Wednesday, May 14, 2008

196. The Big 25 for My Sister, Jenny! She's Taking it Much Better Than I Am!

I woke up, and called my dad. He informed me that my sister Jenny (Ph.D. bound physical therapist at Cal State Northridge), is turning the big 2-5- TODAY! I instantly muttered "Oh Shxt!" I knew it was her birthday, but not THEEE dreaded birthday. God. I remember Mrs. Cooper's dire 40-year-old birthday held by Mr. Andres. Black and skeletons and graveyards and RIPs and the works. But for 25? That's how I felt, for the entire year! The Quarter-Life Crisis is becoming a more widespread, pervasive condition. For some reason, living half a century has made you come to a point in which you ask the scientific question: "What in the hxll am I doing with my life?!" So, that year, I went on leave of absence--to the chagrin and skepticism of my parents--and I created my own informal whirlwind version of art school. I was not in good terms or hardly even speaking terms with my family, but I was determined to sample all art forms, which would ultimately lead to film.... Hxll! I only live once! But due to lack of family acceptance, and even feeling like an outcast and a reject to the university since I was a scientist engaged in the techniques of art, I felt like my mind lived in a Medieval Dark Period for the entire year. Like I was some form of Fragmented Living Dead. At one point, I went to visit the Assistant Dean of the Graduate Division at UC Riverside: "If it weren't for modern medicine, I'd only have FIVE years left to live!" I was so upset in my own skin, but Dr. Quinn, who was prabably in her early fifties, just stared at me BLANKLY....

Oh ya. I'm 25. There are people out there who are OLDER than I am. Wow, that sucks.

But Jenny is taking this a lot better than I was. She said she was a little depressed yesterday, but now she's fine. Besides, she has a final exam (today of all things) to distract her from any more depressing thoughts! Jenny rationalized that she has lived through a quarter of a century, but she should take advantage of being alive, have fun adventures, don't stress out too much, and learn from your experiences.

Besides, I told Jenny the family rule is that "men don't mature till age 50" (so technically, he's 13 years old) and "women don't mature till age 25." So, I am one years old (26), and Jenny is 0 (starting from scrap), and the year before she was "negative one."

To wrap up my saddening story of the big-2-5- with a quasi-happy ending. Over the course of the year, I started picking up skills in art, to a point I was able to show my father some pieces of music I composed, played, recorded, mixed, mastered, produced. Yep! Complete self-sufficiency! Not that my audio equipment was particularly of any high quality. I wrote a song called "One More Day," and the stipulation is that "If I could live just one more day, I'd sing the rest of what I'd have to say. I have done all that I've could. I have become all that I've should." Well, yes. My first major piece (in crxp recordingtools) ends up being a modern neo-pop Requiem of all things. It reflects my state of Depression and Desperation, trying to break out of my brain. As if my mind were in a prison, and the only way to break out from this prison of expression of ideas was to learn every possible art form, to finally have ways to channel these acoustivisions and emotions. The wonderful part of the piece is that I presented it to the Orange County Writer's Group, and even writers with agents liked my music. I received so much encouragement to market myself! Otherwise, my aunt Jery Lyn, an artist in Sebastopol, was the only other person who kept encouraging me to do art.... At least I had someone to gripe to and fall back on.

My dad started talking to me and relating to what I was doing. He joked that he placed my music CD right next to a couple of CDs of Bach and Wagner. I guess all fathers self-aggrandize their children. My mother started to understand what I was doing when she saw my final film for Blue Horizons. And now she's ecstatic that I am combining science and art (film, more specifically). And by the time I reached Blue Horizons science-film program, I overtrained myself in every art form such that I was self-sufficient to dump multiple diverse art forms onto one single timeline, and have all these fragmented acoustivisualizations interact and weave togetheer in an integrative way! As if my mind were already mentally ready to think multi-layered--film, geology, music--it's all the same, even though it seems different. It's about building and interacting layers across space and time.

Once rejected by my own family members for pursuing things that will most likely get you unemployed in the world (though, you do become spiritually wealthy despite lack of physical wealth), now I have become accepted. The year leave of absence had become very worthwhile. And then at the ripe young age of 1 years old, UCSB accepted me as a Ph.D. student in environmental media. Quarter-life crisis started with self-system rejection, only to lead back to re-incorporation, and much more hope!

Besides my friend Talei leaving back to China, the other depressing thing I went through that year was the self-discovery of my first gray hair (I can't complain, my sister started getting them at age 18, she has my dad's genes). It was strategically located in the front right part of my head, near by where my bangs used to be. It was an unexpected finding upon search of the potential for head lice (because I was forced to share a brush with a few other teenagers for a photoshoot). Gray hair was the last thing I wanted to discover. I cried and moaned to my father, who was slowy approaching me from the other end of the front driveway. He gave me a weak hug and a simultaneous "get over it" and "join the club" look on his face. His head was coated with thousands of gray hairs. Same for my mom. Genetics has inevitable consequences... in some cases. I even told my cousin Mike Dillin, and he thought someone ELSE found the gray hair, not me. Nope. It was me. Tragedy. Mike said he would have been so pissed if someone else told him he had a gray hair. Like mind your OWN head! Anyway. Hair is just a bunch of dead cells, so I got over it. Depression in this case was topped off with curiosity and intrigue, as I managed to have enough willpower to pluck out the hair, bag it, label the bag, and even save it to this day. I even scanned it, and I am not even sure as to whether I wrote a blog about my first gray hair yet!

Being 2-5- is not as bad as you think. Unless you are Victoria, who was a scientist who battled with stigmas of the university and her family... struggling to fully express herself as a multi-media artist. Then... Medievel Dark Ages would most likely represent what you are going through....

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