The Octopus Eats its Own Leg, an exhibit of Takashi Murakami's work is now open to the public at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago. Admission to the museum is $15, and considering the size of the museum the admission price might not seem as appealing to most. However, the Murakami exhibit makes the admission fee completely worth it. The exhibit showcases Murakami's work as it has evolved with the times. Together with his entire team, Murakami is able to create works full of color, symbolism, and also amusement. If you're in Chicago this summer, make sure to visit the MCA to view this amazing exhibition.
Moving out was harder, emotionally, than I realized it would be. The logistics weren't a problem, it was the psychological aspect that proved to be more of a challenge. There was a period of time, around late March and early April, in which I experienced some depression. I had begun to feel isolated from those I cared about; I started feeling guilt around leaving my family (only an hour away) to move to the city. Each evening, when I would arrive at my apartment, a heavy sensation would wash over me. I would lie on the sofa crying, wondering how long I would be alone for.
If you've ever experienced loneliness and depression, you can imagine what coming home to an empty apartment could be like. I would stay longer at work, hoping to surround myself with people. And I began to contemplate leaving the apartment. I began to feel regret.
And then I adopted Oliver.
I adopted Ollie because I was lonely. Perhaps not the best reason to go into adopting a dog. But I needed a companion that would save me from the darkness - someone that would easy the heaviness. He's a Collie mix (probably Aussie or Sheltie in there), and he did exactly what I thought he would: he saved me. It sounds like an exaggeration. But truly, Oliver, in many ways, saved my life. I no longer come home to a consuming loneliness. I know people around my neighborhood now thanks to him. He's not perfect. He's territorial. But we'll work on our imperfections slowly together.
Chicago is a big city. The city provides the unlimited conveniences the suburbs could only dream of giving. In a single day you can eat Japanese, Italian, and French, and hardly leave a two-block radius. Anything and everything can be happening all at once. It's not surprising that such a large city can make anyone feel - even for a moment - small. Skyscrapers tower ahead, and the motion of human bodies moving from A to B sway you back and forth. If you're not careful, you too get caught in the wave.
I used to pride myself in being a "city" girl. I enjoyed the bustle, and the opportunities. I still greatly love the conveniences I have. Yet, I have not been living her longer than 2 months, and already I miss the sky, the trees, and the air of the outside. There's something I cannot quite comprehend, except but to call it a longing. I long for early mornings - in a room filled with light - watching the trees sway outside my window. I dream of the quiet, and the birds singing. There is a peace about living outside of the city. For many, it is the very chaos of the city that they love. But as my mind tortures itself with endless thinking, I wish that at the very least my external reality was finally at peace.
As I recently mentioned, I moved out to the city. One thing I noticed while living on my own was the continuous silence that permeates the entire apartment. The sounds I hear were too often external ones: people walking outside, the pipes, cars, etc.. None of them seemed to be made by me, nor by my existence in the space. Needless to say, I wanted to fill the silence. And in what may be categorized as an impulse purchase made late at night, I got these Bose speakers. I wanted to make noise of my own. Luckily, this impulse purchase was not a disappointment, for the speakers connect immediately with my iPhone and the sound quality is great. They are also very loud for their size. I've been blasting classical music and Burberry's Emerging British Talent playlist on Apple Music. Finally I feel myself molding more and more into the space. If you're looking for a great quality bluetooth speaker that's not too large, I recommend giving this one a go; you won't be disappointed.
Overall rating: 5/5
A lot has changed since the last post on Over the Dinner Table. The United States has a new president; millions have marched around the world; and Over the Dinner Table headquarters (i.e. where I live) have changed. February is hardly over, and already the year feels like it has lasted ages. Perhaps many would agree that this has been an exhausting year - even though it is so young.
As I mentioned earlier, I have moved. This is my first venture into living without my parents and on my own. The freshness of yesterday's move (yes, it's that recent!) lingers, and the quietness of the apartment, coupled by the loudness of the building, creates a twilight effect. In this dawn, I can feel the shifts of life and inside something whispers: everything is about to change. Perhaps that is the hopeful nature of "new beginnings". But regardless of the grandness of the changes, they are changes nevertheless. So here's what to expect for Over the Dinner Table:
With the reduced commute, I will have more time to create content for the site. I'm going to explore various types of content - from video, to short stories. I will also write about my journey of moving out and living on my own. Living in a big city like Chicago should be an interesting adventure all of its own. Expect some content about places to visit and more!
These are new times, so please be patient with me as I go through this!
The end of the year causes everyone to reflect on their lives. It seems inevitable that we go down memory-lane and look back at how we have led our lives this past year, what we did and did not accomplish, and so on. This reflection period becomes a tradition as we simultaneously look on to the future.
It has already been said, but 2016 has been a difficult year for humanity. We have experienced tremendous suffering as a species; we have lost countless loved ones, and wars continue wreaking havoc on good and ordinary people. Many of our idols have passed, and the majority of humanity looks on to the end of the year with exhaustion and anticipation. There’s a lot of concern for the future. But it would be ignorant to say that this is the year of suffering—solely because “developed” countries are now feeling the burden. The sad reality is that much of the world has always been suffering. Wars have been waged in the Middle East for years. Civilians have been dying there on the daily. Some African countries continue caring the burden of a western world that has decimated their land and corrupted their governments. Environmental refugees flee homes as tides rise and forests burn. In our borders, millions live in fear, poverty, and disenfranchisement. We have become a society—humans throughout the world—that regardless of our internet capabilities we have lost a connection to one-another. We have become consumed by fear of each other. We look to our neighbors with suspicion, and we are weary of all who don’t look like us.
As time passes, our society is forced to confront our prejudices and our dirty laundry. We’re forced to view the world for what it is: damaged and in pain. And powerful people use our fear of the future to further control us. We are blinded by their rhetoric and their hate speech. Ultimately they’ve succeeded in turning us all against each other; because that’s their goal. If we are at war with our own humanity, a small few makes a profit.
I am looking to 2017 with uncertainty. I don’t know what the world will look like. In many ways I imagine it will continue to look much like it has done in the past. No matter what promises were made in 2016, I have doubts many will come to fruition. Our people won’t find peace until we unify. There are no Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or Independents. There are people. And these people are in pain because they have been forgotten and because they live in fear of persecution, of poverty, and of violence. But we are all more alike than different. Taking two people together, they are genetically 99.99% the same. Only the exterior differs. And that’s the important thing we must take into 2017. We must judge not by what’s outside, on the surface, but what’s beneath. What we will find is that underneath the skin and the clothes, we all look for the same future. All we crave is happiness.
I don’t know if this matters to many, but I’ve decided I’m going to tell these stories. I want to use 2017 as an opportunity to show people just how similar they really are. Currencies will fade. Our flesh will sag and eventually we shall all die. It’s the fate of all living things. Let’s not get consumed by the illusions of modern society. Beyond the luxuries and material, all we are seeking is love and acceptance. All most humans crave is a life devoid of suffering, and a life finally at peace.
A lot has happened in the past few weeks—frankly a lot has happened this past year. In the United States, Donald J. Trump has become president-elect. There have been countless think pieces on the outcome of this election. Many news outlets and pundits did not expect such an ending; everyone was certain that Hillary Clinton would become the next president. But the reality of this election was far more different and complex than news outlets had predicted. They had not anticipated the movement that was Trump’s candidacy. Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, but did obtain the most electoral votes. The point of this piece is not to discuss what the electoral college is. Nor is it a think piece on the election itself. Rather, this is all about what I learned about myself post election.
Candidly, I did not vote for Donald Trump. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and I voted for Hillary in the election. I did not believe in the rhetoric of Trump. His stances of reproductive rights, as well as his views on Muslims and immigration frightened me. As a woman, I also could not comprehend his pussy-grabbing comments and his dismissal of rape or sexual assault. What came after the election was a series of hate crimes and a cesspool of internet trolls and utter hatred. Everyone seemed to hate each other. And the news outlets and think pieces about what a Trump presidency would entail unleashed inside me a fear I had not imagined before. For the first time in my life I was afraid of being attacked, of being singled out, and of a war. Suddenly, the potential for my own physical suffering felt too close and real. Whether these feelings and theories will be correct I do not know. Only time will tell what the future holds.
However, I learned something integral about myself: I may not be afraid of death, but I am terrified of suffering. This realization fascinates me. I have prided myself as an individual who has come to terms with the reality of death. I do not fantasize immortality. But here was this fantasy of me encountering a world in which I was physically suffering. This was a future where I may be tortured, discriminated and attacked, and potentially killed. The very idea of struggling plummeted me in a spiral of despair. Let me say this now: no one has ever physically assaulted me. Nor have I experienced blatant discrimination—at least not for my color. I have experienced sexism, but never have I felt threatened. But I found it easy to enter a world, in my mind, in which these possibilities were much too real.
Am I afraid of death? Are my claims of “I accept that I will die” simply a front for what is an actual struggle with mortality? I don’t think I am afraid of death. But the comforts of the 21st century and the fortunate life I have led have softened me. I am a product of a generation that has had technology and tools to ease my existence. The very thought of not having them alone invokes a sense of sacrifice and suffering. Thus physical suffering has been reserved to scrapes and cuts: minor battle scars from being alive. I viewed myself in the mirror and for the first time I was forced to grapple with my physical existence and the potential end of it. Ultimately I will die. Everyone will die. It’s the natural cycle of life. But when the time comes, how will I understand my body? Do we ever really come to terms with living or dying? Or are we merely pretending that the inevitable won’t happen: that death will come to us, and we will have absolutely no control of how we go. This is a question, regardless of personal beliefs, that we have no real answer to. All we can do is wait. And along the way we learn more about ourselves and how we handle the ways in which life comes at us. When things get difficult, how will we react?