Getting There

I'm riding in a roller coaster going full speed. 

The Go button has been pressed for a long time and will not be released anytime soon. I feel like I'm going to fall off any moment, but I'm strapped tight into my seat. I have not yet fallen out. I'm safe and well.

As I processed Life with a friend last month, I saw this image flash in my mind. I thought I'm only inside the seat because of my ability to cling tight to the safety handles, but now realize that the hands holding on may not have been my own.

In January, I wrote:

2017 will be a year of building, maturity, and even fulfillment of year-long promises. I'm believing for the ceiling of my faith to be shattered - and rebuilt with impossible dreams and unimaginable realities. I'm preparing myself for surprises to sweep me off my feet - and fill the gaps with utmost delight and adventure. 

The first few months of 2017 glistened with excitement and favor. I jumped into the crisp, fresh pool of water presented before me. I waded onward excitedly. Perhaps too enthusiastic and less cautious about what lies beneath the waters. 

There were days my heart cried in joy from seeing my creative and professional desires manifest in real life. But there were also days I laid in my bed wide awake in ungodly hours, lost in my anxieties and aspirations. 

This year plunged from the high with a series of events that required a deep probing of my heart and confronting years-old internal processes. I'm still knee deep in journey and coming at you in the midst of shedding away and shaking off. In July, these words spilled out from that raw place:

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"True beauty comes from embracing the ugly. When we look at it - and though it hurts, 

angers & frustrates the beauty addicted heart - say 'I love you' and mean it."

 

For years, I prioritized nurturing my idealistic mind while neglecting more frequent and relevant happenings of reality. I'm learning to set aside my idealist tendencies to let the pain of reality sink in. My idealist mind keeps me going forward, but my connection to reality keeps me rooted. 

A timely surprise accompanied this awakening - and affirmed that my creative fuel has not dwindled despite the unpredicatable swirls of life.

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I've been longing for a space to freely write and found it during a trip to Chuncheon at the end of July (see #pieanachuncheon). I thought I lacked a proper space and time, but all I needed was a fresh perspective.

As soon as I returned to Seoul, I chopped off my hair. Again. For the millionth time. 

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It was my way

of 

telling myself:

 

"Hello, new

 

beginnings!"

A week later, I attended an insightful exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art - and landed on a solution to months-long brainstorming for #pieanart.

 
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# piean A R T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since then, I began to share about artists that I've been meeting. Interviewing artists have definitely been a highlight in the midst of the mess. They are not mere sources of inspiration. Connecting with them has been affirming my artist identity and strengthening creative vision. Here is my bit about the legendary Krzysztof Wodiczko - and his exhibition at the MMCA Seoul. If you can read Korean, see the full interview here.

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At the end of August, I finished and shared my first full-length Korean writing piece! For non-Korean speakers, it's a piece about my search of a place in Seoul as both a native and outsider. I've been writing this for months and finally found the glue to hold the scattered words together into something legible and connected (*happy tears*).

I realize this: Whenever I'm surrounded by art and connecting with people, I'm in the clear! These interactions may happen for minutes, but I can confidently say that those moments make me feel so, completely alive. I feel my heart growing and my personhood building up. 

Fast forward - we're at the tail-end of 2017.

I couldn't shake off the looming emptiness that took over after waves of sparkles and excitement. My heart is always bent on the the something more. As long as the vision I chase after is rooted in the temporary, it will always bring emptiness. Sure, the level of fulfillment I feel from writing a book will far exceed the satisfaction from completing an article. But the former measure is incomparable to my satisfaction from convictions and experiences connected to the eternal. 

I'm still searching for answers, but here are the lessons I'm learning: 

1. Recognize the value of documenting things in-between

I cherish the self-reflections, emotional turmoils and endless conversations with loved ones. Those vulnerable, painful moments fuel the productions that come after. I realize that the ultimate goal is actually not the goal itself, but the process towards the goal. 

2. Realize that worthwhile things take time

Have patience. Always easier said than done, right? I'm always wanting to partner with the New Thing at work. My ultimate desire, though, is to be known as the finisher, not the starter, of what I put my hands to. Rather than beginning so many projects, I want to record what I finished. I remind myself: I'm getting there! Worthwhile things take time. Just gotta laugh a little and enjoy life through the unveiling. 

 
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
— Steve Jobs
 
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