Anxiety, and ‘dysunderstanding’ of the world

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Recently I have been suffering from another bout of anxiety.  Fearing things could fall apart in my life I had to try and contain them fast, which exacerbates the situation further. The thoughts about how to contain my anxiety brought about a thought in me, a thought that is not new or special in any way but is one of those thoughts that you feel their reality at certain times in your life. I started wondering if having more choices, and the ability to make major decisions in one’s life is a root for anxiety and stress. And the thought took me down a spiral of different thoughts. I have so many questions and so here I wish to share them.

I was wondering if in feudal Europe, for example, people suffered from anxiety and depression as we do. To be honest, many thoughts during my anxiety sessions are about how things are bound to go wrong, and how my life will end up the opposite of my dreams. Thus I wonder, what if I was a peasant girl who had not much choice over job, marriage, place of living etc. Would I have anxiety or depression in the manner I struggle with today? Or would I accept my life as a given and labor away?

The second thought is complementary to the previous one. I ask my self if knowledge is beneficent to humans? By knowledge I do not mean hard sciences, but rather knowledge that is gained in the fields of humanities, social sciences and such. But I need to illustrate my thought with an example. Imagine me as a girl living in modern times in a big city; making a life is difficult and there is not much security, no safety net to catch me if I fall. The society keeps expecting me to be hardworking, to be outgoing and to be active. I am told that a successful person works hard, and does extra fulfilling activities in their spare time. As a result I am pretty burnt out about my situation. In other words, neoliberalism has left me very frustrated. But in what way does the knowledge of my desperation being the result of neoliberalism helps me as a person? Not only am I frustrated with life, the knowledge leaves me bitter, disillusioned, and depressed.

I know that this knowledge is supposed to help us understand our world and correct it, but seeing that neoliberal-capitalism is only starting to maybe dwindle as a result of the unstable situation it created itself I am left to ask if such knowledge benefited us other than adding to the anxieties of our time.

Reading articles about the malaise of our times again and again it strikes me how dystopian our world sounds; no wonder post-apocalyptic genres are so successful and popular these days. But then the question that comes to my mind is that in the larger scale of history, how do our time fare? Maybe we are feeling this way since we can only understand our own experience of the world. Has human experience changed? Are we feeling more anxiety and pain that the people of the past and maybe even future? And more importantly, does our dystopian understanding (dysunderstanding ) of our world adding to the depression and anxiety?

I have yet to fully recover from this round of anxiety; maybe if I felt better these paragraphs would lose meaning. For now I find it worth contemplating: the state of the mind of the humans of our times is intriguing. Of course there are so many different types of humans, under different systems of thought with different understanding of the world. My anxious mind might be one in a small over-spoiled crowd. Mayhap it’s ironic to even ask these questions; sometimes I wonder if the pursuit for an answer is a valid step. Or maybe again these are the workings of my brain being out of balance at the moment.

It’s done, goodbye grad school!

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Many months ago I posted that I have decided to give up on my thesis and maybe go travel. I felt stuck and the thesis seemed pointless, I was stressed and had bad headaches. Giving up sounded like a great idea, since I have always played it relatively safe, and have taken ridiculous steps to secure my goals, without risking much. However this has meant that I have not been able to do much as well, I keep preparing and preparing for a life I hardly get to live. That is why giving up sounded so refreshing.

But then after a while I started to have anxiety again, suddenly travelling plans didn’t sound so fun anymore. As a citizen of my home country which suffers from many sanctions I was worried I would not have a bank account, and thus have a lot of trouble when it comes to managing money. Same was with my passport, there were only a handful of countries I could go to. The chances of getting freelance jobs sounded dismal and the future plans in case traveling didn’t work out, lets just say they ended up being a lot less secure than I had previously thought.

Thus again I was facing anxiety, this time to an extent I had not ever felt before, I was unsure about everything in life, it felt like everything was going to fall apart. my body was numb and my hands were tingling all day, I could not eat and I could not do much other than cry or sleep.

If I did not wish to go traveling and since I fear the day I have to return to my country my only option was to finish my studies so to keep my Korean visa. But I had to ask for money from my parents, which is greatly imposing on them. And also with the help a counselor from my school I returned to work on my thesis again. Now that I think about it, having access to counselling is quiet a privilege I hope that all schools around the world can implement such facilities for the student’s who can hardly pay for such services.

Anyways, I was back in the arena.  I felt unarmed and unarmored, I was taking some light anxiety medication and kept meeting my counselor who mostly just chitchatted with me, but it kept me sane. I had trouble working more than 3 hours a day, I felt stupid, I felt I was slacking, and I wondered everyday if I actually suffer from ADHD. I felt and feel guilty about wasting so much time, but I often find starting a task such as writing or editing my thesis impossibly difficult, sometimes it feels as if I have to push through a physical wall.

But finally it is done! I had my defense a couple days ago, I am editing and rewriting parts of it now. Sick and tired and yet somehow reluctant about not being a student anymore. My thesis is much less than I had wished for it to be. I hear everyone thinks that way about their thesis, but I wished to write something worthy of the 3 years I have spent in grad school. But it is too late now, I was not the researcher academic type, I was merely hungry for learning.

I will have to get a job seeking visa soon and plan the rest of my life from there. My future plans still seem wobbly, and I fear that there might be some destabilizing event’s coming up soon. I fear of life turning out to be a struggle at every point. I hope I can be strong, and I hope that we will be fine.

An October Day In Seoul, Insadong, And Bukchon

I am not used to taking photos with my phone as most do, if I decide to take photo’s I will take the camera out. But rarely occurs to me to record videos. Of course comparing the file sizes and how my devices can handle it the skew towards taking images is justified.

But on this certain day, I and the magnificent Ahimsa were discussing making our own silly Halloween movie called the Vining. In preparation we decided to record shots of nature and street to maybe create a library and use them later. Two months later the Vining’s production is still pending but I decided to compile a video of the less ominous shots and put it online.

These shots were taken from the junction that connects Insadong to Bukchon Hanok Village, and up the green hill that I think is located north of Bukchon. This is a pretty little hill so if you end up in Bukchon and somehow don’t have much to do maybe you can do a tiny hike.

It seems to me that doing a silly montage of a day around town is actually pretty fun. If I do not face much storage problems I wish to do it once more.

 

To Flee Or Not To Flee

This is an account of how and why I am quitting my masters, and how it can fling my life in different directions.

I am giving up on getting my master’s degree after having finished my coursework and a semester of trying to write a thesis. So far the people’s reaction has been the biggest outcome: my parents are against my choice, most of my friends think I am doing the wrong thing, and maybe worst of all, my advisor does not seem to care. Only my boyfriend and one of my friends understand my situation.

It is not that I do not understand people’s points of view, but for one thing I would be happy if everyone would stop saying it’s a waste of two years of my life. Do they think I have learnt nothing in these two years and only the degree makes my education worthwhile? My degree will be a useless one in the current job market and toxic economic atmosphere anyway. My thesis at its best would be a critical study of media representations of something, and it would probably reflect my disdain for capitalism. What company would like that?

However, everything else aside, the truth is that I do not want to give up. I want to have a master’s degree to flaunt in people’s faces when (if) I’m drunk and in a discussion. But on the other hand, I am a third world citizen studying abroad, in a city as expensive as they come, the immigration laws are ruthless, my scholarship is not extendable, and I cannot make it work with my disinterested advisor. Working on my thesis caused me physical pain and mental torture, and to be honest it was affront at creativity. We are often suggested to follow in the footsteps of others and write like others have already done; the ones who do conform better are rewarded best. “Unless you are a great scholar,” my advisor told us “people will not wish to hear new ideas.”

Graduating, and miraculously finding a job here, would give me a chance at a modestly earned life, with undesirable work conditions, in a field very unrelated to my degree, and a promise of social isolation (All my friends have left or are leaving this country). So even if I managed to somehow push through and graduate the employment chances here are slim.

But quitting my master’s degree will launch me into a life of difficulty, and uncertainty. I might have to go back to my home country and (best case scenario) work at an equally undesirable job, in an atmosphere of censorship and oppression, with (way) more than a dash of gender inequality (on top of  it all I would be separated from my boyfriend because he could never get a visa for my country).

My other choice is to begin travelling to a handful of countries that my poor passport can take me to, without money, and with low hopes of being hired anywhere, and slim chances that we might be able to settle somewhere. Yet this plan is the best we have; with uncertainty comes our only chance in coming across something that will change our life for the better or worse.

The problems go on and on, but I won’t continue. I can’t escape the feeling that we have created a world that is unwilling to give space to people so they can live simple, quiet lives. And within this world my best course of action is to graduate, but sometimes you cannot do things even if you try.

Maybe if you have unlimited funds and time you could achieve anything you set your mind on, but I have neither time nor money on my side. This is true for many of us; struggling with choices like this that define our lives, and many times we do not succeed. It is not because we are simply lazy people who did not use our opportunities. Some like me face obstacles in making the best of our opportunity; some never have the privilege of having the opportunity.

The life path I face is unknown to me; it is unstable and that scares me. But I have my boyfriend by my side, and not having to go through it all alone is a big reassurance. Maybe I can find a way to fund a nomad life, maybe I find a decent job somewhere and we will be fine for a while. Who knows what life has in store. What I really wish to do is to make change; find a way to make the world less hostile to humans. At this point I cannot perceive of ways that do not require much money, but it is a good thing to keep in one’s mind.

Don’t Be Speciesist, Love All Creatures

I was enraged when they killed that giraffe in a European zoo and fed it to the lions. I was sad when that dentist mans killed that lion and like many I get sad when I see the whales who have shored.

I am from Iran. In my country they have trouble limiting the illegal hunting of the wildlife, it has come many times at the price of the wildlife protectors lives. I go on Instagram and anytime there is news of such activity I see in comments the people cursing and swearing at the hunters, saying that they are lesser than animals.

I live in South Korea now where dog meat is consumed. I see on internet and in real life people who protest to dog meat consumption comparing it to eating your friend.

I see people of poor countries scrutinized for eating monkey meat, they say they are endangering all human beings due to possibility of diseases.

I am still shamelessly a carnivore, though I have drastically reduced my meat consumption to less than once a week.  Still I eat eggs and dairy that comes at the cost of animal slavery, I know that.

But it took me a Vegan boyfriend to realize it all. What else I realized was that, the bush-meat hunter might be kinder than I. That the person who want to stop consumption of the dog meat and eats other animals raised in the worst conditions is a hypocrite. So is probably the consumer of meat and dairy. I am probably hurting as much animals than the dentist who hunted Cecil, the problem is the ones I’m hurting are not celebrity animals, they are faceless slave animals raised in masses somewhere peoples rather not look at, where people rather look away from and close their eyes.

I am not an animal lover, and so aren’t anyone else who hasn’t yet gone vegan. We are speciesists who care about the species we are attached to. We are animal slavers. We are the colonizers of the earth.

 

Things That Aren’t Exactly Going On

It turns out I am simply a lazy person. I am not proud of it or anything; I think there is a problem. The problem is that I wish to do so much that I end up doing not much and on top of that I feel discouraged most of the time.

These days I have to work on my master’s thesis. Not only it is a task of extra difficulty for a person as disorganized as me, I also found the joy of life in watercolors.

Yes watercolors! It’s not that I am a trained artist and do a perfect job but painting watercolors is just magnificent. I spend more hours struggling with watercolors than working on my theses. To top that when I am pretending to work on my thesis my mind is somewhat planning on things I want to try and draw.

I am also slowly writing a short-ish fantasy story. I enjoy writing it a lot but it is very lacking and I have not decided what I will do with it in the end. So another cool thing that in my mind has higher priority than my theses but in reality is of less urgency.

So for me who perceive it all from within my brain I am not being super lazy. But the outside observers definitely see that. I wonder if people have different ways of prioritizing and evaluating their plans and duties.

Then again we live in a society where an active person who is good perfect at prioritizing is considered desirable and successful. Does that sound familiar? Reminds me of something about … neoliberalism.

What if I’m using neoliberalism as an excuse to be lazy?

Cthulhu Kaiju

I want to openly promote a book written by a friend of mine. But be assured that the friend doesn’t yet know about this post and also did not request in any form that I write about him. Also since this is a blog yet without visitors I know that I am not doing him any favors. It is simply a post out of my liking of his works an I wish that maybe I can find others who enjoy his works as well.

Ahimsa Kerp is fantasy writer mostly writing what would be categorized as pulp. Originally from Pacific Northwest he is currently living in Seoul. He is a nice and ambiguously (?) nerdy book and RPG lover. He’s repertoire of fantastic elements is quite rich and amusing.

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His recent book is Cthulhu Kaiju, his homage to the monster and Lovecraft about whose writings he is quite an enthusiast. Here is a link to the Amazon page of the book.

But slyly I am going to ask you to check his Empire of the Undead  which is a historical horror, which is about a zombie outbreak in Roman times. Ahimsa knows his history so it is quite a solid book. If I have time during vacations to do a long post I want to write a review of this book.

 

Secondary World Fantasy

While struggling blindly to find things to build up for my master’s thesis I have come across so much negativity towards fantasy set in secondary world. It is not a new thing since even Tolkien and Lewis had to defend against charges of escapism. What strikes me odd is that we are living in times that we are entirely submerged in narratives through our communication devices and the so called “escapist fantasy” does not seem to me to be a big culprit.

I do feel to think and study it more. Maybe I can update if I come across new thoughts by myself or others.

Gilbo

My friend Ahimsa is running a role playing campaign. I am a newbie when it comes to real life role-playing games. My character’s class is an Alice or Alistair or Fool if you will, who is quite like a normal human but can get exasperated and narrative come to their help (?). By the way the link is safe for work other content of that same blog I don’t know.

So anyways I wrote all that to share the first doodle of Gilbo my character in the campaign.  Check out our campaign’s Tumblr page:

http://lamentationsofthekimchiprincess.tumblr.com/

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First Post

I have added and removed a number of blogs in the past after graduating high school I never got passed one or two posts per blog.  It seems that writing a blog post has become more difficult. Before the rein of social networks, as a teenager a number of my posts would resemble statuses on Facebook nowadays.

Blogs however seem to have moved onto a more professional level. Blog contents are viewed by a few interested people, if I get some viewers I feel like they will know more about the probable subjects than I would. Especially for my case, since I do not have much unique experience to offer or skills to share my probable posts would concern talking or analyzing social happenings. It scares me because I wonder how much research would be necessary and etc.

I envy every active blogger I meet and that is why I keep coming back. I hope this blog will last longer than the previous ones.