Ty

“Sometimes what we need from the Bible is not the fulfillment of our dream, but the swallowing up of our failed dream in the all-satisfying glory of Christ. We do not always know the path of deepest joy.”

-John Piper

I believe it.

Reflections

As the time comes when You no longer wish to see

what I previously desired,

when instead Your will is what You wanted,

it is then that You purify me.

But where has my freedom been

for so long?

From what secret depths was it dragged out

in an instant

that I might agree to bow my head

beneath Your yoke which is gentle

and accept on my shoulders Your burden

which is light,

O Lord Jesus Christ,

my strength and my redeemer?

How suddenly comforting it was

to lose the false comforts of the past!

I had long feared losing them,

and now it was a joy to throw them away.

Truly it was You who put them far from me,

my true and supreme comfort;

You put them far away

and set Yourself in their place.

-St. Augustine, Confessions 9.1

Bound?

rappermanet

If you follow me on twitter, you may assume I’m a Kanye obsessed girl with a lot of time on her hands. Well, that’s only partially true because I stopped loving Kanye a while ago. Perhaps that is exactly the reason why I’ve taken it to a 140-character medium to express some thoughts about his recent tweet-worthy events because do people ever really tweet about things they love? No. Everyone knows people only complain on twitter. It’s the adult version of an acceptable imaginary friend who will listen to your almost adult problems and ridiculous thoughts and never judge you. I’m just kidding, there are plenty of people who excessively share the great things that are happening in their lives but…I digress.

Now maybe you are still a Yeezy fan. Or maybe you never were at all. For me, I know that no matter how much I criticize him via this blog post, Kanye is kind of like that first love who will always have a special place in your heart no matter what kind of ridiculous shit he pulled in your guys’ time together. I didn’t mind it when he called out George W. Bush. I rooted for him when he interrupted Taylor Swift. And I tolerated 808’s & Heartbreak (seriously, does ANYONE like that terribly auto-tuned album). I even shrugged it off when he first got with the epitome of a no talent celebrity. But I’ve reached a point in this artist-listener relationship where I can no longer overlook some of the things he’s saying and doing (no pun intended).

It all started with his first of many, extremely passionate twitter rants, back in January of 2012, where he proposed the idea of DONDA, his new creative agency that would basically create everything and anything. To be honest, as I was reading his tweets in real time, I didn’t understand what it all meant and I still don’t really know. Two years later from said rant and we haven’t seen much of Donda but people don’t seem to mind or maybe it is that people have forgotten about it.  One of his more recent twitter episodes received a great deal of attention after Jimmy Kimmel did a stint on Kanye’s BBC interview. In many ways, I could understand his frustration of not being understood, especially when he proclaims it was a very honest, from-the-heart interview. And although he made some valid points on how he feels limited by media and society during the follow-up interview with Jimmy, I’m sure most people didn’t even hear those arguments because they were thrown off by the 30 seconds in which he became a self-proclaimed creative genius, because obviously there is just no other way to put it. A lot of the headlines we’ve seen about the “creative genius” Kanye (who now apparently does guest lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Design),  although initially outrageous, are somewhat forgivable because we know he’s just an extremely passionate guy with a lot of ideas who cannot for the life of him, contain those ideas in his brain. And he’s proven himself enough musically, that people are beginning to pay attention to all the other things he wants to do artistically, whether it may be voluntarily or through repeated Kanye outbursts.

But what does it for me, where I begin to question the Kanye I grew to love, is his unwavering defense of his fiance, Kim Kardashian. It was one thing for them to start dating (which was actually a completely dreaded fear of mine that ultimately happened), and it was another when the world found out Kim was pregnant, but what sets it off is when Kanye tries to convince people that Kim is a grade A celebrity who worked her ass off (another non-intended pun?) to reach the level of fame she has today. Objectively, I think everyone in the world knows that this is not true. Barbara Walters even called out the Kardashian family during an interview, and very matter-of-factly told them they are no talent celebrities and are simply “famous for being famous”. So when Kanye says that his girl deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or that “her talent is being beautiful”, I instinctually roll my eyes. It’s hard for me to accept that someone I respect as an artist could be so fond of a celebrity I do not respect at all. When I see the fiance Kanye defending his lover in an interview contrasted with the artist Kanye trying to prove to people he’s the next Michelangelo, things don’t align for me and this is how my allegiance to Kanye slowly dies. I mean did anyone think that the Bound 2 music video was a beautiful work of art besides Kanye and Kim? Personally, I much more enjoyed the James Franco and Seth Rogen version, as did almost everyone else. Once again, we see Kanye trying to convince the world of Kim’s worth but we’re all adults here and we know when to give credit where credit is due. And if anything, we sure as hell won’t be impressed by another version of a naked Kim getting humped on a motorcycle in a so-called poetic piece because the only difference between this music video and the Ray-J sex tape is that it was “artsy”.

When someone demands respect, one should act accordingly and the contradictions Kanye keeps spewing are speaking louder than his music. Wasn’t he the one that said “the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem/ the prettiest people do the ugliest things on the road to riches and diamond rings”? I get that people change and it’s been over a decade since “The College Dropout” but Kanye and I have grown apart in many ways that I don’t want to accept but I can no longer ignore. Has this relationship reached its end? I don’t know. All I know is the New Year has set in and we await what Kanye will contribute to the world in 2014. Maybe Donda will deliver the unthinkable, maybe Kimye will have a quiet wedding, or maybe Kanye will come up with something greater than leather jeggings. Whatever it is, I will attempt to remain optimistic because you never quite get over your first (musical) love.

Just in time

Back in May prior to the release of Before Midnight, I decided to watch the prequels again, because that’s what you do with trilogies, or more like that’s what I have to do because I have a terrible memory. Of the three, Before Sunset is probably still my favorite for reasons I won’t fully get into. Nonetheless, I’ve watched Before Sunset multiple times because I like the things they talk about in their seemingly fateful but equally plotted reencounter in Paris. However, it wasn’t until this most recent time I watched it that something Jesse said caught my attention for the first time. As Jesse tells Celine about his wife, he adds that at the time they got married, he remembers thinking that many of the men he admired most were dedicated to something greater than themselves. To which Celine responds, “So you got married because men you admired were married?”.  And this is where things get complicated. Because Jesse’s explanation to Celine is that he had this idea of his “best self” that he wanted to pursue, even if it overrode his “honest self”.  Now cut to Before Midnight (spoilers here), and we find out that Jesse ends up separating from his wife in a nasty divorce and obviously Jesse and Celine end up getting together.

So what does this mean? This whole idea of best self vs. honest self has been resonating with me for quite some time now. I think most people, especially the Y Generation, are raised to pursue their best self. Because our parents worked their asses off to find stability and security – the two things their own parents never had, when we were born, the choices that we had for our lives somehow became unlimited. It was no longer about finding a job that would simply make ends meet, but finding a practical but also fulfilling career. Of course, I strongly believe there is a little disparity in what I’ve just said with my own parents, and possibly Asian parents in general. Because from their perspective, our best and most fulfilled self is going to be in the form of a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I’d like to think that most 1st and 1.5 generation parents only believe this out of ignorance rather than truth because honestly, they just don’t know. And being raised by two very traditional parents, I convinced myself that I wanted to be a doctor because that would be the most fulfilling and secure career possible. In general, I don’t think that what I told myself is incorrect. Having a doctorate in the health field is honestly a great profession. But was this career choice I had proclaimed as a child coming from my best self or my honest self?

Obviously, I wasn’t able to figure out the answer to this question until like…now. And it’s very possible I still don’t concretely know. After wavering years in college and ultimately graduating with a B.S. and doing whatever it took to get into optometry school, I finally had a Jesse moment where I understood my honest self and what that was in comparison to my supposed best self. And it got me thinking…Why do we even have these proposed ideals of our best self? One of the blaring reasons is what I mentioned above about our nurtured generation. The pursuit to be a role model in society, a trailblazer, the next big thing.  And don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to dream big, essential. But society has told us what we should be aiming for, and if you’re not going for those things, you’re not doing it right – you’re not striving to be your best. But like I mentioned in a previous post, what the world expects from you, what God asks of you, and what you want are rarely, if ever, aligned. God never explicitly told me I had to be a doctor to make him happy.  But somehow, I convinced myself that it was the only way I could truly glorify Him. Which leads to my second reason. Pride.  Oh man, do I have a lot of this.  And it’s taken a goooooood amount of humble pie to even get to this blog post.  In many ways, I think the profession I chose seemed like a win-win situation. I could fulfill the idea of what society labeled success, while pleasing God, while also being content with my own life. And that was my vision of my best self – a vision completely clouded by pride…amongst other things.

The truth is, how do we humans even know what our best self is? I’ve lived for 24 years and I still don’t really know what that is. I thought I did, but I was wrong. However, now that I know my “honest self”, I believe that I’m getting closer to reaching God’s version of my “best self”. Currently, I don’t know where this is all going to go. For the first time in my life, there is a definite uncertainty as to what I’ll be doing in the next ten years. But instead of freaking out and flipping tables left and right, I know I have to be patient. Honestly, patience is not my best attribute so I don’t know how this is all going to work out. But if there is any hope that God will make something great out of someone like me…I’m all for it.