldest. Nostalgia is killing me as I keep looking back at Youth and looking at her with resentment as she has her whole life ahead of her, more TIME ahead of her. The more I keep looking back, the more that gap widens between me and Time, where Time leaves me behind. Alone. With nothing.

Last week, I was feeling really sad. The song Nostalgia came on my Discover Weekly Spotify list and the lyrics just resonated with me. I had this sinking feeling that I was entrapped in a toxic circle of my own doing. Procrastination. Every day I tell myself, I’m going to write a few things toward my script, or I’m going to write creatively like a poem or even a blog post to express myself. And yet the last post I did was in December. Shit. Three months have already passed! See! Where did the time go?

Then a few days ago, I went to this poetry reading/talk. Ocean Vuong, this kid who writes for the New Yorker, a poet and an essayist, read his poem with this line: “The end of the road is so far ahead it is already behind us.” Fucking blew my mind. I went from, Oh shit, Time is so far ahead of me, it lapped me, to Oh shit, Time isn’t a straight line, it’s a  CIRCLE. (This poem is so visceral and poignant, it inspired me to write one myself.)

Now, that wasn’t the first time I encountered Time as being circular. This concept kept getting introduced to me through ALIENS — whether it was from a novel or a Hollywood movie, apparently this concept was always the most PROFOUND THING offered by out of this world creatures. Ha, it’s so foreign, it’s out of this world.

But that concept never took on a personal level for me until Vuong read it out loud. Coincidently, Vuong was an alien. He was born in Viet Nam, immigrated to USA when he was 2. But anyways I’ve digressed. I think what made Vuong such a powerful and effective vessel for me was that he started the poem out with, “Don’t be afraid.”

Is that what I’ve been feeling? Fear that I may never catch up to Time? That I may never fulfill a goal, a dream, a passion, let alone FEEL fulfilled? Fear that instead of blaming it on the lack of Time, it is I that should be blamed for my shortcomings, my wasted potential, my failings? Yea. All the above.

But why????? Why be afraid? JUST FUCKING DON’T. Fear, Time, Fulfillment … all these things aren’t even tangible like this hard ACTUAL scratched up aged cheap wood coffee table in which I write this blog post on.  They are ideas and concepts who’s meanings are adjustable to one’s own mind and experiences. So why can’t I just CHANGE MY MIND? I CAN!

All time is all time. Take it moment by moment and it isn’t scary or monolithic. It’s approachable, it just is. It’s a CIRCLE. Circles aren’t sharp like the pointy ends of a line. I think of a line as stagnant, but a circle is always in motion. It’s the easiest thing a small child can draw. It surrounds things and everything that is within the circle, it bounds it and becomes ONE. And instead of feeling alone, I’m a part of something ALIVE. 

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sometimes you just gotta vent

i don’t know what i’m doing. alright??? i’ve admitted it. sometimes i think about worst case scenarios. why? because i’m neurotic. because there are things that are so out of my control.  because there are things that i fear. and i fear what i don’t know. but seriously, who really knows what they’re doing? who really knows what is going to happen to them. no one. yet i can’t stop feeling i’m not doing enough. or that i’m not enough. how the fuck do you stay motivated when you can’t see the end of the tunnel? all you see is darkness! no progression, not even a hint that you’re heading in the right direction. i’m neurotic. maybe it’s human nature to be neurotic. who fucking knows? i’ll give you an example of my neurosis.  i auditioned for a movie a month ago. a month ago. i knew after a week that i didn’t get the role. it happens, it’s the business, it’s normal. but like a crazy person who stalks her ex on facebook to see his new girlfriend, i had to check imdb to see who they casted instead of me.  you know they didn’t want you, you know they found someone else, you know it’s going to hurt, but you just have to see who this beezy is! right??? can i get an amen??? hello? anyone out there? or i’m just crazy all by myself …

this was a vent. don’t try to solve my problem. i have a good head on my shoulders. i’ll get out of it this black hole. no worries. i’m fiiiiiine. hahahahha!


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why not?

so lately i’ve been defining myself by what i’m not or what i haven’t done/accomplished. i have no career, no love life, no money = FAILURE.  because i feel like a failure, i feel that i don’t deserve any good thing that might come my way.  i don’t deserve the love from others, i don’t deserve success, i don’t deserve happiness.

today i went to church. it wasn’t out of obligation, it wasn’t because i was feeling super pathetic about my life and i needed comfort, it was more of a fleeting thought, of why not? you don’t have much else to do. so i came in not expecting anything.  and maybe that’s why today’s lecture really got me.

the pastor was talking about identity.  you know from my past posts that identity is a huge issue for me.  who am i? what am i supposed to do with this life that is given to me? what is my purpose? and the pastor straight up said, your identity is in god’s love. god has bought us by sacrificing jesus to the cross.  god paid the price for us. and because of that, he loves us no matter what. isn’t that such a relief from having to define ourselves from what we aren’t and what we haven’t done?

ok, so if my identity lies in the FACT that god loves me, does that absolve me from any responsibility? that i can do anything?? as soon as this thought entered my mind, the pastor answered by saying that identity without virtue is adolescence. kinda like that rebellious teenager that is unconditionally loved by his/her parents.

what about vice versa? the pastor said that virtue without identity is morality.  yes, you have a sense of right and wrong, but without the identity of god’s love, you are weighed down by the imperatives that you are commanded to do, consequently you won’t be able to do it. so it goes back to me feeling like a failure.  let’s say that my imperative (my calling, my purpose, what i’m commanded to do) is to do acting.  but then why am i so neurotic about it?  because i forget that the imperative comes from identity.  that without knowing identity (i’m using identity interchangeably with god’s love), the imperative that i am called to do is impossible.

with both we are encouraged to grow maturely in god’s love and to become who we are. 

so why is it that i keep forgetting that god loves me?  because i don’t trust him yet. i believe in him.  but i lack trust in him.  there’s a huge difference believing in god and trusting in god.  the pastor told a story to demonstrate this point: he told us that he is really good at throwing knives.  he said that at an event, he proved this point to his friends, when he had a dummy pinned against a board, and he threw knives just around the perimeter of the dummy, never hitting the dummy.  and his friends cheered and exclaimed, “wow, you really are great at throwing knives! we believe you, we believe you!” and he responded, “great, so which one of you will be the dummy next?” and no one volunteered.

out of fear is why i lack trust in god. for sure. hands down. i definitely fear what i don’t know/understand.  why trust in that? but at the same time, i trust human beings.  i put trust in my coworkers, my friends and my family.  they are all human beings.  they are all NOT PERFECT.  so if god is not human, is not part of this human race, but is way above our limited human minds, perhaps even considered perfect, why not trust in him? why not?

 


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The War of Art

I know it´s been awhile but I guess I haven´t felt the need to update because nothing´s been happening.  I’m still not going out to auditions as much as I want to, I still haven´t booked anything, still at the restaurant etc. etc. etc.

It is now December and I’m forced to look back at this past year and evaluate.  I had made a list of goals last December for 2013 and most of it was not accomplished.  And I guess to summarize this past year, and I hate to admit it, but I must … I feel that this year has been my year of resistance.

For my acting class, my teacher made us read ¨the war of art¨ by Steven Pressfield.  I love my teacher and I love this book.  Pressfield says that the enemy of creativity is resistance. It is that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for others or us something that´s actually good. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower will elicit resistance.

For me, acting is the thing that is eliciting resistance. I am self-sabotaging myself. I am the one that is not auditioning, not booking, complaining about my representation and not doing a thing about it.  Why the fuck am I doing this? Fear. Fear that to put in all the work and to realize I’m absolute crap. Fear that if I actually book something, they´ll find out that I’m a phony. Fear that I’ll actually succeed…

I’ve been letting resistance beat me down for this past year.  I’ve been poisoning my own mind, chastising myself that I’m a nobody, that I’m never going to make it, I’m never going to book it, I’m going to be at the restaurant forever and that I’ll never find parking in la.

There´s this thing called the law of attraction.  What you think and obsess over, you´ll get. The universe will hear you and grant it, negative or positive.  So because I have such negative thoughts, what I believe about myself becomes true. Jeez, resistance is such a bitch right?

Alright, so first thing in resolving a problem, you have to admit that you have one. Resistance is her name and she´s a big fucking bitch.  I hate what she has done to me this past year. I am glad that I am able to recognize her hold on me.

So what to do?  Pressfield emphasizes professionalism and work. ¨The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying … because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen.  A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid.  Unseen forces enlist in our cause serendipity reinforces our purpose. ¨

This goes with the law of attraction, trust, faith, and Ira Glass.  What Pressfield says, I know to be true.  For example, this blog post.  I didn´t know exactly what I wanted to write. I didn´t know word for word.  But I devoted a time, sat down and started writing.  I’m not afraid of writing, so I felt no resistance there.  It´s not what I’m meant to do.  What I’m meant to do is acting.  But with so much resistance towards it, I’m paralyzed.  Then I make peace with my paralysis, thinking that since I suck, I should just not even try.  I should just not even work. And then what ultimately happens? What I most fear becomes true.

So, I declare that for 2014, my goal is to never lose sight of the dream.  To not be afraid, to have faith and to put in the work.  I can do this.