Friday, November 24, 2017

Emotions Podcast Reflection

Whenever I think of a podcast I feel annoyance. Whenever assigned to listen to a podcast I cringe. I don't like the sound of most peoples voices, especially when it's the deciding factor in whether or not I finish the entire thing. Podcasts in my mind are considered pedantic. Forcing myself to listen to Invisibilia for this blog reflection, I found myself relaxing and and finding the topic they were discussing engrossing: Emotions.

Egg McMuffin

The questions posed in the podcast are: where do emotions come from and can we control them?

The immediate answer for me was emotions are neurological triggers in the brain and no you can't control emotions.

There are two stories about these two questions through two different people. Both were taught that emotions were a burden that you have to tame them. That is a widely held point of view on emotions as well as the thought that they arise through basic needs of the human race for survival like lust or sadness.

This podcast says that we're wrong. Everything we've been taught about emotions is ultimately incorrect and that invalidity may end up effecting us in very negative ways.

It is explained through a court case in Minnesota where a car on highway lost control and crashed into a truck in the opposite side of the highway. The car held a family with two children one of them had died. The trucker saw this child's mangled body and was traumatized. He couldn't go to work for months leaving him mentally crippled and he would later sue the family who had lost their child due to emotional distress.
"emotional distress"

This man's distress was due to the fact that he believed the accident was his fault. When he went to a doctor they told him that emotions happen to you. You are a puppet of these neurological triggers. Because this conclusion was drawn amongst other reasons the trucker was able to sue the family.

A psychologist by the name of Lisa explains how this court case was all wrong. Emotions aren't simply stimulus to the brain she explains it's deeper than that, and because of this you can control more than your reaction to emotions. You can control emotions themselves.


Turns out emotions are the result of the brain simplifying introspection within the body for your convenience. If the brain did not simplify introspection then our brains would experience an overload of sensations.

Emotions are subjective to concepts. The concepts that your brain matches with certain feelings and actions are learned from observing other people at a young age. One thing means the other thing because your brain looks for previous experiences that are similar to the ones you're experiencing in real time, and from there decides what you're feeling now.

That means your emotions aren't hardwired. We hold responsibility over our emotions because we can identify concepts and their linkage to our emotions and then decide whether to change them or not.
me harnessing that emotional pw
So that means I hold the power to destROY (ha ha). Living as a victim of your emotions can leave you powerless but understanding that you are the final determiner of what you feel makes you the holder of control. To be in control is to be powerful.

Warhol and Sedgwick
 There is a quote by Andy Warhol and it was about how to say "so what" to what may feel like an impenetrable condition. He said that he'd never forget when he understood how to use that phrase. I think then, to be free of the feeling that how you feel is uncontrollable, is the ultimate freedom.  To use "so what" is to shed any burdensome condition that you've allowed yourself to wallow in and move forward.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Geographical BOPS Map Reflection

When given this project and told to map myself I was excited because I though I get to draw stuff but I was also afraid. To map myself would be to lay myself out in front of 19 people, most of which I don't know very well. I already felt like I was throwing myself into a busy highway with my I Like To Draw... blog. I don't like talking about the parts of myself I think are scared with other people when I don't have control over who my audience is. I was shaking the whole time I read my blog about drawing out loud, I honestly still can't believe I wrote that.

Spilling out my entrails for everyone to see is a god awful feeling, it's scary. So I decided to make a map about the music I listen to, like hey that's simple enough. It's an important part of myself that isn't emotionally over bearing on who ever is looking at my map. Even then I was afraid of sharing too much, and in my presentation I stuck to the surface level meaning of my map: this is tall because I like it more than that. I didn't explain things like why certain music genres were more popular than others.
I wonder what bops he's listenin' to.

After listening to everyone's map  I felt bad. A good half of the class told their life stories and I didn't think it was fair for me to try and hide parts of myself by purposefully simplifying my topographical map, on top of choosing something as simple as the music I listen to. Because I don't feel I was being truly authentic by not providing full explanations for the main aspects of my map, I'll explain some here.

The music genres of the highest altitude represent the genres I listen to the most, that is classical and various branches of metal. I enjoy listening to classical bops because I love the sound of violin, cello, and piano. The sounds those instruments make, make my soul feel as if it's being caressed. The notes feel personal and I've always felt that the only way I can truly be understood is to move someone with my own melodies. Because of that personal philosophy, at points in my life I asked for each instrument. I got my cousin's violin but never learned to play. I got my great grandmother's piano but could only managed to teach myself the Harry Potter theme song and a few other bops. Simply put, I relish in classical music because I long for a musical skill I may never acquire and I often feel the need to crawl into Amadeus' arms when I feel he's the only person who could ever truly understand me.

A meme that simply could not be wasted
 Metal is a form of expression, ultimately its a way of life. At-home-complications and interpersonal as well as inner-personal relationships aren't fine and dandy majority of the time. Instead of resorting to violence or the destruction of property, I like to listen to bops that connect with me about my problems. A wicked heavy metal guitar rift may relive my inner turmoil or make me head bang until I can't think of anything else but the beautiful sound of a rock god shredding his guitar.

Not just any metal
 The fact that both of those musical genres are the highest in altitude show what state of mind I'm in most often.

I kinda bailed on the importance of one landscape though: the Disco Dunes. Dunes aren't always that small (they were the size of a dime on my map) they can reach up to 500+ feet, taller than any pine tree could grow in Alt Forest or any geyser could spray in Ambient music land. I listen to Disco (modern electronic disco) more than acid rap, so my representation of land masses weren't all that accurate. I listen to Daft Punk and EDM nearly as much as I listen to Metallica and Five Finger Death Punch or Yo-Yo Ma and Schubert. I wasn't honest because I described the Disco Dunes as a home for "end of the world music"; I felt that if I were honest, my map would be reduced to just another rendition of how much I struggle with wanting to die. And that's boring. But that didn't happen so it's all okay. TOK personal projects stress me out.

The only other map I connected with a lot was Leyna's and I don't want to explain how. That requires me sharing things that I don't feel comfortable sharing. The very thing I wanted to avoid while making my map. In comparison to other maps, I feel my map was more like Hayden's or Austin's; they were simplistic but I felt they might've had more depth than what was explained.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Teaching Paradox

Teaching is scary. At least doing it for the first couple of times is. You can't tell what a group of people are thinking or what they are going to say or ask. You start thinking, do I know enough to answer every question, what do I do if my information is inaccurate and I didn't catch it? At the same time it is exciting, you get to talk and explain new things you probably didn't know before that are to some degree interesting. After teaching TOK about sensory perception, I found out how much I like to answer people's questions and telling stories. I realized teaching to learn was also a method of learning how to teach. The overall class period had its ups and downs, like every thing does, but I'd like to do it again and get better at it.

The strength of our lesson was our ability to provoke interesting discussion among our peers. The usage of interactive video media, discussion questions, and personal stories made the lesson feel more personal to each individual. The more you feel a connection with the people teaching, your peers, and the topic, the more you want to engage. That's because it gets rid of anyone feeling out of place since they might not know much on new the material. Feeling uncomfortable makes you more reluctant to participate. It was comfortable, which is important for an effective learning environment. Even I learned new things because everyone decided to speak.

The weakest points were my group's ability to explain things and getting the class to stop with the side conversations and excessive talking. The weakness in explaining things could've been because of nervousness but I know that if I spent a little more time on my topic, I might've been able to explain things more thoroughly when someone had a question. I know no one practiced explaining their slide alone to themselves, to make sure that they could explain stuff effectively and tersely. You could tell with the redundancy of statements and persistent usage of pause fillers. If a little more perpetration went into the presentation it could've gone smoother. If we provided a work sheet for answering questions during the interactive and enforced a raise your hand policy before staring, minimization of convoluted answers and discussion, could've been achieved.

If given the opportunity, next time, I'd provide an outline paper because the previous groups did. I'm guessing now everyone has their TOK Ways Of Knowing  notes in two different places. I'd also drop the end of our lesson and reconstruct it. It didn't wrap up the discussion well, it was just a bunch of people talking over each other Ultimately, teaching the class was a great learning experience and it made way for new personal improvements I now recognize, and can prepare for when given later interactive projects.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

I like to draw...

I believe in the tortured artist. I get down a lot and whenever I do it's like time is warped, everything either slows down or speeds up and I get lost. The grace period immediately after an episode, is usually when I draw the most.

 I've noticed that my best art is created when I'm in the midst of feeling a really strong emotion. When I feel like there is something I have to get out, that's when I have the most vivid image of what to make. The torture comes to play because those strong emotions are usually ones that come from a place of pain. I've never been good at expressing myself to others or understanding what I'm trying to say when I do open my mouth about a problem. As a result, I resort to drawing. I'm not as good with words as I am with imagery. For me art is a way to transfer what is in my mind into a dimensional space where it can be seen.

 I don't draw everyday I usually do when something is really bothering me. Some months I'll sketch more frequently than others. I've filled 100 page sketch books within a week to put it in retrospect, and I've only done that twice. Drawing everything out helps me identify what exactly I'm messed up about, I end up better understanding myself and ultimately feeling better.

I've been slowly increasing how much I draw since last summer. Since then I've felt more gratitude towards the past. What happens to us shapes who we are, yeah blah blah but mainly because depression gives me the initiative to draw. After or in the dead middle of a fit of thrown around emotions and wanting to off myself, I'll stop and close my eyes and ask myself what does this feeling look like? among other questions.  I then come up with some metaphorical way to depict it in an image. I draw it and it's like a breath of fresh air. It's a coping mechanism. Art becomes a voice and that's perfect because I never really feel like talking when I'm upset, and holding it in usually makes things much worse.

 There is debate over whether the tortured artist is an actual thing. Researchers and art scholars are all like NO these people do art in spite of mental illness not because of it. But it could be both, for me it is both. Honestly, creativity doesn't have to come from a dark place, being sick isn't required to have big thoughts. The saying "to write you just have to sit and bleed onto the paper" means the equivalent for drawing. Whether your blood be pretty anime girls or landscapes it's the same concept.

Being a sack of wet potatoes helps me with art, it assists me with getting ideas and gives me the drive to draw because sketching makes me feel better. It keeps me alive and the me who isn't down in the dumps is the person who really loves to live so that's super. I love to draw I always have, but needing to do it for literal survival gives me more drive to practice technique and study style a lot more than I usual .The better I get at drawing the better I can display what I see in my mind and that gives me all the more satisfaction when finishing a piece. That's why I believe in the tortured artist, I feel that I am one.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

On Fearing Change

The other day during class we annotated a piece of literature that went into the romantic view of death,Thanatopsis. The overall message, to me, was that death is inevitable and we should not fear it. For this post my "next post" I wondered if there was anything else that we cant escape and have trouble facing through life, and I decided if there was I'd write about it and here it is.

Some place in the blue sea of Tumblr

The one thing that amounts to the inevitability and fear of death is change. The fear of change is evolutionary in humans. Since times immemorial, man has liked routine. According to a website built to help those with disabling phobias,, our internal predispositions, hereditary and genetics, teach us to resist change mainly to 'always feel in control'.

When I say people fear change, I don't mean people all have a phobia of change.  A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, which is different from normal feelings of anxiety. An anxiety disorder differs from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness and involve excessive fear and anxiety.

When I say people fear change, I'm talking about the general fear not the diagnosis of a disorder regarding it.

French Toast
I didn't notice how much people reject change or sometimes neglect it until recently. Which is weird because I've encountered many text with their basis on that subject of change. For example literally the whole of the AP World History textbook. Wars and revolutions occur because someone wants to enforce change that is not wanted and when people reject ideas or new things its usually because they fear what will happen once its become a consistent thought, the norm, which is a fear of change.

A few other examples come from famous American novels The Great Gatsby and The Catcher In The Rye. They're both centered around the premise of the preservation of now and or the past , but then they show you the importance of how with the progression of time it provides impending change and the importance of acknowledging it and or accepting it.

I haven't read The Catcher in the Rye yet but I've watched all of Crash Course Literature and John Green pointed out a great quote from the book, that is the mind set of 16 year old Holden.

Holden on
 " The best thing though in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was."

This is what he wants "To be a a protector of innocence, a catcher in the rye" - John Green

At the end of the book Holden says he doesn't understand why watching his sister twirl in circles makes him so happy. Green imposes that, in that moment, he unconsciously realizes that the road to adult hood "is a circle where one goes around and around in a journey to and from innocence that lasts throughout life". So really Holden was happy because he understands that as time progresses, as things change, innocence will still linger.

In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby or should I say James Gatz if you know what I mean, chases the green light, that is Daisy, convinced that the love they shared 5 years before was still there. He doesn't really acknowledge the fact that she has a husband and a daughter, that is rarely mentioned, only the fact that his love for her is and will always be returned in his mind. He believes that the past holds a beautiful future . Here on page 110 it says:
The Great Depression

"You cant repeat the past." -Nick 

"Cant repeat the past ? Why of course you can" -Gatsby 

"I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before" -Gatsby 

That is ironic considering that he transfigures his entire persona in order to escape the "monotony of his everyday life" earlier on but later pushes away the reforms that have occurred over 5 years that are Daisy's feelings.

The importance of recognizing and accepting change is displayed, along with many other messages, by telling us that because of this blindness. to change, it has brought a great man to death.

That is interesting, many fear change but when they want it they'll take the steps in order to do so. I now see that when people begin to look at change with fear, it occurs when one is comfortable in the situation that exists in a moment.

It really says something when two novels that are considered to be the greatest of American Literature revolve around preservation of time. Its popular because we all fear the same thing: getting older, the loss of a love that was wished to be preserved, and being snatched out of our comfort zones, results of change.

Like death, change can be accepted and one can live in peace with it once they have. Fearing death is understandable but fearing change seems irrational and even more disabling because things change everyday unexpectedly, then again you could die any day without planning on it. But how irrational is it if its almost greater than fearing death. Death promises an eternal sleep but with change, anything can be promised with change,and there's no way to calculate whether 50% of it will be bad or 50% of it will be good due to unpredictability.

Intrinsically, "life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes." - Goethe.

Yes, I am Goethe!
Change is inevitable and feared by many people, and like death, change can be accepted. Some accept death because it is understood that it is natural and in it is good.  For those reasons change shouldn't be feared, it is natural and essential.

If you're having trouble believing me, you've probably accepted it before! When you are thrown out of the loop that has you on track you try to get back in, to gain that sense of 'control' , that smooth sailing, it's human nature.

"Because there's a part of us that feels we've failed when life takes an unexpected (or even expected) turn, we really don't want others to know what we're going through. . . so we gloss over details, put a smile on and do what we can to try to make our lives look good while we try to get things back on track." - Carol L. McLelland

-Godspeed, Laila

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Result of Procrastination

Write about something that matters.

click, click click.


click, click, click, click,click, clack....delete.

That is me right now, click, click, click, delete. It's mostly because I'm an awful procrastinator who tends to do important work the very last minute. The rest is because my mind is a spaghetti highway with ideas speeding by at 90 miles per hour, theres no patrol to stop the cars that are going absolutely bonkers.

This painting has nothing to do with anything.
 Right now as I write this blog post my head is pounding like someone inside is banging a hammer against my frontal bone making it snap and begin to crack right down the bulls eye between my eyebrows. Over the past year I've become a naval mine just floating in the water, chained to the ocean floor that is being, just waiting for something to touch me the wrong way. It's as if every week some demolition expert swims along to add more explosives to the stash of TNT they've got stored in my head.

This is me right now, trying to write something that matters, and it's already spiraling out of control.

This is what I talk about when theres nothing else to discuss. Mainly because its a problem that is of yet to be solved.

Mainly because its a problem that many people have.

There's a solution some of you may say. Just stop waiting to do things! Try and do them the moment the assignment is released! Its not that difficult!

If you're saying that you don't understand.

If you're a severe procrastinator or just happen to lapse into an incapacitated state of mind when presented with work or with anything you may get this feeling I'm having right now.

What is it about us? What makes us do everything else but the things we need to do?

Is it because we don't want to? Maybe.

Maybe we wait because we don't want to do the work but still complete it because we know how it will affect us later. That feeling of impending doom that clouds over your head every moment you aren't working on what needs to be worked on, is a feeling that is always looming over your shoulder. Its all because once we've finished all of our work that night before, the next day, finally filled with warm relief, we've got 1 no 2 no 5 more objectives that need to be done.

I look at those papers and I pull out a calender and neatly divide all of the work up into reasonable days before their due dates. Then something happens, theres a voice saying, "Do it later." Another whispering," You could cram the night before." Finally theres one that is moaning, "But I'm so tired."

It's always the same. Sometimes I produce the most amazing things within 24 hours of no sleep and most of the time I create complete rubbish.

The answer is easily to do a little bit of work throughout multiple days. Reward yourself for working and try not to stop the routine.

If you are like me procrastination may be inevitable because I can't help but do it due to perennial woefulness.But if you can stomp on the gas and make your car putt putt a few feet further once its drained then you can stomp on the gas of your mind and make yourself suck up and utilize that last ounce of willingness whenever you feel like you might as well do something later when it can be done now.