25.

This post is marginally bipolar, my emo and epic nerdy fangirling all rolled into one. You have been warned.

---

25.

Where do I even start? I am glad to be alive.

It takes a lot of courage to put certain thoughts and feelings into words, too easy to be hurt for who we are, our heart's fragility can only withstand so much when it comes to our weaknesses, I think.

And so, I hadn't known how to write this, and I still don't, not really. But last year—getting over depression—was surely the grandest achievement of me being 24 (and of course my doctor, who didn't even have to put me on antidepressants, thank you).

In many ways, I had been afraid to write about it because I didn't want to jinx my recovery, it wasn't often that I had something good like that. (Because you know, more than once, I'd thought that I was fine, just to find myself living in the very opposite of that the next months.)

It was a lot to take in, becoming… un-unhappy.

From my first memory of acute loneliness, to the first time I thought about death when I was four, a lifetime of problems to fix, all the normalcy I never knew and wondered about, that made me different, that nearly…

I hadn't known I suffered from traumatic stress, it went on for so long I'd accepted my feelings and nightmares as normalcy. So when I could see in my head, during my final session with my doctor, the foundation blocks of my life and thoughts reslotting and rearranging, completely changing, I couldn't understand how it was possible. It was overwhelming, awe-inspiring, terrifying.

It was as if I had become someone else, and held in my hands the memories of someone I might have been, trying to understand it, feeling like an outsider; as if I were separated from that person's past by a wall of glass, I could look but not reach, nor feel.

It left me lost, like I'd finally emerged from the shadows into the sun, yet all that lay around me was vast indistinct land and it didn't matter where I went. Until finally, and only because I was trying so hard to find something, anything at all, I felt the moment I left that dream place and came surface to air, and I realized with wonder, that I had healed.

If I could liken it to something, maybe, it's what a human being's metamorphosis is like.

----

That was the most important thing that happened to me at 24. But of course, my move to New York was a big deal too. And the recent news that I was selected by Vogue Italia to be part of Photo Vogue's exhibition in Milan this June makes me speechless. And I saw Gundam Unicorn!!! Finally! I haven't been able to lock away my closet nerdiness after that, because oh my god, sick cockpit design is sick. I've been daydreaming about how to spend my first billion dollars (simulation room in my house), I even re-watched the series to take screenshots just so I can write a blog post about it. NERDY.

I also just finished Lymond Chronicles' book 4, it was SO emotionally brutal I nearly had a heart attack. Phillipa, my sixteen year old heroine. SO BRAVE. HOW?! She journeyed alone to find her friend's baby son in a foreign land, surrounded by dangers and traps and possible assassinations all the bloody way, then gave up her life to the seraglio just so she could protect the child's safety after she had found him. So freaking badass and so much courage! Why aren't there more people reading this together with me so we can fangirl and fanboy together!?!!

Don't judge me on the fangirling. Because you know, the secret to great personal work is being a fangirl. Only when I feel passionate can I create works passionately! True story.

So 24 was an experience alright, here's hoping 25 will be even grander.

Thank you everyone for your encouragements and support and love, I hope I can continue to be a person you can be happy with and proud of. Happy birthday to me! :D

Jingna
May 4th, 2013

Photo Vogue, Slave Mag, Out of Order Magazine, Mochi Magazine

Bunch of new press stuff to share :D

3 images featured on PhotoVogue's frontpage for Pic of the Day last month:

To have a piece from Motherland Chronicles included makes me uber happy.

---

Interview with Slave Mag out in their new issue.

I shared a quote from Hermann Hesse's "Knulp", my aspiration is to one day slip in something from Gundam (when it's not to answer the question of how the zemotion came about).

---

Interviewed by Yale University's art magazine Out of Order. Talked about fashion, conventions, developing ideas, and deviantART.

---

And last but not least a shorter one with Mochi Magazine, about becoming and being a professional photographer:

Two Types of Dreams

Over the New Year I was writing a introspection but somehow ended up with this. And I guess in essence it sums up what the post would have been about anyway.

I think we all have two types of dreams—the type that starts out when we were young and naive, and were filled with ideals and fantasies; and the type that is a secondary one, layered over the first—a goal or milestone, something realistic, where the world and its harsh realities have taught us boundaries, limits and inhibitions.

I want to learn and change and evolve, and I don't want to lose sight of my first dream and who I set out to be.

But over time, as my second dream grew and grew, I found my first dream diminishing, it had become a nearly transparent thing. How sad would it be to lose the reasons that made me chose my path in the first place? It's such a terrible, miserable thought. In trying to find the child-me that used to daydream and was filled with boundless fearlessness, I decided to start reading fairytales and mangas again, things that inspired me as a kid.

Don't forget that first dream you used to have, don't forget the beauty of that unrealistic and naive ideal. It's fragile and whimsical, something precious, a part of what made us who we are today. Don't let it go.

Keep Going

Saw this really inspiring transcript from an interview with Ira Glass circulating around Facebook today. Felt like I had to share it too.

It's so perfect for me right now because I've been going through such a slump full of self-hate and self-doubt that I've been feeling like this really isn't getting anywhere.

Really just have to just keep going.

Sugizo's Words

On the recent passing of TAIJI, Sugizo wrote a blog post titled "Life 命".

The following is an excerpt that touched me deeply:

"...This parting came too fast, and I still haven't come to terms with it.
But there is one thing I can say,
as my friends keep departing on their journeys for the other side
and now that so many people have lost their lives in the earthquake:
those of us who are still living should feel heartfelt gratitude for our lives.
Those of us who are still living must not waste the lives we have left.

I would also like to say to everyone that I want them to keep living on...
to be thankful for everything, including their life, family, and friends.
Your life does not just belong to you; people love you and need you.
People should live their lives while feeling in their hearts the reason for and miracle of being alive.
And people should absolutely not take their own lives,
since there are many people who love them and are always together with them."

I don't want to consistently bring up the topic of death, but I really wanted to share this heartfelt message. 
If you're sad, please know that you're not alone in your sorrows. Be strong, you will find the strength and overcome the pains. 

Eight Years.

For a while now the depression has been flowing to me like water from a broken dam, overwhelming and unstoppable.

But some time shortly after my birthday, perhaps because I had for so long been living in that lonely, bleak winter I had experienced in Toronto, or perhaps because time had finally decided that I ought to return to the waking world to move on and along, I started working proper again, after eight months of near-inactivity, of living in near-recluse.

May was filled with castings and pre-production meetings one day after another, in between I was tasked to make impossible deadlines possible, and at the same time stay on Pacific Time for my StarCraft II team, which has become increasingly important in my life — a source of laughter and happiness.

In the third week I shot for Elle, a few days later an editorial for SingaporeBrides. Before I knew it I was in Seoul for a project that stretched for two weeks into June. I returned home for a sleepless weekend, and left again the Thursday after for Seychelles to do another photoshoot.

The waiting hours during the trip has brought me some progress with The Glass Bead Game, I have now advanced past half the book, and found a quote I really love — "Every experience has its element of magic."

Even though Hesse's stories upset me a great deal more often than not, I cannot resist their charms that perhaps stem from the same yearnings as his protagonists. For needing to seek the answer to self, to wanting a way to solve the internal struggles, pains and conflicts.

Bit by bit, year by year, every now and then I would tell myself that, "This time for real I'd be moving on."

And then I'll have nightmares and they'll tear at my heart. I'll shed tears and hurt and think about this day and find myself at an utter loss once more.

But somehow the reading has calmed me, made me feel less alone. Even if the parallels and comfort are drawn from some fictitious characters, it feels like I'm finally able to take a step back and look at the larger map of my life again, with its paths and marks and light, and not just the seemingly endless abyss that I was for a long time so deeply submerged in.

There were no flowers when we visited today, it was still morning.

We had lunch after the visit and talked about old times.

Eight years. How has time slipped by us so fast?

My heart aches to remember those days that seem not so far away at all, to imagine what a fine man you'd have been amongst us today, to wonder what different lives we'd all be leading, just wishfully thinking...

But I understand now, to fulfill this life I cannot mourn forever. That I must find the strength to move on while remembering, without destroying myself.