Being a part of the view

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I often forget how exhilarating camping can be.

When you pack as little as possible that you forget to bring your worries with you- paperwork that would get soggy in the rain is best left at home.

But bring your spirit, nothing will keep a canoe afloat as well as that gasp you let out when you realise that you are surrounded by purity.

As you get soaked by rain, you wish for a second that you could be confined by walls, only to realise that with dirt caked under your nails and soil stuck to the droplets on your skin, you’ve never felt so cleansed.

Surely you could spare yourself the shivers and the blisters and the windburn, comfortably watching the outdoors unfurl from a wide window by a cozy bed.

The way I see it, who would want to be a tourist when you could be part of the view?

You don’t need to seek a connection with nature when you are part of it, you don’t need to do anything but step in. You are made of the very things that have sculpted this landscape, this is your home, however hostile it might seem at first.

You’re not an outsider here, so step into the picture. Step into your boots and step into the discomfort of forgetting your worries.

Living nestled in stress can become strangely comfortable, putting it aside can be disconcerting, giving yourself so much space for thoughts can drive you crazy.

Crazy isn’t always that bad though. Let your head spin with ideas and take a breath of the very air that gives new life to trees after the winter. You need some spring rebirth yourself.

So become a part of the picture you are about to take from the outside.
And see yourself drenched by the rain.
See yourself shivering,
see yourself rising and falling with the sun.

Become part of the beautiful sight you admire, don’t let the discomfort of beauty fool you.

-teresa-

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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness

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Nowadays, it is considered very cool someone who proclaims himself a hipster, who lives an apparently alternative lifestyle, listens to “indie music” and dresses in an “unconventional way”. Upon this dramatic definition, one comes to the obvious conclusion: these people are a counterculture; they are rebels; they are intellectuals who do not agree with society. Wrong. The moment this routine became popular and accepted by society, their existence became absurd and contradictory.

Because of my frustration towards these septum- pierced, thrift shop explorers who enjoy vegan cookies and think they are actually fighting society instead of being the most accepted and cool members, I decided to dedicate this blog post to the most real non- conformists of all time: the Beat Generation.

To start, I seriously recommend listening to the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg, read by James Franco and animated by Eric Drooker: Howl- Allen Ginsberg

The Beat Generation is everything the contemporary cool hipsters pretend to be.

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They were a group of American writers whose primary activity developed just after World War II ended, in the 50’s. It was during that time that society, after living the horrors of war, returned to conservative traditional values and aspirations. These young authors did not agree and were willing to break all the rules and conventions in order to be free. They were in the look for novelty and alternative lifestyles, their life would constitute a constant quest for new experiences: mental, through the use of drugs such as peyote and LSD; spiritual, by exploring eastern religions; and physical, as they were the beginning of the sexual liberation. All of this was a great influence for the later hippie movement and the 68 movements around the world.

This group excluded themselves from society in order to create an alternative world of their own: more anarchic, less judgemental and free. They expressed themselves through Literature; the novels The Road by Jack Kerouac and The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs express perfectly this insatiable pursuit of new experiences, almost as if life were an endless journey.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Kerouac, The Road

Happiness is sometimes about searching for it, often in uncommon places. But make sure they are actually uncommon, not only mere appearance.

-ana-

The universe is a mess

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When I was 9, I earned the nickname “Teresa Tornado” from my summer camp counselor because my bunk bed used to look like a tornado rushed past. I was possibly the messiest camper in the cabin, or even in the whole of camp.

Since then, many things have improved about me- I no longer have long tangled hair where flies can find a home, I can swim more than 100 metres without getting exhausted and my English has improved quite significantly.

But there is a part of me that is the same as that little girl in oversized camp t-shirts:

I am still a mess.

My room gets attacked by tornadoes of lesser intensity nowadays, but it is undebatable that when you step into my room after I’ve had a tough week you will have to make an effort to recognise the material my desk is made of or the pattern of my bed covers.

It’s not out of carelessness that this comes about. And to answer all of the people who have criticised me for being a mess: Yes, it does stress me out, and no, I can’t concentrate with all that mess around me. But I find that as I get more and more preoccupied with other things, my room’s state goes from decent to post apocalyptic ruins, no matter how hard I try to keep it tidy.

Now, you can imagine the delight I felt when I read the following sentence in my chemistry notes:

Disorder is the natural state of the universe

The next time my family have me grief for being such a disaster I would be able to counteract with an argument that is supported by science:

“Well actually, disorder is the natural state of the universe and you wouldn’t want me to go and get in the way of the universe, would you, dad?”

It turned out that all the equations I was about to learn weren’t exactly going to justify the pile of clothes that were currently obscuring the floor of my bedroom. Instead, they introduced me to a interesting concept that has sparked other thoughts within me.

What does it mean when chemists say that the universe prefers a state of disorder?

As all messy people will know, it requires energy to be organised, and things that require less energy to happen are more likely to happen.

Chemists are interested in knowing which reactions will happen with more ease, which ones will need effort to get going and which reactions simply will not happen.

In a universe that tends towards disorder and that favours things that don’t require much energy, one can predict that reactions that end in more disorder than there was to begin with will be more successful, and reactions that take less energy to get started will happen more often.

Learning about Entropy in chemistry, I ended up jumbled up in a bunch of different equations and calculations which I might explain some other time, but I want to keep this short for now, because this post isn’t about entropy, it’s about the links that we make day-to-day as we discover the world.

Aside from learning how to answer the questions that will come up on my answer paper, that Chemistry lesson I learnt that when I can link my memories and previous experiences with new topics that might seem uninteresting at first, I can see my whole learning experience in a new light.

And as much as I continue to try and keep my room organised, when it gets difficult, I like to remember that the universe is messy, so who cares if I am too?

-teresa-

15 Minutes

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Would it make a difference if I stay up for 15 more minutes?

I might close my eyes and conjure sleep, but my mum always said that sleep is like a dove, you have to remain calm and give it a reason to trust you.

Stop wriggling about in bed or those 15 minutes will soon turn into 30 minutes.

But then again, what difference does it make? 15 or 30 minutes are all the same when you’re chasing doves away.

Before you know it, the plushest bed has become a prison and your idleness sits trapped and locked into your skin. Stick your leg out of the covers and a demon might snatch it.

It’s funny how when you’re younger you are told that nightmares will fade away but there are some fears that you can’t shake with a promise, so you ask your parents to stay with you a little longer.

Well now you’re promising away THEIR fears as you bid farewell to their superhero capes. They got caught in the wind while you looked away but there’s no point in chasing them because before you can pick up a sprint, your stillness has attracted that dove you’d called up and you don’t know it, but you’re asleep.

Or maybe you’re dead. You’d never know the difference because as soon as you know it, you’re safe and condemned to keep on living.

None of this matters anyway because it will all be gone in the morning and the 15 minutes made no difference to your life.
Unless maybe…

-teresa-